Las Vegas: Day 1, Part B

LAS VEGAS – The opening day at the Super 64 was long and productive. Jermaine Sanders was a huge eye opener and the play of Shabazz Muhammad surprised no one.


Jermaine Sanders, SG/SF, New Heights: Big day for Sanders. He was awesome in his first game with 17 points (6-12 FG) and 8 rebounds. He's got the lefty DNA of a scorer and the perimeter game to go with it. In the nightcap against DC Assault he reportedly was good again. He's experiencing the Vegas blowup and most certainly will land in the Big East or another BCS conference. Aside from the made jumpers, it was his rebounding that separated him from others. Sanders doesn't blow by his man but he can score and that's undeniable.

Naadir Tharpe, PG, NE Playaz: He's in an enviable position. Tharpe's one of the best available (and recruitable) point guards in the senior class. Essentially, he has the ability to play his way into scholarships this week. On Thursday morning, he may have done just that. He led a charge against Dreamvision and showed his competitive side. He got in the lane late and tossed it Kaleb Tarczewski who put it down inside.

Deuce Bello, SF, D-One: Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the most graceful and most explosive athlete in the class. The Deuce is having a great summer. In the morning game, he wore it out going to his right and they knew it was coming and couldn't stop him. How many guys can fake a behind-the-back pass and dunk it in the same motion? Explosive doesn't do him justice.

Christian Kirk, PF, KC Pump vs. Quincy Miller, D-One: This was entertaining. Kirk is a bruising 6-7 power forward with a strong body and an old school game. He's the guy who hits you with the up and unders and generally throws the kitchen sink at defenders close to the rim. Against Miller, he fouled out and used most of his second half fouls to rattle Miller's cage. Don't get me wrong, its hard not to respect him but even World Cup officials would have red carded him. Miller showed good restraint and drained the free throws. He pieced together 26 points and 10 rebounds for D-One.

Antwan Space, SF, Urban DFW: If live bodied small forwards float your boat, this kid fits the bill. Now, we aren't ready to put him in the Branden Dawson category but as an offensive rebounder, he's excellent at his craft. Space got to the line because of his hard work. He's a contender for our Top 100.

Dwaun Anderson, SG, Mich. Mustangs: He did two things that stood out: finished and defended. As advertised, Anderson's a good athlete. He went 6-for-8 from the field. We'll go back to see him again and check on his perimeter game.

Matt Poches, Wing, Mich. Mustangs: If this guy isn't all-conference at Oakland then something went wrong. He came off the bench with the mindset to make a difference and that's exactly what happened. Poches went right into attack mode, hit his man with spin moves and toughness to announce his presence. Loved his ability to pass and we haven't seen anyone play the 6th man role better.

Angelo Chol, PF, DreamVision: His morning game was not a good one. Chol, who recently became a U.S. citizen, lost and didn't play well. Apparently the effort didn't set well with him and he simmered about it until the night game. Hours later, the results and effort were different. He came out aggressive made shots either facing the basket or with a little rolling hook that he's been cultivating.

Adonis Thomas, SF, Memphis Magic: He's one of the college coaches favorite players to watch and for good reason. He's an egoless player who makes the correct play over the flashy one and demonstrates great effort and heart. What he is a complimentary star who doesn't draw attention to himself, places a premium on winning and plays multiple positions on the court. Over time you understand that scoring is not how he measures himself and he's more comfortable as a creator and facilitator than a guy who has to get volume buckets. He is, by any definition, the picture teammate and a guy who leads by example.

DeAngelo Harrison, SG, Franchize: Every class has a guy like this. Someone with supreme confidence who thinks he's open once he crosses halfcourt. Old schoolers recall Ronald Blackshear and newbies think of J.T. Terrell. Like J.T., Harrison has the swagger and signature hair style. Harrison is a stone cold assassin who is empowered to score the basketball. He feels like every shot is going down.

Curtis Davis, PG, Urban DFW: This guy tops out at 5-11 but he's a nice player with mid-level ability for sure. Smooth guard who has strong touch and shoots it on the move. Though we'd like to see him develop the point guard element of his game, there's no doubt he can shoot and people will be clued in. He was listed incorrectly in the book as another player from a different class.

Shabazz Muhammad, SF, Dream Vision: He's one of the best in his class, everyone can agree on that. So, what makes him tick? Competing. Muhammad measures his success – at least it looks that way – in the win column. The effort is consistent and the results take care of themselves. For the most part, he takes what the defense gives him and springs into action with a quick release and crafty game. He's content to take his licks and go to the line as he did in the evening game and he knocks down his freebies. A relentless player with exceptional talent, he's won over college coaches because they feel he plays the game with passion and heart.

Marcus Smart, SF, Tex. Assault: There's a respect level that exists out on the circuit for this kid. In June, he had hernia surgery. On Thursday morning he was clutching his stomach and something wasn't right. However, that didn't keep him out of action for long though we think he's still hurt. What you see if what you get. Smart is mentally sharp, guards three positions, plays at least two of them on offense and effortlessly switches from creator to scorer as the situation dictates. This is the kind of kid you win college basketball games with.

