Compton (Calif.) Dominguez High School knows how to get their guys to the next level. Tyson Chandler did his thing for the Dons before going to the NBA. Tayshaun Prince shined their before suiting up for Kentucky and the Pistons. In the class of 2008, Brandon Jennings is already hearing the comments of him being the next one in line of the deep and talented pedigree for the West Coast power.
Jennings's evolution to the top began this summer when the skinny 6-footer shined with the SoCal All-Stars AAU team. Just a couple of months removed from his freshman season, the 15-year-old was whipping mind-boggling passes across the court for difficult assists. Going for a dozen assists and 15 points was a common practice for the lefty.
He's a poised player, doesn't run his mouth and is mixing points with passing. A consummate gym rat, Jennings is one of those "for the love of the game" kind of kids.
"I just love it, I just love to play," Jennings says. "I don't party much. I always stay in the gym."
It shows. But Jennings will admit he hasn't played his best basketball at the City of Palms. He's scoring without much problem but it's his assist numbers that are down, something that he recognized in his team's stellar 91-89 win over a very good Lake Howell (Fla.) team on Wednesday.
"I started getting my teammates involved because I was shooting a lot in the first half," he said. "I wasn't hitting so I started getting others involved on my team and that helped."
Jennings finished with 19 points and just three assists, which came late in the fourth quarter. He even took the final shot with less than five seconds to play but missed. Lucky enough for Dominguez senior and future Cal Bear Patrick Christopher was there to tip in the big shot. But Jennings took that last shot. That late game poise is just part of the maturation process.
"When I first came here, I was a little nervous. I was like 'whoa, they all came here to see us play,'" Jennings said. "I don't get nervous as much as I used to."
He's not getting nervous anymore when he sees some of the best colleges and universities in the country stop by to see him play. UConn, Texas, Georgia Tech and Arizona are the four most aggressive schools recruiting him at the moment, Jennings says. The Huskies and Yellow Jackets had assistant coaches at the City of Palms to see Jennings in action.
Though he's not in a rush to decide, Jennings said he's looking at style of play more than anything at the next level.
"I like schools that let their point guards go, that just get out and run," Jennings said. "I love the fast break schools."
Unlike a lot of his summer teammates, Jennings said he isn't ready to make any kind of quick decision on his next step.
"I'm going to wait because I want my teammates to get a chance to be recruited and get looked it," Jennings said. "Plus, it's always a good thing to wait to look at everything."
The Dons will in the fifth place game on Thursday afternoon against Brooklyn (N.Y.) Lincoln, who ironically have one of the best freshmen in the country in Lance Stephenson.