The 10: 5 for the Fight National HoopFest notes
We saw a lot of basketball across the country during the Thanksgiving week. In this week’s 10 Things, the 5 for the Fight National HoopFest takes center stage. What were some of the big takeaways from the loaded event this season?
1. All Hail AZ Compass. With wins over Montverde Academy and Sunrise Christian in the two-game slate in Utah for the 5 for the Fight National HoopFest, AZ Compass Prep finished one of the best weeks of high school hoops hotter than darn near any team in the country. That’s a convincing two-game win run for the Chandler, Arizona program. Why is this team so good?
2. Energy: The way this team defends is as good as any team that I’ve seen in my career. No, seriously. If you need any evidence, just watch the fourth quarter tape of their match-up against Montverde Academy. The Dragons held the Florida power to 27 percent shooting from the floor. Going into the final eight minutes of action, the game was a one-possession game for 85 percent of the action.
3. Depth: One of the reasons why this club shines in the fourth quarter is because of the waves of talent coach Ed Gipson can roll out in his lineups. This group is literally 11-deep. If the Dragons need to win with guards, they can. If they want to pound it inside, no problem. If a stud gets into foul trouble, no sweat. There isn’t a drop-off in talent no matter the waves of lineups they roll out on the floor. That’s a sustainable trait to allow for a run for the Geico Nationals.
4. Balance: In these two wins, Compass only had one player in both wins score more than 10 points in either game. Think about that. The Dragons averaged a mild 59 points a game and only gave up 50.5 points a contest. In two games, Rayvon Griffith averaged 10, Jordan Ross posted 9.5, Mookie Cook and Tru Washington both put up 8 a game. This team is cleverly designed and these kinds of balanced wins will likely be the norm throughout the season.
5. I thought Jeremiah Johnson of Wasatch Academy was the best stockriser from the 5 for the Fight National HoopFest. The 6-foot-3 guard from Oklahoma City was outstanding in the two-game slate for the Utah powerhouse. Johnson, a class of 2024, slid down the rankings (currently at No. 185 on the composite 247 Sports rankings). He looked like a top 100 player in this setting and justified all of the Big 12 level looks that his recruitment has had up to this point. Don’t be surprised if Johnson’s uptick continues throughout the season.
6. If we are taking note of the stock risers, then Wasatch Academy South Carolina bound big man Collin Murray-Boyles deserves some serious consideration. He’s currently at No. 210 on the composite rankings from 247 Sports and, quite frankly, that’s too low. The South Carolina native has the chops to be a player to be counted upon in the SEC. He’s been steady thus far this season for the Tigers of Mount Pleasant, Utah. I think he’s worthy of inclusion into a top 150 national ranking.
7. Perhaps the biggest win over the course of two action-packed days came from American Fork. The local squad beat Sunrise Christian 56-55 in a wild one. This was one of the most important wins of the early season. Playing essentially a home game, American Fork used the fourth quarter to squeeze past the NIBC power house 16-10 in the final quarter. This was a big win for Utah basketball and coach Ryan Cuff.
8. I thought Corner Canyon (UT) forward Brody Kozlowski was the toughest dude in the field. On Tuesday he took a fall right to his lower back and high tailbone from about a four foot horizontal fall. It was nasty. Kozlowski, a 6-foot-7 junior with a sweet shooting stroke, went to the locker room and didn’t look like he was coming back out. But he did. And his team won. The next day he was even better. Paired against a big Bishop Walsh team, Kozlowski ripped down an event-high 19 rebounds and helped Corner Canyon secure their second win in less than 24 hours. He was a beast on this stage.
9. Mikel Brown of Sunrise Christian was the most impressive class of 2025 player in the field at the event. The young Floridian plays with zero fear or intimidation. He likes to let it fly and isn’t scared a big moment of a big shot. The baby-faced killer hit 7-12 from three. He was the best shooter in the action.
10. I saw some good things from KJ Evans for Montverde in this setting. The big man who is headed to Oregon played consistently well and looked comfortable as a go-to guy for this loaded Eagles squad. The Montverde frontline is as good as any group in the nation and to get the kind of production from the Baltimore native in this setting was a good indicator to what kind of player he can be when the postseason arrives.