This week, we asked our national scouting panel to detail a story from a memorable high school event. In some cases the holiday tournaments and invitationals stand out, while in others a cold, regular season Tuesday night produced magic.
Here's a look at the responses:
Brian Snow: For me, it was a game in February, 2012 between Hamilton Southeastern High School and North Central here in Indianapolis. In Indiana, they do not seed the state tournament and matchups are determined by a blind draw. HSE with Gary Harris, Zak Irvin and Jacobby Bledsoe was ranked No. 1 in the state while North Central with Ronnie Johnson, Patrick Ingram and Darius Latham was ranked No. 2. Even though it was the top two teams in the state, it was actually a first round state tournament game.
The game took place at Noblesville High School where capacity is 4,200, and the place was sold out and well over capacity. Outside of the gym people were scalping tickets for roughly 20 dollars apiece. The two teams had met twice before in the year splitting the matchups, and everything was set for a classic, and that is exactly what was delivered.
HSE controlled the early part of the game with Bledsoe hitting threes, but North Central would rally. Johnson and Latham were too much for HSE to handle, and both Harris and Irvin struggled in the first half. Then the second half happened, and it might have been the best half of high school basketball I have seen.
Both teams were on top of their game, Latham dominated down low for North Central and Harris was absolutely on fire for HSE. North Central led by about 5 with a minute to go before a few Harris jumpers and missed North Central free throws set the tone for an incredible ending. After a North Central turnover in a tied game with two seconds to go, Harris caught an in bounds pass, launched from halfcourt and hit a triple off the glass for the win.
The place went nuts, people ran on the floor and the shot was the No. 1 play on Sports Center. It was just an incredible evening of high school basketball, and a game I will never forget.
Evan Daniels: There are a couple of performances that stick out in my head. The first one that particularly stands out is one of the first events I attended. I watched Monta Ellis drop 51 points on Oak Hill.
He was in one of those zones where everything he tossed up went in. He went to work off the dribble and pumped in bucket after bucket. He finished 20-for-38 from the field. And it's not like Oak Hill had a bad team. They just had a guy named Kevin Durant on the wing and some guard named Tywon Lawson running the show.
Also, Austin Rivers had two high-level performances at the City of Palms that stick out as well. In 2009 he went for 45 and the next year he dropped 42 points. His 2009 outing he went 15-for-24 from the field. Last year I watched Camron Justice, a current Tennessee commit, go for 62 points at Lexington Catholic's tournament. His game went to overtime, but he got hot from three and hit double-digit three-balls.
Rob Harrington: This wasn't a holiday event, but it certainly was very cold. Back in February, 2002, I traveled to Trenton, N.J., for the Primetime Shootout. That year, the event director had managed to secure a matchup between Oak Hill Academy and St. Vincent-St. Mary.
In practical terms, that meant senior Carmelo Anthony versus junior LeBron James. Oak Hill was the far more talented and deeper team, and they ultimately won by a few points, but James showcased extraordinary talent. What made that game so memorable for me was the fact that Anthony's performance, which was outstanding, partially served to illustrate how superior James was to everyone else. LeBron scored 36 points in that game, while Carmelo poured in 34.
James was and remains a talent I've yet to observe since, and watching him as a junior and senior was a privilege.
Josh Gershon: My personal favorite was last year at the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic title game. Sacramento Sheldon was going up against San Diego St. Augustine in a game that featured Dakarai Allen, a kid I was high on but many of my peers had their doubts about, and a future Top 100 prospect in Trey Kell.
It was the best I've ever seen Allen play, as he scored 27 points to go with 7 rebounds and 7 assists, taking home the tournament MVP award. I thought it was a statement game for a kid who always seemed to have a lot more doubters than believers.
Evan Daniels, Brian Snow, Josh Gershon and Rob Harrington contributed to this report