Steven Hunter has a lot to prove. The DePaul sophomore center had just started to show signs of becoming a dominant player this past season, so it was something of a surprise when he applied for early entry into NBA Draft 2001.
Michigan State forward Andre Hutson works the post in Wednesday's Pre-Draft Camp action. AP Photo
Hunter remains a work in progress, but he gave more than a glimpse of his future promise Wednesday at the NBA Pre-Draft Camp in Chicago. In 19 minutes of play, the slender seven-footer scored 14 points, grabbed five rebounds and put his stamp on the game with four distinguished blocked shots in leading Team 3 to an 84-80 victory in the most competitive of three first-day games.
TEAM THREE 84, TEAM FOUR 80
Nebraska guard Cookie Belcher led a balanced attack for Team Three with 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting, adding seven rebounds. Team Three led 45-42 at halftime and managed to make the key plays late in the game to stay just ahead. Kirk Haston of Indiana showed off his fine perimeter touch and scored 12 points, while SirValiant Brown of George Washington added 10 points. Mike Mardesich of Maryland helped set the tone for a very physical game by Team Three. He finished with nine points and nine rebounds, showing extra effort with six offensive rebounds.
Team Four received a powerful inside game from Arizona's Michael Wright, who led his squad with team-highs of 15 points and nine rebounds. Athletic Michael Hicks of Texas A& M Corpus Christi, a provisional Division I team, contributed 13 points and six rebounds. Ken Johnson of Ohio State did his thing, blocking three shots and intimidating at least twice that many more.
TEAM SIX 86, TEAM FIVE 59
Southern California's Sam Clancy might be too short to fit the prototype power forward, but the 6-7, 240-pounder showed there is plenty of power coursing through his impressive physique. Clancy, the namesake and son of a former NFL defensive end, tallied 14 points and ripped down an astounding 14 rebounds in only 16 minutes of play to pace Team Six to an easy victory. Gilbert Arenas of Arizona complemented Clancy with 12 points, five rebounds and five assists, while Georgetown center Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje impacted the game with 10 points, six rebounds and three blocked shots. As is often the case with Georgetown centers, Boumtje-Boumtje revealed more offensive ability than what he showed playing for the Hoyas.
Horace Jenkins of Division III William Paterson, one of the stories of the draft camp circuit as he measures his skills against high-profile collegians, led Team Five with 13 points and five assists against just one turnover. Trenton Hassell of Austin Peay, one of the best pure shooters available this year, hit six of 11 jump shots for 12 points. West Virginia's Calvin Bowman paced Team Five with eight rebounds, while North Carolina State's Damon Thornton rejected five shots for game-high honors.
TEAM ONE 88, TEAM TWO 59
Pepperdine's Brandon Armstrong was not a celebrated player in college basketball this season despite averaging 22.1 points per game, ninth-best in the nation. Although Armstrong may have been putting up big numbers out of the spotlight, he used the first day of the Pre-Draft Camp as a personal showcase of his scoring abilities. Armstrong scored 21 points in 21 minutes for Team One, mixing drives with jump shots and free throws in an impressive offensive display.
Team One went up big at halftime (41-28) and maintained a safe margin throughout the second half. Damone Brown of Syracuse hit all five of his field goal attempts and scored 11 points for Team One, while little-known Ryan Carroll of Texas Christian showed plenty of athleticism in scoring 13 points and adding four rebounds and three steals.
Team Two struggled to 33.8% shooting from the field. Anthony Evans of Georgia led his team with 10 rebounds, while only Detroit's Rashad Phillips reached double figures in points with 10. Big East big men Souleymane Wane of Connecticut and Lee Scruggs of Georgetown contributed three blocks apiece.
NBA General Managers and scouts rose to their feet to honor Will Robinson of the Detroit Pistons on the occasion of his 90th birthday. Robinson, an active scout and one of the most engaging and popular figures in NBA scouting circles, was presented with a birthday cake by former ABA All-Star center Mel Daniels, who today is Director of Player Personnel for the Indiana Pacers.