Joseph & Odom Hold Own at USA Basketball
Bensley Joseph and Shy Odom were two of the 75 players from around the country selected to attend the USA Basketball Junior National Team Mini-Camp in Colorado Springs over the course of the last five days.
Players went through three days of skill-work and workshops and then trained in front of both college coaches and NBA scouts this weekend.
This was Odom's second mini-camp with the junior national team after attending last October's and the rising sophomore forward took advantage of that experience. While he's often physically dominant playing in the local ranks and even within Nike's E16 division with BABC, that isn't necessarily the case in a setting like this against the nation's top prospects. So while he wasn't necessary scoring the ball with the same volume as he typically does, the same can be said for the vast majority of the prospects in attendance. Instead, Odom showcased a passing instinct that we don't always see locally. He threw skip passes off the post, made nice finds in transition, and demonstrated tools that should allow him to take the ball off the glass and start the break. In this setting though, that doesn't result in him going coast to coast, it results in him having an opportunity to show he can be a decision-maker to start the break.
As for Joseph, this was his first experience with USA Basketball but you wouldn't have known it by watching. He played with the same energy and presence that he shows with Cushing and Expressions. He might not have been the most dynamic playmaker in the bunch when matched up against the nation's elite, but he distinguished himself with his approach. He embraced being a pure point guard, wasn't worried about his individual offense and instead ran the show, distributed the ball well, and asserted himself as a vocal leader. Joseph also stood out defensively with both his energy and ability to pick-up and pressure the ball for the entire length of the floor.
Both players put themselves in contention to return for October's mini-camp when players like Cade Cunningham, Evan Mobley, Emoni Bates, Jalen Suggs, Josh Christopher and others will return to the fold after being in Las Vegas this past week.