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June 14, 2013
NBPA: Whitehead stands out on Thursday night
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. Many of the nation's top players were back on the floor Thursday night for the second session of the 2013 NBPA Top 100 Camp. Five-star guard Isaiah Whitehead picked up where he left off in the day's first session, while future Florida Gator Chris Chiozza showed how his skill and quickness offset his lack of size.
Whitehead plays with purpose
If anybody in the John Paul Jones Arena looked like they had a little extra bounce in their step on Thursday it was five-star combo guard Isaiah Whitehead. Despite a No. 19 national ranking and plenty of exposure at Brooklyn (N.Y.) Lincoln, the 6-foot-4 rising senior doesn't get a lot of pub.
Thanks to his play in Charlottesville, Whitehead has put himself into the national spotlight.
After a strong performance in the day's early session, Whitehead was locked and loaded during the evening session. A power scorer who can put the ball on the floor, his jumper was clicking and he did a great job of mixing strong drives with good passes and aggressive defense.
When he made his commitment to Florida, some wondered if Chris Chiozza was going to be an impact player for the Gators. The Memphis (Tenn.) White Station point guard was busy erasing any remaining doubts on Thursday night.
Yes, he's only about 5-foot-10, and he has a very slim frame. But the lack of size doesn't hold him back at all as his athleticism, length and quickness allow him to control the game much more than one might expect.
A four-star prospect, Chiozza will be making a strong move up the 2014 Rivals150, and he's a guy that Gators fans will love. He pushes tempo, hits threes and has outstanding floor vision. Bottom line, Billy Donovan and his staff have to be excited about the Memphian's arrival in Gainesville.
More Thursday night notables
Milwaukee (Wisc.) Hamilton's Kevon Looney is a five-star prospect and a top 10 player for many reasons. He showed several of them on Thursday night. When Looney first burst onto the scene as a freshman, it was as a lanky, jump-shooting forward. Looney is still lanky and he can still make a shot, but he's grown to around 6-foot-9, is filling out and has become a factor around the rim. Looney doesn't just get to rebounds, he secures them and on top of that he's become a threat as a shot blocker. All in all, it was a great effort for him.
Another who showed flashes in the morning but took his game to the next level during the night session was Stephen Zimmerman. There's not much left to write when describing his game that hasn't already been written. He runs, he has great hands, he can pass and he can score with his back to the hoop or facing the rim. His team involved him more on Thursday night, and he made good on his opportunities.
One of the guys that we were eager to see in Charlottesville was Louisville commit Shaqquan Aaron. A tall and talented wing, he's sometimes settled for deep jumpers instead of showing what he can do off the bounce. His court wasn't our focus, but every time we looked over he was making plays off the dribble; when he attacks like that, it becomes very difficult for defenders to handle.
Jalen Lindsey has plenty of athletic tools and good 6-foot-6 size. The four-star prospect is a good spot up jump shooter and a highlight finisher in the open floor. What he doesn't always do is drive the basketball with conviction. During the night session, Lindsey muscled through the lane for a couple of tough finishes. When he can slash to the rim, the element of having to account for him off the dribble on top of everything else makes him a tough cover.
Both Josh Perkins and James Blackmon were absent for the morning session. They showed up for the night session and teamed up to cause major problems. Both four-stars who are ranked in the 40s of the 2014 Rivals150, they look like players on the rise. Perkins did his thing passing the ball while mixing in some scores, while the Indiana-bound Blackmon stretched the defense. They are arguably the best at what they do -- passing for Perkins and jump shooting for Blackmon -- in the class of 2014.
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