5 For the Fight National Hoopfest 2023: Tuesday
PLEASANT GROVE, UT - The stars were bright on Tuesday at the 5 for the Fight National HoopFest in Utah County. Let's dive into who stood out.
Montverde Academy - As a whole, they’re just too tough and too deep and all too familiar of a storyline that we see annually from the Florida powerhouse. Everyone on the roster saw action in the team’s big win over a tough American Fork squad. You can’t pinpoint one standout usually for this team because the sum of the parts always wins. What else would you expect from the No. 1 team in the nation? Asa Newell, the Georgia-bound forward, was the game MVP on this particular night. Truth be told, you can probably pick four different players on any given night.
Isiah Harwell and Juni Mobley, Wasatch Academy (UT): The two turned up in the second half and helped the Utah powerhouse come away with a win over Orangeville Prep (CAN). 13-22 to the tune of 38 points. Mobley added nine assists and two steals in the win. This was a good couple of days for Harwell, packing two productive days against quality teams together. Harwell shot the ball well (7-10 FG, 3-5 from 3) in the win over Orangeville.
Josh Hill, Wheeler (GA): The Arkansas State-bound big man was a steady force for the Wildcats in a tough game against a tough team in Corner Canyon. Hill was a threat from three and a presence on defense as a shot-blocker and rebounder. He continues to prove to be one of the big recruiting steals of the class of 2024 nationally. Hill went for 20 points, nine rebounds (four offensive) and three blocks in the win.
HI, MY NAME IS…
Derelle Desire, Corner Canyon (UT): The 6-foot-10 senior big man was a real eye-catcher on Tuesday against Wheeler. He’s hard to miss with his great length, great footwork and activity in the open floor. Desire was active against Arkansas State-bound Josh Hill and showed off great dexterity and fluidity. As college coaches look for deep-cut sleepers in the class of 2024, it wouldn’t come as a big surprise to see Desire’s name pop up in more conversations with connectors.
Xavier McLean, Orangeville Prep (CAN): Keep a close watch on the class of 2025 from Canada. We first saw him a couple of years ago on the 14 and under level in travel ball, took note and thought he could develop into a fun player down the road. Well, here we are and he’s a junior starter for an EYBL scholastic team. In a loss, McLean scored a team-high 22 points and knocked down six three-pointers in the game. He also grabbed eight rebounds and had six assists in the game. There is a lot to like here with the 6-foot-6 wing forward. Don’t be surprised to see him as a big riser over the next 12 months.
THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT
Trips like this could be much more of a team builder than a matter of wins and losses at the end of the day. For the young Wildcats, a chance to do some team building and experience can go a long way. Young guys like Kota Suttle, Jr., Kevin Savage III and Amari James are getting on-court opportunities to build a foundation of good things to come for the Wildcats. On Tuesday, Suttle played well in a second-half comeback for Wheeler against Corner Canyon. Suttle finished with 10 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists.
With a team like Montverde, the young guys will have to find their moments. And those moments usually come when the game is long separated by a big margin and the final whistle is on the horizon. So, finding quick moments to produce is important. On Tuesday night against American Fork, the Montverde duo of Kayden Allen and Caleb Gaskins made their mark in the second half. The two sophomores combined for 22 points. Both guys are no-brainer top-level recruits and like other MVA players in years past, they’ll have their time in the big spotlight.