*Eric Payne, 6-3 SG 2004 from Southeastern High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Payne is an athletic shooter from Tulsa that is already getting interest from Oklahoma, North Carolina and Oklahoma State. He has very broad shoulders which suggests that his growing is far from done. Very impressive today and yesterday. Can be a dominant scorer in spurts and hasn't even begun to realize how valuable his defense could be. Carolina has already inquired about his transcripts and is showing serious interest, according to Payne.
*Jordan Farmar, 6-2 CG 2004 from Taft HS in Los Angeles. The son of a former Major League Baseball player Damon Farmar and godson of ex-MLB great Eric Davis, Farmar has the role models in his life to see what it takes to make it on this and the next levels. A 30-point per night scorer in the high school season, Farmar (pronounced FAR-mar, NOT Farmer) is being asked to get his teammates involved more in the AAU season this summer. In talking with him this afternoon, he told Brad and me that he "loves Mike Bibby" and also has interest in Stanford (aunt graduated from there), Gonzaga and just about everyone in the Pac-10. "I don't really want him to play in LA because I think it would be better for him to get out and experience life," said his dad, Damon, who currently lives in Scottsdale.
*2004 rising star Enrico Tucker injured his right foot again in this afternoon's game. He was being watched by Lute Olson and Rodney Tention but his coach pulled him after missing an early layup, held him out until just before haltime when he injured his foot and then reinserted him only to run a zone offense, where he basically had his players stand around in a set spot, passing the ball. Hardly the kind of offense that showcases a point guard's talents. The night before, however, Tucker was outstanding in leading his team to a big win over the Gary Payton Nike Select team featuring the ultra-athletic Stewart twins (Rodrick and Lodrick). Enrico had a monster dunk (he's only 5'11") and added a game-high 12 assists, most of which went to Sean Marshall, who scored an impressive 32 points for his IEBP Ballers team.
*Long Island Panthers superstar Charlie Villanueva (6-10, 240 '03 WF) looks bored against the inferior competition here. He can do whatever he wants whenever he wants but it takes a threatening team to get him to show what he can really do. There aren't many of those teams here. He and his teammates, especially SF Sammy Mejia (the superstar of the Panthers today), simply toy with the opposition.
*The Pump 'n Run team was eliminated this morning when they were forced to forfeit due to injuries and illnesses on the squad. Trevor Ariza (nagging leg injury) and Omar Wilkes (cold and flu symptoms) didn't play at all here at the Best of Summer. Bryce Taylor and Fred Washington were also among the no-show, no-plays on the main Pump team.
*Ekene Ibekwe told me after his first game of the day that Maryland is the team coming on the strongest in his recruitment. "My teams are still the same but Maryland is showing the most interest." Ibekwe didn't play very well yet again today, but he makes it impossible to ever write him off completely with brief flashes of brilliance on offense from time to time. A great college coach (not good, but GREAT) will be absolutely necessary to get Ibekwe to turn into what his potential and untapped talent suggest he should be as a player.
There will be a column or two based on our experience(s) here in this "hopeless...hole we call L.A." in the very near future. Brad and I have met some message board legends (including the prodigious top-ranked man himself) and had some interesting/entertaining happenings on this trip. More to come later...
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E-mail Ben Hansen at AZPointGuardU@yahoo.com