ATLANTA – From emerging stars to the best players getting even better there were plenty of takeaways from the Holiday Hoopsgiving this year.
Here are a few of the things that we learned in Atlanta.
Trevin Wade is the most exciting Eagle.
Naturally, you just did a double take since Montverde Academy (Fla.) is home to the country’s No. 1 player R.J. Barrett, a Duke signee.
Still, Wade is listed at 5-foot-11, which, from our vantage point, may be about four inches generous.
That makes his jumping ability even more mind-boggling.
Wade, a senior point guard, easily got the biggest reaction from the capacity crowd when he threw down dunks and he hounded the opposition all night the entire length of the floor.
Buy stock in the small pitbull of a point guard’s college interest picking up this season.
Langley twins are as good as advertised.
Wesleyan Christian Academy (High Point, N.C.) twin guards Kobe and Keyshaun bring a scrappiness to the Trojans that they’ve been missing. Their chemistry has become infectious with their teammates, picking up the intensity on the defensive end and sharing the ball.
Last season, Keyshaun and Kobe, Virginia Tech commits, led Southwest Guilford (High Point, N.C.) to the school’s first-ever basketball championship.
Even though the Trojans went 1-1 at the Hoopsgiving, at this rate their impact this season could make for another first in Wesleyan Christian’s bid for a berth in the DICK’s Sporting Goods High School Nationals.
Trendon Watford may be ranked too low.
Sure, he’s a five-star who’s ranked No. 10 overall in the ESPN 60, but even that may be at least a few spots too low for a player who effects the game the way Watford does.
At 6-foot-8, Watford has the build of a power forward with the game of whatever the situation calls for.
The best part?
Watford plays with a relentless motor which becomes infectious for his teammates.
He averaged 28.1 points and 11.1 rebounds a game at the Holiday Hoopsgiving.
With consistency, Watford can make the case for the top 5.
R.J. Barrett has gotten better.
We know, we know, Barrett is already the country’s No. 1 overall player and has had a seventh-month run that is rivalled by no one on most levels of basketball.
Still, Barrett looks even more lean, bouncy, efficient and energetic than ever on the court.
Splitting time between summer ball and individual workouts.
After Barrett led Canada to the gold medal at the FIBA U19 World Cup in early July he skipped prestigious tournaments and showcase events for the rest of the summer to “just get in the gym and work on myself.”
“That was the best thing I could’ve done in hindsight,” said Barrett, who signed with Duke this month. “Just getting those reps in is what’s made me game grow even more. I would recommend anyone do that because you need that time to rest and work on things that you’re not doing as well.”
Barrett averaged 29.1 points per game at the Holiday Hoopsgiving.
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY