We didn't see two of the better performances of the today, but we heard from sources that Amir Johnson, 6-8 senior center Los Angeles (Calif.) Westchester, and Dior Lowhorn, 6-6 senior power forward Berkeley (Calif.) High, both turned in outstanding performances. Johnson reportedly had 37 points, mostly in the paint and was impressive with his ability to seal off defenders and convert his opportunities. Lowhorn had 30 points in his game and showed a variety of offensive abilities. He made several outside shots and displayed an ability to get his own shot.
Dazz Thornton, 6-6 senior power forward Denver (Col.) Denver East, was terrific in a morning game, as he consistently got good position in the paint and converted scoring chances. Thornton has developed a nice little jump hook and his footwork is much improved. He no longer drifts to the perimeter, instead using his wide body to take up space in the paint. Thornton should draw more interest at the mid to high major level.
Robert Sallie, 6-6 senior (2004) small forward Sacramento (Calif.) Valley, was an offensive machine yesterday in a loss to the Arizona Magic. Sallie is the ultimate slasher, but he's also able to knock down the three. He's more a scorer than pure shooter and no one on the Magic had an answer for him yesterday. Sallie reportedly committed to Washington and will join Lorenzo Romar's team after a year at prep school.
Matt Mortensen, 6-5 senior shooting guard Provo (Utah) Timpview, had a great game against the L.A. Rockfish yesterday, connecting on several deep threes to help Utah Pump N Run to a win. Mortensen has great size, live legs, a good feel for the game and a great stroke. He needs to improve his ability to create his own shot, but he's a high major prospect.
Tommy McMahon, 6-7 senior combo forward, San Mateo (Calif.) Serra, is an interesting mid-major prospect. He's a legit 6-7 and probably weighs 205, with a body that could easily put on 20-25 more pounds. He's big enough and strong enough to guard fours at the mid-major level, but he also has nice perimeter skills and quickness, presenting matchup problems offensively. His shot is streaky at this point, going hot and cold, but it's a great stroke out to three.
Jerryd Bayless, the 6-1 sophomore guard from Glendale (Ariz.) Deer Valey, continues to show just how talented he is, good enough to be among the best players in the class of 2006 nationally. He's very tough to guard, with great quickness, and his skills have come really far, making for a nasty combination. In AAU ball, he is tending to go one-on-one too much. He and teammate, 6-2 junior guard Christian Polk, just keep alternating between their one-on-one attemps without playing real basketball, which led to their loss against Indiana' Blessed IJN. Polk and Bayless are two of the most talented underclass guards in the west, but we're hoping they'll remember how to play real basketball as they get older and read their own hype.
James Keefe, the 6-8 junior forward from Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.) Santa Margarita played with his high school team in Vegas. He had college coaches raving about him, about his skill level and relentlessness.
Alex Stepheson, the 6-8 junior power forward from Studio City (Calif.) Harvard-Westlake, has seen his stock dip a bit in recent months. He hasn't taken his game to the next level this summer, needing to play bigger and stronger around the basket. Yesterday, in helping lead his Pump N Run team to a come-from-behind victory, he did show more presence under the basket and above the rim.