We got our first extended look at Pondexter and game away impressed. He's long, lanky and athletic. He's still on the thin side, built a little bit like Andre Iguodala at this age. He started a bit slow, but by the end of his lone game he was throwing down left and right. He had a sweet one-handed follow and likes the tomahawk. He could go harder to the glass, but I love the way he attacks the glass. His midrange game was a bit off, but he showed he can get his shot off before getting too deep.
He's very explosive, and looks like he can become a terrific scorer. He has a nice looking shot, with great elevation, but does not take a huge number of jumpers.
Pondexter was teamed with Kevin Galloway, a 6-6 wing from NoCal. He's not on the Cats' current wish list, but he has the athleticism to be a Pac-10 player. He was fun to watch.
James Harden is not getting a lot of attention yet, but he's 6-5 and could become a player. He's a player to keep an eye on. He played well and will have a chance to make a name for himself. He's open to any Pac-10 team.
Trevor Mbakwe is only a sophomore, but he's put together. A very strong kid, the 6-8 forward also has some quickness. We need to see more of the kid from Minnesota, but what we saw, we liked. We're hearing the Wildcats are in the picture.
We got our first look at Jordan Hill and the newest Wildcat is exactly as advertised. He's big, athletic and needs some fine tuning. He is a solid defender and can score when he gets the ball, but at times he is still trying to figure out where he is supposed to be. He tries to dunk whenever he can and showed some nice touch off the glass. Comparisons have been made to Channing Frye. They are not too far off, but he is stronger at this stage, but did not show the type of touch the departing Wildcat center has. We'll watch more of his games tomorrow and get a better scouting report.
Hill was matched up defensively with fast riser Taylor Harrison. The 6-9 Harrison recently committed to Cal and I think the Bears got themselves a good one. He is tall, has a bit of strength and can shoot the ball.
We tried to see if Harrison had any insight into which school his AAU teammate Budinger might be leaning towards, but he claims that he does not know.
"He tells us he's got his top three, but that is all we get out of him," said Harrison, a fellow SoCal All-Star.
Budinger is making an official visit to UCLA this weekend.
Rooming with Hill is another future Wildcat, Nic Wise. Tonight Wise was Wise. He didn't offer anything new, but he hasn't regressed either. He continues to hustle on defense and try to get teammates involved. He had a sick behind the neck pass that led to the recipient being fouled and sinking both. He didn't shoot much when we watched, but did nail his lone three-point attempt. He looks like he may be in slightly better shape this weekend. When we last saw him in Las Vegas he was cramping up at the end of the event's championship game.
Another Houston product is DeAndre Jordan. The big shot blocker is reminding many of Marvin Williams and that is not too far off. He is solid down low, but looks fleet enough to guard smaller players outside. The 2007 product is a long way from making a pledge, but the Cats are among many who are in great shape.
Saturday promises twice as many games and Cat Tracks will be there with all the action.