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July 24, 2004Friday's action from the Big Time in 'Vegas
Basketball fans in search of high major prospects, run-ins with the nation's top college coaches and some serious basketball needed to look no further than Foothill High School in Las Vegas (Nev.) on Friday as the Reebok Big Time tournament was a smorgasbord for serious recruitniks from 9 a.m. until near midnight. With over 30 prospects that are or will be ranked by Rivals.com, the action was hot and heavy throughout the day and a hoop junkies dream.
Spiece Indy Heat comes out strong
In what is becoming the norm for every tournament they attend, Spiece Indy Heat, with as many as five high major prospects, came out of the gates swinging in their quest to win the Big Time tournament.
Scoring wasn't necessary for Spiece's two highly regarded big men, Greg Oden and Josh McRoberts, in the 66-41 win over Stay in the Game from Wisconsin. Both players totaled only 10 points but they cleaned the glass and kept the paint clear on the defensive end.
2006 shooting guard Daequan Cook led the scoring with 14 points, including a couple of nice three's off the bounce and a highlight backdoor dunk. Point guard Mike Conley controlled the tempo of the game and finished with nine points and half a dozen assists.
Kansas City Rocktown ready to make run at Big Time title
The term "gone hunting for bear" comes to mind when looking over the Kansas City Rocktown roster which features not only top five candidate Brandon Rush, small forward Leo Criswell and 2006 standout Jamie Skeen but the boys from Kansas City went and picked up Clemson commitments Julius Powell, K.C. Rivers and Laurinberg (N.C.) Prep standout Kiwan Smith, making them a serious contender for the championship.
Rush, 6-foot-7, 290-pounds, was spectacular showing the NBA potential everyone talks about while scoring 27 points including hitting his mid-range jumper and getting to the basket. He got off to a shaky start after arriving late and having to change clothes on the bench but, like Superman in a telephone booth, he quickly made the switch and turned into one of the nation's elite prospects.
While it was 109 degrees in Sin City, Las Vegas managed to do what many defenders have not this summer, cool off Leo Criswell. The 6-foot-8, 200-pounds small forward never found his groove offensively and forced a few bad shots while finishing with eight points.
The Wolfpack bound Powell, 6-foot-7, 190-pounds, had it much worse, finishing the game with the dreaded goose egg after failing to score from the field.
Rivers, 6-foot-3, 211-pounds, had a quiet but impressive game while scoring 12 points and rebounding well. He was patient and unselfish during Rocktown's 82-75 win over Team Detroit.
Quick trip to Basic High School for Canada's finest and the Mustangs
While the field at Foothill High School was loaded the temptation to drive the 4-5 miles to Basic High School to see the Dallas Mustangs and the Ontario Cylones, with Canadian star Ryan Wright, in back-to-back games proved to be too much.
There is just something you have to like about Mustang shooting guard Booker Woodfox's game. Whether it is his insane range from outside the arc, his unconscious attitude when pulling the trigger or his sneaky athleticism that catches you off guard. Woodfox, 6-foot-1, scored 24 points in the Mustang's afternoon hard fought win over the Portland Panthers Red. While his size will keep likely keep him at the mid-major level he is fun to watch.
Mustang point guard Byron Eaton was doing the thing he does best, getting into the paint, using his strong frame and finishing or getting to the free throw line. Along the way he knocked down a few long bombs and showed off his handle and court vision.
Shooting guard Austin Jackson continues to drive to the basket and finish instead of settling for his outside jumper. The 6-foot-1 athlete is very creative when he gets near the rim. He scored 11 points.
2006 shooting guard Seth Tarver led Portland with 13 points in the loss. The 6-foot-5 guard is a bouncy athlete and great on ball defender. Tarver has nice size for his position and plays under control. A smooth player, he'll have plenty of colleges after his services next season.
Portland power forward Artem Wallace didn't have a big scoring night, finishing with 12 points, but that was largely due to his lack of touches despite him posting hard and working the floor on both ends. He still managed to get to the free throw line and did a nice job on the glass.
Big Time tournament home to three Cardinal commitments
If anyone has trouble finding Louisville head coach Rick Pitino then look no further than one of the gyms hosting the Big Time Tournament where at any given moment one of three Cardinal commitments; small forward Lamar Roberson, power forward Amir Johnson or point guard Andre McGee are likely to be found on any given court.
Jovan Adams continue to hot play in July
After Houston Elite lost their early morning contest on Friday point guard Jovan Adams was overheard emphatically stating his disappointment. In fact the 5-foot-11 floor general told everyone in ear shot that it wouldn't happen again in their night contest.
34 points later and obviously a firm believer in the "if you want anything done, then do it yourself" philosophy Adams had led Elite to a win over Branch West (Calif.) in their nightcap. If his eight 3-pointers weren't enough to dazzle you then his drives to the basket in crunch time should do the trick. While he doesn't rack up big assist numbers he is a drive and dish guy who can do so when needed.
Quick, fast and in a hurry
Syracuse commitment Eric Devendorf banged in 14 points with his physical guard play that includes penetration and finding his teammates or setting up outside for his nice jumper.
Jabari Currie is a 6-foot-5 point guard with nice scoring ability. DePaul is his current leaders along with Florida, Arizona, Miami and Maryland also being mentioned.
Forward Wilson Chandler was injured early in the morning contest but came back although he seemed to be playing in a little pain. He has a very long list of favorites with offers from Michigan State, Ohio State, Purdue, Xavier, Dayton and Houston.
Michigan commitment Jerret Smith has found a new home with Team Detroit and it appears to suit him. The left-handed guard knocked down 4 three's on his way to a 20 point scoring effort.
Ryan Wright's afternoon performance found the head coaches from Michigan, St. Joe's, Wisconsin, and UCLA along with assistants from Illinois, Stanford and Pittsburgh. Those seven schools make up his list of favorites.
Shooting guard Nathan Skinner is currently favoring Pepperdine over South Carolina, Clemson and Penn State. He scored 23 points in his afternoon game.
Byron Eaton had narrowed his choice down to Cincinnati and Oklahoma State. Andy Kennedy and Sean Sutton were both on hand to watch him score 15 points Friday afternoon.
Houston Elite shooting guard Gerald Green showed a new dimension to his game this morning when he pulled down 11 rebounds.
Shooting guard Tommie Liddell playing with Team Detriot is a smooth lefty and when his shot is falling is hard to stop. He scored 19 points in a losing effort.
Oklahoma State commitment Roderick Fleming reportedly had 36 points in his early morning game.
2006 big Derrick Caracter struggled Friday night while finishing with only seven points. The 6-foot-7 power forward didn't get a lot of touches but had trouble scoring when he got the chance.
Magnolia State won in a rout with Monta Ellis scoring 23, N.C. State commitment Courtney Fells knocking down four 3-points and finishing with 14 and 2007 standout Al Graham chipping in 12.
Dior Lowhorn was Belmont's only bright spot against Magnolia finishing with 24 points and nine rebounds.
Georgetown commitment Josh Thornton was impressive from the field showing he can clear a defender for an open look or shoot off the bounce. The 6-foot-3 shooter was also a suffocating defender. He scored 17 points against the Texas Bluechips.
Brandon Rush likes Oklahoma, Indiana, Louisville and Arkansas. But judging from the lack of coaches watching him play his jump to the NBA might be inevitable.
Oklahoma, UCLA, Miami, Marquette and Oklahoma State are claimed offers from Leo Criswell who is currently wide open.
Stay tuned to Rivals.com throughout the weekend for continuous coverage of all three tournaments in Las Vegas (Nev.).