Thursday, August 30, 2007

In the Spotlight: Brandon Jennings

Position: Point Guard
Ht: 6-1, Wt: 170
Hometown: Lakewood, CA
Class: HS Senior at Oak Hill Academy
College: Arizona (verbal)
AAU: SoCal All Stars
Age: September 23rd, 1989


  • Lefty point guard with a spectacular handle… Stronger going to his left, but comfortable going right as well.
  • Superb court vision, consistently throwing thread the needle passes.
  • Has a flare to his game that excites anyone who watches him play.
  • Very quick feet defensively. With a commitment and coaching, he has the tools to become a terrific defender.
  • Amazing athlete that can really elevate when he gets to the basket.
  • Excels in transition by using his incredible speed to lead the fast break.
  • Has exceptional quickness that very few players’ posses.
  • HUGE upside with a ton of talent.


  • Needs to develop a more consistent outside jumper.
  • Has no medium range game. Its deep 3 balls or nothing.
  • Brandon has to get stronger. His body has not fully developed, but he’s going to need to spend quality time in the weight room.
  • Very emotional on the court. He’s so advanced that his teammates have trouble catching his passes, and his frustration tends to show on the court.
  • Gambles way too much on defense, allowing penetration.

Brandon is one of the most exciting point guards I have ever seen play at the HS level. His handle, court vision, and flare make him worth the price of admission every time he steps on the court. He has all the intangibles needed, as long as he’s able to keep his emotions in check. The foot speed is there, but he only seems to lock players up when he gets challenged. The college level will enable Brandon to work on some areas that need improvement, mainly his inconsistent jump shot, strength and learning to use his quick foot speed to become a more consistent lock down defender. Without a doubt, look for Brandon to be a lottery pick in the 2010 NBA draft.

Player Comparison: Kenny Anderson

Brandon Jennings 06-07 Season

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

2nd Annual Elite 24 Hoops Classic

When I got off the subway at 155 and 8th Avenue, I really didn’t know what to expect, or where I was going. Luckily, Rucker Park is right outside of the subway station and when you have hundreds of people waiting to get in, it’s not hard to find your way.

After having to slip a few bucks to security just to enter this packed, bug infested court, I couldn’t contain my excitement. I was finally at the Rucker and to me there is nothing better than watching the top HS players battle it out. The only thing that made it sweeter was the fact that I was sitting in the Stephenson entourage, with Lance’s parents and friends. I wasn’t only at the Rucker, I was part of a crew.

Tip time called for 7:30, but I was probably the only person in Harlem that thought that was going to happen. At about 8:20 the game was underway and with every all-star game it was clear from the start, the guards were going to dominate. I was anxious to see the progress of big men like B.J. Mullens and Renardo Sydney, but this was certainly the wrong forum to gauge any improvement in their skills.

After a back and forth first quarter, the starters entered the second session determined to give the fans something to cheer about. Depending on what section of the Park you were located, determined “who was your guy”, and I couldn’t be happier about the performance of my boy, Lance Stephenson AKA “Born Ready”. He had his full arsenal on display, from his slick ball handling, to his athletic finishes around the basket. This 6-5 combo guard is something special.

Brandon Jennings returning to Harlem, after earning co-MVP honors of this event last year and being dubbed “Do Be Doo” for his flashy playmaking, was not to be outdone. Every time the ball was in his hands, something electric was happening. Between his insane handle and his thread the needle type passes, it is easy to see why he is a crowd favorite. Arizona is going to be a quick stop on his path straight to the league.

Two minutes into the second quarter, with the crowd fully entrenched in the game, the MC started to instigate the action and fire up the crowd. At this point, players started calling for clear outs, to set up isolations, and determine who was going to be “Harlem’s Finest” on this hot NYC night.

Pound for pound, handle for handle a case for top billing would have to be made for Tyreke Evans. This 6’4 point guard used his combination of strength and ball skills to embarrass the opposition. In this case, highly touted Jrue Holiday was receiving the punishment. Time after time, Tyreke was attacking the basket with vengeance, racking up buckets. His entire section was on their feet and the electricity was building as he began to dominate.

Looking around it became clear why the game is played at this famous Harlem Park. There is definitely something special about having the game at “The Rucker”. I felt a vibe, or energy you just don’t get anywhere else. It was like being in Cameron indoor, only the stands were divided in sections, as opposed to everyone rooting for the same team.

After a first half that saw very little defense and a Stephenson, Jennings, and Evans highlight show, the second half had a lot to live up too. Stars were out in full force including coaches Baron Davis and Rafer Alston. Pearl Washington, Marcus Williams, Jay Williams, Nate Robinson, Fat Joe, and many others were also on hand to take in the action.

The second half was off to a slow start as nobody wanted to play defense and players like Renardo Sydney had pretty much mailed it in. This was until Devin Ebanks, Kemba Walker, and Dexter Strickland entered the ball game. All having solid first halves, these three guys started to emerge again in the second. Ebanks, a lanky 6-8 forward has the uncanny ability of getting to the basket, regardless of who is guarding him. Using his wiry frame and great leaping ability Ebanks began to fill it up. Walker, a fellow NY native was also asserting himself. Using his crafty handle, Walker started to get hot in a hurry with some smooth finishes around the bucket. Strickland, a point guard from St.Partick’s in NJ, can flat out fly. At only 6 -3, Strickland had his defender on skates and glided to the rim at will, to the delight of the Harlem crowd.

The score was real tight at the end of three, somewhere in the upper 100’s. Nobody was concerned with the score, they just wanted to see more isolations. At this point, I was just worried about how I was getting home. The crowd was rowdy and I was certainly not walking around Harlem looking for a cab at 11 o’clock at night.

The fourth quarter opened with more of the same from the first half. Lance was scoring and Walker and Jennings were abusing their defenders. It got to the point were I just wanted to see the ball in Jennings hands, because I was excited to see what was going to happen next.

With around 5 minutes to go, and the score not on anyone’s minds, I had to make a power move. The battles were still going, but I had to hit the road. It was certainly worth the trip uptown and it won’t be my last time at the Rucker. This place is a junkie’s heaven…

"From Courtside" is launched

On August 29th, 2007 "From Courtside" is launched to provide a different perspective on all the latest hoops topics and players. All levels from high school, college on up to the pros will be discussed.