More news from Las Vegas

Day two of the Las Vegas Big Time Tournament began with Brad and I driving to Palo Verde High School for a 9 a.m. game between Team Yes and the San Antonio Tornadoes. We came to watch Brandon Roy, a 6-5 wing from Seattle (Garfield), Wash. The last time I saw Roy play he was the best athlete in the Pump Easter Tournament and his game was sharp. Today, he was only a shell of the player I evaluated back in April.

Roy is playing for Team Yes and, although Team Yes came away with a 68-58 victory over the San Antonio Tornadoes, Roy might wish he had stayed in bed this morning. He might also have wished Arizona coach Lute Olson hadn't picked this particular game to evaluation his skills. Despite the sub-par performance, I'm sure Olson understands that a player's performance can be effected by a torn anterior ligament.

Roy tore the ligament in his left knee at a team camp on the campus of the University of Washington the week prior to the Nike Camp. At the time Roy didn't realize the full extent of the injury and flew to Indianapolis to play in the Nike event. Doctors examined the knee before Roy ever set foot on a court at Nike and sent him home before he played a single game. Upon his return to Seattle, Roy had a MRI on the knee and the results showed the tear. Doctors told him he could play in the Big Time Tournament but not to expect much. But young ball players seldom listen to doctors, parents or anyone for that matter.

In the contest I observed Roy was running, but at half speed, hesitating and obviously favoring the knee instead of making the sharp cuts I saw earlier this spring. His performance was so frustrating it was affecting other parts of his game. His passes weren't as crisp and he had no bounce in his step. He seemed a bit too slow and couldn't explode to the glass as he did prior to the injury. He also had very little elevation on his jumper.

But if I were Roy, I wouldn't be too concerned. Arizona, Kansas and UW are all staying in the hunt. Doctors will operate on the knee Aug. 9 and after two weeks of rehab Roy will be back on the court. By the time his high school season begins, Roy should be at full speed.

After watching Roy, Brad and I made the cross-town journey to Durango High School to watch Richard Chaney, a 6-4 wing from Compton (Verbum Dei), Calif. who's playing for Pump N Run, annually one of the strongest teams in the tournament.

Of all the players Arizona is recruiting, Chaney might be the most difficult to evaluate.

In his game today, Chaney and his teammates blew out the Newark Rams by almost 50 points. Although Chaney only scored seven points, he was very much a key to his team's victory.

Chaney never seems to do anything spectacular, but he always seems to make the play. He's long and rangy, plays good defense and is a great passer. He's not a prolific rebounder, but has a nose for the ball and gets more that his share of boards. But again, I never seem to notice his solid statistical line until I look at a box score. Chaney ended the game with seven points, four assists and five rebounds. Not bad!

In another contest, Inner City Players suffered a tough two-point defeat at the hands of the Raleigh Heat. The Raleigh Heat are loaded with a number of the nation's top players on their roster.

Shavlik Randolph, a 6-10 power forward from Raleigh (Broughton), NC and rated the #1 player in the country by Bob Gibbon's All Star Sports Report, along with Michael Thompson (#43), a 6-11 center from New Lenox (Providence Catholic), Ill., and Matt Walsh (#35), a 6-6 wing forward from Ft. Washington (Germantown Academy), Pa., give Raleigh an imposing front line. Randolph has Duke and Florida at the top of his list while Thompson has committed to Duke and Walsh to Florida. I'm sure both are doing their best to recruit Randolph.

Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on which team you're playing on, Thompson sat out the contest with an ankle injury he suffered the day before. Had Thompson played, the outcome might never have been in doubt.

I don't think I'd rate Randolph at the top of the Class of 2002, but he's certainly among the top 25. Randolph has a lot of versatility and there's no doubt he's more comfortable at the four spot than playing with his back to the basket in the post. However, with Thompson looking on from the sidelines, Randolph demonstrated some quick feet and nifty post moves while working in the paint. He can also handle the ball and shoot it out to three-point range, but in this game his shot wasn't falling so he did his damage in the paint.

Chris Rodgers and Brandon Lincoln, playing for the Inner City Players, performed well but it just wasn't enough on this day.

Rodgers scored 11 first-half points but was held scoreless in the second half. He had a chance to tie the game on a last second shot but penetrated too deep on a drive, got caught in traffic, and threw up a wild shot that had no chance of going in as time ran out. Rodgers has a number of tools in his offensive arsenal, but that drive to the basket made it very apparent that he needs to work on his midrange game before he'll have the full set of tools.

Lincoln put on a superb performance in a losing effort, but it didn't go unnoticed as UA coach Lute Olson sat on the sidelines. Lincoln was the aggressor from the time the opening tip went up until the final horn sounded.

"We came up short today," Lincoln said with an air of disappointment. "But we'll bounce back tomorrow."

Lincoln kept the game close, running the break and scoring in transition, taking his man off the dribble on drives to the basket and hit short and midrange jumpers. But at 6-3 or 6-4, Lincoln might a little too short to earn one of the scholarship spots on the UA roster. But he is a player. Lincoln has quick hands that make him a very good defender, but he needs to get a little stronger and work on his ball handling to be a complete player.

Thomas Gardner, a 6-5 junior wing from Portland (Jefferson), Ore., is another Portland Area player we'll be keeping an eye on in the future. Gardner can light it from beyond the arc and is very athletic. He goes to the glass aggressively and works hard at both ends of the court. The Portland Area is fast becoming a basketball hotbed and Gardner could be its next superstar.

Antoine Wright had another off day and his Inland team was blown out by Seattle Friends of Hoops I. In fact, later in the evening Wright's coach Evert Perry told me how he had to console Wright for more than an hour after the lose. Wright apparently felt he played so poorly he might have a hard time earning a scholarship offer. Believe me, Wright still has a scholarship offer from Arizona and I doubt that Texas A&M, Virginia, Tennessee or any other school will take their offer off the table.

Wright, who has a tendency to lose his patience when his shot is not falling, scored 14 points but hit only six of 17 field goal attempts after going 6 of 24 in his last game.

Friends of Hoops was led by Lodrick and Rodrick Steward, a pair of super-talented 6-4 twins from Seattle (Rainer Beach), Wash. who are ranked among the top players in the Class of 2003. Rodrick had 22 points and Lodrick 12 in the win over Inland.

In a late game, Bryson Krueger, a 6-6 wing from Phoenix (Mountain Pointe), helped Double Pump Arizona overcome a nine point deficit late in the game and led his team to a 68-62 win over the very tough DFW Saints. Krueger had 28 points, four rebounds, four turnovers and a blocked shot.

Krueger and Matt Haryasz, a 6-10 center from Page (HS), Ariz. who plays for the Arizona Heat, are two in-state players being pursued by a number of Division One programs and both list Vanderbilt among their top schools. Vandy coach Kevin Stallings was in the stands at Krueger's game.

Sean Moore, a 5-10 point guard from Tucson (Amphitheater), plays on the Double Pump Arizona team with Krueger. Moore has an offer from Northern Arizona.

Pool play has ended and the tournament begins Thursday.

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