Philadelphia’s Big Men invade Imhotep

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SJU commit and Philadelphia Electric senior Jai Williams (left) was one of 30 participants in the 2012 Big Man Exposure Camp. (Photo: Anson Marsh/CoBL)

Andrew Albert (@andrewjalbert01)

Thirty of Philadelphia’s top high school big men were on display Saturday at the second annual Big Man Exposure Camp/Combine. The participants went through drills, directed by former NBA player Dallas Comegys, as well as SAT prep, and a scrimmage to conclude the day, which took place at Imhotep Charter High School.

The participants started the four-hour clinic by sharpening their SAT knowledge, and then went into extensive drills. At the end of the drills, there was a full 5-on-5 scrimmage, which consisted of three periods of 20 minutes.

“These guys are great athletes,” Comegys said. “They just need to work on the fundamentals of the game.

“The fundamentals are real simple. It’s just passing, shooting, dribbling, rebounding, and boxing out. All of the things that will make better players so coaches can have the opportunity to recruit these guys.”

Many of the players who participated in the camp have Division I offers on the table going into their senior year. Some of those players include Jai Williams, who will attend St. Joseph’s in the fall of 2013, as well as Zac Tillman of Shipley School. All of the bigs in attendance are trying to find the edge they need to be successful at the Division 1 level.

“I need to work on getting better in the post, getting stronger, and getting more confident shooting the ball,” Williams said.

Williams is a 6-9, 240-pound senior at Philadelphia Electric and Technology. The center committed to St. Joseph’s in late July, passing on offers from other Philadelphia colleges such as Temple, Drexel and La Salle.

Williams looked like a force on offense during the scrimmage, grabbing numerous offensive rebounds, and asserting himself in the post. Due to the fact that it was all big men, it is tough to get a real offensive flow during a scrimmage.

One big man that was in attendance that’s not from the City of Brotherly Love was Jamaree Strickland. Strickland, a California native, has been on the east coast all summer playing AAU with the Hunting Park Warriors. He is attending Queen City Prep this year, which is in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Strickland is coming off a torn ACL his junior year of high school. He is still working to get back to his old self, and believes he can do so.

“I feel like I’m at 90% right now,” said Strickland. “I’m not 100% yet because I don’t feel confortable playing with the knee brace off yet. I’m looking towards the end of the season to play without the brace.”

Strickland is currently undecided on where he will play his college basketball, but he has plenty of options on the table.

“I have offers from mid-majors, but I am looking to go to the Pac 12,” added Strickland.

Strickland is interested in such Pac-12 schools as USC, Oregon State, Washington and Washington State.

“I have had contact with Washington State, Washington, Oregon and Oregon State, but that was before I got hurt,” Strickland noted.

Strickland seemed to be getting up and down the court easily during the scrimmage, and his leaping ability seemed normal.

The big men of Philadelphia showed hustle, heart and intensity Saturday at Imhotep High School, which will no doubt help them make the transition to the next stage of their basketball careers.

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