Las Vegas Evaluations

James Keefe, Artem Wallace, Kyle Singler and several other West Coast prospects are profiled in this report on the Las Vegas tournaments...

With two tournaments running concurrently in Las Vegas this weekend, there were plenty of players to evaluate. Unfortunately, the sites for the games were spread out around town and it wasn't easy to see everyone. With that in mind, here are some comments on several of the more notable players we saw over the weekend.

Mario Chalmers, 6-1 JR PG Anchorage (Alaska) Bartlett. Chalmers is not exceptional at any one thing, but he's pretty good in most facets of the game. Good size and quickness, a solid stroke from three-point line (although it's a bit of a set shot). When he puts his mind to it, he's a good defender. A lack of competition in Alaska has made him a little too casual with the ball, but that can no doubt be corrected. He has a chance to be the top guard in the west for 2005.

Artem Wallace, 6-8 JR C/PF Toledo (Wash.) High. Wallace had a rough weekend. He dominated play Friday night – when coaches weren't allowed out – showing great hands and the ability to score in the low-post. Then he got hurt in his first game Saturday when he suffered a knee injury. He came back to play later in the game, but didn't look to be 100%. We think he's still among the elite posts in the west for 2005.

Brian Morris, 6-7 JR C Portland (Ore.) Jefferson. Morris has a big body, long arms and a very nice touch to about 17 feet. He's not particularly explosive off the floor, but he knows how to use his body to get space. Look for some mid to high major programs to get involved with Morris.

Brett Hoerner, 6-9 JR PF Fullerton (Calif.) High. Hoerner's slight frame is a concern, but he's definitely got the skills to play at the high major level. Very good feet and hands, nice touch to about 17 feet. As he gets stronger, we look for him to become a better scorer in the low post.

James Keefe, 6-8 SO PF Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.) Santa Margarita. As of today, he looks like the top four man in the west for 2006. Great frame, very good hands and feet and extremely active. Excellent rebounder. Very nice-looking shot to about twenty feet. He's obviously been well-coached at Santa Margarita. A potential elite player nationally in the class of 2006.

Phil Nelson, 6-7 SO SF Keizer (Ore.) McNary. The surprise of the tournament, Nelson has a chance to be an elite, high major prospect. He's got a good basketball body, moves very well and shows excellent instincts. Very nice shot to the stripe and can finish at the rim – good hops. He goes to the top of our list for West Coast wings in 2006.

Ray Hall, 6-9 SO C Denver (Col.) Mullen. Hall's big body looks to be slightly trimmer than it was last summer, but he's still a load. Great hands, good feet and very skilled with the ball. He's one of the top centers in the class for 2006.

Taylor King, 6-6 FR PF Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei. King has started to drift towards the three-point line lately and hasn't been as effective as he was last year when he burst upon the scene. That changed Sunday when he went head-to-head with James Keefe. King showed he was ready to play when he grabbed a rebound under the basket, went straight back up and tried to throw it down. He played with great energy throughout the game and seemed to enjoy the challenge of playing against Keefe. He rebounded very well and did a great job of defending Keefe. King also knocked down a couple big threes late to help SCA win the game. One of the elite freshmen in the country.

Kyle Singler, 6-6 FR SF Medford (Ore.) South Medford. Kevin Love has gotten all the attention up in Oregon -- which isn't a shock since he's the best freshman in the country right now. But Singler, who plays on Love's Portland Elite Legends team, is a terrific prospect in his own right. Good length, nice shot and very good ball skills. A potential elite prospect in the class of 2007.

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