Las Vegas Evaluations: An Arizona slant

There were tons of elite players to watch in Las Vegas this weekend. Both Cat Tracks and TheInsiders were out to cover the event. West Coast recruiting analyst Greg Hicks gives his insight on a number of players the Wildcats have at least some interest in.

Arizona's recruiting interests in bold.

Lawrence Hill, 6-7 JR PF, Glendale (Ariz.) Deer Valley. We saw him play two games this weekend. One game was very good, the other was poor. Hill hasn't put on much weight since last summer, still probably in the 200 pound range, even though he has a frame that looks like it could. He has some good explosion off the floor, and long arms, which enable him to get things done around the basket without really possessing any set post moves. He also loves to catch and shoot from the outside, with a jumper that needs work. But he's definitely a four man, and because of his athleticism and the frame that looks to be able to hold more weight, he's still considered one of the best in 2005.
ARIZONA'S INTEREST: The Cats are all but done recruiting Hill after the verbal commitment of Fendi Onobun.

Marcus Johnson, 6-6 JR SF, Los Angeles (Calif.) Westchester. There isn't a better athlete in the west than Johnson. He has the perfect, 6-6 wing body, and his hops are unequaled. Johnson can throw down dunks with the best of them, and, when he wants to, he can be a great defender, with some great foot quickness which enables him to guard anyone. The skill set, though, hasn't developed much, nor has his grasp of the game. He's great at getting out on a break and finishing, but a bit lost in the halfcourt game. His outside jumper is still not very consistent. High majors will undoubtedly be intrigued with his athleticism, and if he ever developed the skills to match, he'd be a truly elite prospect.
ARIZONA'S INTEREST: Cats still looking at Johnson, but he is not a top-tier wing prospect for them. They prefer guys like Martell Webster and Julian Wright.

Bryan Harvey, 6-4 JR SG, Los Angeles (Calif.) Westchester. Long considered one of the best wings in the class of 2005 in the west, Harvey is very talented - a very good athlete with good all-around skills. He can really get hot from the outside, and has the ability to create on his own, and even takes mid-rangers, which many prospects don't. He can get into a selfish mode for long stretches, though, where he loses focus on how to play with the rest of his teammates. In one stretch the weekend before, Harvey must have taken six threes in a row in six trips down the court. The basics have always been there, but there is just a need to keep focused on how to play good basketball for him.
ARIZONA'S INTEREST: Arizona is keeping an eye on him, but not seriously pursuing him.

Andre McGee, 5-10 JR PG, Moreno Valley (Calif.) Canyon Springs. The well-hyped junior guard looked better in this tournament than when we saw him during his high school season. He had put on a bit of weight a couple of months ago, and it looks like he's trimmed down a bit and regained his quickness. There is no one who can break down a defender like McGee, and his outside shot has gone from a set shot to now a more fluid, quicker jumper, and it's still very accurate. The question is - McGee has been playing his break-you-down, shoot-first type of game for so long, can he really execute the point guard position in a structured college offense? As of right now, even though we list him as a point guard, his mentality is better suited to the shooting guard position.
ARIZONA'S INTEREST: The Cats want a comb-guard, but McGee is probably too much of a gunner. They will eye him, but prefer the likes of Mario Chalmers and Terrence Williams.

Alex Stepheson, 6-9 SO PF, Studio City (Calif.) Harvard-Westlake. With every event, you can see Stepheson getting more confident and aggressive. He used his athleticism to play more above the rim this last weekend, and went banging inside quite a bit more often. He has a good upper body, just needs to get thicker in his lower body to be able to hold his inside position. But he's definitely one of the best prospects in the class of 2006 in the west.
ARIZONA'S INTEREST: Arizona assistant Rodney Tention was out to watch Stephenson in Los Angeles on Thursday. He will be a top recruit for the Cats in 2006.

Christian Polk, 6-3 SO SG Glendale (Ariz.) Deer Valley. Polk was very impressive in the one game we saw him over the weekend. He's got a great body –long and lean – but also has good quickness for his size. His shot isn't real pure – sideways rotation – but he knocks down a good percentage. He's improved his ability to take defenders off the dribble. The most impressive aspect of his game, though, was his defense. He's got the physical attributes to be a great defender, but we had never seen him apply himself before at that end of the floor. Saturday night, though, he did a great job of closing out on shooters – blocking two jump shots – and also showed great lateral movement defending on the ball. Polk has a chance to be among the elite two guards in the west for 2006.
ARIZONA'S INTEREST: A player the Cats are in on. He should be a top recruit for the UA if he continues to develop.

Jerryd Bayless, 6-0 FR PG Phoenix (Ariz.) St. Mary's. We've had Bayless as the top point guard in the west for 2007 since last summer and we didn't see anything in Las Vegas to change our mind. Good size and strength, great explosiveness – both in terms of quickness and off the floor. Very advanced mid-range game and an adequate shot from three-point range. He's playing on a team where he needs to score -- so we didn't see the passing ability he's shown in the past – but there's no question he's got the vision and instincts to be a big-time point guard. He's got a strong handle and plays with a lot of confidence for a freshman. With continued development, Bayless has a chance to be among the top point guards nationally in the class of 2007.
ARIZONA'S INTEREST: The Cats are all over Bayless. There are reports that he has already been offered and looks to be the best point guard in the state since Mike Bibby.

Davon Jefferson, 6-7 JR PF, Lynwood (Calif.) High. He had a huge weekend, really using his great athleticism to his advantage. His springiness around the basket enabled him to out-rebound and score on some pretty elite competition, while he also displayed a nice touch from 15 feet and in. He's still pretty thin, weighing probably 195 pounds, and he hasn't put on much weight, which is his primary limitation right now. But he looked like one of the best frontcourt players in the west for 2005 this last weekend. Academics will be an issue.
ARIZONA'S INTEREST:The Cats have looked at Jefferson in their quest for a big. His grades and lack of size are a major concern. Probably not a player they will recruit very hard.

