May 20, 2006

Saturday in the desert

Pump N Run Elite all purpose guard James Harden has been one of the most impressive prospects at the Cactus Classic. A smooth and also explosive lefty, Harden slashes and shoots it, defends and rebounds, handles and passes.

In a hard fought 68-66 win over Total Package Red, Harden led all scorers with 28 points.

Harden has offers from Washington, Washington State, Arizona and USC. Harden is also interested in Texas, Arizona State and Pittsburgh.

Also impressive this weekend, Gonzaga commitment Steven Gray was right behind Harden with 27 points. He also scored 27 earlier in the day. Clarence Trent put in 16 in the loss. 2008 point guard Larry Drew scored 13 points for Pump N Run Elite, including the game winning 15-foot pull up jumper.

Down with P

Master P came with a loaded line up from coast to coast with the P Miller Ballers, including 2009 ringers Lance Stephenson and Renardo Sidney. Also on the squad are Romero Osby, Jeremy Jacob and Malcolm White.

Thomas puts up 50

Isaiah Thomas exploded for 50 points for the Arizona Magic in a 105-93 win over the SoCal Razorbacks and then followed it up with 35 in his next game. Thomas is one of those players who can always get his shot off, and it is a sweet lefty stroke when he does get it off. He has the ball handling skills and upper body strength to drive defenders back and then get separation. If the four-star guard can take his defensive game up a notch, he can make some headway up the rankings.

Inexplicably, the Razorbacks never put their defensive stalwart Kamyron Brown on Thomas. Brown finished with 19 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists in the loss. Leading the Razorbacks was the smooth play of Drew Viney. He knocked down 26 points and grabbed 7 rebounds.

Zane Johnson, of the Arizona Magic, supported Thomas against the Razorbacks with 17 points and 8 rebounds. He noted that Florida is now recruiting him.

Quality Prospects

The Las Vegas Prospects are playing very solid ball as they went through their pool play undefeated behind the five-star caliber play of 2008 combo forward Luke Babbitt. The versatile lefty has led the Prospect in scoring in all three pool play games with 24, 18, and 16 points.

Although his release is a little slow, Babbitt has been continuously draining outside shots with his smooth stroke and taking defenders off the dribble from the perimeter. Looking every bit like a big time small forward, Babbitt listed Texas, Duke, Washington (offer), UCLA, Arizona, Georgetown, Gonzaga, Syracuse (offer) and Nevada (offer) as schools of interest.

Also playing very well for the Prospects is four-star prospect Craig Brackins. Headed to Brewster Academy next year, Brackins is presently talking with Pittsburgh, Iowa State, Washington, Indiana and Clemson.

A long 6-foot-9 with his long arms and high shoulders, Brackins is playing with a nice blend of finesse on the perimeter and power around the basket. He has a great deal of upside and has been one of the more impressive prospects at the event.

P'Allen Stinnett has shown flashes of his explosiveness in the open court. Also headed to Brewster Academy next year, he is still considering Iowa State along with Texas, Kansas and Syracuse.

Guard play

Jai Lucas brought out his full arsenal of floaters, runners, mid-range pull ups and threes to score 26 points in an impressive 74-66 win by the Houston Hoops over Double Pump. Jerime Anderson could not control the quickness of Lucas. Lucas, who has been favoring Oklahoma State, Kentucky and LSU, is now entertaining Oklahoma and Coach Jeff Capel.

Big time 2008 prospect Jrue Holiday did have a little more success checking Lucas than his teammate Anderson, and he also lit it up on the offensive end in his two pool play games Saturday. He scored 22 points and had 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks and 1 steal in an earlier game, and then scored 25 points, along with 10 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals against the Hoops.

A physical guard, who hunts down the ball and plays a complete game, Holiday has been a joy to scout during this event.

Upset special

The Utah Pump N Run took advantage of a SoCal All Star team playing without Kevin Love and Daniel Hackett, beating SoCal 70-69 in a thriller. Morgan Grim has led Utah with 19, 17 and 13 points in the three pool play games.

After the win over SoCal, Grim told reporters that he plans to officially commit to Utah on Wednesday.

Playing without any insides presence, SoCal has not looked dominant at all so far in this event. In the loss, Brandon Jennings only mustered up 13 points, but he did have 24 points, with 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals earlier in the day.

Standing out for SoCal has been Darrington Hobson. The small forward has don a little bit of everything for his squad. Against Utah, he scored a game high 19 points and grabbed 6 rebounds. Earlier in the day, he had 10 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal. Friday night he had 21 points and 11 rebounds.

Hobson is presently considering Arizona, UCLA, USC, Texas, Texas A&M, Florida and Georgetown.

Big numbers

Tyrone Shelley has put up big numbers this weekend for his undermanned San Diego Colts team. He claims offers from Minnesota, UCLA, Arizona, Kentucky, SDSU, Long Beach State, Pepperdine, Fresno State and Washington.

Another player scoring big this weekend has been Justin Dehm of the Illinois Warriors. Dehm scored 23 and 22 points in games Saturday.

7-footer Solomon Alabi is coming along nicely. He is playing much more poised with the ball and is impacting the game on both ends of the court. In a blowout win Saturday, Alabi had a monster stat line of 22 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 blocks and 6 steals.


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