Each summer, the grassroots basketball community congregates in Las Vegas for the final evaluation live period in July. Thousands of high school prospects and hundreds of college coaches flock to Sin City to wrap up the AAU season. There's a few certified events that all occur simultaneously within the city, including the Adidas Summer Championships, the Las Vegas Fab 48, and the BigFoot Hoops Las Vegas Classic. The setup allows coaches and scouts alike the best opportunity to see as many teams and players over five days.
For current Penn State basketball commits Rasir Bolton and Myles Dread, the final weekend in Vegas presented both with an opportunity to finish their AAU careers in style. Mission accomplished then, as both players were instrumental in helping their teams take home some hardware from their respective tournaments.
We begin with Rasir Bolton, whose Team Loaded Virginia squad took home the Adidas Summer Championships title with a thrilling 54-52 win over the New England Playaz. Team Loaded has become a powerhouse program on the Adidas circuit and this year's team was, if you'll excuse me, loaded with elite talent. But it was Bolton who actually led the team in scoring, averaging 12.3 points over their nine games. The combo guard shot 19-42 from beyond the arc over that stretch (45.2%), which should be music to Penn State fans' ears.
Thank you Rasir Bolton Huntington Prep for your commitment to the Team Loaded program! pic.twitter.com/w7SYvYlU0H— Michael Blackwell (@TEAMLOADED17U) August 1, 2017
Earlier in the weekend, Myles Dread and his Team Takeover team had an impressive championship run of their own. While they fell just short at the Peach Jam during the first live period, they were able to exact their revenge against the Oakland Soliders in 'The 8' tournament final. Unfortunately official stats from the event were not available, but thanks to ESPNU's coverage, we can confirm Dread made eleven three-pointers over three games. The future Nittany Lion played a vital role alongside Maryland commit Jalen Smith in Team Takeover's title run.
Scouts took note of both players' performances, including Ronnie Flores and his team at GrassrootsHoops.net. Flores attempted to rank the top-60 players from the weekend in Vegas based on players' actual performances rather than their recruiting rankings or future potential. With Bolton and Dread both playing key roles on championship-winning teams, they landed near the top of the rankings. Bolton checked in at No. 5 overall, just one spot behind the uber-athletic and YouTube sensation Zion Williamson. Dread wasn't far behind after coming in at No. 16, as both commits outplayed numerous prospects with more stars and better offer lists.
While both players currently grade as fringe top-100 prospects in the recruiting rankings, their performances in Vegas against the very best AAU competition proved why Pat Chambers recruited them. It's only more encouraging that their three-point shooting was their biggest contributions to their respective clubs. What has long been a weakness for Chambers' program could be getting a nice boost with their current 2018 class.