Six future Pac-12 players competed in Saturday’s inaugural West Coast All-Star Classic at the ShoWare Center.
None scored more points than Bothell High’s Zach LaVine, who is headed to UCLA, and California-bound Jordan Matthews. They each had 19 points and Arizona-bound Elliott Pitts had 11 to help the West team to a 123-121 victory.
Washington incoming freshman Jahmel Taylor scored 18 and Darin Johnson nine while Hallice Cooke (Oregon State) chipped in three for the East squad.
Here’s a few observations:
— Taylor (video interview above) is fearless, which is probably a good trait for a 5-11 and 160-pound point guard. He constantly probed and attacked the defense with dribble drives and passes into the post. Several bounce passes missed the mark or were intercepted. Taylor’s three-point shot was also erratic. He missed at least two three-point attempts and made one. Still, he offset his deficiencies with hustle, determination and leadership. He’s also a non-stop chatterbox. He’ll take playful verbal barbs at opposing players and is constantly giving instructions to teammates.
Taylor is one of the reasons the East team cut a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter to two. It was as if someone forgot to tell him it was an all-star game. He spent more time on the floor than every other player combined. He also looked as if he was going to try and take a charge late in the game, but decided against it.
In the fourth quarter, Taylor was paired against LaVine. Despite surrendering four inches, Taylor held his own. At times he used his quickness to stay in front and keep LaVine out of the lane. Other times, LaVine was able to turn the corner and get to the rim.
— Admittedly, Johnson (video interview below) didn’t have his best game. He started the game on the bench with Taylor and never got into any rhythm. It was as if he was waiting to get into the groove. Johnson was able to connect with Taylor on a couple of scoring plays, but mostly Johnson didn’t appear overly engaged in the game.
— LaVine did a little of everything. He entertained the sparse crowd with a high-flying, rim-rattling dunk in the third quarter. He also drained a couple of long-range jumpers. He’s listed at 6-3 and 165 pounds, but he plays above the rim and is surprisingly explosive. LaVine is not adverse to driving in traffic and stuffing a dunk. He’s also just as likely to pull up for a transition 3.
— Pitts is smooth. The 6-5 guard displayed nice range on his shot while knocking down two three-pointers.
— Matthews is solid. He didn’t do anything flashy, but at the end of the night he was one of the game’s top scorers.
— Didn’t really notice Cooke.
— Arguably the best player on the floor was BYU-bound Eric Mika. He had a smile on his face most of the game and seemed to enjoy plaing against Missouri-bound Torren Jones. Mike is an athletic big man at 6-9 and 220 pounds. He scored a game-high 28 points and won the MVP trophy. He also had five blocks and five dunks. He runs the floor well and finishes strong at the rim.
— And speaking of Jones, he might be the first person in the history of all-star games to get disqualified because of fouls.