From a meeting of talented giants in the frontcourt to duels between, in all likelihood, future NBA guards we’ve zeroed in on the top five matchups at the 2016 Spalding Hoophall Classic Jan. 14-18 at Springfield College in Springfield, Mass.
Orangeville Prep (Can.) vs. Hillcrest Academy (Phoenix), Jan. 16
Why you’ll want to watch: Orangeville Prep’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 what may very well be the country’s No. 1 frontcourt in Marvin Bagley III, a 6-foot-10 forward who is the No. 1 overall player in the ESPN 25 for 2018, and DeAndre Ayton, a 6-foot-10 center who is the No. 1 overall player in the ESPN 60 for 2017.
Yes, two No. 1’s on the same team.
St. Francis (Alpharetta, Ga.) vs. Lone Peak (Highland, Utah), Jan. 16
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 commit, 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.
High Point Christian Academy (High Point, N.C.) vs. Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.), Jan. 18
Why you’ll want to watch: High Point Christian Academy’s brute, strong forward Edrice “Bam” Adebayo, who is ranked No. 8 overall in the ESPN 100, has a propensity for rocking the rim on dunks and manages to dominate whoever he goes head-to-head with, but he’ll have his work cut out for him when he faces Findlay Prep’s P.J. Washington, who is ranked No. 15 overall in the ESPN 60. Washington has a relentless motor and is very versatile making this matchup must-see TV.
Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) vs. Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.), Jan. 18
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, will matchup against 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.
Whoever controls the paint will, ultimately, control the scoreboard.
Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.) vs. Chino Hills (Chino Hills, Calif.), Jan. 16
Why you’ll want to watch: Paul VI wing V.J. King, a Louisville commit who is ranked No. 27 in the ESPN 100, is one of the most versatile backcourt prospects in the country, can score in a variety of different ways and is a defensive hound. That will come in handy for the Panthers when they face Chino Hills star point guard Lonzo Ball, a UCLA commit who is ranked No. 11 overall in the ESPN 100. Ball is, arguably, the most complete lead guard in the country who works as a magician with the ball and can score at-will.
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