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July 9, 2013
LAS VEGAS -- The 2013 edition of the LeBron James Skills Academy came to a conclusion on Monday night. By the time things ended, many campers were limping to the finish line with injuries or lack of interest. One guy who never lost interest was power forward Reid Travis.
Two decisions loom for Travis
There are players with more height in the low post than Minneapolis (Minn.) De La Salle power forward Reid Travis, but few play with more physicality than the four-star prospect.
Following a terrific outing at the NBPA Top 100 Camp, Travis was at it again all three days of the LBJ Skills Academy. He battled for rebounds and played strong at the rim, and even though he was bothered at times by the length of other bigs when trying to finish around the rim, Travis seemed to get stronger as the camp went on.
"I think it's been hard work," Travis told Rivals.com when asked about the key to his success. "I know a lot of guys are tired coming off of other camps or whatever, but I just feel like I'm the underdog every time I come into an EYBL game or camps like this. I'm just trying to outwork people and go as hard as I can."
"When you get that mentality from football, basketball seems like a piece of cake when it comes to contact," Travis said. "I've got to sit in the pocket and let people blitz me; it just seems like the game is a lot slower."
Next up, Travis needs to make a decision about whether he will focus on football or basketball for college. He isn't interested in trying both. After deciding on which sport he'll play, he'll work on picking a college.
"It still needs to be made," Travis said of the decision between football and basketball. "I'm going to play out this whole period of traveling and stuff like that. I think in late August I'll kind of sit down and digest it and see where I'm at."
Delgado keeps it simple
When Angel Delgado left his home in the Dominican Republic last August, he dreamed of doing well enough to earn a college scholarship. The 6-foot-8 power forward is well on his way to doing that and much more.
At LBJ, he was easily one of the camp's best rebounders and the No. 54 player in the class of 2014 kept playing hard when many other campers were slowing down. He's learning the English language but knows enough to explain the two simple things he keeps in mind every time he hits the floor: "play hard and grab the rebounds."
Since his arrival in the States, Delgado has earned scholarship offers from Virginia, Dayton, Florida State, Seton Hall, Providence and Manhattan. Louisville, Kentucky, Georgetown, Florida and Miami have sent out feelers.
Later this week, Delgado will play in the Peach Jam with the New York Lightning. After the Peach Jam, he's going home to the Dominican Republic, where he'll discuss with his family what his next move should be.
More Monday notes from LeBron
Point guard Dominic Magee is getting his first major national exposure. An athletic and quick 6-foot-3 point guard from Louisiana, Magee is a little wild at times but clearly has talent. Magee will compete for a spot in the 2014 Rivals150 after the summer and should have many coaches following him as he makes stops at the Reebok Breakout Challenge and tours with the Louisiana Future during July.
Magee rattled off a long list that included Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, UCLA, Memphis, LSU, Minnesota, Louisiana Tech, Tulsa, Texas A&M, Alabama and Houston. The one school that has made him feel the most wanted? Oklahoma State. The Cowboys did an in-home and have made it clear they want him.
In comparison to his performance at the NBPA Top 100 a few weeks ago, five-star shooting guard Isaiah Whitehead was relatively quiet at LeBron. Well, that is until Monday, when he got things going into overdrive. He made jumpers and used his strong body to get to the rim.
Plenty of requests were made to have Rivals.com's No. 1 player in the class of 2015, Malik Newman, made available to interview, but we were never able to connect. Where Newman was connecting was on jumpers from deep, midrange pullups and tough drives to the rim. A few times, Newman stepped up and really competed on the defensive end as well. He got to play a lot of point at camp, and while he's certainly a scorer in that role, he looks like he has the skill and ability to handle running the show.
2015's No. 3 player, Ivan Rabb, had his best day of camp while we watched on Monday. The 6-foot-9 rising junior from Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O'Dowd has rounded out his game of late. He's got great size and athleticism and a frame that will easily carry more muscle without costing him mobility or quickness. He hit some medium-range jumpers, but we were most impressed with a few clever scoring moves that he finished with his left hand over the course of camp.
At just 5-foot-10 and 146 pounds, Justin Coleman isn't big. However, the four-star point guard from Alabama is quick and he's tough. Coleman was knocking down jumpers all weekend, and he never backed down from a challenge. Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn and UAB are among those chasing him the hardest.
Our vote for the top-performing class of 2014 point guard at LeBron was Philadelphia's Ja'Quan Newton. The 6-foot-3 floor general isn't a speed burner, but he's extra crafty and adept at creating for himself off the dribble. He specializes in getting defenders on his hip and dragging them all over the floor and doing what he wants with them. Newton draws a lot of fouls, he is an outstanding finisher, and when his jumper is dropping like it was throughout the course of camp he's hard to stop.
Quietly, North Carolina-bound Theo Pinson had a strong camp. The 6-foot-6 small forward pumped home some jumpers, played good defense and was a standout finisher in transition. It's actually another aspect of his ability in transition that stood out, though. Pinson is a fabulous transition passer who often finds teammates for easy buckets with dishes that most wings don't see.
Finally, Ohio State-bound D'Angelo Russell looked like he found his groove again at LeBron. The 6-foot-4 guard was hitting jumpers with much more regularity and seemed more focused than he had been at any point in the past few months.