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July 21, 2008

Handicapping the Vegas week

The Reebok Summer Championships has the stars. The adidas Super 64 has the depth. The Main Event has the future. And Rivals.com will be on hand for all three major tournaments this week in Las Vegas.

The tournaments are stacked with talent and all three should be filled with memorable games, emerging stars and hosts of talented young players.

REEBOK SUMMER CHAMPIONSHIPS

Reebok Summer Championships official website
Teams, Pools and Bracket Play Schedule
Nationally ranked players at the Reebok Summer Championships
Venue maps

In it's second under the brand of the Summer Championships, the Reebok tournament boasts the most five-star prospects of all three events this year.

Reebok selected eight pre-seeded teams to participate in the Create-N-Finish Cup, a mini tournament within the actual tournament format. The Cup will feature some of the top players and match-ups in Las Vegas this week.

Team Breakdown, arguably the top AAU team in the country this year, will lock horns with the Northwest Panthers at 12:30 on Tuesday. The match-up pairs four of the best guards, all five-star prospects, in the nation. Team Breakdown is led by Kenny Boynton and Brandon Knight while the Northwest Panthers boast Abdul Gaddy and Avery Bradley.

John Wall, the nation's top player in the class of 2009, and his D-One Sports team (also featuring five-star rising senior Ryan Kelly) will take on the Worldwide Renegades Orange featuring Mfon Udofia, Richard Howell and Ari Stewart.

A pairing of two of the top big men in the nation go at it at 3 p.m. on Tuesday when John Henson of the Franchize All-Stars and Renardo Sidney of the L.A. Dream Team tip off against each other.

Rounding out the Cup schedule on Tuesday is a match-up of Belmont Shore and Triple Threat. Belmont Shore will have Georgetown commitment Hollis Thompson and guard Darius Morris while Triple Threat will lean on the scoring punch of future Indiana guard Maurice Creek. David Wear and Travis Wear may also be with Belmont Shore.

ADIDAS SUPER 64

adidas Super 64 official website
Teams, Pools and Bracket Play Schedule
Nationally ranked players at the adidas Super 64t
Venue maps

Perhaps the greatest strength of the adidas Super 64 is the overall depth of talented teams. There are a number of high-level programs in the event and it is anyone's guess to who can bring home the title this year.

Last year's defending champs, the Atlanta Celtics, boast the top 2009 prospect in the tournament in post Derrick Favors. The crew returns a number of players from last year's championship team as well as a host of players from the 16 and under team that made it the final four last season.

Traditional adidas powers, the Playaz, D.C. Assault, Indiana Elite One and, of course, the Double Pump Elite team, make up the depth in the tournament.

The Playaz will rely on the scoring punch of five-star wing Dominic Cheek while D.C. Assault will have the versatility of five-star forward Wally Judge to work with.

Fresh off a trip to Argentina with the United States 18 and under team, five-star forward Mason Plumlee should be back with his Indiana Elite One team. The crew from the Hoosier state is one of the best teams in the nation.

The Double Pump team may not have the five-star power like last year (see Jrue Holiday) but the squad won't be easy to send home. The kids from California have championship potential and will certainly have a large following of fans during the week.

Seattle Rotary Select I will rely on the powerful trio of Josh Smith, a potential No. 1 player in the class of 2010, Anthony Wroten Jr., a sure-fire five-star prospect in the class of 2011 and top 35 senior Peyton Siva, a Louisville commitment.

Grassroots Canada can't be slept on either. The kids from north of the border are a tough team to match up with thanks to Tristan Thompson, the nation's second ranked player in the class of 2010.

Other five-stars in attendance include: Lance Stephenson (Raising Champions), Milton Jennings (Beach Ball Select), Maalik Wayns (Team Philly), Cory Jefferson (Texas D-1 Ambassadors), Jon Hood (Nashville Celtics) and Joshua Hairston (D.C. Assault 16U).

MAIN EVENT

Main Event official website
Teams, Pools and Bracket Play Schedule
Nationally ranked players at the Main Event
Venue maps

Youth is served at the Main Event this year. Of the three major tournaments, the stars of tomorrow will be at the Vision Sports event.

Leading the charge is class of 2010 big man Jeremy Tyler of the California Supreme. The 6-foot-9 forward from San Diego can truly lock himself into the top position in the class of 2010 with a great showing. The number one ranking is up in the air heading into this week of play.

Coming at Tyler for the top spot is Ohio State forward Deshaun Thomas. He'll be in Sin City with the Spiece Indy Heat club. The rangy 6-foot-7 combo forward has enjoyed a strong summer to date.

Other five-star prospects in the event include Reggie Bullock (CP3 All-Stars), Joe Jackson (Memphis Magic), Crandall Head (Mac Irvin Fire) and Daniel Bejarano (Arizona Stars).

The potential for finding a sleeper or two at the Main Event is high. A young kid named Samardo Samuels made his first national splash at the event three years ago. Last year, a 13-year-old named Mike Gilchrist caught our eye at the tournament.

Who will it be this year? We have our eyes on a couple of games to watch and it will be interesting to see if the prospects can play their way onto the national spotlight.

STACKED DECK

Just how important is Las Vegas to our national basketball recruiting team? Check out these numbers.

There will be 146 of the 250 basketball players nationally ranked by Rivals.com in Sin City this week. Talk about a stacked deck.

There will be 96 of the 150 ranked players In the class of 2009 rankings in Las Vegas. There will be 51 of the top 100 ranked players in the class in 2010 during the July 22-26 period.

The adidas Super 64 tournament boasts the biggest numbers of ranked players. There will be 71 nationally ranked players in the event (46 from the class of 2009 and 25 in 2010). There will be 40 ranked players in the Reebok Summer Championships (33 in the class of 2009 and seven in the class of 2010). The Main Event boasts 36 ranked players in the tournament field (17 in the class of 2009 and 19 in the class of 2010).

"We have always enjoyed scouting the intense competition at the Las Vegas events," Rivals.com National Basketball Recruiting Analyst Jerry Meyer said. "Certainly a prospect's stock isn't based solely on how he performs at a single event, but Las Vegas is a platform for a prospect to step up his game and make a lasting impression."


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