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June 20, 2014
Spencer energizes Thursday night at NBPA
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- The NBPA Top 100 camp was back in action at the University of Virginia on Thursday. Having been in town since Tuesday, some of the campers were showing fatigue. Thankfully, Horace Spencer was there to infuse some energy into the building. Meanwhile Stephen Thompson discussed his recruiting and shooting guard Eric Davis had a bust-out game.
Spencer shows off motor
The evening session of the NBPA Top 100 Camp was really lacking in energy early on. Thankfully, Horace Spencer was there to save the day.
A 6-foot-7 power forward from Philadelphia who plays at Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep, Spencer brought a Dennis Rodman/Ben Wallace-esque mentality and motor to the gym and got things moving with a 16-point, 12-rebound performance.
"Me personally, the way I play, I like to play with a lot of anger and a chip on my shoulder," Spencer said. "I don't run out of gas."
Long and athletic, Spencer plays bigger than his size; and while he is sometimes out of position, his teammates feed off his hustle, willingness to do the dirty work and overall toughness. Essentially, he helps a team win, and his rebounding will always translate.
Spencer said he was also motivated after what he felt to be a sub-par start to camp.
"I had a couple of bad games earlier so I needed to shake those off," said Spencer. "I really wanted to get going early and I thought my defensive play, blocking shots and rebounding allowed me to do that."
Thompson says he wants to be recruited
His father was recently hired by the Beavers as an assistant coach, and the natural assumption has been that the four-star shooter out of California would end up following his dad to Corvallis. Not so fast, says Thompson.
"Even after him taking the job it's not a package deal," Thompson said. "I'm going to look there but I'm still open and want to go through the process."
A slim wing, Thompson has emerged as one of the more dangerous deep jump shooters in the country. At the same time, he has added to his game off the dribble and the evolution of his middle game and overall playmaking ability hasn't gone unnoticed to those who have been watching him closely.
"I really like the way I've been playing lately," said Thompson. "I've worked hard and people are starting to see me more and get familiar with my game. I can do a lot of things other than shooting."
Thursday night notables
Once again, Jawun Evans had a big night and finished off a great day. In total control on both ends of the floor, Evans made 6-7 field goals while scoring 19 points and dishing out nine assists. Young point guards around the country could learn a thing or two from him about intensity and defensive pressure. Cincinnati, Clemson, Illinois, Tennessee, USC, Virginia Tech, Texas, and Oklahoma State are in the mix for his services.
One of the most regular recipients of Evans goodwill was shooting guard Eric Davis. The 6-foot-2 guard from Michigan erupted for a camp high 32 points when he got hot from deep. Davis also got free in transition for finishing opportunities, got to the free throw line and then benefited late from some high level cherry picking for easy hoops where nobody was within 40 feet of him. Davis is a rhythm scorer who can heat up quickly and seems to be settling in on being the best two guard he can be while honing his ball skills to eventually play more point.
Another scorer who can erupt quickly is Antonio Blakeney. The soon-to-be five-star prospect went for 24 points and seems to be playing with an edge after just missing the cut for USA Basketball's 18U team last weekend. Blakeney said it was the first time he has ever been cut and it has him more motivated than ever. The Floridian didn't get hot from beyond the three point line but he was very good in mid range, off the dribble and using his trademark head and shoulder fake to freeze defenders while scoring 24 points.
It feels like we have written a lot about Ray Smith of late and we are going to write more. The 6-foot-7 small forward from Las Vegas was at it again on Thursday night and is playing with a supreme confidence. Smith slashed to the hoop from the top of the key and from the baseline and was a terror in transition. He's making a serious push for the national top 10 at this point and finished with 17 points and three rebounds on 7-9 shooting.
Kentucky commitment Charles Matthews played the best game Rivals.com has seen him play in a while. Matthews scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds while also getting two steals and two assists. Matthews has good size for a wing -- though he is still skinny -- so it was good to see him active on the glass. He is also a fine athlete who is quick along the baseline. Most of all, Matthews looked to have some confidence in what he was doing and that has been missing (at least to the naked eye) for a while.
Like Horace Spencer, Rivals150 small forward Chris Clarke was an energy giver on Thursday night. The 6-foot-6 forward is a transition finisher, scrappy defender and one of those guys who tends to win out for 50/50 balls and save his team possessions.
Eric Bossi is the national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. You can click here to follow him on Twitter.