Vegas Day Two
Ayinde Ubaka once again caught the attention of both college coaches and talent scouts in the audience at Day Two of the Pump ‘n Run Easter Tournament in Las Vegas. Cat Tracks correspondent Aaron Jones was there all day Saturday and talked to us at length about what he saw.
First of all, however, it's important to let our readers know a little bit more about the Bay Area super prospect. Ubaka is a 6-1 (maybe 6-2) junior point guard from Oakland High and he has been THE standout thus far at the all-star camp. His H-Squad team (Bay Area) has played very well, thanks mostly to Ubaka.
"Ayinde Ubaka is one of the best players at this tournament," Aaron Jones said. "If not THE best. He's just very, very good. He's a heck of a floor leader and he has good quickness and length. He needs to work on his perimeter shot a little bit but that's not something that can't be developed later on. He can defend you too.
"I'll tell you what," Jones continued. "He is definitely going to burst on the national scene this summer, I guarantee you that."
The consensus on the early leaders for Ubaka has been that it's a two-team race between Arizona and Cal. Keeping the Bay Area native in Berkeley for college might be tougher than expected because of the great guard tradition under Lute Olson at Arizona.
Jones was on his way to watch Ubaka's second and final game of the night when Cat Tracks spoke with him so more will be known tomorrow at this time.
Among other individuals that impressed those in attendance on Day Two included Gerald Bryant, a 6-2 junior shooting guard from Phoenix (Mesquite High). Bryant drew raves from most of the spectators at his earlier game, including Jones, with his lights-out shooting stroke.
"A kid that can really shoot it is Gerald Bryant from the Arizona Stars," Jones said. "He can flat out shoot it! He really turned some heads with his game today. He doesn't even touch the rim, it's just all net. He's a great, great shooter."
Jones doesn't believe that Bryant has quite enough of an all-around game to be a Pac-10 level prospect but something more along the lines of Mountain West, WCC or other mid-major type schools.
Six-foot-ten-inch forward-center Jackie Butler was another player that impressed Jones. Butler is from Mississippi and had coaches like Rick Pitino (Louisville) and Jim Harrick (Georgia) taking a look at him while he was on the floor.
"Butler had some of the southern schools from (the SEC) looking at him today," Jones said. "I saw Pitino and some guys from Georgia watching his game. He has really nice low post moves but he's also pretty raw. He has a great upside."
Other notes and quotes from Jones on Day Two:
Jones was asked to talk about players who stood out to him other than the aforementioned trio and here is what he had to say.
"Devon Evertsen is a very skilled player. He's improved since the last time I saw him during the school year. I just don't know if he has the intensity, but if he ever does…he's going to be a good one.
"Wesley Washington (6-3 junior SG, Mater Dei H.S. in Santa Ana, CA) is a good athlete, so is (his Mater Dei teammate and fellow junior) Harrison Schaen (6-10, 210 forward-center). He played really well today and he just runs the floor very well for a big guy.
"Leon Powe (6-6 junior power forward from Oakland Tech High School) is a great talent," Jones continued. "He's probably only 6-5 or 6-6 but he has such long arms that he seems really long. He's a terrific athlete.
"The Stewart twins, Rodrick and Lodrick (both 6-2 junior shooting guards from the Seattle area), are just like the Craven twins (from USC). Great athletes, can get to the basket anytime they want to, they're strong, they'll defend you and they're not great shooters."
Jones had another chance to see some of the younger kids play again today and he came away impressed by DeMarcus Nelson and Harvey Perry, Jr.
"Perry is from Green Valley High School here in Las Vegas," Jones said. "He's about 6-3 and he can play the point or the two guard positions. He's very long and athletic and he's a pretty good prospect.
"Nelson is about the same size, 6-3 or so, but the difference with him as a point guard is that he can really shoot it. He's an outstanding sophomore point guard and he's got to be the best at his position in his class, or at least that I've seen so far."
Other Day Two Notes:
*The Pump ‘n Run team that features guys like Evertsen, David Padgett (injured), Omar Wilkes and Trevor Ariza, lost today to a team from Villa Park, California. It was mistakenly reported yesterday (by me…my bad) that Ubaka was also a member of the Pump ‘n Run team and that is not the case. Ubaka plays for H Squad.
*Ubaka's team will square off against the DeMarcus Nelson-led EBO/EA Sports All-Stars tonight. It should be a game featuring the nation's premier point guards from the junior class of 2003 and the sophomore class of 2004.