Hectic Vegas trip promises tons of prospects

LAS VEGAS - Ahh, July. Specifically the end of July which can only mean…VEGAS! Vegas basketball tournaments that is. Not one, not two, but three competing tournaments all on the same days. It's fun, crazy and very hectic.

I've already driven over 500 miles and have yet to see a game. I left Tucson at 9:00 a.m. and between a side trip to the Phoenix Ikea and a nearly two hour delay at the dam, I missed the early games of the new GBOA Tournament.

The event was held at a stellar YMCA facility that is on the far Northwest side of Las Vegas. By the time I got there the semi-finals were complete and the dunk contest was half over.

Brandon Jennings and Jeff Withey's Belmont Shore team was beaten in the semis, so the only prospect I got to see was 2025's Drew Steffen, son of former Arizona Intramural official and sometime WildcatInsider contributor Terry Steffen. Any hope of Drew earning a scholarship to Arizona probably hinges on him being a baseball or hockey prospect, but even then he might need a talent infusion if he inherited his dad's genes.

Although the three tournaments are a basketball recruiting fan's dream, they aren't easy to navigate. Each event is located in a different section of town, with a different headquarters. This year won't be as bad as both the Super 64 and Main Event will play games on the campus of UNLV.

The days leading up to the trip call for a lengthy strategy session just to map out the itinerary. You want to see as many games as possible, without missing anyone. The good news is that there are four plus days to traverse the city watching games, but you want to maximize your time in Sin City.

Three hours and several sheets of scratch paper later and I have a tentative schedule that I will probably stray from several times the first day alone.

Coaches do the same thing, but the UA staff is in a fairly unique position. They have their 2008 class all but wrapped up. Although they will keep tabs on their commits and continue to pursue a player or two in the class, they really don't need to babysit any players. Add to that the fact that Emanuel Negedu is not at the event, choosing to compete with the Nigerian U19 team. It gets even easier as Brandon Jennings and Jeff Withey are playing on the same Belmont Shore team, while Brendan Lavender is playing on tow teams which gives he staff extra chances to watch him play.

For the most part the staff will be presumably watching 2009 and 2010 prospects, which is what we will be doing as well.

Sunday will begin with a trip to Henderson and Foothills HS to take in the Reebok Summer Championships. The former Big Time event, still features all the top Reebok teams.

First off is the Arizona Magic Blue and Lavender. The Magic also have a few young players who are expressing interest in the Cats. In the main gym is the World Wide Renegades, who have a few players the Wildcats may be looking at.

Among the teams we will try to watch the first day are P Miller All-Stars (Lavender), Team Texas (Willie Warren), Belmont Shore (Jennings/Withey), Atlanta Celtics (Noel Johnson), EBO (Jerry Brown/Brendan Lane), Pump N Run (Reeves Nelson), I-Can All-Stars (Jordan Hamilton); Seattle Rotary Select (Peyton Siva) and Dallas Mustangs (Nolan Dennis).

Other players we'll keep an eye on are Hollis Thompson, Colin Borchert, Matt Carlino, Lance Stephenson, Roberto Nelson and several others.


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