Best of Summer Day One

Evan Burns and Hassan Adams went toe-to-toe at Fairfax High School to determine which team, Fairfax or Westchester, would be crowned champion of the Fairfax Tournament. On this particular day Westchester came out on top 69-68, but it would be difficult to predict the winner if the two were to play a seven-game series. If this were a boxing match, and that would be an apt description of this battle royal, the contest would have been called a draw.

When Fairfax meets Westchester on the basketball court, fans turn out because it's always a great game and one of the most heated rivalries in Los Angeles. Former Wildcat wing forward Chris Mills, a Fairfax alum, was in the stands reminiscing back to the days when he wore a Fairfax uniform and he told of the some of battles.

"I remember one game got so out of hand the fans battled in the parking the lot after the game," Mills said.

Mills, who sat out most of last season after having bone spurs and ligament damage to his right foot repaired, says he's back to working out full speed and ready for the preseason to begin. He also said he's heard good things about Gilbert Arenas and he's anxious to see Arenas when the Golden State Warriors begin workouts.

Today's championship game of the Fairfax Tournament was a classic battle between two LA inner city titans of the hardwoods and it was even better that two of the nation's top players were on center stage.

Evan Burns, a 6-8 wing forward from Fairfax, and Hassan Adams, a 6-4 two-guard from Westchester, matched blow for blow from the opening tip to the final buzzer before Westchester eked out a 69-68 victory.

Burns was the individual leader in the first half, scoring 15 of his game-high 28 points but Westchester held a slim 36-35 lead at the intermission. The game was close throughout and neither team could take control, but as the game progressed Adams became more of the aggressor and Burns seem to disappear.

Adams, who had only five points in the opening half, scored 17 in the second half. As the game moved into the final quarter, Adams took his team on his shoulders, battled for every rebound and scored in every way imaginable. He got a tip in, then after Burns hit a three-pointer Adams came back down court and hit a three tie the score. Burns scored only two more points as Adams and his Westchester teammates shut Burns down over the final quarter.

Arizona, Kansas, Cal, Oregon and Tennessee are recruiting Adams. Burns lists UCLA, Georgia Tech, Duke, North Carolina and Arizona but most everyone knows he's headed to UCLA if he qualify.

Some of the nation's big-name coaches were also in the crowd and Lute Olson was among them. So were Roy Williams, Rick Majerus, Steve Lavin, Ben Braun and assistants from Tennessee and Oregon and maybe 50 others.

After the game, UCLA incoming freshmen Cedric Bozeman, Andre Patterson and Dijon Thompson were talking to Adams. The three might have been giving Adams a sales pitch or they might have been discussing current affair. Regardless, they were having a blast.

In the third place game, Redondo Union beat Santa Monica 68-60. 6-7 forward Adam Zahn, the younger brother of Arizona center Andrew Zahn, led Redondo. Cal, USC and Kansas along with Pepperdine and Santa Barbara are recruiting Zahn.

Prior to going over to Fairfax, I stopped at Loyola Marymount to take in the Best of Summer. The tournament is run by Dave and Dana Pump. Yes, the Pump brothers are the sponsors of the Pump N Run and Double Pump AZ All-Stars as well as other AAU teams.

I came early to watch the Inner City Players featuring Chris Rodgers, but ICP was a no show. The team scheduled to play the Arizona Heat at the same time also didn't show, so the Heat played an exhibition contest against the West Valley Club.

Neither team is very talented but the Arizona Heat has Matt Haryasz, a player who is starting to get some attention from the big boys. So I took a seat at courtside and watched the Heat get beat again. The Arizona Heat was winless in Las Vegas, so the streak continues.

Haryasz, a 6-10 center from Page, Ariz., didn't play extremely well in this contest but it's obvious he has some talent. If not, Arizona coach Lute Olson and Stanford Coach Mike Montgomery would have been out playing golf. Instead, both were in the bleachers watching Haryadz play.

Haryasz is long and skinny, but he has great agility, runs the floor very well and has good footwork. His hands are little clumsy and he has no lower body strength, so his future is as a four man and not down in the blocks.

Haryasz has taken unofficial visits to Arizona, Arizona State and Northern Arizona University. ASU might be his favorite but Stanford and Oregon State are starting to come on.

Sean Moore, a 5-10 point guard from Tucson Amphitheater, is playing for Double Pump AZ. Moore says his top four schools are NAU, UTEP, Loyola Marymount and Wyoming. UTEP and Loyola are the co-leaders at this time.

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