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LeBron's Skills Academy

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Spent most of the afternoon and evening knocking around LeBron's skills camp. Of course my primary interest being watching Zeke.Zeke is getting better by the day. Still tall and lean. More effective at holding his own on the blocks. Short range shooting much improved, but not there just yet.Fun to watch "Zee" competing against the truly best high school kids in the country.One kid in Z's team caught my fancy. A kid soon to be a junior in HS. Talked to an UNC as in North Carolina assistant coach who expressed an interest in the same kid.Guess our chances would be smoked.Had the pleasure of shaking Mike Krzyzewski's hand. Better still I had a nice conversation with Florida's Billy Donavan and Shaka Smart. Honestly, I think Donavantalked to me at length because Shaka introduced me to coach Donavan by my name. I use to chat with Shaka often when he was a Zips coach. Best of everythingto Shaka.Chatted a bit with Oliver Purcel of Clemson. A fine man and coach. There were mainline college coaches all over the place. I did talk to several other coaches. Fun for me.Other than the kids mostly playing selfish ball it was a treat to watch these future college stars in action.The skills camp runs four more days. You can drop by and watch from the rafters like I did. Player's parents are awesome to talk to. They are common every day folkwho just happen to have a potential NBA star living in their house. One father talked to me at length about his son who has verbaled to Clemson. A mother who hadas much humor and wit as Zee's mother stated that her son has verbaled to North Carolina. This is how I got to talk with the UNC coach. I was talking to her whenhe stopped by to update her on a meeting later in the week. He was kind enough to talk to me.All in all, the coaches and kids were in high spirits.I am deliberately NOT mentioning any of the players names or commenting on their individual performances. So, don't ask.

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GoZips...Thanks for the updates. Zeke's Mom and I will be at the camp today for the 2:00 session and the Parent's appreciation portion of the camp. Hope to see you there!!

Spent most of the afternoon and evening knocking around LeBron's skills camp. Of course my primary interest being watching Zeke.Zeke is getting better by the day. Still tall and lean. More effective at holding his own on the blocks. Short range shooting much improved, but not there just yet.Fun to watch "Zee" competing against the truly best high school kids in the country.One kid in Z's team caught my fancy. A kid soon to be a junior in HS. Talked to an UNC as in North Carolina assistant coach who expressed an interest in the same kid.Guess our chances would be smoked.Had the pleasure of shaking Mike Krzyzewski's hand. Better still I had a nice conversation with Florida's Billy Donavan and Shaka Smart. Honestly, I think Donavantalked to me at length because Shaka introduced me to coach Donavan by my name. I use to chat with Shaka often when he was a Zips coach. Best of everythingto Shaka.Chatted a bit with Oliver Purcel of Clemson. A fine man and coach. There were mainline college coaches all over the place. I did talk to several other coaches. Fun for me.Other than the kids mostly playing selfish ball it was a treat to watch these future college stars in action.The skills camp runs four more days. You can drop by and watch from the rafters like I did. Player's parents are awesome to talk to. They are common every day folkwho just happen to have a potential NBA star living in their house. One father talked to me at length about his son who has verbaled to Clemson. A mother who hadas much humor and wit as Zee's mother stated that her son has verbaled to North Carolina. This is how I got to talk with the UNC coach. I was talking to her whenhe stopped by to update her on a meeting later in the week. He was kind enough to talk to me.All in all, the coaches and kids were in high spirits.I am deliberately NOT mentioning any of the players names or commenting on their individual performances. So, don't ask.

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Are there scrimmages going on? Will Zeke be playing? I was headed up to the JAR to purchase my football season tickets and figured I could stop by to see him play.

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Are there scrimmages going on? Will Zeke be playing? I was headed up to the JAR to purchase my football season tickets and figured I could stop by to see him play.
If you stop down, please post your opinion. SLAM magazine did a write up last year, I hope they do the same this year.Here is a little of what goes onList of coachs in attendanceRivals reportsRise Magazine

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It's nice to see the event being covered by BIG media (even though it's coming from Lebron's likely-to-be new NBA home before too many more seasons).Link

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I attended today's afternoon session and I had a couple general observations:- Zeke looked REALLY thin and def. needs to bulk up. He ran the floor well and seems to have excellent coordination for a 7 footer. I still pinch myself to make sure it is real that UA landed this kid!- A couple UA players were present. I'm not sure what type of skills Steve Swiech brings to the table, but the dude is huge. That boy could floss his teeth with poor Zeke's arm :lol: - Carl Jones from Garfield Heights looks like he may be in the eighth grade.- I love that this camp is at the JAR! I'm hoping KD can work some type of magic and find another camper (other than Zeke) to stay with our beloved Zips :D On the other hand, I did see Billy Donovon and Lute Olson present, which certainly doesn't help our chances...

