Tuesday, March 27th, 2007 at 11:31 am  |  69 responses

The Holy Trinity: Rose, Mayo, and Gordon

Aggrey Sam focuses on Eric Gordon with the McDonalds game set to tip-off Wednesday night

By Aggrey Sam

There’s no Greg Oden this year, a clear-cut top dog in the high school class of ’07. The dude with the most potential, for my money, is Notre Dame Prep forward Mike Beasley, a 6-9 blend of power, crazy athleticism and outrageous skills. In terms of production, at least on the prep level, I’d rock with Oregon big man Kevin Love, a behemoth with old-school fundamentals. The strength of the senior class, however, lies in its guards. I live on the East Coast, so I’ve watched point guards like Chris Wright and Corey Fisher and twos like Nolan Smith and Austin Freeman blossom from talented young guns into certified ballers in AAU and high school play over the years. With the McDonald’s All-American Game taking place Wednesday, I wanted to focus on the cream of the crop when it comes to guards this year: Eric Gordon, OJ Mayo and Derrick Rose.

Since I’ve posted about both Mayo and Rose before, I’ll go into a little detail about Gordon. If not for being only a year behind Oden, he may have been one of the most-hyped prospects out of Indiana in recent memory. Fortunately for Hoosiers fans, the Indianapolis native will be suiting up for Kelvin Sampson next season—and probably not much longer than that—after his controversial decision to sign with Indiana after his prior verbal commitment to Illinois. A 6-3, 210-pound scorer supreme, “EJ” is the best pure shooting guard in the nation. Too strong for guards and too explosive for forwards, Gordon gets buckets from anywhere on the floor. He can get your face wet from 25 feet and deeper, lock down his man due to his strength and quickness, blow by opponents with ease and use his tremendous body control to finish with contact and he’s a transition terror with his ridiculous hops. While his handle is solid and he’s more willing to dish the rock than a lot of volume shooters, he can’t be categorized as a combo guard at this point.

In the pros, however, players like Ben Gordon have proved that a potent stroke and crazy athleticism means there’s a spot for an undersized gunner at the 2 on a League roster. Other than not being a true point at his height, Eric’s only perceived weakness is his lack of “upside,” as his game and frame don’t appear to have much room to develop. Still, his physical maturity and shot selection have him looking like a Lottery pick in ’08. And depending on his pro situation, I could see him having a BG-type impact as a rookie.

Sounds like I’m hyping him up? Then you obviously didn’t see him destroy Michael Jordan’s sons on ESPN earlier this year. Gordon completed dominated, Jeffrey, Marcus and their whole Loyola Academy squad (regarded as one of the better high school teams in Illinois) to the tune of 43 points. It looked like he didn’t break a sweat, the vast majority of shots were good looks and to be honest, he could have easily fished for 50-plus and it wouldn’t have looked bad. The Big Ten needs to be very, very shook right now. Besides Bruce Weber and the entire state of Illinois, who are just heated.

As for OJ, what more can be said? I don’t know if there’s ever been a more polarizing high school player. His cocky demeanor, multiple transfers the negative stories about him on and off the court and most importantly, his big-time performances on major stages have made him a prep superstar, starting from his days as a varsity star in seventh grade. But love him or hate him, the kid can ball. Mayo’s possessed a pro-style game since he first hit the scene, which actually might be the biggest issue his detractors have with him. Boasting limitless range, excellent size, good if not spectacular athleticism, court vision and a takeover mentality, somehow critics believe his game has plateaued. Despite losing his stranglehold on the top spot in the ’07 rankings, the 6-5, 210-pound lead guard (he’s more of a Chauncey Billups-type point guard) has absolutely killed in his return to his hometown of Huntington, W. Va., making the squad a top-10 nationally-ranked team. OJ’s got that “it” factor going for him, that star appeal that’ll make him big-time or a bust in the NBA (if you doubt he’ll be a monster in college, you might as well gouge your eyes out like that R&B singer Houston because you can’t see anyway), as evidenced by his 47-point outing in Huntington’s OT loss to Corey Fisher-led St. Patrick’s. The one thing that concerns me: I’ve never seen him play a lick of defense—but then again, there are a lot of pros who are suspect on D. By the way, I’m won’t believe he’ll play for Tim Floyd at USC until I see it with my own eyes.

