NBPA Top 100: Teamwork Makes Dream Work!

The 30th annual NBPA Top 100 Camp closed out on Wednesday and a talented and unselfish Houston Rockets team closed out the four-day camp 9-0 after beating a talented New York Knicks team twice, including in the championship game. Camp is loaded with big men and 6-foot-10 Chris Cenac of Newman (New Orleans, La.) is named MVP among 110 campers.

The purpose of the NBPA Top 100 Camp is to help in the development of the world's elite high school-aged basketball players and give them a taste of what it is like to play in the NBA. The NBA is an exclusive group (there has been less than 5,000 NBA players all-time since the league's inception) and this exclusive camp, held annual at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla., has featured some of the biggest names in basketball over the past 30 years, from the likes of Kevin Durant, Anthony Edwards, Jaylen Brunson, Kyrie Irving and James Harden, plus a plethora of other future pros.

There is no doubt plenty from the 2024 crop of 110 campers will one day play in the NBA, but for now it was all about competing, learning and getting better, not to mention performing well in front of scouting representatives of every NBA team and hundreds of college coaches.

There was roughly 11 players on each of the camp's 10 teams coached by current or just retired NBA players going through a coaching mentorship program put on by the NBPA. The four-day camp was also one of attrition, as the participants play NBA regulation length games with NBA rules and on the last two days of the camp, each team played three games in a seven-hour period.

When the dust settled, the Houston Rockets team used balance and teamwork to post a 9-0 record, the last one a 120-119 championship game victory over a New York Knicks team that came into the contest 6-2. It was actually the Rockets' second victory over the Knicks, as they beat that team to start off the camp's final day, 106-101, in a competitive game. Even though the Rockets were no stranger to the attrition themselves, they did a good job of taking quality shots, hitting their free throws in seven of nine games, and making timely 3-pointers, particularly by 6-foot-5 2025 (rising senior) point guard Brayden Burries of Roosevelt (Eastvale, Calif.) and 6-foot-8 2025 wing Shon Abaev of Calvary Christian Academy (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.).

The Rockets played the first contest versus the Knicks without Burries, who was arguably the top guard in attendance with his strong frame, powerful drives, timely passing, clutch shot-making and presence. Rockets coach Terrance Mann of the L.A. Clippers had others step up in his absence, as five players scored in double figures with two more on the 10-man roster going for nine points. Mike Williams, a 6-foot-1 2025 guard from Jackson Academy (Miss.) and the son of former NBA guard and Jackson State coach Mo Williams, particularly stepped up with 16 points, including 2-of-5 3-pointers and 6-of-6 free throws, to go along with six rebounds and four assists. Williams' rebounding from the guard position, his instincts on defense and change of pace on offense was a huge lift for Mann all week at camp.

Seven-foot-1 2025 center Malachi Moreno of Great Crossing (Georgetown, Ky.) matched up with all-star selection, 7-foot 2025 Eric Reibe of Bullis School (Washington, D.C.), and came up with a double-double of 16 points and 12 rebounds. The left-handed Reibe was the most effective player on the court with 25 points, including 3-of-6 3-pointers, and added six rebounds and two assists. Reibe has a terrific feel and plays a style similar to former Kansas great Raef LaFrentz but with more shooting range and more ground covering. Six-foot-8, 250-pound 2025 Zymicah Wilkins of Christ School (Arden, N.C.) had a great impact in both games versus the Rockets with his power game, motor and relentlessness in crunch time. Wilkins finished the first contest with 17 points.

Burries returned for the eighth game, one in which Houston jumped out to a 29-10 lead over the Indian Pacers and never looked back in a 106-96 victory. He finished with 17 points, five rebounds and five assists. Moreno led seven in double figures with 19 points and eight rebounds. The center made all five of his free throws, but the rest of the Rockets were 8-of-18 in that second to last game.

After shooting so well from the charity stripe in its first seven games, that performance was an omen for the final game, as weary free throw legs and the never-say-die attitude of the Knicks kept them in the championship contest in the second half after trialing by as many as 19 points early. The Rockets were without Elijah Williams, a 6-foot-6 2026 (rising junior) wing out of Brother Rice (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) and the son of Detroit Pistons head coach Monty Williams, for the final two games and without Mike Williams in the championship rematch, but gutted out the one-point victory after building a 64-50 halftime lead by coming up with a defensive stop after Burries missed a free throw (worth two points) with under five seconds remaining in the game.

Reibe hurt the Rockets, in the first contest, but was neutralized more in the rematch, finishing with 14 points and five rebounds while not attempting a shot from 3-point range. Moreno matched him with 11 points and 10 rebounds, as he finished the camp with three triple doubles while missing another by just one rebound. Moreno is a team-oriented player with a great pace and understanding of the game and once he gets into his offensive move and makes his decisions on the block quicker, he's going to be an excellent college player. While Reibe was kept in check, the Rockets simply had no answer for Wilkins in the rematch, as he kept his team in it with relentless offensive rebounding, tough shot making on the move and even hit a key 3-pointer while the Knicks were making their second half run. He finished with 29 points and 14 rebounds and impressed college coaches and the NBPA Top 100 selection committee with his inspired play.

Burries finished the title game with 24 points, including 4-of-6 3-pointers, despite missing six of 10 free throws. As a team, the fatigued Rockets made 14-of-32 free throws, but dug deep to make 10-of-20 3-pointers. The leading scorer for the victors was 6-foot-1 2025 point guard Acaden Lewis of Sidwell Friends (Washington, D.C.), who made 4-of-7 3-pointers and finished the title game with 25 points, five rebounds and eight assists. Lewis impressed college coaches with his crafty offensive package, ability to finish in either direction and dominate in the half court, particularly in pick-n-roll sets. The Rockets don't go unbeaten without Lewis' efforts, particularly his 26-point effort in a 117-112 win over a L.A. Lakers team that might have been the camp's second most talented one. He made 4-of-9 3-pointers in that contest and was dominant enough to over the final two days to be selected to the camp's 10-man all-star team.

