Alkins, Gabriel & Trent adidas Nations standouts

GARDEN GROVE, Ca. – At the halfway point of the adidas Global Nations there have been – appropriately enough – standouts from multiple countries.

*Gary Trent, a 6-foot-5 junior-to-be at Apple Valley High in Minnesota, scored 28 points Saturday night to help USA 2017 “Team Lillard” come from 15 points behind at intermission to topple Team Asia Pacific (in reality, Australia), 94-88, to improve to 3-0 in the Next Level Sports facility.

Trent, who helped the USA win a FIBA 16-Under tournament in June, is averaging 23.7 points per game while hitting 11 of 25 shots from behind the arc.

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Lots of players, teams leave Las Vegas as big winners

LAS VEGAS – And, on Day V, the champions were crowned . . .

Well, the “crownings” were figurative things for the top division winners at the Fab 48, adidas Uprising Summer Championships and Big Foot/Las Vegas Invitational events on Sunday.

But that didn’t dull the celebrations for the players, coaches and fans of the 1Nation (Fab 48), Team Loaded/Virginia (adidas) and Georgia Stars (Big Foot) teams that bagged championships on Sunday’s final day of the third – and final – NCAA evaluation period for high school basketball players.

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Sunday L.V. hoops finales should be grand, indeed

LAS VEGAS – The proverbial tables – in this case, courts – have been set for Sunday’s climatic day for three major national travel ball tournaments in town the past five days.

*At Bishop Gorman High, the Fab 48 quarterfinals will tip at 8 a.m. and there are four compelling matchups in each slot.

On Court 1, 7-footer Thon Maker and his Canada Elite squad take on the “surprise” member of this group, Pasadena (CA)-based BTI, which has three very good guards in Josh Hauser, Isaiah Brooks and Jordan Cohen.

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Some new, and familiar, Fab 48 stars on horizon

LAS VEGAS – Three down and two to go . . . or something like it:

I spent all of Day III of the NCAA’s third July basketball evaluation period in the Bishop Gorman gymnasiums, for the Fab 48, watching players I was already familiar with through previous viewings at multiple venues over the past few years.

*A forward from the Class of 2017 who impressed me considerably during the Nike EYBL spring circuit did exactly that early Friday morning.

Six-foot-seven Kevin Knox (Tampa, FL, Catholic) didn’t start for the Each 1/Teach 1 squad at the Lexington and Houston EYBL stops I watched.

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Standouts galore on L.V. prep circuit Thursday

LAS VEGAS – Many were still wiping the sleep-webs from their eyes as they filed into the Cashman Center on Thursday morning in time for the 8 o’clock tip-offs.
And then it was non-stop travel-ball hoops for the 15 hours or so, not only in Cashman (for the adidas Uprising) but a few blocks away at Rancho High (the Big Foot Las Vegas Classic) and some 20 miles south, in and around Bishop Gorman High (for the Fab 48).
The big first two-day draw in Cashman was the eight-team “Creators’ Cup” and the second day of the sub-event to the Uprising Summer Championships saw the Team Uploaded squads – the North Carolina and Virginia versions – roll into what was scheduled to be the Thursday night finale with impressive semifinal wins earlier Thursday.

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Team Loaded/N.C. off to rousing L.V. hoops start

LAS VEGAS – Dennis Smith and his Team Loaded/North Carolina teammates had a busy – and quite productive – Wednesday evening on the opening of the NCAA’s third July evaluation period.
Smith (16 points – missing just one shot from the field – to go with four assists, three steals and just one turnover, according to my stat keeping) and his buddies burst out to a 13-2 advantage and then coasted to a 101-83 victory over the Big Ballers (based in Chino Hills, CA) in a first-round game of the adidas Uprising Summer Championships’ “Creators’ Cup” tournament in the Cashman Center in the northern part of town.

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Prepare for hoops sensory overload in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS – So, what would be the best way to navigate the three national “travel (or club) ball” tournaments going on during a 96-hour, Wednesday-Sunday stretch across town?

