adidas Big Time: Behind the scenes

<b>LAS VEGAS</b> – The opening round of the 2003 Big Time kicked off with some outstanding performances. From J.R. Smith to a few new faces on the scene, Vegas was alive on Monday.

2004 Checklist

J.R. Smith, SG, Playaz Gold: He was responsible for one of the top efforts of the day as he dropped 29 against Colorado Pump ‘n Run. In addition to being the top athlete in the gym, he passed it well, did his usual assortment of tricks above the rim and generally was impressive. The big-time skywalker helped his team avoid the opening day upset.

Mike Williams, PF, SE Pump ‘n Run: He's just got such balance to his game. Now that he's found his comfort zone (rebounding and making mid-range jumpers), he's really played well. He's always got energy and he consistently gets after it.

Darnell Harris, SG, Baltimore Select: After a first half that just wasn't good by his standards, he hit for 16 in the second half and got his jumper working. Harris' outburst fueled a big run by his team as they clawed back into it but eventually lost to SE Pump ‘n Run.

Jared Dudley, SF, Pump ‘n Run: He had 21 points today and he does it with hustle and determination. Dudley is one of those jack-of-all-trades guys. He plays with effort and passion and when the game is over he's done a terrific job of filling the stat sheet. A senior in 2003, he's qualified and hasn't decided whether to pursue scholarship offers for the fall or head to prep school for an extra year of seasoning.

Hector Hernandez, PF, Colorado Pump ‘n Run: The big guy came out in the first half on fire. He had 14 of his 16 in the opening half when he used some fine perimeter work to get things done. Clearly he likes facing the basket more than playing inside and after he nailed a pair of 3s, he astutely used a pump fake for a blow by to the hoop.\

Chamberlain Oguchi, SG, Houston Select: He's becoming one of the hottest wing targets in the country as the high-majors like him more everyday. Oguchi has a very reliable touch from downtown and people are really starting to take a liking to him. He had 16 in his team's win Monday evening.

2005 Checklist

Andris Dedrins, PF, D.C. Assault: Never heard of him? Me neither.

He's originally from outside of Lithuania, speaks English and has been here one month. Presently he's deciding if he'll stay in the country and if he does National Christian will be his destination. We know very little about him though they are saying he's a junior. Well, he was the second best prospect we saw all day behind Oden. This dude drop stepped and reversed dunked, hit cutters with a Stockton-to-Malone like comfort zone and blocked shots with both hands. The lefty is ridiculously good and we'd be interested in seeing if he stays in the country. By the way, he's so talented Jim Boeheim was there for his last game of the night.

Josh McRoberts, PF, Indiana Red: Here's a guy who's a pretty versatile power forward he had 9 points and 11 boards in the game we saw. He's still working on the inside scoring stuff but this kid is a big time prospect in his class.

Andre McGee, PG, Inland: The little man scored 21 points (8-19 FG) in his game. He was a little off from 3-point range (3-10) but he can get his shot either from downtown or off the drive pretty much whenever he wants.

Brandon Costner, PF, Playaz Red: We saw him play one game today and heard from 10 people how well he played in the other. He's a face-up four man who, if he ever gets as comfortable on the block as he is on the perimeter, will be an absolute terror. He's skilled and improving at a pretty good pace. He's a legit threat beyond the arc.

2006 Checklist

Greg Oden, C, Indiana Red: The Houston SuperStars couldn't buy a bucket in the paint when he was in the game and that's pretty much the way it goes all the time when he's around. What some might not realize is that this kid already has a tremendous feel and understanding for the game.

Hot News & Notes

Jackie Butler did not qualify and will attend Laurinburg next season. … Darnell Harris has been offered by Kent State, College of Charleston and South Alabama. Kent's Jim Christian was in the gym today. … Shaun Livingston's crowd: Chris and Doug Collins, Bruce Webber and Wayne McClain of Illinois, Steve Robinson and Roy Williams from North Carolina, Josh Pastner of Arizona and Norm Roberts of Kansas. …

Jason Horton says he's getting closer to pulling the trigger and picking a college. Missouri is the leader. His own words.

