In a weekend that was highlighted by a big New England Patriots win in the AFC Championship game the Hoophall Classic was filled with talented prospects west of Foxboro in Springfield Massachusetts. Day one of the event featured two upsets as Dematha Catholic (MD) took down previously unbeaten Roselle Catholic (NJ) and Archbishop Carroll (PA) downed a very talented Simeon (IL) team. The top performance on Saturday came from UNLV commit Derrick Jones as he finished with 31 points in a statement game.
In day two of the Hoophall Classic Life Center’s unsigned guards stole the show in a dominant performance over 7-footer Thon Maker and Orangeville Prep (Can). Traci Carter and Malik Ellison combined for 46 points in the blowout win and had the gym buzzing before the big matchup between Huntington Prep (WV) and Our Savior New American (NY). The big matchup ended up being a big blowout for Huntington Prep (WV) despite a huge game from elite prospect Cheick Diallo.
The 2015 Hoophall Classic was the place to be on Martin Luther King Day if you were looking for high-flying dunks, top college coaches, and tightly contested high-energy games. The day began with Constitution, a scrappy Philadelphia squad, against St. Anthony’s, in a game that came down to the final shot in a one point win for St Anthony (NJ) and ended with VJ King putting on a show with 38 points against elite junior prospect Jayson Tatum.
The best games on Monday were the two matchups of top ten teams. Bishop O’Dowd (CA) upset Wheeler (GA) behind monster performances from their senior leaders Paris Austin and Ivan Rabb who held off Jaylen Brown’s 31 point, 12 rebound effort. Bishop O’Dowd’s upset was followed up by a matchup between perennial power Oak Hill Academy (VA) and Carlton Bragg led Villa Angela St Joseph (OH). Despite a heroic effort from Kansas commit Carlton Bragg, Villa Angela St Joseph ended up on the losing end due to Dwayne Bacon’s hot shooting in the Warriors comeback win.
Saturday’s five standout performers
2015 SF Derrick Jones (Archbishop Carroll) The UNLV commit came into this year’s Hoophall classic with something to prove as he led Archbishop Carroll to a win against a very talented Simeon squad. Jones had 31 to go along with 14 rebounds and 3 blocks in the win with a relentless effort on the glass. Jones is one of the top wings in the senior class because of elite athletic ability and his crafty finishing around the rim.
2016 SG Markelle Fultz (Dematha) Fultz led Dematha to the upset over previously unbeaten Roselle Catholic. Throughout the game he showed off his athletic ability attacking the rim hard and finishing with big time dunks. Fultz showed off his mid-range game toward the end as well finishing with 26 points. Fultz’s breakout performance solidified him as a top 50 player in the 2016 class.
2015 PF Horace Spencer (Findlay Prep) Spencer was a force down low for Findlay Prep and Stevenson had no answer for him around the rim. Spencer took advantage of Stevenson’s lack of size with 20 points, 14 rebounds, and 5 blocks on an efficient 10-13 from the field. He is an elite athlete who is relentless on the boards and one of the top shot blockers in the 2015 class. Look for him to make an instant impact next year in the SEC at Auburn.
2015 SG Allonzo Trier (Findlay Prep) Trier is a scoring machine averaging over 30 points per game on the year for Findlay Prep and this game was no different as he finished with 27 points on 10-17 shooting. Trier can do it in a variety of ways with a consistent outside shot and the ability to create his own shot. The Arizona commit is the top scorer in the senior class and showed everyone why on Saturday with an efficient 27 points.
2016 PG Derryck Thornton (Findlay Prep) Thornton had the most impressive defensive effort of the day as he was put up against elite scorer Jalen Brunson. Thornton harassed Brunson in first half play denying him the ball and giving him no open looks when guarding him. Thornton finished with 15 points on the offensive end on 7-9 shooting. The top point guard in the junior class has elite quickness and passing abilities to go along with his active hands and endless motor on defense.
Sunday’s five top performers
2015 PF Cheick Diallo (Our Savior New American) Diallo is an athletic freak who impacts the game in so many different ways around the rim. The things that make him special are his ability to run the floor from end to end and his endless attack of the backboards. Diallo showed his elite potential on Sunday as he totaled 24 points and 9 rebounds in his teams blowout loss. Diallo is a special athlete who is one of the top rebounders and the top post defender in the senior class.
2015 PG Traci Carter (Life Center) Carter solidified himself as the top uncommitted point guard in the senior class against Orangeville Prep. His quickness and leadership abilities were on display throughout as he led his Life Center team to a blowout win over the Canadian side. Carter filled up the stat sheet as he finished with 18 points, 10 assists, 7 rebounds, and 4 steals. College teams who are looking for a point guard on the recruiting trail should look no further than Traci Carter.
