Thanksgiving Hoopfest: Sierra Canyon show rolls into Dallas
DALLAS -- The children of big name NBA stars undoubtedly played a big role in helping pack 10,000 or so fans into the American Airlines Center for Saturday night games at Thanksgiving Hoopfest, but five-star B.J. Boston was the guy for Sierra Canyon.
More on Sierra Canyon, Boston and several others making noise on Saturday at the Hoopfest.
BOSTON DELIVERS FOR SIERRA CANYON
Get ready for it, Chatsworth (Calif.) Sierra Canyon is going to be very heavy in the news cycle this high school season. Let's face it, having the sons of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade on the team brings out an entirely new crowd. Also, they are playing in several big time events around the country. Oh yeah, they are loaded with other talent as well as they showed in a hard fought win over Duncanville (Texas) High.
LeBron James Jr. is still paying his dues and just a freshman while Zaire Wade was limited by an ankle injury and while they helped to pack in a crowd, the guy who delivered was Kentucky bound five-star senior B.J. Boston.
The slender wing was aggressive offensively all night and showed a different edge to his game as he followed up jumpers and finishes around the rim with some stare downs and trash talk. It was an environment that lent itself to a little extra talk and Boston was more than comfortable as he finished with 24 points, 10 rebounds, four blocks and a pair of assists. John Calipari and the Wildcats could use some more shooting in Lexington and that should be the biggest area he helps with from the moment he arrives on campus.
Five-star sophomore Amari Bailey came off the bench to give Sierra Canyon some offensive punch scoring 12 points in 22 minutes. He can create his shot easily and is very comfortable elevating for pull-up jumpers.
As loaded as they are, they were still playing without their highest ranked player. Five-star senior Ziaire Williams is sitting out due to transfer rules and will be eligible at the beginning of 2020.
BACKING UP THE HYPE
In a return to his home area, Cade Cunningham gave the hometown fans a treat during two blowout wins for Montverde (Fla.) Academy.
Look, there's really nothing new to say with Cunningham has everybody knows the deal by now. He's big, he's strong, he's incredibly skilled and what helps to set him apart from the others is that he doesn't take nights off and he's not at all interested in making friends out there on the floor. He had 12 points, nine rebounds and five assists in just 17 minutes on Saturday night and could have put up just about any number you wanted to. But, the game was a very easy 98-46 win over traditional Houston power Yates and there's a lot of talent on his team that coach Kevin Boyle has to keep happy.
He may be a legitimate National Player of the Year candidate as a freshman at Oklahoma State and it’s easy to see why Mike Boynton was smiling big court side.
For a while, it didn't look like Kansas bound five-star Bryce Thompson was going to miss. He came out torching the nets from deep and hit at least his first four or five three-pointers in a highly anticipated game between his Tulsa (Okla.) Booker T. Washington squad and five-star Caleb Love and St. Louis (Mo.) Christian Brothers.
Actually, Thompson may not have ever missed from deep and it seemed like he had 17 before the game had really gotten going. Unfortunately for him, some foul calls slowed him down and kept him from going on a huge scoring binge in front of his future coach Bill Self.
Thompson finished with 27 in a losing effort and showed off skill, improved toughness and he continues to adjust his game as a shot creator. He should fit in well in Lawrence next year and is a very deserving candidate for the McDonald's All-American Game.
Caleb Love also came to play in the game against Thompson and BTW and he walked away with a 79-72 win after going for 29 points, seven rebounds and six assists.
Love is likely going to walk into starter's minutes as a freshman at North Carolina next season and the good thing for Roy Williams is that he's ready to produce.
After getting off to a somewhat slow start, Love absolutely took over down the stretch. He drove aggressively, finished above the rim, hit key shots and helped big on some huge defensive stops. He is also very deserving on a Mickey D's nod and continues to improve each and every time out.
Look, Micah Peavy had two very tough nights shooting the ball culminating with a 7-25 outing in a tough loss to Sierra Canyon. But, he's going to be fine and a true test of a player is whether or not he can impress while going through struggles and the future Texas Tech Red Raider did that.
No, he didn't shoot well and he looked very frustrated at times. But, with future coach Chris Beard looking on from the front row, Peavy's effort, motor and communication with his teammates never wavered. He's a son of a coach, a hard worker and all about winning and there's no question he's going to be back in the gym trying to get right.
At Tech they've created a culture of winning and work, two things that Peavy is all about and he'll be a welcome addition.
We've been to all 11 years of the Thanksgiving Hoopfest and the second half authored by four-star sophomore guard Bryce Griggs was one of the best performances we have seen.
Griggs is known for his ability to be an explosive scorer and he showed why scoring the bulk of his 41 points during the second half before canning a pull-up bank shot for the win just before the buzzer. The dude is highly skilled off the dribble, has extreme confidence and bounces off defenders to score at the rim, with pull-ups and from deep.
REPS ON THE RISE
Just as much as he is a very dangerous jump shooter from deep, Phipps is a serious competitor. He doesn't let off the gas pedal, is willing to pull from anywhere inside of 30 feet and is one of those kids with a big chip on his shoulder that he channels in a positive way.
The Sooners had an assistant on hand to see him play.
Four-star sophomore Trae Clayton's Faith Family Academy team was a big disappointment at the Hoopfest. The defending State Champions are extremely talented, but they didn't look to be on the same page, didn't have great effort and didn't really look like they wanted to be there. They are going to need to have some serious heart to hearts with each other because they are simply too talented to be getting run the way they did and should expect more of themselves.
That being said, if there is a guy who can help change the direction things are going it is Clayton. It's hard to have energy when your teammates don't but Clayton is an energizer bunny who keeps playing hard and was at least trying to get his teammates to follow his lead. He's athletic, he's tough and he's undoubtedly going to land more offers to go along with those he holds from UT-Arlington, UIC and Texas A&M.
It was a nice night under the bright lights of the American Airlines Center for junior wing Damon Nicholas.
He was never scared of the moment against Sierra Canyon and was one of the few who didn't seem to be a bit shook by playing in front of a huge crowd and a bit of a surreal high school environment.
He can make some shots, is very good defensively and always seems to have his hands involved with something good happening. Oral Roberts is his first offer but he should be picking up more throughout the year.