LAS VEGAS - The 2007 Rivals.com Summer Showcase presented by Vision Sports had another entertaining day, as the players in attendance played hard to impress the coaches in attendance on the first day of the NCAA's Evaluation Period.
Friday's action started with an upset, as the Miami Tropics fell to Marcus Banks Dynasty 84-69. Marcus Banks was once again led by Phillip Payne, who followed up a 23-point Thursday night performance with 31 on Friday morning, including six three-pointers.
What's most impressive is the fact that Payne isn't even being recruited for basketball; he's a two-star wide receiver from Las Vegas Western.
The 6-foot-3, 185-pouind athlete holds offers from UNLV, Utah and Nevada for football, but he told Rivals.com that he wants to play both sports in college and judging from his performance so far at this tournament, he's certainly capable of doing just that.
Payne is a scorer with a good looking three-point stroke and he hit several big baskets to knock off the Tropics. Utah Sate commit Deremy Geiger had another big game, as the quick point guard scored 24 to help lead his team.
While the talented Tropics team lost, it wasn't all bad, as the game gave 2009 wing Richie Edwards the chance to show what he can do in front of the college coaches in attendance.
Edwards, 6-foot-7 and 200 pounds, had one of the best all-around games of the day, scoring 14 points with five boards and two assists.
His Friday stat line doesn't do his game justice though, because the most impressive part of his performance was his unselfishness, always looking for his teammates and being aggressive, but letting the game come to him at the same time.
We'll watch Edwards closely throughout the tournament to see if he can build on a very impressive first outing.
The Tropics' well built point guard, Marlon Rivera, was strong with the ball and did a good job creating for his teammates in his 11-point effort.
After losing Thursday night to Lakeshow, Vegas Rebels bounced back on Friday, defeating Basketball Mathematics 81-66. It was once again 5-foot-6 point guard Pierre Jackson who led the way for the Rebels, scoring 16 points in the win.
Jackson just does a great job of getting in the lane and finding the open man. His height is bound to scare off some schools, but at the end of the day, Jackson will definitely find coaches who appreciate what the 2009 prospect brings to the table.
The Houston Hoops had no problem with the Henderson Condors, defeating the local team 79-52. There wasn't much to take away from the game, as the Hoops players basically did what they wanted from the first whistle to the last.
We caught up with Jones, Rivals.com's 26th ranked prospect in 2008, and there isn't much new when it comes to his recruitment. Baylor, Texas and Texas A&M remain tied at the top, with a decision probably not coming anytime soon.
While we didn't see the game, 6-foot-5 wing Richard Dixon scored 29 for the B. Bass All-Stars in a 66-42 win over Moore Management OC Pride Silver. Dixon is a big time athlete that isn't getting much recruiting attention, but is showing he deserves it after scoring 49 points in two games.
In a 49-37 victory over Skyline High School, the Arizona Magic were led by 2008 forward Aaron Fuller's 16 points and Arizona commitment Brendon Lavender's 11. Fuller's athleticism is going to get him recruiting attention, while Lavender concentrated on getting his teammates involved, as he usually does.
6-foot-3, 180-pound class of 2009 shooting guard Nick Markovich averaged 21 points as the Arizona Stars split two games Friday.
Two other Arizona prospects in action were 2008 ASU commit Taylor Rohde, who gave a good effort all game and had 10 points in a 65-56 victory over the Las Vegas Dynasty, as well as 2009 forward Colin Borchert, who chipped in with eight.
Borchert says that he's hearing the most from Arizona, UCLA and ASU, and would prefer to stay in-state for college. If he continues growing and becomes more skilled down low then he might have the chance, as he's a big body at 6-foot-9 with good athleticism.
I-5 Elite took out Lakeshow 62-46 behind 2008 point guard Ameer Shamsud-din. The smooth 6-foot-2, 175-pound Portland Benson athlete offers from Oregon State, LMU, SMU, Santa Barbara and Nevada, with the Beavers looking like the team to beat.
On Lakeshow it was 2008 guard Brian Stafford that led the way with 16 points, but the hard work of 2008 power forward Cameron Fenley continues to impress us, aa the 6-foot-7 athlete chipped in with 12.
We'll have more from Las Vegas following Saturday's action, the final day of the tournament's pool play.