SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- The first day of the Hoop Hall Classic was full of impressive performances. Brandon Ingram, Malachi Richardson, Markelle Fultz and Derrick Jones were among the bright spots on day one.
Ingram, Richardson impress
The second game of the day at the Hoop Hall Classic matched up a pair of high-level senior wings, as Brandon Ingram
and Kinston (N.C.) High took on Malachi Richardson
and Hamilton (N.J.) Trenton Catholic.
The two prospects are very different, but both effective in how they score their points.
There’s been quite a bit of talk about Ingram, who helped Kinston pull off a two-point win on Saturday, during his senior campaign and it didn’t take long to see why. Ingram was aggressive, both looking for long-range jumpers, but also off the bounce and showed his deft scoring touch on his way to 22 points on 9-for-17 shooting.
Ingram didn’t really drive the ball all the way to the rim until the fourth quarter. Instead he hunted pull-up jumpers and even made a pair of turnaround jumpers from the left elbow. At his size and length, it’s tough to get to Ingram’s shot. He also hit two of his five three-point attempts.
The question about Ingram has always been regarding if he guards wings or power forwards. The truth is his length could impact players at either position, but moves his feet fine and may be better suited tracking perimeter players. Regardless, Ingram is getting better at just the right time and appears undervalued at No. 26 in the country.
On the other end, Richardson looked pretty good in his own right. It’s evident that the Syracuse
signee has spent a considerable amount of time in the weight room, as he has added 10 pounds and his body looks college ready.
At 6-foot-6, Richardson has a good-looking shot. He made four of his 10 three-point attempts. He also made a mid-range jump shot off a curl and had a nice jump stop into the lane that led to a finish.
As the game wore on he got a little more aggressive off the dribble, but could certainly look to drive the ball a little more. That’s the next step in his game and an area that he can certainly develop. Richardson finished with 25 points on 8-for-18 shooting.
JONES HAS HIS DAY
signee Derrick Jones
brought it on a big stage on Saturday.
Up against Chicago (Ill.) Simeon, Jones strung together arguably the top performance of the day, scoring 31 points, grabbing 15 rebounds and blocking a trio of shots.
Jones dismantled Simeon in the paint and simply out toughed their interior players, plus Nebraska
signee Ed Morrow
was dealing with foul trouble. Regardless, Jones was active, aggressive and scored well through contact around the basket.
Jones pursued the ball well off the glass and used his elite level athleticism to be effective as a rebounder on both ends. Nine of 15 boards were on the offensive end and he turned a number of them into baskets.
Jones did hit one of his two three-point attempts, but that’s not his game. He impacts the game when he plays with energy and attacks the basket and he did just that on Saturday.
FULTZ CONTINUES TEAR
This time last year, Markelle Fultz
was playing junior varsity for Hyattsville (Md.) Catholic. What a difference a year makes. Now as a junior, Fultz is not only a starter for Mike Jones’ team, but also their primary scoring option with more than a dozen high major scholarship offers.
Fultz, a 6-foot-4 guard, has a strong mid-range game and he showed that in a match up against Roselle Catholic and Isaiah Briscoe
. Fultz is comfortable pulling up for jumpers from 15 to 18-feet both going left and right and he made multiple of them in DeMatha’s big win. Fultz is also a good, not great, long-range shooter, as well as a threat to drive the ball.
Fultz finished with a game high 25 points in the win over Roselle Catholic. According to DeMatha coach Mike Jones, among the schools that have already offered Fultz are Arizona
, Wake Forest
, North Carolina
and Virginia Tech
OTHER TOP PERFORMERS
Mustapha Heron, SF, Sacred Heart – To be blunt, Pittsburgh has a heck of a 2016 prospect headed their way. Heron, a 6-foot-4 strong and powerfully built guard, proved pretty good with his mid-range pull-up. I charted him for three pull-ups in between 14 and 18-feet, plus he nailed a pair of three-pointers. One of his triples was off the dribble. Heron is tough and physical. He plays well through contact, finds ways to get to the basket and is also an aware and accurate passer.
