Sunday, July 27, 2008

Bruin Recruiting: Prep News Roundup (7/28)

By Bruin Basketball Report

Prep News Roundup is published every Monday.


The Double Pump Elite team was beaten in its opening game of the Adidas Super 64 in Las Vegas, and it didn't help that several players were absent because of injury or summer school. Tyler Lamb of Ontario Colony is supposed to play Wednesday. He could have helped Los Osos guard Kendall Williams, who had nine points in a 77-72 loss to New Jersey's Playaz Basketball Club Gold. UCLA Coach Ben Howland watched the game from a seat under the basket. LA Times 7/22

UCLA bound guard Kendall Williams led the Pump attack with 20 points. He's a scrappy player with a high-level of confidence. He's not shy to take a big shot when a big shot is needed. Gator Bait 7/24

There’s been one quality UCLA Coach Ben Howland has consistently sought in each of his basketball recruits besides being able to play the game -- top character. And 6-foot-9 Brendan Lane from Rocklin High near Sacramento fits the bill. Playing for EBO in this week’s Adidas Super 64 in Las Vegas, Lane shows good potential with his long arms, ability to rebound and his perimeter shooting skills. He also has a 4.2 grade-point average. He scored 18 and 17 points, respectively, in games on Wednesday. He committed to UCLA last month. “I’m just trying to play hard and trying to get better against good competition,” he said. His mother is a special education teacher and his father works in the insurance business. He loves math, having scored a 5 -- the highest score -- on the Advanced Placement calculus test. He’s playing power forward and says he’s working on gaining strength and building up his 200-pound frame. LA Times 7/24

With UCLA Coach Ben Howland, USC Coach Tim Floyd and Washington Coach Lorenzo Romar watching under the basket, 6-8 senior forward Tyler Honeycutt of Sylmar and junior point guard Kendall Williams of Los Osos put on a show in the first half of an Adidas Super 64 bracket game Thursday at Rancho High. Honeycutt scored 15 points and Williams had 14 points to help Pump 'N Run Elite take a 52-35 lead over MBA Hoops Elite of Mississippi. Honeycutt was terrific moving without the ball. Williams, who has committed to UCLA, was an effective distributor and scorer. LA Times 7/24

If Kendall Williams follows through on his commitment and enrolls at UCLA in the fall of 2010, he'll be considered something of a rarity in recruiting circles. High school basketball players such as the 6-foot-3 junior point guard from Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos are making oral, nonbinding commitments earlier and earlier as college coaches seek to reload their increasingly transient rosters and become the first to secure top talent. The pledges often don't stick though. In some instances, players simply change their minds and go elsewhere. For instance, star prospect Taylor King reneged on a commitment he made to UCLA as a high school freshman and attended Duke. In other cases, high school players don't develop as projected and are either quietly brushed aside by college coaches or informed that they won't get much playing time. The earlier high school players commit, recruiting experts say, the less likely they are to honor their promise. LA Times 7/26

But, after taking an inbound pass, sophomore guard Kendall Williams of Los Osos High - who has already committed to signing with UCLA in 2009 - did his best Tyus Edney imitation, driving three-quarters the length of the floor and flipping in a 5-footer at the buzzer for a 76-75 victory that put his team into this morning's semifinals against the Canadian team. Press Telegram 7/26

If you're still wondering about Jrue's Holiday's basketball legacy at Campbell Hall of North Hollywood, keep an eye out for his brother, Aaron, who's only 11 but already can shoot the lights out. Aaron made four 3-pointers in a game not so long ago. "That's Aaron's specialty," said his father, Shawn Holiday. Daily News 7/26


Renardo Sidney's body is at least 30 pounds overweight, tipping the scales at around 275 lbs. As a result, his motor comes and goes. He had one stretch where he actually gave solid effort. Unfortunately, it lasted only a minute. The rest of the game, he sleep-walked, showing a lack of focus and fire. In 20 minutes of action, Sidney finished with 15 points, knocking down an effective 7-11 FGs. But most of the time, he was out-hustled and out-worked by the anemic Henson -- more on him later. Sidney's intensity level and demeanor have taken a turn for the worse in recent years. Many recruiting analysits feel that he was better as a sophomore, when he could explode around the basket and run the floor like a deer. Not unlike Derrick Caracter from two years ago, Sidney appears to have bought into all the hype prematurely and is no longer working hard at his skills and body. Unlike Caracter, Sidney can move up and down the floor well despite the additional weight, but the attitude and body language are horrendous. 7/23

