For three days, more than 150 of the top players in San Diego competed in the The Jared Dudley Skills Academy, the fourth-annual camp held by the nine-year NBA veteran.
The camp had a different format this year, as the top teams from the "NBA" and "NCAA" Divisions met in their respective championship games. In the NBA Division (top upperclassmen), the Heat defeated the Thunder 62-60 on Darnell Johnson's go-ahead transition layup over Robby Robinson with 3 seconds left. Johnson was named Camp MVP.
In the NCAA Division, Kentucky, led by 2019 Mission Bay G Jay Norton, the NCAA MVP, defeated Syracuse to win the lower division.
Full-Time Hoops ranked the top performers from the NBA Division based on their performances over the three days, with players who played all three days getting priority in the rankings over those who played two days. Players had to play a minimum of two games to be ranked.
Miles Norris- 2018 6-9 200 PF, Helix- Say what you want about Norris, the Top prospect in the 2018 class, but he was flat out dominant for three straight days of camp games. Scoring from inside and out, handling the basketball and scoring off of the drive, defending and protecting the rim, Norris did it all. And he provided a steady reel of highlight dunks and plays in the process.
Jose Serrano- 2017 6-7 200 F, Balboa City- Serrano was simply unstoppable on offense for his team, keeping them alive at times with his ability to get to the basket seemingly at will and score in highlight fashion in transition. Serrano is also an underrated force on the offensive glass due to his tenacity and nose for the ball. He has some work to do defensively, and needs to cut down on the self-inflicted mistakes (lack of concentration), but this was a coming-out party for a sorely underrated 2017 recruit.
Boogie Ellis- 2019 5-11 140 PG, Mission Bay- Ellis willed his team to a near upset of the camp’s top team in the final, drilling the penultimate shot to tie the game before Darnell Johnson’s score with 3 seconds left sealed his team’s victory. Ellis was electric at times throughout the three days, scoring and facilitating with equal aplomb. He needs to work on his on-court demeanor (picked up several technical fouls in a camp setting), but if he can mature in this aspect, you’re looking at an elite guard prospect in the 2019 class.
Bruce Edwards- 2017 6-4 190 W, The Peddie School- Edwards was arguably the best two-way player at camp. He was aggressive on the defensive end and put his stamp on the game with his slashing ability on offense. He started camp somewhat slow due to a stomach virus, but gained steam the final two days. Headed to prep school, Edwards has a legit shot at playing Division 1 basketball in 2017.
Mohamadou Kaba-Camara- 2016 7-1 230 C, Balboa City- At 7-foot-1, Kaba-Camara was a matchup nightmare for teams the entire camp. He’s not the most skilled big man, and sometimes struggles to read help-side defense, but if he caught it cleanly, he scored at a high rate. He was also imposing on the defensive end before running out of gas in the championship game.
Taeshon Cherry- 2018 6-8 205 F, St. Augustine- Cherry, who attended two of the three days, was downright electric on Day 3, scoring from all three levels and delivering the highlight of the camp, catching a lob off the backboard to himself and displaying the top-end athleticism that some have said he lacks.
Taurus Samuels- 2018 6-0 165 PG, Vista- Samuels’ camp ended on Tuesday, but ended on a high note- he got the best of Ellis in his team’s win over the eventual camp runner up. In that game, Samuels was flat-out dominant, and he showed extended flashes of his dominant playmaking ability the first two days. Would have been higher if he played all three days.
Blake Seits- 2017 6-4 170 SG, Ramona- Seits, as one of his teammates said, was in “NBA Jam Fire Mode” for most of the event. The prolific shooter was knocking down shots from near half court off the catch, and showed a willingness to attack the basket with his crafty handle. He’s rising fast up the list of top rising seniors.
Warren Washington- 2018 6-10 200 PF, Escondido- Washington played the camp with a still sore ankle from a sprain he suffered during the Magic Memorial Day tournament, but he played at a very high level through the injury. Washington’s perimeter shooting and handling ability is a very underrated aspect of his game, as his skill as a passer. Defensively, Washington cleaned up his teammates mistakes protecting the rim.
Robby Robinson- 2017 6-8 200 PF, Kearny- Robinson came to play in the championship game, scoring off the dribble, from mid-range and in the post and playing an excellent complement to Kaba-Camara. His versatility has a face-up four was apparent. Robinson was also excellent on the boards. At times, he wasn’t able to finish plays due to a lack of strength, and he struggled with consistency of effort during the first days of the camp, but his finish shows the potential he has when he is locked in.
