Greg Oden - ABCD Camp? Day 3 Recap

The big man matchup most had been waiting for all week jumped off last night on the near court (Court 2) between Greg Oden of Lawrence North (IN) High and Derrick Caracter of St. Patrick (NJ) High.

And although the overall action and fluidity was one-sided, as Oden and his Sonics hammered Caracter and his Bulls, 79-51, the individual confrontation was very intriguing. And despite the scoring being dead-even at 13 apiece, the rest of the stats showed a considerable advantage for Oden, as both players netted their points in differing ways.

Oden, the best and perhaps most athletic ? if not the fastest ? pivot in the country, consistently beat Caracter down the court to establish early position, which resulted in easy looks via his precise jump hook or dunks.

Caracter, a much better ball handler and long range shooter than his upperclassman counterpart, got a majority of his points Iso-ed at the top of the key where he could break Oden down off the bounce or pop deep threes. I'm serious. Caracter has range of a small forward and handles of a shooting guard.

But it was the other stats that stood out for Oden in his personal win over Caracter. Oden had a game-high five blocks to go along with his four rebounds, two assists, and steal. Caracter totaled three rebounds for his part.

No, I didn?t forget that Oden had Lawrence North and future Ohio State teammate Mike Conley, Jr. and AAU and fellow Buckeye teammate Daequan Cook on his side, while Caracter had the electric Lance Stephenson on his, but it was clear from the onset that both squads wanted to get their bigs going early.

The opening possession for the Bulls featured Caracter establishing low post position and fiercely backing down the lighter Oden and drawing an early foul (In fact, Oden picked up two quick ones within the first :43 seconds). But it seemed as if Oden baited the younger Caracter into an offensive foul on the second possession, as he beat him to the spot with ease.

From there Oden took control on both ends, until a late rally by Caracter on the strength of a couple of threes, to make the personal box score less lopsided.

Some highlights from the individual encounter included a nice dish by Oden on a left baseline dumpoff to Cook for the and-one; Oden drawing two charges on Caracter with excellent footwork and quickness; and finally Oden and his sick and-one on a dunk over Caracter with 3:23 remaining in the game as an exclamation of sorts. Caracter possessed a nice baby hook on the blocks and displayed his raw power, as there were times when Oden literally bounced off the burly St. Pats product. Caracter also had the best shake of the game when he had Oden on skates at the top of the key with an ill right to left crossover that left Oden grasping at air ala what Allen Iverson did to Mike Jordan in 1997. And both the operation was a success and the patient lived, as Caracter finished off the play with a nice floater in the lane.

But it is safe to assume that there is a reason Oden has the most complete game of all the bigs because he reposts exceptionally well, runs the floor like a gazelle, and can cover for teammate mistakes by leaving his man for the weakside block or altered shot. He clearly flustered Derrick but there is no shame in that because Caracter has sick game of his own?just not on par with Oden yet.

NOTABLES:
Although Caracter had his plight against Oden, one Bulls big man did his thing. Drew Gordon of Archbishop Mitty (CA) High again had a great night, as he garnered six of the Bulls? 14 first quarter points. Gordon also had four rebounds and two blocks and was the most active big ? not named Oden ? in the game; on the far side court (Court 4) a great battle was going on between point guards Corey Fisher of St. Pats and Edwin Rios of Miami Senior (FL) High. Fisher, repping the Pistons, and Rios, of the Lakers, went at it and elicited many oohs and ahhs from the crowd ? even though their game was going on at the same time as the Sonics-Bulls game. The Pistons edged the Lakers, 93-88, in one of the highest scoring games yet, as each guard accounted for at least 20 points apiece with numerous shakedowns off the bounce. Both guards were so effective that in the final two minutes of the contest they were both seeing pseudo-trapping to try and slow them down, despite camp rules disallowing trapping until the final minute of the game; One other highlight from the Pistons-Lakers game was the dunking exhibition put on by the 6-foot-9 Alex Stepheson of Harvard Westlake (CA) High. Stepheson was a crowd pleaser as he executed numerous windmills and tomahawks ? in traffic ? and a couple of tip dunks as well.