TEANECK, N.J. — ABCD Camp. Sounds kind of like a place you
would send your second grader for the summer. But this is no
kiddie-land, it’s Reebok’s premiere program for the
nation’s top high school basketball players.

In early July, America’s three most popular shoe brands
— Reebok, Adidas and Nike — all sponsor camps, vying to
locate the next NCAA champions and straight-to-the-NBA stars.

Sonny Vaccaro, who is most famous for jumpstarting the Nike
brand back in the 1970s, teamed up with Reebok for the first time
this year. And although all three camps are prestigious, it seems
that wherever Vaccaro goes, the best players are sure to follow
— including Michigan native Jerret Smith.

“I got my invitation through my AAU coach,” Smith
said. “I got an offer from Nike (but turned it
down).”

Smith, who averaged 19 points and five rebounds last season in
his junior year at Westland’s John Glenn High School, has
already verbally committed to play for Michigan after he
graduates.

The 6-foot-2, 185 pound point guard said the big draw for him
was Michigan coach Tommy Amaker.

“There were a couple other schools that recruited me, but
(I chose Michigan) basically because of (Amaker) and the
relationship he has with the kids and the fact that I’ll be
playing close to home,” Smith said.

Justin Young, a recruiting analyst for Rivals.com, predicts
Smith will make a good addition to Amaker’s 2005 freshmen
class.

“His best strength is he gets to the basket every time
which is good with him being a point guard,” Young said.
“He’s also done a good job of getting away from a
scoring mentality to more of a ‘I’m going to help the
team’ mentality.”

But Young added Smith needed to work on passing, learning when
to shoot and becoming quicker defensively.

His high school coach, Nate Oats, expects to see Smith make
giant strides his senior year.

“The success of our team will depend on him this year, and
I think he’ll respond to the challenge,” Oats said.
“He’s got a lot of ability, but consistency
wasn’t always there.”

Some might say Smith made his decision too early, but Young
thinks it was a good move for both parties.

“Michigan saw something in him and for them to nab him
early — that’s a sign they saw something they
like,” Young said. “He can be the clay on the
potter’s wheel and they can mold him into the player that
they want.”

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