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July 26, 2005

Monday's action from Vegas

LAS VEGAS -It was easy to tell it was elimination day in Las Vegas with the majority of games hotly contested as teams vied to be on national television tomorrow night when the winner of the Main Event and adidas Super 64 meet on FoxSports. Wayne Ellington scored 22 points in a morning victory but his Playaz squad was upset in the second round.

Julian Vaughn piling up high major offers.

While his teammates Michael Beasley and Nolan Smith grab the majority of the spotlight for D.C. Assault, 2007 big forward Julian Vaughn has quietly turned into an elite major prospect in his own right.

With offers from 10 high major programs the 6-foot-8, 235-pound Virginia product has plenty of options to choose from with more on the horizon.

"Clemson, Miami, Maryland, NC State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Kansas, Boston College, Michigan and Notre Dame have offered me so far," Vaughn said. "Duke, North Carolina, Illinois and Ohio State are also recruiting me and have been watching me this summer.

"It's still early for me but I plan to narrow down my list this summer. I want this to be an easy experience for me. I like all of those schools along with Louisville. I haven't heard from them yet but if they recruit me I'll add them to the list."

This summer Vaughn, who showed a good form and consistency on his mid-range jumper last year, has extended his range out to the 3-point line and continues to improve on his post game.

"I'm splitting time at the four with Mike because we are playing smaller teams and want to use our height as an advantage," Vaughn said. "I want to be able to play inside and out so I spend time on both of them. I put in a lot of work and it's beginning to pay off."

Quincy Pondexter cools on long time favorite; expands list

The Arizona Wildcats have been the top choice for EBO small forward Quincy Pondexter the last two years but the 6-foot-5, 190-pound jumping jack said that is no longer the case.

"I've cooled on Arizona. I don't want to rush into anything and they have other targets," Pondexter said. "They are stocked at my position for the next couple of years anyhow."

Washington, Oregon, Kansas, UConn, Memphis, Tennessee, Georgia Tech and Arkansas have offered with Kentucky and Arizona also included on his expanded list of favorites.

Earl Clark has only two schools on his mind

It hasn't been the best weekend of basketball for New Jersey native Earl Clark who has seen his action limited to only one game due to an ankle injury and Monday afternoon he had to sit idly by and watch his Playaz teammates go down in a hotly contested game.

News on the recruiting front is much better for 6-foot-9, 200-pound, small forward and with over a dozen offers on the table he has narrowed his list down to his two finalist.

"It's either going to be Villanova or Louisville. I'm not looking at anyone else," Clark said. "I'm ready to get this recruiting stuff behind me. I won't make a decision until I talk with the people close to me and figure out which school is the best for me."

Clark indicated that both schools were neck-and-neck at this point and that his final decision wasn't going to be easy.

"Villanova has a great coaching staff and I have a good bond with them. It's not far from home and they have a lot of good guards. They know how to develop them and I like their system.

"Everyone knows Coach (Rick) Pitino is a great coach and he has a good reputation for putting players into the league and getting the best out of them. He knows how to help a player get to the next level."

Two of nation's top underclassmen square off

When Tyreke Evans and Sam Rines met Darrington Hobson and the Texas Ambassadors Monday afternoon it was a chance to get a look at the two of the more high profile recruits in the 2007 and 2008 class.

The transformation for Hobson, 6-foot-7, 180-pounds, between April and July is impressive. Back in April, on our first look, it was obvious that the Las Vegas native didn't play with a lot of fire and struggled with his intensity not to mention the overall feel of the game. Flash forward four months and the lengthy left is not only showing a promising outside jumper and solid handle but the ability to get his teammates involved with great court vision.

Hobson finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and eight assists.

Evans on the other hand has gone in almost the complete opposite direction. In April Evans was coming off a strong month which had many hastily prepared to label him as the top 2008 prospect in the nation. But an injury combined with a couple of bad tournaments has seen his stock drop in the eyes of his earlier followers.

That he is talented is obvious, especially considering his size of 6-foot-5, 190-pounds, mixed with a terrific handle and the ability to penetrate the lane. The first half he got off to a slow start. He especially had trouble with Texas A&M recruit Bryan Beasley who did a nice job of limiting his penetration and forcing him to go to his inconsistent outside jumper.

