May 20, 2006
Arizona Cactus Classic Friday Notebook
The Cactus Classic got started on Friday Night with some of the best teams in the tournament in action.After seeing him once again, I have to say that my expectations of Jamelle Horne have not only been met but they have been exceeded. Horne's shot is impressive and his ability to get to the basket as well makes him very dangerous.
It seems that he can dunk at any time when he gets near the basket and he is very difficult to guard because he is so versatile. He scored 28 points in his team's easy win but it seems like he could have scored forty.
Arizona fans should be very excited that Horne is on their team and not one Arizona would have to face.
The SoCal All-Stars did not have their normal dominance but without Kevin Love and Daniel Hackett, they were still able to win by 17. Alex Jacobson did not play much, as SCA went with a smaller lineup for the majority of the game.
When Jacobson got in during the second half, he was hit and the face and left with a bloody nose. We would expect to see more of Jacobson tomorrow.
Brandon Jennings will be the leader of the team in this tourney and it showed tonight. He played with a swagger, and rightfully so, as he showed what makes him so special. He took the role of a court general tonight with his passing ability and his leadership on the court, but also showed a nice shooting touch as well.
Jennings is a priority for Arizona and it is easy to see why every time you see him play.
Another West Coast point guard that is highly regarded is Jerime Anderson. The floor leader does not do anything spectacular, but is as solid a point guard as they come. He is a very smart player and showed the ability to use his left hand very well. He is also good under pressure and showed nice range.
It is hard to compare him to Jennings because they are different players but they are both special in their own right.
Jrue Holiday is going to be a special player. He is very good at getting his shot off in tough situations and can handle the ball as well. He is also quite athletic and looks to be a good defender. He is only a sophomore but expect him to be one of the more highly recruited players in the country next year.
Jrue's brother, Justin Holiday is a 2007 prospect and while Jrue may be more highly regarded, Justin has nice potential as well. Justin is a pure athlete and has a very raw game but he is intriguing because of his seemingly high upside.
Clarence Trent looks better every time we see him. His athleticism is really something you have to see in person because he often makes plays from nowhere. He is very good at anticipating a rebound and going up strong to dunk it. He needs showed a nice jumper on Friday night and was also able to dribble better than we have seen him do it before.
The SoCal Razorbacks were very impressive in their 100-65 win over California Supreme. Kamyron Brown did not have his best shooting night, but once again he showed his strengths. He is very good at getting to the basket and is equally skilled at defending the full court.
His teammate Drew Viney is a pure shooter. He had a sequence where he came down and hit a three, followed by a 15 foot jumper and another three. He is a very good shooter and will be the type of player that teams will worry about leaving open.
Gary Johnson was his normal self Friday night. He was very aggressive to the basket and it seem that often times the only answer AZ Rage had for him was to foul him.
Johnson's teammate, 2008 recruit Anthony Jones, played the most impressive game I have seen him play yet. He showed a strong ability to handle the ball and get to the basket as well as an ability to rebound. He played very well and showed enough potential to see why Arizona is interested in him.
Congratulations to Gonzaga for getting Austin Daye. He once again showed his fantastic scoring ability by showing off a post game as well as an ability to hit a deep three.
His teammate Larry Drew also played a complete game and it is easy to see why he will be highly recruited. He often scores in spurts, which makes him dangerous at all times. Drew is another fantastic point guard on the West Coast in 2008 that teams in the Pac-10 will be fighting for.
Lastly, it is never too early to think about the future. One of the more impressive players we saw today was Jeremy Tyler. I did not find out he was an eighth-grader until after I had watched him play but he is quite impressive.
Although people worry about peaking early, he is a fantastic prospect who was already able to hold his own against upperclassmen. Expect him to be highly recruited once he enters high school.