NBPA Top 100 Camp

Thon Maker mixtape from NBPA Top 100 Camp (VIDEO)

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Class of 2016 big man Thon Maker is spending the full season in the high school ranks next year and he had a tremendous showing at the NBPA Top 100 Camp in Virginia this week. The 7-foot-0 Maker was the MVP of the camp after leading in overall points, rebounds, free throws made and attempted. He was also fifth in blocks and made a number of strong defensive plays.

Here’s a mixtape of Maker’s MVP week at the Camp.

(H/T: Courtside Films)

Seven Observations from NBPA Top 100 Camp

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — The NBPA Top 100 Camp finished up over the weekend as a lot of top prospects gathered for one of the best gatherings of talented players each year. With coaching and development from former NBA players and coaches, the camp provides a valuable learning experience for the players who are involved. It also gives the players and scouts a chance to see where everyone stacks up against other top level competition. In the end, plenty was learned about some of the top players in the 2016 and 2017 classes who will have a major impact on college basketball in the coming seasons.

1. Thon Maker is still a major factor on the floor

Over the past year, Thon Maker’s reputation had taken a bit of a hit after trying to play more like a wing instead of a stretch big man. At the 2015 NBPA Top 100 Camp, Maker put everything together in a consistent and productive manner to clinch MVP honors and put himself back in the conversation among the nation’s elite. While Maker made some perimeter shots and showed a face-up game in the mid post, his speed and ability to handle the ball in the open floor is hard to stop for a player his size. Also leading the camp in rebounds and placing fifth in blocks, Maker was a complete threat who looks back on track as a top prospect.

2. Frank Jackson is pushing his way into elite status

During the April live evaluation period some college coaches firmly believed that Utah native Frank Jackson could be the best guard in the 2016 class after his performances in the adidas Gauntlet. After another strong showing at the NBPA Top 100 Camp, the 6-foot-2 Jackson looks like he might be a serious candidate as the best guard in the 2016 class. With very good athleticism and an ability to score all over the floor, Jackson is a threat to score from many different areas of the court. He also has enough vision and passing ability to be a big and athletic point guard who can make plays above the rim and touch the paint frequently.

3. DeAndre Ayton, Mohamed Bamba and the 2017 big man group will be fun to track

The Class of 2017 has a number of high-level big men that will push for many of the top spots in that class. DeAndre Ayton has established himself as the top dog in 2017 — and many believe in all of high school basketball — and others like Wendell Carter, Zach Brown, Mohamed Bamba and Nick Richards are starting to also look like potential five-star prospects. Carter wasn’t in attendance, but the other three all showed glimpses of greatness at the camp. The 7-foot-0 Bamba, in particular is a fluid and smooth prospect who makes big impact plays on both ends of the floor. Watching this group, which also includes a lot of other talented players, should be a lot of fun over these last two years of high school.

4. Trevon Duval will compete for best guard in 2017

One of the biggest revelations of the NBPA Top 100 Camp was the emergence of Class of 2017 five-star point guard Trevon Duval. Already a known five-star prospect entering the event, the 6-foot-3 Duval elevated his play to another level at the camp and made plays all over the floor. The Delaware native tied for ninth in points (13.3 ppg) and was first in assists while also shooting 63 percent from the field. If Duval hits shots from the perimeter he becomes completely unguardable because his first step and athleticism gets him in the paint frequently. Duval also has a tight handle and plays well above the rim, so he brings plenty of exciting plays to the table. Playing at basketball powerhouse St. Benedict’s Prep, Duval is putting himself in the conversation to be the Class of 2017’s best guard.

5. Villanova got a good one in Omari Spellman 

There was an interesting conversation among media at the camp about Villanova not having a big man like 2016 commit Omari Spellman in quite some time. The 6-foot-8 Spellman was tremendous during the camp as he played with a high motor and was consistently productive scoring the ball. He averaged 15 points per game and scored on post touches, 3-pointers and got to the free throw line the fourth most in camp. Even better, Spellman was 28-for-32 at the line and he’s going to draw plenty of fouls in his career. The Wildcats have a nice post piece to build around in the 2016 class and they should have some good guards on the roster that will benefit greatly from Spellman’s arrival.

6. Markelle Fultz and Shamorie Ponds continue to score everywhere they go

Two of the biggest scoring threats of the the spring were guards Markelle Fultz and Shamorie Ponds. The 6-foot-4 Fultz put up double figures in every single game in playing for the DC Blue Devils in the Under Armour Association while Ponds was one of the EYBL’s best scorers for the New York Lightning. Both Class of 2016 guards continued scoring the ball at a high clip at the camp as they both made their way into the camp’s top 10 in scoring. The five-star Fultz is versatile enough to play multiple guard spots, while the 6-foot-0 Ponds can handle and find teammates with passes when he isn’t focused on scoring.

7. Texas A&M commit J.J. Caldwell is underappreciated

One of the underappreciated players in the Class of 2016 Texas A&M commit J.J. Caldwell. A 6-foot-0 floor general from Texas is a great start to the Aggies’ class and he gives them a tough guard who is physical and makes teammates better. Caldwell was also aggressive on the defensive end, coming up with stops and steals on a regular basis. With Texas A&M also bringing in a ton of talent around him, Caldwell should have plenty of capable teammates who can finish his passes.

