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Holiday Hoopsgiving: Five-star prospects put on a show

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Ashton Hagans
Courtesy of Adidas

The Holiday Hoopsgiving event has become one of the top high school events in the entire country. A pair of five-star prospects in the 2019 class put on a show as did a trio of 2018 prospects from Montverde.

TRIPLE-DOUBLE FOR HAGANS

As the No. 6 overall prospect in the 2019 class, we expected a lot from Ashton Hagans coming into Friday afternoon’s matchup with Columbia (Ga.). The five-star prospect more than delivered as he recorded a triple-double in the form of 14 points, 14 assists and 12 rebounds.

The most impressive part of Hagans’ game is easily his passing. Not only is he a really talented passer, but he comes off as the type of kid who gets every bit as excited for a teammate to knock down a shot as he does when he gets his own bucket. His vision in transition is terrific, and he’s a great decision maker on when to distribute and when to set up a teammate.

On the recruiting front, Hagans said Kentucky is the newest school to start recruiting him. The Wildcats sent an assistant to watch him play on Friday afternoon. Hagans also mentioned Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia and Georgia Tech as schools he’s in contact with most regularly. He’s visited both Georgia and Georgia Tech recently.

BIG DAY FOR WATFORD

Another five-star prospect in the 2019 class arrived at the Hoopsgiving event ready to put on a show, and that was Trendon Watford from Mountain Brook (Ala.). Norcross (Ga.) doesn’t lose often, and it’s even more rare for them to get beat by 17 points, but that’s exactly what Mountain Brook did in large part because of Watford.

The 6-foot-8 forward plays a lot of different roles for Mountain Brook. He’s the biggest and most athletic player on his team, so he serves as the rim protector at the back of his team’s full court press. Offensively, he played some point forward facilitating to teammates for a ton of corner three-pointers. But in the second half, he decided to look more for his own offense and pumped in 29 points giving the No. 18 prospect in the 2019 class a total of 36 on the day.

Kentucky and Mississippi State had assistant coaches courtside for Watford. He mentioned Alabama, Florida State, LSU, TCU, Auburn, Mississippi State and Indiana as schools involved right now. Virginia Tech offered after Buzz Williams watched him on Friday.

MONTVERDE TRIO MADE GREAT DECISIONS

Montverde Academy (Fla.) is always loaded with prospects, and this year is no different. What really stands out about this group with Duke signee R.J. Barrett, Florida signee Andrew Nembhard and Georgia Tech signee Michael Devoe is how they all made great college decisions.

Let’s be honest about Barrett, it doesn’t matter where he goes. He’ll be one of the top players in college basketball the minute he steps on campus next year. Duke, however, does give him the opportunity to play on the biggest stage in college basketball, which is a win for all college hoops fans.

The Gators needed a point with Chris Chiozza leaving and landed one of the best in the country in Nembhard. The five-star floor general will fit in perfectly with all the shooters around him in Gainesville and Mike White’s uptempo offense will only enhance his skill-set.

Georgia Tech is still building under Josh Pastner, but the Yellow Jackets are making progress. Freshman guard Jose Alvarado is off to a great start this year. Pairing him with four-star guard Devoe next year will solidify the backcourt for the next three years. Both are capable scorers and capable of running the offense, so they should fit perfectly next to each other.

OTHER NOTES

... Jalen Lecque is without question one of the more explosive guards in high school basketball right now. With great size at 6-foot-4 combined with his ability to score and pass, he definitely deserves to be in the five-star conversation, and quite honestly probably needs to be in the conversation for top point guard. Kentucky had eyes on him Friday night.

... Norcross didn’t have its best game, but Brandon Boston played well in the loss. The 6-foot-6 wing with great length showed off his pure jump shot and had some crafty finishes at the rim.

... Buzz Williams spent most of the day at Hoopsgiving and had to be pleased with what he saw out of his 2019 commits, Keyshawn and Kobe Langley. The duo combined for 40 points in the win over Gainesville (Ga.) and scored all the big baskets whenever the game started to get tight.

... Middle Tennessee was another school represented at the Hoopsgiving. Assistant coach Ronnie Hamilton had to pleased with what he saw from Blue Raider signee KJ Buffen. He battled foul trouble throughout, but when he was on the court, he was the most impactful player.