The End of The Trail Classic started on Friday and we spent time at that tournament yesterday, as well as the Best of Summer tournament. Here are some thoughts and impressions gathered over the last two days of action.
The worst game of the summer – at least for those of us who had to witness it – was Friday morning, 9:00 a.m., at Loyola Marymount. Seattle Rotary Select was playing the Student Athlete Broncos. The players looked like they had been up all night and they literally had trouble holding the ball in the first half of the game. If this was the first time you had seen Venoy Overton, 5-11 SR PG Seattle (Wash.) Franklin, you would have wondered why all he's ranked among the top point guards in the west.
But we've seen Overton many times and this game was just an aberration. He's a true point, with good quickness, and a nice shot to the stripe. He is somewhat slight, but he's talented and certainly one of the top players at his position in the west. Academics are reportedly a concern, though, and it will be interesting to see where Overton ends up.
The 2008 West Coast class is shaping up to be pretty strong among the guards and wings. Clay Thompson, 6-5 JR SF/SG Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.) Santa Margarita, hasn't had any attention on the AAU circuit yet, but he's going to be a very good player. The son of former pro Mychael Thompson, Clay is a long and rangy prospect with a high skill level. He's got a very good feel for the game. Look for Thompson to be recruited at the high major level.
Jace Tavita, 6-3 JR PG/SG Salt Lake City (Utah) Brighton, is another talented prospect who has been somewhat under the radar on the AAU circuit. Tavita has good size and he's fairly athletic. Like most kids in Utah, he knows how to play the game. He's got a solid handle and he's a good passer. We didn't see him shoot it much in the game we watched, so we want to watch him some more before projecting a level in college.
Maurice Jackson, 6-2 SR SG/PG Gilbert (Ariz.) High, has had an excellent summer and he's one of the hotter names at the mid to upper mid major level. He plays point guard for his Arizona Rage team, but we think he's more of a two at this point. He's got a great bball body and he's a good, but not exceptional, athlete. He's really improved his ability to put the ball on the floor, though, and there's a chance he plays some one in college. He's a streaky shooter, but he can put up points in a hurry when he gets hot.
Ty Abbott, 6-2 JR SG Phoenix (Ariz.) Desert Vista, had coaches from Utah, New Mexico and Oregon out to see him yesterday. We hadn't seen Abbott in a while and he's really improved. He's got a short, compact stroke and good range on his shot. He'll be on our list of the top shooting guards when we update our rankings at the end of summer.
Drew Gordon, 6-8 JR C/PF San Jose (Calif.) Mitty, had a big crowd of coaches at his game the other day. Arizona, Notre Dame, North Carolina, UCLA, Oregon, Louisville, Cal, Illinois, Gonzaga and Kansas were all in the gym to see Gordon.
Drew Viney, 6-6 SR SF Villa Park (Calif.) High, told us recently that Cal, Washington, Arizona State and Pepperdine have all offered him a scholarship. He's taken unofficial visits to Cal and Washington. He told us all the schools are equal right now and he expects to choose a school in August or September.