July Live Period Preview: The events to keep an eye on in Vegas this week

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Kelly Kline/Under Armour

The third and final July live evaluation period will kick off at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday evening, and the place to be this week is in Las Vegas as 21 of Rivals’ 25 five-star prospects and more than 80 percent of the top 50 players in the Class of 2016 will be playing in the Sin City this week.

Here’s a quick preview of the events you need to know about:

Las Vegas Classic: The biggest event in Vegas this week in terms of size, nearly 1,000 teams are scheduled to play in gyms across Vegas in the event run by Hal Pastner, the father of Memphis head coach Josh Pastner. The highlight of this event is an exclusive, invitation-only bracket called ‘The 8’, the brain-child of Chris Paul. Eight of the best grassroots programs in the country will square off in an event where NBA players have been known to join the coaching ranks with the programs they sponsor. This year, the eight teams involved will be Team CP3 (Harry Giles), Arkansas Wings (Malik Monk and, reportedly, recent Duke-commit Jayson Tatum), Team Takeover (Louisville-commit VJ King and D.J. Harvey), EYBL champs Georgia Stars (Wendell Carter, Udoka Azubuike), Team Final, Elfrid Payton Elite, Team Melo, and the Oakland Soldiers.

adidas Summer Championships: The most interesting part of this event will be the battle for the title of 2016’s top point guard. Like the Las Vegas Classic, the adidas Summer Championships has added a separate bracket called the Creators Cup, which will feature eight of the best adidas-sponsored programs in the country: New York Rens, Team Loaded Virginia, Texas Pro, Team Loaded NC, Atlanta Celtics, Utah Prospects, Indiana Elite and the Big Ballers VXT. Included in that group? Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Jackson, Lonzo Ball and Kobi Simmons, four of the five lead guards — De’Aaron Fox is the fifth — that populate the top ten in Rivals’ national rankings in 2016. Edrice Adebayo, Rawle Alkins, Mustapha Heron and Jarrett Allen are among the other elite prospects in the event.

Fab 48: What makes the Fab 48 tournament so enticing is that it isn’t affiliated with any shoe company, meaning that there will be matchups between teams that rarely, if ever, have the chance to go head-to-head. The headlining games will be on Wednesday night, as the organizers have put together made-for-mixtapes tilts between powerhouse programs from across the country.

Other events:

  • AAU Nationals — the real AAU event, as opposed to the shoe-company events that are actually termed grassroots basketball — will be held in Louisville.
  • Michael Porter, the No. 2 player in the Class of 2017, is expected in Kansas City to take part in a pair of AAU tournaments in that city.
  • The best Junior College players in the country will be playing at JuCo Showcase’s Elite 8o West event in Vegas on July 25-26.