Vegas Day 1: Sad end to a good day

LAS VEGAS – Three tournaments, tons of players and, sadly, one ugly incident. A good day of basketball ended badly as a brawl occurred after the final game of the day.

Belmont Shore and Triple Threat played a heated, physical game. There was a lot of trash talking and that carried over to the handshake line after the game. It was tough to tell what happened, but punches were thrown and one of the adults in the crowd was pepper sprayed by police after he picked up a chair.

Credit has to go to Wildcat assistant Josh Pasnter who was able to pull several of the players out of harm's way and into the auxiliary gym.

Sadly the fight will overshadow a very entertaining game. Belmont came into the game with just two reserves and lost Jason Paul Olukemi to a nasty bump on the head. Triple Threat pulled away for good when Withey fouled out with 1:50 to play.

Withey played well, despite picking up a few iffy fouls. He was very good on the defensive end, blocking six shots and altering almost as many more. He scored 13 points and pulled down four boards. He missed his first three shots, but then made five of his next six, including a sweet spinning hook shot.

After Triple Threat stormed out to a six-point lead in the second half, Belmont made a concerted effort to go to Withey and it paid off as Belmont regained the lead.

Jennings had a solid, but frustrating game. Although he scored 19 points and dished eight assists, he was unable to finish on a number of drives where he was fouled. He was 11-12 from the line, but could have had more if he was making the "and ones".

Getting to see future Wildcat Brendan Lavender play was a bigger challenge than one would expect. Considering the shooting guard was playing on two teams, you'd think it would be easy to catch a peak.

Not so. With his Arizona Magic team playing in one event at 8:00 a.m. and the P-Miller All-Stars tipping off at 10:00, the 6-4 swing man had a decision to make.

He chose the later tip and was not present for the early game.

The Magic did not miss him and rolled to a pretty easy 20-point win.

Coming into the event we heard good things about the Magic's Javon Crump. The 6-7 wing appears to be headed to the Brewster Academy next year but is playing with the Phoenix based Magic over the summer.

Crump, a 2009 prospect, has some interest in the Wildcats but seems to still be in the proving stages. I only got a quick look but he has a good build and size. He has some good skills, handles the ball fairly well and tends to do better when attacking the hoop.

I have some questions on his overall athleticism and he did not shoot real well from the outside. He shot the ball "too hard" in most cases. It is tough to say whether he had an off night or whether he lacks good shooting touch. He's clearly a D-I prospect, but I need to see more if he is an elite level prospect.

Lavender did suit up for the P-Miller All-Stars at the Main Event. The teams has 20 players on the team, so playing time is at a premium. Lavender started both halves but probably played little more than 10 minutes. He spent a lot of time deferring to Ricardo Nelson and Demar Derozan and I am not sure he even took a shot.

Speaking to him after the game he promised he'll be featured more when he took the floor with the Magic.

That never happened as Lavender informed the Magic shortly before their afternoon tip-off that he would not be playing with them. According to Magic coach Anthony Ray the move came as a surprise as earlier in the day he and Lavender were text messaging about the early game. In fact, Ray said that Wildcat coaches were on their way to the game when they got word that he was not playing with the Magic.

Nelson played well for P-Miller. The 2009 guard scored 13 points and is a good player. He's quick and athletic and was a nice compliment to Derozan who was his usual dominant self.

Nelson has not narrowed down his list but likes most of the Pac-10 and grew up and Ohio State fan. He did confirm that he likes the Wildcats and has been in contact with the staff.

Prior to P-Miller tipping off, I took my first look at New Zealand's Ritchie Edwards. The wing is now playing high school ball in Florida and wants to play college ball in the states. He has a host of teams on his list, most in the ACC and SEC, but wants to hear more from Arizona and Louisville.

The Cats have been in contact recently, but Edwards needs to prove he is athletic enough for the Cats' style. He's got great fundamentals and has a very soft shooting touch. Overall foot speed may be an issue and he did not finish real well in the first game I saw him in. He did have a very nice driving floater and knocked down a few threes, but he was less efficient when trying to score in traffic.

I spent most of my time watching Brandon Jennings and Jeff Withey's Belmont shore tam batte the always tough D-I Greyhounds, but did have a few minutes to sneak over the the Auxilary gym to watch D-One Sports and 2009 point guard John Wall.

Wall is a tall, long guard who is really attracting some attention. The Raleigh, NC standout admits that he's a big fan of the ACC, but will not list any favorites at this time. In addition to ACC teams, he is looking at several other programs. He says that the Wildcats are recruiting him and would consider the Cats, although it is just "50-50" that he'd leave the state of North Carolina.

On the main floor it was a real battle. It was a true back and forth contest. Both clubs traded leads, but with just over 7:00 to play the Greyhounds edged their way to a six-point lead, but Jennings promptly chopped it in half with a three-pointer from the right wing. Just a minute later and Belmont had the lead. The Greyhound had a chance to take a three-point lead with 48.1 seconds left, but could not convert from the foul line. Withey altered one riving lay-in but was whistled for a foul on Kenny Frease, but the big man missed both foul shots. Belmont came down and patiently moved the ball around, finally finding Jennings for a tough three pointer to put Belmont back in the lead 77-75.

The Greyhounds had one last chance to tie, but turned the ball over allowing Renaldo Woolridge to ice the game with a pair of foul shots. The World Wide Renegades have a few intriguing players, most notably point guard Mfon Udofia and wing Ari Stewart. It was tough to get a really good feel for their abilities as their team was getting beat soundly, but Udofia has very good quickness, while Stewart is very long and smooth.

I had another chance to watch Jordan Hamilton. Hassan Adams' cousin is one of the better wings in the 2009 class. He still needs to improve his ability to take guys off the dribble, but he's got great athleticism and can knock down the jumper.

Right now Texas has a slight lead over Syracuse, North Carolina State, Arizona, Washington, UConn and USC.

His I-Can All-Stars teammate and former Wildcat recruit Matt Simpkins is listing California, Washington, USC, UConn and Florida.

Wildcat Authority Top Stories