The AAU season officially kicks off today with the Las Vegas Easter Classic. And what a way to start, too. Hal Pastner continues to build some of the best tournaments around the nation and his first major event this AAU will feature some of the top talent from the West. RivalsHoops.com will be on hand for an up-close and personal look at the prospects. Take a look for a quick preview.
Pastner’s Houston Hoops team won the event last year, and the tournament championship title will be tough to grab for the 71 other teams in attendance. The Hoops are loaded. Led by Rashad Woods (No. 22 in 2005), Fendi Onobun (No. 49 in 2005), David Devezin (No. 90 in 2005), Jeremy Barr (No. 97 in 2005), Nic Wise (No. 27 in 2006) and Chris Rocquemore (No. 26 in 2006), the Texas team is stacked from top to bottom.
Woods recently hosted Arizona head coach Lute Olsen and assistant Josh Pastner in Houston for an in-home visit. The coaches made good use of their time in the Lone Star state, visiting Onubun on the same day. Now, the Wildcats are gearing up for a trip to Vegas for more evaluation. Could a verbal commitment or two be on the horizon? Stay tuned.
UPDATE: Onobun picked the Wildcats on Wednesday night.
Devezin is a solid point guard with a nice shooting touch while Barr, a huge junior at 6-foot-9, 250 pounds is hard to miss inside. The Hoops also boast a promising young duo. Wise is already verbally committed to the Wildcats and Rocquemore is one of the most promising class of 2006 prospects in the nation.
A number of loaded teams will try to knock off the Hoops. Here is a quick peek at the field:
Belmont Shore - Dinos Trigonis has assembled a fine squad, led by junior Jamal Boykin (No. 54 in 2005), Ed White, Brett Hoerner and possibly Jordan Wilkes.
H Squad - The California based team will be bringing in a number of promising players. Danny Williams, who has early interest from Oklahoma State and Washington, will join Utah small forward Joe Darger (No. 55 in 2005) as the shooters of the group. Rashad Austin and Jordan Black are also coming along. There might be a few surprise additions to the roster this weekend.
Southern California All-Stars - Led by Marcus Johnson (No. 26 in 2005) Brian Harvery (No. 53 in 2005), the All-Stars live up to their name. But what may be more intriguing is the outstanding freshmen on the roster. Chase Buninger is high flying sophomore. UCLA early commit Taylor King, San Diego point guard Jay Dee Luster, and Quentin Watkins.
Blessed IJN - Count on Eric Vaughn to put a team strong team together. This year is no different. Leading the way is Chad Millard (No. 40 in 2005), manchild (6-foot-8, 320-pounds) Carl Swanigan and top sophomore Marquis Johnson (No. 28 in 2006).
Salt Lake Metro - The boys from the Wasatch front have some talent and will be one team to watch closely this summer. Big man Brayden Bell (No. 50 in 2005), Shaun Green (No. 82 in 2005) and Tyler Newbold are some of the marquee names.
Southern Nevada All Stars - Want to find one of the best teams in the West? Look no further than the home state team. Led by super sophomores Marcus Lawrence, Nate Shulte and Harvey Perry they have the luxury of sleeping in their own beds for the tourney, too.
Emerald City Pioneers - Remember this name for the class of 2007: Emeka Iweka. It will be our first chance to see the youngster and we expect to see a gem for the Emerald City squad.
Like every major tournament, we anticipate a number of players to make a national name for themselves at the event. Keep it locked at RivalsHoops.com for the most up to date and exclusive updates on the web for this tournament and the Boo Williams event this weekend.