Kyle Lowry, PG, Mobley Philly Stars: Picture Jerome Bettis with a basketball in his hands. That's how Lowry attacks defenses. He gets a head of steam, points himself at the rim and has a reckless disregard for his body. His 27 points helped gun down the Texas Blue Chips by 15. The remarkable thing to note in this was that his Mobley had just 6 players suited up and subbed just once when Lowry briefly went down with an injury.
Lorenzo Wade, SG, EBO: There's a certain pace and poise that makes his game fun to watch. In his afternoon game, Wade had an efficient 18 points. He's got a serious mid-range game to go with some fine athleticism. The Louisville Cardinals didn't steal one since it was common knowledge that he's a good player, but they might have gotten an even better performer than they originally thought.
Marvin Williams, PF/SF, Rotary Select: This young man scores like college player already. Whether it was a mid-range jumper, a transition dunk or a strong inside hit, Williams' 16 points stood out as his team advanced to play on Friday. College coaches all tournament long have been raving about him and for good reason.
Taj Finger, PF, Playaz Red: He's made steady strides since the spring and now programs from a variety of levels are interested. You can see that his game has risen to another level in the confidence with which he carries himself. Six months ago Finger wasn't driving the lane and hammering down dunks on guys. On Thursday night he did it twice and made a steal that sealed the game for his team.
David McClure, SF, Playaz Red: The recovery from mononucleosis has been a slow one for McClure but he's starting to get better fast. He's building on each performance and he looks to have his legs back. His last time out the jumper was going down, he had some spring in his step and he appears to be back!
Stanley Burrell, SG, Indiana Red: Here's another guy who has college scouts checking their rosters. He's listed under someone else's name in the book and only the most educated of assistants even realize he's Xavier-bound. Meanwhile, he's breaking guys down off the dribble, firing 3s and making Thad Matta and his staff look good.
Robby Springborn, PG, Eastbay Extreme: Granted, we've only seen him play just one game but he's a potential mid-level Division I guy. He's smart, tough and he won't back down from anyone. Against EBO he hit for 27 points. Prior to this event, he was a big time Division II recruit. That's about to change.
Justin Cerasoli, PG, Ft. Sooy No Limit: The guy can score. He's possesses good ball skills and hey, he's flashy but he's not wild. Cerasoli can get to the rim and he's always played well when we've been in the gym.
Mike Walker, SG, Gym Rats: Luke Zeller and Co. are headed back to Indiana because Walker torched them from downtown. The shooter from the Keystone State drilled them from all over. He simply killed it from downtown and fueled a surprising opening round rout.
Chad Millard, SF, Granite State Raiders: Intrigued by his potential the day before, we went back to watch him again. He's 6-8, a nice looking athlete and has all kinds of skills with the ball. He can pass and made his perimeter shots against Rotary. The kid is a prospect and you are going to hear a good bit about him in the coming season.
Some people walk away from Shaun Livingston's games and they just don't get it. He's not the kind of guy who takes any excitement from embarrassing a lesser talented opponent. When the spotlight is on him, he rises to the occasion. When he doesn't feel challenged, he'll play a different kind of role and that's just his style. He doesn't have to get 25 points to play a good game.
Josh McRoberts didn't have a great offensive game against Fox Valley but he contributed by getting rebounds and staying connected to the game. He's a big time talent with a savvy for passing and reading the game. Luke Zeller, one of the best big men in the Class of 2005, wasn't able to put away some close range finishes early and never got out of the gate. It was just one of those days and the Hoosiers were in a funk.
Mike Walker of the Gym Rats shoots a lot of jumpers (ala Drew Neitzel) on the move and the result is that his shot is more difficult to block than if he were an undersized stand-still-shooter. Luke Bonner is all about effort. A work in progress on offense, Bonner earns points for his determination. He loves to go to the "old school" style sweeping hook shot. On Thursday night he made a pair of 3s.
Rotary Select big man Josh Heytvelt has all kinds of talent. He's a skilled post player and there's too much talent there not to bring it consistently. The tools are there to be a great one for the Zags in the years to come.
News & Notes
Roy Williams has been very visible in Vegas. He's always been fond of the July evaluation period. There's been a lot of speculation as to what the Heels will do with their remaining scholarship. Is it earmarked for Brian Johnson? J.R. Smith? How about Shaun Livingston? Well, why not two of the three to go with JamesOn Curry and Marvin Williams? There are numerous plausible situations that could allow UNC to gain an extra scholarship. We think that with the lack of depth in the Class of 2004, North Carolina might look to cash in with this year's crop so don't be surprised if their recruiting class is larger than originally anticipated.
In the gym for McRoberts in the morning were coaches from Duke, Indiana, Kansas, UCLA, Xavier, Michigan State and Arizona. Shaun Livingston's morning crowd: Mike Krzyzewski, Roy Williams, Rodney Tention and Josh Pastner of Arizona and Wayne McClain and Chris Lowery of Illinois. Mike Davis was spotted there as well but is he interested or just biding time before another game? Well, Ft. Sooy coach Verdell Jones said the list remains at four.
Luke Zeller's final Vegas crowd: Thad Matta, Herb Sendek, Mike Davis, Todd Lickliter of Butler and Mike Brey. Assistants from Michigan State, Marquette, Illinois and Kansas were also there. Rick Pitino sat and watched Lorenzo Wade do work in the afternoon. Wade will attend either Hargrave or Worcester Academy next season. Canadian Theo Davis was rumored to be headed to St. Patrick's but he's undecided about school and won't be playing there next season.
Speaking of Theo Davis, assistants from Tennessee, Texas and LSU were in the gym watching him today. Kyle Lowry performed for a crowd that included assistants from Syracuse, Louisville, Connecticut, Arkansas, Kansas and a full staff from Xavier. Rutgers head coach Gary Waters was front and center for Luke Bonner. He was joined by Richmond assistant Mike Winiecki, Bill Coen and Ed Cooley of Boston College and Jeff Neubauer of West Virginia. Rhode Island is also rumored to be in the mix.
Mark Few was there to watch Josh Heytvelt in the nightcap game for Rotary Select. Richmond and Villanova were in the stands watching Taj Finger. Both have offered and so have Stanford and Penn. For J.R. Smith in the evening: Roy Williams, Bill Self and Fred Hill of Villanova.
Hill was joined by Herb Sendek of North Carolina State, Barry Rohrsssen of Pittsburgh and Steve DeMeo of Providence as they watched Alex Galindo.