Hamidou Diallo (Nike/Jon Lopez)

Top Performers: National HS Hoops Festival

The annual National HS Hoops Festival took place at Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha Catholic over the weekend. Keith Stevens and his crew had a loaded field that includes the likes of Paul VI, DeMatha, IMG Academy, Westtown, Putnam Science Academy and others. Who stood out at the event? Here are five players that were among the top performers.


Not many players in the 2018 class play with more energy and effort on a consistent basis than Emmitt Williams. Williams, a 6-foot-7 bouncy power forward, is a very good athlete that reacts quickly to plays and is quick off his feet. At the Hoops Festival, Williams was an enforcer in the paint, as he blocked shots and altered others. He ran rim to rim for dunks, rebounded in and outside of his area and he even connected on a catch and shoot three-pointer in both of IMG Academy’s games this weekend.

Recruiting: Miami (Fl)LSUKansas StateMichiganMemphisLouisvilleFloridaFlorida StateTexas A&MGeorgiaGeorgia Tech


No one helped their stock more this past weekend than 2018 recruit Jake Forrester. The 6-foot-7 power forward was active and aggressive in both of Westtown (Pa.) School’s games in the event. Forrester is mobile and consistently beat the opposition down the floor for easy lay-ins. He also impacted the game from a rebounding standpoint, as he actively got on the glass on both ends of the floor. Offensively, he showed he could make a mid-range jump shot and wanted to play facing the rim. He also did a good job of finishing off plays around the basket.

Recruiting: Indiana, Providence, TempleRichmondSaint Joseph's (PA)Rice and Penn State


I’m not sure what Aaron Thompson’s numbers looked from his two games in the Hoops Festival, but what I can tell you is he played hard and competed at a high-level and that stood out. In Fairfax (Va.) PVI match up with Pebblebrook, although Collin Sexton scored 21 points in the first half, Thompson made life difficult for him. Thompson has the potential to be a very good defender at the next level. He has good size at 6-foot-2, but his body has filled out, he has long arms, moves his feet well laterally and he doesn’t take plays off. Thompson also has good vision, can get to the rim and he did a good job of finishing at the basket once he got there.

Recruiting: Committed to Pittsburgh


2018 recruit Brandon Slater has made improvements to his game and it showed during PVI’s two games in the event. The long, slender wing prospect was noticeably more aggressive, which stems from being a junior and more of a leader on his team. Slater, despite lacking in strength, did a good job of finishing at the basket, competed on the defensive end and worked in a jump shot or two. He has good size, length and athleticism for the position and he more than lived up to his No. 31 rankings.

Recruiting: VillanovaSouth CarolinaMiami (Fl)MarylandVirginia and Georgetown


I’ve seen Hamidou Diallo play some good games, but Putnam (Conn.) Putnam Science Academy’s game against Westtown was the best I’ve ever seen him play. Diallo went 13-for-19 from the field on his way to 29 points. Diallo was aggressive, but played under control. He scored it at the rim, made plays in transition and had his share of highlight reel dunks. But he also made two of his three three-point attempts, connected on two mid-range pull-ups and hit a floater off a jump stop on the right side.

Recruiting: Arizona, ConnecticutIndianaKentuckyKansas and Syracuse

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