From a clash between elite centers to elite wings doing battle, we’ve managed to zero-in on five of the matchups you won’t want to miss at this year’s Spalding Hoophall Classic on Jan. 12-16 at Springfield College in Springfield, Mass.
1. Westtown School (West Chester, Penn.) vs. Hillcrest Prep (Phoenix), Jan. 14
Why you’ll want to watch: This matchup features the clash of the titans; Westtown’s 6-foot-11 forward Mohamed Bamba, the No. 4 overall player in the ESPN 100, goes head-to-head with Hillcrest’s 7-footer DeAndre Ayton, the No. 1 overall player. The last time Bamba and Ayton met up was during the first session of the Nike EYBL; Bamba posted 13 points, 12 rebounds, two steals, and two blocks to lead his PSA Cardinals (N.Y.) to the 69-68 win over Ayton’s Cal Supreme (Calif.) squad. Ayton, who was reportedly fighting a leg injury, finished with seven points and nine rebounds.
2, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) vs. Wasatch Academy (Mount Pleasant, Utah), Jan. 15
Why you’ll want to watch: This game features the No. 1 point guard in the country Trevon Duval and five-star junior forward Silvio De Sousa, who is ranked No. 6 overall in the ESPN 60. The inside-outside combination could prove to be the country’s best.
3. Pace Academy (Atlanta) vs. The Patrick School (Newark, N.J.), Jan. 16
Why you’ll want to watch: The Patrick School center Nick Richards will have his hands full against Pace Academy forward Wendell Carter Jr. Richards, who is ranked No. 12 overall in the ESPN 100, is very active around the rim, finishes with authority and protects the rim; Carter, who checks in at No. 3 overall, has a wide array of low post moves, overpowers the opposition in the paint, can handle the ball and knock down the 15-18 footer.
4. Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) vs. Nathan Hale (Seattle, Wash.), Jan. 16
Why you’ll want to watch: Nathan Hale’s Michael Porter Jr., who is ranked No. 2 overall in the ESPN 100, was the most dominant player on the most competitive summer circuit (Nike EYBL), culminating in leading Mokan Elite (Mo.) to the Nike Peach Jam title. Now he’ll face the defending national champion Warriors and its trio of forward Billy Preston, ranked No. 20, shooting guard Devontae Shuler and point guard Matt Coleman, ranked No. 27.
5. La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.) vs. Sierra Canyon (Phoenix, Ariz.), Jan. 16
Why you’ll want to watch: The country’s top junior, Sierra Canyon’s Marvin Bagley III, and his teammate, UCLA commit Cody Riley, form one of the most dominant frontcourts in the country, but they’ll have their hands full when they take on national runner-up La Lumiere. The Lakers are loaded featuring elite wing Brian Bowen, forward Jaren Jackson, a Michigan State commit, shooting guard Jordan Poole, a Michigan commit, and elite freshman point guard Tyger Campbell.
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