2016 PG Curtis Jones (Huntington Prep) Curtis Jones put on a show against Our Savior New American hitting 5 three-point shots in the first half to break the game open for Huntington Prep. Jones finished the game with 27 points going 7-10 from three. Jones showed good game management skills throughout the big win for his team as he protected the ball and was very efficient scoring the ball with a good shot selection.
2015 PG Jalen Adams (Brewster Academy) Adams put on a show against Montverde Prep, filling up the stat sheet with 23 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists on an efficient 9-16 from the field. Adams is a scoring combo guard who showed his good decision making ability and development at the point guard position. Adams could be a starter from day one at Connecticut as he will bring them the scoring threat that they are lacking this year.
2015 SG Malik Ellison (Life Center) Ellison had 28 points, 19 in the first half, against Orangeville Prep showing his shooting touch from deep. Ellison has good size and a good frame at the guard position. His breakout performance could make for a boost in his recruiting late in his senior season. Ellison already has college ready size and range from deep but will need to continue to work on his shot selection from the field.
Monday’s Top Players
2015 SF Ahmad Gilbert (Constitution) George Mason came away with an absolute steal, the smooth wing scored 27 points for Constitution on Monday against perennial power St Anthony. Gilbert showed off his baseline jumper and ability to get to the basketball in the heart breaking loss. Gilbert has a steady mid-range game but still needs to develop into a more consistent three point shooter.
2015 SF Jaylen Brown (Wheeler) Jaylen Brown is a freak athlete who throws it down with the best of them as he finished with 31 points and 12 rebounds. His wide frame and elite athleticism give him the ability to score at will when he gets into the paint. Brown is a hot commodity on the recruiting trail and with Kentucky, UCLA, Kansas, and North Carolina all hoping to be his final destination he will have a tough decision to make in the spring.
2015 PF Ivan Rabb (Bishop O’Dowd) Ivan Rabb completely dominated the paint against an undersized Wheeler squad finishing with 24 points, 14 rebounds, and 5 blocks. Rabb finished well around the rim and had his mid-range jumper going as well. Rabb was fierce on the glass on Monday, fighting for rebounds, and scrapping for every lose ball down low. He is another elite uncommitted player who will have a tough decision in the spring.
2015 PG Paris Austin (Bishop O’Dowd) Paris Austin had a big day on Monday as he finished with 18 points and 9 assists handling Wheeler’s pressure defense throughout. Austin did a great job of being a game manager for O’Dowd as he took control of the ball when the pressure was turning up and things were getting sloppy. Boise State has an absolute steal in Austin who already has experience against top competition.
2015 SG Dwayne Bacon (Oak Hill) Dwayne Bacon is the definition of a volume scorer as he put up 33 points and hit 5 three’s to go along with 8 rebounds. When his teammates started to slow down and let down Dwayne Bacon rose to the occasion hitting one big shot after another down the stretch to will his Warriors to the win. Bacon will give Florida State a lethal scoring threat from day one.
2015 PF Carlton Bragg (Villa Angela St Joseph) Carlton Bragg had a huge game for VASJ, filling the stat sheet with 23 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 blocks. The newest Kansas Jayhawk commit showed great vision dumping it down to his teammate Derek Pardon or kicking it out for open three’s. Bragg hit his midrange shot consistently and was huge on defense containing the Oak Hill big men.
2015 SF Ben Simmons (Montverde Academy) Its no secret Ben Simmons is a special player finishing with 36 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 steals, going 15-24 from the field. Simmons struggled against the length of Bishop Gorman early and played sloppy at times but still managed to put up a staggering 36 points. His skillset is well beyond his years and his willingness to play with others shows his maturity and unselfishness.
2017 SF Charles O’Bannon (Bishop Gorman) Charles O’Bannon carried Bishop O’Dowd in scoring as he finished with 22 points going 7-10 from the field. With three 7-footers on Bishop Gorman O’Bannon gets overlooked at times but Monday was his day hitting big shot after big shot to keep his squad close. Only a sophomore O’Bannon has plenty of room to grow in the coming years and develop into yet another very talented wing at Bishop Gorman.
2016 SF VJ King (Paul VI) VJ King came out with a point to prove Monday as he faced elite 2016 wing Jayson Tatum. King finished with 38 points in a losing effort. He scored in a variety of ways last night, transition buckets, pull-ups, attacking off the bounce and working the glass while showing more athleticism.
2016 SF Jayson Tatum (Chaminade) Tatum led his Chaminade squad to a big win on Monday night over Paul VI as he finished with 25 points and 14 rebounds. What makes Tatum special is his unselfishness and his deadly fade away jumper that is almost impossible to guard. When Jayson Tatum is hitting his fade away jumper, along with his 1-2 dribble pull-up, he is going to have a big night, end of story.