Damien Wilson/William Goodwin, Atlanta Celtics: We caught them against Team Indiana Elite and there might have been 20 Division I players in the gym. There were more BCS level head coaches in attendance for that game than any we've seen so far this summer. Wilson was the first half energy guy. He slashed and played at the rim, giving the Celtics an early morning boost. In the second half, Goodwin led a charge inside that was overpowering. Goodwin has major upside and already has more offense – at the same age – than Kenny Hall, a guy he compares favorably with in terms of body style. The Celtics have Goodwin, Jarnell Stokes and Kyle Meyer (as very good 3rd post) in the paint.

Kaleb Tarczewski, C, NE Playaz: The big fella doesn't give up on balls and tracks down a lot of boards. He's a year away from becoming a force in the paint. Regardless, he's got the gift of tracking boards off the glass and his pursuit is impressive. Between he and Alex Murphy who is turning in a strong summer, the Playaz are going to be big time next summer.

2012 forward Kenny Kaminski owns one of the best big man strokes in the country. He's really a weapon at his size. The next step is striking a balance on the boards. … Aaric Armstead of Ind. Elite was awesome in the morning. Live body, had bounce. He had us scrambling to learn more. … New Heights point guard Tyquan Goodlet is a nice mid-level point. … Chane Behanan's jersey was late arriving. Behanan has a lot of eyeballs on him out here. … Joey DeLaRosa is slowly coming around. There are flashes of improvement and it's worth paying close attention to. …

LaDonte Henton can get to the cup. His slashing style requires a college offense that pushes it and gets out in transition. If he finds the right match he could be a weapon. … 2012 center Aaron Scales of D-One is getting better each time out. The raw materials are there. … Everything Adonis Thomas does is with purpose. … A.J. Spencer of KC Pump will be an excellent mid-major player. … Don't be surprised if a year from now we're touting the rising star of Landen Lucas. He's got the size and determination to go with the basketball genes. His team got whooped on Thursday. He issues a simple yet telling Tweet: "Embarrassing." The guy is going to be very good. …

Shabazz Muhammad said he's probably going to visit Memphis and Louisville in August. … Damien Wilson listed Georgia, Tennessee, Syracuse, Georgia State and Auburn. … William Goodwin said Florida State, Alabama and Miami are hot and heavy on him. Others include Auburn, Georgia Tech, Georgia, Oklahoma and Providence. … Aaric Armstead listed offers from Fairfield and Valpo with interest from Michigan State, Cincinnati, Tennessee, New Mexico, Northwestern and Bradley. …

Naadir Tharpe likes Minnesota, Marquette, Seton Hall, Rutgers, Wake Forest, Providence and Indiana. … Newbies to Quinn Cook's list are Duke and Connecticut. Old timers are Villanova, Wake Forest, North Carolina, Arizona, UCLA and St. John's. … Kyle Kirk listed Southern Illinois, Iowa, Wichita State, Stanford, Butler and Alabama. … Deuce Bello will likely visit schools with Quincy Miller. Louisville, Baylor and Oklahoma are high on his list with Maryland, Miami, Florida State, Wake Forest, Duke and Oklahoma State. …

Antwan Space rattled off Maryland, Gonzaga, FIU, Houston, Oregon, Marquette and Texas A&M. He said Gonzaga was coming with the most intensity. … Curtis Davis said Houston, Texas State, FIU and Wichita State want him. … Adonis Thomas will visit Memphis for the Blue-White game (Sept. 4?). Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida, Missouri, UCLA, Oklahoma, Kansas and now Kentucky make the list. …

Evan Roquemore of Dream Vision had everyone scrambling to learn more. Here's the deal: he's a 2010 prospect and he's just about sealed up for Santa Clara. "I'm pretty much going to Santa Clara," he said. Cincinnati, Georgia, UTEP and Wright State showed interest. … Adonis Thomas was in Germany when the World Cup game took place. He watched the Germans with 5,000 people on a big screen TV and said German World Cup flags were his No. 1 souvenir from his trip overseas. …

Head coaches for the Atlanta Celtics vs. Indiana Elite 16s: Buzz Williams, Tom Izzo, Paul Hewitt, Mike Anderson, Mark Fox, Jeff Capel, Bruce Pearl, Craig Robinson, Josh Pastner, Leonard Hamilton, Bill Self, Scott Drew, Andy Kennedy, Tom Crean, Rick Stansbury, Billy Donovan. Apologies if we omitted anyone, the place was packed. … Marcus Smart drew Bill Self, Frank Martin, Scott Drew and an assistant from North Carolina. …

Fred Hoiberg watched Naadir Tharpe as did Keno Davis, Mike Rice and the entire Minnesota staff. … Chane Behanan drew Matt Painter, Roy Williams, Tubby Smith, Mick Cronin, Mike Rice and Bob Huggins. … Quincy Miller drew Rick Pitino, Scott Drew and Jeff Capel. … Oregon's entire staff was front and center for Landen Lucas. …



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