The second half was different where he went from a lackadaisical young player to a more aggressive guard who found his way into the paint where he showed off nice passes and finishes with either hand. Evans uses his left or right hand very well which allows him to attack a defense from either side of the floor. In addition, he doesn't mind contact and will stuff the stat sheet from the charity stripe.

He finished with 27 points (9 of 20 from the field), four rebounds, three assists, three steals and four turnovers.

Quick, Fast and in a Hurry

You've got to give it to USC head coach Tim Floyd and his staff. After offering Texas big man Brandon Webster last week, three members of the Trojan staff showed up for his afternoon contest. The 6-foot-10, 225-pound center also drew an audience from Texas A&M and TCU.

North Carolina commitment Wayne Ellington continues to show that he is perhaps the nation's most prolific scorer. The 6-foot-4, 180-pounder knocked down 22 points in his morning contest.

John Tiller currently has offers from Tulane, Texas A&M, Rice and Georgia State. Georgia and Virginia Tech are also showing interest in the shooting guard.

Coach (Rick) Pitino was on hand at Nolan Smith's early game. The Cardinals have long been the odds on favorite to land the 6-foot-2, 170-pounderand they will receive his first visit in August. Charlotte and Georgetown (who was recently added to the list) are also set to host the talented combo guard.

EBO point guard Derrick Jasper has been followed around by a host of impressive head coaches this week and the 6-foot-4, 190-pound athlete has a top two of Washington and Connecticut. Kentucky, California, USC, Gonzaga and Illinois (no offer) are also on his list.

Osirus Eldridge first caught our eye a couple of weeks ago at the adidas Superstar camp and the 6-foot-2, 185-pound scorer has continued to impress with his outside jumper and his on the ball defense. Several mid-majors including Bradley (offer), Illinois State (offer), Northern Illinois (offer) and Creighton are holding their breath until the end of the summer season as Florida, USC and UCLA are showing late interest.

Georgia native Jonathan Mandeldove found his way onto the Illinois Fire squad for the adidas Super 64 and the 6-foot-10 post player is set to prep next year with Tyler Smith at Hargrave Military Academy. Mandeldove, who can not be officially re-recruited until after he begins school, currently favors North Carolina, UConn, Wake Forest, Clemson, DePaul, Virginia, Georgia, Indiana, Purdue and Ohio State.

The ultra-talented Team Memphis with Thaddeus Young, Willie Kemp and Wayne Chism among others, were unceremoniously ousted from the adidas event yesterday. Before their early depart in the first round of bracket play head coaches from Kentucky, Alabama, Miami, Wake Forest, Memphis and Arkansas were seen watching their performances.

Matt Bouldin is drawing a crowd of his own with Ben Braun, Mark Few and Al Skinner seen in the stands of Monday's game. Gonzaga has the first visit in September and the word around the gym was that the Zags would be tough to beat. California, Notre Dame, Boston College and NC State have offered and rough out his top five.

Alabama standout Stanley Robinson continues to list more than 20 D1 schools among his list of favorites but this afternoon mentioned Alabama, North Carolina, UConn, Duke, Kentucky and Cincinnati as a few he is most interested it.

Las Vegas small forward Billy White doesn't have an offer yet but Michigan, USC, UCLA and New Mexico are recruiting him. The 2007 prospect also is interested in Washington, Wake Forest and Kansas if those schools show interest.

2007 Philadelphia combo guard Antonio Jardine claims offers from Villanova, Syracuse and NC State. Those three along with Arizona claim the top spot among his college choices.

Look for 2008 Nevada big forward Luke Babbitt to lock down a lofty position when Rivals.com releases the sophomore rankings. Bobbitt, 6-foot-7, 205-pounds, is one of the hidden gems among underclassmen and continues to impressive with a great feel for the game to go with low-post moves and a sweet left handed jumper. Southern Cal was the first on the board with an offer this week and UCLA, Washington, Mihigan and UNLV are showing strong interest.


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