Jordan McRae earns invite to LeBron James Skills Academy

Tennessee guard Jordan McRae (52) goes in for a slam dunk during the first half against Florida at Thompson-Boling Arena Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. Tennessee won 64-58 over Florida. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer

Tennessee guard Jordan McRae (52) goes in for a slam dunk during the first half against Florida at Thompson-Boling Arena Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. Tennessee won 64-58 over Florida. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Jordan McRae on Kevin Durant's camp

There are few names bigger than Kevin Durant in the hierarchy of global basketball stars.

One goes simply by one name — LeBron.

Having just run with one, Jordan McRae will now get to spar with the other.

The Tennessee senior guard learned Monday he has garnered an invite to the LeBron James Skills Academy later this week in Las Vegas. The invitation came on the same day McRae returned from Washington D.C., where he competed and excelled at the Kevin Durant Skills Academy.

“Meeting a world champion and four-time MVP? Yeah, it’ll be fun,” McRae said Monday before a Rocky Top League game at Christian Academy of Knoxville.

The LeBron James camp, running from July 5-8, is invitation-only and features the nation’s top 80 high school players and top 20 college players. The college players are selected from those who stand out at the three Nike skill academies hosted by Durant (wings), Deron Williams (guards) and Amare Stoudemire (post players).

James’ camp is held in front of hundreds of media members, as well as scouts from nearly every NBA team.

McRae said Monday he was pleased with his performance at Durant’s three-day camp. On two occasions, McRae found himself one-on-one with the three-time NBA scoring leader.

“It was in the flow (of the game),” he said. “I saw him on me and the side cleared out — any time you have the opportunity to score on one of the world’s best players, I had to take advantage of that.”

With a wide smile followed by a shake of the head, McRae said he scored once on Durant, while his second shot was blocked.

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Comments » 17

johnlg00 writes:

I'm REALLY glad to see Jordan get these opportunities. Playing against this caliber of competition, where all the emphasis is on position-specific skills, can't help but make him a solid SEC POY candidate. He surely will have tested himself against some of the best young talent in the game today. I consider this experience altogether more potentially beneficial to him than Stokes' summer will be for him.

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say good for Jordan McRae! Witch Doctor say he has grown up and become a star right before our eyes. Witch Doctor look forward to seeing this team on the floor this coming season.
Bones never lie.

eVOLved writes:

Are these skills academies opportunities for Nike to take pictures of college athletes who got to non-Nike schools?

mocsandvolsfan writes:

I am beginning to see McRae as a 1st rounder. He's such a great kid. I wouldn't have said that when he first got here. He made me nervous to watch him. Now he probably makes the other teams nervous to watch him.

alfrizzle097 writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

I am beginning to see McRae as a 1st rounder. He's such a great kid. I wouldn't have said that when he first got here. He made me nervous to watch him. Now he probably makes the other teams nervous to watch him.

He either needs to be a solid all around package or establish himself as a superlative scorer. I actually think he has an opportunity to do both, which probably makes him a lottery pick.

He has very long arms, which can make him an effective defender, and he has great range and off the dribble shooting ability.

The two question marks if I were a NBA scout (nba teams are thankful I'm not) are if he has enough foot speed to stay in front of NBA 2s and if he can improve his ball handling. Its too easy to imagine any number of athletic NBA guards driving past him or Dwyane Wade picking his pocket and heading to the opposite end of the court.

Either way, mcrae is becoming the player I thought Tatum might before some of his injuries. I remember seeing Tatum dunk during his freshman season. He must have jumped from the elbow and the rim was even with his shoulder when he flushed it.

kyvol98 writes:

in response to 9willbesofine:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Maybe when commenting on BASKETBALL articles, you should go by the name "UTownsus"

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

I am beginning to see McRae as a 1st rounder. He's such a great kid. I wouldn't have said that when he first got here. He made me nervous to watch him. Now he probably makes the other teams nervous to watch him.

This recognition is another reason for us to feel fortunate to have him back for another year.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to 9willbesofine:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Witch Doctor was referring to "Star" in the meaning of like Manning, Foster, Parker, Harris..etc. Witch Doctor sure you confused with how the Gator alum end up "Star" weedeaters, mowers, defendants. lol.
Bones never lie.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to alfrizzle097:

He either needs to be a solid all around package or establish himself as a superlative scorer. I actually think he has an opportunity to do both, which probably makes him a lottery pick.

He has very long arms, which can make him an effective defender, and he has great range and off the dribble shooting ability.

