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July 27, 2007

Las Vegas: Final notebook

LAS VEGAS - Cleaning out our notebook from championship Thursday, we uncovered a couple of interesting tidbits from both the Main Event and the adidas Super 64.

adidas Super 64 has plenty of action

The GC Ballers claimed the 16 and under title from the adidas Super 64 and did it by just picking apart the Playaz.

Guards Jason Calliste and Jamal Webb took the air right out of their opponents with their speed and grittiness from the start. The Buffalo, N.Y. based club got 25 points from Calliste, who proved to be the team's best 2009 guard prospect in the game, and Webb finished with 15 points. Webb was named the 16 and under tournament MVP.

D.C. Assault won the 15 and under team won their age group thanks to balance and depth in the backcourt and inside.

Eric Atkins, a 6-foot floor general from Baltimore's Mount Saint Joseph, was constantly advancing the ball and was great around the rim and as a perimeter shooter. He was always involved in plays and certainly impressed as a high-major 2010 guard.

Backcourt mate Tyler Thornton was jus as impressive in the victory. The 6-foot-2 guard from Gonzaga College High School is a strong kid for his age and didn't force the issue. He's certainly a high-major kid in 2010 as well.

Blake Bozeman, a 6-footer from Paul IV High School, is the son of Morgan State head coach Todd Bozeman. The younger was the team's leading scorer with 17 points.

Big man Joshua Hairston, a 6-foot-8 class of 2010 forward from Courtland High School, was the team's best big man and neutralized Kentucky bound Dakota Euton of the OBC. Hairston had a nice turnaround jumper from the post and used his length to control the paint.

OBC struggled to find some consistency but had production from West Virginia bound guard Noah Cottrill. The 6-foot-1 point guard shined in the midrange as a scorer and finished with a team high 20 points.

Brian Oliver, a 6-foot-6 wing for the Playaz 16 and under squad, had a productive week. On Thursday in the semi-finals, Oliver was versatile in the backcourt as a scorer and passer. When he found his way to the paint, he produced on the glass. A number of schools are tracking the 2009 prospect and the Delaware native even offered up who is in the lead.

Oliver said West Virginia is "probably my favorite" at the moment. The Mountaineers were the first to offer him from the high-major level. Rutgers, Pittsburgh, Xavier and Miami have also offered. Clemson, Notre Dame, North Carolina and Georgia Tech are also in the picture.

Teammate Tamir Jackson scored a game high 24 points in the semi-finals and poured in 39 points in a disappointing loss in the finals. The New Jersey combo guard is a high volume shooter and in both games, his high motor was the spark that the team needed to claim the semi-finals win. Jackson's play in the finals was the only thing that seemed to truly be working for the Playaz.

Shining once again for the Atlanta Celtics 16 and under team was 2009 forward Terrance Shannon, a 6-foot-6 bruiser from Mary Persons High School in central Georgia.

Whenever Shannon was involved in a play, his team had a positive outcome. Both guys seemed to find their zone and executed the right play time and time again. He's clearly the 16 and under version of program mate Delwan Graham, one of the stars for the 17 and under championship game. Shannon scored 24 points against the Playaz and collected double digit boards in the win.

In the 17 and under semi-final game, two of the best big men in Vegas locked horns when Tyler Zeller and Derrick Favors met each other. It had the makings of one of those memorable match-ups that Vegas is known for.

Zeller, a five-star 2008 prospect, came out strong right out of the gates as he scored on a pair of good looking post moves in the low block. Favors, a five-star 2009 prospect, matched him with a midrange turnaround jumper off the glass and nifty move to score with his left hand down low.

Foul trouble put Favors on the bench early and took away the luster of the match-up. Nevertheless, it was fun to watch the two giants go at it. Zeller finished with 12 points while Favors put in eight and didn't miss a shot while in the game.

Indiana Elite guard Walter Offutt has enjoyed a good week of work, particularly on the defensive end of the floor. If he ever tested out on the athleticism drills as a football prospect, we could be talking about one of the best athletes in the country. He's athletic, quick, strong and moves like a guy finding holes as a two-way athlete on the gridiron.

