First Day in Las Vegas

It was kind of a preview Friday, with many of the big-named recruits playing in blow-outs. But the real show starts today when the college coaches can come into the gyms. They'll be watching the likes of Artem Wallace, Mario Chalmers, Jordan Wilkes, a 7-footer from Puerto Rico, and more...

With two tournaments going on simultaneously in Las Vegas this weekend – the Pumps Easter Tournament and Hal Pastner's Spring Showcase – there's enough talent in town – the problem is being able to get around town to see it.

Friday, though, was in front of mere scouts. Today, college coaches will be able to watch, as they were all in attendance at P.F. Chang's last night, preparing for today.

We did see Artem Wallace, 6-9 JR, Toledo (Wash.) High, have a good performance in his first game, not only looking bigger and stronger physically (He's probably 240+), but displaying good skills and activity around the basket. Today, in front of the college coaches, which will almost certain include UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland and assistant Ernie Zeigler, will be critical for Wallace.

A player we haven't seen previously is Phil Nelson, 6-7 SO SF, Salem (Ore.) McNary, who looks to have a chance to be one of the best wings in 206. He can really shoot it, has good bounce, great quickness, and a precocious feel. It's not a longshot UCLA could get interested since they'll be seeing him quite a bit, with Nelson playing for the same AAU team as Wallace.

Mario Chalmers, 6-1 JR PG, Anchorage (Alask.) Bartlett, played just okay, still looking like more of a scoring point than a true point. He did show some nice athleticism, had a big dunk at the end of his first game, and was called for a T for taunting after it.

The Pump N Run team have quite a few players of interest to UCLA, including senior 6-3 DeAndre Robinson, Riverside (Calif.) King. UCLA is trying very hard to get the promising Robinson to walk on, since he's been accepted for walk-on admittance to UCLA, according to Robinson. Jordan Wilkes, 6-10 JR C/PF, Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola, plays with the Pumps, but we didn't get much of a chance to see him since the Pumps quickly blew out their first-round opponent. Again, a huge contingent of coaches should be at the Pumps second game today, many to watch Wilkes.

Another player to check out is Ricky Sanchez, a 7-foot junior center from Puerto Rico. His Puerto Rico Pump N Run also blew out their first-round opponent.

Even though we didn't see him, Anthony Goods, 6-2 JR CG, Corona (Calif.) Centennial, said he didn't have a good first-round game, but said he was geared up for today.

Juniors who had good moments, but also were only participants in blow-outs were Alex Stepheson, 6-8 SO PF, Studio City (Calif.) Harvard-Westlake, Tre'Von Willis, 6-2 SO SG, Fresno (Calif.) Washington Union; Derrick Jasper, 6-4 CG, Paso Robles (Calif.) High, Ray Hall, 6-9 SO C, Denver (Col.) Mullen, Daniel Deane, 6-7 SO PF, Judge (Utah) High, and Brook Lopez and Robin Lopez, 6-9 C/PFs, Fresno (Calif.) San Joaquin Memorial.

These were the participants in the Pump tourney, but others who are here for Pastner's tournament are Brayden Bell, 6-8 JR PF, Lawrence Hill, 6-7 JR PF, Chase Budinger, 6-6 SO SF, James Keefe, 6-8 SO PF and Christian Polk, 6-2 SO SG, among others.


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