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July 25, 2007

Las Vegas: Day Three

LAS VEGAS - The adidas Super 64 tournament went into bracket play on Tuesday and we had a chance to see a couple of dominating performances as well as uncover some summer risers.

Double trouble

Philadelphia identical twins Markeiff Morris and Marcus Morris are obviously hard to tell apart and the Memphis-bound forwards fooled everyone in the gym.

Markieff was credited with 36 while Marcus was tallied for 13 points. From our perspective, it was more of a clean split in the scoring column but both were equally impressive with their play.

Markieff was quick off of his feet and did work down low as a post scorer and baseline slasher. He worked the boards and took everything off the glass. There were times when Marcus looked like a McDonald's All-American level player. He hit a couple of good-looking three-pointers and drove to the basket with ease.

New England Playaz play on

Troy Gillenwater looked comfortable with his new AAU team for the summer, the New England Playaz, as he scored 29 points while only playing in third gear. The Boston native made it look easy against PAL of Delaware. He played above the rim, bullied his way around the cup and sunk a couple of three-pointers.

Off to Notre Dame Prep this fall, Gillenwater has emerged as a top target for Tennessee and said the Vols are after him the hardest. Bruce Pearl was on hand to see him. Pittsburgh's Jamie Dixon took in the game, too. Memphis was there as well. Gillenwater added Villanova and Florida are also interested.

As coaches look coast to coast for point guards, Terrell Holloway will be looked at closely. The New York native continues his strong play. He's a pass first, speedy guard that has shown an ability to run a high-level team without many problems. Don't be surprised to see him emerge as a hot target come official visit time.

Recent Rutgers commitment Christian Morris is playing with the New England Playaz this week and the 6-foot-8, 270-pound giant was impressive on Tuesday evening. His future head coach, Fred Hill, was on hand to see the big fella go to work. There was a moment where the backboard almost turned into a million little pieces with a monster of a two hand dunk.

Crowded house

It was a packed house for the morning game between Connecticut Phenom and the Bay Area Hoosiers. Why? For starters, Connecticut big man [DB]Allan Chaney[/db] is one of the most watched 2008 players in Vegas and the Bay Area Hoosiers are a well-oiled machine squad with a rising star in 2009 point guard Jared Cunningham.

Chaney did his best audition earlier in the month at Rbk U and blew onto the national scene with his tough play, ability to crash the boards and do the dirty work. A week later, Chaney played well in West Virginia. He's been a popular player to see for all kinds of schools here in Vegas.

Billy Donovan, John Thompson, Kelvin Sampson and Jim Calhoun were there to see him. So were assistants from Virginia, St. John's, Fordham, Marist, West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Ohio State and a good bit of others.

Despite the crowd, Chaney didn't really knock the socks off too many people with his play. The 6-foot-8 big man scored a rather ho-hum 14 points. There was a three minute stretch where the big fella was making a difference in the game. However, his run didn't last long. It will be interesting to see how his recruitment rolls out as the summer draws to close.

Cunningham, a 6-foot-3, 170-pound point guard from San Leandro High School, didn't have the game he is capable of having but there is a lot to like with the class of 2009 prospect. His class doesn't have a lot of depth at the point and his size is a major plus. Cunningham is a smooth operator and good with the ball in his hands. His perimeter game was off in the morning defeat.

Cunningham is being recruited from all levels. He said he has heard from Arizona State, Arizona, Gonzaga, Portland, California and UC Santa Barbara.

Perhaps the most effective player for the Hoosiers was point guard Oliver McNally, a gritty 6-foot-1 senior to be from Branson High School. The spit fire floor general is a heady player that plays with an edge and understanding of the game. He's a guy that can take an earful from his coach but then go out and produce after a scolding or compliment.

The mid-majors and academic schools are hot after him. McNally said he has heard from Loyola Marymount, Santa Clara, UC Santa Barbara, Penn, UC Davis, Columbia and Harvard.

Celtics stay strong

Confidence. That's what Dennis Harris said is the difference with his game this month. The skilled 6-foot-10 big man had a huge second half for his Atlanta Celtics in an important win over Beach Ball Select and scored 15 points for his team.

Harris was aggressive around the basket as a scorer and rebounder. Seeing him play though in the paint was encouraging. The timing of his game was important. The gym was pack with coaches, several of whom where there to see him play.

