Wednesday, January 21, 2015

2015 Hoophall Classic Review

This past weekend the top high school basketball talent in the country came together in Springfield, Massachusetts for the 2015 Hoophall Classic.  More than 54 teams from 20 states and 1 Canadian province came to play over the course of 5 days.  On day five, games were televised live on ESPNU and included many of the best games.  The 2015 Hoophall Classic also involved many players from the ESPN100 including 14 of the 25 top players in the ESPN 100.  The whole weekend was filled with exciting dunks, plays, and thrilling games.  Below we will provide recaps of the games and our picks of the best players from the tournament.

Archbishop Carroll High School (PA) vs. #22 Simeon High School (IL)
Saturday's third game was a matchup between #22 Simeon and Archbishop Carroll.  Carroll has a team led by the 22nd ranked senior Derrick Jones.  He ended up leading them to a 77-68 victory with his 31 point performance.  Simeon tried to counteract Archbishop Carroll's play, but fell short down the stretch.  Ed Morrow the 62nd ranked senior led Simeon with 16 points and 8 rebounds.  All in all, Carroll's Derrick Jones led them to a win over the 24th ranked team in the country to start the trend of upsets over the weekend.

#19 DeMatha Catholic High School (MD) vs. #4 Roselle Catholic High School
This matchup was primed to be a great one.  #19 DeMatha who is loaded with talent and led by their great coach Mike Jones, was ready to square off with #4 Roselle Catholic who has the #13 player in the country Isaiah Briscoe.  In the first half, DeMatha pounced on RC and took a commanding 39-22 lead into the locker room.  At the half Markelle Fultz had already scored 17 points and was ready to lead his team to the upset over the #4 team in the country.  The second half seemed to be played the same way as the first, DeMatha rolled right over Roselle Catholic.  They were led with their high energy defense which held Isaiah Briscoe to 20 points while shooting 8/16 from the field.  Roselle Catholic shot the ball at a dismal 33% from the field while having trouble breaking down DeMatha's defense.  Markelle Fultz finished with 25 points while sophomore teammate DJ Harvey added in 13 points to help knock off #4 Roselle Catholic in a dominating fashion.

#13 Adlai E. Stevenson High School (IL) vs. #1 Findlay College Prep (NV)
Jalen Brunson and Stevenson High School were dealt a bad hand of cards this weekend.  They were the ones who had to play the #1 team in the country Findlay Prep.  Right from the star Findlay proved they were the best team in the country with a 20-12 first quarter.  Through the middle section of the game they let Stevenson hang, but once again they took care of business in the fourth quarter.  They closed the game out with a dominant 27-13 fourth.  Findlay was led by Allonzo Trier (#17 in the ESPN100) who dominated with a 27 point performance.  Horace Spencer (#55 in the ESPN100) also had a huge game with 20 points and 15 rebounds.  On the other hand, Stevenson's Jalen Brunson (#23 in the ESPN100) finished with 26 points in his shortcoming against Findlay.  This game proved that not even one of the nation's top teams can play with Findlay Prep at this point, they are that good.

Putnam Vocational Technical Academy (MA) vs. #18 Corona Del Sol High School (AZ)
The #1 team from Massachusetts was faced with a tough task on Saturday night.  They had to play the 13th ranked team in the country and defend 6'10" freshman Marvin Bagley III.  Not only did Putnam keep up with them, they almost pulled off the upset.  Right from the tip it seemed like Putnam wanted the game more than Corona Del Sol.  They were diving on the floor for loose balls and pushing it up on the fast break every chance they got.  They were even able to find a way to slow down Corona's freshman phenom.  Putnam was led by junior standout Tyonne Malone who racked up  21 points.  In the late stages of the game it was evident Putnam had a chance to pull off the upset.  Then, the games was sent to overtime.  In overtime Corona Del Sol finished off their opponent with a 5-2 score in extra time.  They finished the game with a 60-57 victory.  Marvin Bagley III and Dane Kupier both led the team with 17 points.

Brewster Academy (NH) vs. Montverde Academy Prep (FL)
When fans strolled in Sunday morning they expected this game to be one of the best of the weekend.  Instead they got a 100-69 blowout win from Brewster.  Their confusion was this, Montverde Academy has a regular team, then this prep team.  Their regular team is ranked #2 in the country, yet the prep team is un-ranked.  So instead of seeing a matchup loaded with future college stars, they saw a one sided affair.  Brewster's backcourt absolutely dominated in this matchup.  Their backcourt is composed of some of the best guards in the country soon to be heading off to the top colleges in the country.  They were led by Jalen Adams (UConn), David Crisp (Washington), Donnovan Mitchell (Louisville), and Justin Simon (Arizona).  Playing in front of his home crowd, Massachusetts native Jalen Adams dominated with 23 points.  Multiple times the crowd let out "OOHH's" and "AHH's" as he glided across the court and simply dropped in bucket after bucket and dime after dime.  Jalen Adams is going to be a star at UConn next year for sure due to his full package of skills.  Brewster was also led by Donnovan Mitchell who finished with 20 points and several dunks and nice drives to the basket.  Overall, Brewster glided by Montverde Prep untested.

