LAS VEGAS – While the Facebook Live stream from the Cashman Center of LeMelo Ball facing the SC Select (with Zion Williamson and UA target Devon Dotson) attracted nearly a million views late Wednesday, there was also a packed house on hand at the same time over at Spring Valley High School.
There, UA commit Shareef O’Neal and the Cal Supreme program were facing the Brad Beal Elite in “The 8” event that is a mini-tournament within the Las Vegas Classic.
After the game, the crowd moved on to the court, too -- where Shareef’s dad was standing, taking photos with fans.
And on the side of the crowd, barely noticeable to anyone other than the players or coaches who talked to him, was former UA standout Solomon Hill.
Hill made over $11 million playing ball for the New Orleans Pelicans last season, but stood there casually with a black Cal Supreme T-shirt and glowed over his chance to help coach his former travel-ball club.
“It’s a chance to be on staff and help out with some of the guys and become really involved with this team over the years,” Hill said, “and maybe -- who knows? – maybe I’ll coach a little bit on my own someday.”
The New Jersey Playaz received a pretty big boost when five-star UA targets Jahvon Quinerly and Naz Reid joined the Playaz' Armoni Sexton memorial team for The 8 event.
While it took a while for the two good friends to work in with their teammates after spending most of the summer with the “Sports U” club, the Playaz went to overtime against the Houston Hoops on a putback by Reid and then won 104-94.
“We started out real slow, and tried to get a little chemistry,” said Playaz guard Jalen Carey, another player UA has been watching. “I feel we all played together.”
Sexton was a talented high school player who was shot and killed in 2015 in Paterson, N.J. Quinerly said he enjoyed playing with him in seventh and eighth grade.
“That was big for us” to play in a team named for him,” Quinerly said. “He was really good… and he had a great sense of humor. The basketball community misses him.”
As the Las Vegas tournaments get more popular every year, there are more ways to access them remotely.
Not only was there the Facebook Live feed from the Adidas summer championship on Wednesday night, in which Dotson can be seen, but Baller.tv offers streams of Fab 48 games via subscription and the Fab 48 also has its own app. Bol Bol (Big Red) and Majok Deng (Powerhouse U16) are among the UA targets playing in the Fab 48.
In addition, The 8 event at the Las Vegas Classic will show its 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. games on ESPNU Thursday. Because the Cal Supreme lost, they won’t be on the telecast, however – the Brad Beal Elite will face Team Takeover at 5:30 while Team CP3 will face the Oakland Soldiers at 4.
There's still a lot of "J3 vs. J4" type of stuff to swarm through to figure out what's going on, but the interfaces and organization keep getting better...