The two question marks if I were a NBA scout (nba teams are thankful I'm not) are if he has enough foot speed to stay in front of NBA 2s and if he can improve his ball handling. Its too easy to imagine any number of athletic NBA guards driving past him or Dwyane Wade picking his pocket and heading to the opposite end of the court.

Either way, mcrae is becoming the player I thought Tatum might before some of his injuries. I remember seeing Tatum dunk during his freshman season. He must have jumped from the elbow and the rim was even with his shoulder when he flushed it.

I hope he's worked on the things you say. Especially ball handling and court awareness. I've seen him and others stand in one spot dribbling with 2-3 opposing players closing in too often. But he seemed to improve some last year in that respect.

murrayvol writes:

Dear Jordan,

Congratulations! This experience can be worth it's weight in gold (or guaranteed $$$$). Make the most of it.

Yours truly,

murrayvol

murrayvol writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor was referring to "Star" in the meaning of like Manning, Foster, Parker, Harris..etc. Witch Doctor sure you confused with how the Gator alum end up "Star" weedeaters, mowers, defendants. lol.
Bones never lie.

i.e. Aaron Hernandez. Poster boy for Gator Alumni Association.

tennrich1 writes:

in response to 9willbesofine:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

So by others respond you must be a gator fan...You must have chiclets the size of Montana to come on a UT Vols article about basketball and make ANY KIND OF COMMENT!!! But hurt people --- hurt people!!!!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to alfrizzle097:

He either needs to be a solid all around package or establish himself as a superlative scorer. I actually think he has an opportunity to do both, which probably makes him a lottery pick.

He has very long arms, which can make him an effective defender, and he has great range and off the dribble shooting ability.

The two question marks if I were a NBA scout (nba teams are thankful I'm not) are if he has enough foot speed to stay in front of NBA 2s and if he can improve his ball handling. Its too easy to imagine any number of athletic NBA guards driving past him or Dwyane Wade picking his pocket and heading to the opposite end of the court.

Either way, mcrae is becoming the player I thought Tatum might before some of his injuries. I remember seeing Tatum dunk during his freshman season. He must have jumped from the elbow and the rim was even with his shoulder when he flushed it.

Good post. I see McRae much the same way. My only concern about his defensive potential is his lack of bulk. I am more concerned about him being out-toughed than I am about him being out-quicked. But most of playing good defense is just "want-to"; there have always been lots of slender, long-armed guys who have been great defenders.

I also agree that he needs to tighten up his handle. Somehow, Kevin Durant has a high dribble out on the perimeter, but he is, for his size and build, uncanny at threading his way between multiple defenders all the way to the hoop. Hopefully, Jordan will learn how he does that at Durant's camp!

johnlg00 writes:

OOPS! I'm behind on Jordan's travels. He has already been to Durant's camp. Oh well, if he didn't get it there, maybe he'll get it at LeBron's camp; LJ is no slouch taking it to the hoop through a crowd himself!

murrayvol writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Good post. I see McRae much the same way. My only concern about his defensive potential is his lack of bulk. I am more concerned about him being out-toughed than I am about him being out-quicked. But most of playing good defense is just "want-to"; there have always been lots of slender, long-armed guys who have been great defenders.

I also agree that he needs to tighten up his handle. Somehow, Kevin Durant has a high dribble out on the perimeter, but he is, for his size and build, uncanny at threading his way between multiple defenders all the way to the hoop. Hopefully, Jordan will learn how he does that at Durant's camp!

What Durant does is not something that's teachable.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say good for Jordan McRae! Witch Doctor say he has grown up and become a star right before our eyes. Witch Doctor look forward to seeing this team on the floor this coming season.
Bones never lie.

Mocs say Witch Doctor right and the dude making fun of your post is not right...in more than a few ways.

It doesn't matter really how other team's fans see him. He's a star for UT and will be hard for any team to stop. When and if they do McRae has plenty of places to pass. Sounds "star" like to me.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to murrayvol:

What Durant does is not something that's teachable.

Not necessarily. He just seems to pick the spots to bounce the ball where the defenders can't get at it. What you do is look for a spot just beyond your primary defender that you can get to with a quick dribble. It should be a low dribble, but you can get away with a high, planned dribble if you place it and time it right. At the same time, you locate the next likely help defender and pick a spot where you can get to, to go over or around him. Then, boom-boom, at most two dribbles from the arc right to the rim or straight up into a jumper.

I know, WAY easier to describe than to execute on demand, but this is a real fundamental skill that lots of the better players execute all the time. Make yourself a plan for each clean possession. Have a specific idea what you want to do from a certain spot on the floor and make a quick, decisive move to get there in position to take it all the way or raise up as necessary.

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