Life Center Academy (NJ) vs. Orangeville Prep (Ontario)
Thon Maker was the talk of the Hoophall Classic coming into his game on Sunday.  The 7'0" big finished with 23 points, yet his performance was very disappointing.  It seemed the hype surrounding him was just to much.  There was no way Thon Maker could actually be that good.  He helped prove that point in Orangeville's 64-50 loss.  Maker was not all that impressive.  He did not finish around the hoop, rebound, or defend that well in the early stages of the game.  He was also pushed around in the paint numerous times.  It was not until late in the game that he seemed to play up to a little of his hype.  On the other hand, Life Center Academy's back court of Malik Ellenson and Traci Carter came into the game with no hype.  Yet, they were they ones who shone brightly.  Ellenson dominated in the first half with 19 points to help boost his team to an early 34-14 lead.  He ended up finishing with 28 points total.  Throughout the game, Carter proved the steadier guard and racked up 18 points, 10 assists, and 7 rebounds.  Life Center Academy taught Thon Maker and crew a valuable lesson this weekend; talk is cheap.  Instead of feeling intimidation from one of the nation's top prospects, they came out and attacked them in order to achieve a 64-50 win.

Our Savior New American (NY) vs. Huntington St. Joseph Prep (WV)
Although this matchup was close at first, Huntington Prep took control of the game as it moved along.  Both sides of this matchup were loaded with talent though.  Check Diallo (#7 in the ESPN100), Damon Wilson (#73 in the ESPN 100), and Davon Dillard were ready to face off with Huntington Prep's Thomas Bryant (#22 in the ESPN 100), Ted Kapita (#40 in the ESPN100), and Miles Bridges (#7 in the junior class).  Although this matchup was loaded with notable names, it was the little guy that pushed Huntington Prep to victory.  Junior guard Curtis Jones scored 28 points on 7-10 three point shooting.  It seemed any shot he threw up had a chance to go through the hoop, even when he had a defender draped all over him.  Jones, only ranked 53rd in the Junior class definitely raised his stock with his performance in this game.  He did it in front of the nation's top college coaches and scouts like Kentucky's John Calapari. Although New American came up short, 76-57, their star Check Diallo still shined brightly.  He finished with 24 points and 9 rebounds.  His high motor play was put on display during this game as he was the first player to get up and down the floor every time, and he also put on a show with his display of dunks.  Coming out of halftime, Huntington Prep pushed their lead to a commanding 40-26 in order to runaway to their Hoophall win.  Overall, they shot the lights out and ultimately outplayed their opponent.  

#19 St. Anthony High School (NJ) vs. Constitution High School (PA)
Coach Bob Hurley's legendary St. Anthony Friars' kicked off Monday's full slate of games with a thriller.  After the first quarter, Hurley's squad was up 18-17, and after the 2nd 29-27.  At halftime it was evident that this game was going to be decided in the final minutes or even seconds.  That exact thing did happen.  With just seconds left, Constitution was down 57-56 and had the ball.  Their 6'7" swingman Ahmad Gilbert pushed the ball up the court and heaved up a prayer right in front of the hoop.  His shot bounced out of the hoop and fell short from delivering an upset over St. Anthony's.  Gilbert finished the game with a dominating 27 points.  After the game he and Bob Hurley exchanged a lengthy talk that seemed to be light hearted and positive for the young stud heading to play college ball at George Mason next year.   St. Anthony's scoring load was spread out between Markis McDuffie (Wichita State Commit) with 12 points, RJ Cole had 12, and Jagan Mosely added in 15.  A classic game by St. Anthony's; their scoring load spread out evenly between all their stars.  Although Constitution put up a fight, #19 St. Anthony escaped to a 57-56 victory.

#3 Wheeler High School (GA) vs. #10 Bishop O'Dowd High School (CA)
This was easily the most exciting matchup of the weekend.  The #2 player in the country, Jaylen Brown, versus the #5 player in the country, Ivan Rabb.  From the tip off, Brown dominated.  In the first half he had 19 points to give his team a 38-37 lead going into the half.  He seemed to score the ball every way you can.  Outside, inside, midrange, dunks, and even shots over defenders.  Not only did he score the ball though, he also grabbed rebounds to help his team out.  His teammate Shembari Phillips also had something to add.  The Tennessee commit drove the lane on a fast break and delivered the dunk of the weekend.  Phillips leaped off the floor like it was a springboard and launched over the defender to deliver a poster dunk for the ages.  This dunk sparked the Wheeler team on a mini run to extend their lead.  After halftime, Bishop O'Dowd seemed to play a better and cleaner game.  Ivan Rabb, who was unusually quiet in the first half, picked up pace in the later stages of the game to lead his team to a 79-70 win.  He finished the game with 24 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 blocks.  His teammate Paris Austin also delivered a great game to help push their team to victory.  He finished with 18 points and helped create open looks for teammates all night long.  In the second half, Wheeler's offense slowed down and they stopped pushing the ball on the break.  Although their offense slowed down, breakout Cameron Jordan did not.  He finished with 14 points, but showed many that he deserves more attention when it comes to college scholarships.  On the other hand, Jaylen Brown did slow down a little.  Down the stretch he did not execute at the same rate he was earlier on in the game.  Although they lost the game, Brown still was happy with his performance.  He finished with 31 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.  This matchup between top ten teams and top five players lived up to the hype and proved to be one of the most entertaining games of the weekend.

