basketball Edit

National Hoops Festival Saturday: Diggins, Brown & Todd shine

WASHINGTON, DC. – The National High School Hoops Festival delivered again on Saturday, bringing some of the best to the nation’s capital. After spending a full day in the gym that brought one of the best atmospheres that a high school event could provide, it was the play of Rahsool Diggins, Kendall Brown and Isaiah Todd that stood out the greatest.


Diggins is one of the more criminally under-recruited guards in the 2021 class. The last time I saw Rahsool Diggins, he exploded for 37-points in a June high school camp showing; on Saturday, it was 32-points thanks to a mixture of nifty finishes and high-volume attempts from the foul line. He didn’t shoot it as well as he might have liked but his toughness, pace for the game, control of the half-court and his ability to never get sped up cannot be shortchanged.

Diggins is the definition of a complete lead guard but his recruitment does not reflect what you think. DePaul, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest are practically the lone power conference schools involved. Villanova is showing some love but not enough that would equate to an offer. Expect for more to enter the picture but kudos to the two ACC programs and the Blue Demons for investing in the talented junior earlier practically than everyone else.

Kendall Brown showed out. The giant 6-foot-7 wing has always been respected for his talent and upside but it was great to see him compete with a steady motor throughout, all of which led to his team’s win. While he finished with 18 points, it didn’t entirely reflect all that he was able to accomplish. He made timely passes, nabbed difficult rebounds and guarded all over the floor. Brown is the ideal prospect for today’s game that really has no defined position. It was a step in the right direction for the top-20 prospect who has already taken an official visit to Marquette.

Isaiah Todd is a difficult stop whenever he plays more inside-out. It was a dominant second half out of the top-10 forward on Saturday evening. Etching out just a single point at half-time, Todd went bonkers to end the game where he completed his outing with 21 points and 11 rebounds in front of his future head coach, Juwan Howard. Todd, whenever he attempts to cause his greatest damage around the basket on mid and low-block post-ups, compared to maneuvering away from the basket, is just too difficult to stop. He has a tremendous repertoire of abilities from 12-feet and in; if he remains set on playing to his strengths compared to a more perimeter-oriented game, his production and impact on the win’s column improves dramatically.

Duke is in good hands. The high school return of Jeremy Roach was a good one. After sitting out his entire senior summer due to a torn ACL that he suffered last fall, Roach didn’t look as explosive as he was prior to his injury but he still did showcase a tremendous burst and, as usual, an elite know-how of how to play the game. He is the next great Duke point guard and will be joined by Mark Williams next fall, a top-50 center who opposed him on Saturday.

Easily the most active and toughest I have ever seen him, Williams is a big man that the Blue Devils have not possessed since maybe Jahlil Okafor. He is a rim presence that, along with Roach, should provide Coach K, who was on hand Saturday, a team capable of winning the national title next season.

Tre White is an underappreciated playmaker. His first game following his decommitment from Kansas on Friday, White didn’t make the proper amount of shots that he would have liked and his selection on such attempts must improve. However, it was his passing skills and offensive versatility where he could conceivably play every position outside of the center spot in the half-court that really stood out. Finishing with 15 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, White is going to be a heavily recruited prospect nationally now that he is available.

DJ Gordon will bring immense toughness and defensive value to Happy Valley. It wasn’t a good day for the Penn State basketball program on the hardwood against Ohio State, but in the nation’s capital, DJ Gordon would have made Pat Chambers optimistic for what he has coming his way. While Gordon has never been known for his shooting abilities, it was nice to see him comfortably connect on three perimeter attempts. Finishing with 23 points and eight rebounds, Gordon is primarily going to be leaned upon for his energy and defensive prowess. He is a constant competitor that can guard up to three spots and is the perfect multi-positional wing for how PSU likes to play.

Austin Nunez is quick, tough and skilled. A four-star, non-ranked prospect in the 2022 class, Austin Nunez is going to be a good one in the coming years. The lefty showed great poise whenever pressured and the requisite shooting and playmaking acumen that should serve him well as he gets older. A number of in-state powers including Baylor, Texas, Texas A&M and TCU are heavily involved, as is LSU and Memphis. Nunez has a chance to receive inclusion within the Rivals150 during its next update.

Two Atlantic 10 bound recruits show immediate value. Jett Roesing made seven 3-pointers on Saturday, looking to be one of the very best shooters in his class nationally. Headed to Duquesne, he will have to develop other portions of his skillset but just by being placed onto the floor, his perimeter threat allows for much easier driving lanes for his teammates, one of those being Isaiah Wilson.

The squeaky quick, uberly-competitive lead guard will be at Richmond next year and it doesn’t look like that he could have found a better fit. Chris Mooney has come to place a premium on smaller but also tougher, quicker point guards that can pressure the opposition on both sides of the floor. Wilson is the definition of such where he finished with 15 points, 10 assists and five rebounds on Saturday afternoon.

IMG is massive. I am not sure that I have ever seen a bigger lineup placed onto a high school floor than what IMG showcased. Jaden Springer is already big enough at the lead guard spot, pushing nearly 6-foot-5, but to go with 6-foot-7, 6-foot-9, 6-foot-10, and 7-foot-2 alongside of him? That is absurd. The loss of starting 2-guard Matt Murrell due to a minor injury does hurt but it was a sight to see such a giant lineup, one that is filled with size, muscle and athleticism, onto a high school playing floor all at one time.