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July 15, 2012

Point guards stand out on West Coast swing

Rivals.com's West Coast swing continued on Saturday as we started near Disneyland in Anaheim for the Double Pump Tournament before ending late at night back at the Pangos Sweet 16. The day saw point guards such as Casey Benson and Jordan McLaughlin stand out, while a pair of twins from Las Vegas helped to engineer a bit of an upset.

McLaughlin shines

Last month, Jordan McLaughlin played really well at the Nike Elite 100. The 5-foot-11 point guard from Etiwanda (Calif.) High showed a high skill level and an aptitude for getting his teammates the ball in the right place at the right time.

Playing with Prodigy Elite Red at the Pangos Sweet 16, McLaughlin again showed all of that. But the four-star rising junior also showed much more.

While he's not the biggest point guard out there, well above-average athleticism and quickness are big parts of McLaughlin's game. He is always in attack mode and pushes the tempo, keeping his defenders on their heels. His jumper is dangerous, he goes right or left, and he's also a pest on the defensive end of the floor.

Asked fir his school list, a tired McLaughlin mentioned USC, UCLA and San Francisco but said he wasn't entirely sure of what new interest was coming his way. If the stands with coaches from places like Washington State, Gonzaga, Arizona, San Diego State, UNLV, Utah and many others are any indication, McLaughlin has a lot more attention coming his way.

Benson a skilled floor general

Over at the Double Pump tournament, Casey Benson of the Double Pump Elite 2014 team had himself a fine day as he helped his squad reach the finals of the 16-and-under division.

A 6-foot-2 point guard from Tempe (Ariz.) Corona Del Sol, Benson is one of the more highly skilled point guards out there.

Benson is at his best navigating the high pick-and-roll. Because he's a very good shooter, defenders can't afford to go underneath ball screens. Additionally, Benson is a natural righty who plays basketball as a southpaw, and because of that he's very good with either hand, which in turns opens up the floor.

According to Benson he has offers from Arizona State, Colorado, USC, Boise State, Boston College, Rice and St. Mary's. Others interested include Gonzaga, Stanford and Virginia and among the coaches watching him on Saturday were Colorado's Tad Boyle and Arizona State's Herb Sendek.

"I think I'm a guy who is a leader out there," said Benson. "I just try to make the right play, whether it be for myself or for one of my teammates out there."

Allen twins key big win

At the Pangos Sweet 16, Dinos Trigonis' Belmont Shore team is the host team, and they were the pre-tournament favorites. Saturday night, The Magic had a little something to say about that as Las Vegas (Nev.) Centennial's twin guards Marcus Allen and Malcolm Allen led their squad to a win.

The bigger of the two at around 6-foot-3 or so, Marcus is a bit more of a shooting guard but can run the point if needed. Malcolm is slightly smaller than his brother and checks in at about 6-foot-1 and spends the majority of his time running the point.

Saturday night, their positions didn't matter because they were both making plays. Their drives to the basket, timely jump shooting and spirited defense allowed them to jump out on Belmont Shore early and then hold on late for a wire-to-wire win.

Both of the twins are outstanding students, and they were watched closely by head coaches from Northern Arizona, Santa Clara, San Francisco and Colorado. The duo are no brainers at the mid-major level and could get more serious looks from high-major programs if they finish July playing like they've started.

Quick hitters

Power forward Jack Williams of the Double Pump Elite 2014 squad isn't the thickest of four-men, but he is very agile and has a high skill level. In particular, Williams is a very good face-up jump shooter. He reported offers from Colorado, Arizona State and Rice to go with interest from Harvard, Arizona, Stanford, St. Mary's and Pepperdine. During June, Williams visited Colorado, Arizona State and Stanford.

Keep an eye on Double Pump Elite 2013 shooting guard/small forward Michael Thomas. A 6-foot-5 senior to be at El Camino Real in Los Angeles, Thomas is a late blooming southpaw with athleticism, length and a very good looking jump shot. Early suitors include Boise State, UC-Davis and Utah State as his first three offers to go along with interest from Washington State, Arizona State, Nevada and UCSB.

On Saturday, 6-foot-6 rising senior wing Brandon Rosser drew a variety of schools to watch him play. While he's primarily been recruited by mid-majors, Washington stopped by to take a look at the product of Temecula (Calif.) Valley as he played with the Icemen. Rosser shoots well from deep, has good size and is a good athlete. During Saturday's action, he tended to settle for jumpers.

Class of 2015 big man Brodricks Jones sure looks to have a high level of potential. The big man is already nearing 6-foot-9, he can run, he has very good hands and he can get the ball up on the glass to finish. However, Jones is pencil thin, and a large part of his recruitment will depend on how quickly physical maturity allows him to fill out and be a bit more physical around the rim.

Belmont Shore took a tough loss, but point guard Ikenna Iroegbu continued a terrific summer. He's physical, he's athletic and he puts pressure on his defenders because of his ability to score or dish. Go ahead and pencil him into the next Rivals150 for the class of 2013, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him enter in the four-star range.

Only a freshman-to-be at Chino Hills (Calif.) High, Alonzo Ball is going to be one to watch. A 6-foot-2 shooting guard for QJZ, Ball showed a lightning quick release on his jumper and plenty of range.

On Pump 'N Run Elite's 2015 team, a pair of players caught the eye of Rivals.com. Six-foot-2 rising sophomore shooting guard Cameron High is a slashing two-guard with athleticism and the ability to make plays off of the dribble. Meanwhile, freshman-to-be Trevor Stanback is a very intriguing young big man. He's already about 6-foot-8, runs with fluidity and competes on the glass.

Shooting guard Darryl Gaynor came up big for the Las Vegas Prospects 16-and-under team on Saturday. The 6-foot-2 wing made a bunch of huge shots and key drives to the hoop as the Prospects pulled way from the California Basketball Club in a physical and intense game.


Eric Bossi is the National Recruiting Analyst for Rivals.com. He can be reached at eric_bossi@yahoo.com. You can follow him on Twitter @ebosshoops.



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