Vegas Hoops: Day 2 (Goodman)

While O.J. Mayo continued to flounder, it was a new rising star who took center stage. In fact, a pair of west coast guys really shined on the second day of action out in Vegas.

LAS VEGAS – The marquee matchup was when Kevin Love and Brandon Jennings got the best of O.J. Mayo, Bill Walker & Co.

Deon Thompson, PF, Branch West: His stock is on the rise – big time. One of the best scorers in the low-post. Has dropped a considerable amount of weight and that's part of the reason for his improvement. He scored virtually at will against the Long Island Panthers and was also a monster on the boards. Has terrific touch in the paint and displayed a nice baseline turnaround on a couple of occasions.

Phil Nelson, SF, Portland Panthers: Knocked down a couple of long-range shots, but his shot wasn't falling in a game against Metro Boston. Still a big-time shooter, Nelson needs to work on expanding his overall game and being able to put the ball on the floor more frequently.

Lance Thomas, F, New York Panthers: Never intimidated, the hard-working combo forward took it right at Greg Oden in the paint. He had it come back at him a few times, but he was aggressive and that earns plenty of respect. Finished with 18 points in the loss to Spiece.

Mike Conley, PG, Spiece Indy Heat: Usually, it's always Greg Oden, Daequan Cook and Eric Gordon who score the majority of the points. However, Conley was more assertive on the offensive end – and he had his shot working from the perimeter. Knocked down 4 of 8 from beyond the arc and finished with a game-high 25 points.

Kevin Love, C, SoCal All-Stars: After struggling a little bit in his first game with his new teammates, the big fella from Oregon was absolutely automatic against O.J. Mayo and the D-1 Greyhounds. Love finished with 31 points and 15 boards and didn't miss when he got the ball in the paint. Also delivered some big-time outlet passes for easy buckets.

Taylor King, F, SoCal All-Stars: While teammates Kevin Love and Brandon Jennings had it working, King struggled to find his rhythm. King knocked down a trio of 3-point shots, but he was more reliant on his long-distance shooting and maybe it was because Love needed little help in the paint.

O.J. Mayo, G, D-1 Greyhounds: His numbers looked fairly good – 28 points and 7 boards – but Mayo looked like just another player on the court in the team's loss to the SoCal All-Stars. In fact, Love and Brandon Jennings were clearly the two most dominant players on the court. Mayo is settling for the outside shot these days and isn't doing the thing that got him to where he is – making his teammates better virtually whenever he wants with his incredible court vision.

Corey Fisher, PG, Long Island Lightning: He looked every bit of an elite-level point guard against Branch West. Not the quickest floor leader around, but he's craft – got to the basket and also had his outside shot working.

Remy Cofield, SG, Metro Boston: Extremely athletic and has improved his outside shot – but it still needs to get better. He's a guy mid-majors will be all over next year at this time.

Darnell Gant, PF, Rising Stars: Started off slow and was unable to hit any shots early in a matchup against Renardo Sidney's MBA team, but then he got going – stroking some shots from downtown and also scoring in the post. He'll be someone high-majors will keep an eye on in the next year.

Eric Gordon, G, Spiece Indy Heat: Lit up the New York Panthers for 18 points – including 14 in a first half where the Heat took control of the game. Gordon was, as usual, stroking it from long range – and was also using his strong body to get to the basket and finish.

Brandon Jennings, PG, SoCal All-Stars: If there's a better point guard in the class, we haven't seen him. Jennings plays with the poise of a college player already. He was tossing pinpoint passes all over the court (10 assists) and also scored 24 points in the win against O.J. Mayo and the D-1 Greyhounds. Strength may be the only thing holding him back right now.

Andy Poling, C, Portland Panthers: The lanky 7-footer really gets after it and knows how to play. Apparently, he's working with ex-NBA big man Swen Nater and it's starting to pay off because he has a nice hook from either side of the basket, alters and blocks plenty of shots and also does a good job getting in position for rebounds.

Renardo Sidney, SG, MBA: He handles the ball – well – for a 6-8 ½ incoming freshman. Doesn't get rattled, finds his teammates and on the defensive end, he rebounds, guards post players and excels. He's well ahead of his 15 years of age. Only scored 10 points in a victory against the Rising Stars, but did a little bit – no, make that a lot – of everything else.

Chas McFarland, a seldom-used (because he backs up Greg Oden) and thin 7-footer for the Spiece Indy Heat, plans to attend Worcester Academy (Mass.) in the fall. … Former NBA player Paul Pressey's son, Paul Jr., is the top player for the Middlesex Magic. The rising junior is averaging about 17 points per game thus far in Vegas.

Harper Kamp, a 6-7 junior forward, gave a list that is headed by Arizona, Illinois, and UCLA – and also includes Oregon, Oregon State, Washington State and BYU. … Despite mounting interest from Duke recently, junior guard Eric Gordon said Illinois remains the leader. Gordon also mentioned Missouri (assistant coach Jeff Meyer coaches his father), Indiana, Miami and Notre Dame. … Brandon Jennings lists Arizona and UCLA as his co-leaders, along with UConn, Texas and Syracuse. … Deon Thompson said he likes Arizona State, Gonzaga, Wake Forest, UConn and Kentucky. He's gone from a mid to a high virtually overnight.

``If I didn't know it was O.J. Mayo prior to the game, I never would have known by watching him play. He was just ordinary." – Division 1 assistant coach

The morning game between the Spiece Indy Heat and the New York Panthers drew an impressive array of coaches – which included Arizona's Lute Olson, North Carolina's Roy Williams, UConn's Jim Calhoun, Georgia Tech's Paul Hewitt, Duke's Mike Krzyzerski, UCLA's Ben Howland and Illinois Bruce Weber. … Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins was watching O.J. Mayo, Bill Walker and the D-1 Greyhounds. … St. John's coach Norm Roberts was watching Corey Fisher – as well as Memphis coach John Calipari and Villanova assistant Brett Gunning. … Michigan triple-teamed Epke Udoh at an afternoon game.


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