The action continues in Las Vegas as both the Adidas Super 64 and Reebok Big Time have moved into the playoff rounds. After spending another day Desert Pines watching the Super 64 on Saturday, it was on to the other side of Vegas for the Big Time on Sunday.
Between the two events there was no shortage of Kansas targets. Some played well, some were just alright and a few were well, less than stellar.
KANSAS TARGETS IN LAS VEGAS
Dwight Lewis - The sole commitment at this point in the class of 2006 had a day that he’d probably like to forget. Playing in the Super 64 with the New Orleans Jazz, the 6-5 wing went scoreless and struggled to take care of the ball in a turnover filled outing Saturday morning, as his future coach Bill Self looked on. During his afternoon game against the L.A. Stars, Lewis was able to get into the flow a little bit by taking it to the basket and getting to the free throw line a few times. He’s playing with a team that he’s never played with before but more than that he looks completely out of sorts and seems to be lacking confidence.
Thaddeus Young - In one of the single best performances so far at either event, the 6-8 lefty from Memphis was absolutely spectacular on Saturday afternoon. He swished home pretty looking threes from as deep as 22 feet, took defenders off of the dribble to score at the hoop, rebounded and made plays for others. After a relatively quiet July, it was nice to see him playing to his full potential and the improvement in his overall ball handling and passing skills is quite remarkable. According to Young he’ll cut his list of schools to between five and seven schools after he returns from the Best of Summer event in Los Angeles.
Darrell Arthur - The most important thing for Darrell Arthur and his Urban DFW Elite teammates is that they managed to squeak by a scrappy Nova United team during the first round of playoffs at the Big Time on Sunday morning. On the other hand, it wasn’t exactly a performance for the ages as Arthur struggled through an ugly seven point outing. He missed short jumpers that are normally automatic, picked up silly fouls and showed his frustration on several occasions. What he did do well was block several shots down the stretch and rise well above the crowd for a couple of impressive rebounds when the game was on the line.
Bryan Davis - During the minutes he played the 6-9 BF from Grand Prairie (TX) High looked quite impressive. He ran the court well, blocked some shots, finished strong around the basket and even made a few short jumpers. The only problem was that he didn’t get to play much because he and the rest of the Texas Blue Chips were laying a beat-down on a woeful opponent during the first round of the Big Time’s playoffs. Like Arthur he’s a guy who has been known to underachieve at times so it was good to see him making things happen.
Cole Aldrich - With the way he started on Sunday morning it looked like the 6-11 big man was on his way to a rough outing. He hung on the perimeter and looked to toss up 18 to 20 foot jumpers and missed them badly. In the second half he got back to what makes him so good – rebounding, posting up strong, and blocking some shots – and completely took over his game against Arkansas Red and led his Minnesota Magic Elite team to a tough overtime victory. He finished with 15 points and eight boards and it was his activity in the paint that sealed the deal. Both Self and assistant coach Joe Dooley were on hand for the performance.
Brady Morningstar - Realistically speaking, there is a good chance that the 6-3 guard who will prep for a year at New Hampton (NH) Prep ends up at Kansas one way or another. With the way he’s played in Las Vegas it’s also a good bet that he could end up being a solid contributor on that level before it is all said and done. He had the coaches buzzing on Saturday as he hit jumpers from all over the court, showed the athleticism necessary to get to the rim and basically made everybody around him better. He’s still growing and because of his size and ball skills is capable of playing either position in the backcourt.
George Goode - With Dooley on hand for his nine in the morning game at Foothill High School, the 6-7 combo forward failed to disappoint. He’s been smoking jumpers since Nike camp and continued that trend Sunday morning as he nailed jumper after jumper and finished up with 21 points and eight rebounds. One of the knocks on him has been that he isn’t willing to get into the paint and mix it up but that wasn’t the case on Sunday during his first game. The rising junior is still growing and each time he takes the court a few more coaches seem to show up.
During his second game of the day, Self showed up to watch him play and it wasn’t as productive a game. Looking a bit tired, Goode didn’t get much lift on his jumper and left a lot of shots just a little bit short as he and his Rocktown teammates fell down as far as 17 points against the Georgia Hurricanes. While he struggled, he also came up with some big plays as he hit three straight deep threes and went high into the air for an impressive one handed tip dunk that closed the game to within one during the final minute before Rocktown eventually fell short in their attempt at a furious comeback.
Isacc Miles - All in all it was a pretty good day for the 6-2 combo guard from Bishop Miege. He’s looking quicker off of the dribble each time he takes the court and has a steady presence about him that allows him to shake off mistakes. He can hit some deep jumpers when needed and is a strong finisher off of powerful drives to the cup that he finishes with either hand. An added bonus is that he has the chance to be a lockdown defender on the next level. A big key in his recruitment will be whether or not he ends up re-classifying to the class of 2007. For now he’s leaning towards the reclassification and it is just a matter of whether or not he attends Miege for one more year or heads off to a prep school -- perhaps IMG in Florida -- now.
Patrick Christopher - Playing with the Team Danny Williams -- aka the H-Squad -- the 6-4 wing is finding his way in his first tournament with a new team. As he usually does, Christopher got going by getting himself open for looks from beyond the three point line and cashing them in with regularity. With his length and athleticism he’s able to hang and contort his body on drives to the lane where he finds ways to finish. However, his ball handling has to improve and he tends to float in and out of games and Kansas is probably just feeling out his recruitment at this point.
Davon Jefferson - Talk about a guy who has future pro stamped on his forehead when he decides to play up to his capabilities. He’s got a long and athletic frame, can be a great rebounder and has added a money mid-range jumper to his arsenal. His dribbling skills still need refinement and his demeanor can be an issue at times but Team Danny Williams probably wouldn’t be thru to the final 32 of the Big Time without his production. He’s tentatively slated to attend Stoneridge Prep in California next fall but it isn’t set in stone just yet. Bill Self was on hand to watch his final game of the day.