Our first stop was the campus of Cal State-Dominguez Hills and the conclusion of the Pump All-West Camp. There were five all-star games on tap, but quite frankly the level of competition left something to be desired and we elected to head out to the first games of the Pangos Summer Shootout. This proved to be a better decision. We got there for the start of the Arizona Magic White squad's game against ARC. Things were close until the Magic went to the press and the athleticism of Jerryd Bayless, Christian Polk and Tim Maiden blew the game open. It was impressive to see such a disciplined defensive effort from an AAU team. ARC had no answer for the ball hawking, full court pressure.
Bayless continues to impress. He scored 20 in the rout, but managed to keep others involved as well. You have to love his size and build, especially from a sophomore. He also has nice athleticism and decent explosiveness.
Polk had a rough outing but still managed to score 15. He had a few bad turnovers and didn't handle the ball as consistently well as he has in the pass. He did show that killer cross-over that can leave defenders with wrecked ankles and embarrassing moments.
Next up was a huge mismatch on paper. The host Belmont Shore club was set to face the Tucson Heat. Just two months ago the Heat were losing games by an average of 30 points, but have slowly gotten better.
The Heat are guided by former Wildcats Justin Wessel and Jason Stewart, and they apparently learned a lot from Lute Olson. They had the Heat playing a very disciplined style and had a double-figure lead over a club that has won a few tournaments this summer.
Sadly, it wouldn't last. The Heat tired out and Belmont Shore heated up. Belmont Shore coach Dinos Trigonis inserted a zone defense that ended the Heat's potent inside attack and the favorites coasted to a 74-52 win.
Belmont Shore was led by big time post player Brett Hoerner and athletic wing Sekatoure Henry. Hoerner shook of the rust from his finger injury and scored 14 points, eight in the pivotal second half, while Henry led all scorers with 19. Both players had a number of Pac-10 and other big conference coaches on hand to further their evaluations.
The Heat are not loaded with Division-I talent, but do have some young players who can ball. Point guard Sean Howell plays like a streetballer, but has a lot of skills. He has a few letters from ASU, but looks like a guy who could make an impact at a low-major.
The more intriguing prospect is Rincon junior David Jackson. The 6-10 big man is very nimble and has some nifty post moves. Don't expect him to be the first Tucsonan to earn a scholarship to the UA since Deron Johnson, but he could be good enough to play at a decent program.
A night after dominating the Pangos Top-30 all-star game, Davon Jefferson was at it again. Jefferson scored 16 in a 75-41 rout of the Bay Area Hoosiers II. He did all of his damage on the inside, but has the athleticism to play on the wing. His outside shot looked alright, but it's clean enough that he could become a pretty good shooter.
Word is the Wildcats are genuinely interested in Jefferson and the feeling is mutual. Jefferson says he favors Arizona and Washington.The only bad news is that it sounds as if after essentially a month straight of basketball, that Jefferson is fatigued. He has been playing competitive ball everyday for at least four weeks. We are told that he will probably skip one or both of his team's games on Friday, but should be good to go on Saturday.
The blue squad for the Arizona Magic were on fire to start their first game. They hit their first seven shots and never looked back against a gutsy, but undermanned San Fernando Cavs team. Lawrence Hill had little trouble with the undersized Cavs.
Harvey Perry sat out the game with a minor back injury. He is expected to play on Friday. The Wildcats are all over the talented perimeter player. He so impressed them earlier in the week that they have all but offered him a scholarship.
Next it was back to Cal State-Dominguez Hills for the tip-off of the Three Stripes Tournament. We got there in time to see D'Andre Bell. Bell continued to impress us with his athleticism and overall ability. He is always working hard, which is impressive. Even in a game that was well in hand, he was playing hard on both offense and defense.
Bell scored14 points despite being banged up, and a little under the weather. He has a new offer from Florida, but favors Arizona, Michigan State and Washington. The Wildcats appear to be still evaluating Bell, but he is clearly in the mix for now.
Pump-n-Run was up next. The Pump brothers fielded four teams in the tournament and four were in action at once. The most interesting team was Pump-n-Run #4, the youngest team. The team had two legit 6-9 players Melvyn Oliver and Keith Olsen. Both are 2007 players who have a shot at being pretty decent prospects. Oliver is more of a banger, while Olsen has nice athleticism.
the most interesting player on Pump #4 was James Dunleavy, son of NBA coach Mike Dunleavy. His son looks a lot like dad, but has a lot of work to do before he joins Dad and brother in the NBA. Right now he is the proverbial coach's son who does a lot of the little things well.
The night ended back at Pangos with a pair of games that were missing some of the biggest name players. Jervaughn Johnson and Tyree Thompson were no shows for Compton Magic Red. 2007 standout Jesse Woodard was led Red despite the missing wings.
The California Elite were not so lucky. Big time forward James Keefe did not make the game and the Elite fell to the Ventura Magic due in large part to having just one sub. Fatigue settled in for the Elite and they had no answer for the Magic who had a full bench. PF Matt Shaw got little rest, which was amplified due to his asthma bothering him. He scored14 and grabbed eight boards bug was not a huge factor. Junior Pat Christopher was impressive. The shooting guard had an off night from the outside, but was by far and away the most athletic player in the game. He scored repeatedly when driving to the basket.