Lots of talent on display

Day two at the Cactus Classic was a long one. Games started at 9:00 and the last one did not get over until almost 10:30. By the end of the night the 32 team field had been reduced to eight and a number of good teams were already going home.


Jamelle Horne is serving notice. The swingman is clearly one of the top performers at the event and is looking more and more like a player who is very worthy of the top-25 ranking that he achieved this week from Scout.com.

Horne showed off his athleticism, tenacity and overall talent all day long. Although EBO was tripped up in the first game of the day, the responded with a win to close out pool play. Things were dicey in the first round of the tournament portion, but Horne rebounded from a missed dunk with a block and dunk to seal the win.

Horne was dinged up by the time the fourth game of the day came around. He and EBO just did not have enough to beat a loaded Las Vegas Prospects team and they were eliminated in the round of 16.

Alex Jacobson has struggled a bit this weekend. He's been in foul trouble in every contest. Further limiting his minutes is the fact that the SoCal All-Stars had to come from behind in two games and played a lot of perimeter players when they needed three-point shooting.

Jacobson is still stiff but did show some nice moves inside and does get his hands on opponent's shots. He needs to anticipate better and battle more on the boards.

Jerryd Bayless did not play for the second straight game, but was around for much of the event. He is taking an unofficial visit and hung our for awhile with incoming freshman Nic Wise.

We've heard from a few sources that all indications are that Bayless will remain committed to the Wildcats but nothing is set in stone.


The big news of the day is that it looks like the Cats have offered a scholarship to James Harden. Harden is a talented swing man from the Los Angeles area and was impressive all day. He led the Pump ‘N Run to the round of eight and admits that he really likes the Arizona campus. USC, Washington and WSU have also offered, while ASU and Pitt have shown a lot of interest.

Hardin has really improved since last summer, so much so that Scout.com West Coast Recruiting Analyst Greg Hicks feels that he will be an "excellent" college player.

Gary Johnson is another player who is not ready to start listing schools but he did admit that he liked Tucson quite a bit. He also stated that the Wildcats should be in the mix until the end but would not list them as a leader.

Wise did say that he was really working on Johnson and that their friendship could be a major draw for the 6-7 power forward.

Johnson has played well, but has not been dominant. He does not have the supporting cast around him that he did a year ago and he and Jai Lucas have really had to shoulder the load with the Houston Hoops. He'll get a real test on Sunday when the Hoops battle the SoCal All-Stars in the round of eight.

Venoy Overton of Seattle Franklin had a big day. If the 6-1 junior keeps this up his list of suitors is sure to grow.


We saw a great point guard battle to close out the night. Jerime Anderson and Larry Drew duked it out. Drew got the win and looked to be the better of the two, but it is very close. These two, along with Brandon Jennings, are the three best point guards on the West Coast and among the best in the nation.

Drew likes Arizona a lot but was not ready to narrow down his list of schools. He likes the fact that Tucson is very different than Los Angeles.

Anderson is favoring UCLA and Stanford but is still trying to get a grasp on recruiting. Arizona is in the picture but have some ground to make up.

Houston big man Anthony James says that Arizona, Texas and Oklahoma are working him the hardest right now, but he'd love to hear from North Carolina and Duke. Jones is a legit 6-10 and very long. He needs to bulk up and develop more offensively, but he looks like a real player in the 2008 class.

Luke Babbit lives up to the hype. The power forward has a sweet stroke, yet he's not afraid to mix it up inside. He's got decent height and strength but will probably need to get a bit thicker to play inside in college. That being said, he's an elite performer.

He's not ready to start trimming the list but admitted that he really likes Tucson and what he had seen of the campus.

Jrue Holiday did nothing to hurt his stock. He's a big time player already and he's still getting better. He can pass, score and is very aggressive.

Demar DeRozan and Matt Simpkins did not really get to display all their talent because their games descended quickly into runaway dunkfests. We hear their P Miller Baller team struggled in the morning, but later in the day they were blowing out their opponents. DeRozan is an athletic wing, while Simpkins mixes nice quickness with a solid frame at the power forward position.

Clarence Trent continues to look good. At 6-7 he looks like a true combo forward who can both bang and slash. He is really wide open but does like Arizona.


Big man Jeff Withey is getting an earful from Horne. The elder San Diegan is also a teammate of his with EBO and he is telling Withey all about Arizona. Right now Arizona is right up there with UCLA, Kansas and others.

Withey is nursing an injury and did not play in the event.

Jerry Brown is not there yet, but he's got all the tools. The freshman from the Bay Area is already 6-5 and long. He's an athlete with a decent feel for the game and he's only getting better. He likes Arizona and UCLA at this point and would love to make an early decision if the offers develop.

We got an abbreviated look at the Wear twins. Neither logged a ton of minutes as they made their first foray into 18&Under AAU ball. Previously they had been playing 16&Under.

Travis had a really nice outing the first game we saw him play. He knocked down two threes and showed some nice moves attacking the basket. Unfortunately he had to sit out the next game and his Nike California Hoops team was eliminated by the Houston Hoops.

David did not do as much scoring but showed the same size and athleticism that his brother did. He got a longer look in the game Travis sat out and it is apparent that the future is very bright for these two youngsters.

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