Sunday, March 16, 2008

Bruin Recruiting: Prep News Roundup (3/17)

By Bruin Basketball Report

Prep News Roundup is published every Monday.


"I love playing against guys who are my size and bigger," said the 6-9 Drew Gordon, who scored 20 points with nine rebounds and eight blocks in Mitty's NorCal final win over Fairfield. "It's challenging. It's different players, but still the same team. That loss is burned in my memory; it's not going anywhere for a while." Mercury News 3/12

"I'm not just a ballplayer, and I wouldn't want people to think that," Reeves Nelson said. For starters, Nelson is the compelling sum of some eclectic parts. His bedroom walls attest to it, holding posters of Jesus Christ, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Elvis Presley and the '70s rock giant Queen. His iPod includes Christian reggae, oldies and rap, and the literature he enjoys is all over the map. "He is really protective of just being a regular guy," said his mother, Sheila Nelson, a Modesto Christian employee. "He is, but at the same time, he's not. You learn to wait in line to say hello to him after games because so many people want to take his picture or sign an autograph." He's cool with attention, though, and takes it in stride. Invited by representatives of LeBron James to attend a Cleveland Cavaliers game against the Sacramento Kings at Arco Arena earlier this season, Nelson instead watched his friends compete in a football playoff game. Modesto Bee 3/15

Jrue Holiday usually shies away from the spotlight, but the Campbell Hall of North Hollywood standout said Tuesday he wants to finish as the Valley's all-time leading scorer. Holiday's 2,647 points heading into Friday's Div. IV state championship against St.Mary's of Albany is 35 shy Mitchell Butler's San Fernando Valley-area record of 2,682 (Oakwood of North Hollywood, 1986-89). "I'm going to try to score 36more points, as well as win the game," Holiday said. Daily News 3/12

Standing at the entrance to the gymnasium at North Hollywood Campbell Hall and wearing a Disneyland hat with the name "Grumpy" emblazoned on its front, a smiling and playful Jrue Holiday hardly fit the profile of an All-American high school basketball player who, in a couple of years, could be playing with or against Kobe Bryant. He was joking around with a girl, then hanging out with a seventh grader. "Honestly, he thinks he's normal," girls' tennis Coach Steve Kuechel said. "He's not normal. He's one of the most incredible athletes I've seen in 27 years." LA Times 3/14

With All-American guard Jrue Holiday stuck on the bench because of foul trouble Friday, freshman point guard Austin McBroom showed why North Hollywood Campbell Hall fans are confident its boys' basketball team's winning ways aren't about to end after Holiday moves on to UCLA next season. "You saw a passing of the torch today," Coach Terry Kelly said after 5-foot-10 McBroom scored a career-high 30 points to help the Vikings defeat Albany St. Mary's, 83-61, and win the state Division IV championship at Arco Arena. McBroom ignited a 9-0 run at the end of the second quarter with his drives to the basket. Campbell Hall (31-5) turned a 14-point halftime lead into a 29-point advantage at the end of the third quarter on the way to winning its third state title in the last four years. "The way Austin stepped up was unbelievable," said Holiday, who finished with 19 points, giving him 2,666 points in his career. LA Times 3/14

The subplot during Campbell Hall of North Hollywood's state-championship victory Friday was Jrue Holiday's pursuit of the Valley career record in scoring. Holiday needed 36 points to knock off Mitchell Butler, who scored 2,682 points for Oakwood of North Hollywood from 1986 to 1989. But Holiday played limited minutes because of foul trouble and managed just 19 points in an 83-61 victory over St. Mary's of Albany at Arco Arena. He's No. 2 all-time in scoring but No. 1 in winning, as this was Holiday's third state championship - a feat never accomplished by a local player. "It's cool. We won our third state title, so I'm cool about it," Holiday said. "Stuff happens for a reason." Holiday was more upset about missing time than missing the record. "I was mad at myself, but I had full confidence in my teammates," Holiday said. Campbell Hall is 113-12 in the Holiday era, with three state titles, three Southern Section titles and an undefeated home record. Daily News 3/14

