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Tourneys put local prospects in focus

Anthony Brown has seen the talent pool of future college basketball players in Southern Nevada grow immensely in recent years.

The Las Vegas Prospects coach has plenty to be proud of as the local AAU season tips off in earnest Wednesday with three major tournaments.

“The talent here has really grown locally, and that’s excluding Findlay Prep,” Brown said. “I don’t think (the Prospects) have ever gone 10 deep like we have right now.”

Brown’s program is loaded with top players, giving UNLV fans plenty of locals to watch as the recruiting interest around the Rebels reaches a fever pitch.

The Las Vegas Fab 48 Tip-Off Challenge is set to begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Bishop Gorman. The tentative schedule features the Prospects 15s and 16s teams playing on separate courts at 6 p.m., and the 17s playing at 7:15 p.m.

The Prospects 17s team features Findlay Prep rising senior Chris Wood, a 6-foot-10-inch forward who has committed to UNLV. The roster also includes Desert Pines rising senior point guard Julian Jacobs, who is committed to Utah, and fellow class of 2013 guards Rashad Muhammad of Gorman and Sir Washington of Clark.

The main attraction of the Prospects 16s roster will be point guard Shaquile Carr, who will be a junior at Canyon Springs. Brown said the 6-1 Carr already has scholarship offers from UNLV, Oklahoma and Utah.

Brown said UNLV coach Dave Rice attended just about all of Carr’s games at a recent event in Milwaukee, Wis.

“(Carr’s) maturity is not like any other 15-year-old kid,” Brown said. “He’s so poised. He doesn’t get rattled.”

The Prospects 16s roster includes several other locals in the 2014 class, including Clark forward Diontae Jones, Palo Verde guard Darryl Gaynor and Arbor View forward Justin Burks.

“We want to show well for the college coaches,” said Brown, who is coaching the 16s team. “At the end of the day, it’s about kids getting exposure for college basketball.”

The other two major prep tournaments scheduled to begin Wednesday are the adidas Super 64 headquartered at Rancho and the Las Vegas Classic at Durango.

All three tournaments run through Sunday, the final day of the NCAA’s live evaluation period for college coaches. More than 1,040 AAU teams are expected to sweep through local gyms in what can best be described as a basketball circus.

Fab 48 officials have hired counsel that is considering legal action against Nike for allegedly interfering with its tournament. Mac Irvin Fire is among a handful of Nike-sponsored teams who backed out of the Fab 48 to play in the Las Vegas Classic organized by Bigfoot Hoops, which is run by longtime Nike grassroots coach Hal Pastner.

In a letter obtained by the Review-Journal, attorney Bryan Freedman claimed to Nike general counsel Hilary Krane that Nike demanded teams breach written contracts with the Fab 48.

Freedman said Tuesday afternoon that his office had not yet filed a lawsuit against Nike.

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