Uh, Kobe, is there any way you can let me borrow – on your figurative “dime”, of course – that helicopter you often use for transportation from John Wayne Airport (near your palatial Newport Coast digs) to the Staples Center or the Lakers’ training center in El Segundo?

That would be one heck of a nifty way to get from the Cashman Center (headquarters for the adidas Uprising/850 North Las Vegas Blvd.) to Rancho High (headquarters for the Big Foot Las Vegas Classic/1900 Searles) to Bishop Gorman High (headquarters for the Fab 48/5959 South Hualapai) – multiple times – over the next five days.

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SoCal team reigns supreme at Double Pump event

LAGUNA NIGUEL, Ca. – NCAA Summer Evaluation Week II, Southern California-style, did a nice job of showcasing what kind of point guard prospects exist in the California Class of 2018.

The Asics Double Pump Best of the Summer Tournament (Anaheim’s American Sports Centers), The Big One Tournament (Irvine’s Misty May Treanor Sports Center) and the Fullcourt Press Cream of the Crop Challenge (Garden Grove’s MAP) were the major events that ran over the NCAA’s five-day period – Wednesday 5 p.m. to Sunday at the same time – in which coaches from NCAA-affiliated Division I programs were allowed to attend and evaluate participating players.

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NCAA evaluation periods II tips off 5 p.m. Wednesday

THE OC, Ca. – The NCAA’s second July “evaluation period” gets underway across the U.S. of A., at 5 o’clock area time on Wednesday and – also like the first and third periods – concludes at 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Southern California has three NCAA-certified events, two (“The Big One Tournament” and the Double Pump Best of Summer) of which tip off Wednesday evening.

The Full-Court Press Cream of the Top Challenge doesn’t get underway until Friday (at 8:30 a.m.) at the eight-court MPA Complex in Garden Grove (12552 Western Avenue).

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First NCAA evaluation period wrap-up, SoCal-style

LAGUNA NIGUEL, Ca. – Each of the three major “evaluation events” held in Southern California offered college coaches and hoopaholics-alike plenty to admire during the NCAA’s first July “evaluation” period that began last Wednesday at 5 p.m. and wrapped up at the same time four days later.

Here are some highlights on each:

*West Coast Elite 100 All-Star Camp (at Pomona-Pitzer College in Claremont): There were 300-plus players in attendance, from coast to coast, with action climaxing with five all-star games on Sunday, for the players from the classes of 2018, ’17 and ’16, as well as Top 40 and Top 20 contests (for those chosen best in class, regardless of classification).

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Meet Frank
Frank Burlison

Frank Burlison is a well-regarded basketball writer who was inducted into the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Hall of Fame in 2005. His opinions on the potential of high school and college players are widely respected and sought by college coaches and NBA scouts, personnel directors and general managers from coast to coast. Oh, yes – he can offer plenty of thoughts on movies, television and pop music. Yes, he can rank those, too. Hint: He’s a big The Godfather, Larry Sanders, The Wire and The Beatles loyalist.

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“I’ve known Frank since he was a student at Long Beach State and no writer ever worked harder at studying and understanding basketball. When I was coaching I always put more stock into what he said about (high school) players than anyone I knew. As far as I’m concerned, he’s the best there is at evaluating the potential of basketball players.”
Lute Olson, Hall of Fame and NCAA Championship Winning Coach

"I have known Frank for 15 years and there is no one outside of those in the Trail Blazers' organization that I trust more than Frank when it comes to player evaluations."
Neil Olshey, Portland Trail Blazers' General Manager

“Frank Burlison has always been a proponent of my talent and, even more so, of my potential – far before it was evident to most. Even as a smaller and determined player who was being overlooked by most high-major colleges and national scouting services, Frank always served as a friendly voice who got me into the door to most events to help me prove my talents.”
Russell Westbrook, the No. 4 overall selection in the 2008 NBA Draft out of UCLA and an all-star guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder

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