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Return of high-profile basketball camp includes focus on team success

Platform Basketball Camp recently hosted its third annual invitation-only camp featuring area prep athletes trying to catch and/or maximize the attention of college scouts.

The camp brought together some of the best players – ninth grade through 12th grade – from Memphis, Arkansas, Georgia, and Mississippi. Nearly 90 percent of the elite talent from Memphis attended, with three of the top five players in Mississippi also taking part.

The event was limited to 80 players divided equally into teams, where all ages were mixed on every team.

Wooddale High School coach Keelon Lawson keeps watch on the action. (Photo: Terry Davis/The New Tri-State Defender)

It was the third time for the camp, which has been on hiatus for the last several years because of the pandemic.

Chan Douglass, the event coordinator, said, “In the first year we had 250 players in the camp between three camps. We are looking to go back to the original format. We want to go to a multi-day camp and include the ladies. We want to have a 9th- and 10th-grade session and an 11th and 12th-grade session. On the third day have an elite session.”

The players played multiple games and participated in sessions to hone their skills. After the games, the players got to have some fun, entertaining the crowd and their fellow players with a dunk contest.

The sessions were led by either former high-level players or current high school head coaches. For the coaches, it was an opportunity to assist in developing young talent and also to build relationships. Among the coaches was Keelon Lawson of Wooddale High School and Dion Real of Bartlett High School.

Twenty years ago, most student-athletes went to their neighborhood high school. Today, a student-athlete’s relationship with a coach or teammate often can be the determining factor.

Noticeably, the camp emphasized players interacting as a team, taking charges and hustling for loose balls.

Tarik Mabon, the camp director, put in context the goal of showcasing Memphis talent.

“That is why we call it the Platform. We want the best of the best to be tested by the best. Iron sharpens iron,” said Mabon. “We don’t hide in Memphis. With this Platform, we are putting guys on the stage to showcase their talent at the highest level.”

It also was an opportunity for Mid-South players beyond Memphis.

Player profiles

Javar Daniels (Class of 2023) – Bartlett High School, 6’9”.

Javar Daniels (Terry Davis/The New Tri-State Defender)

Daniels missed the 2020 season because of the COVIID restrictions. He also missed his junior year with an injury. A big man capable of making the outside shot, Daniels has great vision and ball-handling skills. He is one of the players with the most to gain this season.

 Jaye Nash (Class of 2024) – Briarcrest Christian High School, 6’2” guard.

Compact and tough, Nash is strong and gets to the basket at will. Nash, who has a high-level IQ, is a great finisher. He is being recruited by some of the top teams in the country.

Eric Paymon Jr. (Class of 2024) – Raymond High School (Mississippi), 6’9” center.

Paymon, who can bang inside, has great vision and passes well. He truly stood out among the rest during the camp. He is the number-one rated player in Mississippi next year.

Marcus Gray (Class of 2024) – St. Benedict High School, 6’1” guard.

During one game, Gray connected on seven three-pointers. His playmaking ability also has been an eye opener for many.

Keeper Jackson (Class of 2026) – Christian Brothers High School, 6’7”.

Keeper Jackson (Photo: Terry Davis/The New Tri-State Defender)

Jackson was invited to camp after being seen at the CP3 (Chris Paul) camp last week. A freshman, Jackson was holding his own against some of the more experienced players.



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