It's easy to be cynical about summer camps for college stars. There is always some kind of quid pro quo involved -- the Nike-sponsored LeBron James/Kevin Durant/Chris Paul/etc. Skills Camps often feel like they exist solely to pack scouts onto plastic bleachers. It rarely feels like anyone in attendance is genuinely drilling themselves in the same serious ways they would in an individual workout on campus. But as these summer events go, the adidas Nations has as good a reputation as any. The scouting stuff is a huge deal, obviously, and a great chance for NBA people to see how current college guys stack up against international talent. Still, the week of skill instruction from former NBA coaches is real, the ability for established players to serve as "counselors" is an old-school twist, and both coaches and players come away from the event swearing by the experience. At the very least, it seems like a lot fun.
The only downside, I'd wager, is the risk of injuring yourself during what ultimately amounts to one big exhibition. This weekend, two important players -- Indiana's Will Sheehey and Louisville's Montrezl Harrell -- had their respective weeks at the Nations cut short by that risk. Fortunately, it doesn't look like their either player's season will be affected.
The good news: Both injuries were minor. Sheehey had a moderate ankle sprain (to the same ankle he has injured in the past), but is expected to return to practice and workouts in a couple of weeks, according to Draft Express's Jonathan Givony, who spoke with Sheehey at the event.
Harrell's injury initially looked far more serious, but after an MRI in Louisville the forward responded to a Twitter question from former NC State and UConn guard Rodney Purvis assuring his fellow hoopster he was going to be just fine:
@rpurvis5 I'm good nothing bad just a tough sprain
— Montrezl Harrell (@MONSTATREZZ) August 5, 2013
Harrell also updated his Instagram account with a photo of his knee resting in a big blue brace, accompanied by a caption that should quickly ease Cardinals' fans fears:
No worries people I'm in the ville I told you I'm going to be fine all I have is a sprain nothing is going to keep me down an out an keep me out the court this year I love this game an I have a family to take care of I'm highly blessed #blessed #grateful #thankful #hardworkbeatstalent #whentalentdoesntworkhard
Normally, I would dock Harrell a couple of points for committing the grave sin of overhashtagging, but given his infectious relief, I'll let it slide.
The upshot is Sheehey's injury shouldn't set his summer back much, if at all, as he prepares for a star senior turn on a young IU team that desperately needs his experience and versatility on the court. Harrell might spend a bit more time getting right, which is in and of itself a bummer. Louisville needs its 6-foot-8 freak of nature (see Harrell's dunk just before halftime of the national title game for evidence to this effect) to sand off the rougher edges of his game and to rely less on sheer athleticism on both ends of the floor. But considering the ugly assumptions associated with knee injuries, the fact that Harrell got out of a freak bump against another camp counselor's leg without having to miss time during the season actually feels like a bonus. Or, if you prefer, a #blessing.
Anyway, good news all around -- relatively speaking, at least.