Paul takes nation's best guards under his wing in Winston-Salem
Participants included Chris Wright, Corey Fisher, Kyle Singler and Harrison Barnes
I was very intrigued to see Seth Curry; fellow Dukie Nolan Smith looked excellent
Washington's Isaiah Thomas spoke of Terrence Jones' controversial recruitment
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Chris Paul has no qualms about leaking trade secrets. The Hornets star holds (and funds) the CP3 Elite Guard Camp at a YWCA here in his hometown each summer -- this year he invited 17 of the country's best college players, and a North Carolina-heavy roster of 26 high schoolers -- with the express purpose of teaching them the tricks he uses as a point guard the NBA, because, he says, he wishes someone would have done it for him before he got to the league. While we watched Paul and Warriors rookie Stephen Curry, a former camper, hold court with a group of 16- and 17-year-old prospects on Saturday, Scout.com recruiting guru Dave Telep said, "Chris feels like it's his responsibility to do this for these kids -- and who else out there can you say that about?"
Paul has already seen the information be used against him. He told me the story of how he tutored Jeff Teague while he was at Wake Forest from 2007-09 -- in part on how to cut across the floor after running off a ball screen, in order to be more difficult to defend. "When we played the Hawks earlier this year," Paul said, "Jeff came off a screen exactly how I do, and a couple of my teammates on the bench started laughing and said, 'He took your move!' "
The crew of college point guards at this weekend's camp included Villanova's Corey Fisher, Georgetown's Chris Wright, UConn's Kemba Walker, Richmond's Kevin Anderson, Washington's Isaiah Thomas and Syracuse's Brandon Triche and Scoop Jardine. I saw Wright, who had a strong camp, make an effort to engage Paul on a few topics; the Hoyas senior told me he feels the onus is on him to become a consistent scorer in his final season, with Greg Monroe gone to the NBA. "This might be the first time since Iverson," Wright said, "that Georgetown is a guard-dominated team."
One thing Wright asked Paul for was advice on film study -- a question that launched Paul into an explanation of the extensive time he spent analyzing Steve Nash's habits in pick-and-roll situations, and how that translated into numerous steals. "It's a big mind game," Paul said, "You need to know all their tendencies, and be aware they know yours, too, so sometimes you're setting them up to do the opposite."
It was after this that Paul admitted his lone ulterior motive for holding the camp: It gave him a chance to study soon-to-be first-rounders like Duke's Kyle Singer and North Carolina's Harrison Barnes in the flesh. While Paul was teaching them individual moves -- such as how to drive from the wing, and extend the ball away from the defender while simultaneously pinning him with one's off-hand -- he was also learning their tendencies, so when they get to the pros, he'll be ready to pounce.
Here's what I observed over the course of three days in the stands at Paul's camp:
The player I was most intrigued to see was Seth Curry, the Liberty transfer who was lying in wait on Duke's bench, in dress clothes, during their national title run. Both he and his brother, Stephen, were in the gym on Sunday, and their three-point shooting forms differ: Stephen's shot is now a textbook wrist-flick with perfect rotation, while Seth's is often a knuckleball with little spin. It's a highly accurate knuckleball, though; Seth seemed to knock down as many (or more) threes than anyone in the camp over the course of drills (the camp was probably 85 percent drills) and scrimmaging. He should be a deadly weapon in Duke's backcourt, especially given how much attention defenses will pay to teammates Nolan Smith, Singler and Kyrie Irving. "Seth is going to bring so much to our team with his shooting and playmaking ability," Smith said. (See a few clips of Curry from the camp in the video below.)