Inside it was shoulder to shoulder crowded as college coaches clamored to see the players they needed to see. With action going down on four courts simultaneously, it was not easy to get a good feel for each game, but wherever you looked there were some good players.
Although EBO was a no-show for the first game, the talent was still very good. Headlining the first set of games was Seattle's Friends of Hoop and sensational center Spencer Hawes.
Hawes attracted quite a crowd but it was some of the lesser known players who sparked a late rally against the Playaz. FOH buried a three and got a steal and lay-up to tie things up and then got a late bucket and foul to ice things for win.
Although Hawes did not win the game himself, he did continue to show the skills that have made him a top-10 recruit.
In bad news for the Wildcats, Hawes told reporters that Arizona was one of three teams he has eliminated.
Also showing their stuff in the early going were the Holiday brothers, Jrue and Justin. They continue to show a lot of promise. Right now Justin is more productive, but Jrue looks to be the better long term project. The Houston Swoosh Blue, led by the intriguing DeAndre Jordan, managed a win. Jordan is one talented big man. He moves very well and is athletic. If he puts it all together he'll be an elite guy in 2007. Josh Pastner was front and center for that game while also keeping an eye on Hawes on an adjacent court. Also very noticeable was new assistant Miles Simon who was very noticeable in a bright red Arizona t-shirt.
The second set of games saw Phoenix guard Jerryd Bayless get some big time attention. Pastner and Simon could not be missed, while Texas was out in force. Roy Williams was also front and center to let the 2007 top prospect know he was watching.
Bayless did not disappoint. He was solid in the Arizona Magic's win over Sam Rines. He hit a long two to tie up the game inside of two minutes then nailed a three to put the Magic up for good.
Jamelle Horne continued to show flashes of his well rounded game. He is a great passing big man and hits the boards hard. He is a terrific athlete and should develop into a player a lot of the big guys pursue. His Compton Magic team played the Georgia Stars tough, but could not pull to the win. The Stars prevailed 30-26.
We saw a little bit of 2008 big man Andy Poling. He played more aggressive tonight than when we saw him in the spring. He has big time written all over him. We noticed Pastner straying over to his court to get a quick look when there was a lull in Bayless' game
The talent, and the crowds, thinned out for the last two games. They did not tip off until 1:00 a.m. and many coaches had early games they needed to watch. The marquee player in the third set of games was big man Anthony Randolph. The 6-10 big man lived in Arkansas last year, but will be back in Southern California for his junior year. The Wildcat coaches were watching, as were the UCLA staff.
Randolph is very intriguing, but is nowhere near polished. He is long, athletic and skilled. He is very aggressive when the ball is in his hands, but has a tendency to just stand around when other players have the rock. He is a solid rebounder when he's working, but too often he stands around watching the action.
Randolph is wide open but said if the Wildcats showed an interest he would seriously consider them. Expect Randolph to drag out his recruitment. There will be no early commitments for the big man.
In the final game we got a look at Drew Viney and Sean Williams. Viney is a very solid wing, but is just not super athletic. He knows the game and works hard, but just did not look athletic enough in the small stretch we saw him to look like an elite prospect.
6-10 Sean Williams has good size and a terrific build. He has drawn a lot of interest lately, and you can see the potential. Another 2007 player who warrants another look.