Day Four of Vegas

<b>Jon Brockman</b>, the 6-7 senior power forward and primary UCLA target, leads his team to a championship, while other possible targets emerge, such as wing <b>Larry Gurganious</b> and post players <b>Brayden Bell</b> and <b>Kenneth Cooper</b>...

Friends of Hoop handily won the championship of the Main Event Sunday night, led by Jon Brockman, the 6-7 power forward from Snohomish (Wash.) High.

FOH beat an over-matched team from Baltimore, SYF, in the final, 87-59.

Brockman had 22 points and 14 rebounds.

Astoundingly, the way the Main Event was structured dictated that if you made it into the final on Sunday, you'd play in a total of five games on the final day.

So, it was more of an endurance test as anything else. Can you imagine how badly the uniforms of these kids smell?

Brockman now has an entourage of college coaches following him around, but that entourage has been led by UCLA head coach Ben Howland, who was at each of Friends of Hoops' five games. Duke's Coach K now is showing Brockman love since they offered him, but he attended only two of Brockman's games today. Howland is definitely trying to outwork the competition for Brockman.

The entire Friends of Hoop team played well. Martell Webster, the 6-6 small forward from Seattle (Wash.) Prep, had a good five game stretch. Ryan Stadaucher, the 6-3 senior shooting guard from Kirkland (Wash.) Lake Washington, had a great run, seemingly unable to miss from deep.

It will be interesting to see how Webster's recruitment evolves. His clear favorite is Arizona, but he has said he could wait past November to commit. If Arizona doesn't wait for him, and take two wings (which is what they intend to do) before Webster decides, it could open the door for UCLA.

Probably the second-best performance by a west coast AAU team Sunday came from Utah Pump N Run. They will play in the quarter finals of the Adidas Super 64 today, after making a terrific run Sunday. The beat Syracuse/Rochester Rap, a team that featured Duke-bound point guard Greg Paulus and apparently NBA-bound Andre Blatche. The Utah team, led by 6-7 junior Daniel Deane, 6-5 senior Matt Mortensen and 6-8 senior Darin Mahoney, showed great toughness, especially when there were some rugged play and words being exchanged between the two teams. Deane got elbowed in the nose, which precipitated a stream of blood. He then plugged it full of tissues and went back in the game ten minutes later. Wing Logan Magnusson got in the head of Syracuse, and Blatche got thrown out after being slapped with two technicals for hanging on the rim and basically talking trash all game. In fact, Blatche went up to the ref after the game and asked him, with what you would call a lack of respect, "What kind of f------- bull--- was that, ref?"

Looks like he is indeed ready for the NBA.

Utah then went on to play in what was the best game of the week that I saw, when they beat a tough, heady Colorado Select Blue in two overtimes. Mortensen hit two free throws with 3 seconds left to win it. Colorado Select Blue was led by 6-7 senior Ryan Dermody, 6-7 senior Jarryd Gearhart, 5-10 senior point guard Andrew Brown and 6-5 junior Matt Bouldin.

EBO has to be the best young west coast team. They are in the quarter finals of the Adidas Super64, led by Robin Lopez and Brook Lopez, the 6-11 junior twins, and 6-4 junior shooting guard Derrick Jasper and 6-2 junior shooting guard Tre'Von Willis. EBO beat a loaded New Orleans Jazz team, featuring 6-7 combo forward Tasmin Mitchell.

Also in the quarter finals are Pump N Run, featuring 6-11 senior center Jordan Wilkes and 6-8 junior Alex Stepheson.

In the Reebok Big Time, Oakland Slam N Jam is in the quarter finals, led by Larry Gurganious. An exceptional athlete, the 6-5 senior small forward was extremely active, slashing off the wing and grabbing offensive rebounds among bigger players for second chance opportunities. His jumpshot is dramatically improved from where it was a year ago. After Martell Webster and Micah Downs, there might not be a better prospect among the wings in the west. UCLA could take a look at Gurganious.

In the other quarter final is Arizona Magic Blue. Joey Shaw, a 6-6 senior shooting guard led them last night with a stupendous display of shooting. Shaw has deep range and he repeatedly dropped back several feet from the stripe and buried long range bombs with a seemingly effortless flick of the wrist. Shaw will need to add bulk and strength at the next level, but there aren't many guys in the 2005 class who can put up points as fast as Shaw can.

Brayden Bell, the 6-8 senior power forward from Salt Lake City (Utah) Brighton, again showed he's the most skilled big man in the west, hitting threes, scoring on pretty turn-around banks and jump hooks. It's just a matter of attitude and playing hard for Bell. UCLA very well could investigate Bell's situation further.

Alred Aboya, the 6-7 senior power forward from Tilton (NH) Tilton School, is still alive in the Big Time playing with Blessed IJN.

Brandon Costner, the 6-7 senior combo forward from West Orange (NJ) Seton Hall Prep, has looked good, knocking down threes and being very active inside. The question will be if he'll be able to leave his close-knit family to go across the country for school.

The inside word on Ryan Wright, the 6-8 power forward from Mississauga (Ontario, Canada) Loyola Catholic, is that UCLA and Stanford are doing well with him. It was heard that UCLA could be the preference of the kid while Stanford might be the parents' preference.

UCLA will take a shot at Alonzo Gee, the 6-6 small forward from Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) Dwyer. There are a couple of bigs on his Tallassee Wildcats AAU team that are pretty good, too: 6-10 center Jimmy Sutton and 6-8 power forward Ryan Reid.

Kenneth Cooper, the 6-9 center from Monroe (Louisiana) Richwood, is intriguing. He's a better prospect than many of the other posts UCLA is looking at that they haven't offered, with a great body, weighing about 240, and good athleticism. He also is already a banger, the type of player that Howland prefers. As we reported, he has mentioned UCLA on his short list and he'll be in Los Angeles for the Best of Summer tournament this week and plans on taking an unofficial visit to UCLA's campus. LSU is involved, and it's always difficult to get a kid from Louisiana away from LSU, but Cooper is someone UCLA will probably investigate thoroughly. Neither Jordan Wilkes nor Brett Hoerner, the 6-10 center/power forward from Fullerton (Calif.) High, have distinguished themselves particularly this week. Both have played just okay, with neither showing great aggressiveness, and both still looking very thin. UCLA is still continuing to scout them.


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