2016 PF Tyler Cook (Chaminade) While Tatum holds down the perimeter, Cook mans the paint in impressive fashion. At 6-9 he can guard out on the perimeter, runs the floor for fast break buckets, has bounce to finish above the rim in traffic and rebounds on both ends. At this pace he will make a big jump in the national rankings.
Other Standout Performers
2018 SF Marvin Bagley (Corona Del Sol) Bagley finished with 17 points and 9 rebounds going 5-8 from the field. Bagley is just a freshman and with his skill set, height and athletic ability there aren’t many high school basketball players with the potential that he has.
2016 SF Tyonne Malone (Putnam Vocational) This would have been the upset of the tournament but Putnam fell short in their double overtime loss to Corona Del Sol. Malone did all he could to lead his team to victory. The junior is active on the glass, has the explosion to finish above the rim and is always in attack mode.
2015 SG Donovan Mitchell (Brewster Academy) Mitchell scored 20 points for Brewster Academy on 8-13 shooting against Montverde Prep. The Louisville commit made simple plays in the win on Sunday but with his athletic ability and development Mitchell has grown into an elite prospect in the senior class.
2015 SG Terance Mann (Tilton) Mann scored 21 points to go along with 4 rebounds and 4 assists in the loss for Tilton. He did a nice job of getting in the lane to finish in traffic and rebounds it well from his position. Mann is committed to Florida State and will have the chance to compete for immediate playing time on a struggling Seminoles program.
2015 SF Brandon Ingram (Kinston) Ingram, one of the countries top unsigned seniors, had 22 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists leading his team to a 2 point lead. He has the ability to create his own shot, finishing with floaters and short pull-ups. His recruiting is still wide open and with long arm span and a Kevin Durant type of body his potential has no limits.
2016 PG Mustapha Heron (Sacred Heart) Heron had 18 points and 5 rebounds in the win over Christ the King. Heron was clearly the best player on the court on Saturday as Sacred Heart got the win. He was tough to stop from getting in the lane and shot it very well with range. Pittsburgh got a good one in the athletic guard.
2015 SG Malachi Richardson (Trenton Catholic) Richardson finished with 25 points and 5 rebounds for Trenton Catholic. The Syracuse commit will thrive in the zone as a 6’ 6” guard he will be able to contest shots and disrupt passing lanes in the 2-3 zone. Offensively he slashes to the basket, gets out in transition and has a improving jumper.
2015 PF Ed Morrow (Simeon) Morrow, the “battle cat” finished with 16 points and 8 rebounds despite being in foul trouble throughout the game against Archbishop Carroll. Morrow is a fierce competitor and his scrappy play on the board sets him apart from other top big men in the 2015 class. He will play at Nebraska next year.
2015 PG Isaiah Briscoe (Roselle Catholic) Briscoe finished with 20 points in a blowout loss to Dematha despite a slow start and a rough shooting performance. Briscoe is a good point guard because he uses his wide frame to his advantage at the guard position and has great game management skills to lead his team. He is yet another elite Kentucky commit.
2015 PG Jalen Brunson (Stevenson) Brunson scored 26 points and went 4-5 from beyond the arc against Findlay Prep who keyed their defensive efforts on him. The Villanova commit didn’t have a big game for his side but being denied the ball throughout the game, 26 points isn’t a bad night. Villanova has yet another elite shooter in Brunson.
Bishop Loughlin (NY) over Newton North (MA) 58-51
Kinston (NC) over Trenton Catholic Academy (NJ) 56-54
Sacred Heart (CT) over Christ the King (NY) 64-51
Archbishop Carroll (PA) over Simeon (IL) 77-68
Dematha Catholic (MD) over Roselle Catholic (NJ) 69-45
Findlay Prep (NV) over Stevenson (IL) 84-58
Corona del Sol (AZ) over Putnam HS (MA) 60-57
Wilbraham & Monson (MA) over Suffield Academy (CT) 62-57
Brewster Academy (NH) over Montverde Academy Prep (FL) 100-69
Life Center (NJ) over Orangeville Prep (NJ) 64-50
Huntington Prep (WV) over Our Savior New American (NY) 75-57
New Hampton (NH) over St Andrew’s (RI) 64-48
Northfield Mt. Hermon (MA) over Tilton (NH) 80-72
St Thomas More (CT) over Vermont Academy (VT) 83-76
St Anthony (NJ) defeated Constitution (PA) 57-56
Bishop O’Dowd (CA) defeated Wheeler (GA) 79-70
Oak Hill Academy (VA) defeated Villa Angela St Joseph (OH) 76-72
Montverde Academy (FL) defeated Bishop Gorman (NV) 76-57
Chaminade (MO) defeated Paul VI (VA) 88-78