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Brunson, Mac Irvin Fire take Las Vegas Classic title

It’s been quite the summer for the top point guard in the class of 2015.

Prior to his participation in the Las Vegas Classic, Jalen Brunson already won a gold medal with the U.S. in the FIBA Americas Under-18 tournament and played in the LeBron James Skills Academy and the Nike Peach Jam.

Though he was exhausted by Sunday afternoon, the 6-foot-1-inch standout still managed to lead Mac Irvin Fire (Ill.) to a 74-70 win over Houston Hoops in the platinum division championship of the Las Vegas Classic at Spring Valley.

“It feels great (to go out on top in AAU),” Brunson said. “We dug deep. There were many times this week I really wanted just to sit out, but I just kept fighting through it and the coaches kept pushing me. I feel like I’m the best point guard in the country and I had to close out games. I did that every game this week.”

Brunson, who is the No. 22 overall prospect in the ESPN 100, scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half to help his team overcome a 12-point second-half deficit with 12:30 to go. He added six assists and four rebounds for Mac Irvin Fire, which trailed 36-32 at halftime.

“I did pretty well this summer,” Brunson said. “I think I really showed out, not just to coaches, but to people all over the country that I could play with the best and I’m not afraid to play with the best.”

Brunson is the son of former Temple standout and NBA veteran Rick Brunson.

He was named the 2013-14 Gatorade Illinois Boys Basketball Player of the Year after posting averages of 25.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 2.9 steals as a junior.

Brunson, who said he plans to commit before his senior season, is considering Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, Temple and Villanova.

“I just want to find a good fit for myself,” he said. “I want a really good coach that keeps a relationship with me on and off the court, a head coach that’s just committed to where he is. I’ve asked almost every coach if that’s their dream job, and most of them have said they’re not leaving.”

Connor Cashaw scored 11 of his 14 points in the second half for Mac Irvin Fire, and teammate Ed Morrow added 12 points and four blocks.

Nicholas Garth led all scorers with 21 points for Houston Hoops, which also got 12 points and eight rebounds from Jarred Vanderbilt, the third-ranked prospect in the Class of 2017, according to ESPN. Centennial High point guard Troy Brown is currently ranked No. 2, though some consider him the top overall player in the class.

Houston Hoops reached the championship game after a 70-68 win over the Oakland Soldiers, a team led by Bishop Gorman big man Stephen Zimmerman.

Contact reporter Ashton Ferguson at aferguson@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0430. Follow him on Twitter: @af_ferguson.

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