2017 five-star PG Trevon Duval’s NBPA Top 100 Camp highlights

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Trevon Duval has been rated as one of the top players in the Class of 2017 for quite some time, and his performance at this past weekend’s NBPA Top 100 Camp only strengthened the argument in his favor. The Delaware native helped lead his team to the camp championship, building on what was a very good spring playing for the We R1 grassroots program.

Above are highlights of Duval’s weekend in Charlottesville, with Courtside Films being responsible for the video. One question that remains for Duval, besides his college choice of course, is where he’ll attend high school next season. Duval, a Delaware native who attended St. Benedicts Prep in Newark, New Jersey this past year, decided in April that he would transfer according to a report from NJ.com.

2017 prospects Trae Young, Gary Trent Jr. trade baskets at NBPA Top 100 Camp (VIDEO)

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Saturday marked the final day of the NBPA Top 100 Camp, which was held in Charlottesville, Virginia, and two of the top guards in the Class of 2017 engaged in an entertaining duel during the final minutes of the consolation game. Trae Young and Gary Trent Jr., with the latter being less than a week removed from helping the United States win the FIBA Americas U16 championship, went shot for shot with each make being more difficult than the one before.

Above is video of the matchup courtesy of Hoop Diamonds, and there’s also the bonus of an emphatic one-handed dunk by 2016 small forward (and Baylor commit) Mark Vital.

NBPA Top 100 Camp PM Recap: Thon Maker continues to send a message

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Kelly Kline/Under Armour

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Thon Maker is the most popular high school basketball player in America when it comes to the casual basketball fan. Because of the hype surrounding a mixtape of Maker made well over a year ago — which unfairly compared the high school big man to Kevin Durant based on some highlights curated over months of game footage — he’s become a household name with American basketball fans.

The last few months for Maker, however, have been a whirlwind. The 7-foot-0 big man enrolled at Orangeville Prep in Ontario before last high school season. He tried as hard as possible to graduate early and enroll in the Class of 2015 so he could play college basketball early. That didn’t quite work out. There were even long-standing rumors Maker would try to graduate this December and enroll at a college for the second semester of the 2015-16 season.

All of those reclassification rumors were put to rest on Thursday as Maker told a group of reporters, including NBCSports.com’s Rob Dauster, that he plans on playing the entire 2015-16 season as a high school player and (potentially) enroll in college after. The news of Maker staying in high school is significant because a potentially talented contributor won’t suit up in the college ranks next season.

Staying in high school for another full season also seems to have given Maker the freedom to be a kid and a basketball prospect again.

After some sluggish play during the high school season, Maker has started to play in some recent events and it’s come to a pinnacle at the NBPA Top 100 Camp this week. He’s been arguably the best player here. Maker leads the camp in scoring at 17.8 points per game and was particularly impressive in Thursday night’s camp win. Maker went for 22 points on 8-for-11 shooting (2-for-3 3-point) and hit numerous tough shots while also snaring seven rebounds.

He’s run the floor hard, looked like a complete offensive weapon and also protected the rim. Now that Maker is in the Class of 2016, if he continues to play like this, he’s going to be in the discussion among the best prospects in the 2016 class.

RELATED: NBPA Top 100 Camp Thursday Morning Recap

— Playing with Maker was Class of 2016 point guard Xavier Simpson, who had a strong evening session with 25 points (11-13 shooting), four assists and three rebounds. Simpson shook off a rough morning session to have an efficient outing where he scored from multiple levels, set up teammates and looked good in both the open floor and half-court settings.

— Class of 2017 big men Nick Richards and Mohamed Bamba both showed ridiculous flashes of potential on both ends of the floor on Thursday night, but both big men received minimal offensive touches thanks in-part to shot-happy guards.

— Speaking of shot-happy guards, there are plenty of them at the NBPA Top 100 Camp this year. While guards always have a propensity to shoot a high volume of shots in the camp setting, this year’s camp seems to be as bad as ever in terms of some players looking to get theirs each time they get minutes.

— New York native Shamorie Ponds has put up good scoring numbers this week after also being a high-level scorer with the New York Lightning in the Nike EYBL. The lefty guard went for 16 points on 8-for-15 shooting and did much of his damage in transition.

— Class of 2016 power wing Deshawn Corprew went for 22 points on 10-for-17 shooting on Thursday night. Corprew put together a productive spring with Boo Williams and always plays with a high motor every time he sets foot on the floor.

— Udoka Azubuike, a monster of a Class of 2016 prospect, nearly brought down the rim with one powerful two-handed dunk on his way to 16 points on 7-for-8 shooting. The big man’s power moves have been tough to stop in the early part of camp.

South Florida commit Troy Baxter posterizes opponent at NBPA Top 100 Camp (VIDEO)

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On the first day of May, 6-foot-9 small forward Troy Baxter made the decision to end his recruitment, as he became the first member of the South Florida head coach Orlando Antigua’s 2016 recruiting class. The Florida native has been lauded for his ability on the defensive end, and his athleticism was also on display during the first day of the NBPA Top 100 Camp in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Receiving a pass on the baseline, Baxter took a drop step towards the rim and threw down an emphatic one-handed dunk on 2017 center Nick Richards. Richards will have opportunities to return the favor, as the camp runs through Saturday.

Video credit: Courtside Films