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Cassidy's Takeaways: Early impressions from the Hoophall Classic

Cooper Flagg
Cooper Flagg (

SPRINGFIELD, Mass – The Hoophall Classic has long been known as one of the most star-studded events of the high school basketball calendar. The 2023 installment of the celebrated event is under way and living up to the lofty standard it’s built for itself over time. Rob Cassidy was on hand for all of Friday’s action at the showcase and shares his takeaways from the day that was in Western Massachusetts below.


Rivals Roundtable: Looking ahead to the 2023 and 2025 rankings updates

2023 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2024 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team

2025 Rankings: Top 40

Transfer Portal: Latest news




In most years, Cooper Flagg would sit unscathed atop the Rivals150. His current No. 2 slot is a product of a loaded 2025 class that includes tantalizing talent and current top sophomore Cameron Boozer. That said, Flagg isn’t taking a back seat quietly. The Montverde Academy star has the upside to take the No. 1 spot down the road and reminded everyone of that fact with a 21-point, five-rebound, five-steal performance Saturday evening.

The 6-foot-8 Flagg showed his full range of skill in his team’s blowout win over La Lumiere. His stroke from three-point range was present and his bag of post maneuvers, ball-handling prowess and ability to play above the rim were accounted for as well. His 21 points came via an 8-for-10 shooting effort that included three 3-pointers and a thunderous dunk that brought the crowd to its feet.

Counting Flagg out when it comes to the battle for top billing would be unwise to say the least, as the sophomore’s versatility and ceiling are unmatched, even by the more physically developed Boozer. As for his recruitment, Flagg says Duke, which he once called a dream school, is still very much involved, but other options are emerging … even if he declines to name them.

“I’ve talked to Duke a little bit, but coach [Jon] Scheyer can’t contact me yet, so you know,” Flagg said. “It’s a dream school, obviously, but there are still so many other options I want to look into and all that. I’m not sure which options, but there are plenty of them that I want to look into.”



Ian Jackson and his Cardinal Hayes High School team won't take the floor until Sunday night, but buzz about the five-star junior’s fast-moving recruitment was everywhere on Saturday. Those in the know have long suspected that a commitment could be coming soon, and now it seems as though the New York-based star could be committed to the school of his choice by early next week.

Sources indicate that Jackson and his team have been kicking around the idea of a Monday or Tuesday announcement in the wake of recent official visits to North Carolina and Arkansas. Nobody seems certain of where Jackson may land at this juncture, but the buzz in Springfield on Saturday indicated that UNC and Kentucky are the main players as we head toward a probable commitment. Things should clear up further – at least from an announcement date perspective — on Sunday night, when Jackson addresses reporters following Cardinal Hayes’ game against Imhotep Charter scheduled for 9 p.m. ET.



Aaron Bradshaw
Aaron Bradshaw (

Good basketball days in Lexington aren't as common as they once were, but Saturday represented one. First, head coach John Calipari coached the unranked Wildcats to an upset victory over No. 5 Tennessee. Shortly thereafter, Calipari flew up to Springfield to watch 2023 signees Aaron Bradshaw and DJ Wagner in action from the baseline.

The UK head coach had to like what he saw upon his arrival. Bradshaw and Wagner combined for 42 points on 17-of–30 shooting, as their Camden (N.J.) High School team dropped a tight game to Duke signee Jared McCain and his Corona (Calif.) Centennial squad. And while the loss certainly stung, the high-level individual performance was a much needed one for Wagner, who has looked a bit inconsistent on the offensive end at times this season. Meanwhile, Bradshaw continues to flourish as an offensive weapon, adding new dimensions to his game and scoring the ball in nearly every possible way.

Wagner’s 27-point, six-rebound effort was one of the day’s most impressive stat lines and reminded at least a bit of vintage Wagner, who was the undisputed No. 1 prospect in the 2023 when the rankings debuted a few years back.

The future of Kentucky basketball is still less stable than anyone in Lexington would like, but, at least for 24 hours or so, things were undisputedly good. These days, that’s worth a lot.




Jayden Reid
Jayden Reid (

At just 5-foot-10, Jayden Reid’s long-term upside is probably limited, but there’s absolutely no doubt that the Long Island Lutheran point guard could help any number of upper-echelon mid-major programs and even a few high-majors. That was crystal clear as the Rivals150 guard spent Saturday absolutely taking apart an Oak Hill team stocked with college-bound talent to the tune of 15 points, seven assists and four steals.

Reid’s quickness is his calling card, and it manifests itself on both ends of the floor. He’s lethal off the dribble and is constantly terrorizing passing lanes. Reid’s court vision was the star of the show for much of Saturday’s game, however as his gaudy assists total included a few head-turning passes and came with just three turnovers. Reid impacts winning in a number of ways and should have more opportunities than he does at the current moment.

After the game, Reid said VCU is his priority school as things stand and he hopes to take an official visit in the near future. Reid intends to play spring AAU ball and see if additional offers arrive. For now,. However, the Rams seem to be the school to watch when it comes to the under-recruited guard.

“Visiting VCU is definitely No. 1 on my list right now,” Reid said. “They are the priority. They are telling me they need another guard to run the show with Ace Baldwin and they think I could help do that.”



Jamier Jones
Jamier Jones (

Jamier Jones’ recruitment is still very much in its infancy. In fact, the class of 2025 five-star hasn’t yet even really begun to collect the long list of offers that will eventually be listed under his name. That’s not to say recruiting wheels aren’t already in motion, however, as a recent offer from Houston seems to have quickly and solidly grabbed the IMG Academy sophomore’s attention.

“I have a Houston unofficial coming up soon, but I haven’t got a date yet,” Jones said on Saturday. “We’re working on one right now. It should be soon.”

Jones admits that Houston’s current standing as the No. 1 team in the country has added to his excitement level and says the momentum head coach Kelvin Sampson has built will allow the Cougars to be a long-term player in his recruitment. That said, his recruitment remains wide open. Programs such as Arkansas, Texas Tech and Florida are also in preliminary contact and could offer down the road.