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June 5, 2003 Columns No Comments

Chicago Pre-Draft Camp – Day 1 Dispatch

by Jed Tai

CHICAGO – Tuesday evening marked the start of the 2003 NBA Pre-Draft Camp, held on the
campus of Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. The first evening consisted of
various drills and scrimmages, as actual games will not be held until later in
the week.

Thus, the main news on Tuesday was the announcement of the rosters and seeing
who was in attendance. There are 69 players in all participating in this
year’s camp, divided up into six separate teams. Two foreign players of note
are point guard Aleksander Vujacic (Snaidero Udine – Italy) and forward
Aleksander Djuric (Kapfenberg – Austria).

Underclassmen that are here “testing the waters” include:
Ricky Minard (Morehead State)
Jameer Nelson (St. Joseph’s)
Maurice Williams (Alabama)
Doug Wrenn (Washington)
Sani Ibrahim (College of Southern Idaho)
Marcus Moore (Washington State)
Andre Emmett (Texas Tech)
Carl English (Hawaii)
Josh Powell (North Carolina State)
James Lang (Central Park Christian (AL) HS)

Lang is the only one of the six high school players who declared for the draft
who will be participating in the camp.

All the players in the camp spent the first night learning three new offenses,
and then practiced executing them in half-court and full-court scrimmages
against one another.

Players who have started off camp with a bang include:

Josh Powell, North Carolina State. It’s been reported that Powell won’t go
back to school, so a good performance here will be crucial. Powell finished
plays strong around the basket, yet showed he could shoot the mid-range shot as
well as create off the dribble. While it’s clear he will need to get stronger,
he’s had a good start.

Travis Hansen, Brigham Young. Hansen, one of the stars from the Portsmouth
Camp, continues to play well in front of NBA Scouts. Hansen shot the ball
well, showed good athleticism in driving to the basket, and performed with

Jameer Nelson, St. Joseph’s. Nelson is on the cusp of staying in the draft
or not, but if he plays the rest of the camp like he did opening night, there’s
no way he’ll stay. Nelson dazzled observers with his quickness, passing, and
floor leadership, and shot well from the outside.

Derrick Zimmerman, Mississippi State. Zimmerman wowed the crowd with his
jet-like quickness and explosion to the hoop. He jumped out of the gym and
finished plays at the basket with authority. He did a solid job in leading his
team through the various offenses as well.

In addition to the action on the floor, the chatter off the court has been
active as well. The Chicago pre-draft camp is one of the only times all year
long where scouts, coaches, and management from all NBA teams are in one place
and at one time. Many of those attending spent a good amount of time catching
up with each other and simply having a fun time.

On Wednesday there will be more drills, including shooting and one-on-one and
two-on-one matchups, as well as the event’s first three games. Stay tuned to
Hoopville for recaps of the action.


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