Former scout and front office NBA executive shares his thoughts on Pasadena standout Blake Hamilton, who recorded 19 points and 10 rebounds on Friday night.

Had a chance to meet Clarence Gaines Jr., a former scout with the Chicago Bulls, and he’s put together a very thorough analysis on Pasadena senior guard Blake Hamilton, who scored 19 points and recorded 10 rebounds in the Bulldogs’ 81-67 win over Beverly Hills in the semifinals of the CIF-Southern Section Division 3AAA playoffs on Friday night.

Here’s some of what he wrote with much more if you click on the link at the bottom:

Thoughts on Blake Hamilton – 6’4″ 180lbs. Pasadena High School – 2/24/12 vs. Beverly Hills High School

Young Senior – 17 – October birthday – Basketball physique – Long wing span & vertical extension – average size hands. Speed, quickness & acceleration. Very coordinated. Explosive – good jumping ability with a step. Light on his feet, quiet runner, lowers stress on the joints.

Impressed with his decision making and poise with the ball in this game. Handles so many roles for his team. A standout as a help/off the ball defender. Has very good defensive tools & excellent defensive range because of length, speed, active hands and desire. Started him initially in the back end of zone press.

Good job of playing safety position. Can cover up others mistake and protect the basket against high school competition. Got a couple of shot blocks as a help side defender. Also played at the point of the press. Love his rebounding ability & have no doubt it will transfer to the next level. Powers out off the dribble & goes coast to coast for several baskets.


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FULL COVERAGE: Game story, video reaction and photos from Pasadena’s 81-67 win over Beverly Hills; will meet Arroyo Grande in the CIF-SS Division 3AAA title game next week at Honda Center. Date and time TBA.


By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer

It wouldn’t be a Pasadena High School boys basketball game without a little scare.
Beverly Hills proved its worth in the first half keeping the Bulldogs on their heels despite their significant size advantage.

But it never seems to fail.

Pasadena finds its rhythm in the second half, makes big runs in the third quarter on transition plays just like it wants to play.

And that’s what helped the Bulldogs secure an 81-67 win Friday night to punch a ticket into next week’s CIF-Southern Section Division 3AAA championship game at Honda Center.

Second-seed Pasadena (23-7) will face Arroyo Grande, which beat Palm Desert in the other bracket, 51-44. The date has not yet been determined.

The Bulldogs return to the finals since the 2009-10 season when they lost to Eisenhower.

Pasadena wasn’t going call its season a success simply by reaching the finals. Bulldogs coach Tim Tucker has made several trips there and has come away with just one ring in 2007.

In contrast, Beverly Hills (29-10) was making its first trip to the semifinals in 42 years, but the Normans sure played like they had been there before, withstanding Pasadena’s physical play in the first half.

Beverly Hills’ Austin Mills was key in keeping the Normans within 37-32 at halftime. Mills finished with a game-high 23 points, draining 3-pointers from well beyond the arc. Siavache Yoktafar at 5-foot-6 was the smallest player on the court, but he proved elusive and relentless, hitting four 3-pointers for 12 points. He even made a steal in front of the 6-5 Brandon Jolley.

But like many of its victims, Pasadena overwhelmed Beverly Hills with fastbreak runs and led by as many as 17.

“Stops and runs, stops and runs,” Tucker said.

Jolley asserted himself into the offense, and a lot of that had to do with Pasadena moving the ball and looking for him in isolation. His teammates found him and Jolley scored with authority en route to a team-high 22 points on 8 of 16 shooting to go along with 10 rebounds, four assists and two blocks.

Blake Hamilton found his mid-range jumper, knocking down clutch shots in the third quarter to finish with 19 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and two blocks and freshman Jeffrey McClendon added 12 points off the bench.

“He’s not a freshman anymore,” Tucker said. “He’s going to be a great player. He’s a defensive specialist, gets charges and stops. But he started to knock down some big shots, too.”

Perris Hicks filled in flawlessly at point guard after Ajon Efferson (11 points) rolled his left ankle and was forced to sit out the entire second half.

