Senior Writer

Five for Friday: Leuer gains a fan, early Vegas impressions


LAS VEGAS -- Jay Wright loves Jon Leuer.

Quincy Miller loves Austin Rivers and Brad Beal.

Let's do Five for Friday.

1. How's Las Vegas?

So far, so good. I've only been here a couple of days, but I've already spoken at two coaching clinics, watched summer games featuring some of the best prospects nationally, spent time at Cox Pavilion with the USA Basketball Men's Select Team, and barely lost any money. Are the summer tournaments out here as strong as usual? No. But it's still a nice trip because I can spend every day bouncing back and forth between Cox Pavilion and various high schools to watch current and future college basketball stars.

2. Who's the best college player with USA Basketball?

All five of the guys -- LaceDarius Dunn, Jacob Pullen, Nolan Smith, Kyle Singler and Marcus Morris -- I listed last week as frontrunners for preseason First Team All-America honors are here, so take your pick. But the question that intrigues me isn't the one about who's the best as much as it's the one about who's proved to be better than the people running these workouts anticipated.

I asked Villanova's Jay Wright that exact question.

His answer was Wisconin's Jon Leuer.

"He's really good," Wright said. "Maybe I haven't followed him as well because he's from the Midwest, and maybe he wouldn't surprise anybody else. But he's got great size, he puts it on the floor, he passes it, he can shoot it. He's just a ballplayer."

An NBA ballplayer?

"Yes," Wright answered.

Moments later, I told Leuer that Wright was raving about him.

"Really?" Leuer said. "That's a good guy to get a compliment from."

3. Who's the best high school player you've seen in Las Vegas?

I watched a pair of consensus top 10 prospects play Thursday -- first Quincy Miller from North Carolina, then Adonis Thomas from Memphis. They're both special, but if forced to choose I'd take Miller. He's a 6-foot-8 forward who had Oklahoma's Jeff Capel, Baylor's Scott Drew and Louisville's Rick Pitino watching his first game of the adidas Super 64 inside an auxiliary gym at Rancho High. What I like about Miller isn't just that he's an obviously talented specimen, but also that he's honest about what matters to him, specifically that he'd like to be considered the No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2011.

"I've always wanted to be No. 1," Miller said. "That motivates me a lot."

4. Is Miller the No. 1 player in the Class of 2011?

He was asked that Thursday.

To his credit, Miller said he was not.

His answer?

"Austin Rivers or Brad Beal," Miller said. "They're the two best scorers, and their teams are consistent."

5. Do you agree with Miller about Rivers and Beal?

I like them both (and Miller, too). But I still believe the recruiting analysts moving away from Michael Gilchrist are mostly doing so because they're tired of calling Gilchrist the best in the Class of 2011. Everybody has labeled Gilchrist exactly that for years, for as long as anybody can remember. I genuinely think he's dealing with a slight backlash, although it's perfectly reasonable to push Anthony Davis to the top.

He's damn good, too.

So the best player I've seen in Las Vegas is Quincy Miller.

And the best player in the Class of 2011 is either Michael Gilchrist or Anthony Davis.

That's what I believe.

Gary Parrish is a senior college basketball columnist for and frequent contributor to the CBS Sports Network. The Mississippi native also hosts the highest-rated sports talk radio show -- The Gary Parrish Show -- in the history of Memphis. He lives in that area with his wife, two children and a dog.

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