The 10: Feast week all around
1. I’m in cold Utah for the Five for the Fight National HoopFest event at Pleasant Grove High School. So glad the event maestro Travis Haddock is back running this event after a year off and after COVID took away all of the fun for the last couple of years.
The 5 p.m. games on Tuesday and Wednesday are truly masterpiece games this early in the year.
Take a look at these games…
On Tuesday, we have the match-up that I can never grow tired of with Montverde Academy (FL) and AZ Compass locking horns.
On Wednesday, we have Sunrise Christian (KS) playing AZ Compass Prep.
That’s the top three teams in the nation going head to head this week before we pull the bird out of the oven, y’all. Feast on that. I will be.
There will be daily coverage of these marquee games. There will also be coverage of the regional games on the slate, too.
2. The field is LOADED with top flight talent and you can see them on various ESPN networks. Keep a close watch on Matas Buzelis of Sunrise. The G-League-bound wing forward is on my short list for the No.1 overall player in the nation for the class of 2023. I think it is an open race for that top spot and he's capable of such a takeover. Loved what I saw from him in Dallas a couple of weeks ago. Will Utah be a big stage for him? We'll see.
3. I’m anticipating a blow-up from someone in Utah this week for the Five for the Fight National HoopFest. The state never lets me down with prospects; this stage provides a chance to see more players up close and personal.
Let’s start with… Kallen Lewis was one of the best shooters I saw at the Border League last month in Las Vegas and now the 6-foot-6 junior has another big national platform - this time in his own home state - to show that he’s one of the hottest hands-on the perimeter in the West.
4. Real Salt Lake’s youthful backcourt of JJ Apothjang, JJ Mandaquit and Junior County will get ya excited about what is in store for coach David Evans and his program at RSL. All three players will be recruited at a high level and all three have had some positive buzz early in their prep careers. A stage like this could be the best kind of catapult for a bigger national conversation.
5. I'm very interested in seeing who shows up to see Tru Washington. The AZ Compass guard is one of the five best available players in the nation from the class of 2023. The longer the scholastic season goes and the more college teams see their current rosters, I wouldn't be surprised to see Washington's recruitment sky-rocket. He's one of the elite competitors in the nation.
6. The 2023 McDonald's All-American game will be played in Houston again. Fine. Texas in March is fine. The city is no stranger to great talent. But this year's game doesn't project a hometown player on the roster. So... the University of Texas could be featured quite a bit with two likely future Longhorn players that will likely be in the game. Ron Holland of Duncanville. And...
7. Texas picked up another monster commitment for the class of 2023. AJ Johnson is headed to Austin. The long and lean guard from Southern California joins Ron Holland in the ’23 class for coach Chris Beard. Johnson is one of the best long-term prospects in the nation and could blossom with time spent with the Longhorns. We just moved Johnson up inside our top 20 national rankings for the class.
8. I had a chance to be at the Utah Jazz’s terrific win over the Phoenix Suns last Friday night in Salt Lake City. Great NBA game. Great atmosphere. It is hard to beat a great professional game. These dudes at that level are different, man. In the action there were four players - Malik Beasley, Colin Sexton, Walker Kessler and Josh Okogie - that have played on our HoopSeen stage from the Peach State. This is our 11th season at HoopSeen and nothing makes me happier than seeing guys who were baby-faced kids playing on Court 4 at Suwanee Sports Academy not that long ago playing in from of 15,000 fans at the NBA level.
9. I’ve watched this dunk about 4,673 times. I can’t wrap my head around it.
📞 Hello, 911? pic.twitter.com/zOR0O3R01b— Arkansas Razorbacks Men’s Basketball 🐗 (@RazorbackMBB) November 17, 2022
10. We launched our 2023 schedule last week and Junard Hartley and I dove into the full slate. Fun show to do with our Vice President of Team Operations. We have a ton of action for teams of all levels and all regions of the country. I’d encourage you to sharpie the Best of the South on your calendar and build out the rest of the schedule from there. With only one NCAA Live Period for travel teams in 2022 in the month of July, you have to do it right. So, go where the basketball community goes year in and year out.