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July 24, 2006

Big day at the Big Time

On a must-see day at the Reebok Big Time, O.J. Mayo had one outstanding game and squeaked out a win over the Mean Streets Express on a controversial foul call. But it was the Mean Streets Express guard combo of Eric Gordon and Derrick Rose who were the standout players of the day with two terrific performances.

After a lay up by Gordon with eight seconds left in the game to put Mean Street Express up by three, Mayo raced down the court and drained a three-pointer with 2.9 seconds left as the referee made a mystery foul call. Mayo canned the free throw to gain the win and finish off a 26 point, 4 rebound, 6 assist and zero turnover performance.

Against the 2-3 zone of the Mean Street Express, Mayo sank 7 of 8 three-pointers and went 9 of 16 from the field.

Rose and Gordon were also impressive as the Mean Street Express controlled the game until the very end. Relying heavily on his right to left crossover, Rose spent much of the first half driving by Mayo on the dribble and either scoring, drawing fouls or finding shooters.

Mayo wisely backed off of Rose during the latter part of the second half, exposing Rose's questionable outside jumper. Rose did go 0 for 5 from behind the stripe, but on the game, he put up a triple/double of 21 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists to 4 turnovers.

In the second half, instead of playing off Rose, the D1 Greyhounds attacked him with the double team as soon as he crossed half court. Showing the maturity of a first class point guard, Rose passed the ball out of the double team with poise and confidence.

As good as Mayo and Rose were in this contest, Gordon was every bit as good with his efficient and also explosive play. Unstoppable in the open court, Gordon scored 28 points on 10 of 15 shooting, including 2 of 4 from the arc. He also had 8 rebounds and 2 assists to 2 turnovers.

In his second outing of the day, Mayo struggled mightily against the changing defenses of the SoCal All Stars in their blow out win over the D1 Greyhounds. In the first half, Mayo went 1 for 9 from the field and turned the ball over 3 times, and it didn't get better in the second half as the SoCal All Stars built upon their 20 point half time lead.

Mayo struggled both against SoCal's 2-3 zone and the aggressive man-to-man defense of Daniel Hackett.

Gordon and Rose, however, were on their A game in their second game against the Michigan Hurricanes. Gordon torched the nets from everywhere on the court for 33 points on 8 of 16 shooting, including 5 of 8 from the arc and 12 of 12 from the free-throw line. He also had 6 rebounds.

Simply unguardable, Gordon is strikingly similar to lottery pick Randy Foye, yet with even more explosiveness than Foye.

Rose was also on top of his game in the come from behind win over the Hurricanes, with 23 points on 7 of 12 shooting, including 1 of 2 from the arc and 8 of 10 from the line. He also had 7 rebounds and 5 assists.

If there is a more athletic point guard playing the game than Rose, I'd like to know who he is.

Strangely Absent

With the physical tools and potential to take what is now the up for grabs No. 1 ranking in the 2007 class, Bill Walker had a disappointing effort against the Mean Streets Express and was dressed out and walking normal, but did not play against the SoCal All Stars later in the day due to a back injury.

In his one outing of the day, Walker went for 14 points on 5 of 14 shooting, including 1 for 2 from the arc, but only had 3 rebounds. As he was at the ABCD Camp, Walker was good with the ball and good guarding the ball, but had little if any impact on the game while away from the ball, both on defense and on offense.

Proving he's a high-major prospect

Yes, he is a self admitting 6-foot-4 post player. Yes, he has average athleticism. But, Tim Flowers always produces against the recognized high-major prospects and at times dominates the game.

Against his win over the Greyhounds, flowers snagged 14 rebounds while scoring 10 points. And in his win over the Michigan Hurricanes, he scored 17 points with 6 rebounds.

Flowers listed Nebraska, Marquette, Old Dominion, ETSU, Florida Atlantic and Bradley as the schools presently in the hunt, but others are sure to get involved with him after his huge performances in the Peach Jam and his games here in Vegas.

Surprise tomorrow?

There was nothing surprising about Kevin Love's play Sunday as he dominated the interior against the Michigan Hurricanes and the D1 Greyhounds. His most impressive performance was against the Hurricanes when he went for 29 points and 12 rebounds.

The surprise, however, might come Monday when Love might announce his college decision.

"I'm not sure if I'm going to announce tomorrow or not," said Love before his night game. "I'm going to decide later tonight. If I do it, it's going to be a big surprise. I guess it isn't going to be that big of a surprise, though, since it is down to two schools."

Other top match ups

Chris Allen scored 35 points in Worldwide Renegades' six point win over the Long Island Lightning. He went 8 of 15 from the field with 5 of 8 from the arc and 14 of 17 from the line.

He also played strong defense on Corey Fisher, holding him down during the first half. In the second half, Fisher founds some cracks in the open court and finished with 13 points on 5 of 14 shooting, but did not grab a rebound while also only dishing out 2 assists to 5 turnovers.

Justin Burrell of the Long Island Lightning, however, got the better of J.J. Hickson.

Quick to the basket and quick to get above the rim, Burrell held Hickson to 4 points on 2 of 9 shooting, and Hickson only had 3 rebounds and turned the ball over 3 times without an assists. Hickson did block 4 shots.

Burrell, on the other hand, scored 16 points, grabbed 5 rebounds, blocked 2 shots and turned the ball over 1 time.

Decommitted?

After scoring 17 points and grabbing 5 rebounds in a win over Southeast Elite, Quinton Watkins said he hasn't decommitted from USC, but he is open to other schools. The problem is that Watkins hasn't heard much from USC recently, and he's unsure about playing time. Right now he is hearing from UTEP, Oregon, Washington and Virginia.

More school lists

Cliff Tucker has been dishing out the assists while playing the point here. He presently has offers from Pepperdine, UTEP, Utah and San Diego and also has interest from Oregon, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Alabama, Wichita State and Wisconsin.

Formerly from the east coast, Tucker would like to get back to the coast to play for Virginia, Maryland or Georgetown.

Chris Barnes has a top three of Florida, LSU and Memphis. All three have offered. He's also considering Georgia Tech, Charlotte and Tennessee.

Courtney Fortson, how had 21 points and 10 rebounds against the H Squad, has an Arkansas Little-Rock offer and is also getting interest from UAB, Ole Miss, Georgia, Cincinnati, Florida, and Alabama.

Zach Graham has offers from Miami, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, Georgia and Tennessee. Georgetown, Florida, Alabama and Florida State are also interested.


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