A little late, but here is a look at two of the backcourt players I had a chance to watch in person during the Coaches v. Cancer games at Madison Square Garden – Demetri McCamey of Illinois and Ashton Gibbs of Pitt. Remember, these are just early season impressions and I will revisit these players again multiple times this season as draft possibilities become clearer.
Demetri McCamey, Illinois – Senior
Guard- 6’3, 200
17.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 7.4 apg, 60.4% FG, 70.6% FT, 50% 3FG
Perimeter Shooting- McCamey is a fantastic shooter, with great range and a fast release. He has the ability to shoot his jumper off the pass, dribble or in transition. His shot selection could use improvement, especially his tendency to force long-range shots early in the shot clock and while being guarded closely. It is also important for him to make sure he gets full extension on his jumper, as he tends to miss most often by short-arming the shot.
Ballhandling/Hands/Penetration- McCamey is a capable ballhandler, though he is susceptible to turning the ball over against pressure defense. Decision-making when running the offense is going to be a key area for him to improve upon during the course of the season, as he tends to look for his shot first before getting the offense going. He does a good job pushing the ball in transition, and has a very deceptive first step to the basket. Combined with his strong upper body, he has the ability to take some hits and still finish.
Rebounding/Passing- Because McCamey tends to stay on the perimeter, more often than not, he is not in position to grab offensive rebounds, other than the occasional long miss. If he was to crash the boards, I believe he has the strength and the instincts to get a decent amount of rebounds for his size. While McCamey has racked up impressive assist totals, his passing skills and court vision are average. It has been more of his teammates hitting tough shots than McCamey getting them the ball in optimal position. When pressured, he needs to make sure to keep his head up and see the whole court.
Free Throw Shooting- McCamey doesn’t get to the line as often as he could as he tends to play around the perimeter. He is a decent free throw shooter, but still has room to improve.
Perimeter Defense- McCamey needs to improve his on-ball defense as he lacks the lateral movement and footwork necessary to stay with NBA level guards. He has good hands which keeps players he is guarding honest, and he does a good job closing on shooters. Off the ball, he needs to play tighter on his man, as he often leaves them room to get good looks at the basket.
Rebounding- McCamey has the ability to provide solid rebounding support from the guard position and does an excellent job going after loose balls and long rebounds. It will be important for him to make sure he gets himself involved in rebounding against more physical teams they will play.
McCamey has the ability to fill the lanes or handle the ball in transition, and he has the strength to finish. He is also a threat to get off his jumper in transition, though he needs to be careful that his shot is the best available option. He has excellent leaping ability and if he gets out on the wings, it could lead to some easy and spectacular plays.
Summary & Intangibles
BB IQ – Above Average
McCamey is a fantastic scorer and he has playmaking abilities, but it will be important for him to show this more over the course of the season. Also, his on-ball defense needs a lot of work, as well as his decision-making on both ends. But, his scoring ability will make him a commodity to NBA teams, and even without these improvements, he could be a late first-round pick. If he improves these other areas, he could easily move up to the mid-first round.
Ashton Gibbs, Pittsburgh – Junior
Guard- 6’2, 190
19.2 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 3.8 apg, 48.1% FG, 82.6% FT, 47.6% 3FG
Perimeter Shooting- Gibbs has made great strides already this season with his shooting. While he has been a solid shooter, with good form and deep range, his shot selection the last two seasons was less than ideal. So far this season, he seems to be looking for the best shot possible, and its paying off with clean looks at the basket.
Ballhandling/Hands/Penetration- While Gibbs is not the guy you would want handling the ball against pressure, he does a decent job as a second guard helping bring the ball up and executing the offense. His biggest issue is that when he does have the ball in his hands, he is always trying to make something happen, when it would be better for him to see what the defense gives him. He has good hands, and almost always has them in good position to receive passes from his teammates. He has a very good first step, though he is prone to over-penetration and getting caught wither taking a forced shot or nowhere to pass the ball. He is slowly learning to penetrate and kick to the open man on the perimeter more, though he still prefers to shoot himself. He also has some of the best head and ball fakes I have seen so far this season and does a good job making his defender commit to early.
Rebounding/Passing- Gibbs doesn’t contribute much on the offensive glass, other than the occasional long rebound or grab of his own miss near the basket. He doesn’t really have the size or strength to do much more than that, though if he did follow his misses, he would probably grab 1 more offensive board a game. His passing has improved this season, as he seems to recognize opposing defenses, and their weaknesses, better. As I said earlier, he has become much better at penetrating and kicking out, though he looks shot first, and he done a much better job of making the extra pass to get the team a better shot.
Free Throw Shooting- Gibbs is a very good free throw shooter; consistent and he has the ability to hit them when they matter. He needs to start getting to the line more often, and that starts with taking the ball to the rim more.
Perimeter Defense- Gibbs seems to be out of sync with typical Jamie Dixon defenders. He moves his feet well staying with the ball, but he often gives up when he hits a screen, and looks for short cuts when defending his man. His effort is inconsistent, though when he tries, he is capable of forcing turnovers. Off the ball, he tends to drift towards away from his man, making it hard for him to close on perimeter shooters.
Rebounding- As on the offensive end, Gibbs is not going to give you much rebounding other than grabbing the occasional long rebound, or misses which come right to him. It isn’t much of a concern at a team level since Pitt has many strong rebounders.
Gibbs has the ability to push the ball on the break, though he is much better filling one of the wings. With his ability to shoot from almost anywhere, and very good athleticism, there is a good chance that if you get the ball to him in transition, he will score. When he is the one pushing the ball, his decision-making is still suspect, though it has improved over last year, especially when it comes to deciding when it’s best to hold up and wait for the team.
Summary & Intangibles
BB IQ – Above Average
Gibbs is a volume scorer, but the rest of his game is still lagging behind a bit, especially on the defensive end. He is still a much better perimeter shooter than penetrator, and it will be best for his NBA prospects to show that he can run the offense efficiently. It is tough to deny that he finds ways to score, and his improved shot selection should get better as the season goes on. I can’t see him being better than a second round pick this year, and as of now, would probably be best served by returning for his senior season.
That’s it for the Coaches v. Cancer Scouting Reports, check back the rest of the week for a look at players from around the country who took part in the other Holiday tourneys.
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