LAS VEGAS, NEV. - The Big Time tournament brought out the best from Darquavis Tucker, DeShawn Sims and Davon Jefferson on Monday. All three had huge games and continue to do damage on the tournament field as the Reebok sponsored tournament winds down in Sin City.
Hurricane Dar blows through desert
While the coaches, fans and players packed into the gym at Basic High School, one of the best games of the Big Time was at Foothills High School as the Michigan Hurricanes and Fox Valley Skillz squared off.
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For those that stuck around, it was a dandy of a game. Class of 2007 Darquavis Tucker was on fire as he erupted for 28 points on 13-foot-20 shooting. This guy had a hand of every ball on both ends of the floor and his motor just never quit from start to finish. This kid just loves to play.
With a recruitment loaded with elite high-majors, the state schools continue to do the leg work to keep him in the state. Both Michigan and Michigan State were watching closely.
Tucker knocked down a long ball, sank a couple of mid range shots and exploded to the basket. He'll find a way to get touches and works just as hard on the defensive end.
Tucker's right hand man Alex Legion wasn't too shabby himself. As one of the top scorers at the Big Time, Legion went to work shooting 8-from-13 from the floor to the tune of 20 points. He's just so smooth yet explosive, much like 2006 stud Wayne Ellington. Watch out for Tucker and Legion on next year's AAU circuit. These guys will make plenty of more headlines.
Fox Valley had a great game from the most unassuming player on the court. 6-foot-1, curly-headed Charlie Chapman has a cherubic look but his game was pretty good in Sin City. He went for 27 points and scored in every way possible. He is explosive with the ball, can light it up from the arc and fearlessly attack the basket.
Elite forwards square off
On paper, the match up of five-star prospects Davon Jefferson and Damion James looked like it was going to be one of the best pairings of players in the entire Big Time tournament.
But after an 18-2 start from Jefferson and his Team Danny Williams mates, it was over quickly. Jefferson went to work inside, scoring 25 first half points all around the bucket. And, of course, Jefferson had some plays that proved he's one of the most explosive and athletic players in the nation.
Jefferson and James guarded each other on a few occasions but the 98-82 game was a back and forth transition game. There might not be a team in Vegas with more athletes on it than that of Team Danny Williams.
Jefferson finished with 35 points and James had 27 of his own. Most of James's points came in the second half and were layups or uncontested shots. He still did some damage on a couple of plays. At 6-foot-8, 235-pounds, James is a difficult defensive match-up for anyone.
The match-up was enough to draw out a handful of NBA scouts. Jefferson, after a year at California's Stoneridge Prep, will likely put his name into the draft pool. James should shine at OU and evaluate where he's at probably after a year or two.
While Jefferson and James drew out the pro eyes, it was the supporting cast that was impressive. Class of 2007 prospect Tyrone Shelley was impressive with his 19 points. The 6-foot-7 wing is quick off of the floor, strong to the hole and not afraid to go above the rim. It's been a good week for Shelley.
While James was struggling in the first half, Colorado commitment Dale VanWright was knocking down everything from deep. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard connected for 22 points and sunk four three-pointers.
Another day, another dominate performance
Detroit forward Deshawn Sims has been nothing but spectacular in Vegas. The 6-foot-7 has shown off every move in his book. After having 28 points and 21 rebounds against Derrick Caracater and Lance Thomas, Sims had another huge night with 33 points against the Smyrna Stars.
Sims has extended his game out to the perimeter, knocking down three of six from deep. Jim Calhoun of Connecticut was at Basic High School to see him. So were assistants from Michigan and Michigan State.
No shirts, no service
Because of a ridiculous jersey issue, the D1 Greyhounds and New Mexico Force game was delayed for nearly an hour. A couple of players from the Force left their jerseys at the hotel and the Greyhounds protested about not having a full set of unis. In a nutshell, Kasey Cunningham, the Force's best player and a potential high-major guy, got to play a total of four minutes after his jersey arrived in front of a packed house. It was one of the bad moments of the week in Vegas.
With Cunningham rightfully steaming on the bench, it was an opportunity for Roman Martinez to shine. The 6-foot-6 wing went off for 37 points on 15 of 18 shooting and sank five of seven from three. He's a mid-major guy.
Cali kids break down recruitment
California forward Rashad Austin, formerly of Mater Dei High School, is eastbound. The 6-foot-7 forward will take a prep year at Laurinburg in North Carolina and he said his recruitment is back to square one.
Austin said he's hearing from Colorado, Tennessee and New Mexico State but he's open now that he's in the class of 2006.
7-foot center Ray Hall has moved West from Colorado to California and will play at the loaded Artesia High. That's where coaches from Loyola Maramount, UCLA, USC and North Carolina can find him. He said he's holding offers from all but that can not be confirmed.
California point guard Derrick Glasser is holding offers from Richmond, Montana and is getting interest from Cal, UCLA, Washington State and Florida, he said. The R.B.C. West point guard had a game-winning layup against Blessed IJN in the morning round of tournament play.