Hoophall Classic: Saturday Recap
With a handful of Division 1 coaches on hand, including St. John’s head coach Steve Lavin, Saturday’s games of the Hoophall Classic at Springfield College saw some major stock risers, some disappointments, and a few new future stars who can be expected to break out in the coming months. With dozens of scouts and writers in attendance, players have the unique opportunity to break out on one of the biggest stages of a hoop season that is never-ending.
Windsor(CT) 61, Springfield Central 55
Springfield Central dominated the offensive glass early on in what was a great group effort, but simply couldn’t buy a bucket in the first quarter of this game. Tyrell Springer (14 points) was the standout player Central, he showed some deep range from way behind the arc with his left-handed stroke, and also made a living off getting to the rim and finishing tough lay-ups. Jared Wilson-Frame solidified his presence with a tough three-pointer to start off the fourth quarter, and continued his strong play on the offensive end, ultimately leading Windsor to the victory. Though Andrew Hurd struggled to make shots in the first half, his floor-general type leadership in the final minute of the game, with a beautiful assist and a lay-up on the next play, followed by a couple free throws to ice the game, were all huge factors in the outcome of the game. Kamari Robinson was in foul trouble for a lot of the second half for Central, but displayed his trademark length and athleticism, constantly pestering Windsor on the offensive glass.
LaVerne Lutheran(CA) 68, St. Patrick’s(NJ) 66
After a somewhat-slow start in the first half, Arizona-bound big man Grant Jerrett(30 points, 12 rebounds) set the tone on both ends of the floor late in the game, ultimately leading his Trojans squad to the overtime win. Of his final totals, Jerrett had 23 points and 10 rebounds in the second half, and had several shot-altering and blocking defensive plays to hold St. Pat’s slashers in check. LaVerne’s 6’3 junior guard Eric Cooper Jr. had a breakout performance and could end up being one of the biggest stock-risers of the weekend thanks to his 17 points and five rebounds. He’s got a quick trigger with nice shooting mechanics, and also showed and increased willingness to finish inside. St. Patrick’s forward Elijah Davis stood out considerably today, scoring in a variety of way from 15 feet and in and showing off his motor and fantastic athleticism.
Gonzaga College HS(D.C) 77, Riverside Academy(LA) 65
Gonzaga’s big man Kris Jenkins(30 points) was both an anchor defensively and a go-to man on offense as they pulled away from Louisiana’s talented Riverside Academy. Jenkins had several baskets on post moves and athletic finishes in the paint; he also knocked down a couple three-pointers and pulled down 11 rebounds. Despite a slow start, UNC-commit Nate Britt had his usual flashes of brilliance in the second half as he displayed a comfort handling with either hand and a playmaking ability only seen in the top point guards in the country. Riverside’s Ricardo Gathers further proved why he is one of the top available recruits in America, using his remarkable combination of upper body strength and coordination to rebound and finish inside shots at a high level. Riverside has a couple of extremely talented young players to keep an eye on in 6’9 eighth-grader Khalea Turner and freshman point guard Charvon Julien, both of whom had plenty of scouts and coaches talking today.
Oak Hill Academy(VA) 85, Prestonwood Christian Academy(TX) 55
In what was the most highly anticipated game of the day, the experienced Oak Hill Academy squad blew the doors off of Julius Randle-led Prestonwood. With eight rebounds and tremendous first-half defense on the highly-touted Randle, AJ Hammons continues to prove more and more the type of immediate impact he has the ability to make once he gets to Purdue. On the offensive end, NC State-commit Tyler Lewis set the tempo the whole game, going 3-4 from behind the three-point line and also dishing out nine assists. Lewis is a coaches’ dream for a point guard: he rarely turns the ball over, pushes the ball whenever possible, doesn’t often miss outside jumpers, and is a great floor leader. In addition, Oak Hill got an impressive performance out of guard Jordan Adams, who scored 25 points on five three-pointers. Adams’ ability to destroy opponents from deep to match his standout athleticism and length give him the ability to shoot for a high percentage because of the confusion he causes for opponents.
Dematha Catholic(MD) 78, Northwest Catholic(CT) 57
With star guard Kuran Iverson going to the bench for a lot of the first half, as well as early in the second half, Northwest Catholic struggled to keep up with the extremely talented Baltimore powerhouse Dematha. As a team, Northwest Catholic struggled immensely from the field, shooting just 32% on field goals thanks mostly to Dematha’s length, strength, and ability to bother NWC with their traps. BeeJay Anya (24 points, 9 rebounds) had one of the most impressive performances of the day and saw his stock soar after a dominating performance where he showed he can score with several different post moves, or use his standout strength and athleticism to get to the rim nearly at will against the overmatched Northwest Catholic squad. Zach Lewis showed a lot of leadership on the offensive end for Northwest Catholic, he knocked down a couple three pointers and had some beautiful dribble-drive finishes inside to lead his team with 23 points.