July 7, 2009

Basketball: Nationís Elite Ascend to Albuquerque

Over 80 over the nations top basketball players from California to New Hampshire ascended to the Land of Enchantment yesterday at the 2009 Pangos Summer Tip-Off 2009 at Johnson Gym on the campus of the University of New Mexico.

The participants, who ranged from of class 2010 to the class of 2013, had a NCAA educational session then heard a lecture from Bob Gottlieb on the recruiting process before being divided into 10 teams for three 5-on-5 games for the remainder of the camp.

The camp was a chance for the players to get seen by college recruiters which there were many in attendance. Some of the schools represented included New Mexico, Miami (Fla.), Utah, UNLV, Tulsa, Fresno State, NMMI, NMJC, Loyola Marymount, Eastern New Mexico, UC Riverside and UC Irvine.

One of the standouts from the camp was Maurice McFarland of the class of 2011, a 6-foot-6-inch forward/guard from El Dorado High School in El Paso, Texas. McFarland has a short list of schools he is interested in that includes New Mexico and Miami (Fla.). The athletic big man is also hearing from Baylor and Texas A&M.

A couple of other standouts from the Land of Enchantment were class of 2011, 6-foot-4-inch guard Kory Alford of La Cueva High School and class of 2010, 6-foot-8-inch guard/forward Marek Oleniski of Roswell High School. Alford drove the ball well, slicing threw defenses and showed the ability to make shots from anywhere on the court. Oleniski played like Dirk Nowitski, shooting from long range despite his size, but did not spend much time under the basket while on offense.

From outside of New Mexico a couple of smaller, class of 2010 point guards stood out in 5-foot-9-inch Christopher Alvarez of Horizon High School in Scottsdale, Ariz. and 5-foot-10-inch Johnell Thompson of McClintock High School in Tempe, Ariz. Both showed great skill passing the ball as well as moving the ball up court and had a nice shooting touch, especially from long range.

A number of high schools were well represented at the competition. The three teams with six or more players in attendance were La Cueva with seven, Eldorado with six and La Verne Luthern out of California with six players. Other schools with at least three players participating were Manzano with four and Rio Rancho, Cibola, Highland and Franklin (El Paso, Texas) all with three players.

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