Wildcat recruits rule in Las Vegas

<B>LAS VEGAS-</B> Every game we say on day one of the Las Vegas Pump & Run Tournament had implications for the Wildcats. With some great West Coast talent represented, it is only natural that the players were very interested in the West's best program.

A traffic jam on the Hoover Dam delayed our arrival to Sin City, but we did get a nice look at Mario Chalmers. Chalmers is the Cats' top guard prospect and he scored 25 points to lead the Alaska/New Mexico Pump N Run team to a 70-60 win over the Las Vegas Rebels.

Chalmers showed that he can score, but it was his passing ability that makes him special. It was also interesting to note that he logged a lot of time at the two. Many point guards struggle without the ball in their hands, but Chalmers showed that he is a true combo-guard.

Seattle's Rotary Select has a ton of talent. They don't have the post presence they had last year with Marvin Williams, C.J. Giles and Josh Heytvelt, but their guards are superb. Most notably the combination of Terrence and Marcus Williams. The two aren't related, but have tons of talent. Terrence is a 6-6 point guard who is built like a power forward. His jumper is suspect, but he is strong and explosive. He only scored 12 points, but all of them were memorable, coming on either thunderous dunks or difficult lay-ins.

Marcus Williams is a pure wing and he can only be described as smooth. His shot has a soft touch and he almost glides to the rim. Thanks to multiple trips to the foul line, he scored 32 as Rotary Select won 75-54 over an overmatched team from California.

The Compton Magic played a lackluster game and it almost came back to bite them. The Chico Tar Heels had a last second shot to up end the talented LA team, but Efren Del Rio's three-pointer at the buzzer came up short ant the Magic held on for a 69-67 win. Del Rio hit a key three just moments earlier to get the Tar Heels within two, 67-65.

Big time point guard prospect Anthony Goods did not really strut his stuff. He scored just nine points and never showed the skills that have propelled him into the upper echelon of point guards.

The final two games we saw were routs. Pump N Run had too much height and handled the Agassi Stars 74-48. Portland Panthers Red had no trouble dispatching WVBC All Stars 71-41.

Pump N Run was led by the twin towers of Jordan Wilkes and Alex Stephenson. Wilkes is intriguing, he's a bit awkward, but has great athleticism and has a ton of upside. Stephenson looks like he could become one of the top forwards in the class of 2006. He has a nice mix of power and speed and scored 14 points in limited minutes. He doesn't have any leaders, but says that the Wildcats are under consideration.

Big man Artem Wallace got all the hype, but he has some great teammates on the Portland squad. Wallace played well, but a pair of ‘06ers may be better long term prospects. Seth Tarver looks like he could be a big time wing, while 6-8 Phil Nelson may be big enough to be a post player, but is skilled enough to play the wing.

There will be plenty more action as the Las Vegas Showcase gets rolling on Saturday. Cat Tracks will be covering both events and will have plenty of reports and interviews over the next few days.

Photo by Carl F. Shifflette III

Wildcat Authority Top Stories