LAS VEGAS - Jahii Carson sat between two coaches and Gabe York was further down the bench, eight minutes left and Compton Magic was cruising to an easy victory on opening night at the Fullcourt Press Easter Classic.
Carson, who recently de-committed from Oregon State, and York, one of the top West Coast players in the 2012 class, had done enough damage early on against Poly Nation. Their team won, 101-58, and when they came out Compton Magic was ahead by 38 points.
York, from Orange (Calif.) Lutheran, finished with 25 points including five three-pointers all coming in the first half and many of them from way behind the line.
He was close to unstoppable at times, pulling up from long distance and stroking jumper after jumper. It's easy to see why UCLA, USC, Oregon State, Arizona, Arizona State, Penn State, Arkansas and Syracuse are already sending letters.
It didn't hurt that Carson, out of Mesa, Ariz., was blowing by defenders and getting him the ball on the wing, either.
"It helps a lot to have him as you can," York said. "I had a lot of open threes. I'm really excited he's playing with us. He's just a really good point guard. He's a lot different from our high school point guards so that's good."
Carson, an explosive 5-foot-11 point guard, has a dynamic first step and a terrific handle. Friday night he was simply quicker than anyone else on the court - a matchup with Belmont Shore's Cezar Guerrero the only thing that could maybe slow him down this weekend.
His outside shooting was spotty but Carson, who said Oklahoma, Butler, West Virginia, Arizona and Arizona State have recently gotten involved, got to the basket at will, finished an alley-oop from York in the second half and is phenomenal in transition.
Carson and York played like they've been together for years.
"We bond on and off the court so that makes our chemistry on the court a little bit better," Carson said. "We know each other's personalities off the court so we can relate to each other even more on the court.
"When he's hitting outside shots the defense can't key on me most of the time so they have to pick their poison with Gabe outside or me going to the basket so with him on the wing it makes it a lot easier to be creative with the ball."
Guerrero back in action
It was the picture-perfect play, Guerrero with the ball in his hands sprinting down the court and looking for an open teammate in transition. He found Texas commit DeAndre Daniels who caught Guerrero's one-handed pass, slammed the ball and then did a pull-up on the rim.
Daniels, from Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft, finished with 28 points and Guerrero added 21 points and at least six assists in Belmont Shore's 86-70 victory. It was even sweeter for Guerrero, who broke his collarbone last summer and then missed his entire junior season because of transfer rules.
"It was difficult for me breaking my collar bone during the summer period and then I wanted to be out there and I knew everything would go down for me because it's an important summer, sophomore going into junior year," Guerrero said.
"For high school it was hard to watch knowing you could help out your teammates but they ruled you ineligible because you transferred."
Recruiting might have slowed slightly but Guerrero is still recognized as one of the nation's top point guards. He said Marquette, Stanford, UNLV, UTEP, Illinois and Arizona are sending the most mail. It should pick up even more now that he's back healthy and ready for a big AAU season.
J'Quon Wroten, a 2010 point guard, had 23 points for Team Next Level.
Other News & Notes
Pasadena Stars guard Kelly Assinesi transferred from Pasadena (Calif.) Lasalle to Greenville (S.C.) St. Joseph's so recruiting has been slow but his name should be more well-known especially if he continues to have these kinds of performances.
Assinesi, a 6-foot guard, hit a fade-away three-pointer to force overtime and he finished with 31 points, a catch-and-shoot guard who can also create off the dribble and pull-up for jumpers.
Not super fast to the basket, Assinesi still found ways to get teammates involved as defenders tried to face-guard him at times in the second half. Army, Lafayette, St. Joseph's and High Point are sending correspondence but things could pick up if he continues to play this way.
** Other standouts on opening day included sophomore guard Eli Stalzer (CABC); long, lanky center Gatele Djuma (A-Train); Lucas O'Brien from Arizona Premier 16-under; guard Austin McBroom and forward Jordan Reise (Belmont Shore Black); guard Maverick Ahanmisi (Branch West Elite); and Arizona Warriors' forward Cameron Forte from Tempe (Ariz.) McClintock who scored most of his 30 points from the free throw line.