Thursday, May 8, 2008
2008 Arizona Cactus Classic Preview
Arguably the best AAU tournament of the year tips off tomorrow and runs through the weekend. The Arizona Cactus Classic features 32 of the best AAU teams in the country separated into 8 pools. The Cactus Classic is played at the McKale Memorial Center at the University of Arizona.
For the past few years, Gonzaga has had many commits come from the Cactus Classic. Once again, Gonzaga has a number of prospects in this tournament. Just last year, super freshmen Austin Daye and Steven Gray were participants in the Classic.
One Gonzaga prospect in this tournament is Marshall Henderson. He plays for the Dallas Mustangs and they will be in Pool A. Here's Henderson's schedule:
POOL PLAY GAME 1: Compton Magic – Friday 8:20pm – McKale Court 2 POOL PLAY GAME 2: Colorado Chaos - Saturday 9:00am – McKale Court 2 POOL PLAY GAME 3: New York Gauchos – Saturday 2:50pm – Bear Down Court 1
Outlook: Henderson's team is led by 5* prospect Nolan Dennis. He touts offers from UCLA and North Carolina and nearly every big program in the nation. Henderson currently has offers from Notre Dame, Stanford, Utah, Arizona State as well as Gonzaga. This is a very powerful group as the New York Gauchos and Compton Magic are both very strong teams. The Colorado Chaos should really struggle but it should be a battle for the top in this pool.
Another Gonzaga prospect for 2009 is Anthony Marshall. He currently plays for the Las Vegas Prospects who will be playing in Pool F. Here is Anthony's schedule:
POOL PLAY GAME 1: Wisconsin Playground Elite - Friday 7:10PM – McKale Court POOL PLAY GAME 2: I-Can All-Stars - Saturday 11:20AM – Bear Down Court 2 POOL PLAY GAME 3: Bay Area Hoosiers - Saturday 2:50PM – McKale Court 1
Outlook:This pool is up for grabs as there is no team head and shoulders above one another. Talent wise, the Bay Area Hoosiers, Wisconsin Playground Elite, and the Prospects seem to dominate the I-Can All stars. The Bay Area Hoosiers have a Santa Clara commit on their team in Niyi Harrison. The Prospects should have solid chance led by Marshall who has offers including UNLV, Miami, Virginia, and Washington as well as Gonzaga.
Looking toward the future, the Seattle Rotary Select is one of the best young teams on the AAU circuit. They feature Gonzaga prospects Josh Smith (2010), Anthony Wroten Jr.(2011) as well as former Gonzaga prospect for 2009 Peyton Siva. They will be playing in Pool E. Here is their schedule:
POOL PLAY GAME 1: Inland - Friday 8:2pm – Bear Down Court 1 POOL PLAY GAME 2: Pump N'Run Power - Saturday 10:10am – McKale Court 2 POOL PLAY GAME 3: Franchize All-Stars - Sunday 12:30pm – McKale Court 3
Outlook: Seattle Rotary Select is an EXTREMELY talented team and are joined by the Franchize All-Stars. John Henson is the star of the All-Stars and is a North Carolina commit. Seattle seems to be the most complete team in this pool, look for them to advance. Pump N' Run Power is also competing in this pool and they have Anthony Stover, a player Gonzaga was looking at for quite some time. He has offers from Arizona, Stanford, UW, and WSU. Seattle should be able to advance but other teams have the talent to knock them off as they are very young.
The last pool we will focus on related to Gonzaga is Pool H. This pool features the Portland Legends, the team in which former Gonzaga commit Brock Osweiler plays for. Here is the Legends schedule:
POOL PLAY GAME 1: Mac Irvin Fire - Friday 7:10PM – McKale Court 1 POOL PLAY GAME 2: 2D1 Basketball - Saturday 11:20AM – Bear Down Court 1 POOL PLAY GAME 3: Team Odom - Saturday 1:40PM – Bear Down Court 1
Outlook: Brock's team also features the younger brother of Duke forward Kyle Singler. E.J. Singler is a 2009 prospect who holds offers from St. Louis and Pepperdine but is receiving great interest lately from the Pac-10 programs. Also in this pool is Victor Rudd, a player Gonzaga gave heavy interest to. He plays for the 2D1 Basketball. Team Odom is very talented as they have Hollis Thompson who is a top-25 player headed to Georgetown and Jordan Hamilton who arguably has the best shooting stroke in the nation. He's ranked 8th in the 2009 class. Team Odom should be the one to watch in this group as the other teams are quite young.
Overall Tournament Outlook: Look for Pump N' Run Elite to continue its dominance in the AAU circuit in this tournament. They are as stacked as they were last year when they had Austin Daye, Larry Drew and James Harden. This year they have Tyler Honeycutt, Elijah Johnson, and Tyler Lamb. They have won both Double Pump tournaments this year and look to continue their dominance.