The last day for me in Vegas was definitely the most eventful and by eventful, I mean downright odd. The setting was the Center Stage event, which takes place on UNLV’s campus, but instead of using their main basketball arena, they chose to use the workout facility for the students. This made the courts extremely cramped and made the event hard to find if you didn’t know what you were looking for. I first approached the main basketball arena, where I peeked my head into the door and asked where the media check-in was located. The man replied “Oh, okay, you’re media?” Apparently he was getting a lot of college coaches peeping in the same door. I answered in the affirmative and he informed me that the media area for “The Wiggles” concert was straight through a pair of double doors. Looking where he was pointing, I noticed a stage filled with huge multi-colored cubes, triangles and blocks and realized that this was either Josh Pastner’s nap room or I was in the wrong place.
From there, I found the actual facility and was just in time for the Seattle Rotary game. Next was the Mac Irvin Fire against Team Takeover. Immediately everyone noticed the largest human in Nevada playing basketball for Team Takeover. College coaches jumped on their phones and I even heard one explaining, “This kid is going to be a junior and he could play tight end in the NFL right now!” The kid was Jordan Omogbehin (Pronounced, I believe, O-Mog-bay-heen) and he is a 7’2″, 280 lb transplant from Nigeria. 280 is down from his previous weight of 310 and his arms are now solid muscle. Omogbehin hasn’t been playing basketball too long and he looks to still be picking up the fundamentals of the game. He did throw down some massive dunks and showed uncanny, almost super-human, strength. Of course, huge center, Georgetown is already in on him early but with the looks of the scrambling occurring in the gym, there will be plenty more callers in the future.
Omogbehin started out the super intense matchup with Mac Irvin Fire by getting into a little tussle with one of Mac’s big men. It started a shoving match that sucked in a referee, who was accidentally shoved by Omogbehin, leading to his ejection. I’m guessing the college coaches pulled some strings or just simply said, “Are you crazy? We’ve gotta see him play,” and Omogbehin was let back in after some referee discussion.
The intense play on court two caught the eye of Roy Williams, who had previously joked with my fiancee and myself about a pillow she was holding on the way through the terminal after our flight in. He told us that he needed one for his flight and that he was jealous. We ran into him a couple more times at the games and he would always ask where his pillow was. It just so happened that the day after we arrived, my significant other had been browsing in a gift shop and saw a North Carolina blue, “Welcome to Vegas” embroidered, horseshoe-shaped, neck pillow and thought it would be funny to give it to Roy. She had it on her Friday morning, in hopes of seeing Roy again, and, coincidentally, he walked up behind us when we first arrived at the games and immediately started joking about the pillow again. The only problem was the net separating the courts, which made it impossible for her to actually hand the gift over then. She told him that she had a gift for him, he was elated and gave us his daily schedule so that we could match it up with ours. When she saw him leaving, she followed after him and finally gave him the pillow, telling him that although she had grew up a UK fan, she still bought him the pillow in the UNC shade of blue because he was so nice. Roy answered that he would be sending her a shirt that says “Carolina Girls Are Best,” and they exchanged contact info (I thought, OH NO!) and long story short…UK Fans…I think we’ve lost her and I think I might eventually lose a fiancee.
After that, we gave a ride home to Brett Blevins of HoopsReport.com and Jim Tirey, who works for CatsPause.com amongst other successful ventures, all of us cramming into our rented red mustang convertible. After dropping them off, the radio show with Larry Glover, who is an absolute professional and great at what he does, was the icing on the day’s cake. I had to do the call in from a gas station in “Old Vegas,” with tons of sketchy individuals walking around the car. I couldn’t hear the callers, which led to what may have been completely off-topic answers from myself, but I tried my best and from what I’ve heard afterwards from people that listened, I think I luckily heard the key points of the questions and answered them in somewhat appropriate fashion.
All in all, it was a great way to end the Vegas vacation in an appropriately odd and unexpected way. I met tons of great people who work in the business, talked to many great kids, and saw a ton of basketball. Everything has a price in Vegas and I’m currently paying the price with jet lag and extreme sleepiness. This week I’ll have a few final scouting reports from Friday’s games, including Tony Wroten, Josh Smith, Terrence Jones, Wayne Blackshear and Mike Shaw. Also, Rob Gidel and your boy Beisner are in Orlando at the AAU Super Showcase and Nationals and I’ll be covering that from afar as well. I’m also planning on having a couple feature posts covering Josh Selby, Wayne Blackshear’s upcoming visits which includes UK, and more package deals that UK recruits are exploring as possibilities. Hope you guys enjoyed the coverage and expect a big week full of recruiting information.
Other recruiting notes:
– Joe Jackson tells Scout.com that the date on his fall visit will probably be sometime in October. That leads me to believe that he may be shooting for a Midnight Madness appearance and there couldn’t be a better place to bring a recruit than that event. It will be Calipari’s arrival, the John Wall dunk show, and tons of more spectacular surprises I’m sure. If Joe does in fact come to Midnight Madness and still isn’t sold on UK, I don’t think there was ever a chance.