Unless you count KG’s lone season in the Windy City, no schoolboy ballplayer out of the Chi has been more heralded than Derrick Rose since the late, great Ben Wilson. It’s fitting that, like Wilson, the kid known as “Pooh” also attends Simeon HS and even wears his No. 25 jersey. A 6-4, 200-pound pass-first point guard with incredible bunnies, a jaw-dropping handle and astonishing dimes, the Memphis-bound Rose is the most explosive player in the senior class. He has the skills to get to the bucket whenever he wants and is a great decision-maker in both the halfcourt and transition, due to his creativity, remarkable finishing ability and tremendous court vision. While he could use more consistency on his J, his unselfishness, basketball IQ and lockdown D allow him to make an impact without lighting up the scoreboard. In fact, Rose is one high school superstar who probably needs to attempt to dominate more often. Because when he does, like when he put up 28 points, eight boards and nine dimes in Simeon’s upset of powerhouse Oak Hill, he’s damn near unstoppable. Gordon might have the most League-ready game, Mayo might have the best pro mentality, but Rose, with his size, quickness and athleticism as a true point, could have best NBA career of the trio when it’s all said and done.

Which guard do you think is the best right now, who will have the biggest impact in college and who will be the best pro? Let me know. If you haven’t seen them play, do yourself a favor and check out Wednesday’s McDonald’s game.

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  • Jas

    If I were to pick one guy out of those three to build my team around I’d go with Rose. His athleticism is off the charts and his flashy game is going to resonate well with fans once he gets to the L. Plus he’s got real good size for a point guard. I think Mayo is overrated and he won’t be able to dominate in the NBA.

  • http://slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Great stuff Aggrey, but if I may add one name to the “dope guards of ’07″ discussion: Jerryd Bayless. Do NOT sleep on this kid.

  • Drer

    Rose will have the biggest upside. He’s game is sweet! Besides, Memphis is always at least guranteed to be playing in the Sweet 16 so he’ll get more exposure. There is just something about a 6’4 200 pound PG that just has “big time” written all over him. If I’m an NBA GM Rose is the first of the three I’ll select.

    You’re right about Mayo, love him or hate him the kid is a big time gamer when the lights are brightest, and he’s as clutch as it gets. Some hime on the AAU circuit at the Kingwood Classic and it was sick.

  • Drer

    Ryan good point. Jerryd Bayless is the truth. Highest elevation on his jumper in his class for a combo guard. The Arizona peeps are glad the Mustapha Shukar era is done, and can’t wait for Jerryd Bayless. Good kid too..from a good family. This 07 class is just oozing with “big size” guards who can do it all.

  • DEVILb0y

    ive seen mayo play..i think he’s gonna tank in the L no defense is right…

  • Kyle WAtson 35

    The Holy Trinity???

  • golds

    ROSE!!! Need I say more!! After watching him DOMINATE the Pontiac Illinois Holiday Tournament for 3 years…I know from seeing in person how tuff this kid is. Rose will have the best career by far!!!

  • Smack_Adams

    Saw Jerryd Bayless get snuffed out like a candle by Coach Hurley’s St. Anthony team. Granted, this is one of the better St.A teams in recent years, still I think it’ll take Bayless a year before he starts to make a big name for himself in college.

  • http://offthedribble.blogspot.com caputo

    Good to hear there are more dope guard coming around. CHECK MY BLOG!

  • ka$h

    im from chicago pooh probably is the best of the three in the league iv seen him shoot in the park his jumper is wet as they come i dont no why he dont shoot like that in the game i watched eric gordon play on tv he will have the best collegiate career never seen oj mayo play but he was on the cover of SLAM in 7th grade unless though Slam guys are complete idiots he has to be special but when it come to the assiocation i would have to say the Pooh is going to have the best carees he riminds me a little of gilbert without the quirkyness and betta point guard skills

  • Ryu

    Mayo wants lights, action, showtime, that’s why he ‘s going to LA. I wonder what will happen, when the Blazers, or the Timberwolves draft him…

  • Unknown

    Marc aka Baby AI Wilford. The best point guard you’ve never heard of class of 2009. You’ll hear more about him during the summer. Great quickness knows what to do with the ball when he gets it great court vision for his age.

