By now, you’ve probably read several updates that say something like “The only thing hotter than the Vegas heat is the action on the courts.” Well, in some cases that has been the truth while in others it hasn’t been correct at all. Save for a few exceptions, blowouts have been the norm but there have been plenty of standout individual performances. Not surprisingly, there have been plenty of Kansas targets getting things done at the Big Time, Main Event and Super 64.
MAYO V. ROSE ACTUALLY MATCHES THE HYPE
Our apologies for the delay in getting to our coverage of the highly anticipated O.J. Mayo and Derrick Rose battle. After seeming like it would never actually come to fruition, the two highly regarded guards locked horns on Sunday morning and it was every bit as exciting as people had hoped it would be.
Mr. Mayo was dialed in from downtown all game long and playing efficiently with the ball, Rose was playing more aggressive than usual and both guys -- along with Illinois commitment Eric Gordon -- were making plays all over the court. Mayo may have had the last laugh with his miraculous four point play to win the game with just under three seconds to go, but Rose showed exactly why people drool over what he could do down the road.
With the three perceived frontrunners in his recruitment -- Illinois, Kansas, Memphis -- all represented by their head coaches and at least one assistant, Rose looked like a pro. He didn’t just go by Mayo with devastating right to left crossovers, he did it with ease. Then when Mayo’s teammates came over to shut off the driving lanes, Rose used clever ball fakes to get open looks or found teammates with laser beam passes.
You can’t ask for much more than a triple double and that’s what Rose ended up with. 21 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists in one of the most highly anticipated head to head meetings says an awful lot. The fact of the matter is he’s just scratching the surface of how good he’s going to be down the road.
OTHER POTENTIAL KANSAS TARGETS
Travis Releford - It was actually an up and down appearance for Releford and his KC Pump ‘N Run teammates. They got bounced from the Super 64 in the second round, but that still left the Kansas City native time to show flashes of brilliance. In particular, he dropped a 33 spot on the Juice All-Stars from New York. He did it with catch and shoot threes, drives for dunks, pull-up jumpers and by finding ways to get himself to the three point line. He can really run and is plenty athletic but what makes him so good is the fact that he doesn’t rely one bit on his athleticism, Releford is a basketball player in every sense of the word and that really means something.
Tyrel Reed - Will Reed ever get an offer from the Jayhawks? That’s a good question, and one that there won’t be an answer to for a while. One thing is for sure, he had the coaches who were watching him buzzing. Kansas watched, Missouri had their entire staff at three of his four games, Skip Prosser was a regular, Paul Hewitt was at every game, Oklahoma brought their entire staff for a game and Roy Williams made some appearances. For anybody out there who may still be wondering if he’s a legitimate big time player, just think about who is consistently showing up to watch him play. He doesn’t make mistakes, he shoots the ball with ease from deep and he’s been very impressive off the dribble and rebounding from the PG slot.
Anthony Randolph - The potential and skill oozing from his skinny 6-10 frame is absolutely frightening. In fact, an argument could be made that the Texan – by way of Arkansas and California – is one of the top five prospects in the class of 2007. He’s shown to be a much better ball handler than thought and it was great to see him playing with real fire. You can’t teach 22 foot range, spinning jump hooks, spin dribbles to step back jumpers and jump hooks with either hand and the southpaw gives them to you in every game he plays and often in succession. Exactly how much of a player KU is with him is a legitimate question though.
Delvon Roe - At this point there aren’t 10 better prospects in the class of 2008. The southpaw reminds of a young Antawn Jamison with his low post skill, accurate jumper to the three point line and the frightening quickness and precision with which he scores. Watching him and future Longhorn Gary Johnson go head to head was as fun a game to watch as there has been all summer. Only big timers need apply in this one.
George Goode - On Monday night, the 6-8 combo forward from Kansas City played like an All-American. He swished threes from as deep as eight feet behind the three point line. He drove past defenders for towering dunks and he reacted quickly to block shots against a big and physical Metro Hawks team. Just when some people were starting to get down on him a little, he’s been very strong in Vegas. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Oklahoma State start making a strong move with him.
Greg Monroe - There is at least one person -- this author -- who isn’t afraid to admit that the 6-10 lefty is currently his favorite player to watch. Everything about him from his demeanor, sick game, off the charts skill and mature approach screams potential superstar and he’s still just a kid having fun out there. He stole the show against another splendid 2008 guy in Tyreke Evans.