Over the weekend Whistle 2 Whistle was able to attend the prestigious Marshall County Hoopfest, an event that is now apart of The Grind Session. It plays host to some of prep basketball’s best teams from around the country in small town Draffenville, Kentucky. Among this years teams were traditional powerhouses such as Oak Hill Academy, Findlay Prep, and Huntington Prep, as well as many other teams featuring some of the world’s best high school basketball prospects.
Every year players get the chance to compete at a high level in front of a college basketball like atmosphere. They show up, and the great ones show out. With over 15 top-100 prospects participating in the event, a lot of these players enter the Hoopfest with a buzz already surrounding them. Yet, some players enter the gym with something to prove in front of great fans and college coaches from multiple universities.
W2W was able to get a glimpse of these prospects and broke down who were the standout and surprise performers for each team.
Sunrise Christian Prep (KS)
Standouts: 2020 top-ranked center, N’Faly Dante, and 2018 Central Arkansas commit, Khaleem Bennett, were my players to watch for Sunrise entering the event. In only one game, neither player disappointed. Dante finished with 12 points, 14 rebounds, and 3 blocks, while Bennett scored in multiple ways, knocking down three-point and mid-range jumpers, as well as showing off elite athleticism on a play where he cut to the basket and posterized a defender.
Surprises: While he didn’t score much, 2018 PG, Carlos Paez, was my surprise player for Sunrise. He played nearly the whole game and was their glue guy throughout the game. Paez made the smart play all night, took great care of the ball, and was able to feed his big men in the post.
Victory Rock Prep (FL)
Standouts: Madut Akec, a 2018 wing player, brought the buzz for Victory Rock Prep (FL) coming into the Hoopfest. Despite a shaky first game, Akec led his team in scoring against Hillcrest Prep with 26 points and also added 8 rebounds. Michael Durr, a 2018 South Florida commit, was MVP of game one as he finished with 14 points and 7 rebounds, while leading a strong second half comeback effort to beat Sunrise Christian.
Surprises: Uncommitted junior, Kolton Mitchell, showed to be one of Victory Rock’s best shooting options. He knocked down a pair of threes late for them in game one, one of those coming on the fast break in transition, and finished that game with 8 points. In game two, his shot didn’t fall as much, but the form was consistent, and he was able to find other players with some nice passes. He was also a willing defender on ball handlers. Kuany Kuany was also impressive as a slashing forward. The 6’8″ 2019 wing player was a reliable scoring option in both games.
Oak Hill Academy (VA)
Standouts: Oak Hill stars David McCormack, Keldon Johnson, and Keyontae Johnson put on a show in Marshall County. McCormack, a 2018 Kansas commit, was one of the most dominant post presences I saw all weekend. He was a man among boys averaging 17.5 points and 8 rebounds in two games. Keyonte Johnson was MVP of game one after scoring 24 points and grabbing 7 rebounds. He also displayed his passing ability, setting up Keldon Johnson and McCormack for some flashy alley-oops in both games. Kentucky commit, Keldon Johnson, averaged 15.5 points over the weekend, and was MVP of game two.
Surprises: On a star-studded team, it’s hard to find many surprises, but 2020 guard Evan Johnson was impressive for Oak Hill. Standing 5’10”, he is by far their smallest player, but he handled the ball well, was fearless attacking the rim and drawing contract, and showed off his shooting touch in game two as he knocked down a pair of threes on his way to 10 points. Johnson also showed off his passing ability as he was able to make good entry passes to McCormack in the post.
— Overtime (@overtime) December 3, 2017
Hamilton Heights (TN)
Standouts: 7’1″ Cleveland State commit Uros Plavsic was without a doubt the best player on the floor for Hamilton Heights in their lone game verses Oak Hill. He finished with 16 points, 8 rebounds, and added a few blocks as well. He’s an extremely skilled big man that can score from the paint and also has a nice shooting touch. He stepped out to knock down a three and also hit a beautiful ten-foot turnaround jumper in the game.
