By Jeff Goodman
LAS VEGAS -- As I’ve said before, there just hasn’t been a ton of sizzle when it’s come to summer hoops over the last few years. Really, since Sonny Vaccaro left the grassroots game.
But give adidas and Jeff Robbins credit.
The company put four of the elite big men in the nation in one “super pool” out here and let them go at it.
And Andre Drummond showed that, when he wants to be, he’s still the top big man -- and maybe even the top player in the nation. Drummond dominated against the rail-thin Isaiah Austin in the afternoon matchup and then took it to Kaleb Tarczewski at night.
It was as dominant as I’ve seen him in quite some time.
And the craziest part?
There were basically no head coaches watching.
West Virginia’s Bob Huggins was there, but that was about it to see Drummond come out on top of Tarczewski, who is being pursued heavily by the likes of Kansas, North Carolina, Arizona and most recently, Kentucky.
UConn coach Jim Calhoun was in Orlando.
It’s obviously a sign that just about everyone has accepted the fact that Drummond, who will be eligible for the NBA draft after next season, likely won’t go to college.
And if he does, it’ll probably be at UConn.
But getting back to the big-man matchups, it was a cool idea, and while it still didn’t have the pop that most of Vaccaro’s showdowns had back in the days of ABCD Camp, it was still fun to watch.
Texas-bound Cameron Ridley and Tarczewski battled to a draw in the opening bout, and the pair were a pleasure to watch as they both play extremely hard, don’t talk any trash and know what they are, which is true post players.
Then it was Drummond against Austin, who has committed to Baylor, and it turned out to be a major mismatch.
Drummond, giving up a little height, used his strength and skill to overpower Austin, especially in the second half. He then picked up where he left off against Tarczewski and walked out of the gym with the belt as the heavyweight champ of the Class of 2012.
But I’m still going with wing Shabazz Muhammad as the No. 1 player overall.
Andre Drummond retains heavyweight belt
By Jeff Goodman