Skills on display on final day

CHICAGO -- The final day of the Nike Paul Pierce and Kevin Durant Skills Academies featured drills focusing on transition offense, defense and creating the space to make plays under intense ball pressure. Day 3 also had a controlled scrimmage where the players had an opportunity to use what they have learned.

Here's a look at some of the standouts from Day 3.

P.J. Hairston
2011 SG, 6-6, 220

Greensboro, NC./Hargrave Military Academy

Committed to North Carolina
The future Tar Heel was aggressive throughout the day. He displayed deep range off the catch and scored through contact when he attacked the rim. He was also effective when the defense closed out because of his ability to shoot the ball. The Academy skill sessions should help Hairston tighten up his ballhandling and work to develop his mid-range game which would complete the offensive package of this big-bodied guard.

Achraf Yacoubou

2011 SF, 6-3, 180
Brookville, NY./Long Island Lutheran

Committed to Villanova
Yacoubou is a physical wing who can score in the post when he has a size advantage, drives though contact with power, and can make mid-range shots and 3s when he gets the time and space. What was so impressive about Yacoubou was his excellent strength and ability to finish in competitive drills in addition to his scrimmage play. He will be a matchup problem on the perimeter from day one in the Big East and, as his skills continue to be honed, his production will increase.

Nick Faust

2011 SG, 6-5, 170

Baltimore/Baltimore City
Faust's versatility continued to shine through as he did a good job hitting difficult shots, slashing and penetrating. He was very impressive in the transition 2-on-1 drills where he showed a good understanding of how to make the defense commit before making a decision with the ball. When Faust was on the receiving end he finished at a high rate. With added strength he could be a special player if he remains focused and works on his all-around skills that are already pretty good.

Dominique Pointer

2011 SF, 6-6, 180
Winston-Salem, NC./Quality Education Academy

Pointer was one of the better finishers in the transition drills where he made difficult catches and scored through contact. Pointer is a terrific athlete but his strength and toughness is what makes coaches drool. He is capable of defending all three perimeter positions and his game will make another big jump on the offensive end of the floor with what he has learned at the Academies.


With a camp like this that is all about development and improvement, it is very hard to distinguish who was the best of the best. Here are some superlatives from each camp:

Paul Pierce
Best Passer: Cedric McAfee, 6-2, SG/PG (2011) -- He could have been at the point guard camp because of his ability to score and create.
Best Athlete: Kentavious Caldwell, 6-6, SG (2011) -- He may not have the best vertical but he's probably the best overall athlete in the bunch and is also is a big-time football prospect.
Best Shooter: P.J. Hairston, 6-6, SG (2011) -- This is a tough pick. I would have said Myles Davis coming into the camp, but Hairston probably shot the best during the camp.
Best Overall: Hairston -- His combination of excellent shooting, athleticism and physical dominance was very impressive.

Kevin Durant
Best Passer: Kyle Anderson, 6-8, SF/PF (2012) -- He showed great instincts and execution in the passing game.
Best Athlete: Jakarr Sampson, 6-7, SF (2011) and Sam Thompson, 6-7, SF (2011): These two were even with Sampson in being the most explosive while Thompson seemed to have the best vertical.
Best Shooter: Levi Randolph, 6-5, SG/SF (2011) -- He is money with his feet set and his shoulders square.
Best Overall: Sampson -- His ability to create off the dribble was unmatched and he was practically un-guardable throughout the camp.

John Stovall contributed to this story.

Reggie Rankin was an assistant coach at seven schools for 13 seasons, most recently at Dayton. He played at Ohio University from 1986 to '90 and was an All-MAC first-teamer in his senior season.