I do not know Drew Gordon's mom or dad. I've probably visited with their son a grand total of 15 minutes. But for a kid who has had his butt kissed by college recruiters for four years, has been flown all over the country in the summer with his club team, has been romanced by NBA stars on behalf of their shoe companies, he seems reasonably grounded. For instance, the other day, I asked Gordon about the most enjoyable things he will remember from his time as a Mitty basketball player. He said that his most fun memories would be the flag football games in the sand on team retreats at the beach. And singing obnoxious little-kid songs on the team bus - like "Itsy-Bitsy Spider" - until the coaches get sick of it and tell them to shut up. More seriously, Gordon said, he had learned resilience and how to deal with adversity. He said the incident at Riordan - where the Monarchs lost in overtime, their only defeat of the season - has helped drive him. But in response to a follow-up question, Gordon then listed the most important stuff he will take away from the past four years. "Respect the ones who respect you," he said. "Play for the love of the game. Be loyal to your teammates, because in the end, they're going to be some of the closest friends you have and they're not going to fade away and always have your back." Mercury News 3/14

This was the end for the Archbishop Mitty boys basketball team. The season. The game. The era. There was no question that this was a special team, clearly one of the best in Santa Clara County history. But the Monarchs were unable to prove it with a state championship. Despite a furious rally to tie the score in the fourth quarter, Mitty faltered down the stretch, losing to Mater Dei-Santa Ana 65-53 in the Division II final Friday at Arco Arena. "It rips my heart out," said center Drew Gordon, the heart of an immensely talented senior class that reached three consecutive Northern California finals and two state championship games. "Every one of my teammates deserves it." Mercury News 3/15


6-8 junior Milton Jennings of Pinewood Prep attended Clemson's game Sunday against Virginia Tech and the Tigers appear to be in good shape with him. Jennings could make a soft commitment to a school by the end of this month or sometime in April, leaving him the option to make other official visits in the fall. He's also been looking at USC, Florida, Georgetown, UCLA, Connecticut and Virginia. Post Courier 3/10

A nasty flu has left Renaissance Academy of La Canada Flintridge short-handed this week in preparation for the Div. V state championship at 11:15 a.m. Saturday at Arco Arena in Sacramento. Starters Anthony Stover and Hector Harold missed two practices and two days of school, returning Wednesday. Daily News 3/12

Just one year ago, Renaissance Academy center Anthony Stover immediately was noticed by fans and onlookers alike because of his 6-foot-7 frame. Three inches taller and a lot more mobile and polished, Stover has become the center of attention for reasons other than his height. He has become a human flyswatter who makes it almost impossible for opponents to penetrate the lane against the Wildcats. The junior is hoping to make things miserable for two-time defending CIF State Division V champion Branson when the schools square off in Saturday's Division V title game at Arco Arena in Sacramento. Pasadena Star News 3/13

William Cherry had 19 points, eight assists and four steals to lead McClymonds of Oakland past Dominguez of Compton, 73-54, and win the boys' Division I state championship at Arco Arena Saturday....Jordan Hamilton led Dominguez (32-3) with 20 points, including two NBA-distance 3-pointers, but the Dons shot just 32 percent from the field, and allowed Mack to hit 47 percent of its attempts. Contra Costa Times 3/15

The Branson School not only imposed its will against Renaissance Academy on Saturday, it served it with a side of cold reality. Renaissance Academy, a team that loves to run the court and utilize its inside players, was stopped in its tracks by a smaller, but scrappy Bulls squad in a 40-33 loss in the CIF State Division V finals at Arco Arena....Tremaine Tatum scored 10 points; Anthony Stover was held to six points and four rebounds. "It was really frustrating because their defense was taking away Justin's scoring ability, and taking away me being able to post up," said Stover, who had six blocks. Pasadena Star News 3/16 

(photo credit: Modesto Bee and Pasadena Star News/Mancini)



At Mar 17, 2008, 5:50:00 AM, Anonymous jojoenglish said...