  • Drer

    Ryu..He’ll pull a Steve Francis and whine, and demand to be traded to the Knicks/Lakers. Book it!

  • Sneakerhead

    OJ is the real deal
    he’ll shine at SOcal and dominate the NBA

  • Sneakerhead

    Beasly will be a allstar soon also

  • Aaron

    I’ve heard whispers about Bayless being the best pro to ever come out of Arizona and that is against names like Bibby, Jefferson, Frye, etc…

  • http://www.sammyissocool.piczo.com bs on you

    oj mayo is no durant, but i would love to have him on my team

  • chief sucks

    out of the three, Id say Rose will have the best career,and Id take him first in the draft

  • chief sucks

    Rose=DWade,more athletic Gary Payton

  • skiptomylou

    eric gordon is tha truth this nigga is nice at of tha three he will be tha better offense player he will average 30 points a game in a season i like derrick rose too and oj is nice but i like corey fisher better

  • http://www.sammyissocool.piczo.com bs on you

    rose is goin 2 be prettr damn good

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Aggrey, if you’re not getting paid to be a pro scout soon, people are sleeping. Heading to the game tomorrow night, and while I’ve seen Rose and Mayo before, I’ve never seen Gordon and I’ve certainly never seen all three on the same court at the same time. I’m also getting a feeling OJ never plays a game at SC, but I hope I’m wrong. I think it’ll be fun to watch and good for his game.

  • jman

    I pray Nolan Smith is the best because I hope he can save Duke’s slow backcourt.

  • jman

    I think Kyle Singler is going to be one heck of a player too. I think he will be better than Kevin Love. Kyle has too good of an all-around game.

  • JOE

    my 2 guards would be rose and corey fisher. they would make they other team look like theyre trying to run on ice.

  • Aaron

    Hey Damon Bailey was in SI in the seventh grade to. But there is no comparison between him and Mayo. Get the right people in his group and he will be good entirely to much talent. He is kind of like a man playing with lil boys. Now I live in Indianapolis and I have seen Gordon quite a bit, but this weekend I seen a kid from East Chicago given it to Gordon in the State Championship game. This kids name is E’twaun Moore headed to Purdue. Real nice combo guard and huge upside. Now I saw Rose on TV kind of reminded me of J. Kidd with a better jumper and more athletic. So if that is any meter to judge his NBA stock on he will be fine.

  • http://www.customizedchopshop.com YOUR BEARD LOOK STRONG aka PIMPN

    anyone got a link to a recent article bout shaq being the big kirilenkov (or some shit)???

  • Kobe Berg

    Even if all three end up as unbelievable college players, Kevin Love is still gonna be frosh of the year/player of the year, and as much as I hate to say it (as I am a Washington fan) UCLA is gonna win it all next year. Peace.

  • beast

    ROSE! Chi Town has bball on lock

  • a. sam

    Ryan/Smack/Aaron: The only time I’ve seen Bayless play was the game vs. St. Anthony and his squad was completely overmatched, so I won’t judge him off that one performance. He looked very polished, but from what I saw of his skillset, I think Mayo’s offensive versatility, Gordon’s power and Rose’s playmaking put them a level above him.

  • oliver

    how can i watch the Mcdonalds game in Europe? any way of catchin it?
    online? someone tape it and stick it on youtube?

  • http://the-seed.net/suns Hersey

    Bayless! Arizona will be back.

  • Logan Light

    Rose will probably slide “under the radar” in comparison to the other two in college… but I see him coming into the league with a Chris Paul impact. Watch out for him getting slept on in the draft only to leave teams kicking themselves midseason. No doubt that both Gordon and Mayo will be allstars… but they’ll be treated like that be their teams. My pick is for Rose to go “unnoticed” and win a chip sooner than the other two.