Texas had the full staff in the gym for Mike Williams. … Tyler Smith's early crowd: Tubby Smith, Buzz Peterson and John Calipari. … DePaul's Gene Cross watched Cheyenne Moore hard today. … Jason Horton's first game crowd: Tony Harvey of Missouri, Rob Evans of Arizona State, Tim Jankovich of Kansas and Tom Ostrom from Florida. … Goran Sutton has been offered by Michigan State and he's also got offers from West Virginia, Dayton, LSU, Charlotte, Wyoming, Toledo, Purdue and Nebraska. … Kevyn Green of the Inner City Players has Oregon as his first choice. …

Jared Dudley has scholarship offers from New Mexico, Oregon, Creighton and San Diego State. … For J.R. Smith in the morning were coaches from North Carolina, Louisville, Kansas, Villanova and Seton Hall. … Richmond assistant Gary DeCesare watched his latest commitment, Courtney Nelson in the morning. … Northwestern coach Bill Carmody was on hand for Taj Finger. So was Richmond's Jerry Wainright. … Hector Hernandez has offers from Fresno State, UTEP, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah. He's getting interest from Louisville, Texas Tech and Oklahoma. …

Seth Greenberg was on hand to watch Richard Roby. … Evaluating Joakim Noah today were scouts from Duke, St. John's, Maryland, Kentucky, Georgia Tech, Iowa State and Boston College. … Josh Wright of the Long Island Panthers was not here today. … Wright State head coach Paul Biancardi watched Team Detroit PF Rashawn Marshall today. … Josh McRoberts' college crowd: Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, Kansas, Texas Tech (Bobby Knight) and Notre Dame. …

Houston and Texas were in the gym late night watching Joe Jones in action for the Houston Select team. … Taj Finger said that Stanford and Richmond lead Rhode Island, Yale, Rice, Princeton and Penn. … True Story: a guy walks up to Skip Prosser, who by the way is wearing a Wake Forest polo shirt, and asks him who the head coach at Wake Forest is. C'mon, you've got to be kidding me. … Tim Pierce is one of Arizona State's top targets and assistant Tony Benford was in the gym watching him today. … St. Bonaventure was among a handful of schools watching Deron Washington of D.C. Assault late into the night. …

Scout's Seat

Jackie Butler's wrist was taped heavily and it took him about a half to get used to it before scoring the ball much better in the second half. … Darnell Harris proved he's a very good mid-major recruit when his jumper wouldn't go down in the first half but he trusted it and finished strong in the second half. … Tyler Smith's best work this summer has come with the SE Pump ‘n Run team. He's been good at a few camps but his best work has come with that AAU team. ..

Shaun Livingston first stat line of the event: 19 points, 13 rebounds, 7 assists. … Jason Horton does such a nice job of playing within himself, keeping under control and he dictates the tempo for the Michigan Hurricanes. …

Be on the lookout for junior PG Jeremy Lathan of the Inner City Players. The junior is a smart point man who knows the game. His recruitment will start at the mid-major level and could go higher. … Danny Hess of the Michigan Hurricanes had never been to an AAU event. However, today the 6-7 PF played with athleticism and purpose and should blossom as a mid-major recruit. He's got some bounce to his game. …

Rico Tucker is a helluva athlete. He's got a super hesitation dribble and he's very effective when he uses it to blow by guys. That seems like one of his go-to moves. … Hector Hernandez's use of pump fakes at the right time shows the kind of basketball IQ he has. … Sean Ogirri of the Colorado Pump ‘n Run team is an excellent shooter on the move and a fine MM prospect. …

We didn't see the game but word is Willie Morse, the one-time Penn State commitment, had 29 today. … David McClure is going to be a good college player because he'll play with good players at Duke and his passing ability will win him some friends. … Lots of schools are recruiting Richard Roby, a small forward, because of his size and athleticism. … Derrick Caracter's ability to make baseline jumpers is big time. …

Taj Finger continues to improve step by step and he's peaking heading into his senior, a very impressive trait to have. … Joakim Noah is one of those young kids who is growing like a weed. Two years from now is how you have to project him because he keeps getting better. … Xavier landed a good one in shooting guard Stanley Burrell. The prep school-bound Burrell is playing with a ton of confidence. …

A few weeks ago, Tim Pierce's father died of a heart attack. It's amazing he's out here playing and he deserves a ton of credit for being able to come out this summer and play at a high level. You can't help but root for this young man. … Derrick Roberts of Houston Select is a fine wing athlete and he's gotten really good at breaking his man down off the dribble. …


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