Darnell Johnson- 2017 6-5 175 W, Point Loma- Johnson was the camp MVP for his offensive performance throughout the camp, and he was one of the surprises of camp for sure. He knocked down shots from three, both off the dribble and off the catch, and was a load to handle driving to his right. Johnson still has work to do on the defensive side of the ball, where his effort level dramatically drops off, but if he can grow on that end of the floor, he will cement his status as a true sleeper in the 2017 class.
Ethan Esposito- 2017 6-5 195 W, Torrey Pines- Esposito was another of the breakout stars from the camp, looking extremely comfortable on the perimeter, scoring off of straight-line drives or pull-up jump shots. Most of his action came going to his right hand, so getting stronger with the left is a priority, but his improved offensive game combined with his defensive and rebounding effort made him a camp standout.
DJ Wilson- 2017 5-11 150 PG, Horizon- Wilson finished the camp with a very strong performance in the championship, attacking the basket and scoring at will on the opposing team’s guards and finishing through their bigs. His drive and his athleticism are both effortless. Defensively, Wilson takes risks at times with reaching in, and his effort level on that end could improve, but he showed that when he is dialed in, very few guard possess his tools.
Matt Bender- 2019 6-7 210 PF/C La Jolla Country Day- Bender was a quiet force for his team over the week, rebounding and defending and scoring very efficiently. He is undersized for the five, and not the fleetest of foot for today’s perimeter-oriented four, but his blue collar effort didn’t go unnoticed.
Otto Taylor- 2017 6-1 165 G, St. Augustine- Taylor had a few highlights of his own, and did a solid job attacking the basket when his jumpshot wasn’t falling. He showed some more willingness to attack the basket with his off hand (left), though finishing with his left is still an issue.
Rayquan Everett- 2018 6-4 190 W, Lincoln- Everett is rapidly becoming one of my favorite sleeper prospects in the 2018 class. He had a strong weekend, as he was able to score from the perimeter and off of the drive and on offensive boards. He isn’t the greatest athlete, but his strength on the wing and his craftiness allows him to score. Had a strong showing against fellow 2018 wing Trey Anderson.
Deondre McHayle- 2018 6-0 190 G, Monte Vista- McHayle was a bulldog on the defensive end and on offense. He’s a strong customer, and moves his feet well laterally to stay in front of quick guards. The quickness translates to a solid first step, which allows him to attack the basket, where he can absorb contact and finish plays. His jump shot is very streaky, but when he’s knocking him down, he’s a solid scoring guard.
Trey Anderson- 2018 6-5 180 W, Mater Dei Catholic- Anderson was another player who got better as the camp went along. He looked unassertive at times on day 1, but started to play with a bit more energy on both ends the final two days. He does a great job running lanes in transitioning and finishing above the rim and does a good job in the post, using his length and footwork to his advantage. But he must continue to improve his consistency shooting the ball and his feel on the offensive end.
Jaylen Hinson 2018 6-2 165 G, Horizon/ Thomas Marcus 2018 6-3 165 G, Horizon- The Horizon rising junior duo each had good camps, each on respective ends of the floor. Hinson proved to be a lockdown defender, using his quickness and length to his advantage. Marcus showed flashes of strong scoring ability off the dribble, knocking down threes from deep and finishing plays with his left. Hinson also had some nice moments on offense, but he must be more consistent shooting the perimeter. Marcus, who played a lot of point guard for his team, needs to improve his court vision and be a more willing passer to complement his scoring ability.
Josiah Esselstrom 2017 5-11 150 G, La Jolla Country Day/ Alex Dumas- 017 6-0 160 G, Lincoln- Both guards had solid weekends from distance, knocking down shots off the catch from multiple levels. Esselstrom was fearless attacking the basket, though his lack of size and explosiveness made him vulnerable when trying to finish over length.
Honorable mention: Obinna Anyanwu (2021), Nakial Cross (2020), Cliff Kidd, Blake Kunkel, Xavier Allison, Darian Norwood, Christian Rose, Anthony Mendoza, Mojus Mojus, Francisco Bussandri, Brand Keyes, Sage Crawford