Surprises: Kevaughn Ellis was Hamilton Heights’ go to guy finishing the game with 18 points, knocking down jumpers and finishing at the rim. Jordan Rawls and Tre Edwards also had impressive games. Both players were offered by Arkansas State following the loss to Oak Hill.
Orangeville Prep (CAN)
Standouts: Michigan commit, Ignas Brazdeikis, was dominant in both games as he averaged 32.5 points per game between the two. He was relentless on his attack to the rim, but also knocked down the three-ball for Orangeville Prep.
Surprises: Although he garners interest from multiple Division 1 schools, I list him on the surprises because Keshaun Sanders still has a lot to prove. The uncommitted senior looks like he’ll help his stock this season as he averaged 13 points per game over the weekend and had a consistent mid-range jumper.
Findlay Prep (NV)
Standouts: Top ranked senior center and Oregon commit, Bol Bol, played well for Findlay Prep at the Hoopfest. The 7’3″ Bol found ways to score in the paint against top-ranked junior center Charles Bassey, but saw a lot of his points come from jumpers. He hit catch and shoot shots, as well as shots off the dribble, which is something you rarely see from a guy with Bol’s size. Arkansas commit, Reggie Chaney, was MVP of game one with 10 points and 7 rebounds. TJ Moss, a true point guard, was also impressive for Findlay Prep.
Surprises: Connor Vanover was a player I was unfamiliar with heading into the Hoopfest. The 7’2″ Memphis commit was able to relieve Bol when he was tired, but continued to give the team production proving to be a serious shooting threat from outside. He was also a force on the boards.
Prolific Prep (CA)
Standouts: Prolific Prep’s scoring load was carried by 2018 power forward, Jordan Brown. He’s one of the top remaining uncommitted prospects in his class, and showed why he is widely considered a five-star recruit. Most of his points came around the rim, as he relentlessly attacked the defenses he played against. He scored 32 in game one and 21 in game two, while also grabbing a ton of rebounds.
Surprises: Sekou Toure was a reliable scoring option for Prolific Prep in both games they played. The University of California-Santa Barbara commit attacked the rim and ran the floor well for his team. 2018 forward Onyinyechi “Brown” Eyisi turned in two impressive games at the Hoopfest as well. He was tough on the glass and drew a lot of fouls by going up strong with the ball.
Tennessee Prep Academy (TN)
Standouts: 2019 6’8″ guard, Antavion “Dude” Collum, was the big name guy for Tennessee Prep this weekend. He was MVP of both games and finished the Hoopfest averaging 19 points per game. He showed off his ability to find teammates and shot the ball well from behind the arc.
Surprises: Uncommitted senior guard, Tyrese Patterson, led Tennessee Prep in scoring over the weekend as he dropped 23 points in game one and added 25 in game two. He fearlessly attacked the rim and was also able to get it done from outside, hitting 3 three-pointers in game one.
St. Benedict’s Prep (NJ)
Standouts: Precious Achiuwa was my favorite player to watch during the Hoopfest. Standing 6’8″, the junior small forward, showed off elite athleticism combined with a toughness and poise during both games. When things got chippy between him and Hillcrest Prep’s Kyree Walker in game two, Achiuwa was able to keep his cool and use the energy to elevate his game. He had a number of highlight dunks and in-your-face three-pointers. He finished game two with 38 points and 10 rebounds, and also had 17 points in game one.
Surprises: Lester Quinones without a doubt turned in one of the most surprising and impressive performances of the event. He was the best shooter I saw all weekend, as he knocked down 8 three-pointers in game one on his way to 38 points. In game two, he came out hot with 3 three-pointers in the first quarter, but was only able to finish with 13 points as Hillcrest smothered him anytime he caught the ball behind the arc.
Huntington Prep (WV)
Standouts: Five-star sophomore forward, Jaemyn Brakefield, was every bit of deserving of that rating for Huntington Prep. He dropped 14 points in a very tough game one for Huntington Prep, but followed that up with a 25-point performance against Prolific Prep in game two. Brakefield scored most of his points when he attacked the rim, but also proved to be a knock-down shooter from three-point range.