“We’re going to evaluate him tomorrow,” Tucker said. “Perris took over at (point guard). We could have panicked, and I was worried. But we moved the ball around and got it done. That’s why we’re a team. One guy goes down and we have someone that can step up.”

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Boys Basketball: John Haywood has Pasadena playing follow the leader; Beverly Hills at Pasadena, 7 p.m. in semifinals of CIF-SS Division 3AAA playoffs.

By Miguel A. Melendez Staff Writer

John Haywood went on and on when describing his role as a senior guard on the Pasadena High School boys basketball team.

“I”m fast, I can put a spark on the team,” Haywood starts. “I can help my team in multiple ways like passing the ball and playing strong defense and motivating the team.”

Pasadena coach Tim Tucker summed it up with four words.

“He’s a floor general.”

Haywood is a three-year letterman whose subtle contributions on the court often go unnoticed. He remains a cool and collected regardless of the situation.

“It never changes,” Tucker said. “I’ve seen him come in sick and he still acts the same. You wouldn’t know it.”

He’s a role player when he needs to be, a defensive specialist with explosive speed that can posterize defenders regardless of size. It was his incredible athletic ability that allowed him to dunk over a 6-foot-9 center from Arizona earlier this year.

“He can get to the basket faster than anybody else,” Tucker said.

But he’s more than speed and brawn muscle.

“He’s the glue of the team,” Tucker said. “He’s the leader, and as he goes we go.”

Look for Haywood to lead the Bulldogs at 7 tonight when they host Beverly Hills in the semifinals of the CIF-Southern Section Division 3AAA playoffs at Pasadena High.

On the surface it’s not hard to notice Haywood. His 6-1 frame and flat-top fade make him stand out, as does his vocal presence. While his numbers (9 point average, four rebounds three steals) don’t suggest star-like numbers, Haywood’s tailored his game to whatever his team needs him to be, and perhaps that’s when he shines the most.

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BREAKING NEWS: Muir coach Gamal Smalley placed on administrative leave pending thorough investigation regarding ineligible use of player.


Muir forfeits 20 games, will miss playoffs (Pasadena Star-News)

The controversy surrounding the Muir High School boys basketball team’s disqualification from the CIF-Southern Section Division 4AA playoffs is far from over.

According to sources, the Pasadena Unified School District has placed Muir coach Gamal Smalley on administrative leave pending a thorough investigation surrounding the program having to forfeit 20 victories after the use of an ineligible player, thus eliminating the No. 5 seeded Mustangs from playoff contention.

Smalley on Wednesday afternoon was escorted off campus by assistant principal Charles Park and asked to turn in his keys before immediately meeting with district officials at headquarters.

Muir principal Sheryl Orange and athletic director Robert Galvan could not be reached for comment. Smalley did not return repeated voice mails and text messages left on his cell phone seeking comment.

Smalley also has been instructed not to have contact with his players or team parents and, according to sources, is expected to speak with an independent investigator hired by the district.

Smalley has compiled a 76-30 record in three seasons at the helm, leading the Mustangs to a Division 5AA finals run lastas year. Muir was the only public school listed in the final Division 4AA top 10 poll. It was 24-2 at season’s end, ranked in the top 50 and poised to make a run in the so-called “Super Division”.

But word came the week leading up to the Mustangs’ season finale that the program was under review after the CIF-SS contacted Muir about possible ineligebility concerns surrounding Andre Frazier. The prominent 6-foot-5 forward had previously attended Fairfaix, University High of Los Angeles and Bell-Jeff. At issue was whether there was a valid change of address after transferring from Fairfaix.

School officials made a frantic effort providing documentation, but it proved to be insufficient. School officials exhausted every option that included the application for an at-large berth, which was denied by the CIF-SS.

Orange issued a statement saying that “a valid change of residence could not be sufficiently established” and that as a result “Muir decided to forfeit the games.” When the Pacific League re-submitted its final league standings, Muir was not included.

Frazier has since transfered back to Fairfax.

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