Big Time: Day 1 Rundown

LAS VEGAS – The action at the Big Time was good enough for LeBron and CP3 on Saturday. The NBA stars looked on as O.J. Mayo did his thing. We've got a lengthy report from a strong day of basketball at the Reebok Big Time.

DI Greyhounds vs. Mich. Hurricanes

Nobody packs them in like O.J. Mayo and the stands were overflowing with the biggest first round crowd we've ever seen at the Big Time. The Greyhounds were tested but held on and weathered the storm from the Hurricanes which might have won the game had they not shot 5-for-27 from downtown. Mayo led the way with 23 and Bill Walker added 19 of his own. Despite struggling with his shot, Alex Legion looked like a guy whose game is coming back to him. He played as if the handcuffs were off after making his college decision. Darquavis Tucker led the team with 20 points.

SCA vs. Mean Streets Express

With some of the country's most touted guards on the floor, it was the presence of a big man who turned the tide for Southern Cal which would win 84-73. Midway through the first half when the game was tight, Kevin Love (20 points, 9-11 FG) began getting his touches and the result was SCA increasing its lead. Neither Derrick Rose nor Brandon Jennings shot the ball particularly well for their teams but scored 22 and 4 points, respectively. Eric Gordon continued to shine with his new team scoring 34 points. Major props to Taylor King and Malik Story who scored 17 each and provided lifts with their jump shots.

Clinton Chapman, C, Portland Panthers – There was no sharing the stage in a game against DeAndre Jordan as Chapman stole the show. Pushing 6-10 because he was able to look Jordan nearly in the eye, Chapman busted 2 3s, a pair of sweet post fadeaways and blocked Jordan a couple of times in the post. It's not about who offered because everyone on his list inevitably (like soon) will offer; it's about "can we get him?" This guy's game is coming on strong to the point where he's advancing past other prospects at a very high rate of speed. Trust us, he's a Pac-10 priority recruit after his latest handiwork.

Jeff Teague (photo by Glenn Nelson)
Tracy Smith, PF, Ga. Hurricanes – He's lost over 50 pounds and man he looks good. He's gone from high-major recruit because of his size and reputation to a guy the high-majors want to play an integral part on their team. While his waistline shrunk his game expanded and now he's a threat to face or post up with equal success.

Alvin Mitchell, SF, Team Breakdown – It happens every year. A good player with a resume but no rep emerges onto the scene. Mitchell could that fella this summer. The 6-foot-5 solidly built wing had it rocking from downtown as he rained 3s.

Cliff Tucker, SF/PG, N.M. Force – A completely unique player. Tucker ran the point for his team and can pass the ball at 6-foot-5. Most of his points come off drives or in the paint. He's the kind of guy you never try and compartmentalize position-wise you simply bring him onto campus and figure out where he best suits your team. Definite player on the rise who dished out 15 points and 9 assists in the opener.

Jeff Teague, PG, Spiece – One college coach appropriately referred to him as "the dominant player on the court." Exactly. There seems to come a time in each game where he feels that his squad needs a boost and he goes out and makes a play. The guy is a unique lead guard who can push tempo and score. He's had a helluva summer.

Julian Gamble, C, WW Renegades – When a guy lives 15 minutes down the road from you and you've seen him with his high school team numerous times, and then he rolls into Vegas 30 pounds heavier it catches you by surprise. Gamble is easily one of the most improved players in terms of size, aggression and intensity. "I can't even explain it," Gamble said. "Over the summer I've worked out with so many big time college guys that they helped me with my confidence." He's legit high-major and schools are scrambling to learn about him. If you value the late bloomer then he's your guy.

Omari Johnson, SF, I-Can – On Saturday the I-Can All-Star could in a loss to the Georgia Hurricanes. He could make 3s, could use his bounce inside and did make a favorable impression on anyone in the gym. He's teetering on being talented enough to play high-major basketball.

Blake Hoffarber, SG, Minn. Magic Elite – After a strong ABCD his stock rose. In our opinion, he's a player who could face a difficult decision. He's a shooter by trade who would be an excellent mid-major player. The highs are intrigued by his 3-point range but he struggled today in the 1-for-8 neighborhood.

Eloy Vargas, PF, Team Breakdown – This is a very intriguing prospect. He's 6-9+ and is getting bigger and any muscle he puts on will make a noticeable difference. The guy blocks a ton of shots and has an extremely long frame. He's got a fine touch and some think he's a little shy inside, we think that's only because he's light right now. Excellent prospect.

Shaquille Johnson, SG, Jax. Lee Bulls – He'll be one of those high-major guys in time with continued development. See him more as a scoring guard with a strong body and his work as an offensive rebounder doesn't go unnoticed.

