ATLANTA – Trevon Duval and Collin Sexton are both American Family Insurance Preseason ALL-USA selections, they both wear the jersey No. 1, and they both feel that number also signifies their standing among guards in the 2017 class.
The latter won’t be settled anytime soon; certainly not after their teams met Friday night at the Holiday Hoopsgiving.
In the end, Duval led No. 4 IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) to a 99-94 win against Pebblebrook (Mableton, Ga.).
Duval, who is ranked No. 5 overall in the ESPN 100, scored 24 points, swiped five steals and handed out six assists; Sexton, who checks in at No. 10, scored 39 points and grabbed five rebounds.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Sexton, who recently signed with Alabama. “He’s a really good guard and I’ve got a lot of respect for him. I knew it would be a good matchup.”
It’s not the first time the two have gone head to head; most recently they battled during USA Basketball’s training camp in October.
“I knew he was gonna go for 40!” Duval said with a laugh. “He’s really competitive and I’m the same way so I knew it would be intense. My number one focus was coming away with the win. I wouldn’t let myself think about the matchup.”
Still, even as focused as Duval was, he couldn’t ignore Sexton’s friendly jawing throughout the game. The two rarely guarded each other throughout Friday night’s game, but when they did the capacity crowd cheered in anticipation.
“It’s a mutual respect, but I’m gonna talk,” Sexton said. “The crowd was in to it and that’s just makes me go harder. He’s strong with the ball, I knew that would be the biggest thing.”
Duval was equally impressed with Sexton’s ability to make big shots despite being blanketed defensively.
“He hit one shot fading away from deep and I was like, man!” Duval said. “It’s fun to compete at that level with a guard of his caliber. You don’t get that every game. I was glad that we got the win because our only goal is to win a national title.”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY