Two marquee prep basketball events tip off


The circuit of basketball tournaments drawing thousands of prep players to Las Vegas each summer seemed to absorb a huge dent in February with the suspension of the Reebok Summer Championships.

But thanks to the emergence of the Las Vegas Fab 48, there still will be two marquee events sending college coaches bustling from one local high school gym to another beginning today.

The adidas Super 64 tips off today and ends Monday, and the Las Vegas Fab 48 runs today through Sunday.

"A few people had been brainstorming about getting some tournaments started," said Grant Rice, director of the Fab 48. "When Reebok decided not to have a tournament this year, it kind of opened the door for us."

With West Coast event organizer Dinos Trigonis and East Coast veteran Gary Charles serving as consultants for the event, Rice was able to put together a loaded field in a hurry.

Team Detroit, last year's Summer Championships winner, and 2008 Super 64 champion Grassroots Canada Elite are among the 48 teams in the Invitational Division. More than 170 teams will compete overall.

Six sites will host the Fab 48, which will be headquartered at Bishop Gorman High School.

Summer Championships officials announced in February that the event had been suspended until at least 2011 because of financial woes, including the loss of Reebok as its title sponsor.

Charles, who directs the historic New York Panthers program, said it was important for organizers to step up and fill the void.

"As grassroots coaches, we're not going to let (summer tournaments) die," he said. "We're not going anywhere, shoe company or no shoe company."

Although the Fab 48 represents a rival tournament, the Super 64 is hardly hurting. In its seventh year, the event will feature more than 400 teams.

"We were kind of sad about the fact Reebok went under, but, on the other hand, we were ready to grow," Super 64 director Ron Montoya said. "We're one of the biggest tournaments in the United States."

The Super 64 showcases the highest-profile local prospect in Shabazz Muhammad, who will be a junior swingman at Bishop Gorman next year.

Muhammad, who is playing for Dream Vision 17s (Calif.), has scholarship offers from Duke, Kansas, North Carolina, Texas, UNLV and many others.

"Shabazz Muhammad is the most recruited player in the history of Las Vegas basketball," Montoya said flatly.

The Super 64 will be at 13 sites and headquartered at Rancho. It also has girls tournaments, with 24 teams in the 17s division and nine in the 16s.

The All-American Junior College Showcase will debut Friday and Saturday at Liberty High School. More than 100 junior college players are scheduled to attend the event, highlighted by the Top 20 All-Star Finale at 3 p.m. Saturday.

Organizers expect about 200 coaches from Division I programs to attend, event director Justin Phelps said.

"We decided to do a junior-college event smack dab in the middle of the (high school) events," Phelps said. "We're just happy the Division I coaches have taken notice of it."

The AAU West Coast National Championships, run by Jam on It Basketball Academy, will be today through Sunday at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The event features players from third grade to high school in the boys field and from fifth grade on the girls side.

The StarVision Sports Center Stage tournament runs today through Monday at 15 sites, with its headquarters at the YMCA at 4141 Meadows Lane. The event is not certified by the NCAA for Division I coaches to attend.

Contact reporter Tristan Aird at taird@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203.

 

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