#OTRHoopsReport: Holiday Hoopsgiving Hot Takes – Nov. 27, 2017
Many of the top players in the country were showcased over the weekend at the Holiday Hoopsgiving.
Atlanta, GA— Year four of the Holiday Hoopsgiving Tournament continued its trend of top-notch hoops play post-Thanksgiving. The two-day spectacle answered many questions and unveiled several interesting new storylines on some of the nation’s top players and teams. Kowacie Reeves gives you the skinny from center court.
They Got It Right
National evaluators from reputable scouting services from across the country have unanimously labeled Duke commit, RJ Barrett, as the top overall prospect in the 2018 class since he announced his reclassification in late July and he lived up to the hype. The 6-7 wing opened up the weekend with 26 points and ten rebounds in a big win over Trinity Episcopal, and followed up with a dominating 33 point performance on Saturday against Westside-Macon (GA). I’ve had the opportunity to watch the majority of the top-50 players in this class and Barrett widened the margin between himself and the rest of the field even more this weekend. For me, there is really nothing left to debate, RJ is No.1 hands down.
Top plays from this past weekend’s Holiday Hoopsgiving in Atlanta, featuring top prospects like RJ Barrett, Ashton Hagans, and many more. pic.twitter.com/WCs83mCx7O
— SLAM HS Hoops (@SLAMonline_HS) November 27, 2017
Making the Case
At the time being, Ashton Hagans is a consensus top-3 guard nationally. However, if there is a better lead guard than Hagans in the 2019 class, I’d like to see him. The 6-4 Newton High (GA) product was hitting on all cylinders this weekend and made a strong case for best point guard in next year’s senior class. In two games, he recorded two triple-doubles in front of coaches from Florida State and Kentucky. This kid can do it all and is Russell Westbrook-esque with his approach to the game.
Don’t Forget About Me
For whatever reasons, it feels like national evaluators have fell out of love with 4-star phenom Khavon Moore. The 6-8 senior was a top-10 ranked prospect for three years strong, but lost some steam as he struggled in spots last season. However, he still looks to be a top-25 prospect and a 5-star talent in my estimation. The multi-talented point forward tallied 26 points, eight rebounds, five assists, and three blocks and was one of the few bright spots for Westside-Macon (GA) in a blowout loss to Montverde Academy (FL). Moore remains one of the top unsigned seniors in the 2018 class and will more than likely make a commitment sometime between now and February. Alabama, Florida, Oklahoma, and UGA all seem to be serious suitors.
EJ, EJ, and More EJ
EJ Montgomery’s name was buzzing all weekend. The one-time Auburn commit was a force inside and was seemingly on a mission as he opens his new recruitment campaign. Montgomery gave onlookers a heavy dose of his inside-out game. He recorded 35 points and thirteen rebounds in game two in front of a packed house filled with HM Division I coaches. The 6-10 forward is arguably the top available big left on the board for 2018 and his recruitment will be something to monitor as we get closer to April’s signing period.
— SUVtv (@SUVtv) November 27, 2017
I believe Meadowcreek’s Jamir Chaplin is a couple big time performances away from gaining national notoriety. Although he did not have eye-popping stats over the weekend, the 6-4 combo guard was one of the best two-way players at Hoopsgiving and is seemingly a mid-major talent right now, but don’t be surprised if he catches the attention of some high-major programs by season’s end.
Ready for War
Hailing from Warner Robins, GA, the Demons seem to be ready to face whatever challenges that are in their path to a GHSA AAAAA state championship. Four-star guard Nelson Phillips scored 27 points in the win over Grayson (GA) with fourteen of those coming in the fourth quarter. The 6-5 senior gave the Atlanta area fanbase a glimpse of what they’ll be getting when he brings his talents to Georgia State University next season. Jacolbey Owens is the perfect complement to Phillips. The 6-0 sparkplug chipped in 17 points and four assists in the win. Right now, Owens grades out as a low-major prospect, but has the talent and appeal to make mid-majors get curious. Following their showing at Hoopsgiving, the feisty bunch out of the “War Town” earned a No.1 ranking in several Georgia High School Association Class 5A state polls.
Big Man on Campus
Trinity Episcopal (VA) big-man Amando Bacot caught my eye quickly with his bruising presence and soft touch on the offensive interior. The 6-9 power forward posterized a couple defenders on several highlight reel worthy dunks. He did enough (10pts 10rebs) to keep spectators interested in an otherwise lopsided game against arguably the best team in the country, Montverde Academy (FL). The five-star post is one of the more highly touted juniors in the nation and solidified that grade with his performance this weekend. Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, and Oklahoma State to name a few are all hot on his trail.
DJ Murray (Pebblebrook) 21pg 7apg
Jimmy Clark (Newton) 22ppg 2.1apg 5rpg
Tre Gomillion (Aquanis) 16.1ppg 3apg 11rpg
Michael Devoe (Montverde Academy) 23ppg 4.1apg
Kyle Sturdivant (Norcross) 21ppg 3apg 2rpg
Kowacie Reeves is a contributor to On the Radar Hoops