By Gary Parrish, Memphis Commercial Appeal
May 14, 2006
Rodney Carney, like most soon-to-be NBA Draftees, has spent the past two weeks training extensively. He's living in a hotel in Houston, and every morning the former University of Memphis star gets up and heads to the gym -- inside the house of Rockets All-Star Tracy McGrady. "That's where he's working out, at Tracy's house," said Octagon's Chris Emens, the agent who represents Carney. "So far it's just been Rodney, Tracy and (Tiger walk-on and Tracy's brother) Chance (McGrady), but they've got some more guys coming in (this) week so they can get some different looks."
Emens said all indications he's getting from NBA personnel is that Carney is comfortably in the Top 10 and will be invited to New York for the draft. This seems to be such a certainty that Carney will not even schedule any team workouts until after the lottery order is set May 23, "and after that," Emens said, "we'll probably work out for teams drafting anywhere from third to 10th."
Camp dates set
The philosophy is simple, and proof that elite basketball players are not made overnight. That's why Ryan Miller doesn't pretend any child is going to come out of one of the University of Memphis camps -- collectively known as the John Calipari Basketball School -- with a significantly enhanced skill-level. Actually, that's not the point.
"We just try to focus on fundamentals," said Miller, the assistant coordinator of basketball operations at the U of M who runs the camps with assistant coach John Robic. "No kid is going to get better in a week of camp. So what we try to do is teach them things they can take home with them and work on the rest of the summer. That's how they'll get better, by us showing them how to do things right."
The U of M is now accepting applications for all five camps, the first of which runs June 5-8. One of the camps -- the Elite Overnight Camp -- costs $185 and runs June 9-11 while the other four camps cost $175 each, including the Mike Miller Sizzling Shooting Camp that runs June 26-28 and will feature clinics by the Grizzlies veteran and reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year.
All players ranging from ages 7-to-18 are eligible for enrollment, and campers will receive a T-shirt, a Tiger workout plan, awards and prizes. For more information visit www.coachcalipari.com or e-mail Ryan Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While there remains no official word on whether Darius Washington and/or Shawne Williams will remain in the NBA Draft, it appears both are headed that direction.
Washington has never given any indication he's even considering returning to school, despite it being almost certain he will not be a first-round selection because most NBA scouts have determined the 6-2 point guard can't play point guard. Still, Calipari has publicly left the option of returning open, though those close to the program believe Washington would rather play in the NBDL or overseas than a junior year at Memphis.
Williams' situation is trickier. His grandfather, Leon Williams, has told The Commercial Appeal the 6-9 forward will return to Memphis if he's not projected to be a Top-20 pick. It appears Williams will at worst be a little lower than 20, and with good workouts he could launch himself into the lottery. In other words, at this point it seems Williams' first year at the U of M was also probably his last.
-- Gary Parrish: 901-529-2365