Summer months present an opportunity for basketball players to improve their rankings and as prospects, whether at the high school or NCAA level, and a pair of Bahamian players made the most of it at the camp hosted by professional basketball’s most notable icon.
Buddy Hield and DeAndre Ayton delivered impressive performances at various camp and exhibitions this summer, most notably their appearance at the exclusive invite only camp with four-time NBA MVP LeBron James.
The LeBron James skills academy annually features the top 80 high school and the top 30 collegiate players from throughout the United States during the first NCAA “live” period. Hosted in Las Vegas, Nevada, players were hosted to four days of competitive skills workouts and 5-on-5 scrimmages to showcase their skills for the many NCAA coaches and NBA scouts in attendance.
Hield is heading into his junior season with the Oklahoma Sooners, and is expected to thrive in a leadership role with the Big 12 powerhouse.Hield made headlines for his performance at the camp with his shooting, leadership on the floor and defensive effort.
ESPN’s Seth Greenberg tweeted that Hield was one of the two best guard prospects at the camp while fellow analyst and former NCAA champion, Miles Simon, said Hield “looked great, defended, High IQ, shot ball real well.”
While at the camp, the brash 6’4” tall, 205 pound shooting guard and Grand Bahama native also predicted the Sooners would win the Big 12.
It was the second consecutive exclusive invite only camp from Nike after he participated in the Kevin Durant Skills Academy. The Oklahoma City Thunder forward, and league leading scorer hosted the 15 collegiate and 30 high school prospects to several workouts over the three-day span.
Hield has been projected as a late first round pick for the 2015 Mock Draft by reputed NBA draft website www.nbadraft.net.Recently, the Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy ranked Hield as the third-best shooting guard in the NCAA heading into the 2014-15 season.
In the 2013/14 campaign, Hield was recognised among the best players in his conference when he was named to the All-Big 12 second team. He finished the regular season ranked No.9 in the Big 12 in scoring at 16.8 points per game, second in steals at 1.5 per game, third in three point field goals made at 2.8 per game and fourth in three point percentage.
Ayton, a 7’ tall, 220 pound forward, has experienced a meteoric rise up the recruiting charts and has been widely regarded as one of the top high school basketball prospects in America.
NCAA coaches and NBA scouts have continusly expressed optimism at the development of the 16-year-old Ayton who was described at the LeBron camp as “an explosive leaper and gazelle-like runner like few others in the country at any level. He unquestionably rates as one of the more special prospects in high school basketball, and his development should be fascinating.”
Ayton was 15 at the time of the camp and was targeted as one of the top prospects in the class of 2017 despite playing against high school juniors and seniors.
Other scouting reports for Ayton were as follows:
“His blend of size, athleticism and natural ability are incredible and he plays the game with a physical edge. Watching him play, it is hard to believe that he just finished his freshman year in high school and he may be as intriguing a prospect as there is in high school basketball, regardless of class.”
“Ayton is a beast under the glass, a nightmare to score against, with his ability to block shots and athleticism. Really looks like he can be special. To think this kids are only going to be sophomores in high school. Scary.”
ESPN recruiting ranks Ayton as the No.1 overall prospect in his class with a player grade of 98/100 and he also has a featured profile on NBADraft.net.
Ayton has yet to make a collegiate decision as he heads into his sophomore season at Balboa City High School in San Diego, California.