Cactus Classic: Game of the night

Last year Pump N Run won the Cactus Classic, failing to lose a game. They opened the 2007 event with a stunning loss. It was billed as a battle between Wildcat point guard recruits Larry Drew and Brandon Jennings, but it became so much more.

Without any big men, the one-two punch of Brandon Jennings and USC-bound Demar Derozan stunned defending champion Pump N Run 98-91. The loaded Pump team led by as many as ten, but Derozan stepped up his game to compliment Jennings and the rally was on.

Derozan pumped in 29, while Jennings scored 28 to lead the undersized Belmont team.

It's been nearly a year since I last saw Jennings play and he looks better than ever. He seems to have grown a tad, and was more aggressive than I have seen. Without any post players, Jennings was attacking the rim, trying to help on the glass.

It worked too, as Jennings grabbed 10 boards.

The game was a match-up between the Wildcats' two top point guard prospects. Larry Drew is a totally different player than Jennings, but was no less effective. The son of an NBA coach, Drew showed off his pass-first game. The senior-to-be from Taft High School dished out eight assists. Despite early shooting woes, Drew stills scored 14 points.

A number of Drew's outside shots rattled in and out, but it is clear he has a nice stroke. He didn't drive the land too often, but when he did, he finished with a nice floater.

Jrue Holiday had yet another terrific game. The wildly talented wing pumped in 27 points, while dishing out four assists and grabbing half a dozen rebounds.

Holiday had an uncharacteristic four turnovers.

The night belonged to Derozan. The athletic wing played as well as anyone had seen him play. After a good first half, he exploded in the second half and led the comeback.

Although he scored 29, all anyone wanted to talk about after the game was the nasty one-handed slam that he threw down to give Belmont a 10-point lead.

"That was an NBA slam," said Belmont Shore coach Dinos Trigonis. "It looked like a Jason Richardson slam."

In fact, Trigonis said the team had to play a bit like Richardson's team.

"Without any bigs we had to play a like the Golden State Warriors," Trigonis said laughing.

A pair of 2009 players who are listing the Wildcats had solid outing for Pump N Run. Reeves Nelson had a double-double. The athletic power forward scored 11, while ripping down 12 rebounds. He showed some impressive post moves that I have not seen to date. The past few games I saw him play were out of hand and Nelson focused less on solid post play and far more on transition dunks.

David Wear scored 17, with five rebounds. He and his brother Travis are playing with more confidence and aggressiveness than they have shown in the past.

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