Vegas 2017 Part 2 (The Rest)

This is part 2 of my writings on what I saw in Las Vegas during the 2017 recruiting period.  Part 1 was about the Minnesota teams so read that here if you missed it.  In this post, everything else that happened.

Lavar Ball
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the clown show around Lavar and Big Ballers.  I didn't attend the Wednesday night game with Zion Williamson where 80,000+ watched on Facebook and another 3,000 to 4,000 watched in person.  The craziest atmosphere that I can recall in my time covering grassroots hoops.  Fans flocking around his team after each game ended.  Then the whole debacle on Friday where he got a T, had the female official replaced and then forfeited his team after he got another T but wouldn't leave the court.  The national writers have said everything that needs to be said on this and far better so I won't repeat it here.  Shame on Lavar and Adidas for how they both handled it.  Total embarrassment.  Credit to the officials group for backing out of their contract with Adidas.  Part of me is slightly disgusted though that when I did seem them on Thursday he actually behaved himself which seems to more and more rare.  Say what you will about the style of play but I love how they get the ball out of the net and get it to the front court . Either via the pass as a 1st option (super underutilized in today's game) or pushing it hard with the dribble.  After that, the shot selection etc etc leaves much to be desired.

The Other Basketball
Another year like 2015 where Point Guard play was the theme.  I got to see a glimpse of most of top point guards in the country during the week between the 3 events.  That made it clear to me that Tre Jones is the top point guard in the country.  There are scoring point guards (most of the crop) and then floor generals like Jones and Devon Dotson.  Very impressed with both of those generals.  Also impressive, Mac Irvin Fire PG Ayo Dosunmu went off for 40 something in the 3rd place game of Pulley's bracket of The Eight.

Speaking of point guards, when not watching The Eight or The Creators Cup, I took in championship bracket runner up Las Vegas Prospects.  Backup PG Christopher Hawkins is no more than 5'6" but just loved how he got after it on the ball and took FOH Seattle out of their offense. 

Cache Valley of Idaho features one of the top bigs in Idaho in Brayden Parker.  The big bruising forward was dominant in the game against Team 907 of Alaska.  That Team 907 squad knocked out 43 Hoops in the bracket opener to get to this point.  Fun game with a surprisingly athletic Alaska team really getting after it and the fans/bench both being very vocal.  But the big man with the Idaho State offer was just too much.

The championship games of the mini brackets didn't disappoint either.  At The Eight, Team Takeover won the Peach Jam finale rematch with the Oakland Soldiers in a very entertaining game.  Ditto that as the Compton Magic went down to the wire to beat the New England Playaz in the Creators Cup final.  Compton got a couple late freebies from star PG Jules Bernard to hold off D1 in the semis.

The Gambling
Now for the important stuff.  I started my monetary adventures at the Bellagio on Monday night.  It was only after I sat down and started playing that I realized that the table was only paying 6 to 5 for Blackjack.  That's a terrible table when most pay 3 to 2.  Quickly got back to even and got out.  Lost everything for the Tuesday afternoon session.  The regular hotel sessions Monday thru Thursday ended about even.  So down a big number going to the big table on the final night.  Double deck and I couldn't bust.  Poor guy next to me was getting 15 and 16 all night.  Not me as I doubled up and more than made up the early losses to come home a big winner.  Best result ever there and even better cards than 2011 at the Bellagio.


The Hangover
It started on Monday on the strip with sightings of an Austin Powers impersonator and Chewbacca on the way to the Bellagio.  So not only did I break my regular glasses on Thursday morning (so who knows what I actually saw) but after recovering on Sunday from the flight home, somehow I was missing part of a tooth (Chewbacca noise here).  Sad part is I have no idea how.  I had fun but didn't think I had THAT much fun.  No super late nights, just extra good food as I used Tuesday to get some quality Pot Liquor CAS BBQ.  After 5 miles on foot with luggage on my back on Saturday, all I could do is sleep and rehydrate.  Well worth it though to see 5 kids that I once coached.  Spent 3 hours in the dentist's chair getting that fixed to wash away all the winnings.

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