Reflections on Las Vegas 2011

So after almost 2 full days of recovery from a 5 day adventure in Las Vegas, its time to go over what we saw.  Thankfully after losing my wallet at the Super 64 it was found so I didn't have to worry about the flight home.  People say its a dry heat and I'm prone to agree.  100-105 degrees didn't seem that bad and there were actually sprinkles the last morning.  Amazed that you can find a slot machine anywhere.  Walk into 7-11, play a slot.  Walk into a liquor store, play a slot.  Food critics be patient, your info is coming.

Fab 48
The Fab 48 is sort of like the old Main Event as its top teams are from the Nike circuit.  Nice thing with this tourney is that each division (5 alone for the 17s) was in its own gym.  Have to say that using the main gym as 2 courts was not the best idea.  Too crowded and the organization wasn't what you'd expect from a guy who's run a bunch of events.  Couldn't stand the crowd control guy who seemed like his only mission was to be nothing but a jerk.  Overall some great talent with #4 kid in the country Kyle Anderson (great passer) and Ish Wainwright who led the KC 76ers to titles at the Fab48 and then followed it up at the Best of Summer for their 3rd title of the summer.  The crowd for the loaded Oakland Soldiers vs Belmont Shore game was something to see.  Full house in the bleachers above the entrance along the sideline and all around the court.  Impressive performance from PNR spring champion WI Swing in making the Final 4.  Guard Zak Showalter continued to impress.  In the lower levels, the top Select 16s didn't fare well in pool but won their consolation bracket.  The top Select 17s lost in the final of the 2nd bracket and the top Comets 17s lost in the final of the 3rd bracket.  Quality July for Tyler Vaughan of the Comets. 

Adidas Super 64
What a setup at the headquarters.  Fans on 1 side, coaches and media (table included) on the other.  Full houses for all of top kid Shabazz Mohammed's games which was a nice gesture by the locals to keep him home.  The Adidas Super 64 logo at halfcourt and on the backboards of the main court.  Plus PA announcing for all those main court games.  Classy.  I could stand to turn down the PA volume and ditch the DJ in the gym but overall a really neat setup.

As to the games, how about a super pool of 4 of the best bigs in the country.  Andre Drummond outplayed Kaleb Tarczewski and Isaiah Austin in 2 games.  Cameron Ridley also in the pool but missed a game I wanted to see due to illness.  He had a big game against the top Heat team in Indy.   1st game I saw there was a major highlight with Jordan Adams of the Atlanta Celtics and Mohammed going back and forth for almost 40 points each. Mohammed's DreamVision club came back to win that entertaining game.  Texas Assault was the defending champs (16U) but didn't get put in the top 32 teams.  Didn't matter as their star Marcus Smart led them to the title with 29 and 18 in the championship game.  High level competitor though his flop for a cheap technical that knocked Utah Pump N Run star Jordan Loveridge out of their semifinal game changed that game entirely.  Loveridge was one of those who really raised his stock during the tourney.

As to the local teams, after being blown out at the Best Buy tourney last week by the Shaqless Atlanta Celtics, the Fury Blue 17s won their pool and then gave the Celtics all they wanted in their early round playoff rematch.  Shaq Goodwin too much on the glass in the 2nd half as Fury eventually fell in a close game.  PNR 16s lose a wild 6 OT game 62-60 to DoublePump to bow out early.  Southside won their pool.  PNR 17s lost in the 1st round to a KC PNR team they handled in Denver.

Best story was the PNR 15s who made a run all the way to the championship game before losing 54-51 to the Las Vegas Prospects.  PNR took out a very good Louisville Magic team (who beat an outstanding Ray Allen Select team in super pool) in the round of 16.  Reid Travis with a very good tournament for PNR.  17 of 21 against Louisville Magic in the 2nd half for the comeback win.  Nice lunch pail effort from Alex Herink as well.  Can you cheer from long distance?  Former DLS and PNR star Jonah Travis chiming in on twitter to me during the tourney when PNR was behind.  "Yell at my brother because he's probably playing soft!"  I haven't laughed so hard in a long time.  Can you say intense?

Nice to see one of our top local refs work a handful of games there including the 16U championship.  The Super 64 was part of an officials camp where NBA officials showed up to help the officials.

Didn't see any of the Bigfoot Hoops tourney but a nice run to the final 8 by EOTO there.

The Gambling
Not to used to smoking with MN and WI having laws against it so that was tough.  I'm a blackjack player and I came into the trip used to a 6 or 8 deck chute.  But at the hotel I had 4 nights of double deck blackjack.  No jumping in until a deck is done and you hold the cards.  That means an entire new set of signals.  A different but fun experience.  I won the 1st and last nights and lost the middle 2.  Overall I went even in the double deck version.  Then on the final night on the strip it was back to the usual and I got totally mugged at the 1st casino.  But I came back at The Bellagio with the best run of cards you'll ever see to get most of it back.  So overall 2-3 record on my nights with a minor pittance of The Czar's expansive wealth lost.  Very worthwhile entertainment.

The Food
You know I can't write about an adventure without talking about the food.  Thinking it would be the best meal of the trip, the opening night dinner at Tony Roma's was a let down.  Food was too blah for the expensive price.  Though originally advertised at $3, the pork sandwich at the Fab 48 was worth the $4 price even if it was prepackaged ahead of time.  Nice kick to the sauce.  Cheese pizza (no sausage, boo) at the Super 64 was blah, but at least the price was reasonable.  Besides, having pizza is never a bad thing.  But the best bargain I've seen in a long time was the $1 hot dogs at the Super 64.  Very good and cheap, can't go wrong with that.

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