It's hard to envision the Rockets going unbeaten without the contributions of 6-foot-9 power 2025 forward Sebastian Williams-Adams of St. John's (Houston, Texas) as well. In the win over the L.A. Lakers, he had an incredible 11 offensive rebounds in a 18-point, 12-rebound performance and sealed the win a pass interception and close-out dunk. Twice he came up with a defensive play, steal and dunk to seal a win for his team and joined Burries and Lewis as Rockets players on the camp all-star team. Williams-Adams literally didn't take a bad shot all week and had 20 points on 8-of-14 shooting in the championship game win. Williams-Adams is also a complete defender and for the week shot 61-of-94 (.648) from the field in nine camp games.

Jerry Easter II, a 6-foot-4 2025 shooting guard from La Lumiere who was our top rated performer at the recent Pangos All-American Camp, had 12 points, eight rebounds and four assists for the Rockets in the title game. Easter also contributed key defense and steady ball-handling and didn't force it much when the shots weren't dropping. Six-foot-8 2026 forward Sebastian Wilkins also provided quality defense and good finishing around the rim for Mann's team, 6-foot-10 2025 power forward Trent Steinour of Lake Norman (N.C.) showed potential as a rim-runner and flashes of pop around the rim, while 6-foot-9 2026 center Moustapha Diop of the Walker School (Powder Springs, Ga.) is oozing with potential as a shot blocker and long term impact college player with a bit more seasoning.

"It was a great opportunity to be able to coach these guys that are eventually going to be playing against me in a couple years," said Mann. "It was dope to see the high level of competition, and I was amazed by their skill and intelligence. These kids are special and the game is getting better and better."

The camp had talent at all positions, but was dominated by its interior play, as teams made it a point to get its pivots involved in its offensive sets. There was some terrific individual battles, as 46 campers were listed as being 6-foot-8 and taller. When it was completed, 6-foot-10 2025 Chris Cenac of Newman (New Orleans, La.) was named NBPA Top 100 Camp Most Valuable Player. Cenac's combination of fluidity, versatility, size and length made him stand out from a group of highly-regarded campers.

Cenac led the camp in rebounds (11.4) and finished third in blocks (1.6). All-star selection Meleek Thomas of Lincoln Park (Midland, Pa.), the recent Pangos All-American Camp MOP, was third in scoring (22.6) and first in assists (7.3). After winning two state title in Pennsylvania, Thomas recently accounted he'll be spending his senior campaign with Overtime Elite.

The scoring leaders in front of Thomas were 6-foot-5 wing Tounde Yessoufou of St. Joseph (Santa Maria, Calif.) at 23.1 and 6-foot-4 2025 wing Kiyan Anthony of Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.) at 28.5. Anthony is the son of future NBA Hall of Famer Carmelo Anthony.

NBPA Top 100 Camp Top 5 Stock Risers
(selected by editor Ronnie Flores)
Phillip Davis Fogle, AZ Compass Prep (Chandler, Ariz.) 6-8 SF 2025
Acaden Lewis, Sidwell Friends (Washington, D.C.) 6-1 PG 2025
Deron Rippey Jr., Blair Academy (Blairstown, N.J.) 6-1 PG 2026
Zymicah Wilkins, Christ School (Arden, N.C.) 6-8 PF 2025
Mike Williams, Jackson Academy (Jackson, Miss.) 6-1 CG 2025

NBPA Top 100 Top 5 Rising Juniors
(selected by editor Ronnie Flores)
Tajh Ariza, Westchester (Los Angeles, Calif.) 6-8 SF 2026
Aliou Dioum, Accelerated Schools (Denver, Col.) 6-10 C 2026
Caleb Holt, Buckhorn (New Market, Ala.) 6-4 PG 2026
Jordan Smith, Paul VI (Chantilly, Va.) 6-3 SG 2026
Qayden Samuels, Bishop McNamara (Forestville, Md.) 6-6 SF 2026

2024 NBPA Top 100 Camp All-Star Team
(selected by camp selection committee)
MVP: Chris Cenac, Newman (New Orleans, La.) 6-10 PF 2025
Darius Adams, La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.) 6-4 SG 2025
Kiyan Anthony, Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.) 6-4 SG 2025
Brayden Burries, Roosevelt (Eastvale, Calif.) 6-5 PG 2025
Oswin Erhunmwunse, Putnam Science Academy (Putnam, Conn.) 6-10 C 2025
Acaden Lewis, Sidwell Friends (Washington, D.C.) 6-1 PG 2025
Eric Reibe, Bullis School (Washington, D.C.) 7-0 C 2025
Qayden Samuels, Bishop McNamara (Forestville, Md.) 6-6 SF 2026
Meleek Thomas, Lincoln Park (Midland, Pa.) 6-4 SG 2025*
Sebastian Williams-Adams, St. John's (Houston, Texas) 6-9 PF 2025
Tounde Yessoufou, St. Joseph (Santa Maria, Calif.) 6-5 SG 2025

*Meleek Thomas recently announced he will play at Overtime Elite in Atlanta for his senior season.

Editor's Note: Ronnie Flores is a member of the NBPA Top 100 Player Selection Committee.

Ronnie Flores is the national Grassroots editor of Ballislife.com. He can be reached atΒ [email protected]. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter:Β @RonMFlores


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