Cactus Classic Evals Pt. 2

In the second part of our Cactus Classic evaluations we take a look at some of the players that are still trying to get some attention or are not being recruited by the Wildcats but deserve some attention.

Zane Johnson The Cats may or may not go after a shooter. If they do they could look at Johnson, an in-state kid from Thunderbird High School in Phoenix. Johnson is long and can stroke it. He is a decent passer and can handle the ball. He's not going to put the ball on the floor and slash very often, but he has improved those skills from a year ago where he was purely a jump shooter.

He has a high interest in the Wildcats. He is close with Jerryd Bayless and we've heard Bayless has put in a good word for the 6-6 wing. He is also hearing a lot from Florida, although neither the Wildcat nor the Gators have offered. ASU and USC have offered and it sounds as if Herb Sendek has made him a priority.

Drew Viney Another shooter the Cats seem to be evaluating is Viney. The Villa Park small forward is another player who can stroke it from behind the arc. He's a different player than Johnson. Johnson is longer, while Viney looks stronger. Last year when we saw Viney he spent most of his time out on the perimeter. This past weekend he did a better job playing all over the court. He still prefers to sit outside and shoot the three, but he showed a nice ability to hit the glass and defend inside.

Viney likes Arizona a lot. He came out for the elite camp last year and his family is close with Miles Simon and Wildcat recruit Kamyron Brown. Washington and Cal have offered and are currently leading although there is a long ways to go.

Darrington Hobson Hobson is a long, athletic wing player who had a really nice camp. Without Kevin Love for the event, and with Alex Jacobson saddled with foul trouble, Hobson had to play a lot inside at the Cactus Classic. He's clearly a wing player, but at 6-7, with his long wingspan, he was effective playing some minutes at the four.

Hobson originally committed to Wyoming, but is now back on the market. He started touting his high interest in Arizona at the Kingwood Classic and the weekend in Tucson did nothing to change that opinion.

Clarence Trent Clarence Trent is still making a name for himself, but his reputation is growing. With a nice mix of athleticism and size, Trent looks to be a very nice prospect for 2008. Although he's a combo forward, I think that his better position will likely be power forward. He's got a frame that can hold more muscles and if he does it right he will not lose any explosiveness. He's also one of the best dunkers you will see on the circuit. Nothing overly acrobatic but they are thunderous.

Kamyron Brown Brown puts up great numbers. He was a big time scorer at Mater Dei and was one of the top assist guys at the Cactus Classic. Brown has very nice size and some tools to work with. He's more of a combo guard than he is a pure point guard. He likes Arizona a lot but it remains to see how he fits into the Wildcats' plans. A lot could depend on what happens with Jerryd Bayless. He also has interest in a number of Pac-10 teams including Washington and Oregon.

Solomon Alibi A very tall center prospect who is very raw. Many of the fans on hand at the Cactus Classic were intrigued by the 7-1 Nigerian. He's very inexperienced and has a lot of work to do. If someone is patient it may pay to bring Alibi into the fold.

Tommy Mason-Griffin Mason-Griffin is built like a fullback but has some hoop skills. At this point he is a tad undersized, but he has a few years to grow. He does not consistently wow you, but when he catches fire, watch out. In the Houston Hoops' semi-final game against Seattle Rotary Select, Griffin seemingly could not miss from behind the arc. He also has the strength to be effective in the lane, despite his size disadvantage. He's by no means a sure thing, but an intriguing player to keep an eye on.

Anthony Jones Another Houston Hoops player that is worth keeping an eye on is big man Anthony Jones. He's 6-10 and can move. His overall game still needs some work, but the pieces are there to be a pretty nice player. He needs to add some muscle, but it will be interesting to see what he can become with more work. Right now Arizona, Oklahoma and Texas are showing interest and he says he'd like to hear from Duke and North Carolina.

Jerry Brown Remember this name. Brown has the potential to be a top West Coast wing in the 2009 class. The Bay Area product is long, athletic and shows an understanding of the game. He's already physically mature for a player his age. He did not put up outstanding numbers for EBO, but that is not what was asked of him. What you are seeing here is potential, not necessarily production.

Right now he likes UCLA and Arizona and claims that if those two teams remain in pursuit he'll be happy.

P'Allen Stinnett Right now he isn't getting a lot of attention but Stinnett is a wildly athletic guard with a lot of explosiveness. He plays for the very talented Las Vegas prospects, a team that runs a lot, so it is tough to gauge how his game will fare in a more structured offense. He's also quite funny. At one point his coach wanted to play for the last shot with 2:00 left in the half. Stinnett did as he was told but while holding the ball he did a number of Globetrotter like tricks and showed off some dance moves. Word is that USC, ASU and Iowa State are showing the most love but he may get more interest by the end of the summer.

DeMar Derozan An athletic wing with some skills. He is very nice in the open floor, but talking to people who have seen him for a few years, they are disappointed in his lack of development. A few recruiting analysts have mentioned that he lacks basketball I.Q. We've heard the Cats are keeping an eye on him.

Matt Simpkins The Sacramento power forward is intriguing. He's long and fairly strong. He'll battle down low. This past weekend I saw him and Luke Babbitt go at it pretty well. The nature of his AAU team did not really allow me to see how he fares in a structured setting. Most of the time his P Miller Ballers were dominating and most games were dunk fests early on. He can get up and down the floor, and can surely throw it down. He is mostly a face-up big man. Expect him to get further evaluations over the summer.

Venton Overton I am not sure a player helped himself more than Overton. He's a scoring point guard with a terrific jump shot. He's a tad short, and needs to be a better floor leader, but he's quick, strong and aggressive. Expect more teams to get involved over the summer. Right now UW, WSU and Wake Forest are the main pursuers.


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