LAS VEGAS – One of the bonuses in Stephen Zimmerman’s move to the Oakland Soldiers this summer has been the chance to play with another top 2015 big man in Ivan Rabb.
“I think it’s fun playing with him,” Zimmerman said. “I like to think it’s hard to play against both of us.”
It is. But it wasn't tonight. Because Rabb is headed to Colorado Springs, Colo., for the U17 trials, he didn’t play for the Soldiers tonight against Earl Watson’s Elite team – and the Soldiers lost 70-58.
“Of course” Rabb’s absence made the difference, Zimmerman said. “He’s one of the best players in the country and at the beginning of the game, he always changes it.”
But even without Rabb, there were still a pair of elite big men on the floor. Zimmerman just had to play against the other one this time: Earl Watson’s club had Chance Comanche, the exceptionally long and athletic center that UA has also been heavily pursuing. Comanche had 10 points.
“They say he’s one of the top big men so I want to see if I can hold against him or go at him, do better than him,” Comanche said of the matchup with Zimmerman.
Considering that Comanche and Zimmerman are two of UA’s top remaining 2015 targets, it was not a surprise to see both UA coach Sean Miller and associate head coach Joe Pasternack on hand for the game. The UA coaches are likely to split up Friday, the one day that coaches can attend the USA Basketball trials.
The final July evaluation period began at 5 p.m. Wednesday and all three big Las Vegas tournaments began games immediately afterward. The final one I attended actually felt like a high school game – even despite a 10:40 p.m. finish -- thanks to the enthusiastic cheering of Arizona Power Black club members supporting their elite team.
The Arizona Power Black’s elite team – which features Grand Canyon commit Nate Renfro of Sahuaro High School and two-sport standout Terrence Johnson of Cienega (who has a UA football offer) – beat the Nor Cal Wildcats Elite.
“We’re very, very close,” Johnson said. “We have the best team bond. … It’s the coaches, the things they teach us.”
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