During his college basketball career, Illinois point guard has received a lot of hype from the media, but also a fair amount of criticism. Illini fans have similarly (perhaps even more so) had a disjointed, and almost bi-polar assessment of Meechi.
This year however, it’s become increasingly clear that Demetri McCamey IS good. Period.
Yes, his defense can still be a bit….”Ben Gordonesque,” but it is improving. And he’s trying much harder at it than ever before (see his recent surge in “Matto” points, the Illini scoring system of hustle plays). He’s also more disciplined than ever. The NBA Draft workouts this summer inspired him to condition better and lose weight; and today he’s in fantastic game shape.
By Paul M. Banks
Like NBA Draftnik David Kay said in his last NBA Draft Stock Report:
After testing the waters this off-season, McCamey made a great decision by choosing to come back for his senior year. He would not have been a first round pick in 2010 but at this point, has worked his way into possibly being a top-20 selection this summer. His decision-making and maturity have shown tremendous improvement as demonstrated by his 3.44 assist-to-turnover ratio. If Meechi ever decides to show a commitment on the defensive end, his stock would be even higher.
As a freshman, McCamey’s decision making in shot-selection was about as intelligent as the publicly statements of Sarah Palin. But that McCamey is long gone.
Did you see that sweet-ass no-look pass he made to Billy Cole on the wing before Cole drained a three in the Gonzaga game? That’s who McCamey is today. No one is ever above criticism, but Meechi is certainly above the amount of criticism he sometimes receives.
Following the decisive Illini win over North Carolina, I asked Tar Heel freshman Kendall Marshall, a McDonald’s All-American who’s considered the best ball-handler in this year’s recruiting class, what he thought of McCamey’s game.
“He’s a great player, I think he leads the country in assists, averaging 15 (points) a game, he’s a heady point guard, tough to guard. He played great, we tried to slow ’em down a little bit, but I respect his game,” Marshall said.
Sure Marshall’s just a freshman, and McCamey’s a senior, but it’s still notable praise when you consider the ginormous hype Marshall has had bestowed upon him. At least until he gets a full time chance to live up to it, when takes over the starting point guard role in Chapel Hill; which is inevitable has he leads the Heels in assists (fifth in conference), and ranks third in the ACC in assist-to-turnover ratio.
McCamey leads the Big Ten is assist-to-turnover ratio and last year became the first player in Illini history to accumulate 1,200 points and 500 assists in just three years.
After visiting Champaign to start the season, UC-Irvine Coach Russell Turner talked about McCamey and saw some Baron Davis in him. He also talked about what McCamey needs to do to reach the league:
“He’s in an interesting position because he’s got a natural point guard’s ability- the way he sees the floor and how he makes passes to a lot of guys. I think he’s trying to figure out what the best role for him as a player is. He’s not in attack mode mode a lot offensively because he’s trying to set other guys up and that’s a tough adjustment…But he’ll have to become a true point guard because that’s what he’d have to play in the NBA.”
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