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Boys' basketball: Max Hazzard is stepping up in the year of the point guard

March 17, 2014|By Eric Sondheimer

 The seemingly never ending basketball season is nearing a conclusion _ or a beginning. As soon as the final games are completed on March 29, the club season will begin. Good luck on getting rest.

But every game is an opportunity, and junior guard Max Hazzard of Loyola keeps building a resume. On Tuesday he gets to face junior guard Sedrick Barefield of Corona Centennial, an SMU commit, in a semifinal game of the Division I Southern California Regionals.

Last week, Hazzard refused to let his team be eliminated. He made four three-pointers in the fourth quarter, scoring 16 of his 24 points, to help the Cubs rally for a 60-59 victory over Mission Viejo.

Lots of people still don't know just how good a college prospect Hazzard might be, but he can shoot, he plays well under pressure and he aspires to be the best. And being the grandson of Walt Hazzard, he's got a high basketball IQ.

It's interesting how his role has changed over the course of the season. He had little time to adust in taking over as the primary point guard after Parker Jackson-Cartwright left school. The transition has been bumpy at times, but he's getting a feel for it and a head start for his senior season.

 Lots of people wrote off Loyola late in the season, but playing in Division I gives the Cubs an even shot at making it to Sacramento among Centennial, Chino Hills and Mayfair. They're all capable of winning after being put back in Division I following their Open Division experience.

As I've written repeatedly, this is the year of the point guard and there's lots still playing _ Hazzard, Barefield, Lonzo Ball of Chino Hills, Kendall Small of Mayfair, Ian Fox of Redondo, Tyler Dorsey of St. John Bosco, among others. Only one will be the last point guard standing. We'll see who it is.

Eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

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