Jordan Hamilton, SF, I-Can – There was a stretch in his game against the Hurricanes where the "wow" factor was definitely in play. With just one West Coast high-major in attendance (that will change very soon), Hamilton was awesome for stretches, outstanding in others. He's got a live body, a jump shot and the athletic package to become and elite player in his class. He is big time.

Up early to watch Anthony Randolph's first game was the entire Memphis staff, Illinois Bruce Weber, Billy Gillispie of Texas A&M, Cincinnati's Mick Cronin, Kentucky's Tubby Smith, 2 Texas assistants, LSU's John Brady and assistants from Louisville, Georgetown, Kansas, Oklahoma, Indiana and Baylor. At this point in the summer that's a lot of programs to be chasing one guy. There's a school of thought that has Memphis and Cincy pegged to be in good shape. Who knows?

Predictably, Roy Williams and Ben Howland were in the house for Kevin Love. Predictably Bob Huggins was there watching Bill Walker. Ditto for Tim Floyd's viewing of O.J. Mayo. … The entire UConn staff watched Brandon Jennings. … Watching 2008's Vargas was Roy Williams, Villanova, Florida and Miami. … Stanford head coach Trent Johnson was joined by a host of Pac-10 skippers watching Andy Poling (2008). …

Gertavian Blake could wind up prepping at Mount Zion or The Patterson School. … Ed Nixon says Penn State (head coach here), Virginia Tech (head coach) Dayton, Old Dominion (head coach), Miami, Georgia. … Shaquille Johnson, a 2008 combo guard, said Virginia Tech, Mississippi, Missouri, Wake Forest and Jacksonville were showing a lot of early interest. … Head coaches for Jon Leuer: Iowa State, Iowa, Notre Dame, Wake Forest. … Vanderbilt watched Leuer, Tucker and Hoffarber this morning. … St. John's head coach Norm Roberts was front and center for Justin Burrell. …

Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin watched Cordell Pope in the evening. … Tracy Smith had an audience of North Carolina State coach Sidney Lowe, LSU's John Brady and Virginia Tech's Seth Greenberg. Assistants from Louisville, Tennessee, Alabama and Charlotte were also there. … Vanderbilt watched Jordan DeMercy and Keegan Bell late night. … The only West Coast program in the gym watching Hamilton at the start of his game: California. …

Cliff Tucker has offers from San Diego, UTEP, Vanderbilt, Pepperdine and Utah. Texas, Virginia, Alabama, Oregon and Santa Barbara are interested. … Omari Johnson lists Boston College (they know a good sleeper when they see one) and Arizona State. …

Julian Gamble
Julian Gamble said Florida, Miami, Kentucky, Tennessee, St. John's, Georgetown, Rhode Island and Florida Atlantic were each beginning to recruit him. … Jeff Teague has it trimmed down to Wake Forest, Boston College, Indiana, Xavier and Southern Illinois. He plans on officially visited the Deacons and Eagles in August. … Alvin Mitchell has offers from Miami and St. John's. Villanova, he says, is dabbling with him. … CAPS point guard Michael Bizoukas has Southern Illinois, Northern Iowa and Evansville giving chase. …

Pretty much the entire Pac-10 filtered through a maddeningly cold (did I just write that in Vegas?) gym where Clint Chapman was playing. Chapman told that Washington, Southern Cal, Oregon, California, Georgetown and Arizona State were on him. UCLA was there as well in addition to Oregon State head coach Jay John. One hangup for the Bruins would be the addition of Kevin Love should they get him. Chapman said that may influence his decision. …

Jeff Teague Shot Chart
Something to think about – Manny Jackson of the Harlem Globetrotters was in the crowd for games involving Mayo, Walker, Love, Rose and Gordon. When the president of the world's most famous traveling team is in the stands it doesn't go unnoticed and is certainly some food for thought. …

Ed Nixon is beginning to settle in as a nice mid-major player. He had a huge Real Deal On The Hill and has been good at times but unlikely consistent enough for the high-majors to aggressively target this fall. … New Mexico Force has 2 shooters in Daniel Pierce and Aaron Castilla. The latter committed to New Mexico State but is listening to other options. … 2009 guard Kenny Boynton can flat out score the basketball. …

J.J. Hickson is one of the more gifted post players in the class. Time is running out for him to play to his capabilities this summer. … Aaron Pogue is a big boy but Long Island's Brian Williams who tips them at well over 300 lbs. nearly swallowed him up side by side. … Carlton Fay played one of his better summer games and had coaches scrambling to find out who he was. Meanwhile, Southern Illinois coach Chris Lowery, the owner of verbal commitment, patiently watched. …

"They gave me a trip out here and a chance to play. I'm not going to waste their money."

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