Locals Shine at Lebron/King City
For the second consecutive year Nike basketball divided their all-american camp into two distinct parts. First was the Lebron James Skills Academy, the culmination of the position based skills academies held throughout June, which focuses solely on skill development and does not play games or allow college coaches to watch. For competition and exposure the skills academy then gives way to the King City Classic which allows college coaches to watch all of the participants go up and down in 5 on 5 games for two days.
New England was represented by Michael Carter-Williams, Khem Birch, and Ricardo Ledo and while all three were recognized by the national media for their play, Birch appears to have solidified himself as one of the standouts of the event.
ESPN National Recruiting Director Paul Biancardi praised Birch's shot-blocking and rebounding early in the skills academy while Scout.com's National Recruiting Director Dave Telep echoed those same sentiments while comparing Birch to a young Derrick Favors.
Birch's camp culminated with a one-on-one match-up with Dajuan Coleman with Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim, North Carolina head coach Roy Williams, Kansas head coach Bill Self, and Georgia Tech head coach Paul Hewitt among those looking on, and according to Rivals' Jerry Meyer Birch got the better of that match-up.
Carter-Williams drew praise from both Telep and Meyer as Telep praised his versatility and ability to play three different positions and Meyer crediting him for developing on the defensive end of the ball and predicting he will end up among the top ranked guards in 2011.
Biancardi noted Ledo as one of the early standouts at the skills academy saying "he has big time potential as the game come easy to him."