Las Vegas Day One: West Coast Prospects

On the the first day in Las Vegas, a talented shooting guard from Colorado shows that he's one of the elite prospects in the west for 2008. Also, a top 2009 prospect has a poor showing in his first game....

The Las Vegas tournaments got off to a rough start on the first day, for me anyway. My 9:15 a.m. game got changed and the Pharaohs Black team was sent to a different gym than previously scheduled. And my 8:00 p.m. game was reduced to a meaningless affair when I learned that the top couple prospects on the Portland Legends – Abdul Gaddy and Avery Bradley – had left the team to play with the Northwest Panthers.

The first West Coast team I managed to see was the Oregon Rebels. Drew Wiley, 6-7 SR SF Vida (Ore.) McKenzie River, was just fair in April, but he had a nice showing in his first game of the Reebok Summer Championships. Wiley has good overall skills. Nice stroke, good ball skills and a very nice feel for the game. In April, I thought he was a little soft, as he was reluctant to go inside and seemed to shy away from contact. But in this game, he went inside several times and looked much more comfortable in the paint. He still needs to gain weight and get stronger, but he appears to have the requisite skill level for the Pac-10. I wouldn't project him as an immediate impact guy, but he could be a solid player in a few years.

Terrell Wallace, 6-0 SR PG Portland (Ore.) Westview, also looked good for the Oregon Rebels. Wallace has a solid frame and pretty good length. He's a steady point guard with a nice feel and adequate stroke to 17-18 feet. I want to watch him some more, but he's probably worth a look at the low to mid major level.

Renardo Sidney, 6-9 JR C/PF Lakewood (Calif.) Artesia, looks dramatically different today than he did at the Rumble in the Bay tournament over Memorial Day. Sidney's body was in very good shape roughly seven weeks ago, but that's not the case now. He's added bad weight and he appears somewhat doughy. He was out of breath very early in his game playing for the L.A. Dream Team and he struggled to get up and down the court. Sidney has very good skills for a young post player and he's an excellent athlete when he's in shape. But right now, he looks nothing like the #1 prospect in the country for 2009. He faded away on post-up opportunities and spent most of the game on the perimeter taking jumpshots. Sidney's talent is obvious and he's clearly an elite prospect when he's in shape and playing with energy and focus. But right now, he's none of those things and he's a long way from being the best player in the country for 2009.

I saw the Colorado Select team briefly back in April and they had a few intriguing players, so I wanted to be sure to get a good look at them in this tournament. They were my next stop of the day and it was well worth it. In particular, I was glad to get another look at Reggie Jackson, 6-3 SR SG Colorado Springs (Col.) Palmer. Jackson is a long and quick prospect who probably plays the two on offense, but he might defend either backcourt spot. He's got a great demeanor on the court and a very good feel for the game. His shot is very good to the 21-22 foot range and he's got a nice stroke. I was very impressed with his shot selection. I don't think he took a bad shot in the game and he made excellent decisions. He also had several nice passes as well. Jackson is being recruited by the likes of Colorado, New Mexico, Boston College and others. While those are obviously all good programs, I think Jackson is being under-recruited. As of now, he's got a good chance of ending up second only to Jrue Holiday in the West Coast shooting guard rankings.

Trey Eckloff, 6-9 SR C Englewood (Col.) Cherry Creek., also had a very nice showing for the Select. Eckloff recently committed to Colorado and he should fit in very nicely with Jeff Bzdelik's system. Eckloff is a good shooter to the stripe and he moves well for a big man. Eckloff is young for his class and he's got a nice upside.

Dallas Elmore, 6-5 SR SF Fort Collins (Col.) Poudre, also looked good for the Select. Elmore is a strong and explosive wing who shoots it good enough to keep you honest. He's effective slashing off the wing, but his handle does need work. He's much better when he gets the ball in position to score than he is trying to create his own offense. But his body and athleticism certainly get your attention and he's a high major talent.

Team Jones is an interesting team out of Oregon (put together by NBA player Fred Jones). Brad Tinsley, 6-4 SR SG Oregon City (Ore.) High, reportedly had a good showing at the Nike camp in Akron and he was solid in this game. Tinsley has a very nice stroke and he'll knock down jumpers all day if you leave him open. He plays some point guard at the high school level, but I see him at the two in college. His body type doesn't project to the one – he'll have difficulty staying with quick point guards at the next level. However, he does have a nice feel for the game and good vision, so he'll be an extra ball-handling option at the two. Tinsley has mentioned Cal, Pepperdine and Utah as his top schools and those programs had coaches watching him today.

Paul McCoy, 6-0 SR PG Portland (Ore.) Grant, was committed to Pepperdine, but I was told by a coach that McCoy has been offered a football scholarship by Arizona State and he may end up playing cornerback in the Pac-10. Watching him on the basketball court, you can see why he'd be a good cornerback. He's well put together and very explosive. He's also great laterally – he could be a terrific defender at the point guard spot. His shot looks a little better than I remember it from April. If he does end up at ASU, it'll be interesting to see if he decides to walk-on in basketball. He wouldn't be an impact guy at the Pac-10 level, but he's certainly a high major athlete and he might play a role someday.

Elston Turner, 6-4 SR SG Roseville (Calif.) High, had a rough April, as he struggled to regain the form he showed last summer. But in my last game of the day, Turner looked very good. His shot was dropping from three-point range and he showed better quickness in getting into the lane. He made good decisions with the ball and set up teammates several times for open shots. Turner is not a great athlete, but he's pretty good and he can be deceptive with the ball.

Kyle Odister, 6-0 JR PG Sacramento (Calif.) Rio Americano, is a good-looking young point. He's got a very nice frame – good shoulders and long arms – and he knows how to play the one. He made solid decisions throughout the game and took care of the ball. He's a good, not great, shooter and his range appears to be somewhere around 18-19 feet. I like the way he carries himself on the court. He's a sleeper to watch in 2009.

Xavier Blount, 6-2 JR SG Corrales (New Mexico) Highland, had a nice showing in the last game. He knocked down several jumpers and played with good energy. I want to see him some more, but he looks like another nice junior guard prospect.

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