PHILADELPHIA — Derrick Jones ended Day 2 of the Reebok Breakout Classic with the highest scoring game of the camp to date, finishing with 31 points in a win during the afternoon session on Thursday. He followed that up with 18 points in the night cap, combining to shoot 18-for-22 from the floor for the two games.
It was a refreshing show of dominance from Jones, who has developed a bit of a reputation for coasting through games when he feels his competition is overmatched. The 6-foot-6, left-handed wing is as elite as an elite athlete can get, which allows him to thrive in transition and when attacking and finishing around the rim. He’ll find his way on high light reels.
But the reality of his game at this point in his development is that there simply isn’t that much beyond his ability to jump. It looks like it’s starting to come along, as he knocked down a jumper off of a pick-and-roll on Thursday and got by his defender and to the rim in half court sets a couple of times as well. He still has work to do, but that’s a step in the right direction.
Here’s the thing about Jones right now: he hasn’t made the leap to where he’s taking a professional approach to his daily life as a basketball player. And that’s fine. He just turned 17 years old and he’s clearly still maturing into his body, as well as maturing as a person. The good news? He’s not concerned with media attention — he has no interest whatsoever in getting interviewed — and he’s yet to be jaded by a system that monetizes the sport.
As his AAU coach Terrell Myers told NBCSports.com, he’s still just a kid playing a game.
Take notice of Jeantal Cylla: Cylla has one of the most unique names that you’ll come across on the circuit this July, but that doesn’t mean that he’ll be one of the most memorable players, especially when he’s taking the court at events like Reebok Camp. He shares a roster with Danjel Purifoy, Kendall Small and Diamond Stone, which makes it easy to be overlooked.
But it also creates opportunity, as a couple good performances with all the eyeballs on the stars is enough to ramp up a recruitment, and it looks like that’s beginning to happen to Sylla. An explosive, 6-foot-7 wing, Sylla spent the second day of Reebok Camp attacking the rim and making plays in the paint. He’s still more of an athlete that plays basketball than an athletic basketball player at this point — he’s in a similar position to Jones — but that development will come with time.
Sylla listed Virginia Tech, East Carolina, South Florida, Houston, FIU and FAU as the schools that have offered him while mentioning that Wichita State, Tennessee, Clemson and Memphis made a point to watch him play during this camp. Gregg Marshall, Donnie Tyndall, Brad Brownell and Josh Pastner all were in attendance on Thursday.
Perry Dozier’s return from injury continues: Dozier is just a little more than 10 months removed from surgery to repair the ACL in his right knee. He claims to be back to 100%, but at the NBPA Top 100 Camp last month, it was clear at times that Dozier was still working his way back to being the player that he was last summer. Thursday was a big step, however, as the 6-foot-6 guard really impressed with his ability to make decisions with the ball in his hands, knocking down a couple of jumpers in the process.
Mike Watkins will have an impact at Penn State: Watkins is the kind of big man that every coach in the country is going to love. He understands his limitations and plays to his strengths. He’s got a terrific motor, he attacks the glass on both ends and he doesn’t mind mixing it up in the paint. Pat Chambers is going to be happy he locked him up early on.