Future Longhorns Close Out High School Career

Avery Bradley and Jordan Hamilton closed out their high school careers on Saturday night playing the Jordan Brand Classic at Madison Square Garden. The dynamic duo combined for 22 points helping lead the Black team to a 110-103 victory.

Saturday night was the first time the Texas Longhorn fans got to see Avery Bradley and Jordan Hamilton on the same court in front of a national television audience. While the Jordan Brand classic was the most sloppy of the all-star games filled with big men trying to be guards, it did serve as an excellent chance for 24 talented players to show their array of abilities in a game in which the shot clock never had to be turned on Saturday evening and the term "transition defense" never uttered by either head coach.

The future Longhorns suited up for the 12 member victorious Black Team made up of Bradley, Hamilton, Derrick Favors (Georgia Tech), Kenny Boynton (Florida), Dominic Cheek (Villanova), DeMarcus Cousins (Kentucky), John Henson (UNC), Ryan Kelly (Duke), Alex Oriakhi (Connecticut), Abdul Gaddy (Washington), Durand Scott (Miami, Fl) and Lamont Jones (undecided), which took on the White Team led by sensational point guard John Wall.

The Big 12 was well represented with five future players and the decision of guard Xavier Henry (Kansas or Kentucky) still hanging in the balance. Along with Bradley and Hamilton, 6-9 big man Keith Gallon (Oklahoma), point guard Tommy Mason-Griffin (Oklahoma) and big time forward Wally Judge (Kansas State).

Wall is still listing Baylor among his eight choices, but they are considered a long shot at this point with a decision two or three weeks away.

Avery Bradley

As the 6-2.5 guard has done the entire month of April, Bradley came out to play on both ends of the floor and scored eight quick points. He made a six-foot runner going right for his first bucket of the game, followed with a three from the right corner on an inbounds play and finished his opening scoring spurt with a driving three-point play.

As was the case in the McDonald's All-American game, Bradley also guarded the ball and made an effort defensively that wasn't seen by other players. Bradley didn't start on John Wall, but did guard him for a handful of first half possessions. He took away a Wall driving angle, caused Wall to slip on an attempted change of direction, stole the ball at the top of the key and then threw the ball ahead for a run out dunk for his lone assist.

Bradley, who started and helped the Black Team to a 52-42 lead at the half, finished the first half with eight points, two rebounds, two steals and one assist. He did miss two free throws in the first half that would have given him a double digit half as he has done throughout April.

The top 10 prospect in the 2009 class came off the bench in the second half and added six points to finish with 14. He scored all three second half baskets inside of six feet.

Bradley showed the same qualities he has in previous games with the ability put the ball on the floor and get to the paint or pull up in the mid-range, finish with high flying dunks in transition, be an overall menace defending the ball, jetting up and down the court with or without the ball and playing team basketball.

Bradley shot 6-11 overall, 1-1 from three and 1-3 from the foul line. He added three rebounds, three steals and an assist.

Jordan Hamilton

Hamilton came off the bench for the Black Team and wasted little time getting up his first shot as a senior hoisting up a 25-footer, which was a miss. Hamilton scored his first basket on an uncontested layup and then converted a 25-footer from the top of the key for his five first half points while shooting 2-6.

As has been the case many times watching Hamilton, his all-around play is underrated and was impressive. Because of his ability to put the ball on the floor and make plays for others, the 6-7.5 wing is a threat in transition after snatching a rebound. Hamilton takes away the need for an outlet pass and immediately pushes the ball without the need of an outlet pass.

Hamilton made a couple of nifty lob passes for dunks as well as grabbing four rebounds in the first half.

The #13 prospect in the 2009 class got the start in the second half and immediately hit a 22-foot three from the right wing, but would miss on his next three long range attempts as well as a forced, tough 12-footer off the dribble. Hamilton pulled down two more rebounds and made two more impressive passes in traffic for assists.

Hamilton also got down in a defensive stance when guarding on the perimeter and attempted use his length to cause deflections.

On the night, Hamilton hit 3-10 from the field and 2-6 from three for eight points to go with six rebounds and four assists.

Hamilton will have to work on shot selection at times as he is too quick to settle for the 24-footers. Don't expect to see Hamilton hoisting the ball from 25 feet at Texas often.

What Hamilton and Bradley bring to Texas

Hamilton, offensively, is one of the top players Rick Barnes has signed at Texas. The Los Angeles area stars ability to create his own shot off the bounce, take away the need for the outlet pass on rebounds, the ability to lead the break and make plays for others, shoot the ball from NBA three-point range and score on offensive rebounds and free throws give Hamilton the chance to score 15 or more per game as a freshman.

Bradley has been talked about plenty, but he brings the same ability to create his own shot off the bounce and the combination of the two takes a lot of pressure off the half court offense when things break down or the shot clock is ticking towards zero.

When Bradley and Hamilton will show up as well is when Texas plays 2-3 zone. Hamilton gives the Longhorns much needed length on the baseline, while Bradley does the same up top. Both areas Texas has been undersized in recent years. As important as the length is that ability to grab and rebound and lead or run the break without the need of an outlet pass. Texas should be a much-improved team in transition in 2009-10.

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