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Viva Las Vegas!

Stickdog sends another fabulous report from the road, this time in Sin City. Photos by the artist formerly known as
Stickbitch! From here on out, Stickbitch is Stickpony.

Thompson Waiting To Go In
Shavlik Dunks!
Dockery Takes It To The Basket!
Kennedy Winston dunks as Azubuike watche
Thomas Gardner
The Stewart Twins
Antoine Wright Watching The Twins
Carmello Anthony and Todd Galloway.jpg

Michael Thompson sustained a slight injury in his first game at the Big Time in Las Vegas and had to sit out his team’s next two hard fought victories. However, he returned with a vengeance this morning and led the Heat with about 25 points and over a dozen rebounds. Big Mike once again took no prisoners in the post area. He won his match up against the big and impressive 6'10" rising junior Hassan Fofana, but there wasn't another player over 6'6" on the Middlesex Magic's roster.

The Raleigh Heat hasn't been looking for Shav particularly, but this has ironically helped his team’s play. Shav is still slowed by his injury and he appeared to injury his ankle further during play this morning. He seemed frustrated with his play at times, and he has short-armed a few of his close range attempts that he usually would be flushing home. However, he has still averaged around 15 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists and 3 blocks a game, and he has shown his handling skills, defensive awareness, court sense, post move and scoring touch, albeit in a supporting role to Matt Walsh and Michael Thompson. His team seems to play much better with him on the floor than when he is out of the game, and they have gone 4-0 (2-0 without Thompson) against tough competition, so he is obviously doing something right. Opposing players are still keying on him and trying to beat him up, so using him to get good opportunities for his teammates (rather than always trying to force the issue himself) has been a very effective strategy.

So far, Sean Dockery has been very impressive. His team went 2-1 in pool play against fine competition and he has led his team in scoring, assists and steals. In yesterday’s game, he had 19 points and 9 assists and he went 6-6 from the line down the stretch to seal a tough victory over Marcelus Kemp's fine Rotary Select team. The highly athletic Kemp guarded Dockery for much of the game, and Sean didn't let Kemp's aggressive defense slow him down.

Lee Melchionni's T1T Gold team is stocked. He went off for 9 first half points last night, including a 3, and he had several nifty assists and passes that resulted in his team getting to the foul line. The Playaz ended pool play 3-0 and look poised to make a run in the bracket play. After misfiring throughout the first half, Elijah Ingram was the 2nd half hero with 4 threes including the game winner, but Lee's all-around play was needed to defeat a game Wisc FOH team led by baby-faced killer Dan Grunfeld who went into the heart of Playaz defense for many of his 19 points.

Special and heartfelt thanks go out to famed Duke superfans Doug Hines and Mike Ziegler for their invaluable contributions to this report as well as the tasty Margaritas.

Larry "Hoops" King looks at Day 2 in Vegas:

Lenny Cooke is playing on a high flying Prep Stars International team along with Kennedy Winston and Kelenna Azubuike. Lenny and Kennedy have been a
particularly active scoring tandem. Lenny has proved to be as good a distributor, rebounder and shot blocker as he is a scorer, and Kennedy has shown off good perimeter shooting form while cleaning up inside … Shawn Harris has really come on strong for Squires Richmond who made Beach Ball Select’s Raymond Felton look human in a late Thursday night OT victory. Rising junior PG Vern Hamilton’s game is a work in progress, but he is extremely strong with the ball. 6’8” Herb Jones has scored inside nicely, and 6’9” Chris Copland has been an interior presence. Two players previously unknown to me who have impressed so far are the versatile late roster addition Fernando Powell, and the young, athletic rising sophomore Joe Posey … Pump’n’Run appears to have their deepest and most athletic squad in years, led by definite top 50 talent 6’8” Brad Buckman, 6’10” Las Vegas expatriate and current Australian resident Martin Iti (who appeared in my very first Vegas report three years ago when he played on Kevin Gaines’ Mad Moves team as a beanpole sophomore), high flying 6’6” Maryland signee Nik Caner-Medley, 6’11” rising junior Stanford priority target David Padgett, 6’4” rising junior UCLA priority target Omar Wilkes (Silk’s son), and a much stronger 6’8” Matt McKinney … 6’3” UA signee Chris Rodgers continues to show he can get around anyone. 5’11” Curtis and 6’4” Brandon Lincoln have also performed well as Rodgers’ Inner City teammates. But yesterday was the coming out party for 6’5” rising junior Thomas Gardner of Jefferson High (Portland) who combined a deadly outside stroke with an athletic hoop attack to lead his team with 22 points. If he was more consistent from the free throw line, he would have had a few more … Matt Walsh has been unstoppable in stretches for the Raleigh Heat. When he is on, he can score on anyone, and he puts extreme pressure on the opposing defense. He is also virtually automatic from the line … The Stewart twins led Seattle Friends of Hoop’s assault on Inland I’s reputation as a team. Both Lodrick and Rodrick shined in stretches. They are incredibly explosive players who just need to refine their talents a little to become big time college stars. Rodrick locked up highly regarded 6’7” Antoine Wright on defense. Inland’s one-on-five play led to a horrid 44 point performance against FOH’s aggressive defense. Considering that Inland’s lineup also boasts 6’8” rising junior Lawrence Carrier, 6’6” Fabian Bean, 6’10” rising sophomore Sylvester Seay and 6’6” rising junior Richard Cobb, their performance was more than a little disappointing … Illinois Fire’s 6’6” Chris Burras broke out for 20 points, many off slick assists from Sean Dockery …Baltimore Select’s 6’7” Carmello Anthony solidified his rep as a Top 10
recruit with his smooth scoring moves...