RALEIGH, N.C. – From likely future pros to all-everything dominant big men to “did he really just do that” guards, the High School OT Holiday Invitational at Broughton High (Raleigh, N.C.) is loaded with talented players from all over the U.S. and Canada.
Here are the top five players to watch in this year’s tournament which starts Friday and runs through Dec. 30.
1. Thon Maker, Orangeville Prep (Ontario, Canada), 2016, C
Why you’ll want to watch him: Maker, widely regarded as the No. 1 player in the 2016 class, is 7-feet tall with the agility of a skilled wing and the ball handling skills of a guard. If that’s not reason enough to check him out you should know that he led Carlisle (Axton, Va.), the school he transferred from this year, to the High School OT title last year, pumping in 34 points in the championship game.
Check Maker out!
2. Harry Giles III, Wesleyan Christian Academy (High Point, N.C.), 2016, F
Why you’ll want to watch him: Giles, who is ranked No. 3 overall in the ESPN 60, is an all-everything forward who, at 6-foot-10, can handle the ball like a guard, blow past most bigs on the perimeter, knockdown jump shots and dominate in the paint. Giles, who helped the USA U17 team win the gold medal this past summer, plays with a confidence that makes him “know” he’s the best player on the court at all times.
Check Giles out!
3. Brandon Ingram, Kinston (Kinston, N.C.), 2015, SF
Why you’ll want to watch him: Ingram, who is ranked No. 12 overall in the ESPN 100, has drawn comparisons to Kevin Durant. Yes, reigning NBA MVP Kevin Durant. Ingram is 6-foot-8 with a 7-3 wingspan and limitless range on his three-ball. So far this season, Ingram is averaging 31 points a game.
Check Ingram out!
4. Dennis Smith Jr., Trinity Christian School (Fayetteville, N.C.), 2016, PG
Why you’ll want to watch him: Like “wow” plays? Smith, the top point guard in the ESPN 60, is the King of those; he combines exceptional athleticism, a high basketball IQ, a capable perimeter jump shot and speed to form one of the country’s most lethal offensive threats. Defensively he’s a hound, often clamping up on the opposing team’s top guard.
Check Smith out!
5. Jamal Murray, Orangeville Prep (Ontario, Canada), 2016, PG
Why you’ll want to watch him: Murray has been picking up buzz as “Canada’s next big thing” for years and, more importantly, has the game to back up that claim. Murray’s greatest asset offensively is his shooting ability because he can knockdown set shots and shots off the dribble with equal efficiency. Murray can also create his own shot and his quickness and athleticism makes it tough for defenders to keep him in front of them.
Check Murray out!
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY