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Friday, January 18, 2013
Hoophall Classic: Players to watch

By Paul Biancardi


The Spalding Hoophall Classic held near the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., is annually the nation’s best in-season high school basketball event -- and this year may be its best field ever. Which is saying something considering the likes of Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, Jared Sullinger and Kyrie Irving have played in the showcase.

The elite national matchups will get rolling on Saturday and then really kick into gear on Sunday and Monday, when six games will be televised across ESPN, ESPNU and WatchESPN. In those six TV games alone, 25 players ranked in the ESPN 100 and seven teams ranked in the ESPN 25 Power Rankings will be featured, including the No. 1 and No. 2 prospects, six of the top 12 recruits in the country and a showdown between the No. 1 and No. 2 teams. Recruits for Kentucky, Duke, Florida, Syracuse, Indiana, NC State, Georgetown, Washington, Baylor, BYU and more will be on display.

To get you set for all the action, here are the players to watch for each of the 12 teams playing on TV this weekend.

No. 11 St. Benedict’s (N.J.) vs. Montrose Christian (Md.), Sunday, 2 p.m. ET on ESPNU & WatchESPN

Tyler Ennis
Syracuse commit Tyler Ennis is a pure point guard with a knack for big-game performances.
Ishmail Wainright (Raytown, Mo./Montrose Christian)
2013, SF, 6-6, 220
No. 28 in the ESPN 100
Signed with Baylor

Wainright is the engine of this Montrose team. He can truly play all five positions due to his physically strong body and basketball IQ. He’s a facilitator by nature with a college-ready body and long arms. His physical qualities make him special. Wainright is an extremely productive player with versatility, and he’s effective using the bounce to attack the basket and create scoring opportunities for himself or others. He’s also smart and strong -- watch him post up smaller defenders and use his physical strength to score over the top of them. He could be the best defensive player at the Hoophall Classic both on and off the ball. Off the ball on defense, he puts himself in the right spots to come up with steals, deflections and charges.

Tyler Ennis (Brampton, Ontario/St. Benedict’s)
2013, PG, 6-2, 180
No. 44 in the ESPN 100
Signed with Syracuse

This clever point guard is an excellent playmaker who controls the flow of the game. Ennis excels on the break by getting to the rim as he weaves in and out of defenders with his tight handle and by taking advantage of angles. He is a lead guard who is quicker and faster than he appears. He understands how to find his teammates while creating open looks from his dribble-drive game. And while he’d rather get the assist, he can score at any time with his jumper or drive.

Check out more top players from St. Benedict’s.

No. 5 Huntington Prep (W.Va.) vs. New Hampton School (N.H.), Sunday, 5 p.m. ET on ESPN & WatchESPN

Noah Vonleh
Indiana-bound Noah Vonleh will go head-to-head with No. 1 recruit Andrew Wiggins.
Andrew Wiggins (Thornhill, Ontario/Huntington Prep)
2013, SF, 6-7, 205
No. 1 in the ESPN 100
Uncommitted

Wiggins dominates the game by scoring and rebounding with his superior athletic ability and physicality. He will work to get close to the basket and score, create a foul or find the open man. When he wants to score, he will find a way to get a shot off close to the lane with explosiveness and length. His leaping ability is off the charts and he possesses a second jump that produces points, rebounds, blocks. Wiggins is a highlight waiting to happen. He’ll be an impact player in college in the paint and at the free-throw line, and then the NBA will likely come calling. His recruitment right now is between Florida State, Kentucky, Kansas and North Carolina.

Check out more top players from Huntington Prep.

Noah Vonleh (Haverhill, Mass./New Hampton School)
2013, PF, 6-8, 220
No. 8 in the ESPN 100
Signed with Indiana

Vonleh is a versatile athlete who rebounds at a high rate, especially on the offensive end of the floor. What makes him such a great rebounder is his length, timing, anticipation and large, secure hands. He displays excellent skills and a soft touch from behind the 3-point arc and in the paint. Vonleh is a difficult matchup, especially in ball-screen action where he can be the ball-handler or the screener with equal effectiveness. He’s developing the demeanor to take over at the end of games that you would expect from a big-time player.

Check out more top players from New Hampton.

No. 3 Lone Peak (Utah) vs. Archbishop Mitty (Calif.), Monday, Noon ET on ESPNU & WatchESPN

Nick Emery
BYU signee Nick Emery leads national No. 3 Lone Peak (Utah) into the Hoophall Classic.
Aaron Gordon (San Jose, Calif./Archbishop Mitty)
2013, PF, 6-8, 220
No. 7 in the ESPN 100
Uncommitted

Gordon is wired to score and loves to compete with a high motor. He brings energy to the game and gives energy to his teammates. Inside the arc he can have his way with opponents by scoring with a 15- to 17-foot jumper or driving in a straight line to the basket. He’s a tremendous finisher with a crazy vertical leap as he sometime gets his elbows over the rim. He will go over or through opponents on a fast break or an alley-oop. He excels in the rebounding game as well because he simply pursues every shot as if it’s going to be a miss. Winning is also part of his resume as he led the AAU Oakland Soldiers to the Nike EYBL title last summer and is going after his third straight state championship at Archbishop Mitty this year. His big college decision will come after the season as he is down to Arizona, Kentucky and Washington.

