SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- The action didn't slow down at the Hoop Hall Classic, which has become the premier showcase event in the country. Malik Ellison had a breakout performance. Steven Enoch showed improvement. Plus Scout caught up with Thon Maker's mentor about whether he plans to reclassify or not.
ELLISON GOES OFF
stole the show on day two of the Hoop Hall Classic.
Ellison, a 6-foot-5 wing at Burlington (N.J.) Life Center Academy, pumped in 28 points on 11-for-25 shooting and also recorded four steals in Life Center Academy’s win.
Ellison has clearly grown since my last viewing, but he was also much more aggressive on offense than in the past. A pretty good athlete, Ellison hunted long-range shots and made multiple of them in the first half. As the game wore on Ellison attacked more off the dribble and made plays at the rim.
“I think it’s a matter of growing and his game is just getting better,” Life Center Academy coach and Ellison’s father – Pervis Ellison – said after the game.
According to Ellison’s father, who starred at Louisville
in the late 1980’s, his son has scholarship offers from schools in the ACC, SEC and Big Ten. Ellison has taken just one visit so far.
“He’s only taken one,” he said. “He went to Minnesota
. That was about two weeks ago.”
“He liked it,” he added. “It went well.
At this stage, Ellison doesn’t have any other college visits set up and is looking at deciding sometime after his senior season.
“It’s definitely going to be in the spring signing period,” he said. “After the season because he’s definitely going to take more visits.”
ENOCH BRINGS IT
To be honest, Steven Enoch
’s performance at the National Prep Showcase in late November was disappointing. He wasn’t dialed in, didn’t play with energy and just flat out didn’t play well.
The story was much different on Sunday at the Hoop Hall Classic, where Enoch scored 18 points and reeled in seven rebounds to help Oakdale (Conn.) St. Thomas More knock off Saxtons River (Vt.) Vermont Academy.
With his future coach Kevin Ollie watching, Enoch played with aggression and intensity on both ends of the floor. At 6-foot-9, Enoch has legit size and good length, both of which he put to good work.
He’s mobile and on Sunday, he ran the floor with a purpose. He scored a couple times in transition, including a great catch in the open court to start the game. But he also raced back on defense and impacted the game with his shot blocking.
Offensively, Enoch, who ranks No. 62 overall, showed very good hands and touch in the paint. He connected on a right jump hook and also had another strong right finish over a post player trying to body him out of the lane. Enoch has potential on that end of the floor and he seems to be getting more confident in his ability on the block.
WILL MAKER RECLASSIFY?
One of the biggest questions in high school basketball is whether Thon Maker
intends to reclassify or not.
On Sunday, following Orangeville Prep’s (Canada) game, Maker’s mentor Ed Smith told Scout and a group of reporters that, Maker is looking to reclassify from 2016 to 2015 but a final decision hasn’t been made.
“We are on the path to reclass,” Smith said. “That’s the plan.”
According to Smith, Maker will take a test later this month that will help determine whether he can reclassify or not. While he didn’t give a timeframe, it sounds like a decision could come in the near future.
After a decision is made, Smith said he will begin setting up visits for Maker.
“Once we find out then we are going to say ‘this is our list,’” Smith said.
Maker is regarded as the No. 4 prospect in Scout’s 2016 top 100.
OTHER TOP PERFORMERS
Donovan Mitchell, SG, Brewster – Mitchell’s full game was on display on a big stage on Sunday. The Louisville signee went for 20 points on 8-for-13 shooting. The 6-foot-2 guard is strong, tough, athletic and physical. He uses those attributes to impact the game on both ends of the floor. Mitchell competed on defense and took pride in making things difficult for his opposition. On offense, he buried a three-pointer, attacked the rim; finished through contact and had a couple of highlight reel dunks. He’s a very good fit for how Rick Pitino uses his guards.
Jalen Adams, SG, Brewster – Simply put, Adams is going to put up a lot of points in a Connecticut uniform. The 6-foot-4 guard is fast, athletic and is one of the best all around scorers in the 2015 class. His scoring package is versatile. He’s a legit long-range threat, but also very comfortable hunting and pulling up for mid-range jumpers. Adams also showed good vision and created plays for others. He finished with 23 points on 9-for-16 shooting and five assists in a big win over Montverde Academy.
Traci Carter, PG, Life Center Academy – Carter has been one of the more intriguing names of the high school season. After sitting out the summer due to an injury, Carter has reeled in plenty of high major interest. On Sunday, he showed why scoring 18 points and tossing out 10 assists in a win over Orangeville Prep. He didn’t shoot the ball great from the field (6-for-18), but he was effective off the dribble, lived in the paint and consistently found open teammates. On top of that, Carter was relentless with his on the ball defense. He’s quick laterally and has extremely quick hands.
Louat Noi, PF, Montverde Prep – Perhaps the surprise of the day was this 6-foot-7 combination forward. Noi played both inside and out and utilized his athleticism to impact the game. He’s a very fluid athlete and an impressive leaper that consistently ran the floor and got out in transition when he had opportunities. Noi also made a pair of three-pointers and connected on an 18-footer.
Cheick Diallo, C, Our Savior – It was a different day, but the same story with Diallo. The athletic and energetic post player, rebounded in and out of his area, ran the floor looking to score, played the role of enforcer in the paint and brought the effort on both ends of the floor. Diallo is very good close to the rim and is among the most competitive players in the 2015 class.
Thomas Bryant, C, Huntington Prep – In a win over Our Savior New American, Bryant scored 11 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. As usual, Bryant played hard and competed on both ends of the floor. He had a nice transition, plus the foul, finish, knocked in a catch and shoot three-pointer, tipped in a miss and spent a lot of effort on reeling in boards. Bryant is one of the best available post prospects in the 2015 class.
Samuel Japhet-Mathias, C, Vermont Academy – This huge 6-foot-11 post player showed flashes of what’s to come in Vermont Academy’s loss to St. Thomas More. Japhet-Mathias has a wide frame that allows him to carve out good position inside. For a guy his size, he has impressive touch and a nice set of mitts. He scored with both hands in the paint, dropped in a pair of right jump hooks and also hit an 18-foot jump shot. Just a sophomore, Japhet-Mathias had his coming out party at the Hoop Hall Classic and he had a host of coaches buzzing about him. Shortly after the game, he picked up a scholarship offer from Connecticut.
IN THE STANDS
The coaches section at the Hoop Hall Classic was packed and full of big names. Among the head coaches spotted on day two were John Calipari, Derek Kellogg, Danny Manning, Paul Hewitt, Mike Brennan, Chris Mack, Kevin Ollie and Shaka Smart.
While it was tough to track all of the assistants that rolled through the gym I spotted coaches from Harvard, UMass, Towson, Syracuse, California, Pittsburgh, Iowa, Drexel, Wichita State, Virginia, Miami, Louisville, Florida Atlantic, Boston College, Minnesota, Georgia Tech, Northwestern, Nebraska, Rhode Island and Brown.