Kingwood Day Two: An Arizona slant

HOUSTON, Tex. – It's amazing what you'll hear and learn by sitting in a gym for 16 hours! provides you with an insiders look at the what's being said in the gyms at the Kingwood Classic, with an emphasis on Arizona recruits.


Spencer Hawes, C, Seattle FOH: His morning game against the Miami Tropics was about as efficient and productive an AAU game a center could have. Matched against a fellow 7-footer, Hawes went for 21 and 13. Hawes is big time skilled and one of the beautiful things about his game is that rather than wait for rebounds, he pursues balls off the glass. Candidate for performance of the day.

Lance Thomas, PF, New Heights: Speaking of performers of the day, his club might have dropped one to the SoCal All-Stars but it wasn't on him. Thomas, in his traditional hard-playing style, went for 27 points and 6 boards. Did we mention he went to the line 15 times (though he made just 9, well below his average). Southern Cal won because they had more talent but no one on their roster actually wanted a piece of Thomas who circled the wagon and went to work.

Chase Budinger, SG/SF, So Cal All-Stars: The word coming out of last weekend was that he's a big time stud. Well, he is a big time athlete who uses his dribble to attack the rim. Overall, he's a nice looking prospect but he doesn't seem quite ready to go from standout to superstar. He's got tons of bounce and you can see the volleyball player in his game (reportedly he's one of the elite volleyball prospects in America). To take that next step he'll need to become more involved each time out.

Bryce Webster, C, Howard Pulley: One of the younger seniors in the class appears to be pressing. Reportedly he had one excellent game on Saturday but we caught him twice and he didn't fare as well. Expectations were for him to come out and dominate but he might not be ready for that just yet. He's a good kid with a nice game and it might just be time to sit back, crack and smile and roll up his sleeves and get to work again. He needs to have some fun out there.


Derrick Rose, PG, Mean Streets Express: He's playing in the 16 year old division and tearing it up. Like Mayo, he's a special guard with tremendous gifts. He controls a game the way Tiger manages a final round at The Masters: error free. His first step is long and lightning fast. Rapper Master P sponsors a team at the event and before Rose's first playoff game he came over to meet and greet Rose and Co. You have to wonder just how long it'll be before Rose returns the favors and inks an autograph for Master P? By the way, in the game we watched Rose went 9-for-12 from the floor with 5 boards and 7 assists.


Brandon Jennings, PG, So Cal All-Stars: The freshman looks to be extremely comfortable on a court with older players. The lefty has a variety of scoring tricks in his bag but it's his poise that stands out. He's really confident and extremely talented and the talk about him as one of the best PGs in 2008 is completely justified.


Lance Thomas is getting recruited by the best of the best but on Saturday night he said Arizona was doing the best job with his recruitment. Watching him in the afternoon where head coach from Stanford and Providence who were joined by Lute Olson. Assistants from Duke, Villanova, Kentucky and Connecticut were there as well. …

In the stands evaluating Chase Budinger was Bill Self, Ben Howland, Lute Olson and Lorenzo Romar. Assistants from Louisville, Kentucky, Southern Cal and California were also in attendance. … Spencer Hawes drew a big time crowd in the morning. Lorenzo Romar, Bill Self, Ben Howland, Herb Sendek and assistants from UNC and Arizona were there.

Bryce Webster's crowd early on Saturday consisted of Mike Brey, Lute Olson and Bill Self who were joined by assistants from Michigan State, Marquette and Boston College. …Amongst those in attendance watching So Cal's Taj Gibson were assistants from St. John's, Cincinnati and Southern Cal. …Guard Christina Polk has an offer from Arizona State, Miami and Indiana. He also likes Washington and UConn. …Virginia and Marquette sent assistants to watch Derrick Rose. "Illinois and Kansas are on Derrick so hard I can't sleep at night," Mean Streets coach Luther Topps said. Also causing sleepless nights are Michigan State and Virginia. UNC and Arizona haven't been in contact yet but could make the list if they call while Louisville and Oklahoma State are worthy of mention as well. …

The best part of Jodie Meeks' game is his brain. He has a nice feel out there and makes good, sound basketball decisions. … Mighty mite Bryan Beasley is undersized and a 43% 3-point shooter in high school. On Saturday he wasn't making them and when he's not doing that he losses his effectiveness. … Jason Bennett is out here playing with a sense of passion we've never seen him exhibit before. …

Miami Tropics sophomore forward A.J. Stewart drilled mid-range jumpers on Saturday and played the best we've seen him since last summer. … L.D. Williams of the Tropics could develop into a lockdown defender. … Jamelle McMillan, son of Nate, is a pure point man. Teammate Isaiah Thomas is lightning quick but tiny. Love his confidence …

Taylor King's 3s against New Heights were timely and frankly saved his team from being an upset victim. … Devan Bawinkel is exactly the kind of player West Virginia used as it rode its perimeter horses to the Elite Eight. … Javaris Crittenton did the unthinkable and picked O.J. Mayo with his active hands. … Greyhounds stud Bill Walker struggled to get loose in the showcase game against the Celtics. …

Landon Milbourne might be the best offensive rebounder in this class. He's just 6-foot-6 but he boards. … .The Georgia Hurricanes beat their rival the Georgia Stars 54-52 to knock the Stars out of the tournament. …

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