Durant, Arthur Lead West In Scimmage

There might have been fewer than 200 people in the building at the time but, nevertheless, the East and West teams put on a nifty show during a scrimmage in Cox Arena the day before the McDonald's Boys All-American Game.


This story originally published on FrankHoops.com

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Those hanging out in Cox Arena Tuesday afternoon got a sneak preview of Wednesday night's McDonald's Boys All-American Game.

 

The East and West played 25-minute, running-time halves and the (unofficial; no team or individual scoring was kept by game officials) winner was . . . the West, 101-93.

 

The big scorers for the West were, not surprisingly (based on their performances during practices Sunday, Monday and Tuesday morning) were Darrell Arthur and Kevin Durant

 

While continuing to play as if he fancies himself the tallest high school guard in the country, Durant got many of his 20-plus points from the perimeter – often the deep, deep perimeter – and off the dribble.

 

And, often treating passing as an afterthought in the first half, Durant did a better of getting teammates involved after intermission.

 

One thing that has been confirmed this week is that – with the obvious exception of Greg Oden – Arthur is the best "finisher" in the class.

 

Anything within eight feet of the basket for Arthur is either an assault on the rim or a layin in which the ball is on the glass before a defender can react.

 

Among the other standouts for the West were two of the five best jump shooters in the group of 24 players, Chase Budinger and Demond Carter.

 

The University of Arizona-bound Budinger, who is playing about 20 miles from his high school, teamed with Carter for easily the most spectacular play in the hour-plus session.

 

Carter tossed up a lob that seemed headed over the head of Budinger (sprinting from the left wing). But Budinger reached back with his right hand and – a la Andre Iguodalarammed the ball through the rim. Anyone who has watched Budinger on a volleyball court – where he's the U.S.'s best teen-aged prospect in the sport – would have recognized Budinger's reaction on the play. It was almost as if he were turning a poor set into a crushing kill.

 

Daequan Cook didn't get up a lot of shots for the West but, along with Budinger and the East's Wayne Ellington, used the Tuesday morning practice session to make a strong case for being one of three best two-guards in the Class of 2006.

 

The East didn't do an exceptional job of getting the ball inside to Oden during the scrimmage. It would be a good idea to do so if it wants to reverse the result of the scrimmage during the Wednesday night (7 PT) All-American Game.

 

When Oden did get his hands on the leather, either via a pass or following an offensive rebound, he was able to power (an appropriate verb) the shot in, even while being hacked or hung onto by any West defender unfortunately to be in the low post area at the time.

 

His slickest move of the day came when defended by Brook Lopez. With Oden holding the ball on the right low block, Lopez overplayed his right shoulder to take the middle away. Oden spun to the baseline and, after one long and fluid stride, kissed the ball off the glass for a reverse layup.

 

The two best jump shoot shooters for the East are Ellington and Scottie Reynolds (who found out just before the scrimmage that the coach who signed him for Oklahoma, Kelvin Sampson, is bound for Indiana), and they demonstrated exactly why Tuesday.

 

Spencer Hawes was easily the most impressive performer for the West during its practice earlier in the morning but didn't get up many shots during the scrimmage. He did, however, continued to show off the best passing skills of any big man in this class.



 

Inducted into the USBWA Hall of Fame last April, Frank Burlison is Scout.com's national basketball expert and is also a columnist for the Long Beach (Calif.) Press-Telegram. He can be reached at frank.burlison@presstelegram.com. Read more of Burlison's pieces at www.frankhoops.com



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