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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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Busy Sunday for grassroots hoops in SoCal

ALL OVER SOCAL, Ca. – The last day of the NCAA’s first July evaluation will be a busy one, indeed, in Southern California.

Three events, The Asics Double Pump Summer Tip-Off (in Anaheim’s American Sports Centers), the Pangos Summer Sweet 16 (in Norwalk’s Cerritos College) and the West Coast Elite/Under-Armour Elite 100 (Pomona-Pitzer College in Claremont), conclude Sunday.

Highlighting the Pumps’ event will be the 17’s Open Division semifinals and championship game.

The semifinals tip at 10:10 a.m., with the Double Pump Elite squad taking on the Southern California All-Stars/Red on Court B-1 and The Big Ballers VXT Black facing New York-based Black Mambas on Court B-2.

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Jump shooters Griffin, Reichle are All-West standouts

NORWALK, Ca. – The two-day Full-Court Press All-West (presented by Pangos) offered up a nice mixture of the best of four classes of high school players in Southern California.

And there was a hefty spattering of non-SoCal-based prospects at Cerritos Community College, as well.

The last major “summer event”, prior to the first NCAA July valuation period (Wednesday-July 12) wrapped up Saturday afternoon with Top 50 and Top 25 all-star games.

Six-foot-five Omaje Smith (El Cajon, CA/Foothills Christian) made a strong case that he should have been selected to the Top 25 game while leading the “White” squad to an 82-59 victory over the “Black” team in the Top 50 game.

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My picks for “Best of the Best” at Nike BB Academy

SANTA MONICA, Ca. – Even the most casual of basketball fans would immediately recognize the names of the “headliners” at the Nike Basketball Academy that wrapped up Monday night.

After all, I’m sure all of you have heard of fellows like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Anthony Davis, Paul George, DeMarcus Cousins and DeAndre Jordan, right?

The first three, of course, are three of the four preeminent “faces” of the Nike Basketball “brand” – the fourth, of course, being Michael Jordan, who has his Nike “brand” as those who worship at the Church of “Jordan Brand” will say a quick “amen!” to.

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Nike BB Academy is a college AA “preview” of sorts

SANTA MONICA, Ca. – This is certain:

The Nike Basketball Academy is providing an up-close-and-personal look at a lot of likely 2015-16 preseason college All-Americans.

After Sunday’s second full day of workouts, drills and scrimmages, it remained apparent that it’s going to be difficult to find a better point guard on the college level than Kris Dunn, who will be a junior at Providence in the coming season.

Dunn – from the perspective of the camp coaches as well as the NBA scouts and general managers watching from court-side seating – was clearly the top individual standout on both Saturday and Sunday.

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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.

To learn more about Frank's scouting services, click here.

Endorsements

“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 Clippers' organization that I trust more than Frank when it comes to player evaluations."
Neil Olshey, Los Angeles Clippers' Vice President of Basketball Operations

“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

To see what other people in basketball are saying about Frank, click here.