Jamal Boykin, 6-6 JR PF, Los Angeles (Calif.) Fairfax. Boykin continues to elicit a wide-range of opinions. He plays so hard, and his skills have improved to the point that many say, "He's such a winner. He just gets it done." Others are skeptical that his limited athleticism and thick body will be able to get it done once it's playing against elite high-major competition on the college level. While his skills have improved, his shot is still a slow set shot that he struggles to get off when guarded.
ARIZONA'S INTEREST: Cats have never gone after Boykin very hard and with Onobun's commitment they are done recruiting the talented forward.

Terrence Williams, 6-5 JR SG Seattle (Wash.) Rainier Beach. Williams played point guard with his Rotary Select team, but he'll be a wing in college. Big, strong body – he can overpower kids in high school – and a very good athlete. Overall skill level is good, not great. Shot is inconsistent, but stroke isn't bad. Handles well for his size, needs to work on decisions with the ball. Big upside if he tightens up his game. High major prospect.
ARIZONA'S INTEREST: He is a top target for the Cats.

Marcus Williams, 6-6 JR SG Seattle (Wash.) Roosevelt. Long, with a good frame, and a fairly good athlete. Outside shot was inconsistent in game we saw – release is a bit slow. Nice feel for the game. High major prospect.
ARIZONA'S INTEREST:The Cats like him a lot and vice versa. The one concern is whether he can play both the two and the three. The Cats want a player who can do both. May be too much of a shooting guard. A fall back behind the Cats' top-four wings.

Jordan Wilkes, 6-11 JR C Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola. Wilkes continues to improve every couple of months that we see him. He's growing more comfortable with his body and moves much better now than he did a year ago. Good skills with the ball – nice touch to about 15-17 feet. Needs to add strength, and play more aggressively, but he's developing into a possible high major prospect.
ARIZONA'S INTEREST: Arizona is really scouting Wilkes. They'd rather have a banger, but Wilkes has a ton of upside.

Daniel Deane, 6-8 SO PF Salt Lake City (Utah) Judge. Very good frame – great shoulders – physical and moves well. Decent stroke to three-point line. Strong fundamentals. High major prospect.
ARIZONA'S INTEREST: Cats are looking at Deane. Could be a very good one in 2006.

Mario Chalmers, 6-1 JR PG Anchorage (Alaska) Bartlett. Chalmers is not exceptional at any one thing, but he's pretty good in most facets of the game. Good size and quickness, a solid stroke from three-point line (although it's a bit of a set shot). When he puts his mind to it, he's a good defender. A lack of competition in Alaska has made him a little too casual with the ball, but that can no doubt be corrected. He has a chance to be the top guard in the west for 2005.
ARIZONA'S INTEREST:Wildcats' top guard prospect and may be their top recruiting targer overall.

Artem Wallace, 6-8 JR C/PF Toledo (Wash.) High. Wallace had a rough weekend. He dominated play Friday night – when coaches weren't allowed out – showing great hands and the ability to score in the low-post. Then he got hurt in his first game Saturday when he suffered a knee injury. He came back to play later in the game, but didn't look to be 100%. We think he's still among the elite posts in the west for 2005.
ARIZONA'S INTEREST:Arizona is really starting to look at Wallace. They have some ground to make up, but they like his physical style.

Brett Hoerner, 6-9 JR PF Fullerton (Calif.) High. Hoerner's slight frame is a concern, but he's definitely got the skills to play at the high major level. Very good feet and hands, nice touch to about 17 feet. As he gets stronger, we look for him to become a better scorer in the low post.
ARIZONA'S INTEREST: A lot like Wilkes, Arizona is really scouting Hoerner. They'd rather have a banger, but Hoerner has a ton of upside

James Keefe, 6-8 SO PF Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.) Santa Margarita. As of today, he looks like the top four man in the west for 2006. Great frame, very good hands and feet and extremely active. Excellent rebounder. Very nice-looking shot to about twenty feet. He's obviously been well-coached at Santa Margarita. A potential elite player nationally in the class of 2006.
ARIZONA'S INTEREST: Will be one of Arizona's top targets in 2006. Already has interest in the Cats.

Phil Nelson, 6-7 SO SF Keizer (Ore.) McNary. The surprise of the tournament, Nelson has a chance to be an elite, high major prospect. He's got a good basketball body, moves very well and shows excellent instincts. Very nice shot to the stripe and can finish at the rim – good hops. He goes to the top of our list for West Coast wings in 2006.
ARIZONA'S INTEREST:Cats are already well aware of Nelson. They will be on him a lot from here on out.

Ray Hall, 6-9 SO C Denver (Col.) Mullen. Hall's big body looks to be slightly trimmer than it was last summer, but he's still a load. Great hands, good feet and very skilled with the ball. He's one of the top centers in the class for 2006.
ARIZONA'S INTEREST: A guy the Cats are going to take a long hard look at.

Kyle Singler, 6-6 FR SF Medford (Ore.) South Medford. Kevin Love has gotten all the attention up in Oregon -- which isn't a shock since he's the best freshman in the country right now. But Singler, who plays on Love's Portland Elite Legends team, is a terrific prospect in his own right. Good length, nice shot and very good ball skills. A potential elite prospect in the class of 2007.
ARIZONA'S INTEREST: The Cats like Singler a lot and LOVE Kevin Love. Expect the staff to watch a lot of these guys' games over the next few years.

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