National Hoops Festival: Top Performers

HYATTSVILLE, Md. -- A number of the nation's top prospects -- Markelle Fultz, Terrance Ferguson, Billy Preston and V.J. King -- rose to the occasion at the National Hoops Festival on Saturday at DeMatha Catholic. Who else stood out?

Kentucky signee Sacha Killeya-Jones showed off an efficient game at the National Hoops Festival on Saturday. The 6-foot-10 power forward faced the rim and attacked. He used his jumper as a weapon and buried multiple mid-range shots, including a fadeaway from 18-feet. Killeya-Jones also ran the floor with purpose, went to the glass to the tune of 13 rebounds and showed very good touch around the basket. The next step is cutting down on turnovers, as he had six mostly from travels. Killeya-Jones finished with 25 points and was an impressive 11-for-15 from the field.

Alabama commit Terrance Ferguson was dialed in against Paul VI on Saturday, scoring 27 points on 10-for-17 shooting. The one-point win over PVI was as good of a game as I’ve seen from Ferguson in his high school career. He hunted shots from long distance and finished 6-for-11 from three. Ferguson is known for his ability to defend and he certainly competed on that end of the floor as well. He moves his feet well laterally and his length allows him to get deflections.

Much like Ferguson, 2017 power forward Billy Preston had it working, especially on the offensive end of the floor. Preston was aggressive off the dribble, knocked down mid-range jumpers and finished off plays around the basket. At 6-foot-9, Preston is versatile, can handle the ball well for his size and he has an impressive all around scoring package that consists of very good touch around the goal. Preston also did a good job rebounding his area. He finished with 25 points on 11-for-18 shooting and also secured 12 rebounds in a win over PVI.

After struggling from the field in the first half, V.J. King was the primary reason Paul VI stormed back from a double-digit deficit to nearly knock off API. King, a 6-foot-6 wing that signed with Louisville, was aggressive off the bounce and showed he could score from all three levels. He sliced his way to the rim for a couple tough, contested baskets in the 4th quarter and that seemed to get him going. Then he buried a pair of three-pointers and scored a go ahead step-through floater with under six seconds left to give PVI the lead. King was impressive in ball screen situations, as he found a cutter for a lay up and then a few possessions later used a screen to get a step on the opposition and slice to the rim for an adjusting finish. King finished with 26 points on 9-for-21 shooting and six rebounds.

Just prior to tip off against API, Paul VI coach Glenn Farello said to keep an eye on Brandon Slater. It turns out it was a great tip. Slater has grown nearly two inches since last year and now stands 6-foot-6 with a long set of arms. The southpaw scored 17 points on 5-for-8 shooting. Slater had it working from three as he connected on four of six attempts. He also competed on the defensive end and showed potential as a perimeter defender. With his size, length, athleticism, competitiveness and ability to make shots, Slater looks like a straight high major wing prospect in the 2018 class.

Sophomore Isaiah Mucius scored just seven points and tossed out a pair of assists, but he appeared to be one of the better long-term prospects to touch the floor on Saturday. Mucius, a long, lanky 6-foot-6 wing, showed a versatile game that’s equipped with upside. Mucius is quick off his feet and a good athlete. He was able to get out in transition and score at the goal, but also knocked down a three-pointer and displayed a good feel for the game. While shots weren’t necessarily falling at a high clip, Mucius’ form and shot mechanics were impressive. Mucius is certainly one to keep an eye on in the 2018 recruiting class.

Washington signee Markelle Fultz is one of the most versatile guards in the country and he showed that on Saturday. A top 10 prospect, Fultz is a high-level scorer that can fill it up, if that’s what’s asked of him. Against Wise, Fultz mixed in drives, pull-ups and a pair of three-pointers. But Fultz has also developed into an impressive distributor and creator. He’s able to get into the paint, find open teammates and make crisp passes. He has a smooth game, is quite athletic and changes speeds incredibly well. Fultz finished with 15 points, six rebounds, six assists and three steals.

Jerod Haase and UAB reeled in quite the long-range threat in Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha Catholic standout Nate Darling. A 6-foot-4 guard, Darling has quick trigger and deep range on his jump shot and both were on display at the National Hoops Festival. Darling scored 16 points and knocked down four three-pointers, which helped DeMatha extend their lead to double figures against Wise.

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