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Posted On: 06/13/18 3:42 PM
The second day of the team camp at Louisiana Tech continued to showcase some of the state’s top talent. Teams who only chose to participate on day one gave way to schools who only participated on day 2. Each new school brought a new crop of talent that stood out from the rest. Prep Hoops Louisiana was there to cover some of the most impressive players from the day 2 or the Bulldogs camp.
Ladamien Bradford / 6’5″ / 2020 / Jonesboro-Hodge / F & W
If I had to go with one player who stood out from the rest, I would definitely say it was Ladamien Bradford. From the opening tip against Benton to the final buzzer, he put on a performance that was noteworthy of a top player. Bradford’s talent is head and shoulders better than most high school players. He rebounds the ball and moves it up the floor like a true point guard. His head is constantly up looking for an open teammate or to make the proper play. Because he is one of the taller players on the floor, he sees things before they happen. Although he plays the wing or post position, he is the floor general for his team. On defense he secures rebounds, changes shots, and plays passing lanes. Although he is ranked in the top 15 by Prep Hoops Louisiana, one would be hard-pressed to find a better all around player. With two DI offers already in the bag, Bradford will garner many more before his career at Jonesboro-Hodge is done.
Henry Steele III / 6’4″ / 2019 / Neville / Wing
One of the more pleasant surprise standouts was Steele. From the team camp at Neville to the Tech team camp, he has gotten more comfortable being the focal point of the Neville offense. Steele can score from inside or outside and has no issue shooting over smaller players who guard him. With his elevation and long arms, jumpers are easy for him. Henry also seems more comfortable putting the ball on the floor and driving against taller players. On the defensive end, his placement at the top of the 3-2 zone that Neville plays causes major problems for smaller guards. Steele makes passing difficult and direct drives almost impossible. With more time in the weight room, Steele can add some bulk that will elevate his game to another level. When he learns to finish stronger at the rim, Steele will be hard to stop offensively.
Kyron Gibon / 6’2″ / 2019 / Peabody / PG
On day one of the team camp, Gibson seemed to press a lot and make errors in penetration and passing. These mistakes caused his team to not run as smooth as normal. When day two arrived, Kyron Gibson revealed why he is one of the top point guards in the state. Gibson put constant pressure on the defense with his penetration to the cup. He drove with purpose and finished amidst contact or went to the charity strip. During open floor opportunities, Gibson drew the defense with his movement or fakes and made the pass to an open man. The defensive end was different also. His ball pressure caused turnovers by the opposing guards which allowed the Warhorses to get into the open floor. With his play on day two, Kyron Gibson affirmed why he is a top five point guard in Louisiana. His play on both end is what makes players at team camps standout.
Fred Lemons / 5’9″ / 2019 / Airline / CG
Lemons got off to a slow start on day one of the team camp because Airline was outmatched in its two outings. On day two, Lemons looked as if he took it upon himself to will Airline to victory lane. He is a player who attacks the defense with straight line drives and takes contact on fiercely. Lemons makes plays with his hustle and ability to get to the free throw line. Because of his ability to get into the lane, he presents scoring opportunities for others. The defensive end is where Lemons hangs his hat. He moves his feet well. Because of that, he guards offensive players closely and does not allow them to get comfortable. On several occasions, he caused turnovers due to his hard-nosed style of play. With his defensive prowess and hustle, Lemons was a player who easily stood out among the players in Ruston.
J.J. Sparkman / 6’5″ / 2019 / Pine Tree (TX) / F & W
Teams from Texas, Arkansas. and Mississippi also attended the team camp at Louisiana Tech. Teams from Canton, Mississippi and El Dorado, Arkansas performed well as they played some of north Louisiana’s best. One team stood out and that was Pine Tree High from Longview, Texas. Of course, it is easy to standout when there is a high level, 6’5″ player on the team. J.J. Sparkman of Pine Tree was that player. When I saw him at first, I thought this kid is probably a traditional low post player. However, when he grabbed a the defensive rebound, my eyes opened up to see a totally different player. Sparkman is a multi-talented, multi-dimensional player. He is a player that can turn and face, shoot the mid-range, and bring the ball up the floor if need be. His game was far more advanced than I thought. He also showed great passing ability to post players and shooters from a high-low set. Sparkman is a player who has plenty of promise. J.J. is definitely one of the standouts that I did not see coming. However, he is one that will be a pleasant surprise for coaches going forward.
Isaiah Lawson / 5’7″ / 2019 / Pine Tree (TX) / PG
Standouts come in all heights, shapes, and sizes. Isaiah Lawson from Pine Tree is a player that represents that theory. On day two of the team camp at Louisiana Tech, Isaiah revealed a game that was well-suited for his size and height. His 5’7″ frame an slender body did not stop Isaiah from being one of the best ballers that day. As a point guard, he changed ends quickly with his speed. On direct drives to the basket, he took all types of contact in an effort to make the layup or get fouled. Lawson also showed an Iverson-like fearlessness from those drives. Whether he hit the floor or got hacked, he kept coming for more. He also showed the ability to hit the three as well. On defense, he disrupted other point guards by picking them up at half court. His speed and quickness dictated to the offensive player what he would allow. That showed the heart of a true defender and strong-minded player. For someone small in stature, his game spoke volumes.
There was a high caliber of play shown in the team camps at Neville and Louisiana Tech. With the month of June continuing, we will look forward to seeing the level of play increase at camps such as Northwestern State and UL-Lafayette. As the team camp season continues, look for Prep Hoops Louisiana to be there to cover the action.