LAS VEGAS- The action continued in Sin City Saturday with the majority of the nation's top players playing in front of college coaches and in some cases capacity crowds. O.J. Mayo and the D1 Greyhounds faced the SoCal All-Stars and Kevin Love in a battle of two of the top underclassmen in the country.
Love and SoCal get the best of Mayo and company
After struggling in his first contest with the SoCal All-Stars, 2007 big man Kevin Love came back with a monster effort in Saturday's opener against the Greyhounds. A motivated Love, 6 feet 8, 245-pounds, was nearly unstoppable in the post and overpowered every D1 big men that was thrown at him.
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Whether sealing his defender in the paint, stepping out and knocking down his face-up jumper or putting back his own miss, Love found the bottom of the basket on 11 of his 15 attempts from the floor and also connected on 9 of 13 chances at the charity stripe. His 16 rebounds (5 on the offensive end) easily led the game and Love clearly showed he is one of the top competitors in his class.
Another key component in the SoCal win was 2008 point guard Brandon Jennings, who was nothing less than spectacular when D1 made the ill-advised decision to press. Jennings, 6-1, 160, did a masterful job at the lead guard position (10 assists) while also showing off scoring ability with 24 points on 9 of 12 shooting (2 of 2 from the arc) and five rebounds.
Love's classmate O.J. Mayo continued his struggles from the field knocking down only 8 of 25 shots, including a dismal 1 of 12 from outside the arc, finishing with 28 points. He did manage seven rebounds and three assists but it's obvious that he has a better feel for the game when he is playing his natural point guard position. But with Heath White and Indiana commitment Deonta Vaughn on the squad, Mayo has moved to the two guard.
Speaking of Vaughn, he heated up from the field after getting off to a slow start in Vegas. In the second half, Vaughn started to find his groove knocking down a few treys which kept D1 in the game. He finished with 15 points (3 of 7 on three's), four assists and three rebounds.
Bill Walker scored 20 points and showed off his freakish athleticism. While SoCal shooting guard Chase Budinger scored 15 points and showed no ill-effects from his injured wrist in the 87-83 win.
Lone Star power forward favoring six
Texas Blue Chip big man Bryan Davis is considered one of the nation's top post scorers and it should come as no surprise that he is drawing attention from the top programs in the country. Davis, 6-8, 225, currently has a list of six schools that hold the lead for his services.
"North Carolina, Connecticut, Texas, Texas A&M, Kansas and Georgia Tech are the schools on my final list," Davis said. "They are all great programs who give me a chance to succeed as a player. Also, I think I can play early at any of them. That's why they are all pretty much even at this point.
"I'm going into this with an open mind and I'll choose one of those schools but I want to set up some visits when school starts back. After that I'll know more about each and I'll be able to make a decision that is best for me and my future."
UConn picks up late commitment for 2005 class
Niagra Falls product Robert Garrison was planning on going to prep school heading into this month. The 6-1, 180-pound combo guard's wish to play at the high major level came true, however, when Jim Calhoun and the Huskies offered him a scholarship.
"I committed to Connecticut on Tuesday. They think I'm the type of point guard early and play quality minutes," Garrison told Rival.com on Saturday. "Coach Calhoun feels that I fit his style of play. I'm excited to get this opportunity.
"Some people thought I wasn't athletic enough to play at that level but I'm so much smarter than the average player. Even though some guys might be able to jump higher than me, I always feel that I have the intellectual advantage on the court."
Syracuse officially adds two commitments
The on-going speculation the past two weeks as to whether or not Paul Harris and 2007 point guard Johnny Flynn were officially committed to Syracuse were put to rest today when the GC Ballers teammates went on the record Saturday with Rivals.com.
"I committed to Syracuse, that is the school I always wanted to go to. I grew up watching them play on TV," Flynn said. "This is more than a dream come true for me."
Harris also will suit up for the Orange.
"I committed to Syracuse and I'm going to have a press conference when I get back in a couple of days," Harris added.
Quick, Fast and in a Hurry
Ever wonder what happens to the high school players who declare for the draft and goes undrafted? In some cases that end up back on the AAU circuit like Curtis Brown who was out showcasing his talent with the Atlanta Celtics. Currently Brown plans to attend prep school, although the exact school is undecided, with Kentucky still his heavy favorite and Illinois, Georgia and Indiana in the mix.
Another 2005 prospect who is headed to the 2006 class, Jeremy Mayfield was watched closely by Oklahoma State head coach Sean Sutton and the Cowboys along with UConn are his top two choices. Texas head coach Rick Barnes was also in the stands and the rumor in the gym was the Longhorns are making a late push for the Texas native.
Georgia Tech commitment Javaris Crittenton continued his impressive July with a 18 point and double digit assist performance. The 6-foot-4 lead guard has been one of the more improved players on the circuit this summer.
Small forward Stanley Robinson is back in action with the Tallahassee Wildcats after missing the last couple of weeks. Alabama head coach and an assistant were courtside for his Saturday match-up.
SoCal standout Budinger is still sitting on Arizona, USC and UCLA as his top choices.
Michigan is in the driver's seat, but the Wolverines have yet to offer power forward Ekpe Udoh. Charlotte, Arizona State and SW Missouri State have offers on the table and round out his top four.
TMAC shooting guard Kenneth Clayton is mulling over scholarship offers from Nebraska, Texas A&M, Houston and UNLV with the Cougars holding the early edge. All four programs sent coaches to his afternoon game.
Small forward Wellington Smith likes Georgia Tech (offer), Maryland, Virginia, Wake Forest (offer) and West Virginia (offer).
Lazar Hayward is currently favoring Marquette ahead of Michigan, Connecticut, Texas, Pittsburgh, Seton Hall and Providence. All have offered except the Huskies.
It's pretty obvious how serious Texas is about power forward ryan Davis. His Saturday morning contest drew not only Barnes but also two of his assistants. Georgia Tech's Paul Hewitt and Calhoun also were in attendance along with assistants from North Carolina, Texas A&M and Kansas.
Combo guard Will Walker has seen his stock rise through the year and the 6-0 shooter is currently favoring Marquette (offer), DePaul (offer), Dayton (offer), NC State and UConn. Watch out for the Huskies which are Walker's dream program. If they offer they will be tough to beat.
Quincy Pondexter was knocking down his jumpshot Saturday afternoon and still is his regular bouncy self. He had several nice drives to the basket to go with a couple of nice offensive putbacks. Arizona coach Lute Olson was front and center to see his performance along with Tennessee and Washington assistants.
Playaz point forward Earl Clark was missing in action today after twisting his ankle two minutes into last night's contest. He was receiving treatment and his teammates are hopeful he will be ready for bracket play on Sunday.
If the Clark news wasn't bad enough for Jimmy Salmon his 2007 small forward Corey Stokes was also out with back injury that initially began two weekends ago but flared up during the Pango's Midnight Madness. As for his recruiting Stokes currently has offers on the table from Wake Forest, Connecticut, Rutgers, Villanova, Pittsburgh who sit among his favorites with North Carolina, Louisville and Duke. Tar Heel fans will be glad to know that if Roy Williams offers Stokes will likely be headed to Chapel Hill.
2007 combo guard Senario Hillman scored 14 points in an afternoon victory and Peach State player is currently has offers from Arizona and Georgia, which are among his leaders with Florida, Wake Forest, North Carolina and Georgia Tech.
Point guard Jennings will be one of the most sought after prospects in the 2008 class and Arizona and UCLA have already offered and those two along with UConn and Syracuse hold down his early list.