Three big tournaments, which feature many of the best prospects in the nation and thousands of more high school players, run concurrently July 22nd through July 26th in dozens of gyms around Vegas.
The tournaments tend to run together, since sometimes they're in nearby high schools, but the Adidas' Super 64, which includes far more teams that 64, will be a main stop for UCLA coaches this week. UCLA will watch intently the Pump N Run Elite team, which includes Tyler Honeycutt, the 6-7 senior small forward from Sylmar; Kendall Williams, the 6-2 junior guard from Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) Los Osos, and Tyler Lamb, the 6-4 guard from Ontario (Calif.) Colony. UCLA, of course, offered Honeycutt a scholarship last Monday, UCLA already has a commitment from Williams and Lamb is one of the best guards in the 2010 class in the west.
The word is that UCLA is doing well with Honeycutt, and they'll be pressing him for a commitment. The thought is that Honeycutt would probably want to wait, to possibly visit some of the schools he's considering (Arizona State and USC are the other two high on his list who have offered). It's thought that UCLA will try to get Honeycutt up to campus pretty quickly in August after the July evaluation period and see if they can get him to commit – possibly before he visits ASU or USC.
It was a dead period between July 15th and the 21st and no face-to-face contact between coaches and a prospect was allowed by NCAA rules. Sp Honeycutt couldn't visit campus during that time. The Super 64 is over July 26th, but the Best of the Summer tournament begins the 27th in Los Angeles, at Loyola Marymount, which Pump N Run Elite will compete in. By NCAA rules, a prospect can't visit a local campus while his team is still participating in a tournament, and the Best of Summer goes through July 31st, the last day of the evaluation period.
Also in Vegas is the Reebok Summer Championships, and the Big Event.
UCLA's staff will be in Vegas for most of the entire week. Many college coaching staffs, though, are now forced to send a coach to Orlando for the Nike Super Showcase, which also happens this week and features most of the AAU teams sponsored by Nike. The AAU team Athletes First, which showcases Xavier Henry, the #1 shooting guard in the country whom UCLA is still involved with, and Daniel Orton, the 6-9 center that UCLA has recruited, will participate in the Super Showcase.
We've also heard that there might be other detours from Vegas, too. In fact, we've heard that Roscoe Smith, the elite 6-7 junior small forward from Baltimore (Maryland) Walbrook, might not compete in a Vegas tournament and instead have a workout at his high school, which will draw a coach from just about every elite major program.
Besides Honeycutt, UCLA's other primary targets in the 2009 class in Las Vegas this week are Michael Snaer, the 6-4 shooting guard from Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde, and 6-9 center Anthony Stover, from La Canada (Calif.) Renaissance. As we reported this week, UCLA just offered Stover.
Snaer plays with Inland Reebok, which will, obviously, participate in the Reebok Championships. This week Snaer told us that he wants to make a decision shortly after Vegas. At this point, there is no inside word on which way Snaer is leaning.
At the two guard spot, with Snaer, UCLA definitely has Avery Bradley, the 6-2 guard from Tacoma (Wash.) Bellarmine Prep, at the top of their list. He'll be in Vegas with the Northwest Panthers, which also includes elite, 6-3 point guard Abdul Gaddy. The primary issue holding back UCLA with Bradley is a potential academic problem, and the fact that Bradley and Gaddy, who de-committed from Arizona, have said they want to be a package deal.
This week will also note the first appearance of Elijah Johnson, the elite 6-2 guard from Las Vegas (Nev.) Cheyenne. Johnson took off the first half of July to attend summer school, which is refreshing. It's been pretty well known that Johnson, a very talented combo guard, needed to improve his academics, especially if UCLA were to recruit him seriously.
Stover plays for the Pump N Run #2 team, which is called Double Pump Elite. UCLA coaches will almost certainly attend every one of Double Pump's games this week, trying to show Stover the love.
In the 2009 class, UCLA is still monitoring Renardo Sidney, the 6-9 post from Los Angeles Fairfax. The latest on Sidney is that it's uncertain whether he'll be able to return to Fairfax to play his senior year because of eligibility issues. There have even been rumors that he'll play in Europe this fall instead.
UCLA is also watching his high school teammate, 6-6 small forward Solomon Hill.
It will be the first opportunity for UCLA coaches to see their committed player, 6-8 forward Brendan Lane, from Rocklin (Calif.) High, since he participated in the It Takes Five tourney in Cincinnati, July 6th through the 9th. Lane plays with the AAU team, EBO, which didn't participate in an event between the 9th and the 15th.
Reeves Nelson, the other forward committed to UCLA in the 2009 class, is sitting out the entire July evaluation period due to injury.
What the July tournaments provide is a great opportunity for college coaching staffs to check out underclassmen. The younger Pump team, called Pump Power, features some potential UCLA prospects, like 2011 elite point guard prospect Josiah Turner, from Sacramento (Calif.) High. We've heard that Kyle Caudill, the 6-10 sophomore center from Brea (Calif.) Brea-Olinda, is injured and will not compete in Vegas. We've also heard that Angelo Chol, the 6-8 prospect and one of the most promising post players in the 2010 class, could only play a limited amount this week with Pump Power.
Perhaps the biggest underclassmen (both literally and figuratively) on UCLA's list is Josh Smith, the 6-9 junior post from Kent (Wash.) Kentwood. You can expect Howland to spend a great deal of time this week watching Seattle Rotary, Smith's AAU team, play. UCLA is rumored to be doing very well with Smith, who is currently considered the #1 center in the national class of 2010.
UCLA will also watch the AAU squad, Team Jones, intently, since it features two potentially elite prospects in Terrance Ross, the 6-5 wing and Terrance Jones, the 6-6 forward, both from Portland (Ore.) Jefferson.
There is also Daniel Bejarano, the 6-4 junior shooting guard from Phoenix (Ariz.) North, who blew up at an event this spring and is now commonly listed among the best shooting guards in the country for 2010. He has listed UCLA as among his favorites.
UCLA will watch Harrison Barnes, the 6-6 prospect from Ames (Iowa) High who is the #1 small forward in 2010, who UCLA – and just about every major program in the country – has been showing attention this July.
Also definitely on UCLA's radar is Anthony Brown, the 6-6 wing from Huntington Beach (Calif.) Ocean View; Allen Crabbe, the 6-4 shooting guard from Los Angeles Price; Jordin Mayes, the 6-1 point guard from Los Angeles Westchester; and Moses Morgan, the 6-5 wing from Las Vegas Palo Verde.
There was a report this week that UCLA has shown interest in Bawa Muniru, the 7-0 from Madison (Ala.), the senior-to-be originally from Guinea, but we can't confirm the news. We'll check out the validity of the report this week.