Hoophall Classic: Bossi's Sunday Blog
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. --One of the crown jewels of High School Basketball, the Hoophall Classic features many of the game's top college prospects. Follow along with Rivals.com national analyst Eric Bossi who details Sunday's top performers and news in a live blog from the event.
MONTVERDE BACKS UP STATUS AS TOP TEAM IN AMERICA
Not that there was a lot of doubt as to Montverde (Fla.) Academy's status as the top team in America, but they sure backed it up during an impressive wire to wire win over a stacked Bradenton (Fla.) IMG team on national television.
As usual, Montverde was led by Oklahoma State bound Cade Cunningham. The 6-foot-7 point guard didn't have his best day ever shooting the ball. But he was outstanding on the glass, as a passer and as a defender. There's so much to talk about with Cunningham's excellence that as hard as it may be to believe, he is as good defensively as he is with any other part of the game. Pencil him in as the likely favorite for Big 12 Player of the Year and a potential first team All-American next year. He finished with 18 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
The surrounding cast around Cunningham is pretty ridiculous too and you never know who will step up. On Sunday night, Arkansas bound Moses Moody had by far his best game of the four Montverde contests I've seen in person this winter. When he's making shots from deep and engaged defensively like he was this evening, he is quite valuable and that's what Eric Musselman will be expecting of him next season. Moody was good for 16 points and three rebounds.
Also playing well for Montverde were Florida State bound Scottie Barnes (16 points, five rebounds and five assists), North Carolina bound Day'Ron Sharpe was a monster on the glass (eight points and 12 rebounds in 23 minutes) and top 25 sophomore Caleb Houstan who added 13 points.
For IMG, 2022 five-star Brandon Huntley-Hatfield showed why he's ranked in the top 10 of his class and was their most reliable player on Sunday. He drained a handful of threes, was active running the floor and got to the free throw line. Once he learns to use his size and athleticism a bit more, it could be a wrap. He's seen Kentucky, Memphis and Ole Miss in recent months.
COLLEGE COACHES OUT IN FORCE FOR HOOPHALL
With a light slate of games on Sunday, a pretty sizeable group of college coaches have made their way to the Hoophall.
Among the head coaches that I've seen are Roy Williams of North Carolina, Dave Leitao of DePaul, Tommy Amaker of Harvard and Mike Young of Virginia Tech.
Brown, Clemson, Kansas, Louisville, Marquette, Maryland, Memphis, Missouri State, Pittsburgh, Robert Morris, Texas Tech, Saint Joseph's, St. John's, Vanderbilt, Washington State and more.
JALEN GREEN AND PROLIFIC OUTLAST LA LUMIERE
Another big stage, another big time outing for 2020's No. 3 ranked player Jalen Green. Currently locked in a furious battle with No. 2 Cade Cunningham and No. 1 Evan Mobley for the top spot in the senior class, the smooth scorer dropped an effortless 26 points, five assists and five rebounds and only needed 11 shots to do it.
Green looks like he was put on the planet to score the ball and he continues to be more and more clutch. La Lumiere was mounting a furious comeback and he rose up to hit a dagger three from the top of the key. Auburn, Fresno State, Memphis, Oregon and USC continue to pursue him and Green reiterated again that he wants to go to college and isn't interested in playing professionally overseas.
Speaking of La Lumiere, they fought and scrapped to keep in the game and then Purdue bound Jaden Ivey did all he could to take over and push them ahead. He hit a few clutch threes, got to the free throw line and really pushed his teammates to take their play up another level. Looking ahead, I've got no doubts that he'll be a bucket getter for Matt Painter, but the area where he could really flourish is on the defensive end. The tools to be a high end Big Ten defender are all there if he wants to be.
La Lu sophomore wing Kamari Lands did some nice things as well. A wing with size who can also play some at the four, he's learning better shot selection and not surprisingly the shots are going down easier. He's a good athlete, plays with effort and keeps getting better. Texas Tech just jumped in with an offer while DePaul and Xavier has been in there for a while.
