football Edit

Cassidy's Takeaways: Day 1 of the Hoophall West Invitational

Isiah Harwell
Isiah Harwell

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The 2023 edition of the Hoophall West Invitational is underway in the desert, and Friday featured a handful of games that showcased college-bound prospects. Rivals national recruiting director Rob Cassidy was on hand for all the action in Arizona and shares his takeaways from the evening that was below.


Rivals Roundtable: Early impressions of the college hoops season

2024 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2025 Rankings: Rivals150

2026 Rankings: Top 65

Transfer Portal: Latest news | Portal player ranking/transfer tracker (hoops) | Portal player ranking/transfer tracker (football)



Return Trip to Gonzaga will be pivotal for five-star Isiah Harwell 

Officially, five-star guard Harwell has a final nine of North Carolina, Gonzaga, Baylor, Houston, Texas, UCLA, Cal, Alabama and Idaho State. Not all of those programs stand on level footing, however, as the Wasatch Academy star has only visited Chapel Hill and Spokane thus far.

As Harwell prepares for his second trip to Gonzaga, which is already on the schedule for Feb. 3, it’s certainly beginning to seem as though the visit will be a prime opportunity for Mark Few’s Bulldogs to separate themselves from the pack and, most notably, the Tar Heels.

“Gonzaga recruited my oldest brother a while back,” Harwell said following helping his team to a win with a 14-point, eight-rebound performance on Friday, “He ended up at Boise State, but I built a relationship with Gonzaga through that. I’m going back there again and want to be more involved now. I want to really hang out with the team more and see how they work.”

Harwell also has a visit to Cal on the schedule, and programs such as Baylor, Alabama, Texas and UCLA shouldn’t be counted out completely. For now, however, it certainly seems as though Gonzaga and North Carolina stand tall as the major players.

“North Carolina has been my dream school growing up,” Harwell said. “My trip there was amazing. Just having a chance to sit down and have a conversation with Hubert Davis and the other coaches was special. Also, they’re playing [well]. They’re playing team basketball– moving the ball, Elliot [Cadeau] is really slinging it around and getting people involved, They look good.”

Harwell has set no timetable for a decision and says not to expect a commitment anytime soon, though he declined to rule out a possible spring announcement.


Jaion Pitt has Oregon’s attention 

Class of 2025 forward Jaion Pitt busted his way into the Rivals150 last month and currently sits at No. 120 in the rankings. The 6-foot-7 junior backed up his new tag on Friday by turning in a head-turning 18-point, six-rebound performance for Arizona’s Canyon International Academy in a narrow loss.

Pitt, who finished the night 7-for-15 from the floor, runs the court well, but his ability to use his strong upper body to get to his spots and showcase touch around the rim and from the mid-range led to his big night. Pitt is poised to creep further up the Rivals150 in the next update and could take a particularly large jump should he become a more consistent three-point shooter.

Even now, however, Pitt’s upside is obvious enough that he holds a handful of high-major offers, and an even longer list of programs have started kicking the tires on his recruitment.

“Utah State, Oregon, UCLA a little bit and some other schools are talking to me a lot. Actually, Oregon is the school talking to me the most I’d say.

“The [Oregon] coaches have just been telling me a little bit about the team and how they play and how I fit with their defensive energy.”

The Ducks offered Pitt a scholarship years ago, before the talented forward had played his first high school game. Oregon head coach Dana Altman and his staff have only recently started to press in his recruitment, however. According to Pitt, he and the Ducks staff have begun casually about a possible future visit but nothing is on the schedule as of yet.

“They mentioned it,” Pitt said. “We haven't set it up yet, but we talked about me possibly going up there.”



Ohio State-bound Mobley goes off 

Ohio State commit John Mobley Jr’s 6-foot-nothing build sometimes gets him overlooked in discussions about high-upside guards, but his consistent production is what matters to Buckeyes fans. And, on the production front, only a few high school guards can hold a candle to the Wasatch Academy star.

Friday saw Mobley showcase a beefed-up upper-body and dictate pace from start to finish as he systematically took apart Arizona Compass Prep with a performance that saw him rack up 22 points on a 9-for-16 shooting effort that included three 3-pointers.

The future Buckeye’s big night wasn’t just a scoring show, however, as he avoided turnovers and showed improved composure as a ball-handler and an improved motor on the defensive end, where he terrorized passing lanes and came up with a pair of steals. The individual performance was one of the event’s most complete efforts. Mobley’s development – both physically and from a skill perspective – should give Buckeyes fans plenty to look forward to.