HoopHall - Top Upperclassmen Performances
For the next two days we're going to take a look back at the 2017 HoopHall Classic and dissect some of the best individual performances we saw from local New England talent. Here's a look at the best of the upperclassmen:
- Tremont Waters, Notre Dame-West Haven (CT) - His stat line (29 points, 7 assists, 5 steals, 4 rebounds) was extremely impressive but didn't tell anywhere near the entire story. The buttom line is that Waters had his fingerprints on almost every aspect of Notre Dame's win over one of the most talented teams in the greater New York City area - which featured three sure fire high-major prospects in Cole Anthony, Moses Brown, and Khalid Moore. It wasn't just his tough shot-making, or the timeliness of it, but the way in which he pulled the strings of the entire show for Notre Dame. He allowed others to get involved, showed no frustration when they tried shots they shouldn't, and in so doing gave them confidence to make plays down the stretch. In short, it may have been the single most impactful performance we've seen him deliver.
- Jimmy Boeheim & Grant Robinson, New Hampton School (NH) - On a team loaded with returning veterans and mid-to-high-major recruits alike, neither Boeheim nor Robinson was celebrated upon their arrival in September. For Boeheim, Sunday's 21 point, 6 rebound performance on 8-11 shooting was consistent with what we've seen since his arrival as he's exceeded expectations while providing a southpaw who can space the floor with his shooting range, play a heady mistake-free style, and yet still have a wilingness to mix it up physically inside the lane. For Robinson - who stuffed all columns of the stat sheet with 8 points, 11 assists, and 6 rebounds - this performance was well deserved and weeks in the making. A hard-worker and lock down defender, he was expected to step-up in December when Kristers Zoriks returned to Latvia, but missed that opportunity when an injury coincided with Zoriks' absence.
- Jaecee Martin, Weaver - The thing about being undersized is that the assumption is going to be that your game doesn't translate to higher levels of competition, until you prove that it does. The only way to prove it is to have success against not just top talent, but also big size. The CIAC, nor any state association in New England, doesn't provide many of those opportunities, but a match-up against Roselle Catholic does. Martin walked away with 23 points, 7 assists, and 6 steals as he showed an ability to change the game with his size, by getting under opposing ball-handlers to create offense from his defense, and then his speed, once he was able to get out in the open floor.
- Malik Ondigo, Putnam Science - Truth be told it was probably Putnam's guards, Eric Ayala and Jaheam Cornwall, that were most responsible for the win, at least until the last 5 seconds of the game when Ondigo sealed it with the block shown below. The ending was fitting for the post-graduate big man, who has shown tremendous growth since his arrival in September, and is now making himself an important part of PSA's attack. His block literally decided the game but his offensive contributions (13 points) and overall motor were noteworthy as well.
- Joe Kasperzyk, Hillhouse - The unsigned senior guard had a very solid showing in the final game of the weekend, scoring 21 points on a series of tough open floor drives and pull-ups to lead Hillhouse to a win over hometown Springfield Central. What was even more impressive though was his work on the defensive end of the floor as he picked up 7 steals and literally jumped over an opposing guard to come up with an explosive block in transition.