July 28, 2005

Las Vegas Summer Classic: Day Two

LAS VEGAS, NEV. - Another day of action is in the books at the Las Vegas Summer Classic on the campus of UNLV and guys like Marcus Lawrence stood a little higher than the rest of the field on Day Two. Come inside the Ultimate Ticket for more exclusive coverage from Vegas.

Local products shine on day two

Once Marcus Lawrence finishes the summer circuit, he'll sit down and trim his list to three. The 6-foot point guard from nearby Bishop Gorman High School has plenty of solid options, including Oregon State, UNLV, San Diego State, Minnesota, Fresno State and Arizona State. Lon Kruger was on hand to see Lawrence. So were a pair of Fresno State assistants and an Oregon State aide.

Lawrence was solid in his team's victory as he put in seven points and seven assists. He made good decisions and found a trio of teammates for big buckets throughout the game.

Hidden away in Reno, Nev., Luke Babbitt has taken advantage of the exposure months this summer and put himself onto the high-major radar for the class of 2008. The 6-foot-7 forward has a great feel for the game and knows how to get it down both inside and out. He's a tough rebounder that goes hard after the ball, gets big in the post and is naturally strong against his man.

Recruiting has taken form to the tune of an offer from Southern Cal and interest from Cal, Washington, UCLA, UNLV and Michigan. He has a chance to be one of the most sought after players in the country from his class.

Since shining at the ABCD camp, Las Vegas's Billy White has seen his recruitment blow up. The class of 2007 prospect said Kansas, Texas and Michigan all inquired after the Reebok camp. They'll join the race with UNLV, USC (offer) and New Mexico State, who were all involved prior to the camp.

White, an athletic lefty, has great size for a small forward at 6-foot-7, 210-pounds. He loves to play above the rim and his outside shot is dependable. Once he develops his handle, ability to create and pull up from 12 feet, he'll be even more effective from the wing. White had eight points in a 59-53 win over Minnesota Elite.

Future USC guard Andre McFarland put in another strong performance on Thursday. The 6-foot-4 guard posted his man up on a number of plays and went to work on his defender. He can score in so many ways, especially as a perimeter scorer. McFarland had a team high 16 points in the win.

It's gotta be the shoes

In what was probably the best game of the day, Team Florida picked a right time to knock off one of the top teams in the tournament field. The boys from the Sunshine State did it with limited numbers in the first half too as Missouri signee Keaton Grant was not in the gym because he went back to the hotel to get his shoes.

He had 10 of his 12 points in the final 16 minutes of play and raised his team's level of play. He ran the floor, scored in transition and put his team into position to get a big lead and hold it. Grant also looked great in the defeat to the Smyrna Stars. He scored 24 against the Georgia boys.

Grant said he's still committed to Missouri and is looking for a prep school to attend next year. Two options include Hargrave and Laurinburg but he said he's still looking.

Getting it done in the backcourt for Team Florida was the combination of Martavis Kee and Danny Baez. The two combined for 34 points against the Hoops and seemed to be the ones hitting the big shots.

Kee, a 6-foot-3 class of 2007 guard, said he is hearing from Wake Forest, Syracuse, Florida State, Florida, Purdue and Virginia Tech, who Kee said is close to offering. They were in the gym on Saturday to see him. Kee had 15 points against the Smyrna Stars and then put in 16 against the Houston Hoops.

Baez put in 18 points against the Smyrna Stars and the Houston Hoops. He's a guy that will make a mid-major program happy.

A.J. Tyler will be a good four-year player in the right system. He's been hampered with a bum foot this summer but still manages to show off a nice skill set.

Tyler said he will officially visit Clemson (9/3) and West Virginia (the date has not yet been determined) and is looking at Florida and Florida State. All four schools have stayed around in Vegas to see Tyler at the Summer Classic.

6-foot-7 wing Tony Davis also played strong on Saturday. He had 13 points in the victory and showed off great versatility on the wing and inside the paint. He said he's holding an offer from Central Florida, who was on hand to see him, and has interest from South Florida, West Virginia and Penn.

Smyrna Stars have a Peachy day

With the big boys on the bench, guys like Tay Waller had a chance to shine from the backcourt. The 6-foot-3 guard had a team high 22 points against Team Florida and showed off some great range on his jumper, connecting on four three-pointers.

Playing with McDonald's All American Korvotney Barber last year at Manchester (Ga.) High, Waller was actually the team's leading scorer. Things should be picking up for the rising senior in the recruiting department when he returns home.

He may look like a young teenager but Smyrna Stars point guard Ben Smith has a mature game. The 5-foot-10 floor general from Dublin (Ga.) High School has hit some big shots in Vegas and he did it once again against Team Florida. That was the story with him back in the Peach State and he's always on a team that advances his squad in tournament play.

Despite his size, Smith has made coaches look longer and harder at him as a player that can succeed at the next level. Smith said he's holding an offer from Tennessee Tech with interest from UNC-Wilmington, Wofford, Tulsa, Georgia State and Mercer.

Déjà vu: Skyler Williams is one of the toughest players in the country. He's a quarterback with a bouncer's mentality and a body that looks like a 21-year-old. He's had a good time in Vegas and should see more mid-majors looking. The two-sport prospect said he'd like to play both hoops and football at the next level.

Class of 2007 prospect Austin Kelly hit some big shots and helped the Stars grab a victory away from Team Florida in the morning game. He's poised and is being groomed to be the go-to option next year for Gary Graham's club.

Odds & Ends

For Minnesota Elite, Mt. Zion (N.C.) forward A.J. Wilson did his thing and sparked the team along the way. He's a jumpy athlete that can get off the floor in a hurry but he also extends his game to the wing and showed that he's a strong shooter. He had 15 points and eight rebounds in the defeat. Marquette had an assistant in the house to see him.

Want to know just how good Josue Soto really is? The future Florida State point guard is playing with South Florida Heat in Vegas and he's taken the team to new heights. Not to say the squad wasn't very good to begin with but Soto just glues the team together. Usually a 20 points per game scorer, Soto finished with a made free throw in his team's 72-49 victory over MBA out of Mississippi. The catch? Soto had eight assists and found the hot hands all game long.

Florida State assistant Stan Jones was there to see Soto and future Seminole John Kreft, who continues to really shine. Offensively, the center is one of the best in his class when it comes to pivot men. He has incredible footwork and isn't afraid to dunk on anyone that gets in his way. Kreft finished with 14 points in the victory.

Zachary Peacock had Florida, Georgia Tech and Florida Atlantic in the house…again. It's becoming quite the race for his services. He was a double-double man once again, putting in 15 points and 10 rebounds.

The real coaching convention was there to see Damian Hollis. Assistants from Seton Hall, Cincinnati, Florida Atlantic and Florida and Florida State took notice of the 6-foot-7 small forward. Hollis had 14 points and six rebounds.

It was another good day for Rusty Mosley, a 6-foot-3 shooting guard from Houston. He said he's got interest from SMU the most while Southwest Texas State is interested and Boston College recently inquired.


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