Surprises: Michael Christmas was another big scoring option for Huntington Prep. While nearly the whole team struggled in their first game, Christmas was able to push his way to 10 points in game one and collected rebounds. He scored 20 points in his second game and showed off an excellent shot from three-point range, knocking down three of those to shoulder Brakefield’s load.
Hillcrest Prep (AZ)
Standouts: 2020 Arizona State commit, Kyree Walker, was a fan favorite at the Hoopfest. He showcased the best shot off the dribble that I saw over the weekend, hitting multiple step-back three-pointers and pull-up jumpers. He scored the ball in every way imaginable; fast break dunks, pull-up midrange jumpers, step-back threes, finishing layups through contact. Walker had one of the best offensive packages and showed a lot of similarities to Malik Newman in his ability to score the ball.
Surprises: 2018 shooting guard, Demarius Jacobs, was the only other major scoring threat for Hillcrest Prep. He turned in 19 points and 5 rebounds in game too, but one of the most impressive parts of his game was how he handled the ball without turning it over against the pressure brought by St. Benedict’s defenders.
— HS Basketball BR (@HSBasketballBR) December 2, 2017
Standouts: Robert Woodard, a 2018 Mississippi State commit, turned in a huge performance for Columbus, scoring 22 points to go along with 8 rebounds and 3 blocks. Most of his points came from the paint, but he was able to knock down a couple midrange jumpers as well.
Surprises: Denijay Harris was a surprising bright spot for Columbus. The 6’7″ forward took some of the pressure off Woodard by scoring 13 points and pulling down 9 rebounds.
Standouts: University of Tennessee-Chattanooga commit, Maurice Commander, was the best player for Curie. He scored 15 points and knocked down 4 three-pointers.
Surprises: DaJuan Gordon and Demarco Graham both shot the ball well for Curie, hitting two three-pointers a piece. Treavon Martin was also impressive, knocking down a midrange jumper, and using his length to be a force on defense.
Aspire Academy (KY)
Standouts: Charles Bassey, the number one ranked center in the Class of 2019, was the guy everybody had their eye on. He finished both games with double-doubles. Bassey recorded 16 points and 13 rebounds in game one against Findlay Prep, then gave his team 11 points and 12 rebounds in their loss to East (TN).
Surprises: Joel Ntambwe was the best scoring option for Aspire Academy, as he turned in performances of 19 and 20 points in his two games. He also added 9 rebounds as apart of his 20 point performance against East. Nygal Russell also scored the ball well for Aspire in game two, scoring 18 points and hitting 3 three-pointers.
Olive Branch (MS)
Standouts: Junior big man, DJ Jeffries, was huge for Olive Branch scoring 33 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. While almost all his points were scored in the paint, a number of those came on powerful dunks from the big man. Zion “Joe” Cooper, an uncommitted junior point guard, was also huge for Olive Branch as he gave the team 24 points and 7 rebounds.
Adair County (KY)
Standouts: Even though he’s only a freshman, top-ranked 2021 point guard, Zion Harmon, was one of the biggest names of the Hoopfest. Fans packed the gym to see his team take on DJ Jeffries’ Olive Branch team and both guys put on a show. Harmon scored 17 of his 33 points in the first quarter and knocked down 6 threes in the game. He also added 5 rebounds and 4 assists to his stat line.
Surprises: Early on it seemed that Harmon was the only legitimate scoring option for Adair County, but Anthony Payne was able to get things going after the first quarter on his way to a 21-point performance. Payne proved to be a good shooter.
— Overtime (@overtime) December 3, 2017
Believe Prep (TN)
Standouts: 2018 guard Devan Cambridge turned in the big performance for Believe Prep, as he scored 39 points with 18 of those coming from behind the arc. He also pulled down 7 rebounds.
Standouts: 2019 top player James Wiseman came up big for East in their win over Aspire Academy. He finished with a dominant performance of 21 points and 10 rebounds to lead the way for his squad.
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