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May 25, 2007

Cactus Classic top underclassmen

While the Cactus Classic had its share of talent on hand in the 2008 class, there was also a long list of impressive underclassmen.

Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Jerry Meyer takes a closer look at the best of the Class of 2009 and one standout from the 2010 class at the event.

Cactus Classic top underclassmen
Peyton Siva, PG, Seattle (Wash.) Franklin

Cactus Classic stats: 24 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 2.0 steals, 53.8 field-goal percentage, 54.3 3-point percentage

When Siva shoots, you just expect him to make it.

Not only is he a very good shooter from outside, he is also athletic. Just think of a more explosive Chris Wright, who is headed to Georgetown. Like Wright, Siva can run the point. However, he is best playing as a scorer who can be the secondary ballhandler.

His athleticism served him well on defense, and with his finishing at the rim. Improving his midrange game and cutting down on his turnovers are areas where he needs to focus.

Jeremy Tyler, PF, San Diego (Calif.)

Cactus Classic stats: 13.1 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, 46.2 field-goal percentage, 30.8 3-point percentage

There were three players at the Cactus Classic who we feel are lock NBA players, and 2010 prospect Jeremy Tyler is one of them. Last summer we loved what he did around the basket, but this past weekend we got a glimpse of what he can do away from the hoop.

Tyler had the best combination of shot-blocking and rebounding ability in the event. At 6-foot-10, he also put the ball on the floor and hit 3-pointers.

The sky is the limit for this outstanding prospect - as long as he stays focused and learns to control his emotions.

Hollis Thompson, SF, Los Angeles Loyola

Cactus Classic stats: 19.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.0 steals, 53.3 field-goal percentage, 33.3 3-point percentage

For a while, we thought we were watching Rip Hamilton move without the basketball for the West Coast All Stars. But instead it was Thompson, playing with an abundance of energy and finding every crack in the opposition's defense.

A flurry of possessions can give you an idea of Thompson's game. He makes a 3-pointer, then posts up and hits a jump hook, later he cuts to the basket and scores an and-one right off the catch.

Adept at all phases of the game, Thompson is one of those young prospect who needs to just get stronger and keep getting better at what he already does.

Roberto Nelson, SG, Santa Barbara (Calif.)

Cactus Classic stats: 16.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 0.8 steals, 53.8 field-goal percentage, 34.5 3-point percentage

A physical and strong two-foot athlete, Roberto Nelson did a lot of damage as the third option for the Belmont Shores squad. He scored from well beyond the arc and also powered his way to the rim for scores. Not necessarily a nifty ballhandler at this stage, Nelson did make some nice dump-off passes in the championship game when he was attacking the rim.

More of a power two guard who can score the ball and rebound, Nelson is the perfect player for the type of role he played for Belmont Shores.

Johnnie Lacy, PG, Milwaukee Bay View

Cactus Classic stats: 17.2 points, 2.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 0.7 steals, 48.1 field-goal percentage, 33.3 3-point percentage

We're still not sure how well this diminutive scoring guard's game will translate to the next level, but it sure did translate well to the 17-under play at the Cactus Classic.

Lacy led his Wisconsin Playground Warriors squad to a 5-1 record and into the quarterfinals before losing to the New York Gauchos by five points. Against the tough guards of the Gauchos, Lacy hit his average for the tournament of 17 points.

Willing to attack the basket and also able to shoot the ball quickly off the dribble, Lacy was the undisputable leader of the Warriors' attack.

Nick Markovich, SG, Chandler (Ariz.) Basha

Cactus Classic stats: 23 points, 2.5 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 0.5 steals, 54.1 field-goal percentage, 44.4 3-point percentage

Unfortunately, the game in which we saw Nick Markovich was his one bad game of the event. After that initial outing, he tore up the competition.

Not overly athletic, the crafty Markovich is a good shooter off the catch. He is also able to get himself into the mid-range area and knock down floaters.

At this stage we aren't sure if he has the point guard skills and athleticism to be more than a shooting/scoring specialist at the high-major level, but it certainly looks like he has the skills and mentality to be a top-of-the-line specialist in the mold of a Lee Humphrey.

Darius Morris, PG, Los Angeles Windward

Cactus Classic stats: 10 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.6 steals, 53.4 field-goal percentage, 47.1 3-point percentage

A natural point guard, Darius Morris was most impressive in the way he deferred to Brandon Jennings, Demar Derozan and Roberto Nelson. However, he also found ways to assert himself for Belmont Shores.

He hit some timely 3-pointers to keep his team in the hunt during the championship game. When he got the ball in his hands in the open court, he made great decisions. He was consistently able to break his man down on the dribble in the half court.

At 6 feet 2, he could still be growing. His feel for the game is outstanding. We expect him to get stronger, a tad more explosive and work his way into being one of the better point guard prospects in the 2009 class.

Mississippi State NEWS


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