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Looking for recruits in Las Vegas

It’s probably fitting that the biggest week of AAU basketball is held in Las Vegas.

Everybody wants to get lucky. That includes college coaches from across the country hoping to find the next big thing, as well as thousands of players from across the country hoping to become the next big thing.

Hawaii basketball head coach Gib Arnold is among those college coaches in attendance, and he has been busy scouting potential recruits at the various AAU tournaments in Las Vegas in July.

“First games start at 8 (a.m.), so depending on where the game is, we’re out there,” he said. “Then the last game finishes as late as 12 o’clock at night, so we’re not spending a whole lot of time in the casinos. We’re spending all the days and most of the night in the gym.”

Because there are several tournaments going on at the same time, coaches such as Arnold spend the day driving to numerous gyms around the city to watch different players. On Saturday, he went to watch eight different games.

Most of the players in the tournaments will be high school graduates in 2012 or 2013.

Per NCAA rules, coaches are not allowed comment on specific recruits. Also during these tournaments, the coaches can only observe the games from the stands, and are not allowed to talk to the players.

“We’re seeing a lot of good players, it’s been good,” Arnold said. “We’re tracking down some good ones. Hopefully we’ll get a couple of future Warriors from here.”

Arnold even made time during one of his recruiting days to watch two of the Hawaii-based teams – the Hawaii Raiders and Lanakila. Arnold said it brought back memories of 25 years ago, when he was a member of a Team Hawaii squad that participated in an AAU tournament in Las Vegas under legendary coach Tony Sellitto.

“Never knew a man could scream so long for so many straight days, playing for Coach Sellitto,” Arnold said. “It’s fun to be in the old gyms we used to play and seeing the young players now giving their all.”

NOTES

Several of the top-ranked recruits are playing in the AAU tournaments this week, including Shabazz Muhammad, a forward from Las Vegas. He is considered by several recruiting services as the top overall player in the class of 2012, and is still playing AAU basketball because he remains undecided on his college choice.

When Muhammad’s team took the court on Friday, the gym was sold out, including several hundred UNLV fans with signs asking Muhammad to play for his hometown college. Among the coaches in attendance were Mike Krzyzewski and John Calipari.

Gib Arnold was not among the coaches watching Muhammad, who said he listed his top choices as Duke, Kentucky, UCLA, Texas A&M and UNLV.

Several NBA players are also attending the games as sponsors of AAU teams, including John Wall and Eric Gordon.

Among the coaches spotted in Las Vegas this week was Eran Ganot, a former assistant coach at Hawaii who is now an assistant at Saint Mary’s.

5 Comments

  1. i’d like to see us get a top notch recruit for next season

  2. hey, dayton.
    are you in las vegas, too?
    are you waiting for more solid info before commenting on the inquiries that are circulating in manoa?
    i think we are all curious to hear your opinions based upon the facts as you know them.

    thanks.

  3. Would be great if Hawaii gets lucky and any one of these good players mention UH as one of the schools they’re looking at to attend.

  4. RECAP / Excerpts from Coach Gib and Bobby:
    (by phone from AAU Tourney in Las Vegas)
    Original AM1420 / Re-Broadcast AM 1500 Monday July 25 ;
    — likely Re-Broadcast by Animals from 3-6 pm AM 1420
    [Answers A LOT of Our Current Questions…]

    BIG Picture: Gib pointed out that people need to think
    “BIG Picture: Think FUTURE, Not Immediate”;
    Think “Establish Relationships, Planting Seeds” (and eventually you get a Harvest);
    Signing the Players allows us to set up True Personal Relationships versus a Recruiting Relationship: we can call and talk to them every day, stop in and visit with their families; as a Team, Coaching Staff and Family we can make decisions, set-up Prep Schools, JCs; if a player doesn’t qualify right now, it’s NOT over; he can join us after a semester, a year of prep school or two years in JC;

    1) We knew DeShawn Mitchell was a Long-Shot, he had a LOAD of Work to do to get eligible; he said all the right things, he worked hard but didn’t make it;

    2) Hauns Brereton and Shaquille Stokes are Good Students, so they qualified immediately RE: SAT scores and grades (sliding scale for NCAA D-1 Qualification);

    3) our three California recruits were all close, but not yet qualified; we’re talking 10 to 20 points on SAT exam scores (or earning high enough passing grades (GPA) on additional classes); even if ALL Three don’t make it right now it’s NOT over — Ronnie (Stevens) is already placed in a JC playing for my cousin (in Iowa @ Indian Hills CC) and maybe the others (If they don’t qualify) would spend a year in prep school (like Julian Sensley did) join a semester later or may want to join us later;

    4) we can use or save those scholarships: at this time last year we placed eight players in JC and three had phenomenal freshman seasons; if all the recruits (this year) had made it we would only be able to bring in one, (SR. Zane’s scholarship) instead of two or all three of those players;

    5) we have one or two other kids coming in that no one knows about; one is a foreign player; foreign players don’t need NLOIs (and signing them early sometimes just alerts some of the other big schools who try to jump on them); this is a lot like Nikola Vucevic who was drafted in the first round by the Philadelphia 76ers.

    6) One player who’s already here is Brandon Jawato, 6-4, who we recruited All Year; and we were always number one on his list; he was league MVP, All-City, All -CIF, he’ll be a real good player for us, backing up Zane this year;

    7) Bobby: Tell us what’s happening with Vander Joaquim: Vander is playing with the Angolan National Team — that is a great thing playing for your National Team — I wouldn’t want to take that away from any one. They need to qualify for the Olympics by winning the Africa Cup — Angola is one of the best African teams, won the Cup maybe ten years straight. If they do, Vander will be representing University of Hawai’i in the Olympics But as soon as that’s over (or IF he doesn’t have to stay and practice All Year with the Angola Team), Vander is excited and says he’ll be on the next plane back to Hawai’i . Of course the down side is he won’t be practicing and traveling with us to China.

    We’ll be fine with the players we have !

    — Thanks, Gib, Bobby & Dayton ! GOOD Times !—

  5. thanks eagle.

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