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I attended today's afternoon session and I had a couple general observations:- Zeke looked REALLY thin and def. needs to bulk up. He ran the floor well and seems to have excellent coordination for a 7 footer. I still pinch myself to make sure it is real that UA landed this kid!- A couple UA players were present. I'm not sure what type of skills Steve Swiech brings to the table, but the dude is huge. That boy could floss his teeth with poor Zeke's arm :lol: - Carl Jones from Garfield Heights looks like he may be in the eighth grade.- I love that this camp is at the JAR! I'm hoping KD can work some type of magic and find another camper (other than Zeke) to stay with our beloved Zips :D On the other hand, I did see Billy Donovon and Lute Olson present, which certainly doesn't help our chances...
Hey could you possibly tell me how the person by the name of "Patrick Beverley" faired at this camp?I heard this guy did very well against Lebon/CP3's team or whatever...any info would be appreciated.

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I noticed on the PD Blog that they mentioned Zeke and how thin he was. Other notes from Alexander's blog...In the rafters: Four larger-than-life banners of camp host LeBron James hang from the rafters in Rhodes Arena. They are beside the names and faces of several Akron Zips greats -- Eric McLaughlin, Joe Jakubick, Larry Jenkins and Len Paul. In the opposite rafters is a banner that says "Men's Basketball, MAC Champions, 1998 and 2007." Big problem. The Zips have never won a MAC Championship. Ball State and Western Michigan tied for the MAC Championship in 1998, each finishing 14-4, 21-8. Toledo won the MAC Championship in 2007 finishing 14-2, 19-13. Akron won the East Division in 1998 and 2007, but no MAC championships. And it will be interesting to see if all the Nike reps have much to say to their campus hosts from Akron, who are clearly decked out in adidas gear. Akron is an adidas school in every sport except basketball.

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I noticed on the PD Blog that they mentioned Zeke and how thin he was. Other notes from Alexander's blog...In the rafters: Four larger-than-life banners of camp host LeBron James hang from the rafters in Rhodes Arena. They are beside the names and faces of several Akron Zips greats -- Eric McLaughlin, Joe Jakubick, Larry Jenkins and Len Paul. In the opposite rafters is a banner that says "Men's Basketball, MAC Champions, 1998 and 2007." Big problem. The Zips have never won a MAC Championship. Ball State and Western Michigan tied for the MAC Championship in 1998, each finishing 14-4, 21-8. Toledo won the MAC Championship in 2007 finishing 14-2, 19-13. Akron won the East Division in 1998 and 2007, but no MAC championships. And it will be interesting to see if all the Nike reps have much to say to their campus hosts from Akron, who are clearly decked out in adidas gear. Akron is an adidas school in every sport except basketball.
See the top of this thread to find discussion of your highlighted text.

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Babysitting: Akron coach Keith Dambrot can't comment on players who have verbally committed to play for the Akron Zips. But it was clear he was babysitting 7-0 center Zeke Marshall, who orally committed to Akron early in the spring. Dambrot sat in the stands for all of Marshall's games and workouts. Marshall is showing the effects of a busy summer as he looked like a player at the end of a long season. He blocked some shots, but not nearly as many as in the spring, and rebounds were few and far between. However, his short-corner jumper continues to look like a lethal weapon in the making.
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Please don't get 'thin' confused with skinny. If you look at Zeke's arms, you can clearly see the muscle tone and definition as compared to earlier in the AAU season. Look at Kevin Garnett, he's a very thin 7' footer and very effective.I definately agree that he needs to add weight/muscle.Once he gets to Akron and on a college level conditioning program, he will add the muscle/weight. We don't want Zeke to loose his speed and agility by putting on too much weight. Adding muscle weight and strength is going to be the key to his success on the college level.

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Please don't get 'thin' confused with skinny. If you look at Zeke's arms, you can clearly see the muscle tone and definition as compared to earlier in the AAU season. Look at Kevin Garnett, he's a very thin 7' footer and very effective.I definately agree that he needs to add weight/muscle.Once he gets to Akron and on a college level conditioning program, he will add the muscle/weight. We don't want Zeke to loose his speed and agility by putting on too much weight. Adding muscle weight and strength is going to be the key to his success on the college level.
Sounds like Zeke is working hard on just that (read through the post)Zeke is also working out with a strength and conditioning coach every day...the Stoudemire Big Man camp is that he came home with some FABULOUS and very VALUABLE information about how to gain weight the healthy wayMore on the camp from MaxPrepsAntonio Williams from ESPN was thereMike Decourcy from the Sporting News

