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January 2, 2012

What we learned: Torrey Pines and Orange Holiday Classics



Aaron Gordon can deliver, even while sick
The nation's sixth-ranked prospect, Aaron Gordon, did a little bit of everything during the four-day Torrey Pines Holiday Classic and took home an all-tournament award - he also did it while dealing with a cold all week. Even with all the talented recruits taking part in the tournament, it just felt different when Gordon took the floor. All the attention was on him during his games - from both the crowd and opposing defenses - yet he poured on 35 points in San Jose (Calif.) Archbishop Mitty's last game of the week.

Gordon has continued to add some bulk to his frame and he used it to his advantage last week. The five-star Arizona target did a multitude of things for the Monarchs throughout the week. There were stretches where he would be on the block, and there were others when the 6-foot-7 prospect played the point - but he always was a force on defense.

He wants to play on the wing at the next level, so he said that his all-around game still needs to be polished, but Gordon is happy with where he's at in his development right now.

Gabe York can take over a game at any moment
GOAZCATS.com took in two of future Wildcat guard Gabe York's games at the Orange Holiday Classic last week. There were times when the four-star UA signee didn't look to be in top form, yet during those times he was still the best player on the floor. York opened the tournament with a 17-point effort, but he closed it on a high note.

In Orange (Calif.) Lutheran's win in the championship game, York went from having an average - by his standards - outing to an outstanding game in a matter of minutes. After battling with Santa Ana (Calif.) Foothill in a tight game, York took over the game in the final minutes of the fourth quarter and the overtime period.

It's that ability that could help the shooting guard prospect earn early playing time next season for the Wildcats.

Sean Miller will be happy with his future players
Like York, class of 2012 UA signee Grant Jerrett struggled at times during La Verne (Calif.) Lutheran's four days at the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic, but he too finished the tournament with a big-time performance.

The power forward recruit did a little bit of everything for the Trojans in their quadruple-overtime win over Compton (Calif.) High last Friday. Jerrett was dominant in every facet of the game and finished with 35 points and an all-tournament nod.

Head coach Sean Miller's recruiting class is ranked No. 1 for a reason, and York and Jerrett showed how effective they can be last week.

Southern California has some intriguing young recruits
While Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha, which was led by its upperclassmen (Jerami Grant, BeeJay Anya and James Robinson), took home the title, there was a good collection of young prospects at the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic - especially from Southern California.

Whether it was Compton sophomore Isaiah Bailey taking over in his team's game with La Verne Lutheran, or Los Angeles (Calif.) Windward freshman Mason Shepherd showing no fear against Anya in the championship game, the younger recruits really held their own during the tournament.

Shepherd, who is listed at 6-foot-6 and already has a good frame, was thoroughly impressive during the four-day Classic. He plays with a sense of calm that other freshmen just don't have at this point in their development.

Bailey showed his ability as a do-it-all type of player for Compton. He displayed a lot of confidence and didn't shy away from taking a big shot or trying to make things happen for his team. He also showed an ability to play anywhere on the floor as he wasn't afraid to play with his back to the basket on certain possessions.

Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft would be scary with Shaqquan Aaron
Taft head coach Jason Hart is still waiting for 2014 four-star recruit Shaqquan Aaron to be cleared to play this season, but the Toreadors still took fourth place thanks to a big tournament from UTEP commit Anthony January. The three-star January, who was just recently cleared himself, had a solid four days and earned an all-tournament selection.

Hart's squad fell in the third-place game to a well-coached team from Newark (Calif.) Newark Memorial, but they showed plenty of promise even without the nation's 15th-ranked 2014 prospect. Taft will be a team to watch come playoff time, especially if Aaron takes the court at any point this season.

Matt MorenoMatt Moreno
GOAZCATS.com Senior Recruiting Editor

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