Vegas Day Four

LAS VEGAS – Day four saw the end of pool play and the start of Tournament play. One team the Cats are looking at barely held on to win, while another blew a five point lead in the late stages to get bounced.

We saw Senario Hillman for the first time. A few years ago the thought of a player from Georgia committing to Arizona might seem crazy. Then in the past two years Arizona got a commitment from Mohamed Tangara (who's guardian lives in Georgia) and Jordan Hill. Suddenly it does not seem so crazy.

Hillman is a quick combo guard who plays for the Atlanta Celtics. He's got a nice build and solid length. He has terrific hops and works hard on both ends. Right now he likes Georgia, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Kentucky and Arizona.

The Cats are the only non-southern team on the list, but he loves the Cats' up-tempo style. We stayed in the same building to get our second look of EBO and Quincy Pondexter. EBO advanced to the second round after beating DTA 17's 87-74 behind 24 points from Pondexter. The fast rising junior was off from behind the arc, but still managed 16 points in a close 68-64 win over the Tallahassee Wildcats.

Pondexter was great around the hoop, but just couldn't hit the outside shot. He played lackadaisical in stretches but really looked good when he was battling. After the game he said that there are still a number of teams on his list and the group is actually growing, not shrinking. The Cats and UW are still in good shape, but John Calipari was there on Sunday.

Derrick Jasper continues to impress. Whoever lands him is going to get a really solid combo guard. The Lopez twins are studs. Stanford is in good hands with them patrolling the middle. We ran into Cardinal forward Lawrence Hill's mother and she said that they are thrilled to have those two coming in.

After that we raced across town for our first look at Seth Tarver. We were running late and figured we'd just get to catch the tail end of the game. Instead we got to Durango HS in time for the final 5:00 of Friends of Hoops vs. DC Blue Devils. The game went to overtime and FOH survived in a thriller.

DC Blue Devils had a chance to win it in regulation, but Tywon Lawson waited too long to start a play and they never got a good look at it. FOH won it on the line in the final seconds of overtime.

Spencer Hawes served notice that he may be the best big man not named Oden. He scored 27 points in the win, outplaying Kevin Durant who spent most of the game on the perimeter.

Isaiah Thomas is a good little player and that is the problem. He's only 5-8. If he was 6-2 he'd be big time, as it stands he has a year to grow a bit and prove that he can run the show against bigger players. He is extremely quick and can shoot the ball. He hit a huge 19-footer that put FOH up in the final minute of over time.

After that it was time to see Tarver. He has great size and is put together, but questions about his athleticism are valid. He is a good athlete, but not great which can be a concern at the wing. He busts his butt and knows how to play the game. He is a very nice player, but in my opinion he's clearly the third win on the Cats' wish list.

After that we went to see a little bit of Harper Kamp. The Phoenix PF is strong and active, but he just does not have the body of a big time Pac-10 power forward. He is working with a trainer to transform his physique and get stronger. Arizona has shown some interest, mostly after the elite camp and a nice showing at Adidas. He has a lot to prove to get an offer from the Cats or any other elite program, but there is potential there. Fairfax's Chase Stanback has the size and length you want from a wing. He plays second and third fiddle on his high school team, but he is a guy the Cats will seemingly be keeping and eye on.

UCLA's Jordan Farmar and Josh Shipp were on hand to watch Josh's younger brother, Jerren Shipp. Josh wore a "Shipp Happens" t-shirt.

In other news the SoCal All-Stars advanced. That means Lute Olson has at least another shot to see and be seen by Chase Budinger. It looked as if we were going to get to see a showdown between Lance Thomas and Jerryd Bayless, except Thomas' New York Panthers lost a five-point lead in the final moments and were bounced from the tournament.

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