Based on their play so far this season we’ve updated our list of the top five matchups you’ll want to see in the 2016 Spalding Hoophall Classic Jan. 14-18 at Springfield College in Springfield, Mass.
1. Athlete Institute (Can.) vs. No. 4 Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.), Jan. 16 at 6 p.m.
Why you’ll want to watch: Athlete Institute’s Thon Maker, a 7-foot versatile center, was the No. 1 overall player in the ESPN 100 for 2016 before he relocated from Virginia to Canada, and his younger brother Matur Maker, a 6-foot-10 forward, is a workhorse in the paint with a motor that won’t quit. They’ll tangle with Pilots athletic forward P.J. Washington, who is ranked No. 15 overall in the ESPN 60. Washington has a relentless motor and point guard Markus Howard can fill it up with the best of ‘em making this matchup must-see TV.
2. St. Francis (Alpharetta, Ga.) vs. Lone Peak (Highland, Utah), Jan. 16 at 12:30 p.m.
Why you’ll want to watch: St. Francis point guard Kobi Jordan-Simmons is ranked No. 4 among floor generals in the ESPN 100 and Lone Peak’s Frank Jackson, a Duke signee, is No. 4 among shooting guards in the ESPN 100. Both have that “alpha male” mentality on the court that makes them virtually unguardable.
Whoever wins the matchup will likely win the game.
3. No. 12 High Point Christian Academy (High Point, N.C.) vs. No. 1 Chino Hills (Chino Hills, Calif.), Jan. 18 at 5 p.m.
Why you’ll want to watch: This is a rematch of the City of Palms Classic semifinals which Chino Hills won 94-82. In that game, LiAngelo Ball, a UCLA commit, had 42 points, including 11 three-pointers, his freshman brother, LaMelo, another UCLA commit, had 18 points and his older brother Lonzo Ball, a UCLA signee, had 14 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. The Cougars got a big game from Kentucky signee Edrice Adebayo who scored 25 points and 12 rebounds in the loss. Since then, Adebayo’s teammate Michael Hueitt Jr. was named MVP of the High School OT Holiday Invitational after dropping 23 points in the title win.
The Cougars will need all hands on deck against the Ball brothers.
4. No. 3 Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) vs. No. 7 Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.), Jan. 18 at 3 p.m.
Why you’ll want to watch: Montverde has won the last three DICK’s Sporting Good High School Nationals titles; that’s one reason to tune in, the other is that the Eagles post the No. 2, Silvio De Sousa, and No. 3, E.J. Montgomery, players in the ESPN 25. That pair, which both stand 6-foot-9, combined with Bruno Fernando (6-9) and Simi Shittu (6-9) will do battle with Sierra Canyon’s talented frontline of Cody Riley, a 6-7 forward who is ranked No. 22 in the ESPN 60, and Ira Lee, a 6-8 forward who is ranked No. 34 in the ESPN 60. Add in the Trailblazers new sophomore stud Marvin Bagley III, who is ranked No. 1 in the ESPN 25, and you can expect that whoever controls the paint will, ultimately, control the scoreboard.
5. No. 8 DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) vs. No. 15 Chaminade College Prep (St. Louis, Mo.), Jan. 18 at 11 a.m.
Why you’ll want to watch: This game features two of the most gifted scorers in the country in Red Devils forward Jayson Tatum, a Duke signee, and Stags guard Markelle Fultz, a Washington signee. Both players are coming off of recent scoring barrages at the Cancer Research Classic and will undoubtedly put up big numbers in this one.
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY