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July 29, 2013

Vegas Week: Washington leads New Heights

MORE: Johnson plays headliner in Vegas

LAS VEGAS -- The July recruiting period ended on Sunday afternoon as champions were crowned all across Las Vegas. At the Adidas Super 64, Jordan Washington led New Heights to a championship over Damontrae Jefferson and the Milwaukee Rebels.

New Heights takes Super 64 title

In a few weeks, Washington will enroll at Ottumwa (Iowa) Indian Hills Community College. Before the 6-foot-8 insider made his way to junior college, he wanted to help his New York City-based New Heights squad finish the summer in style. That's exactly what it did as New Heights held off the high-scoring Milwaukee Rebels for an 82-75 title game win in the 17U division of the Adidas Super 64.

A power player through and through, Washington was a force on the interior. Instead of overwhelming athleticism, he uses strength, feel for play in the lane and determination around the rim to be a strong scorer despite being mostly an under-the-rim finisher.

Washington was awarded the MVP.

"I just wanted to go out there and fight hard," he said. "I love playing physical. That's my time down there. I love playing down there on the box. Most people want to shoot jumpers, but my thing is playing right down in that box. I feel like I can post everybody up and score every time."

A high-end three-star prospect, Washington says he has gotten interest from Arizona, Marquette, Villanova, Xavier, Miami, Cincinnati and many other Big 12 and Big East programs. He'll likely be one of the most heavily recruited junior college players over the next few years, and he's excited about his opportunity to get ready for Division I ball.

"After my two years at JUCO, I'm going to find out what I'm going to do," Washington said. "I'm looking forward to it. I'm going to go down there and get in shape and get prepared for a major university."

Final Vegas Sunday notes

By the time things neared an end on Sunday afternoon, we didn't see too many head coaches hanging around. There were a few notables, however. At the Las Vegas Classic, Arizona's Sean Miller was sitting underneath the basket and virtually in Stanley Johnson's face as the Oakland Soldiers won a semifinal game over Team Texas. At the Super 64, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski was front and center to watch Kevon Looney of the Milwaukee Rebels.

Speaking of Looney, it was another solid run for him as he closed his grassroots basketball career. He looked to be about out of gas by the time things ended, but he kept fighting and did his best to make an impact on the glass.

Looney's teammate Damontrae Jefferson finished a great week in Las Vegas. The 5-foot-7 point guard is a gifted scorer who plays with zero fear, and he's a one-of-a-kind personality on the floor. He jaws with opponents and officials, and he definitely marches to the beat of his own drummer while doing his thing. Because of that, he is a polarizing prospect. Some love him, while others wonder if he can be coached on the next level. He went for 34 in the championship game on a barrage of deep 3-pointers and quick drives. As we have mentioned before, the bottom line is that his teammates seem like they would run through a brick wall for him and his production and talent are simply too much to overlook.

The DC Assault won a tough 16-and-under game against KC Run GMC, and a big reason for their win was the play of 6-foot-8 power forward Develle Phillips. A lean, 6-foot-8 four man with long arms, Phillips seems to be coming into his own in the late summer. He was active around the rim, he ran the floor, and he came up with key scores in the lane when his team needed them most.

Washington got the MVP for New Heights, but 6-foot-2 shooting guard Paul Jorgensen was impressive as well. The three-star prospect can shoot the ball from deep, and he's good off the dribble. That balance between dribble driving and jump shooting makes him a guy who has to be accounted for at all times. Jorgensen mentioned offers from Fordham and Fairfield, along with most of the Ivy League, but he's deserving of looks from A-10, Big East and AAC programs.

For a program that is just getting started, the NorCal Wildcats feature a lot of young talent. We discussed 2016 power forward Solomon Young earlier in the week, and they also have four-star 2015 power forward Marquese Chriss. Chriss showed flashes of his big-time athleticism and improving skill game. The guy who stood out on the last day, though, was 2016 point guard Colin Slater. Slater isn't the biggest guy at about 5-foot-10, but he is a true floor general who gets others involved and has quickness to go with his feel for the game. Slater looks like a knockdown jump shooter as well, and he'll surely be tracked by high-major programs.

New Heights took home the 17-and-under crown at the Adidas Super 64, while the Compton Magic won the 16- and 15-and-under divisions. At the Fab 48, the DC Assault closed out a great July run by taking the 17-and-under crown, while their 16s lost in the finals to Pangos. Winning the 15-and-under division at the Fab 48 was Team Penny, who knocked off the Assault's 15U program. At the Las Vegas Classic, Seattle Rotary Select knocked off the Oakland Soldiers to win the 17s, while California Supreme won the 16s and Athletes First won the 15s.

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