Hot Times in Vegas

What do you get when you pit 344 teams from 41 states against each other in the middle of the desert? How about 100 coaches and several hundred members of the working media.

There is nothing "real" about Las Vegas anyway, so why should any of us be surprised that the largest AAU event on the planet is held there every year in the middle of the summer? Supermizzou's intrepid reporters, Stu Black and yours truly, arrived in Las Vegas late Friday night with tasty visions of elite hoop action dancing through our heads. "So, where is Jimmy McKinney going to be playing tomorrow anyway?" I asked Stu. "I heard that he hurt his ankle earlier in the week, so he may not be playing at all," Stu replied. Sure enough, Missouri's star recruit wasn't playing in Big Time, but many other national calibre high school players were. Players like Sani Ibrahim, Anthony Roberson, and Sean Dockery would be on display. Also on display was a who's who of bigtime college basketball coaches, including Coach K, Lute Olsen, Rick Maejeris and our own Quin Snyder. Clearly, there were multiple reasons for coaches of such stature to attend such an event. First, Coach K. wanted to be there to watch and support his promising young recruit Sean Dockery. Second, it was a great opportunity for head and assistant coaches to check out the undecided elite players in the 2002 class such as Missouri hopefull, Brad Buckman from Texas. Third, many of the elite players from the 2003 class were on display as well, and this was the final major event where the coaches could be in attendance to see them in action. There was also a plethora of coaches and assistants from the minor colleges as well. You could always pick out the coaches...they were the ones leaning up against the wall at the ends of the arenas. While Missouri has received a couple of bad breaks recently in recruiting, losing out of Nik Caner-Medley to Maryland, and Maurice Ager to Michigan State, the Tigers coaches remain undaunted. If the Big Time Tournament was any indication, there are still plenty of players in the 2002 class that will be difference makers. Lane Odom and Tony Harvey were also in Las Vegas, showing that Missouri is still hitting the recruiting trail hard and wanted to get another look at some of the guys still on their wish list. After Las Vegas, the Missouri coaches were on their way to another tourament in Los Angeles. Clearly, Quin Snyder's staff works as hard as any other staff in the nation, and their level of commitment shows. Don't be surprised to see Missouri offer scholarships to two - three big men over the next several weeks to fill out the 2002 class. We believe that the Tigers will wait until Spring to see what Kareem Rush decides, and if he leaves for the NBA as expected, then they will see who is still uncommitted at that time. If the right player isn't there, expect the Tigers to save Rush's scholarship for the blockbuster 2003 class.

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