Tony Bennett’s Elite Basketball Camp took place this past Saturday in the John Paul Jones Arena. This was my third opportunity to cover this annual event, and for me this year’s field was the deepest. High Division 1 players or not, there were many quality basketball players in Charlottesville this past Saturday.
The field, which consisted of almost 100 players, was broken up into two divisions – the Junior/Senior Division, which consisted of class of 2015 through class of 2018 prospects, as well as the Freshman/Sophomore Division, which consisted primarily of class of 2018 prospects with a few class of 2017 players mixed in. There were only a few class of 2015 recruits, not a surprise given the fact that Virginia does not have any scholarships available in the class. The majority of the players there are members of the class of 2016, which will be a very important one for the Hoos, but there were a significant amount of class of 2017 prospects along with some rising freshmen competing as well.
Heading into the camp, one player I was anxious to see was 6’9”, 205-pound Blue Ridge School (St. George, VA) power forward/center Mamadi Diakite, a class of 2016 prospect. I came away impressed on many fronts. What I noticed first – besides the fact that he was getting significant attention from Bennett and Ritchie McKay before camp – was his length and athletic ability. He can really get up and down the court, and he had several nice finishes on the fast break. With his length, he proved to a defensive force in terms of blocking shots.
Offensively, Diakite is still a work in progress, but he showed some nice things on Saturday. As mentioned he was able to finish around the basket. He also knocked down a few 3s, saying afterward he put a technique he learned from the Virginia staff to good use. There are certainly is some potential there on the offensive side of the ball. I also felt he showed a pretty good feel for the game.
I also really like Diakite’s character. He seemed very genuine, upbeat and energetic. He said he puts a lot of work into his game. Well, his hard work paid off on Saturday in the form of a top camp performance.
In addition to Diakite, here are some others that caught my attention…
CLASS OF 2016
– Jordan Bruner, Small Forward
Spring Valley (S.C.) product Jordan Bruner...
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