Las Vegas Day 2

LAS VEGAS – Sunday meant an end to pool play at the various Las Vegas tournaments. We got out to see a number of new players as well as a few of the ones we caught on Saturday.

Maybe the biggest news is that we got a chance to sit down for a few minutes with Jerryd Bayless. The elite combo guard from Phoenix admitted to being wide open, but insisted that Arizona was clearly in the mix. He also mentioned Texas, Washington, Georgia Tech and others.

Jamelle Horne was more confident. He feels that both Bayless and fellow EBO teammate Jeff Withey could very well join him in Tucson. Regardless, Horne said he has been actively touting his future school to the two. He was also very excited about recent commitments of Zane Johnson and Laval Lucas-Perry.

Withey does like Arizona a lot but also has a number of teams on his list including UCLA, Kansas, Boston College and Washington to name a few.

Our first stop this morning was to check out another committed player, center Alex Jacobson. Jacobson suited up with his Mater Dei team after spending most of the summer with the SoCal All-Stars. Jacobson played as well as we have seen him. The more disciplined style of play suits him better than the freewheeling style of the All-Stars. Jacobson played with a lot of confidence and worked his tail off.

His conditioning is better and he has made some great improvement in the little things. His positioning is better and it has really made a difference in his anticipation and his ability to get to rebounds.

The Wear twins also thrived in the Mater Dei system. The 6-9, athletic big men always impress, but were better with more familiar teammates. In the past they seemed to have trouble deciding whether or not to defer to the other players on the team. Here they had a better feel for what is expected of them. Travis looks a little quicker than David does at this stage, but both are good and going to be great. There were times where Travis looked like a guard bringing the ball up the floor.

Kamyron Brown looks unreal one minute and mortal another. Brown is incredibly quick and can get to the hoop, but he had a lot of trouble finishing both of the games we saw him play.

The Wildcat coaches were out in force to watch Luke Babbitt. Lute Olson, Josh Pastner and Miles Simon were on hand to watch the 2008 power forward. Babbitt may have had a very average game for him but he was facing a number of double teams and his teammates did not do a great job getting him touches. He still finished with 14 points and six board.

Some feel Jrue Holiday may be a top-10 player in the 2008 class, but he was outshined by his older brother Justin today. Jrue scored 16, but Justin eclipsed him with a game-high 28. Their Double Pump squad held on to win a close one. Jrue favors UCLA and Arizona slightly over Texas, Arizona State and Washington.

EBO got all they could handle from PAL of DE but got another late surge to pull out the win. It may be time to dub Bayless "The Demoralizer". For the second straight night he had a thunderous dunk that left the opponents shaken and his team fired up. In both cases EBO was able to pull away after the Bayless scores.

The big player in the game for EBO was Matt Simpkins. The athletic big man was on fire and had his midrange jumper was falling.

In the crowd was a virtual who's who of college coaches. Olson, Pastner and Simon were again on hand but they were joined by Lorenzo Romar, Rick Pitino and Bill Self. Also looking on was former Wildcat A.J. Brammlett and Luke Recker.

One game failed to live up to the hype. The SoCal All-Stars and the D-I Greyhounds were slated to go at it. It was a chance to see O.J. Mayo and Kevin Love on the same court. It was standing room only at Foothills High School as they were turning folks away at the door. It was so crowded that the fire marshal had to okay things before they tipped off.

Sadly, the game was a laugher. SoCal opened the game on a 16-4 run and never looked back. Mayo started off 1-7 from the field and never got it going. He made three straight in the second half as part of an 8-0 run but the burst only cut the All-Star lead to 19.

Last year Brandon Jennings got the best of Mayo and it happened again. When we left the school there was five minutes left to play and the 2008 point guard had 14 points and 10 assists. Mayo's attempts to rattle the younger Jennings with some smack talk apparently had next to no affect on the Compton standout.

Word is that Wildcat coaches were out to see every game that Johnson and Lucas-Perry played. Laval's parents were on hand in full Arizona gear to watch EBO play. After the game they introduced themselves to Horne and chatted with his parents a bit.


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