LAS VEGAS - For all the talent that elite travel-team basketball showcases, sometimes things such as structure, defense and loyalty get thrown out the window.
Travel teams can change constantly, and they often don't have time to practice while crisscrossing the nation to play in events.
But Northern California wing Elliott Pitts, a top recruiting target of the Arizona Wildcats in the class of 2013, found a compromise last week. While his usual travel-ball team, the Bay Area Hoosiers, competed in the Las Vegas Fab 48 event, Pitts chose instead to play with the club "Greenline" at other gyms in the Las Vegas Classic.
"Greenline" is the summertime name of Pitts' high school team, De La Salle of Concord, Calif., which sharpens its skills by playing in a few travel-team events each summer.
While Pitts said the Hoosiers also had structure and defense, playing for De La Salle was a different experience. The team listed a full 15 other players who will be playing for the Bay area high school next winter and its coach, Mark Noack, is the assistant coach at De La Salle.
Their goal was not just winning and attracting college recruiters, but building for the upcoming season.
"I wanted to work with our high school team so we could get some chemistry going," Pitts said.
They did. Greenline won its four-team pool - going 3-0 against all-star collections from Montana, Colorado and Texas - before losing 42-37 Saturday morning to a Dallas club that went on to reach the Classic semifinals.
Much of Greenline's success was a result of the versatile Pitts, who played several perimeter roles.
"Elliott is a phenomenal player," Noack said. "He does a really good job of running the offense and playing with his teammates. He makes good decisions with the ball and gets everyone involved. So it was crucial to have him with us."
At 6-foot-5 and about 190 pounds, Pitts is a solid shooter and driver who has the ability to handle the ball. For Greenline, in fact, he was essentially the point guard and wing scorer at the same time.
"In our offense, he can basically be whatever he wants," Noack said. "He can run the point. He can be a wing player. He can go post up. That makes him a very versatile player.
"His shooting ability has really improved. His ability to get to the rim with either hand has really gotten better. And his basketball IQ is just off the charts. He understands what to do, when to get the best shots."
Even though playing for the Greenline team meant Pitts was sent into a lower-profile bracket and to lesser-trafficked gyms across Las Vegas, it wasn't like he was toiling in obscurity, either.
Coaches found him anyway. UA coach Sean Miller, in fact, was on hand during Greenline's final loss Saturday at Spring Valley High School's small auxiliary gym.
Now Pitts will get a chance to watch Miller. Pitts said he will take an unofficial visit to Arizona this weekend, getting a chance to watch Miller coach a full practice while the Wildcats prepare for their exhibition trip to the Bahamas next week.
"I haven't been there, so I'm excited," Pitts said. "I'm glad I'll see campus."
Pitts said he will probably take other visits this fall - once his senior year begins, he will be able to take official (paid) visits - and probably make a decision sometime before the November signing period.
While the Wildcats will have the advantage of hosting him first and offer a chance to play in Pac-12 country, Pitts said he is still pretty open. His list of choices indicates no geographical preference, either.
Other than Arizona, Pitts is considering Cal, Washington, Georgetown and Virginia.
"Any school that fits me," Pitts said. "I'm willing to go anywhere."
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