Check out more top players from Archbishop Mitty.

Nick Emery (Highland, Utah/Lone Peak)
2013, PG, 6-2, 180
No. 61 in the ESPN 100
Signed with BYU

Emery is one of the best shooters in the event -- and in the country. He has the ultimate green light, delivers jumper after jumper and no shot is too far for this lefty. You have to love his approach to the game as brings intensity and self-confidence to the floor. He’s a fearless shot maker who wants to get to the rim but doesn't mind taking a hit and getting to the line. His shooting range must be respected out to the NBA 3-point line.

Check out more top players from Lone Peak.

No. 13 Oak Hill Academy (Va.) vs. No. 14 Simeon (Ill.), Monday, 2 p.m. ET on ESPNU & WatchESPN

Troy Williams
Indiana-bound Troy Williams will match up against No. 2 prospect Jabari Parker at the Hoophall Classic.
Jabari Parker (Chicago/Simeon)
2013, SF, 6-8, 220
No. 2 in the ESPN 100
Signed with Duke

Ever since he made his college decision to attend Duke on Dec. 20, Parker has been healthy and confident. Versatility is his calling card and his advanced skill and basketball IQ set him apart from his peers. His game touches many categories as he will produce points with his jumper or drive past bigger defenders. When he is not scoring, look for Parker to influence the game with his rebounding, defense and passing. He is chasing a fourth consecutive state championship at Simenon, and he knows how to win and make others better in the process.

Check out more top players from Simeon.

Troy Williams (Hampton, Va./Oak Hill)
2013, SF, 6-7, 190
No. 33 in the ESPN 100
Signed with Indiana

Williams is a high-flying finisher in transition who plays best when the game doesn’t stop. He is long and athletic with the ability to slash his way to the basket and soar over and around defenders. His long-range shot has improved, and with his length he can easily see over most defenders against man-to-man or zone. He uses his length and energy to rebound outside of his space and turns them into second-chance points. Currently the leading scorer and rebounder for this powerful Oak Hill team, Williams is also an underrated passer who may be the best passer on his squad.

Check out more top players from Oak Hill.

No. 1 Montverde Academy (Fla.) vs. No. 2 Findlay Prep (Nev.), Monday, 4 p.m. ET on ESPNU & WatchESPN

Kasey Hill
Florida-bound PG Kasey Hill delivered a clutch performance in the NHSI title game.
Kasey Hill (Eustis, Fla./Montverde)
2013, PG, 6-0, 170
No. 9 in the ESPN 100
Signed with Florida

Hill’s speed with the ball in the open floor is outstanding as he puts pressure on the defense. Watch him drive the lane with a low shoulder and a quick, short first step to blow past his defender and score or make the assist. He looks to be a floor general, but when the offense breaks down he will drive to score or find an open teammate. Hill has also demonstrated the ability to change speeds to keep the defense off balance, and he’s terrific at navigating in pick-and-roll situations. He’s a streaky but capable outside shooter who is now a more committed defender under coach Kevin Boyle.

Check out more top players from Montverde.

Nigel Williams-Goss (Happy Valley, Ore./Findlay)
2013, PG, 6-3, 180
No. 50 in the ESPN 100
Signed with Washington

Williams-Goss is one of the most dependable and trusted players in the senior class. A true point guard who looks to set up his teammates and execute the offense, he controls games on the offensive end with his scoring, playmaking and decision-making. Defensively he’s not overly athletic but he works at smothering the opposing point guard. His leadership abilities don’t show up in his statistics but they do show up in his 113-7 record while at Findlay.

Check out more top players from Findlay Prep.

DeMatha (Md.) vs. Hudson Catholic (N.J.), Monday, 6 p.m. ET on ESPNU & WatchESPN

BeeJay Anya
NC State-bound center BeeJay Anya is a space eater in the paint for DeMatha.
BeeJay Anya (Germantown, Md./DeMatha Catholic)
2013, C, 6-9, 275
No. 32 in the ESPN 100
Signed with NC State

All of Anya’s hard work and conditioning is paying off as he has turned himself into a bona fide low-post threat while being a presence on the glass. His wide body combined with his 7-foot-9 wingspan make him a force in the paint, where he can score with power, length or his jump hook over his left shoulder. He’s a real space eater in the lane with his post-up game, and he’ll also work the defensive glass and get his share of blocked shots.

Check out more top players from DeMatha.

Reggie Cameron (Hackensack, N.J./Hudson Catholic)
2013, PF, 6-7, 210
No. 68 in the ESPN 100
Signed with Georgetown

Cameron is a long-range shooter who knocks it down with consistency and confidence. With very little time and space he will raise up and pull a jumper from anywhere on the floor with accuracy. He has a true shooter’s mentality as he is not affected by his last shot and is only concerned about his next attempt. Savvy enough to shot fake and drive against a hard closeout, Cameron’s real value lies in opening up the floor. He’s also an excellent pick-and-pop player to run to an open area or spot up on his teammates’ drives.

Check out more top players from Hudson Catholic.