Five Days of Viewing Left a Lot of Impressions

Five days of nearly non-stop viewing in Las Vegas didn't make rating three events' best players any easier. Armed with a few days' worth of perspective as cushion, columnist Frank Burlison decided to give it his best shot, anyway. His Top 25 players across the Reebok, adidas and Nike tournaments will spark conversation, including both Lopez Twins in the top 10... and guess which one ranks #3?

This is anything but definitive.


Trying to capture the essence of three national traveling team tournaments, held simultaneously in gymnasiums seemingly in every nook and cranny of Las Vegas over five days, takes a better man than I, Gunga Din.


I've slapped together a compilation of the 25 players, with remaining high school eligibility, who most impressed me in the three tourneys. If you notice at least one "obvious" missing name, don't get riled.


I wasn't able to see every team – even the most high profile of teams – during the 12 to 15 hours per day on an average that I watched games each of the five days.


And some guys obviously played better when I wasn't watching their teams play.


The first example that comes to mind is Derrick Jasper, the 6-foot-5 senior from Paso Robles (Calif.) who was the point guard for EBO/EA Sports. The team rolled to the adidas Super 64 championship, then defeated Main Event titlist Friends of Hoop later Tuesday night at Cox Pavilion in the first Las Vegas Prep Basketball Showcase.


Jasper was announced as the adidas event's Most Outstanding Player after he and his teammates knocked off the Philly MJC 17's in the title game.


But, in the three complete games in which I watched the Fresno-based team play, the Lopez twins (Brook and Robin), and guard Tre'Von Willis impressed me more than did Jasper – who, by the way, is drawing a lot of attention from a lot of folks in high places, including Connecticut and Kentucky.


Along with the Top 25 list (and Top Five prep school players' ranking), here are some other "awards":


Best Prospect: Greg Oden

Best Offensive Player: (frontcourt) Spencer Hawes and (backcourt) O.J. Mayo

Best Defensive Player: (frontcourt) tie, Greg Oden and Robin Lopez; (backcourt) Mike Conley

Best Playmaker/Floor leader: Mike Conley

Best Jump Shooter: Phil Nelson

Best Rebounder: tie, Robin Lopez and DeShawn Sims

Rating the Teams: 1. Spiece Indy Heat; 2. EBO/EA Sports; 3. D1 Greyhounds; 4. Friends of Hoop; 5. Southern California All-Stars


Top 25 (players with high school eligibility)

*Big Time

#Main Event

+adidas Super 64


1. Greg Oden (6-11, Spiece Indy Heat*)

2. Spencer Hawes (6-10, Friends of Hoop#)

3. Robin Lopez (6-11, EBO/EA Sports+)

5. Mike Conley (6-1, Spiece Indy Heat*)

7. Wayne Ellington (6-4, Playaz Club Gold+)

8. Brook Lopez (6-11, EBO/EA Sports+)

11. Gerald Henderson (6-5, Playaz Club Gold+)

13. DeShawn Sims (6-7, R.E.A.C.H. Legends*)

15. Chase Budinger (6-7, Southern California All-Stars*)

16. Derrick Caracter (6-8, New York Panthers*)

17. Deon Thompson (6-8, Branch West Team Reebok*)

18. Tre'Von Willis (6-3, EBO/EA Sports+)

19. Kevin Durant (6-9, D.C. Blue Devils#)

21. Reggie Redding (6-4, Philly MJC 17's+)

22. James Keefe (6-8, Santa Margarita*)

23. Tywon Lawson (5-11, D.C. Blue Devils#)

24. Phil Nelson (6-8, Portland Panthers*)


4. O.J. Mayo (6-4, D1 Greyhounds*)

6. Kevin Love (6-8, Southern California All-Stars*)

9. Jerryd Bayless (6-2, Arizona Magic*)

10. Bill Walker (6-5, D1 Greyhounds*)

12. Eric Gordon (6-3, Spiece Indy Heat*)

14. Alex Legion (6-4, Michigan Hurricanes*)

25. Gary Johnson (6-7, Houston Hoops#)


20. Brandon Jennings (6-1, Southern California All-Stars*)

Fifth-Year Players

1. Jerry-Davon Jefferson (6-7, Team Danny Williams*)

2. Paul Harris (6-3, Buffalo G.C. Ballers+)

3. Mike Davis (6-9, New York Panthers*)

4. Jerome Dyson (6-4, D.C. Blue Devils#)

5. Seketoure Henry (6-2, Team Danny Williams*)


An April inductee into the USBWA Hall of Fame, Frank Burlison is's National Basketball Columnist and is also a columnist for the Long Beach (Calif.) Press-Telegram. He can be reached at Read more of Burlison's pieces at

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