Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Mexican Phenom (UPDATED)

Hyping a kid up to heaven-sent, before slim is even halfway through high school, is never held in high regard.

I mean, let's be serious...

Society even frowns on AAU teams for blessing ballers with free sneakers, fresh new basketball attire, transportation, and free trips around the country.

It's a bit much for players who aren't established. They aren't all surefire shots to pan out at the next level.

They are kids for fuck's sake!

The hype, hyperbole, and lavish praise heaped on a player while his brain is still growing (and his body still filling out), could lead to trouble.

The primary source of worry?

All the gifts, verbal massages, pampering, free gear, headlines, and so on will feed into an eventual super-ego.

It will cause a kid to become un-coachable before he's even old enough to purchase a lotto ticket.

Cezar "C.J." Guerrero, the electrifying 5-foot-11 point guard from Bellflower (CA) St. John Bosco, never had to worry about that.

Simply put, his game blew up before he grew up.

He was a playground junkie, a regular gymrat.

Put a spalding in Guerrero’s hands and watch poetry-in-motion unfold.

It’s why his name is spread all over the internet and featured in highlight reels.

It's why his blink-quick antics and silky-smooth moves (with unique, street-ball like flair to them) have garnered some serious national visibility.

He's not a CYO legend or AAU animal who had his personal hype machine kick-started early. All indications point to CG being the real deal.

The ultra-talented 2011 guard etched a name for himself during the prestigious Nike Hoop Jamboree, where he left the maintenance men scraping jaws off the bleachers.

The hell-raising handles man's stock hasn’t plummeted.

His penchant for scraping cats off the dribble and losing defenders in traffic has raised eyebrows.

Add this to his arsenal of otherworldly handles, creativity off the dribble and ability to score in clusters, it's no wonder why he's already such hotly pursued recruit.

Division-I coaches from all over are beginning to dial in.

He’s registered his presence in the local landscape, as schools such as UCLA and USC have expressed interest.

What these programs have seen from the high-octane, up-tempo 165-pound youngin are the same facets that have attracted the likes of Arizona and Mike Brey and Notre Dame.

Brey has seen a high-horsepower guard of this caliber before. Former floor general Chris Thomas re-wrote the record books at the Irish Catholic institution, evolving as the school's all time leader in assists.

Guerrero can also pass the pigment out of the ball, albeit he must develop a more disciplined style.

He needs to evolve into more of a tamed passing machine. He also needs to work on dieseling up his spindly frame.

Similar to UConn guard Kemba Walker, Guerrero jumped into the streetball scene early.

According to Guerrero’s brother, Joe, he’s been playing against professionals since he was 12. It was Joe Guerrero who essentially put the ball in his hands. JG recalls sneaking his little brother in to the men's league competitions.

“My idea was to have him play against bigger and stronger guys to eliminate any fear,” said Joe.

“I would bring him with me to play in leagues where he’d go up against guys who played professionally in Mexico. He was scoring 25 points against pro players.”