Cactus Classic: First Day Rundown

TUCSON, Ariz. – Opening night at the Cactus Classic featured one of the best AAU games of the spring. Demar Derozan, Brandon Jennings and Jrue Holiday left a lasting impression as they dueled in the desert. Plus, besides Holiday, there's a good crop of UCLA prospects participating...

Double Pump vs. Belmont Shore – This was a big time AAU game, one which Belmont Shore prevailed 98-91. Surely the late addition of Brandon Jennings (28 points) didn't hurt Belmont Shore because in the first half, Jennings was sensational.

However, it was the 1-2 punch of Jennings and Demar Derozan in the second half that really did the damage. Derozan simply took advantage of a defensive mismatch that pitted David Wear on him. After driving relentlessly, the switch was made and Jrue Holiday stepped up to the challenge but the big damage was done.


Derozan's Game On Display

Derozan lit up Pump for 29 points including one of the nastiest throw downs of the spring. Holiday chipped in with 27 of his own including a few spectacular plays. He blocked Jennings' shot after hanging in mid-air and rejecting it on the way down.

Holiday (10-15, 8 rebounds, 5 turnovers, 4 assists) was consistently strong throughout the contest. To be so talented and so consistent is a credit to his approach and mindset each time he plays.

Malcolm Lee, PG, Inland – It wasn't pretty against Sporting Chance but his team won in OT. Though not one of his best, you can see the burst, finishing ability and vision of this colt.

Mark McLaughlin, SG, Rotary Select – He'll find his way into a high-major league because he's got wing size and a stroke. McLaughlin did a ton of first half damage en route to 28 points. Plus, the wing has feel and is a capable passer.

Jeremy Green, SG, Houston Hoops – Strong, athletically built wing player with an impressive academic resume. Right now he's on the high-major fence as a prospect. He had 10 points and 5 boards on a night when his shot wasn't going down.

Peyton Siva, PG, Rotary Select – While the floor generals from 2009 are slow to make their way onto the national stage, this guy is ready for the challenge. At 5-foot-11 he's not ideal size but he's a super athlete, leaper and shows command of his club. Great temperament and one of the tops we've seen in this class.


Siva Is A Talent
Elijah Johnson, PG, Houston Hoops – At some point in the summer he's going to assume the point guard controls of this team and then it'll really be on. Athletically he's on another level than his guard peers. The guy tries to punish the rim each time he can.

Michael Snaer, SG, Inland – Probably a mediocre game by his standards though his ability reared itself in flashes. For instance, Snaer can score and he's able to do it via athletic drives while remaining a threat from deep. His name has come up quite a bit this spring and he should be a high-major lock.

Jared Cunningham, SG, Bay Area Hoosiers – The first thing you notice about him is the young player's body. Second might be his feel for the position. Thirdly, the young man seems like a perimeter threat. Mix it all together and he'll in position to be one of the West's better wing options.

Keith Gallon, C, Houston Hoops – The water cooler chatter courtside anointed him as a first rounder in a future NFL draft. The problem with said theory is that "Tiny" doesn't like the sport. He's over 300 pounds, nimble and screams offensive lineman. On the court he's becoming more aggressive and played with determination Friday night.

The Oakland Soldiers pulled out of the event so no Drew Gordon this weekend. Ditto for Jerime Anderson and Elliot Williams who also did not make the trip. …

The news of the night has Brandon Jennings resting at three schools: Connecticut, Arizona and Kentucky. He's no longer talking USC or Kansas. He'll visit UConn next month and Arizona on Monday after the event. …

T-MAC guard Phillip McDonald has offers from Oklahoma State and Oklahoma. Georgetown and Kansas are keeping a close eye on him. …

According to his AAU coach, Mark McLaughlin has offers from Nevada and Oregon State. Oregon and Washington are monitoring him. … Peyton Siva (pronounced C-va) has a 3.5 GPA and Washington and Arizona have been in to see him. Oregon State and Arizona State are also interested early. …

Brendan Lavender's initial game at the McKale Center didn't go as planned. The Magic got beat pretty good and the official stats credited him with only 2 points. … Larry Drew searched high and low for his offense in the first half of Pump's game. The son of a former NBA player was unable to find a comfort zone tonight. …


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