Ed Morrow, PF, Simeon – Despite battling foul trouble, Morrow was a bright spot for Simeon in their loss to Archbishop Carroll. Morrow, a 6-foot-6, pushing 6-7 power forward, plays with good energy and despite being slightly undersized gets a lot done in the paint. Morrow likes to face up and attack defenders and he’s a good finisher inside. A pretty good athlete, Morrow is also a good rebounder that pursues the ball with both ends. Morrow finished with 16 points and eight rebounds in the loss.
Allonzo Trier, SG, Findlay – Scoring comes so easy to Trier, who signed with Arizona in the fall. Trier can put up points in a variety of ways and at every level. He has a strong body and plays well through contact and physical play when he attacks. But his pull-up and long distance shooting may be the strength of his scoring arsenal. He’s a tough shot taker and a tough shot maker. Trier pumped in 27 points in Findlay’s double-digit win over Stevenson.
Derryck Thornton, PG, Findlay – It was an up and down day for Thornton. The bright spots were his relentless defense on Jalen Brunson in the first half, as well as how efficient he was from a scoring standpoint (7-for-9 from the field). On the flip side, he battled foul trouble and turned the ball over seven times. As the game wore, Thornton got better. He settled down, slashed his way to the goal and finished off plays, found open teammates and hit a mid-range pull-up. Thornton is one of the premier point guard prospects in high school basketball.
Horace Spencer, PF/C, Findlay – The energy and effort level that Spencer played with against Stevenson is exactly what you want out of your big man. The 6-foot-8 big man used his athleticism and strength on the glass to reel in double figure rebounds. He was especially active on the offensive glass and turned those boards into points. Spencer is an enforcer inside and makes the opposition think twice about driving when he’s standing or nearby the paint. He finished with 20 points and 15 rebounds, including six offensive boards.
Jalen Brunson, PG, Stevenson – After a somewhat of a slow start, Brunson began to get things going in the second half against Findlay. The third quarter, especially Brunson got hot from three. He buried three straight three-pointers to help get Stevenson back in the game, at least for a few minutes. Brunson also had a couple of nifty drives and a couple of nice assists. Brunson finished with 26 points on 8-for-18 shooting, including 4-for-5 from three in the loss.
Isaiah Briscoe, SG, Roselle Catholic – Despite getting beat pretty badly by a strong DeMatha crew, Briscoe, a Kentucky signee, certainly had his moments. Briscoe is a strong, powerful driver. He scores very well in transition and through contact. Briscoe is a competitor and one of the better scorers off the dribble in the class, as he has crafty handle and despite not being ultra quick always finds ways into the paint. Once there he knows how to use his body to shield off defenders.
Marvin Bagley, PF, Corona Del Sol – You won’t find many prospects in high school basketball better than Bagley, a 6-foot-10 freshman out of Arizona. Bagley is a very fluid athlete with terrific leaping ability. Bagley impacts the game and competes in a way you wouldn’t expect from a prospect his age. He hit floaters, flashed a jump hook and showed impressive passing ability both from the block and the high post. Bagley scored 17 points in the overtime win over Putnamn.
Keith Williams, SG, Bishop Loughling -- Sophomore guard Keith Williams certainly caught our eye in the opening game of the event. At 6-foot-4, Williams has a long, wiry frame and brings quite a bit of versatility to the table. He played both on and off the ball for Bishop Loughlin and showed good vision and passing. He also hit a pair of floaters. He’ll be one we continue to track, as he has impressive physical tools and athleticism.
IN THE STANDS
A trio of head coaches were spotted on Saturday at the Hoop Hall Classic. Xavier’s Chris Mack, Wake Forest’s Danny Manning and Virginia’a Tony Bennett were at the event.
Assistants from California, UCLA, Quinnipiac, Fairfield, Harvard, Nebraska and Grand Canyon were also at the Hoop Hall Classic.