by David Cassilo / @dcassilo
With April recruiting for college coaches shut down by the NCAA, July has now become the most crucial time for talent to be evaluated. The premiere event during that small window will be the Las Vegas Live tournament.
The tournament will run from July 22-26 and will be put on by Bigfoot Hoops. The company is run by Hal Pastner, who, while with Vision Sports, was responsible for several major Las Vegas tournaments in the past that have produced dozens of NBA players.
With the new NCAA rules, Pastner is already seeing the importance his event will have in recruiting.
“We expect every Division I college to be represented at our tournament,” Pastner said.
Held at the Tarkanian Basketball Center, all of the top players will be in one facility on four courts, allowing college coaches the opportunity to easily see everyone play.
“Not only do we have the facilities for the top talent worldwide to be seen at one location for the college coaches, but we’ll also have divisions for the sophomores, freshmen, eighth graders and seventh graders,” Pastner said.
There will also be games featuring girls at Las Vegas Live too. All together, Pastner expects close to 500 teams that will come from across the United States as well as countries such as Australia, Mexico and the Bahamas.
Pastner’s Las Vegas events have served as coming out parties for several players over the years. He recalls one summer when Kevin Durant and Ty Lawson’s team battled Spencer Hawes and his teammates in a game that Pastner says helped “make their mark” as prospects.
“I remember hanging around to watch and they wanted to win so bad,” Pastner said.
One of the reasons that Pastner is able to attract the top talent in the country is his emphasis on customer relations for everyone involved.
“You hear so many things around summer basketball that things aren’t being done right and people are in it just to sell players,” Pastner said. “Our business is putting on events. Our business is putting on a positive atmosphere for these young women and men to come and play.”
Although there are many big stars at these tournaments, they aren’t the only players Pastner is looking out for.
“For many of these players, it’s a chance to showcase themselves,” Pastner said. “Maybe they feel that they are good enough and just haven’t been seen. Even if it’s the worst player in the tournament who is just so excited to play with all of these great players. For us, we want to make it an experience for the player with the least talent as much as the No. 1 talent in the country.”
Right after Las Vegas Live, Pastner and Bigfoot Hoops also put on the Las Vegas Classic. That runs from July 27-31, the final five days of the recruiting period. There is still time to sign up for both events by calling 713-524-3036.