Vegas West Coast: Day 1

Shabazz Muhammad, Jabari Bird and Paul Watson were among the top performers from the west on the first day of action in Las Vegas....

Las Vegas, Nev.The first day of action at the Adidas Super 64 and the Fab 48 offered an opportunity to see many of the top players in the west for the various classes…

Shabazz Muhammad, 6-5 SF Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman. The #1 ranked player in the country started out a bit slow in a big game against the Atlanta Celtics and Dream Vision was down by double digits in the first half. But Muhammad eventually got it going with a series of vicious dunks, strong post-ups on the block and a few feathery jumpers from deep and Dream Vision ultimately prevailed in a hard-fought game. Muhammad's physical strength is unmatched at the small forward spot and he used it to good advantage in over-powering the Celtic defenders.

Robert Upshaw, 6-11 C Fresno (Calif.) San Joaquin Memorial. Upshaw didn't score a ton of points for Dream Vision, but he made a couple plays that showed his enormous potential. One play was a pretty spin move in the lane that he finished with a little left-handed jump hook. Another came on a rebound when he went over several players for a tip dunk and then another play when he came off the weakside on defense for a big block. He's still growing into his body and his footwork/low-post game still has a ways to go. But Upshaw's potential is enormous once he gets some coaching.

Dominic Artis, 5-11 PG Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep. Artis had a solid, not great, game on Friday. He took a couple questionable shots and didn't show his usual excellent decision-making. However, he knocked down several big shots in the second half and he also showed off his considerable athleticism on a couple plays. He made a big-time move on a stepback three (that he missed), but the move itself showed off his enormous potential. He's improved tremendously in the last year and he has a very high upside.

Xavier Johnson, 6-6 SF Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei. Johnson had a somewhat slow start for Dream Vision, but he played very well in the second half as he sliced through the Atlanta Celtic defense on a few occasions. He played a very solid game defensively, getting a few big blocks and steals, while also doing a good job on the boards. His jump shot wasn't following, but Johnson found a number of other ways to help his team win. And it's that versatility that makes Johnson a very appealing prospect.

Dakarai Allen, 6-4 SG/SF Sacramento (Calif.) Sheldon. Allen didn't score a lot of points in a win Friday afternoon, but he dominated the game with his defense and passing ability. He's got an exceptional feel for a wing player, with very good vision. And defensively he loves to attack his opponent and look to create turnovers. He knocked down a couple jumpers, and showed off a smooth stroke in doing so, but it's his entire game that makes him such a special prospect.

Paul Watson, 6-6 SF Phoenix (Ariz.) Paradise Valley. Watson has a terrific basketball body, with long arms and legs, and a very nice frame. He's a effective slashing off the wing, but he's also got a very solid stroke out to the strip. He's not well known nationally just yet, but he's among the elite wing prospects in the west for 2013.

Jabari Bird, 6-4 SF Richmond (Calif.) Salesian. Bird is an exceptional athlete and he showed off his terrific leaping ability with a series of spectacular plays at both ends of the court in his game Friday afternoon. He's got terrific body control, to go with a very nice stroke and ability to get his own shot. He's an elite talent in the class of 2013.


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