Sitting in a chair under the basket of the Rancho High auxiliary gym was UCLA Coach Ben Howland. Four chairs away was Arizona State Coach Herb Sendek. Ten chairs down was USC assistant Bob Cantu. Their focus was Tyler Honeycutt, a 6-foot-8 senior forward from Sylmar High, as he played in the Adidas Super 64 tournament here Tuesday. Four months ago, when a high school season in which he averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds ended, Honeycutt had zero scholarship offers. Now? "Every time I go somewhere, all the coaches are watching," he said. "My phone is always ringing. Sometimes it gets a little overwhelming because there's a new area code every time on my phone." Welcome to Honeycutt's strange but exciting new world, where he's being wooed but also opening up himself to scrutiny as he tries to make a college choice. He's up to eight scholarship offers and counting. LA Times 7/23

And the main attraction was the Team Breakdown versus Northwest Panthers. The game was about as good as it gets in Vegas as the four superstars in the game – Kenny Boynton and Brandon Knight of Breakdown and Abdul Gaddy and Avery Bradley of the Panthers – gave the packed house something to talk about....Bradley finished with 18 points and was a non-factor in the second half of the game. Gaddy finished 26 points and switched the switch to scoring mode instead of being the facilitator. He was good in the scoring vein but it wasn't enough, especially when Boynton was in the kind of zone he was in. Gator Bait 7/23

Lance Stephenson, a muscular 6-foot-5, 200-pound guard from Lincoln High in Brooklyn, N.Y., is branding himself like a new shoe being unveiled. He is high school basketball's most recognizable player, following a path blazed by O.J. Mayo and Sebastian Telfair. And he's enjoying every minute of it. "I love the media, because without the media I wouldn't be Lance," he said. Aided by Internet video showing his spectacular dunks and physical skills, Stephenson is the consensus No. 1 player in the nation. LA Times 7/23

Big man Jeremy Tyler took the court today at the Main Event, and the large amount of hype that has received may be impossible to live up to as the 6’9 rising junior is more style than substance. Tyler was much bigger and stronger than his opposition, but failed to show much upside even against 2nd tier defenders. He knows how to use his body, as he seals well to get some high-low looks, but once the ball is passed to him, that’s when all the trouble starts. He possesses very poor hands and unless the ball is passed directly to his hands, don’t expect him to be able to receive it. 7/24

There was nearly an embarrassingly premature exit for Renardo Sidney and the L.A. Dream Team this afternoon in a Reebok Summer Championships game against East Coast Fusion, a team with only six players. With Sidney on the bench to start the game at Foothill High, the Dream Team fell behind by 10 points and appeared on the brink of an early return to Southern California now that the Las Vegas-area tournament has reached the single-elimination stage. "I don't think we expected them to play as hard as that," Dream Team Coach Renardo Sidney Sr. said, referring to the fact that the Fusion lacked much depth beyond its starting lineup. LA Times 7/24

Two years ago, elite big man prospect Renardo Sidney and his entire family moved from Jackson, Miss., to Los Angeles, primarily to further his basketball career. Now, Sidney is considering a path that could bring him closer to home. Both Sidney and his father/coach, Renardo Sidney Sr., told The Commercial Appeal that he would take an official visit to the University of Memphis this fall. Though Sidney’s interest in Memphis has not been mentioned prominently in some previous reports, he said that playing in John Calipari’s program could be “a good fit.” Memphis Commercial Appeal 7/24

Among those was the Los Angeles-based Pump 'n Run Elite squad, which batted the MBA (Mississippi Basketball Association) team, 102-62, in a first-round game of the adidas event's bracket competition at Spring Valley High. Six-foot-7 forward Tyler Honeycutt (Sylmar), a prime target of programs such as UCLA, Arizona State and Washington, and 6-6 Kawhi Leonard (Riverside Martin Luther King) dominated play inside the lane and their PNR teammates capitalized on nearly every transition opportunity to over a team made up primarily of players still at least two years away from high school graduation. Press Telegram 7/24

Avery Bradley has been absolutely sensational all week registering two 37-point games and one 35-point game. Bradley certainly benefits playing alongside one of the top passers in Vegas, but like Gaddy, he’s an electric talent in his own right. His has a pure shot with good range and consistency and a scorers mentality. Though undersized at 6’2, Bradley has tremendous speed and quickness plus a huge (6’7 possibly) wingspan which allows him to play much bigger. Avery displayed his elite-level athleticism getting way above the rim for an ally-oop off a Gaddy assist. Bradley finished with 27 points continuing his excellent play. 7/26

