It was enjoyable to go off the grid if such an expression is appropriate in talking about visiting Las Vegas. The latter is where artificial is a way of being and a town that features so much female and (yes) male cleavage that we fully expected to come across a bra and bro shop side by side on The Strip.
So here's a three dot version of sorts recounting what was witnessed and experienced (and remembered). For the provincial, there's not a lot of Nor Cal material below as we spent time at the Jam On It tourney located at The Hilton. It featured the Seaside Select 16 squad led by one Matthew McCarthy, among others.
The coaches were out and about as usual. John Calipari, Billy Donovan, Ben Howland, Eric Reveno and their many brethren were seen adorned in their various school logos. Roy Williams crossed our path, along with his entourage, coming out of the Hilton one early evening. He was sporting a pink polo shirt and yes, we do have to question his ability to recognize talent when it passes by. Ahem.
Seeking a respite from the Bishop Gorman High gyms that resembled a rush hour Tokyo subway car, we located a frozen yogurt establishment that appeared as if an oasis. Five minutes later, Isaiah Thomas and his Florida International staff came in to do the same. No, we cannot report on what flavors and topping he ordered thereby losing any chance of ever working for TMZ.
One quick comparison: adidas 64 was headquartered at Rancho High and the main gym contests featured a PA announcer, three referees (all the Adidas games had a trio of refs) pulled out bleachers for the fans, plus music during lulls in the action.
But a boo to the Adidas folks for pulling out of the pre-tourney Tip Off Challenge where the matchups were loaded. For example, Dream Vision had been scheduled to play the Oakland Soldiers and that was but one example.
Loved the Team Loaded squad as well as Hoopaholics but unfortunately they never were matched up with each other.
Former Fresno State assistant Senque Carey was coaching the Bay Area Hoyas.
Team Future featured Jalil (Berkeley High) Eppenger and Sterling (Chico High) Smith and both are listed as being at Stoneridge Prep in southern California.
Andre (Deer Valley) McPhail played on Team Superstar 17 and is listed as being at Westwind Prep in Arizona -- ditto for Quincy Smith.
Our focus was on a number of national players on teams located out of our viewing area. Here are one game snapshots (the objects described in the following may be better or worse than witnessed):
Dream Vision (a pair of viewings)
Robert Upshaw - has lost a lot of weight and still had no physical matchup, he'll go Pac-12 and reminded us of Sean Rooks (the former Arizona big).
Shabazz Muhammed - he was close to gangbusters one game but disappeared the next (a ligament problem in his foot and then an ankle sprain slowed him)
Winston Shephard - wasn't sure if he had a dribble-driver component after one game but showed that plus three-point range and explosion in the paint during game two
Joe Rahon - definitely can shoot, even on the move and can run an offense if a coach is not looking for a dribble-drive creator at the point
McKenzie Moore 2011 - which Pac-12 team will offer him a scholarship? Or is Providence going to nab another Bay Area soon-to-be star?
Mac Irvin Fire (Chicago)
Jabari Parker 2013 - he shot 5-12 overall, 7-8 from the foul line in the one game we saw, highlights included catching a pass, eluding two defenders near the top of the key and dunking plus tipping a pass, followed by a couple of dribbles and another dunk -- he wasn't dominant, just very productive
Worldwide Renegades (Georgia)
Micheal Hall 6-foot-10 2012 and Charles Mitchell 6-foot-8 2013 will never get out of SEC territory
Amile Jefferson 6-foot-8 2012 is thin but strong and can ballhandle and kick plus shoot -- whoever lands him gets a very talented and versatile player -- he led Philly's Finest to a 68-66 win over Kyle Anderson and the Playaz
Playaz Basketball Club
Kyle Anderson 6-foot-8 2012 is old skewl, he passes well from his high perch viewpoint but would have great vision as a six-footer, he displays a hesitation with shot on dribble-drives and releases on his fadeaway as the defender is returning to earth -- at the end of game, he missed a free throw, later missed an in-key turnaround jumper with seven seconds left, then rebounded a missed free throw with 6.3 seconds but lost ball coming down the court -- still, he was fun to watch and in command on the court
Andre Drummond 6-foot-10 is a prototype big -- long arms, agile, quick, unselfish, great vision, can rebound outside of his area, did try to dribble too much bringing the ball up the court, can dunk when you think he is too far away from the basket -- he's a one and done if he even plays college ball. Heading into Vegas, Shabazz was the fave of my nephew Matty but it was all Drummond as we departed
Aaric Armstead 6-foot-8 260 - a bruiser who likes to lower his shoulder and bulldoze to the basket but he also displays a faceup jumper, will be play basketball?
Gabe York 6-foot-2 - nailed a verrrrry long 3, grabbed two lob passes he turned into dunks and also buried some floaters, loved his game and wondered why he isn't featured more in the offense?
Jordan Loveridge 6-foot-7 - could play PF in the WAC and the West Coast Conference but possibly not the Mountain West Conference and probably not the Pac-12, showed dribble-drive skills, was a good distance shooter and played very unselfishly
Marcel Davis 6-foot-2 (Utah State) - he didn't appear as a creator and didn't really show his shot but he looked comfortable running the offense and getting the ball to the right people at the right time
David Collette 6-foot-11 (Utah State) - he blocked some shots and even hit a trey but obviously needs to add a great deal of strength and weight, he could be something down the line if he changes his body