Day 3 at the Vegas Tourneys

On the third day of action in Vegas, many elite high-major coaches packed themselves into a remote auxiliary gym to watch a younger team play; the Pump team, which features many UCLA recruits, cruised in the first round of bracket play, there are a couple of injuries, and more...

In a fairly remote gym in Las Vegas, where there were some 16-and-under teams playing and not many prospects, it was interesting to see coaches from UCLA, Duke, Florida, Arizona, USC, Georgetown, USC, Arizona State and more pack themselves into a small auxiliary gym.

They were there to mostly watch Hollis Thompson, the 6-6 junior wing from Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola. His team, the West Coast All-Stars blew out their opponent, and against the younger competition, Thompson looked very good.

Also playing point guard for the young All-Star team is 6-2 sophomore Kendall Williams from Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) Los Osos. Williams was also part of the reason so many coaches came out to watch the All-Stars. We'll have a recruiting story on Williams coming up.

-- Reeves Nelson, the 6-7 junior forward from Modesto (Calif.) Christian, hasn't played during the second half of the July evaluation period due to bone spurs in his ankle.

He played in the first half of July, but was under some considerable pain.

The Nelson family went to an an orthopedist in Las Vegas while here for the Adidas Super 64 tournament with Pump N Run Elite, and the doctor advised Nelson to give it four weeks to see if the pain has subsided enough to play. If not, it could require surgery, which could sideline Nelson up to 8 weeks.

Elijah Johnson, the 6-2 junior combo guard from Las Vegas (Nev.) Cheyenne, won't play in Vegas due to an ankle injury.

The Pump team, which features many UCLA recruits, won easily in the first round of bracket play Tuesday, and move on to the second round Wednesday afternoon.

The UCLA-committed guards Jerime Anderson and Jrue Holiday played well, but weren't taxed much. David Wear and Travis Wear, the 6-9 junior posts from Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei, played well, hitting their jumpers and using a size mis-match to go inside. Junior center, 6-8 Greg Smith from Fresno (Calif.) Edison, continued to look improved, getting 14 rebounds in this game.

Both UCLA's Ben Howland Donnie Daniels were in attendance.

Vegas is still buzzing over the Pump v. Celtics game from Monday, with people still talking about Jrue Holiday's performance, many calling it the best one-game performandce of the evaluation period.

Here are some more evaluations from Greg Hicks from Tuesday:

Josh Smith, 6-8 SO C Kent (Wash.) Kenwood. I only saw a portion of Smith's game, so I didn't get much of a look at him. However, I've seen him before and he appears to be progressing nicely. He's a big-bodied kid and he's still carrying some considerable baby fat. However, he moves well in spite of that extra weight. He's also got great hands. He catches anything that comes near him. His feel around the basket is advanced and he's got a nice touch in the 10-12 foot range. He gets up a little better than you might expect and that only figures to improve as he tones up and his body matures. With continued development, he's a potential elite prospect. UCLA coaches have been to a couple of Smith's games this week.

Peyton Siva, 5-11 JR PG Seattle (Wash.) Franklin. Siva looks small on the court with other players. His frame isn't real big and he's somewhat slight. He has good, not great, quickness and a solid handle. His shot is pretty good to the 19-20 foot range, but he doesn't always take good shots. Overall, his game feels a bit erratic. He's capable of making exciting plays, but there doesn't seem to be any consistency to his game. The decisions can become shaky and he doesn't always seem to be in control. He's got a number of positive attributes as a player, but his approach and focus need to improve is he's going to play at a high level.

Avery Bradley, 6-2 JR SG Tacoma (Wash.) Bellarmine Prep. One day after a very mediocre game, Bradley came back with a terrific game. In a tough win over the L.A. Dream Team, Bradley was terrific for the Northwest Panthers. He hit several clutch jumpers down the stretch. His shot selection was better and he took care of the ball. As I wrote yesterday, he's got a chance to be an exceptional defender. He's very quick laterally, he's got some toughness and he's capable of locking up opposing players. With the right approach, and an understanding of his role on the team, he's got a chance to be a high major player.

Renardo Sidney, 6-9 JR C/PF Lakewood (Calif.) Artesia. I've got a disagreement with Dave Telep regarding Sidney. Dave feels Sidney should be the #1 ranked player in the class because he's the most talented, while I feel he's not the best prospect in the country (for a number of reasons). I think even Dave would agree, though, that Sidney didn't show well in this tournament. He forgot his shoes to the afternoon game and he missed a good chunk of the first half while waiting for them to arrive. When he did get in the game, he didn't play with any intensity and he spent most of the game floating to the perimeter. Like a lot of young big kids, Sidney seems to fancy himself a perimeter player (or "wing"). Unfortunately, that's simply not the case. Sidney will play the four (or five) at any level he plays beyond high school. Whichever position he plays, he's going to need to play with much more focus, intensity and competitiveness if he wants to have any success. His body is not in good shape and his game has regressed from where it was earlier this year. He's got the size, athleticism and skills to be a very good player – even if he's not working hard at his game. But if he wants to be a great player, and fulfill all the lofty expectations that come with a #1 player in the country ranking, then he's going to have to change his approach. Because his approach right now isn't working. He's not playing well or growing as a player. And that's a real shame, because he does have a considerable upside.

Ramon Eaton, 6-7 FR SF Vallejo (Calif.) Sheldon. Eaton is a very talented young prospect with a ton of potential. He's long and slender, with a considerable amount of athleticism. He's advanced in terms of his ball skills for a young kid, with a decent-looking stroke out to the stripe. I was impressed with the poise he showed in a game on Tuesday. He didn't look overwhelmed at all, even though his team was getting blown out by a much more talented squad. He obviously still has a long way to go, but Eaton looks like a potential high major prospect.

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