I wasn't there, having gone up the road 230 miles to the LeBron James Skills Academy in Akron, on Saturday.
I was told, however, by sources at the tournament that the Pumps' overall MVP was Jerime Anderson, the 6-1 point guard from Anaheim (Calif.) Canyon who is verbally committed to UCLA.
The Pumps beat the Kansas City Pump N Run team in the semi-final in double overtime, and then beat the Atlanta Celtics for a second time in this tournament in the final. UCLA assistant Scott Garson was in attendance in Cincy.
At the University of Akron, UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland and assistant Donnie Daniels watched a number of UCLA prospects (assistant Scott Duncan had moved on to the Reebok U camp in Philadelphia).
They watched Michael Dunigan, the 6-9 center from Chicago (Ill.) Farragut, even though the word around the gym was that he's bound for Oregon. We talked to Dunigan and he wouldn't give us a list of schools, but said he had settled on a small final list and would decide by the end of summer. So, UCLA looks to be out of the Dunigan race.
While J'mison Morgan, the 6-10 center from Dallas (Tex.) South Oak Cliff, wasn't in Akron but in Philly, we did hear that it's likely he'll go to Kansas, following his one-time high school and AAU teammate, Darrell Arthur. UCLA, undoubtedly, will continue to try with Morgan.
Ralph Sampson, the 6-10 center from Hunstville (Ala.) Butler, is a tough call. He hasn't looked particularly great at the LeBron Academy, but has shown some promise. As we wrote yesterday, he tends to play passively and looks out of his element among this level of talent. But we've heard from people who know him that he's come very far in the last year -- very far -- and it leads some who have followed his development to believe he still has a long ways to go. He was better Sunday, looking more comfortable and being more able to finish in the low post and rebound. I would suspect UCLA will continue to watch Sampson throughout July.
Xavier Gibson, the 6-9 center from Dothan (Ala.) Northview, looks like a player and moves like a player, but looked even more out of his element than Sampson here. He has good athleticism and long arms, but didn't display it much, and in the last game of the night Greg Monroe, the consensus #1 player in the country, worked him consistently, going around him practically at will on the block. The UCLA coaches were watching Gibson.
UCLA, obviously, is trying to find another big to fill out the class of 2008, and will continue to watch and scout bigs throughout the July evaluation period.