Hall of Fame Spring Classic Event Recap
The Hall of Fame Spring Classic got underway on Saturday with over 200 teams in action from Springfield to Amherst.
In the seventeen-and-under division both CBC and Expressions plowed their way through pool play with a potential Sunday match-up looming on the horizon for Sunday while out of the region teams like Next Level (Illinois) and Brookwood Elite (Canada) also made good showings.
Drive 4 Stardum provided one of the best local stories of the day as they came up with wins over Westside Terriers and WB Express to advance to the gold bracket. Tyler Verotto led the way with 22 points over WB Express, showing a versatile scoring game along with some high level athleticism around the rim.
The Nation’s Harry Rafferty provided the best individual performance we saw on Saturday, catching fire from behind the arc and lighting up the nets for six three-pointers and 31 points. A pure shooter with a super smooth southpaw release, Rafferty didn’t just impress with his jumper but also showed off a much improved physique after adding noticeable cut and muscle mass to play through contact with more consistency.
One of the best games of the day saw the New England Cyclones knock off LOX 79-74. While the game went back and forth for all 32 minutes it was also an entertaining individual match-up between two powerful swingmen in Tom Garrick and Jeff Amazon who finished with 23 and 22 respectively. Unfortunately for the local fans, neither team advanced to the Gold Bracket as Syracuse Select proved too ominous a foe.
Another entertaining one on one battle saw Stefon Williams and Maurice Taylor go blow for blow as the Rhode Island Hawks fought off Prodigy basketball. Williams scored a number of big baskets for the Hawks in crunch time while Taylor stood out with his all around game, putting up big numbers in the scoring column while having coaches talking of his long term potential thanks to his size and length. Also impressive for the Hawks was Robert Lewis, who dropped 22 over BV Chaos earlier in the day, while Sam Donahue stood out as a guy who has improved greatly in the last year.
Despite running into a tough Brookwood Elite team to start the day, Metro Boston looks like a team to be reckoned with come July thanks to the frontcourt tandem of Macam Bak Macam and Jesse Chuku. Two long and high level athletes, Macam and Chuku both get all over the rim with ease and are also relatively skilled for their size.
Also playing well in the u17 division was Connecticut Elite’s Jamill Powell, who went for 22 points over Rockland Express, and BasketBull’s John Basile who showed his high I.Q. and crafty feel for the game to the tune of 19 points vs. WB Express.
The prospectus for the sixteen-and-under field was similar to the seventeens as CBC and Expressions could very well be on a crash course for Sunday’s championship.
Jared Terrell surprised no one by being a man among boys in this age group for Expressions while Ikemefuna Ngwudo, Duby Maduegbunam, and Cornelius Tyson led the Supporting cast.
CBC debuted a new squad that should be a force to be reckoned with through the summer. Sean Obi anchors the middle and is surrounded by some serious firepower on the perimeter in Kahlil Dukes, Jared Wilson-Frame, and Levy Gillespie Jr., but most impressive was freshman Quincey McKnight who has all the tools to be a high level prospect down the road.
We also got a quick glimpse of a New England Cyclones u16 team that has done some damage this spring and Aaron Calixte continues to impress in the backcourt while Isiah Robinson stood out as a young big man with a powerful body and good motor.
The Spring Classic was set to resume on Sunday with championships rounds in the u17 division being played at Amherst College, the u16s being played out at Westfield State, and the u15 crown to be decided at Holyoke Community College.