LAS VEGAS, NEV. - With the three major Vegas tournaments now in the books, the attention in Sin City has shifted to the National Youth Basketball Championship/Summer Classic. A host of teams stayed in town and got to work on Wednesday at UNLV. Florida forward Zachary Peacock continues to climb up the charts with another dominating performance.
Peacock is top dog on opening day
Coaches are always looking for a big man so when Florida and Georgia Tech got in early with Zachary Peacock, they beat the mad rush to get in with the 6-foot-7 brute from Miami (Fla.) Norland High.
Since the Nike All-American camp, Peacock has been on an absolute tear. On opening day of the Summer Classic, the big man was dominating the paint to the tune of 24 points and 13 rebounds. That was a common theme for Peacock at the Main Event and it looks like that will be the same old story for him this tournament.
Florida assistant Anthony Grant and Georgia Tech assistant Charlton Young were on hand to see Peacock do his thing for the South Florida Heat. Peacock told Rivals.com he's high on the two programs and looks to pick between the two.
John Kreft had six points in the 83-50 blowout win but boy were those points loud. On one play, the future Florida State center was 12 feet away from the basket on the right side of the basket. He felt where his defender was on his back and pivoted to face up and did a drop step move to the basket for the dunk. Offensively, he's got some great tools. FSU assistant Stan Jones was on hand to see his future big man grab seven rebounds, too.
Jones also had to be happy with the play of point guard Josue Soto. The 5-foot-11 moppy haired floor general shot the ball very well and finished with 20 points. He's been a super shooter in July and doesn't look to slow down any time soon.
With the play of Peacock, the thundering dunks from Kreft and electric shooting of Soto, the team just doesn't stop there. Take Damian Hollis for example. Talk about a guy whose recruitment is jumping off the charts. Since the Playaz Ball, the 6-foot-8 small forward has emerged as a major target for a number of schools.
Assistants from Seton Hall and West Virginia were in the bleachers to see the smooth shooting go off for 14 points. Coaches have been hot on Hollis's trail in Vegas. He said Indiana has offered as have Seton Hall and Florida Atlantic, who was also on hand to see him.
Texas prospects crawl back for victory
Down by as many as 16 to the Las Vegas Prospects, things didn't look so good for the Texas D1 Ambassadors. But the team persevered and crawled back for a big 73-72 victory.
With big buckets from Leslie Jackson, Darrington Hobson and the game winning shot from Junior Treasure with 6.7 seconds left to play, the Ambassadors certainly earned their victory.
Jackson finished with 13 points and came up with big buckets in the game. He knocked down a number of midrange jumpers and has the athleticism and body to match his game. He's holding offers from USC, Colorado State, Wyoming, Utah and Texas-Arlington.
The team's top prospect is Hobson, a 6-foot-7 small forward from the class of 2007. The lefty drew comparisons to Tayshaun Prince with his versatility with the ball as a passer, a scorer, a defender and a rebounder.
TCU was on hand to see Jason Ebie, who they just offered last week. Tulane, UNLV, Oregon State and Florida State also had assistants in the house.
Smyrna Stars have the ingredients for success
Winning tournaments takes a number of things. The obvious ingredient is great talent. Great depth is genuinely key, too. Having quality big men that mix well with good guard play doesn't hurt either. The Smyrna Stars have it all. They used a balanced attack against Cuttino Mobley and won 81-61 in the opening round of play.
You have to like the energy and effort Skyler Williams brings to the table. The 6-foot-1 guard is not afraid of anyone and goes harder than anyone else in the tournament field. He's always on the floor, playing hard nose defense and not backing down from anyone. Perhaps that's the football in him.
The two-sport star is hearing from Georgia Tech, Georgia, Clemson, Troy State, South Carolina and Florida for football and Auburn, Stetson, Georgia State and Furman. Some programs will try to get him on campus to play both sports.
Future Arizona forward Jordan Hill was a none factor and so was Johnny Lett, who is favoring Alabama and has interest from Florida State (who was on hand to see him), Georgia, Mississippi State and "basically the whole SEC." The two big men will have their chance to shine later this week.
Odds & Ends
Future USC guard Andre McFarland was hot in the second half against the Texas D1 Ambassadors. He hit three three-pointers in a five minute span and finished with 15 points.
Las Vegas Prospects forward Luke Babbit has a chance to be real special. The class of 2008 prospect does a little bit of everything and has three more years to improve his perimeter game. You'll hear more about him throughout the week.
Rusty Mosley, a 6-foot-3 shooting guard from Jersey Village High School in Houston, raised some eye brows in defeat to the South Florida Heat. Mosley went for 23 points and sunk five three-pointers and showed off some major hops. The class of 2006 prospect should hear from a couple of mid-majors after he gets home.
Against the Smyrna Stars, Cuttino Mobley Philly Studz guard Ivan Evans scored 21 points and did it with some flavor. The 6-foot-4 guard from Philly Lutheran has great hops and had some put back dunks and had a number of threes. He's got a body, made plays and did all he could to keep his team in the game.