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July 24, 2005

Arizona recruits show off on Saturday in Vegas

Las Vegas, Nev. - We already wrote up a recap on how Arizona's recruits performed this weekend so we'll get straight into the afternoon and evening games. UA targets in action included Chase Budinger, Lance Thomas, Jerryd Bayless and more.

We started off by watching Bayless and the Arizona Magic take on Gateway Basketball Club. Yesterday, in both games, Bayless dominated by taking the ball to basket and finding open teammates down low.

Today, the 6-foot-3 star guard took over the game from the outside. Bayless' beautiful midrange jumper was on target and he didn't miss many shots. In fact, he was 9-13 from the field, most of those coming from 14-feet and out.

Head coaches watching Bayless included Lute Olson, Rick Barnes, Bill Self, Tubby Smith, Rob Evans and several others. He certainly didn't disappoint, scoring 23 points, grabbing three rebounds and dishing out three assists.

The most impressive part about Bayless' game may not be his midrange ability, but how he gets the shot off. Bayless uses his superior athleticism and basketball IQ to separate himself from his opponent before jumping straight up and releasing his shot.

It's basically impossible for a defender to get a hand in Bayless' face, which is why he shoots such a high percentage from the field in just about every game.

The biggest Arizona targets we watched next were the six on the SoCal All-Stars. Budinger, of course, is one of Arizona's final two 2006 recruits and a priority for the UA coaching staff.

In the game against Spiece Indy Heat, Budinger struggled a bit with his outside shot, but did everything else well in his team's 81-57 loss. No one on SoCal could hit from outside and Spiece completely dominated this game.

Budinger finished the game 7-19 from the field, hit two of his seven three-pointers and scored 17 points while grabbing six rebounds, by our totals. It should be noted that the La Costa Canyon forward slightly reinjured his wrist earlier in the day and was hesitant to take the ball strong to the basket, something that is a strength of his game.

2007 power forward/center Kevin Love wasn't his usual dominant self, which is understandable considering he was going up against the class of 2006's top player, Greg Oden.

Love hit five of his 12 field goals, scoring 12 points and grabbing six rebounds. It might be the first time we've seen Love play in a game and not dominate. Spiece did a good job of denying him the ball which is why SoCal could never really go on any kind of a run.

2008 point guard Brandon Jennings was also solid, but didn't dominate like he did this morning. Jennings hit four of his eight shots for 11 points, grabbed six boards and also had four assists.

The best player on SoCal this afternoon was 2007 small forward Taylor King. The UCLA decommit was on target from three and also did a nice job of driving to the basket.

King was officially given 10 points, but we had him at 15. He also had six boards and played the best game of anyone on his team outside of Budinger.

Daniel Hackett had two points and four boards, while Malik Story scored four points.

Next up was Lance Thomas and his New York Panthers squad against the D1 Greyhounds, led by 2007 stars O.J. Mayo and Bill Walker. After a slow first half, Thomas took over in the second.

As we say after just about every single game Thomas plays in, the strength of his game is his uncanny ability to draw fouls and get to the line. Even while guarded by Walker and 2007 UA recruit Alex Tyus, Thomas had no problem getting to the charity stripe.

In fact, 11 of Thomas' 13 points came from the free throw line. Once he gets the ball, he goes straight at the basket and always finds a way to trick his opponent into fouling him. It's something you have to watch with your own eyes to comprehend and appreciate.

Thomas' all-around game was instrumental in staying with the Greyhounds, who are one of the most talented AAU squads in the country. He was given seven rebounds - we had him at 11 - and also had a couple of steals.

Tyus struggled from the field, hitting only two of his 12 shots. The athletic power forward did have eight rebounds, but didn't play as the same level as he did in his two games on Friday.

In other action, we caught a little of 2006 UA commit Jordan Hill and the Smyrna Stars, who took on Team Detroit. Hill had four points and six rebounds in 17 minutes.

Still new to this level of basketball, Hill has struggled a little bit with foul trouble. That's to be expected, but when he is in the game, he's shown several flashes of how good he can be in the future.

2007 guard Eric Gordon, who scored 18 points this morning against the New York Panthers, told GOAZCATS.com today that Arizona is definitely still in the running for his services, although Illinois his current leader.

Gordon, from North Central High School in Indianapolis, Indiana, is Rivals.com's 10th ranked player in the class of 2007. Arizona fans might recognize his high school - it's the same one that ex-Wildcat All-American Jason Gardner prepped at.

Darquavis Tucker is another talented two-guard and could be a backup plan to Bayless in Arizona's 2007 class. The 6-foot-4 Tucker had eight points today against Team Breakdown and has struggled with his outside shot a little bit when we've been watching.

2007 center target DeAndre Jordan isn't getting a lot of playing time for the Houston Swoosh. Today against Team Danny Williams, he had five points and three boards in 10 minutes of play.

Considering Jordan is one of the best players in his class, it's a surprise that he hasn't been playing very much. Today he wasn't even in foul trouble.

On Team Danny Williams, Tyrone Shelley was solid, hitting all four shots he took. He ended up with nine points and four rebounds.

Seketoure Henry's inability to qualify academically is a huge loss for ASU. Last year, he was mainly a three-point bomber. Now he's a tremendous all-around player, that can get to the basket and dunk on his defender.

We'll have much more from Las Vegas on Sunday.

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_________________________

-Josh Gershon, Senior Writer
GOAZCATS.com
JGAZ23@aol.com


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