Many impressive players in Las Vegas

The Las Vegas Easter Classic has been a nice event, but the Houston Hoops sure seem like the team to beat. The Hoops have already advanced to the second round of the playoffs and things have not been real close.<BR> <A href="">GREG HICKS' VEGAS RE-CAP</A>

According to those watching the event, Nic Wise has looked very good. Wise hit four threes in Friday night's final game and has been shooting well all weekend.

The thing that has been the most impressive about Wise is his ball handling skills. There are few players in the prep ranks, regardless of age, who has the handle that Wise has. Hal Pastner compared him to a "yo-yo" in terms of his quickness and ability to change directions so swiftly.

The only drawback for Wise is his size. Wise, though only a sophomore, is short and lacks the length that many Wildcat point guards have possessed.

"He's no bigger than 5-9," confessed Cat Tracks reader Terry Steffan who was on hand.

The newest Wildcat, Hoops' forward Fendi Onobun, has looked very good all weekend long. He's consistently scoring in double figures, and wowing people with his athletic ability.

"Wow, that kid is athletic," Steffan said. "He's really put together. It's hard to believe he's only a junior in high school.

Like Wise, the big knock on Onobun is his height. Observers say he's right around 6-7 and it will be interesting to see just how big he gets. Onobun is a true combo-forward and if he gains a few inches he could be a monster as an inside/outside player. Even if he shows up at 6-7, Onobun is showing that he is athletic enough to play either forward spot effectively.

The Hoops have a number of D-I prospects, but many analysts did not pay a lot of attention to Martellus Bennett. Bennett may be one of the top tight end prospects in the nation, but he's looked pretty solid on the hardwood as well.

He has been offered a chance to play both football and basketball at a number of schools. So far those wanting the 6-7 Texan for both sports are Arizona, Wisconsin, UCLA, Texas A&M, and Stanford.

Bennett confirmed that he is going to visit Arizona in September and according to Hoops' headman Hal Pastner, the Wildcats are the current leader.

The Hoops aren't the only good team in the event. Salt Lake City Metro looks loaded and Brayden Bell is one reason. Bell is a 6-10 big man who has dominated the competition.

"He's good, he's real good," said Steffan. "He's real big, but he's real athletic."

In the game we heard about, Bell showcased his outside game more than his inside skills. The big man faced a zone in the game our observer watched he was not sure if that was the main reason for his outside shooting and lack of post moves.

"He shoots the ball really well from the outside," Steffan said. "He had a nice jump hook, but that was the most we saw from him inside."

Belmont Shore has a couple of big time players, but they were not as impressive as billed, or so we heard.

Several sources told us that they were less than impressed with Brett Hoerner. For a player who has been billed as a four-star prospect, he did not perform. We were told that he has a lot of promise, but he's going to have to get stronger before he lives up to his billing. He is athletic, but we heard his hands were shaky.

His teammate Jamal Boykins was a little more impressive. Although his shot was not very good, he showed great toughness and an ability to get to the hoop.

"He's the best player on that team," Steffan said. "He's a real tough kid and pretty athletic."

One player who is trying to make a name for himself is Marcus Johnson of the SoCal All Stars. The wing showed off his great athleticism, but is still a very raw prospect. He's shown a lot of interest in the Wildcats and the Westchester standout is good friends with Hassan Adams and some other current Cats.

"With more skill development, Johnson has a chance to be a high major wing," said the Insiders' Greg Hicks who is just lukewarm on Johnson.

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