(from left) Shannon Brown, Aaron Spears & Andre Iguodala all performed admirably.
2001 Nike All-American Camp
By Frank Rusnak
A whopping 16 Illinois players were in attendance at the 2001 Nike All-American Camp held in Indianapolis, IN on the beautiful campus of IUPUI. Even more amazing is that there were four sets of high school teammates at the camp from The Land of Lincoln: Proviso East's Dee and Shannon Brown, Springfield Lanphier's Andre Iguodala and Richard McBride, Peoria Notre Dame's Brian Randle and Mitch Gilfillan & Farragut's Marcetteaus McGee and Elliott Poole. As always, a high-profile camp like this can make or break a players reputation and it did just that with a few players.
Shannon Brown- Holding down point guard duties for his team, Shannon shined all week long. With unselfish play he was able to show his great athleticism and speed at the lead guard position. With his outside shot hitting and the assertiveness to take the ball to the rack on a consistent basis, Shannon performed the best of the Illinois crew.
Mike Thompson- Mike played an aggressive brand of ball all week long that I have yet to see out of him. Playing strong inside against similar sized competition, if there was anything close to the basket he was trying to finish with a hard, in-your-face dunk.That same determination carred over to the defensive side of the ball, as well.
Dee Brown- For the majority of the time Dee played the shooting guard position for his team, but kept the point guard/unselfish mentality with him. A vocal leader for his team--as always--Dee showed his flash and quickness while connecting on a good portion of his 3-point and outside shot attempts. Also, Dee was coming off of an ankle injury that he suffered in the Willowbrook Shootout, but he sucked it up and suited up for every game without any complaints--a true competitor.
Brian Randle- Dabbling in a little bit of everything on the court, there is not one particular facet to Brian's game that stands out. Whatever his team needed he was more than willing to supply them with it and a little more. A very active body around the basket he thought--rightfully so--that every offensive rebound had his name on it while connecting on numerous tip-ins around the hoop.
Andre Iguodala- Andre was teamed on perhaps the most physically imposing team in camp which included Florida high school players 6'9" Amare Stoudemire (Memphis/NBA) and 6'7" Yusuf Baker. Overcoming his teammates awe-factor, Andre gave the audience a reason of his own to be entertained. Starting the camp off slow, he eventually found his niche on the team while slashing to the hoop and taking the ball coast-to-coast on several occasions.
Aaron Spears- His downfall continues to be the endurance to get up and down the floor, but when Aaron is positioned near the basket it is tough stopping this 6'8" 250-pounder. With soft hands and an even softer touch around the hoop, he was persistent and successful on the offensive end. His defense was solid, but he needs to see the whole floor better.
Charles Bass- Displaying an OK mid-range shot, Charles play was solid, yet quiet, for the majority of the camp, but it was the occasions when he wasn't so tranquil that opened the coaches eyes. Being dwarfed in the post by his 7'4" junior teammate from New York, Shagari Alleyne, Charles surprised many when he would be hit with a sudden burst of energy and either take the ball coast-to-coast for an easy two or dish-off, or attack the offensive glass for a monstrous put-back.
Marcetteaus McGee- Marcetteaus ended with a successful camp before he suffered a deep bruise on his thigh that put him out of action the last two days. Quick up and down the floor, he didn't have as much success--as he is accustomed to--in taking the ball to the basket and finishing, but was aggressive with the ball and that received a lot of scratch in notebooks.
Mike Hall- His play was erratic, but when Mike put his mind to it, he took care of business. A large portion of the camp he was stuck playing center for his team despite being teamed with Mike Thompson--Thompson was on the opposite rotating squad. Using his athleticism and long arms he was persistent on the offensive end of the basket but didn't finish as much as he would've liked.
Elliott Poole- Playing strong but not spectacular, Elliott used his muscle and persistency to his advantage inside. However, matched up against much taller opponents in the post, he was unable to finish with the regularity that he is used to. Teamed on the same squad as his Farragut teammate Marcetteaus McGee, Elliott found many great passes landing in his hands from his buddy.
Ricky Cornett- With what has been an extremely busy summer in various camps and tournaments throughout the country, considerable fatigue was shown from Rick. Starting the camp off very passive, he was unable to finish with any kind of consistency and rarely was the defensive backstop that his team needed on the other side of the ball.
Richard McBride- Settling for the outside shot was a regular part of his offensive game this week. Often times Richard was lacking any kind of intensity or fire, which was very surprising with the audience watching at an event like this--the nation's elite coaches. On a positive note, his outside shot looked smooth.
Mitch Gilfillan- Coming into camp with a big question mark covered all over him, Mitch brought with his eraser and banished any thoughts of him not belonging. With his team lacking point guards, Mitch often times saw playing time on both the first and second units for his team, which included Charles Bass. This 5'10" senior point guard from Peoria Notre Dame did not back down to anyone and was a defensive sparkplug as well as a steadying force with the ball in his hands.
Ben Rand- Ben had a solid week while doing all of the little things a team needs, but the spotlight rarely went his way. Not being aggressive with the ball on the offensive end was one reason he did not particularly shine. Overall, he had a sound camp while playing aggressive around the basket and distributing the ball well from the wing, but I'm sure he will be looking forward to next year.
Jim Maley- Teamed with both Shannon Brown and Ricky Cornett, Jim was in familiar company. However, he lacked the aggressive nature on offense that he has with Lyons Township. At times he teased with the ability to create and convert shot opportunities from the 3-point area.
Lorenzo Thompson- Lacking an aggressive nature of ball that is necessary for him to sparkle, Lorenzo faded in the background throughout the week.
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