Future ACC Stars Shine at 2013 Hoophall Classic Led by Jabari Parker, Tyler Ennis and Chris McCulloughPosted by Jimmy Kelley on January 22nd, 2013
Jimmy Kelley is an ACC correspondent for Rush the Court. Follow him on Twitter @DevilsinDurham
I spent this past weekend sitting courtside at the 2013 Hoophall Classic. This was my second year spending five days watching the best and brightest in high school basketball take the court at Springfield College’s Blake Arena, just a three-minute walk from the gym where James Naismith first told a group of YMCA athletes all about his brand-new game. There was only one truly competitive game in the entire tournament: Monday’s match-up between Findlay Prep and Montverde, but the value of the tournament is not in the competition. Instead, it is in watching players who are either college-bound or yet to make a decision about where they will continue their careers. This weekend was loaded with future ACC players and it appears that the league will be in fine hands going forward.
Leading the way for this group was the consensus No. 2 player in the country, Jabari Parker. The future Duke forward lit up Oak Hill for 28 points and did it all in the flow of the game. He knocked down threes, attacked the basket and did everything without forcing the issue or trying to do too much. He looked as though he is still a week or two away from being back at 100 percent but he looked every bit the Duke-style forward that will slide right into the rotation for the Blue Devils next season.
Syracuse fans, who may still be worried about the Big East at this point, can look forward not just to the ACC but to the players who will be joining them over the next few seasons. Two Syracuse commitments impressed the crowd this weekend in Chris McCullough and Tyler Ennis. McCullough is an evolutionary Chris Bosh, a stretch four who can attack the basket with elite athleticism but can also step away and hit a mid-range jumper. He wowed the crowd with a few highlight reel dunks that every Orange fan will enjoy thoroughly over the next few weeks. Just a junior, McCullough will be a problem for ACC defenses if he can improve any aspect of his game over the next few years. Ennis is the future for the Orange at the point guard position. A bigger player, Ennis has great court vision and did some nice things off the ball for St. Benedict’s (NJ) when they used another player as the primary ball-handler. The heir apparent to Michael Carter-Williams, Ennis will fit right in with Jim Boeheim’s schemes and his long wingspan make him a dream for the top of that 2-3 zone.
N.C. State had a pair of post players in action this weekend in Kyle Washington and BeeJay Anya. Washington is a smooth, hard-working power forward who can do a little bit of everything. He’s got a baby face but don’t be fooled, he’s one tough kid. Anya is a powerful but undersized post player in the mold of Jared Sullinger and Glen Davis. He has great timing on blocks and he is almost impossible to keep down in the post when he has it working.
Florida State fans got to see at least one recruit perform well on Sunday in Huntington’s Xavier Rathan-Mayes. XRM shot the ball well and helped make up for the production Andrew Wiggins held back due to an illness he’s been battling. A gifted wing scorer, XRM is a prototype guard for Leonard Hamilton and will help lift the ‘Noles next year. Wiggins is still considering Florida State but due to his illness, he was unavailable for interviews after his performance.
North Carolina had one recruit at the tournament in Oak Hill point guard Nate Britt, but due to an apparent knee injury Britt was held out. The Heels are still in the running for Wiggins as well and have shot due to some family Wiggins has in the area, according to his coach.
Boston College had a few chips in play in Travis Jorgenson (PG, New Hampton), Matt Cimino (PF, Worcester Academy) and Jared Terrell (SG, Brewster) but none have pledged to the school yet. The staff is reportedly very high on Jorgenson who recently decommitted from Missouri and is one of the few good point guards left in the class of 2013. He would be a huge get for the Eagles if he signs there.
The best player of the weekend, however, may have been unsigned 2014 center Jahlil Okafor. The 6’11” star from Whitney Young is considering Duke and UNC at this point and put on a show with 26 points and seven rebounds in a big win over Long Beach Poly (CA). If not for the Findlay/Montverde game or Parker’s 28 points on Monday, Okafor likely would have been the highlight of the event.
On the whole, it was a great weekend to be a basketball fan and an even better one if you’re an ACC fan.