  • Drer

    I like that Rose = Jason Kidd comparison, only add with more speed, and ultra athletic.

  • jman

    Kyle Singler will be freshmen of the year at Duke. He is INSANE!!!

  • Drer

    No Mike Beasley will get FOY. Singler and Dook will have another tough year. No bigs!

  • bert

    Mayo woofed it on the last possession

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Not sure about who the best guard is, but I think Beasley is the best player. He was tonight by a long shot.

  • Kobe Berg

    Love’s passing is unbelievable.

  • scott

    Kevin Love will be the top freshman next year. The Pac 10 will be unreal next year.

  • http://msn bobbymapp

    i love rose game he can run a pro team now,think pass first but can take over a game any time he wish. over the summer he put 21pts,14rb and 11asst,on mayo.

  • bigmike407

    This OJ Condiment dude is overrated. He missed a game winner the other day and his team got drug on ESPN a few weeks back. He’s calling coaches and telling them, ‘I’m coming to play for you’. Tim Floyd has no nuts whatsoever. Then the kid is riding around in a car with 3 other cats blowing trees. And as black as his lips are, I can tell he is a blunt smoker. I think Bayless, Gordon, Smith and Rose will all be better than O.J. Mustard-oh Mayo-because they seem to be more humble and have better attitudes. Once you reach a high level like these dudes are on, the talent is so close that other factors must be considered before drafting a guy to be the face of a franchise or another face on a mugshot.

  • nxt generation of greatness

    eric gordon is the shit, oj mayo is stuck up and all he wants is show and glamour just like kobe, hes a balkl hog whiny baby, eric gordon is gonna take IU to a championship!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1 all ya hatas recognize

  • nxt generation of greatness

    i meant ball

  • Zach F.

    you can seriuosly tell if someone is smoking by how dark their lips are?? wow. Or was it because he got caught w/ marajuna a few weeks back? anyway, think how could this game would have been w/ big Billy Walker in it. Man!!
    Love=Karl Malone?
    Gordon=ray allen or a better caron butler
    All will be great and Beasley, Bayless, Love, and Singler should all be pretty darn good.
    the NBA looks pretty good in a couple years and i just want to see tyreke evans cause from what i’ve seen he could be in contention w/ this Trinity.
    Beasley vs. Durant 2x a year. if only Durant would stay that would be one of tha best matchups this college year. (with Bill Walker throwing it down a good couple times down the court) ahhh…. Paradise.

  • howard

    which player will have his 1st slam cover, Yao Ming or OJ Mayo?

  • scott

    Yao Ming has already been on the cover of Slam with Stevie Franchise.

  • Mr. Espn

    Eric gordon is the best guard. The boy is all around assist, steals, boards, and most def in scoring. He would be the best in college with rose right behind him and gordon would the best pro also.

  • floridian

    Yall forgettin my boy Rios who has killed them all but cant hold -off the politics of the game.

  • 305

    Rios has highschool points than all of them in his highschool career.

  • scott

    Whatever happened to Edwin Rios? However, Rios isn’t in the same class as Rose, Beasley, Mayo, Gordon, Bayless, Love, or Jordan just to name a few.

  • skiptomylou

    im mad somone compared eric gordon to caron butler he is more like a kobe and oj is like billups and kobe is tha best basketball player in tha past 12 years period

  • AyVee

    i actually went to the mcdonalds all american game and the 3 point contest and dunk contest and all that since i live right across the river from louisville. so i got to see all of them up close. beasley gonna be a monster at memphis, i think hes the best big man in 07. love didnt do much for me but i see that he is solid but i dont think he’ll be one and done at ucla. for the guards, i like gordan the best. one cuz hes from my home state and 2 he scores when and where he wants to, period. although my uncle said he saw a mixtape with highlights from all the best guys in 07 and he said rose has the best by far. so i think hes gonna do his thing in memphis. i also like bayless and nolan smith. both are SKY high and gonna be bigtime stars. beasley rose or gordan will go number one next year. i really dont got nothin to say bout OJ if you didnt notice

  • Zach F.

    i said Gordon was a BETTER caron butler. i’m not going to say a lot b/c a lot could happen between now and when Eric G. gets to the league. Injuries (though i’m truly praying no one gets hurt) and other things may have an effect on his game before then. I hope he has a great career b/c all i really care about is watching some good games being played by outstading players.

