Ariza, a 6-8 F from Westchester High in Los Angeles (class of 2003), scored his 37 today on 13-16 shooting and 11-13 from the free throw line. That's efficiency. The kid can flat out play and he can do pretty much everything well. He handles, he penetrates, he passes, he blocks shots, he rebounds and he can score from three-point range or on post moves down low that usually result in a dunk.
How anyone ever called him one of the most overrated prospects in the watered down class of 2003 is beyond me. Because if Ariza is overrated, the rest of the class must be worthless.
Ariza's Pump ‘n Run (CA) team won both of its bracket games today and will play Thursday against the Michigan Mustangs, which includes Brandon Bell, Justin Ingram and Arizona target Kirk Walters. It might be the game of the day.
Another candidate for Thursday's "Game of the Day" (and almost certainly the best point guard match-up unless Sebastian Telfair plays against one of these guys) will be when the Hunting Park Warriors (Mustafa Shakur) goes up against the Ft. Sooy-No Limit (Shaun Livingston) squad. Cattracks will be on hand for both games, not to mention a dozen others throughout the day.
*Stars of the Day (Wednesday Edition):
1. Trevor Ariza. This is becoming old hat for Ariza. He has won the award every day so far. The weird part is that he keeps getting better every time I see him play.
2. Ayinde Ubaka, 6-3 PG ('03)-Oakland Slam N Jam-Expect this Wildcat target to commit to Cal in the next day or two since his best friend Leon Powe did so this afternoon. He only scored two points in his first game today but it was the most impressive two-point performance I've seen here in Vegas. His playmaking and passing skills were at their optimum levels and he handed out a dozen assists and pulled down 11 rebounds to go along with five steals. If he would only have shot a few more times we might be talking about the tournament's first triple-double.
3. Enrico Tucker, 6-0 PG ('04) IEBP Ballers-This two sport star from San Diego's University High (Luke Walton's alma mater) also nearly recorded a triple-double today, although his effort came in a loss. Tucker, who has Baron Davis athleticism but doesn't quite have his body, had 13 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. He plays on the same team with Sean Marshall and Allan Wiggins, Jr. and has been remarkable in all four of the games they have played. USD has already offered Tucker a scholarship, knowing full well that they had to get in on the rising junior before the big name schools came-a-calling. More on Tucker later.
*Arizona has attended quite a few games featuring these new big men: Kyle Visser (6-10, 215 PF '03 from Ada, MI), Randolph Morris (6-10, 235 PF '04 from Atlanta), Kirk Walters (6-10, 210 C '03, also from Michigan), Marvin Williams (6-8, 220 F '04 from Bremerton, WA), Chris Taft (6-10, 260 C '03 from Brooklyn, NY), Micheal Rembert (6-10, 225 PF '04 from Chicago) and, of course, Brian Butch, whose team lost and was eliminated tonight even though an injured Butch scored 19 points with a bad back.Butch also had five rebounds and two blocked shots in very limited playing time.
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E-mail Ben Hansen at AZPointGuardU@yahoo.com