#6 Oak Hill Academy (VA) vs. #11 Villa Angela St. Joseph (OH)
St. Joseph's got out to an early 23-16 lead over the #6 team in the country in Oak Hill.  Before the game their coach Babe Kwasniak wondered if they could even play with the Warriors of Oak Hill.  Not only did they play with them, they gave them a run for their money.  Carlton Bragg of St. Joe's played a great game along with fellow big Dereck Pardon.  Bragg (Kansas) and Pardon (Northwestern) dominated in the paint in the early half of the game.  But as the game went on they were slowed down.  Togther, they only scored 4 points in the fourth quarter.  While they struggled, Oak Hill's Dwayne Bacon dominated.  He single handily brought his team to victory.  It seemed every shot he threw up would fall down, no matter how far away from the hoop he was.  Bacon finished with 33 points and 8 rebounds.  Not only did he dominate at Hoophall, he also dominated at the Bass Pro Shops invitational over the weekend to lead Oak Hill to the title of that tournament.  I guess you could say it was a pretty good weekend for the Florida State commit.  Although St. Joe's gave Oak Hill a game, in the end they came up short.  Bragg finished with 23 points and also showed off his passing ability.  Pardon finished with 15 points.  Villa Angela St. Joseph found out that they can play with the nation's best on Monday, but they now want to find out they can beat the nation's best.  But for now Oak Hill says until next time with their 76-72 victory.

#2 Montverde Academy (FL) vs. Bishop Gorman High School (NV)
This game was full of promise before it started.  The top player in the country, Ben Simmons was ready to face off with the #9 player, Chase Jeter, and the #10 player Stephen Zimmerman.  The first half of this game was unexpectedly sloppy.  Combined both teams committed 29 turnovers in the first half.  Usually we see players slipping on the sticker at half court, not slipping the ball through their hands.  Montverde went into the locker room up 5 points, but blasted out of the half and ended up wining 76-57.  Ben Simmons dominated the game with his scoring, passing, and even just his presence.  He finished with 36 points and 9 rebounds, and received a standing ovation when he came to the bench at the end of the game.  Although you would expect the same big performance from Gorman's top players, you won't find it.  Jeter and Zimmerman were held to a combined 14 points.  Instead, it was sophomore guard Charles O'Bannon Jr. that played a great game.  He finished with 22 points in their losing effort.  Although the play in the second half was cleaned up, it was still not too enjoyable.  The only thing that was, was Ben Simmon's controlling performance.

Annnddd that's a wrap on our recap of the games.  But we've decided to provide you with three more pieces.  An all tournament team, a mixtape, and a prediction for the top players in the 2015 class.

Buzzer Beater Basketball's Hoophall First Team
1. Ben Simmons  G/F  Montverde Academy  36 points and 9 rebounds
2. Jaylen Brown  G/F  Wheeler High School  31 points and 12 rebounds
3. Dwayne Bacon  G   Oak Hill Academy      33 points and 8 rebounds
4. Allonzo Trier      G  Findlay Prep                27 points
5. Horace Spencer  F   Findlay Prep                20 points and 15 rebounds

Buzzer Beater Basketball's Hoophall Second Team
1. Jalen Adams      G      Brewster Academy          23 points
2. Malik Ellenson  G/F   Life Center Academy      28 points
3. Traci Carter       G      Life Center Academy      18 points, 10 assists, and 7 rebounds
4. Ivan Rabb          F/C   Bishop O'Dowd               24 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 blocks
5. Check Diallo     F/C   OSNA High School         24 points and 9 rebounds

Buzzer Beater Basketball's Hoophall Third Team
1. Curtis Jones               G   Huntington Prep                28 points 7-10 3pt
2. Donnovan Mitchell   G   Brewster Academy            20 points
3. Jalen Brunson            G   Stevenson High School     26 points
4. Ahmad Gilbert           F   Constitution High School  27 points
5. Charles O'Bannon     G   Bishop Gorman                  22 points

Buzzer Beater Basketball's Hoophall Classic Mixtape

Are Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb Going to Team Up in College?
After Monday's game between #2 Jaylen Brown and #5 Ivan Rabb, the two met on the set of ESPNU.  There they sat down and were interviewed by their crew of guys.  But after they went upstairs at Springfield College and talked privately.  Now hmmmm... What could two top players be talking about up there?  Well Brown has offers from Kansas, Kentucky, and UCLA.  Wait, so does Ivan Rabb.  So maybe these two were talking about a possible college duo of Brow and Rabb at those respective schools.  Later that night, Brown posted a picture of him and Rabb on his Instagram.  Maybe this is just an overreaction to two high school players hanging out, or maybe its a future duo just like Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor formed at Duke this year.  Only time will tell, as these top prospects aren't expected to commit until springtime.

No comments:

Post a Comment