Congratulations to UCLA for the No.1 seed. Go Bruins. As Bob Knight stated in the ESPN show, No. 1 seed doesn't mean anything compared to the 2 or 3 seed in the West. We still need to go out there to perform. Although I am not a Bob Knight fan, I agreed with what he said. Come to think about it!
I am a die-hard Bruins fan, and I have been following the NCAA basketball games very closely for many years and I would like to share my thoughts with all of you.
You could argue that UCLA is in the "relatively easiest" bracket, but still, as I totally with Ben Howland stated that in an interview after the post-selection show, nothing is easy in the NCAA tournament.
Bruins fans, watch out the potential second opponent, "Texas A&M Aggies", who beat Texas, Washington, Kansas St, and only lost to Kansas by 6 in the Big 12 tourney semifinal. Let's don't forget we lost to Texas and Washington during the year, and you can tell how good the Aggies can be. Although they lost Acie Law to Altanta Hawks this year, they are a very good offensive rebounding team and very well-balanced attack which has six players average 8 points or more this year. Watch out Josh Carter and Joseph Jones!!!
If we get through the first two rounds at Anaheim, another potential matchup in the West Regional semi will be UConn Huskies - a dangerous and underrated team with a lot of poised players who can knock down shots in a cruical moment - watch out A.J. Price (G), Hasheem Thabeet (C), Jeff Adrien (F), Jerome Dyson(G), Stanley Robinson(F). All five guys average 10-15 points per game. During the season, they beat Marquette, Indiana, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, West Virginia, and they lost to Georgetown by 3.
If we get through the West Regional semi, another potential matchup could be Duke or West Virginia (a sleeper team - watch out Joe Alexander). UCLA should have advantage over Duke because of the big fella - Kevin Love which create matchup problems against Kyle Singler or Thomas, Lance Thomas (both of them are 6-8'). Kyle Singler is also out of Oregon, who were two of the elite players out of Oregon, besides K-Love. Duke is a very good perimeter team which spread the floor (such as DeMarcus Nelson, Greg Paulus, Jon Scheyer, Gerald Henderson, and Nolan Smith). If they get hot in shooting, especially with a well-coach, Mike Krzyzewski, UCLA could be in trouble. People who thought that UCLA will be in favor for that potential matchup, but still, I strongly believe that it will be a very very close game which will be decided until the last few possession.
Overall, the road to the Final Four is very tough for UCLA, and don't forget a potential re-match with Texas in the semi-final or a Memphis Tigers is very tough as well, and North Carolina is still the team to beat this year because they have a potential POY - Tyler Hansbrough (23PPG, 10.4Reb/game). You can tell how good he is when his team need him the most when he carried his team to beat Virginia Tech in the ACC semi final.
As a conclusion, we cannot look too far ahead of us. We have to take one game at a time. We can't underestimate our opponent and slack off in the first half, and wake up in the second half and try to catch up (because if one time, we can't catch up in the second half, it will be game-over and no "take two". We always have to keep it in mind that every game especially in the NCAA tournament is our final game, and therefore, we have to perform well, not only the starters, but only to get contribution from our bench as well.
Let's hope and pray UCLA Bruins will get our 12 National Champions trophy / banner back to Pauley Pavillon because sometimes it needs some "luck" (no doubt about it)!
“Failure to act is often the biggest failure of all” - John Wooden

At Mar 17, 2008, 6:07:00 AM, Anonymous BruinFan said...

UNC can't play defense like UCLA...
Duke is soft...
Hang the banner already

At Mar 17, 2008, 3:04:00 PM, Anonymous Mark Chen said...

jojoenglish, you did a great job of analyzing the matchup of Bruins.
Thank you very much.
I'm a Taiwanese. I have become a diehard UCLA fan since they won the National Champion in 1995. I have watch Bruins play through the years.
UCLA Bruins have a good chance to win the National Champion this year.
Go Bruins!


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