Las Vegas will be raided by thousands of basketball players, coaches, scouts and fans this weekend and more than 300 teams from the 17, 16 and 15 and under divisions will be playing in Main Event tournament on July 22-26 in Sin City. Are you ready to rumble? Hal Pastner and his Vision Sports crew are.
Heavyweights ready to knock out competition
The big dogs are coming out to Sin City to close out the summer. Several five-star prospects will in action at gyms like Durango High School.
Obi Muonelo, a 6-foot-5 guard, and Oklahoma commit Keith Clark will suit up for Athletes First. North Carolina- bound point guard Tywon Lawson leads the way for the D.C. Blue Devils. Texas commit Kevin Durant also plays for that team but did not play at the Peach Jam and may not make it to Vegas.
Spencer Hawes, the fourth-ranked player in the class of 2006, put on a show at the Peach Jam and he'll bring his aggressive game to the Main Event with his Friends of Hoop-Seattle team.
Playing up in the 17 and under division, the Georgia Stars 16U squad will lean on 6-foot-8 forward Gani Lawal for support inside the paint. Fellow class of 2007 prospect Jai Lucas runs the show for the Houston Hoops, one of the favorites to win the event.
Houston Hoops is a staple on the Vision Sports tournament circuit and this year's group is loaded with young talent. Led by aggressive power forward Gary Johnson, wing Mike Singletary and Lucas and Wise at the point, the Hoops have a formidable group that should make a push for the tournament championship.
The five-star and committed players aren't the only guys to watch. The field is stacked with high-major college prospects. Athletes First forward Blake Griffin caught the attention of several coaches at the Peach Jam with his rugged, no-nonsense style of play. The class of 2007 prospect should have a good crowd following him.
Class of 2007 forward James Hickson has created a buzz with his ability to dominate the paint. He'll suit up for the Worldwide Renegades.
Rarely seen on the AAU circuit, Jerome Dyson will be Lawson's right hand man in the backcourt for the D.C. Blue Devils. Expect a large coaching contingency to watch the four-star prospect.
The Friends of Hoop Seattle team isn't just the Spencer Hawes show. Jim Marsh has a young group led by point guard Isaiah Thomas, an ABDC standout, Earnest Williams and 2006 shooting guard Ryan Anderson.
Art Alvarez will have his Miami Tropics team ready for Vegas. With Soto, one of the hottest players in the country right now, at the point, 7-foot-2 center Jason Bennett holding down the inside and 2007 forward Orane Chin steadily improving by the game, the Tropics should make a run deep into the bracket.
There are some interesting storylines to follow at the Main Event this year, too.
- What coaches will be watching Raymar Morgan? The King James Shooting Stars small forward has a number of schools in chase. Could he be the next Ohio State Buckeye or will another Big Ten school swipe him?
- What's up with the Portland Elite Legends? Kyle Singler and Kevin Love helped lead the team to the Kingwood Classic title however both players will probably be missing on the bench for Troy Berry. Love played in the Reebok ABCD camp and hasn't been back with the Nike-sponsored team. Singler is out with a MCL injury. Seth Tarver, get ready to be the point man for the squad.
- Just how good is Tyreke Evans? The class of 2008 guard is one of the nation's best in his class. He'll roll with Sam Rines Basketball in Vegas and should have plenty of chances to prove whether or not he's the top dog in his age group.
Hi mom, I'm on TV
For the first time in AAU basketball history, fans nationwide can watch the championship game on live television. The Main Event championship game will be on Tuesday, July 26th at 12:30 p.m. at the Cox Pavilion and will be carried live on the Fox College Sports Network.
The winner of the Main Event will continue on and will play the winner of the adidas Super 64 tournament at 5 p.m. on July 26 also at the Cox Pavilion. Fox Sports' Best Damn Sports Show Period will carry the game live on national television.
Games of note
Looking for the best games? Try Durango High School, the tournament headquarters, on the opening day, July 22.
At 3 p.m., the Portland Legends, the winner's of two Vision Sports events in April, will play Friends of Hoop Seattle. Following that game is the Houston Hoops and King James Shooting Stars. Then at 5:20, it's the Wisconsin Playground Warriors and Sam Rines Basketball. This game pins future Louisville guard Jerry Smith against Evans, a top 2008 prospect.