    But, if you’re going to compare OJ to Billups you got to add around 10 more ppg. i like Chauncy but Mayo is more known for his shot and scoring than being more of a true point like Chauncy.

  • Mac-C

    Air “Jordon” is coming to Bloomington. DJ and him are gonna work together like pb&j. IU is going to rock. U better believe it.

  • j c

    I believe OJ will do fine he has ego and athletisism that will help him on defensive end i believe he will be a great player

  • Zach F.

    ^^still screwed if Oden comes back. Otherwise IU will be big 10 champs

  • Bucknasty

    gordons the most complete player right now, but mayo and rose are gonna be better pros

  • Steve

    Mayo=mix of Kwame Brown(big disappointment)and Ron Artest(always lookin for attention)
    Eric Gordon=Kobe (with a few less shots per game)
    Rose=AI(slashing pg with all around skills)
    The best of them all will have to be gordon, he has an all around game, with a clip like reggie, passing like kidd, and jams like vince nobody can stop him and did i mention his shot? he also has a good attitude and mad love for the game.
    Mayo will do pretty good in college but wont live up too his expectations that he has set for himself. By the way did anyone see him push a ref down?have weed?have the cockiest attitude? and throw the ball up in the stands after a dunk? the dudes a nutcase!
    Rose i dont really kno quit as much about bout from the article dude sounds like a balla and will prolly have a great college and pro carreer!

  • thetomjohnston

    who does Mayo think he is to topple a ref over?? hes toooo overrated!! Gordon has the body of a fullback/nba star and rose is the same way. i would take gordon over mayo any day

  • http://slam The Realist

    Hey the o.j. Mayo is sick dont be surprised if him or Kevin Love or Micheal Beasley pull a Kevin Durant in win all the collgiate awards in leave the next year there all ridiciously ballers so be ready next year NCAA

  • G.R.


  • devon

    my dude oj mayo

  • K. Cash

    Derrick will be the best player at both collegiate and pro level, because he can dominate at all dimentions of the game. I’m from Chicago and I’ve seen Simeon play countless times. They are ranked the #1 highschool team in the country and thier next two best players are (with no disrespect) Tim Flowers and Kevin Johnson. If I’m not mistaken they are both going to U.W. Milwaukee next year. While O.J. has had Bill Walker and Pat Patterson. O.J. may be the best scorer, but he doesn’t play any defense and like you said he had 47 points but also a L to St. Patrick. I would probably take Eric Gordan second because he reminds me of a Ben Gordan with defense. He has a low, strong center of gravity (like Jameer Nelson), and he can get where he wants on the court.

  • KG

    Another “dope guards” is Corey Fisher. They played Oak Hill once and he had to match up with Brandon Jennings, the best PG in the class of ’08. He destroyed Jennings.

  • Brendan

    Out of OJ Mayo, Derrick Rose, and Eric Gordon the best in high school is Eric Gordon becasue he doesn’t have any backup on his team. At least Deriick has a really good team thats highly ranked. And OJ can’t handel under pressure. OJ has Patrick Patterson who is a top 20 player by far. There all good but Eric Gordon is just overall better. The better college player will be Derrick Rose because he is very fast and is very unselfish. Mo effence to OJ and Eric but no one iv seen in 2007 is more unselfish then Derrick Rose. Hes a walking double double. The best pro will be OJ Mayo beacuse he has the size and athletic ability.

  • http://yahoo.com sam

    shout out to my boi James Johnson reppin Chey town

  • David Sanchez

    I think OJ will be just a average college ballplayer. Over rated….Remember he is 3 and 4 years older that most of the guys he plays against! He is at his peak right now!!

  • http://www.msn.com hoosiersfan23

    gordon is the best palyer around….