Smallish Jennings not short on talent

Posted: July 09, 2007

Small stature, gigantic game.

That sums up Brandon Jennings, a rising senior at Oak Hill Academy in Virginia.

Many believe he is the most talented player on the court at the Rbk University basketball camp at Philadelphia University. But the point guard is more slender than many of the blue-chip players he dominates.

At 6 feet and just 165 pounds, Jennings was knocked around time after time en route to the basket yesterday. It didn't matter.

The 17-year-old, who has committed to Arizona, finished with 11 points and four assists to lead team Allen Iverson past team Baron Davis, 69-64. The camp for elite prospects is sponsored by Reebok.

"None of that stuff bothers me," Jennings said of being one of the smaller guys on the court. "Growing up with my cousins, you know, they used to knock me on the ground. All that whining and crying, back then, I couldn't do it with them, so I'm not about to do it now."

Scout.com's recruiting service lists the native of Bellflower, Calif., as the nation's top point guard and the seventh-ranked prospect overall in the Class of 2008. Rivals.com rates him as the 12th-best senior.

However, Jennings' stay in college could be short. He and his family do not hide his desire to enter the NBA draft in 2009.

"If the success is there [after one season at Arizona], why wait?" said Alice Knox, Jennings' mother. "That's his goal. It's his dream."

Blessed with a sprinter's speed, Jennings effortlessly moves past defenders. He also has great court vision and a high basketball IQ, and is a defensive force. And Jennings makes it all look so natural. He will tell you it has not been easy, though.

"It's just the hard work," he said. "The hard work is paying off so far."

Jennings averaged nine points, eight assists and two steals as a freshman at Dominguez High in Compton, Calif. After averaging 19 points in his sophomore year, he transferred to Oak Hill, a national powerhouse.

Last season, Jennings averaged 15.2 points and 11.2 assists as Oak Hill (40-1) finished the campaign ranked No. 1 nationally by several publications.

Jennings said he has matured and improved academically since transferring.

"Going there allowed me to get away from everything and focus just on school and basketball," he said. "It was one of the best decisions I made in my life so far."

Notes. Jennings' backcourt mate, Isaiah Thomas, has arguably the most recognizable name at the camp. The rising senior guard from Tacoma, Wash., was named after New York Knicks coach and Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas. . . . Players at the camp honored the late Donte Anderson by wearing black patches with the white No. 22 on their jerseys. Anderson, one of the top players in Florida, was killed in a car accident in his home state in May. Anderson, who would have been a senior, was scheduled to participate in the Rbk camp.


Contact staff writer Keith Pompey

at 610-313-8029 or kpompey@philllynews.com.

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