SUNRISE CHRISTIAN DELIVERS DOMINANT PERFORMANCE
The game between Bel Aire (Kans.) Sunrise Christian and Phoenix (Ariz.) Hillcrest Prep should have been a great one with loads of talent on each team. Sunrise ended any hopes of that early on with a thoroughly dominant 91-48 win where they made a sizzling 15-24 from three.
Leading the way was junior post Zach Clemence who can really shoot the ball from deep (6-7 3PT) but is also very mobile, runs the floor and is adding the strength necessary to be a force on the glass. He's seen programs like Baylor, Kansas, Texas and others and said that he's not likely to get serious about his recruitment until at least after his junior season
Ticketed for Northwestern, four-star guard Ty Berry continued a strong senior season. The Wildcats are struggling this year and need a lot, but he certainly fits the bill for a player that can help right away. He is a confident shot maker, is developing a Big Ten ready body and is a high IQ player who is getting great prep for college because of the coaching he's getting this season.
Unsigned seniors Dillon Jones and Jayden Stone were also very good in a team effort. Stone looks like he's finding his jump shot again and it's added energy to his overall game. Jones is one of those guys who doesn't really have a position, he just helps you be better when you are on the floor and he is an outstanding passer. Notre Dame is starting to nose around, Wichita State is there, Minnesota has inquired while Illinois-Chicago is working extremely hard to try and get him.
D.J. STEWARD GOES BIG AGAIN, NEW INTEREST FOR TYLER BEARD
The two man wrecking crew of Duke bound D.J. Steward and unsigned senior guard Tyler Beard continued their high scoring ways for Chicago (Ill.) Whitney Young combining for 52 of their team's 64 points in a win over Mount Vernon.
I've seen an awful lot of these guys over the past few weeks and Steward has been so darn good at each stop. Once again he shot the ball extremely well from deep, played with big time energy and opened up the floor for his partner in crime beard. He's been on the fringe of five-star status for a while and it could be tough to deny him when the rankings get updated in a week.
As for Beard, he's one of the best unsigned point guards in the country and has really put things together as a senior. He shoots well from distance, is a sneaky good athlete and plays with toughness on the defensive end. He finished with 24 points, six rebounds and eight assists. While his recruitment was almost completely quiet in late December, things have started to pick up. California, Georgetown and Ole Miss have all reached out and more will be following after his strong senior campaign.
FUTURE GEORGIA GUARD GOES OFF
I saw future Georgia point guard K.D. Johnson of Chatham (Va.) Hargrave Military shake a off a slow start to play pretty well during the Hoophall's Prep Showcase on Friday. Today, he took things to another level in the main event and had the crowd roaring in approval as he flirted with a triple double and finished with 35 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
Johnson is one of the most explosive backcourt athletes in the country and he only knows how to play in attack mode. He put consistent pressure on Orangeville Prep with his attacks on the rim and active fullcourt defense (a few impressive chasedown blocks). Physically, he's built almost exactly like current Bulldogs star Anthony Edwards, he's just four inches shorter.
The move to Hargrave has been really beneficial for Johnson and there's no doubt that Tom Crean is getting a much more college ready player than when Johnson signed in November.
TWO VISITS COMING FOR FOUR-STAR ALEXANDER-MONCRIEFFE
Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe's Orangville Prep squad took a 91-73 loss at the hands of Hargrave but it wasn't for lack of effort from the four-star senior who scored 21 points and grabbed five rebounds.
A big time athlete, Moncrieffe has a sturdy 6-foot-7 body which he uses to navigate through traffic and finish strong at the rim. If you want to play big and strong, you can play him a the three. If you want to go fast and athletic, he can play as a small ball four man and is more than tough enough to play in the lane.
Moncrieffe has already visited Seton Hall officially and he'll hit the visit trail again soon. He's headed to Oklahoma State next Sunday and then he'll go see Georgetown the following week. He would like to take more visits after that with South Carolina and St. John's among those pushing to get him on campus.