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Please don't get 'thin' confused with skinny. If you look at Zeke's arms, you can clearly see the muscle tone and definition as compared to earlier in the AAU season. Look at Kevin Garnett, he's a very thin 7' footer and very effective.I definately agree that he needs to add weight/muscle.Once he gets to Akron and on a college level conditioning program, he will add the muscle/weight. We don't want Zeke to loose his speed and agility by putting on too much weight. Adding muscle weight and strength is going to be the key to his success on the college level.
Thanks for the invite Zip2Go, and the excellent time at the afternoon session.Zeke has made great strides and I over heard a number of excellent comments regarding his future. The best one coming from my long time friend coach Bob Huggins.Here's the rub. Bob's comment is so good and a repeat of what he told coach Dambrot that I can not repeat it here until I get a clearance from coach Dambrot.Hugs sat with KD during Zeke's second game Monday evening.I had the grand good fortune to be asked to help an older (well into his 70's) gentleman find the student union so he could get some lunch. The older gentleman turned outto be former long time Cleveland State head coach Ray Derringer. We talked for half an hour. I had never met coach Ray before. He is currently a scout for theDallas Mavericks. While he paid little attention to the high schoolers he had been asked to observe Zeke. Thus, he was able to make several positive commentsregarding Zeke. Coach Ray was quite upbeat regarding Zeke. He sees high potential in Zeke. I humbly concur.I had supper with another NBA scout (Charolette Hornets). Again, his focus was on the college players in attendance. He spoke highly of the facilities and the people.LeBron, Dwayne Wade and probably O.J. Mayo played a pick up game over in the rec center in the early evening. I did not attend that.A professional writer (from on of the posted links) was drooling all over John Henson. He saw something I never saw. I watched Henson play against Zeke's team on Sunday. My opinion of Henson is that he is one of several players that rely on intimidation (rabbit punches and shoves). He caused a reaction in Zeke that led to Zeke being called for a foul. A few minutes later Zeke took Henson off his pins. No call. Payback. This took place on Sunday.As for the HS player, Patrick Beverly, no mention of him in the program guide.Tuesday is the final session. Games will be played at 2:40 PM (JAR and REC center) and again at 6:45PM (JAR Arena). Last chance.

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Please don't get 'thin' confused with skinny. If you look at Zeke's arms, you can clearly see the muscle tone and definition as compared to earlier in the AAU season. Look at Kevin Garnett, he's a very thin 7' footer and very effective.I definately agree that he needs to add weight/muscle.Once he gets to Akron and on a college level conditioning program, he will add the muscle/weight. We don't want Zeke to loose his speed and agility by putting on too much weight. Adding muscle weight and strength is going to be the key to his success on the college level.
Zip2Go-Point taken. I agree that a college weight program will deliver a "bigger" Zeke.My only concern was Zeke's frame reminded me of Shawn James from Duquesne (not far from your home). James used his seven foot frame to become a dominant shot blocker, but was never a true force on the offensive end because he got pushed around a bit. James was a decent D1 player (and I believe he just signed overseas), but my hope is that Zeke has a higher ceiling than James once he fills out.Good luck to Zeke and welcome to the Zips family! :wave:

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Okay well i found the article...Patrick beverley's team went 2-2 against Chris Paul/Lebrons teamhttp://www.sportsline.com/collegebasketball/story/10890685
Furthermore, if this is the result when James plays with other great players perhaps Cleveland general manager Danny Ferry is doing the right thing by surrounding his star with garbage, but that's another column for another day. :lol: Now that's funny.Nice find.

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I managed to get a reply from coach Dambrot regarding what coach Huggins told me. KD thought it was not really necessary to ask him. I felt that I needed to be on thesafe side. So .... here is what coach Huggins told coach Dambrot and later told me. According to Bob Huggins Zeke Marshall is a real get and is a future pro player.Understand that when Huggins says "future pro" he is referring to the NBA, not Europe. This is high praise to KD from a man who has guided a number of players intothe NBA. While LeBron was literally dropped in KD's lap, the Zips coaching staff had to do the leg work to garner Zeke Marshall's services.A major-major coach told me today that he fully expects to see more prime time players coming to Akron. According to him the Zips are on a fast rise.I was hoping for an on the court match up between highly regarded Kyle Orton and Zeke. It never took place. They were in opposite rotations and were never on thecourt at the same time. I came away today with an understanding that the Zips are quite close to being the "Gonzaga of the East" that coach Dambrot speaks of.It is all coming together. The Zips are literally a solid wing man from being one of the most dangerous mid-majors.

