LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Memphis head coach Josh Pastner and Tennessee's Bruce Pearl have spent an awful lot of time together this week.
For rival head coaches, probably too much.
But it's a necessary inconvenience as they wage war to land 6-foot-6, 210-pound Memphis, Tenn., freak daddy Adonis Thomas, who put on a show for them once again Saturday in the adidas Super 64 tournament at Rancho High School.
"They haven't missed a game," said Eric Robinson, Thomas' coach with the Memphis Magic Elite.
Pastner and Pearl were separated by just 10 seats as Thomas, a rising senior at Melrose High School
, piled up 23 points – including a half-dozen dunks – as his team cruised to an easy opening-round victory. He is rated the No. 7 prospect in the class of 2011 by MaxPreps.com.
"He is a leader," Robinson said. "People would think that players at his stage would go through the motions, but he goes hard in his workouts, he goes hard in the classroom and he goes hard in the games. That's just his nature."
All that hard work has resulted in a remarkable win streak for Thomas. He teamed with Joe Jackson to help the Memphis Magic Elite win the adidas Super 64 last summer and followed with a Tennessee Class AAA state title at Melrose. Earlier this month, he added a gold medal to his trophy case with the United States' under-17 team at the FIBA World Championship in Germany.
Thomas' team is 8-1 in Las Vegas this week and 46-4 on the summer.
"He's a winner," Robinson said. "He shows everybody that you don't have to score 40 to win. He does it in every category. He guards the hardest. Whoever is scoring the points, he wants to guard them."
But the humble and soft-spoken wing deflects the credit for all those victories.
"I've been blessed with great talent around me," Thomas said.
As for Memphis and Tennessee, Thomas avoids calling them leaders in his recruitment but clearly appreciates the time they have put in.
"They have been to every single game (this week)," said Thomas of Pastner and Pearl, estimating that each has seen him play over 20 times. "They always have shown interest. They have been recruiting me since ninth grade."
Yogi leads the charge for Indiana Elite
On an Indiana Elite team featuring towering posts in 7-1 Chier Ajou and 6-9 Cody Zeller, it was the smallest man on the roster making the biggest impression Saturday.Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell
scored 21 points as Indiana Elite beat Virginia Assault, 68-61. The rising junior at Park Tudor (Indianapolis, Ind.)
is a high-percentage decision maker, knocks down the three and was unstoppable coming off the high pick and penetrating in the lane.
He currently boasts nine offers, but one stands out from a geographical standpoint. Lorenzo Romar's Washington program is firmly on the 5-10 point guard's radar.
"I've talked to Coach (Raphael) Chillious a lot," Ferrell said. "He's talked highly of me and how he wants to get me out there. I'm not too familiar with them. I only know one guy, Isaiah Thomas, that plays for them. He's a guard and small like me."
Ferrell claims no leaders at this point and will be focused on helping Park Tudor capture Indiana's Class 2A state title next season after falling short in the title game last winter.
Houston Defenders loaded with young talent
Pencil in the Houston Defenders as a favorite in the 2011 adidas Super 64 should they return. And don't count them out this year either.
The Defenders don't have a single rising senior on the roster, but junior-to-be Shaquille Cleare and sophomore twins Aaron and Andrew Harrison along with Derrick Griffin had Rancho's side gym packed with high-major college coaches Saturday.
Cleare, a 6-10, 260-pound space-eater, is a native of The Bahamas and will play at The Village School in Houston next season.
The Harrison brothers, both in the 6-5, 200-pound range, are headed to
Fort Bend Travis (Richmond, Texas)
after playing junior varsity ball at Strake Jesuit as freshmen. Both are elite 2013 talents with Aaron being the more spectacular of the two at this point operating at the point guard position.
It’s safe to say the two are the best players in Las Vegas this week not to have played a minute of varsity basketball.
According to Andrew, most of the Big 12, Arizona, UCLA and North Carolina are among the schools tracking their progress this week.
Griffin, a 6-7 forward from Terry High School
in Rosenberg, looks like a budding version of former Texas Longhorn Damion James and is reportedly a promising wide receiver, as well. An alley-oop dunk waiting to happen, he averaged over 17 points and 10 rebounds per game as a freshman.
The Defenders also feature 6-3 guard Christian Sanders
, set to return to Houston's St. Thomas Catholic
after a solid sophomore campaign. His father, Bradford Sanders, was a team captain at Kansas in the late 1970s.Recruiting 'crazy' for Carson
Former Oregon State commitment Jahii Carson
has seen his stock soar recently. The 5-10 guard at Mesa (Mesa, Ariz.)
averaged 23.3 point per game as a junior and has opened things up after pledging to the Beavers as a sophomore.
"It's crazy right now," Carson said. "I got offers coming in every day. North Carolina is stepping in. Pittsburgh, Alabama, Boston College, UNLV, Washington, Washington State, schools like that."
But don't count out Oregon State, who had assistants David Grace and Doug Stewart in the gym to follow him Saturday.
"Oregon State is still in it," Carson said. "They are probably going to be a leader until somebody else shows me they are interested as much as they are."
Not to be overlooked on Carson's Magic squad is 7-footer
of Grace Prep (Arlington, Texas)
, who may have as much potential as any player in the 2012 class.
Austin, whose father Alex is a former professional and is coaching him this week in Las Vegas, even flashed some perimeter skills by bringing the ball up the court and breaking down a defender on multiple occasions from the wing.
"I've been working on that a lot. I've been working on my hooks though because my dad wants to me to play in the post more," Austin said.
Kentucky head coach John Calipari was in attendance to see the rising junior.Johnson looking for more offersKevin Johnson
of California Supreme Elite and Taft (Woodland Hills, Calif.)
is a player with something to prove this week.
According to the 6-9, 260-pound post, only Illinois has offered but Oregon and San Diego State have been showing interest.
When Johnson gets his momentum going to the basket, he's tough top stop. The rising senior had a couple of dominant stretches against Brandon Bass Elite at the Fab 48, converting opportunities around the hoop and limiting second-chance opportunities for the opposition by pulling down rebounds in a crowd.
Brandon Bass Elite was a perimeter-oriented team with virtually nobody built to defend Johnson in any capacity, so it will be interesting to see how the big man fares as the tournament progresses.
Check back Sunday for more reports from Las Vegas as the Fab 48 tournament at Bishop Gorman crowns its inaugural champion.