Vegas Log: Day1

LAS VEGAS – The day started off early and ended late. That's what happens when you cover recruiting. With kids spread out all over town and a ton of prospects to see, it may be fun but it is never easy.

3:00 a.m. Stories are finished at about 2:20 a.m. The Friday night games ended at 12:30 or so and then it was off to Henderson where we are staying. We've had a healthy dinner of convenience store chili dogs. After posting the stories we are no engrossed in a home shopping show where some hillbilly is hawking knives. He just added a samurai sword to the mix and now we can buy 24 knives, including something called a ‘Beaver Skinner' for $149.

8:00 a.m. Five hours sleep and now it is time to go. A quick shower and a quicker breakfast. We are out the door by 9:20.

9:45 a.m. We get to Desert Pines High School where we need to pick up media credentials. Last year the Media Center had poorly marked signs and some of the staffers were a little testy when we (and about four other journalists) went to the wrong room. We were a little gun shy at first because the signs pointed to the room we got scolded in last year but the signage was better and the staff was very helpful.

We run into basketball writer Frank Burlison and chat about who we are going to see. It's always good to rub elbows with a Hall-of-Famer.

10:45 a.m. Centennial High Schools is far. Like Reno far. We can see the strip, but it certainly looks small in the distance. Terry Steffen, our host says that we are the same distance from the strip as his house is, only we are on the opposite side of town. We can't even see the part of town he lives in because of a haze on the horizon.

10:51 a.m. Jim Harrick is coaching Pump ‘N' Run. That's right "The Stud" is coaching a group of high school All-Stars. Not many kids can say they have been coached by a national championship winning coach at the AAU level.

10:55 a.m. I don't want to say that Austin Daye is skinny but I think he was on the cover of People Magazine last week along with Keira Knighlty and Kate Bozworth. That being said, the kid can really play. The Zags are getting a good one.

11:13 a.m. We become even more impressed with Larry Drew when he nails a three and is fouled. He's a tough, smart point guard. Clearly a top 2008 prospect.

11:24 a.m. The game is getting chippy and James Hardin does his best World Cup impression. He was legitimately roughed up, but went down in a heap only to pop up and knock down a pair of foul shots.

11:30 a.m. Down 14 with less than 2:00 left, Huntington Park is rolling the ball to the point guard to avoid the clock starting and fouling to extend the game. I guess when you are going to lose by double figures every second counts.

11:52 a.m. EBO is LOADED. They've added Billy White, Jerryd Bayless and Matt Simpkins to a team that already had Jamelle Horne and Jeff Withey among others.

12:18 p.m. #24 for the Compton Magic takes an awkward, off balanced shot at the halftime buzzer and buries it. A sweet but ugly shot.

12:30 a.m. Bayless has a HUGE cheering section but he disappoints them with a pedestrian dunk on a break-away. With his explosiveness his fan base was expecting something spectacular.

12:35 p.m. Somehow the Compton Magic are within three with the ball and the crowd is into it. Too often these tournaments have a very sterile environment but this one is fun.

12:43 p.m. After a slow star Bayless is heating up. He's carrying EBO while Horne is on the bench with foul trouble. The jumper is falling and he's got 21 points.

12:48 p.m. Horne returns to the game. We'll see if he can get it cranked up like Bayless has.

12:49 a.m. It didn't take long. Horne slams home an offensive rebound that brings the fans to their feet and fires up his EBO teammates.

12:51 a.m. As good as Horne's dunk just was, Bayless follows with a better one. Bayless slams down a one hand jam that has the folks in the stands going crazy.

12:53 p.m. Two minutes later the crowd is still buzzing and the Compton Magic is demoralized. EBO will go on to win this one going away.

1:45 p.m. Wendy's Value Menu is a tad underrated. I got a small burger and chicken sandwich and a BIG soda for less than $4.00.

2:25 p.m. We are excited to see Laval Lucas-Perry. He does not get the start because he was late to a team meeting and with 7:00 left in the first half he is on the bench with three fouls.

2:30 p.m. Miles Simon and Josh Pastner are on hand to watch Lucas-Perry. His father is in the stands with a prominently displayed Arizona cap.

3:15 p.m. Lucas-Perry hits his second of two three pointers. He does not dominate. He isn't flashy, but he just plays hard and gets the job done.

3:29 p.m. Laval picks up his fifth foul. You get six in this event but he will have to spend some more time on the bench.

4:48 p.m. Off to the Tarkanian Basketball Academy to watch and Under 16 bracket game. The building is a steel industrial building without a good ventilation system. It is a tad hot in here. We are watching a team that features five players 6-8 and taller, including two seven-footers. The reason we are here is to watch Emmanuel Negedu, a 6-8 power forward who is VERY athletic. Get ready to hear a lot more from this kid. He's got a lot of tools.

4:51 p.m. 5-9 Lewis Jackson just threw himself a lob pass off the glass and threw down a sweet dunk. Sure it was only warm-ups but the kid is 5-9.

5:13 p.m. Luke Recker is in the building. He and Josh Pastner, who were teammates for a short time, exchange some pleasantries. 5:24 p.m. He may be over a foot shorter, but # 6 for the Dallas team we are watching is facially a dead ringer for the Clippers' Shaun Livingston. 5:51 p.m. Team Indiana has a line-up on the floor that goes 7-0, 6-10, 6-10, 6-8 and 5-9.

6:45 p.m. We are now a Foothills High School to pick up credentials for the Reebok Big Time Tournament. The staff is among the nicest folks you could meet. They would give you the shirt off their back, literally. When Wildcat Insider staffer John Jones told them about a small water leak they jokingly asked him to stand over it and warn people. He offered to do so but only if they gave him one of the Reebok golf shirts that they were issued. One of the ladies said "you can have mine". For the record John did not take her up on the offer.

8:46 p.m. We are watching EBO again. They were coasting to an easy win but got complacent. A 20+ lead is now down to 13 and late in the game Bayless, Horne, Simpkins and Withey are coming back in the game.

8:51 p.m. The move works and EBO will win by double figures. That does not stop the Texas Select coaches from having their players foul to extend the game. I know you hate to concede a game, but if you are down 15 or more with less than a minute to play, you are not going to make a comeback.

9:11 p.m. Comedy moment of the night. A reasonably attractive blonde is scampering on the bleachers and slips. She falls and lands flat on her posterior. She's trooper and pops right up and laughs about it, but she will feel that the next day.

10:10 p.m. We get to our final game and find one of the most random sights. Standing in front of Green Valley High School is Lorenzo Romar eating corn on the cob. Not one of those half cobs you get at some fast food joints, but a full cob. Having not eaten since about 12:30 it smells really good.

10:39 p.m. DeAndre Jordan just posterized Andy Poling with a nasty dunk.

10:47 p.m. Poling can play but someone needs to take him to a buffet or two pronto.

11:35 p.m. Clint Chapman has a monster game and outplays higher rated big men Jordan and Poling. Jordan and Poling played well, but Chapman was the best player on the floor.

12:20 p.m. While waiting for our food at In ‘N Out Burger we hear the sad story of the young hipster behind us. He is nearly in tears when he tells his friend that "he just wants to be remembered" and feels that competitive eating is the way to make his mark on the world. When told that he'd have to eat more than 50 hot dogs in less than eight minutes he exclaims "that's just wrong. Can I eat something other than hot dogs and hamburgers". I am laughing too hard at this point to hear his next scheme to become famous.

1:35 p.m. Wrapping up my story and I just learned I can get 15 knives for the low, low price of $75.


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