Seven Coastal Crew Rebels are packing up for a trip to Charlotte, N.C., this weekend to showcase their skills and learn some new ones at the Bob Gibbons Spring Evaluation Clinic.
Making the voyage are Rebels Shavon Stoves, Jameel Perteet, Shakur Cook, Edwin Harvey, Jordan Stiles, Tabias Marion and Jordan Johnson.
Gibbons serves on the selection committee for the McDonald’s All-American Game and the Parade Magazine All-American Team. He is an advisor for several national all-star games and does player ratings for numerous publications, including his own All Star Scouting Service for colleges. Gibbons’ annual spring clinic has long been the nation’s No. 1-rated high school basketball talent evaluator.
"This is a way to really get the kids name out there," CC Rebels founder Ernie Walthour said of being invited to the camp. "It’s a way of getting these Rebels players some exposure, more so than just through the AAU circuit and tournaments."
Walthour said the camp will benefit all the Rebels who are attending, but said he thinks it will be particularly helpful to Johnson.Johnson went to a camp in South Carolina last year, which Walthour said was a top-ranked camp. Johnson joined the First Presbyterian Christian Academy Highlander squad last season and led the team in scoring, averaging 15.7 points per game. He also led with 82 assists for the season and had 30 rebounds for the year.
"This year, he gets another opportunity to attend another top notch camp," Walthour said. "The more camps, the more AAU tournaments, the better for these kids to get offers to college."
"It’s my first time," Johnson said of his participation in the Gibbons clinic.
The athlete said he’s been in the gym and is keeping active on the court, but he’s looking forward to some of the camp’s advanced drills, which he thinks will improve his playing abilities.
"I need to improve the way I finish at the basket," he said. "The defenders are getting bigger as I continue through high school."
Johnson said last weekend, when he Rebels were at a tournament, there was a team that used a trap defense against him, leaving him frustrated after the game. He said he wants to focus on quick, ball-handling drills.
"So I can have the reaction time on my defenders," he said. "So I won’t be trapped as quickly as I was."
Johnson said the Rebels are working on getting stronger, working out together at the gym and on the court. He thinks they’ll be ready for nationals. The athlete said his squad struggled a bit recently as the players adjusted to their new roles on an AAU team, which he said are sometimes quite different than roles they play in high school.
"With high school, everybody on the team was probably some type of scorer for their team," Johnson said. "But now we need to establish the scorer for the AAU team. And the athletes who were the scorers for their school might not be the scorer for the AAU team."
As an example, Johnson said, his Rebels teammate Shakur Cook assisted Rion Brown and Jordan McRae in scoring for Liberty County High School. But as a Rebel, Cook is seen by his teammates as a scorer.
David Linderman, the 17U Rebels assistant coach, said the clinic is the most prestigious around
"Gibbons runs one of the major recruiting services in the country," he said. "He’s been doing it for so long that if he says something, it’s as good as gold among college coaches."
"You get big exposure if you do pretty well at the camp," Johnson said. "If I continue to work hard and take what I learn at camp and put it on the court in school and at the AAU tournaments, hopefully I can get a scholarship."