Cactus Classic: West Coasters, Day 2

Day Two of the Cactus Classic in Tucson had several noteworthy performances. In particular, a young big man from San Diego served notice that he'll likely be one of the elite prospects in the class of 2010...

The second day of the Cactus Classic allowed us to get multiple looks at some of the top players in attendance. Here's our latest take on some of the more notable prospects.

Jeremy Tyler, 6-9 FR C/PF San Diego (Calif.) High. Tyler was outstanding throughout the day, showing why he's going to be one of the elite prospects in the country. He's got a great frame, with extremely long arms, and he's a very good athlete. He's got very good hands and feet, with excellent coordination for a young big kid. But what makes Tyler special as a prospect is not just his physical gifts, which are considerable, but also his advanced skill level. Tyler has a really nice touch out to the three-point line and he'll even make use of the backboard when he's got the right angle (a rare sight these days). His ball-handling is very solid for a young post, as are his instincts in the paint. He also showed a good feel for the game and he competed well all day against older players. After Kevin Love, Tyler is probably the best post prospect in the west. If he continues to develop, he has a chance to be one of the top five players in the country.

Jordan Hamilton, 6-6 SO SF Los Angeles (Calif.) Dorsey. Hamilton is a scorer, pure and simple. He's got a lot of work to do on other parts of his game, but he can definitely put the ball in the basket. He's got a very soft touch, with range beyond the stripe, but also has the ability to create his own shot off the dribble. He's best when coming off picks and he gets a little opening, as he has a pretty quick release. Hamilton needs to work on his defense and rebounding, but he'll get a lot of high major attention because of his ability to score.

David and Travis Wear, 6-8 SO PF Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei. Both Wears struggled somewhat in this tournament and it was probably due to a few factors. One of the big problems was the absence of Jerime Anderson, 6-2 JR PG Anaheim (Calif.) Canyon. Anderson is the glue guy for the Pump N Run Team and, without him, the Wears didn't get a lot of touches. Another issue, though, was that the twins floated to the perimeter far too often. They didn't do a good job of taking advantage of their size in the post. Instead, they were content for the most part to shoot jump shots. Both twins are still maturing physically and they aren't strong enough, at times, to take advantage of their height inside. So it's understandable, to an extent, that they prefer to face up outside. But both Travis and David are going to ultimately be post players – they'll either be at the four or five -- so they'll have to get more comfortable playing with their backs to the basket.

Reeves Nelson, 6-6 SO PF Modesto (Calif.) Modesto Christian. Nelson also struggled in this tournament and, again, the absence of Jerime Anderson played a role. Nelson is not a guy that's going to create a lot of his own offense and he needs someone to the ball to him at the right time. However, Nelson also needs to work on his perimeter game. When we first saw him a year ago, Nelson had a very versatile game. In fact, his passing and ball-handling were something of a strength. But Nelson has started to focus more on his inside game and he's gotten away from playing on the perimeter. Of course, one reason Nelson is playing more on the inside is the fact that he's been killing kids all spring in the paint. He's a ferocious offensive rebounder and he's quite skilled with either hand around the basket. But at the next level, Nelson is going to need to be able to play on the perimeter and that's an area he'll have to work on in the coming years.

Jared Cunningham, 6-3 SO PG San Leandro (Calif.) High. We've been touting Cunningham for a year now, but he hasn't really received much attention outside of the west. Expect that to change pretty shortly, as Cunningham is serving notice that he's one of the elite guards in his class. He's got a very smooth and efficient game, with very little wasted motion. He's grown a bit – although he still looks like a baby – and his athleticism has improved significantly. He's shortened his stroke and his shot is very solid to the stripe. Cunningham has good quickness, but excellent speed. He's got a second gear that will surprise opponents at times. We've made this comparison before, but he's very similar to a young Gabe Pruitt, both in terms of body type and game. With continued development, Cunningham has a chance to be an elite, high major prospect.

Hollis Thompson, 6-6 SO SF Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola. We saw Thompson back in December and, while he was a very long and lean, he didn't have much skill level. What a difference five months can make. Thompson's skill level has improved dramatically. He's got a very nice shot to the stripe and his ball-handling has gotten much better. He played with great poise yesterday and we were very impressed with his decision-making. He's just starting to scratch the surface of his potential, but Thompson has a very high upside. He's got a chance to be one of the best wings in the West Coast class of 2009.

Matt Carlino, 6-2 Ingleside Middle School (Ariz.) We don't normally write about 8th graders, but Carlino has been very impressive at this tournament. If you didn't know, you'd assume he was in the 10th or 11th grade. He's already pretty filled out physically, with good strength, and he has a very good feel for the game. His stroke is terrific to the stripe, but he also has a nice mid-range game. He's not a great athlete – just average quickness – but his skills and savvy make him a very intriguing prospect. He's going to be one to watch in the class of 2011.

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