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Great to hear about Zeke's emerging offensive game. Other than his weight that's been one of the knocks I've seen on him. Nice to see that he's really working on it and that the improvement is as obvious as it is to people in the know who follow this kind of stuff. I'm honestly not that worried about the weight. When a 16-17 year old kid goes through the kind of growth spurts that I assume Zeke has been going through it takes a bit of time for the body to catch up. If he can come in here in the 220-225lb. range he'll be just fine. The Marshall clan has the right idea though. It isn't just about putting on weight, it's about adding lean muscle. Anyone can get sloppy fat, it takes some effort to build lean muscle like that.

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I got to watch Big Zeke a little on Monday, I sat next to his rents but never talked to them cause I didn't want to interupt them watching and cheering for Zeke. Weight, as of right now is a none issue IMO. People are saying he needs to gain, maybe, but it wasn't like he was getting blown off the blocks or getting out muscled. Zeke held his own against some of the best players at his age level. He had a few nice put-back dunks and hit a few 10-footers, not to mention some sweet blocks on fast breaks.Zeke is a gem, he is going to fit in well with our team style of play. Which reminds me, he is a decent passer from the blocks and will only get better.Keep up the good work Zeke, looking forward to seeing you soon on the court!

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Here's an interesting click from Rise Magazine...Akron's men's basketball team had a pretty good year in 2008, making it to the MAC finals and earning a berth to the NIT. Still, it's somewhat surprising to find a player at the LeBron James Skills Academy, which features 80 of the nation's best players, who has committed to the Zips. As coaching legends Roy Williams, Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Calhoun and Jim Boeheim watched their recruits, Akron coach Keith Dambrot got to watch his pledge, Zeke Marshall, a 7-foot rising junior from McKeesport (McKeesport, Pa.). It's safe to say that over the next year, plenty of coaches from power conferences are going to come after Marshall. He's still pretty raw offensively, but is already a force on defense and can run the floor like few 7-footers his age can. But Marshall was emphatic that his commitment is firm. "You have players committed to Arizona, North Carolina, huge schools like that and they're making fun of me because I committed to Akron, but I don't care what other people think," Marshall said. "I'm not going back on my decision because I did commit. Most schools that are big now needed someone to represent them. You need good players to attract other good players." If Marshall refines his offensive game, he'll be a no-doubt ACC talent in the MAC. The Zips can't wait for Signing Day 2009 to get here.http://www.risemag.com/main.cfm?actionID=g...&startrow=1

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Here's an interesting click from Rise Magazine..."You have players committed to Arizona, North Carolina, huge schools like that and they're making fun of me because I committed to Akron, but I don't care what other people think," Marshall said. "I'm not going back on my decision because I did commit. Most schools that are big now needed someone to represent them. You need good players to attract other good players."http://www.risemag.com/main.cfm?actionID=g...&startrow=1
Quotes like this get me pumped up. Here's a guy who's not been here as a fan watching this, and he gets it. He sees the potential and the opportunity. Probably better than a good chunk of our fans. Zeke is embracing this opportunity and sees it as a good challenge.Great stuff.Zip2Go .. looked for you last night but didn't find you. Hope things are going good for you.ZW

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masthead_logo.gifRyan Jones reports from SLAM magazine*Among the less famous coaching names in the building—his building, in a sense—is my man Keith Dambrot, the man who coached LeBron during his first two years at St. Vincent-St. Mary HS, and who’s now quietly building a consistent program at the University of Akron. Keith is good people, and he clearly gets a kick out of seeing the college gym he now coaches in covered with logos and banners of that skinny kid he first started coaching in a middle school youth league about 10 years ago.*Ezekial Marshall, 7-0 junior C, McKeesport, PA: A very raw big going who’s supposed to be coming to Akron. When he really learns to play, it should be fun.Kentucky writer braves yesterday's rainstorm to get you these Day 3 notesAlan Stein's Blog

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I think the kid wants to be the one who started it all in Akron, a cornerstone if you will. The one who people 50 years from now will say "It all started with Zeke". I give the kid Kudos for this because, well, he's sticking his neck out. He's got to be very aware of his future as a true NBA prospect. He goes to a big school, and it will be that much easier for him to get exposure. Seems to me he wants to do more, wants to start something here, wants to be a legend. It's pretty tough to do that in North Carolina. You know what I see, I see a true Zip! He doesn't follow the crowd or take the easy road. He's a leader. Comments like "Most schools that are big now needed someone to represent them. You need good players to attract other good players." That's a leader talking, someone who doesn't want to ride other people's coat-tails, but wants others riding his. He likes what he sees and is going to work hard to make it a success.

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