News & Notes from the Main Event

There are a few players in the class of 2009 that are starting to separate themselves as must get players for teams from coast to coast. One of those guys is Texas D1 Ambassadors forward John Henson and his teammate Cory Jefferson is close behind.

The 6-foot-10 thin big men are certainly no strangers to the high-major attention. Since both really emerging in the spring and consistently playing well at the national events, the duo has established themselves as very attractive prospects.

Henson is one of the most unique players in the 2009 class. Against Team Davis on Thursday morning, the Round Rock (Texas) native put in a modest 13 points but he also blocked seven shots and grabbed nine rebounds all the while playing three positions.

Just how good is Henson? He has as much upside as anyone in the class. It has been encouraging to see him tap into it this summer.

Henson said he has offers from Southern Cal, Notre Dame, Marquette, Texas, Baylor, Texas A&M, Arizona and Kansas State. Florida and Ohio State are also hot on his trail.

Jefferson was equally effective, scoring 11 points while grabbing 11 rebounds and blocking three shots. The offer list for Jefferson includes Marquette

Once committed to New Mexico, Arlington, Texas native Chris Babb said he wanted to open things back and reneged on his pledge to the Lobos right after the Peach Jam. The 6-foot-4 shooter was hot against Mac Irvin, scoring on four three-pointers and finished with 18 points.

Things will certainly get interesting this fall on the recruiting front. Babb said he is still considering New Mexico but expect the Big 12 schools to get a look for official visits, according to his father.

As it the case any time Willie Warren steps onto the floor, the Team Texas guard was rolling as the team's first scoring option. He put in 21 points in the semi-final victory.

After a rocky first half, Rotnei Clarke came out strong in the second with strong moves to the hole with the dribble and the well-known shooter changed it up a bit and played more in the midrange with floaters and lay-ups. Clarke finished with 23 points and mixed up his attack in the second half.

Mac Irvin was getting a lot done with Jelani Poston on the floor. The 6-foot-6 forward from Chicago was posting up and scoring on tough shots as well as being the top rebounder for his club. An elbow to the side of opponent Daniel Orton's head sent Poston to the bench for the rest of the game. That's when it all fell apart for the Fire.

Poston is headed to American Christian next year in Philadelphia and he'll take interest from SMU, Illinois State, UAB and Illinois-Chicago with him.

While he didn't have a great game or even a lot of time to get going, class of 2011 forward Mike Shaw of De La Salle High School. After watching a lot of 15 and under ball, which features players in Shaw's own age group, it's easy to see why those in the Windy City are raving about the youngster. The 6-foot-8 forward is a cut above the rest of his peers in terms of body and length. Time is certainly on his side and odds are, his name will be mentioned at length when talking about the top players in the rising freshmen class.

All eyes on us

The Team Texas-Mac Irvin Fire game had Doug Wojick of Tulsa and John Pelphrey with Arkansas while assistant coaches from Oklahoma, Texas, UCLA, Oklahoma State, Kansas, New Mexico and Illinois were on hand for the game.

The Texas D1 Ambassadors duo of John Henson and Cory Jefferson had Lute Olson on hand to see the game while assistant coaches from Texas, Oklahoma State, UCLA, Marquette

Wichita State was on hand to see Chase Harper of the Ambassadors, too. The burly 6-foot-5 two-sport athlete said he has an offer from the Shockers and is being courted for both sports by a number of schools.

The 15 and under championship game at the adidas Super 64 game between D.C. Assault and the Ohio Basketball Club drew assistants from Kentucky, Ohio State, West Virginia, Virginia Tech and Stanford. Georgia head coach Dennis Felton snuck a peek as well.

When the Atlanta Celtics and Indiana Elite met up in the semi-finals of the 17 and under division, Kelvin Sampson, Leonard Hamilton, Matt Painter and Dennis Felton were on hand with assistant coaches from North Carolina, Kentucky, Georgia Tech, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, Auburn, South Florida, Valpo, Boston College, Notre Dame, NC State, Tennessee and Kennesaw State made it out.

Justin Young is as senior writer for Rivals.com National Basketball Recruiting. He can be reached at jyoung@rivals.com.



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