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April 30, 2007

Vegas rundown

With tournaments going on across the country on the last weekend of the evaluation period, Rivals.com laid eyes on some top prospects at Hal Pastner's Las Vegas Spring Showcase.

Final: California Hoops 59, Utah Pump N Run 52

Roberto Nelson, a 2009 shooting guard prospect, led the way with 24 points for California Hoops. Nine of those points were the result of second half 3-pointers. Intriguing 2009 post player Tim Williams added 13 points for the winners.

Gritty point guard Holton Hunsaker kept Utah Pump N Run in the game with 16 second-half points.

Semifinals: California Hoops 74, Houston Hoops 65

Nelson was also the high scorer for the California Hoops in the semifinals, scoring 22 points. Wing prospect Chris Jones added 18 points for the winners.

Keith Gallon, 2009 big man, had a strong showing Sunday. he paced the Houston Hoops with 22 points. Talented 2009 point guard Elijah Johnson scored 19 points.

Semifinals: Utah Pump N Run 54, Lamar Odom I Can All Stars 53

Physical 2007 wing prospect Charles Abouo lead the way for Utah Pump N Run with 20 points.

Prospect notes

Ed Davis poured in 28 points on an array of post moves in an early game Sunday. Davis not only scored with his left-handed jump hook, but he also turned to his left shoulder for turnaround jumpers and scored a couple times on spin moves.

As impressive as he was as a scorer, he was equally impressive as a passer. He did a great job finding teammates cutting to the basket and spotting up on the other side of the court while in the process of making his scoring moves.

Davis had the attention of coaches Roy Williams and Dave Leitao, while assistants from Duke and UConn were also in the gym.

Make no mistake about it, Ty Walker is a player. He could be one of the best in this class before his career is finished. At least 6 feet 11 and athletic, Walker is an imposing defensive threat around the basket. He is similar to Tony Woods in this regard, but Walker has the edge on Woods because he is a much more polished and composed offensive player. Walker does a nice job feeding the ball to Davis out of the high post, and he is a threat to hit the face-up jumper. Walker opened our eyes when he cut along the baseline and in one motion caught the ball, squared to the basket and let it fly without any hesitation. Gaining strength and developing a go-to move in the low post are the next steps in Walker's development.

In addition to the five-star big men, Boo Williams has a special 2010 prospect running the point. Kendall Marshall has poise and court savvy well beyond his years. The best thing he does is thread the needle with passes from the backcourt.

Senior point guard Hank Thorns of Las Vegas is being grossly under-recruited. The 5-foot-9 speedster played like a high-major prospect against Boo Williams. He nearly led his Las Vegas Dog Catchers to an upset win. Thorns scored 30 points on whirling drives to the basket and deep 3-pointers. He was the unquestioned leader on his team. His on-the-ball defense was also impressive.

Having fully qualified, Thorns said he recently fielded a call from Kentucky but only has an offer from New Hampshire. UNLV wants him to prep, and Brewster and Findlay are possible destinations if the right offer doesn't arrive.

Elijah Johnson was the best 2009 point guard we saw over the weekend. Well-built and explosive, Johnson has a load of talent as a slasher and playmaker. He is a sure fire five-star if he improves his jumper, and that is exactly pn what he is focused.

"I'm really working on my jump shot," Johnson told Rivals.com. "I'm enjoying playing shooting guard for the Hoops because I want to get better playing off the ball. I already know what I can do at the point, and when it is crunch time, I'll have the ball in my hands."

Still open with his recruitment, Johnson claims offers from Iowa State and UCLA. He noted that Kansas and Texas are also vigorously pursuing him.

Look for a swift rise in the ranking for Terrence Jennings. The well-traveled Amare Stoudemire look-alike also has a game similar to Stoudemire's. Jennings is not the physical specimen that the Phoenix Suns forward is, but Jennings is swift up and down the court. He also has a reliable jump hook, plays well above the rim at 6-foot-10 and even showed some 3-point range on his jumper.

Although the gym was fairly - empty other than a California assistant - Jennings said Arizona, California, Oklahoma, Maryland, UCLA and Washington have offered.

Expect the recruitment of Keith Gallon to soon match the size of his body. At somewhere around 6-foot-8, 275-pounds, "Tiny" is nimble footed, has enormous hands and has a soft touch around the basket.

Jeremy Green had his shooting stroke going on Sunday for the Houston Hoops. He nailed threes in transition and while coming off screens. Green also worked his way into the lane for scores.

Green noted that Stanford is his leader, but he is still open in his recruitment. Trent Johnson was front and center for all of his games. Green is also listing Virginia, Baylor, Arizona State, Kentucky and Washington State. All have offered except for Kentucky.

Combo guard Malcolm Lee had a strong performance on Saturday. The UCLA commitment worked his way into the mid-range for buckets and showed an advanced feel for the game with his passing.

Roberto Nelson and Tim Williams stood out for the California Hoops squad. Already well-built as a 2009 shooting guard, Nelson can handle the ball and score in a variety of ways. Williams, a developing 2008 power forward, is a prospect to watch. It wouldn't be a surprise to see him in the Pac-10 one day.

Former 2007 USC signee Leonard Washington was in action with Belmont Shores over the weekend. The powerful forward said he is headed to Stoneridge Prep and is opening up his recruitment.


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