Three players who are expected to be big contributors during the 2006-07 season displayed their skills in the first round of the Say No Classic playoffs on Saturday. Bobby Brown and Scott Cutley from Hoop Family help lead their team to a win against Dominguez.
Bobby Brown, who had just 3 points and 4 assists in the victory, was quite unimpressive. LB could be fatigued from the long summer of NBA tryouts or perhaps he is trying to prevent injuries -- or maybe he is playing with one -- but either way he did not look like the LB we have grown accustomed to seeing.
He is running the point like he is thinking too much and playing very timid and unemotional basketball. When he did try to score he either turned the ball over (usually a carry or a lazy pass) or missed a driving layup. He may have taken two outside shots all game. On the defensive side he got beat quite a few times and just never really seemed to want to be playing.
As for Cutley, this is the second time seeing "Big Red" play. For the first three quarters, he was solid for the most part, just like last time. He boxes out very well, can post up or shoot the long ball okay but I was still scratching my head wondering how this guy could have scored 51 points earlier during league play.
And then it happened in the fourth quarter. With Hoop Family trailing by 4-10 points most of the game, Cutley turned the entire game around with seven consecutive points and was a rebounding machine as Dominguez kept throwing up bricks. Big Red was the go to guy and he loved every second of it. He really is a natural leader on the floor and he single-handily brought this team back and provided the energy it needed to win going away.
Rayshawn Reed, who plays on a team with three UCLA players (Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, James Keefe and Russell Westbrook), runs the point for Sinclair's Bruins and he does it quite well. LB could definitely learn a few things from Reed, especially on the defensive end and being able to see the entire floor.
Reed is a super-quick player who is very fun to watch. You could tell he wasn't going full speed most of the time but when he turns it on, he will either fly by his defender for an easy two, take it to the hole and get fouled (he thrives on contact) or spot up for a 15-footer or a three. In addition to his scoring he had some excellent passes which led to easy baskets for the Bruins.
The other thing to like about him is the way he plays defense. He can be described as extremely efficient as he puts in just enough effort to deflect passes or make a steal and is always in the right position and he seems to do this without much of a sweat. If the Titans press this season he should have quite a few steals. He is a natural and you can tell he loves the game.
Some other notes and observations:
Dominguez was a team made up primarily of Cal State Dominguez Hills players and they played much better as a team. They have a kid named Trevon Bryant who was about 6-10 who had some decent post moves and could block shots. The good news is Cutley had no problems getting it over the big man.
UCLA incoming freshman James Keefe looked much better and more active than the first time I saw him play but I have to wonder if he will be getting much playing time during his UCLA career. Probably better suited for the Big West but his drive and work ethic may help out.
Sinclair's Bruins easily won their game against CABC. CABC's best player during the game was former Titan Adam Tancredi who actually looked pretty good. He was hitting from inside and out but his defense was still something to be desired. Just didn't have the toughness to handle Keefe or Mbah a Moute.
The gym was packed with UCLA fans and you can tell there is some major animosity against Ray-Ray. Every time he took it to the basket -- and usually make it -- the murmurs and cackles would start and someone in the crowd would usually yell, "Pass the ball!" Being the best player on this team full of Bruins is no easy task but Ray-Ray handles it very well.
On one play where Reed was driving to the basket one Bruin fan got so upset because he thought Keefe, who was clearly guarded going towards the basket, deserved the ball. The fan blurted out, "Pass the damn ball!" One second later Reed dishes a no-look pass to a wide-open Mbah a Moute for a highlight type dunk. Only one person in the gym saw this play develop and luckily he was the one with the ball.
Dennis Heenan, son of former Cal State Fullerton basketball player Kevin Heenan, played for Dominguez. Heenan is about 6-7 or 6-8 and looks like a pretty good player. Apparently he is going to Vanguard but he looked like he could play for a few Big West schools. I know we could use his size and skill.
Jerard Moret, aka "The transfer out of Cal State Fullerton" by the PA guy, doesn't see much playing time on this team. Not sure why as he plays much better than some of the guys. When I say "some" I really mean Keith "Cool Breeze" Everage.