Cactus Classic: Day 2 Pt. 1

Day two of the Cactus Classic began early and went through the day. The preliminary round games did not conclude until the early evening. Here is just a portion of the action from McKale.

Day two saw Brendan Lavender playing with a little more confidence and aggressiveness. He was still trying very hard to get his teammates involved, even though the Arizona Magic would probably be better served if he was a little more selfish.

The Magic no longer have Isaiah Thomas on the team, and that has left a vacancy at the point guard spot. Not only does Lavender have to play out of position at the point, but he does not have anyone to get him the ball.

Because of this the future Wildcat is not having the best showing in front of the Wildcat fans in attendance. He has shown nice athleticism and has the tools to play at a school like Arizona.

The good news is that the Magic seem to have help on the way. According to head coach Anthony Ray, the team should be adding a handful of new players before the summer recruiting season really heats up. He said to expect a premier point guard and a big man who is moving to the Phoenix area to be among those who are joining the team. Terrence Jennings has had a good event, but is just one option on the Play Hard Play Smart team. With Isaiah Thomas and Jamelle Barrett both in the top-10 in tournament scoring, he isn't getting the touches that he might on another team but he is still having a great showing.

He really runs the court and can play in transition. His dunks have been of a highlight reel variety and his "whoooooooo" after he throws down could give Ric Flair a run for his money.

On the recruiting front, Arizona and Cal are still in great shape, but UConn, Florida and Memphis are also closing in. He seems particularly intrigued by the Gators.

The finish of the day went to Matt Carlino and Arizona Premier. Up three the coach of the Double Pump Elite pleaded with his players not to foul, but Tyler Miller drew contact on three point attempt and was awarded three foul shots with four seconds left in the game. He made his first two, but missed the third and Carlino swept in and scored the game winning put-back with no time left on the clock.

While he still has a long way to go, the kid just does not seem like a middle schooler. He's more physically mature than most eight graders and his feel for the game is outstanding. He's got some variety to his offensive game, but that should really continue to develop.

He has nothing but admiration for Lute Olson and the Wildcat program, but he is not really ready to discuss recruiting.

Reeves Nelson has been really impressive. After seeing him in Las Vegas it was hard not to come away impressed, but I am even more sold on him now. He's a very solidly put-together young man who has surprising athleticism.

He has a better inside game than I gave him credit for, which makes him a lot more interesting than the transition dunk specialist I saw last month. One of the big debates was just how big was he really. For the record he lists himself at 6-7, 225. Physically he drew a few comparisons to Luke Walton and Jon Brockman, although his game is very different.


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