Harris said his most recent offers are from LSU, Rice, Central Florida, Auburn, Virginia Tech, Western Kentucky and Toledo.

By now, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Harris's teammate Delwan Graham had a good game. The 6-foot-6 power forward from Dunwoody (Ga.) had his batteries charged up and he went to work with his trademark hustle. 15 points and double digit rebounds later, Graham left the gym with another wing and another important showing in front of a lot of coaches.

The Celtics knocked out Beach Ball Select but in the first half it wasn't easy. The reason was class of 2009 forward Milton Jennings. The 6-foot-9 big man was doing work from the elbows and in. Paired against Derrick Favors, one of the elite post defenders in the nation, Jennings pulled his opponent away from his comfort zone and did his damage. The Summerville, S.C. native finished with 18 points and impressed a number of coaches with his play.

EBO tidbits

California-based EBO played sluggish in a game they should have won by a good amount. The first half was back and forth with Team Philly. Then Luke Babbitt and Jerry Brown took over.

Babbitt scored 20 of 22 points in the second half and mixed it up both inside and out. Brown, a 6-foot-7 class of 2009 wing, had an important game for EBO. He slashed to the basket and found the holes to sneak into for scorers.

Brown said he has offers from Washington, Southern Cal, Pepperdine, UC Santa Barbara and interest from Arizona and Texas. He said he'll participate in Arizona's elite camp in August and hopes to make unofficial visits to UCLA, Southern Cal, Texas and Kansas in September.

Another talented EBO class of 2009 forward Brendan Lane is coming on strong. He drilled a pair of good looking three-pointers but had a hard time finding his groove on the hardwood for this game. But he's certainly a prospect worth noting. Lane said he has offers from Southern Cal, California, Arizona State and Kansas while schools like Stanford, Washington, UCLA, Kentucky and Utah are also in the picture.

High-major guard emerging?

Over the last couple of weeks, Kyle Kuric of Evansville Basketball Club has gone from a must-get mid-major scorer to a must-see high-major target. He could be making the move to must-get for more high-major schools after his showing in Sin City. The 6-foot-4 guard from Reitz High School showed off a beautiful looking stroke from three and converted on four deep balls en route to his 18 points.

Don't type cast as Kuric as your typical Indiana shooter and shooter either. He has some bounce in his legs and he's not afraid to get high for a rebound.

His recruitment is at a strange, but good, place right now. The regional mid-majors are all over him while schools like Duke and Louisville are interested. Michigan head coach John Beilein watched the Indiana guard. The Cardinals were represented. So where coaches from Iowa, Southern Illinois, New Mexico, Purdue and Indiana.

Full house

The Atlanta Celtics-Beach Ball Select game brought out a number of coaches in the first round of the playoffs. Head coaches in the house for the game included Kelvin Sampson, Sean Miller, Roy Williams, Billy Gillispie, Leonard Hamilton, Central Florida's Kirk Speraw and Nevada's Mark Fox. Assistants from Florida, Texas, UCLA, LSU, Clemson, South Florida, Georgetown, Auburn, Wichita State, Rice, Memphis, South Carolina, Ohio State, Vanderbilt, UAB and Georgia.

Odds & Ends

We haven't seen him play but in speaking with a number of high-major coaches, Southern Illinois commit Anthony Booker has been playing at a high level. From all accounts, the Salukis have a future star coming to their program next year. The 6-foot-8 forward apparently has been one of the biggest surprises in the adidas Super 64 field.

2D1 Basketball Academy wing Gay Edi impressed with his top level athleticism and good-looking perimeter game. The 6-foot-6 wing hails from Van Nuys High School and should garner a variety of looks from a variety of levels.

Team Philly had a couple of impressive guards in Clayton Brothers and Parish Grant. Brothers, a 6-foot point guard from Roxborough High School, was steady and kept his team in it. Grant, a 6-foot-1 from Prep Charter from the class of 2009, will be one to watch from the City of Brotherly Love this high school season.

Evansville Basketball Club point guard Kendall Brown is a track star on the hardwood. The 5-foot-8 speedster from Evansville (Ind.) Harrison scored 17 points for his club and did most of it but sprinting into the lane. He's a good looking mid-level guy.

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



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