It's Vegas, baby! Vegas. All 115 degrees in the shade.
But don't worry. Between the industrial grade air conditioners and the fans, the event
sponsors were able to keep the temperatures in the gym down to a brisk 80 degrees or so.
Between the adidas Super 64 Tournament and the Reebok Big Time Tournament there were nearly 300 games played across 19 Las Vegas area high schools, and that was just Friday. Some were really good, some were yawners.
Perry Stevenson of the Louisiana Stars has improved since I last saw him. In the game played early Friday, Stevenson seemed more confident offensively and made smarter decisions with the basketball. On defense his long arms blocked several shots and altered many others. Stevenson went up against Illinois committment Richard Semrau and largely dominated the future Illini prospect. And if there was any doubt whether Kentucky was still interested in Stevenson, that doubt ended Friday. Kentucky coach Reggie Hanson was on hand for Stevenson's game and the buzz around the gym was that Stevenson was showboating a little for the Wildcats coach. It seemed to me that whatever was happening, it was working. The UK Assistant looked visibly impressed with Stevenson's play.
Coach Hanson was also on hand to catch Deon Thompson, who had a terrific start to the tournament. The 6-foot-9 Torrance High School prospect has tremendous talent, if a little raw and undeveloped, but this is a young man that has a huge upside. Unofficially, in his first game Friday morning, Thompson went 7-7 from the field, had 7 rebounds, 7 blocked shots and 5 steals. Thompson will be a real super star some day.
Patrick Christopher's name has been mentioned frequently in Kentucky circles in recent days, and it is true that the 6-foot-5 Dominiguez High prospect is high on Kentucky and plans to visit. But is Kentucky all that high on him? Based on a one game snap-shot, it is difficult to get the best read on his game, but based on that one game, I think that the Cats could do better. Against a less talented team on Friday, Christopher's game was so-so at best. Early on, he tended to lounge around the wings and did little other than let some three point shots fly, which were not connecting early. Christopher also showed that he needs some work defensively. Through three quarters of the game all four of his buckets were layups or put backs. Christopher was a factor in a very tight game, however. With the Portland Panthers holding a commanding lead, the Team Danny Williams team made a strong comeback, largely on the backs of Tyrone Shelley and Davon Jefferson. But is was Christopher that gave Team Danny Williams its first lead at 78-76 with his first three pointer late in the game. However, that bright spot lasted only a moment. With 7 seconds left in the game and his team down by the score of 80-78, Christopher missed a three pointer badly. Washington's coach Romar, and three of the coaching staff from California were on hand to see Christopher play.
Christopher's teammate Tyrone Shelley played incredibly well, playing unselfishly on both ends of the court. Shelley had 12 rebounds in the game mentioned above to go along with 16 points, which came from drives to the basket, put backs of offensive rebounds or the culmination of some very nifty one on one moves. He and Davon Jefferson were virtually unstoppable. If Shelley has a weakness, it would be his consistency with his outside shooting. His game reminds be of a cross between Stacey Augmon and former LA Laker standout Michael Cooper. He is a tremendous finisher and was probably the only player on his team playing any real defense on Friday. Shelley said today that Kentucky has continued to "stay in touch" and that UCONN and Boston College has been added to his large list of suitors which includes Arizona, Kansas and Minnesota.
Best name of the day, by the way, goes to Team Danny Williams' "Secretary Henry."