Tuesday, October 5, 2010

TigerSportsReport.com's Recap of Pre-Season Show Off Camp 2010

TigerSportsReport.com's Leroy Watson was in the building at the 2nd Annual Patosha Jeffery's Pre-Season Show Off Camp on Saturday. Here's what he had to say about the event and some of the participants.

Out east, less than a block off I-385, Patosha Jeffery (also a U of M alum) cranked up her Preseason Show-Off Camp. Patosha (PoPo to those close to her) utilized the spacious facilities at Ridgeway Baptist church, where she runs multiple events per year.

"My camp lacked some of the big names," Jeffery admitted, "but I thought I had a lot of diamonds in the rough. They need exposure, too, and the college coaches in attendance seemed to appreciate the kids I had here."............

.........................Over at Ridgeway Baptist, the teams were also arranged according to color, and Team Purple went undefeated in the camp, winning the championship, 75-64, over Team Orange.

Leading Team Purple was Shervonte' Bright (Ridgeway) with 24 points. Bright is heading into her senior season poised for a big year. The 5'11" guard/forward actually teamed with Lillie Pittman last season at Trezevant, leading the Lady Bears in points per game with 12.7, but now that she has moved, she will team with the formidable Auburn signee, Hasina Muhammad, making for a match-up nightmare for opponents.

Bright is a deadly shooter who can score at all three levels: at the rim, exploiting her height and length; in the mid-range with her smooth stroke; and from downtown, where she will eat you alive if you leave her open.

Team Orange was lead by Kiandria Patterson (Columbus, MS) with 17 points. The team also included burgeoning star guard Amber Holmes from Southwind.

Holmes might be as tall as 5'4", but when she gets on a roll, she can impact a game on both ends the way few players her age can.

During an early morning game on Court Two, Holmes made a steal and dished for a score, made a steal and went coast-to-coast, then harrassed another opponent into a poor shot and scored on a trey.

All on consecutive plays.

It's hard to believe that Holmes is a freshman. A growth spurt would be nice, and she has to learn not to coast when she's on the floor. But Holmes is going to be special.

So is Halie Mathews (West Jefferson), another freshman who caught our eye. She was on the Red team, which was comprised of young ladies who made the six-hour drive one-way from Louisiana.

The Red team was in fact the Louisiana Lady Terrapins, who have supported Jeffery and are regulars at Patosha's camps and tournaments. The Lady Terrapin program is run by Matthew Young, who can be reached at 504-577-0804. His girls are disciplined and well-coached, and would be a credit to any institution that wished to have them on campus for the next two-to-four years.

Mathews is a legitimate 6-footer, and she's equally at home in the post or out on the perimeter. She's alert, instinctive, moves well, and is very mature for her age. She's extremely active and doesn't shy from contact. She has the tools to play any position on the floor.

We observed Halie at an earlier Jeffery-run event this summer, and were stunned to find out on Saturday that she is just a freshman. She performed very well on both occasions, showing a consistency that is sorely lacking in most 14-year olds.

Mathews informed us that she had not heard from any college before this weekend; we assured her that she would be hearing something soon. Given her size--and with her legitimate height, she's neither rail-thin nor chubby--and athleticism, we're going out on a sturdy limb when we suggest that she will be a high-level recruit and will likely end up at a D-1 program somewhere.

Also catching our eye were Laquaris Harris, a tough little (5'5") guard from Booker T. Washington in the Class of 2011 who scored 16.6 ppg last fall; and a real project, Treasure Redding, a 6'2" post player from Millington Central High (2013) who is broad-shouldered, athletic, and quite the shot-blocker.

Each girl is a project for different reasons. Harris is a good scorer, and fairly active on the defensive end, but she's not the kind of game-changer at that size who is liable to make a high D-1 roster somewhere. She might be a great fit on a D-2 team or perhaps at an HBCU.

Redding is clueless on the offensive end, and she shies away from hitting the boards. The former can be fixed, but the latter is a huge no-no. If she becomes more aggressive on the boards, and learns at least a couple of post moves, she has plenty of time to get on the radar of some D-1 programs; if she doesn't, even at 6'2" she will find that she'll be passed over for girls who might be an inch or two shorter but who understand the importance of doing "dirty work".

And finally, we would be remiss not to praise all of the campers who sacrificed their weekends and played so hard, so often. But one player in particular sticks out in the effort category: Whitney Williams (2011), a 5'6" guard out of Amite High in Louisiana, playing for the Red team at Jeffery's Preseason Show-off Camp.

As we said earlier, it was extremely impressive to see the Red team ride up here, having had to have left home around 2:30 or 3:00 a.m., yet playing with high energy. But Williams went a step beyond after colliding with another player while chasing a loose ball.

The collision seemed innocuous enough, but Williams trotted over to her mother. We watched as Williams stuffed her mouth with a paper towel and drew out a lot of blood; from our vantage point, her lower teeth had imbedded in her mouth, just below the lip. She quickly replaced the first paper towel with another. Same result; dripping with blood.

She hurried a family member to retrieve something--anything!--else to help her stanch the blood flow.

"Hurry up, I gotta get back in the game!" she chided sternly.

And sure enough, in less than 10 minutes, I looked up, and there she was, back out on the court, impacting the game with her hustle. She runs the floor aggresively, has a smooth, repeatable stroke on her jumper, and is a good distributor of the ball. She's not the most talented in the world (but certainly not a klutz, either, the collision was wholly unavoidable), and she's a little smallish (5'6") but her toughness will take her a long, long way.

We could see her contributing to a mid-major D-1 program, for a coach who values an unselfish and tough-minded backup point guard.

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