Vegas Notebook: Not going home, not today

LAS VEGAS — The winnowing of the various tournament fields offers opportunities to watch the best compete against the best, and all day we were treated to outstanding team and individual matchups.


After a ho-hum game in the morning session, Justin Simon delivered a magnificent performance when his team needed him the most. The Arizona-bound guard and his Dreamvision teammates were locked in a duel against the loaded Atlanta Celtics on Saturday evening.

Tied at the half, Simon went haywire during the second frame and erupted for one of the most devastating stretches of basketball all summer and pushed Dreamvision to a hard-fought victory.

He kicked off that memorable run when he became locked in on elite junior guard Kobi Simmons defensively. Simon guarded Simmons one on one along the baseline, and when his junior counterpart rose for a jump shot, Simon blocked it.

On the next Celtics possession, promising big man Abdul Ado appeared to have an easy shot over Simon at the rim for two points. But Simon sprung quickly and extended to not only block, but actually swat Ado's attempt. He then received the ball in transition and raced the other way for a basket.

Frequently cited for a suspect jump shot, Simon also drilled two stepback threes — one was authentic NBA issue — and another couple jumpers on the move. Late in the game, he tossed a lob pass to Chase Jeter for what proved to be the decisive points.

These kinds of starring roles play out frequently in Vegas. Over the years we've observed such heroism from Darius Washington, Jonathan Hargett, Kevin Love, O.J. Mayo and others. And while Simon hasn't ascended to that level of play yet, there's always Sunday. …


Brevin Pritzl put on a show on Saturday in a match up with Team Texas Elite.

The Wisconsin Playground guard got into a grove and couldn’t be stopped. Pritzl scoring spree consisted of threes, one-legged runners, mid-range pull-ups, floaters and adjusting finishes at the rim.

“I had it rolling a little bit,” Pritzl told after the game. “Sometimes you just get into that kind of groove, but I always wish I could play better. I got it going, but I think I can do a little bit better than that.”

Pritzl pumped in 17 points in the first half and finished with a total of 38 in the win over Team Texas Elite. Pritzl has the reputation of a shooter, but he’s much more of a scorer than given credit for.

“I never thought of myself as a shooter because when I was younger I was a post player,” he said. “I tried to develop my whole game throughout my whole career. I’ve gotten to be a very good shooter with a lot of repetition, but I prefer to call myself a scorer.”

Pritzl, a Wisconsin pledge, even likens himself to a former Badger.

“I see myself in a Ben Brust kind of way,” Pritzl said.

Pritzl committed to Wisconsin in late May. He said his style of play meshes with Bo Ryan’s and he is also impressed with their player development.

“Personally I love coach Ryan and I love what he’s done. I know a player that is a walk on there and seeing the improvement that he’s made in just one season is something that I can see with my game.”

Barcello emerging in Arizona

One of the better 2017 point guards out west is 6-foot-2, 165-pound Tempe (Ariz.) Corona Del Sol’s Alex Barcello.

A skilled passer who is also capable of scoring off the dribble with his jumper or attacking the basket, Barcello’s basketball IQ and approach make him a player that has the chance to be pretty highly recruited down the road.

Barcello’s coach with Team Bibby 16u, Damin Lopez, is pleased with how his star point guard is coming around.

“Alex is the ultimate, consummate point guard,” Lopez said. “He is a leader who can run his team and see the floor well, scores when needed, defends on and off the ball, and has become a better rebounder for us on both ends of the floor.

“His motor is tremendous and what sets him apart from others is the kid just flat out wins games and to me, that’s what makes a good point guard a great point guard.”

The rising sophomore prides himself in creating for those around him.

“I try to get other guys better and hit open shots,” Barcello said. “I want to lead more, be an all-around player and just keep getting my teammates involved.”

So far, Barcello has heard from programs in the Pac-12, WCC, Mountain West and Big West.

It’s still pretty early into his recruiting process, but what he’ll be looking for in a program will be simple.

“I’m looking for the school that will fit best at point guard,” Barcello said.

Evan Daniels, Josh Gershon and Rob Harrington contributed to this report

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