Josh Smith. The sophomore big man had another solid game for his team, proving that his size and strength are too much too handle by some of these undersized teams. He moves very well and has an impressive 2nd jump for someone his size. At this point he relies heavily on outmuscling the opposition to get his points and doesn’t have a lot in his low post repertoire. His left hand also needs some serious work, as he seems to always switch the ball back to his natural right whenever he is finishing. He is a nice athlete and has decent length, but at 6’9 is a bit undersized, and lacks the lateral quickness to match up with quicker and more versatile 4 men. 7/26

Xavier Henry especially seemed focused. He had an unreal spin move off the dribble and finish which he then followed up with an impressive ally-oop. Then for good measure he decided to hit a few step back threes in the first half. It was far from only Henry, though. Orton was a monster on the glass and with blocked shots, Boyd was getting to the rack at will, and Hardrick did all the dirty work. At one point in the game the score was 24-2 in favor of Athletes First...Henry was the story, though. He finished with 22 points despite not playing much of the second half. Scarlet Nation 7/26

On the court, Abdul Gaddy and Avery Bradley finish each other's sentences. Bradley is a 6-3 shooting guard from Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma. Gaddy is a 6-3 point guard at the same school. Neither has yet decided where he will play college basketball. Neither really is close to making a decision. But though they've played together since eighth grade, though they led Bellarmine to a 25-4 record and third-place finish in Washington's Class 4A, though they are considering many of the same NCAA programs and no reasonably sane college coach wouldn't want both, they will make their decisions independently of one another. Which is just this side of a tragedy. Breaking up these two would be like splitting Martin and Lewis, Simon and Garfunkel, Patrick and Olbermann.
Then again, they all did pretty well on their own, didn't they? "It'd be great to go together, but really we're making our decisions separate," Gaddy said. "I'm going to do what's best for me. He's going to do what's best for him." Sporting News 7/26

Not sure what this says about the state of elite U.S. basketball, but Grassroots Canada Elite just spanked Pump 'N Run Elite, 79-55, in a semifinal of the Adidas Super 64 tournament. Tyler Honeycutt (eight points) and Kendall Williams (six) both had substandard games for Pump 'N Run. Sacramento High's Chase Tapley had 19 points and Ontario Colony's Tyler Lamb had 13 in a losing effort. LA Times 7/26

It looks as if Jeremy Tyler will keep Ben Howland, Tim Floyd and probably about a dozen or so other college coaches hanging until at least this time next year. The San Diego High junior forward declined to discuss which colleges he was seriously considering, saying, "I'm not even into that right now." Gary Franklin, who coaches Tyler's California Supreme club team, said both UCLA and USC were in the mix along with Arizona and Connecticut, among others. Tyler did say that he would start narrowing his focus around this time next year. "He's got a lot of offers and can kind of dictate anywhere he wants to go," Franklin said. LA Times 7/26

KU coach Bill Self was in Orlando, Fla., over the weekend watching Oklahoma Athletes First players Xavier Henry and Daniel Orton and others compete at the Super Showcase AAU Tournament. Henry, a 6-foot-6 guard from Putnam City (Okla.) High, is considering KU, Memphis, UCLA and Texas. It’s long been believed’s No. 2-rated player will choose either KU or Memphis. Orton, 6-10 from Oklahoma City Bishop McGuiness High who is rated No. 10 by, is considering KU, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M and others. LJ World 7/26

On the first day of the Reebok Summer Championships, the eight top seeds opened the event with the Create and Finish Cup. The mini tournament paired up some of the top players and top teams against each other. The result? Kenny Boynton put on a show against Avery Bradley. John Wall lived up to the hype against Mfon Udofia. On Saturday in the quarterfinals, the four teams and top players were paired up for the sequel....Bradley struggled against the kids from south Florida. He finished with 12 points but did have an amazing and incredibly athletic block on a Boynton dunk attempt in the open floor. Gator Bait 7/26

That is of course until Daniel Orton decided to be a man-child. In the fourth quarter Orton was far and away the best player on the floor. Oriakhi wasn't playing, and without him BABC had no chance to stop Orton. He was sealing his man and dunking on the offensive end, cleaning the glass, and also swatting shots away with regularity on defense. Orton's strong play lifted Athletes First to the win. For his part Orton finished with 23 points and 18 rebounds. Much of that production came in the second half. Gator Bait 7/27