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April 9, 2011MORE: Muhammad shines in Vegas
LAS VEGAS - Arizona fans should be really, really excited.
Grant Jerrett, who is already committed to the Wildcats, has been known as a top 2012 prospect for some years and he backed up that reputation - and then some - Saturday at the Fullcourt Press Easter Classic.
Jerrett has even taken his game to another level since last off-season. The 6-foot-9 five-star forward has developed a better outside game and is so long and fluid that plodding big men have a hard time staying with him.
The La Verne (Calif.) Lutheran star showed off great touch around the basket, even delicately banking in a shot from right inside the free throw line in the first half against Latinos Select.
Even against the weaker opponents, though, it was clear Jerrett's game has developed through his junior season.
His range and shooting ability all over the floor has gotten better since this time last year when he played with DeAndre Daniels, Cezar Guerrero and others on Belmont Shore and he's much more assertive blocking and altering shots on defense as well.
"I've been more aggressive with the ball and I'm asking for it more," Jerrett said. "Last year it was their show, (Daniels and Guerrero) were seniors, they took over the game so now it's my turn.
"I've just been more assertive, confident and aggressive. I've been able to go inside or outside for a while but I think I've gotten better at it."
Hustle is no issue either with Jerrett, who after getting stripped near the key hustled back in transition and blocked a shot that looked more like a volleyball spike more than anything else.
Maybe one of the only things Jerrett, who might have finished with a triple-double if rebounds and blocked shots were tabulated, still needs to work on is he dribbles too much in the lane.
A few times he was stripped by pesky guards coming from the backside but that's something that can be easily remedied.
Fellow Arizona commit Eric Cooper focused more on playmaking in Saturday's early win. He missed a few outside shots but took the ball to the basket hard and showed good decision-making when he had the ball in his hands running the offense.
Freshman Stanley Johnson out of Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei had 27 points including multiple three-pointers in the win.
MAGIC HERE TO STAY
The first two points of the game came on an Isaiah Austin putback dunk that rattled the rim for a few seconds. Gabe York's first three-pointer was from the left wing and so deep he was almost standing out of bounds.
Austin, a Baylor commit, and York, who's hearing from major programs across the country, are the top two players on Compton Magic, which was challenged Saturday afternoon but prevailed.
The Magic should be in contention with Belmont Shore and Dream Vision during the championship round on Sunday.
The best work by Austin, rated as the second-best player in the 2012 class by Rivals.com, was done on putbacks around the basket.
No one - maybe in this entire tournament, maybe in the entire 2012 class - can stop the 7-foot center from working his way into the lane, grabbing offensive rebounds and finishing with some serious dunks.
Austin is so tall and has such long arms that he can probably touch the rim without even jumping, an obvious advantage against opponents. He had his way especially on the offensive end where he's much more assertive and probably had double-digit offensive rebounds.
York, a four-star prospect, is an outstanding three-point shooter with seemingly limitless range. He's also developed a nifty step-back jumper which will be useful in college because the Orange (Calif.) Lutheran recruit is slightly undersized at shooting guard.
Also playing with Compton Magic is Pleasant Grove, Calif., prospect Arik Armstead, arguably one of the top linemen in the 2012 football recruiting class.
Armstead is already committed to USC and said coaches Lane Kiffin and Kevin O'Neill have told him he can play both sports for