The morning started at UNLV and a chance to see the 2010 laden California Supreme. The best of the bunch was Jeremy Tyler, the big man from San Diego. Tyler has the size and athleticism to be an elite prospect. The Supreme were in control the whole time, and he made the game a dunkfest. He said he likes the way Sun's big man Amare Stoudemire plays, and you can see some of his game in Tyler's, especially the way he attacks the rim.
Tyler claims to be wide open, opting not to list any teams, but he did confess that he likes the Wildcats.
"Arizona is great, I love Arizona," Tyler said. "But right now everyone has a chance."
Two of his teammates are also very intriguing. Tyler Lamb is a wing with a sweet shot, while Gary Frankling is a solid point guard prospect. Franklin may not have the purest jumpshot, but he does make his fair share of outside shots. What makes Franklin more impressive is that he had arm surgery that left him with temporary nerve damage.
Next up was my second look at Jordan Hamilton. There is no doubt that Hamilton can score, but he needs more lift on his jumpshot. He did do a very nice job trying to take his man off the dribble but the ARC Cobra team he was matched up against lacked the athletes to stay with Hamilton.
Matt Carlino is impressive. The Phoenix are point guard hardly looks like a player who won't be enrolling in high school for another month. His build and feel for the game are far superior to most players his age, and he is showing a knack for scoring. He still has some developing to do, but you can see why the Cats have already offered the smart guard.
Wildcat assistant Miles Simon was on hand, as was ASU head coach Herb Sendek.
We had heard good things about Colorado big man Trevor Williams. Williams is a legit 6-11 and has good size and footwork, but he failed to exert his will on the much smaller and less talented Illinois Magic front line. I watched him for over a half and he failed to make a field goal. There was some talk the Cats were evaluating him, but if the game I saw was a true indication, then he probably isn't "Arizona good".
Over at UNLV I took another look at Brendan Lavender, who was still not getting a lot of looks with the P-Miller All-Stars. At one point the team had 47 points and Demar Derozan had 36 of them. In fact the rest of the team had made just five field goals. Lavender had one made bucket, which came off of a steal and breakaway lay-in.
Keith Gallon is a tough player to gauge. He had a dunk where he showed surprising hops, but then failed to work hard on defense late in a blowout win.
Next up was another viewing of Belmont Shore. It was another hard fought battle for the shorthanded Belmont team. With just one reserve Belmont faded at the end against King of the Court of Ohio.
Brandon Jennings and Jeff Withey played well again. One thing that is very impressive about Withey is his stamina. He has rarely rested in the Tournament, but has played very well despite the long minutes.
Jennings' competitiveness is so impressive. After King of the Court finally took the lead on a three pointer, Jennings took the inbounds pass and raced down court to regain the lead for Belmont. Unfortunately, they just didn't have enough in the tank to fend off the deeper team from Ohio.
Hollis Thompson is one of the highest rated small forwards in the 2009 class and you can see why. He is by no means a finished product, but he has great athleticism and has a good motor. He did not take many jumpshots in the game I saw, but he did not have to as he was too busy taking the ball to the rack. He assured me that e can hit the jumper and even told me that I could talk to his coach if I didn't believe him.
He has a long list of schools, but admits that Duke was his favorite school as a kid. Although The Blue Devils were a childhood favorite, he admits that he really likes the West Coast.
He'll be attending the Arizona Elite Camp next month and does like the Cats quite a bit.
"Lute Olson is a great coach," Thompson said. "I got a chance to meet him at the Cactus Classic and I was really impressed. It is on the West Coast, and that is a big factor."
Willie Warren does not have the Cats in his current top five, but has not ruled them out either.
We did not see him play, but folks are raving about Peyton Siva.
AJ Bramlett was seen watching Jennings and Withey. Former NBA head coach Doug Collins was on hand to watch Hollis Thompson. In fact there were more former NBA head coaches in the building, than current college head coaches. Kevin O'Neil was on hand for the first half.
Tuesday begins the craziness that is pool play, so there is almost assuredly gong to be some shocks and surprises, as well as some great basketball action.