#OTRHoopsReport: Marshall County Hoop Fest Recap – December 5, 2016

Kansas bound forward Billy Preston of Oak Hill Academy gave a signature performance at the Marshall County Hoop Fest. 

BENTON, Ky., – The high school season is a time where the nation’s best players can shine brightly on the biggest stages. The Marshall County Hoop Fest is traditionally a place where you can find many of those performances. This 2016 version was no different. Here is a recap of the weekend’s biggest story lines.

Read the LIVE Blog here

Read past RECAPS from the Marshall Co. Hoop Fest here

By: @JLHemingwayPSB

5-Star Treatment

An elite stage like the Hoop Fest affords the nation’s best players the ability to showcase their skill. Duke bound guard Gary Trent Jr. took the court by storm on Friday night putting up a weekend high 36 points on 14-28 shooting. Trent, a known long range sniper, showed his all-around scoring ability on this night. He immediately went to the post and showed that he can score with his back to the basket. Expect Trent to be an elite weapon for the Blue Devils in years to come.

Billy Preston looks like a man among boys. Even some have said that the 6-foot-9 forward favors a Baby-Lebron in terms of physique and even in facial appearance. More appropriate, however, Preston looks like what a 4-player looks like in the modern game of basketball. He swallows up rebounds, scores efficiently around the bucket and has two-way versatility. He earned MVP honors with 16 points and 17 rebounds in a win over Aspire Academy on Saturday evening. Although his jumper is not quite polished at this moment, he shows flashes of being a floor space with his offensive prowess.

While the most notable signee that Avery Johnson got this year was Pebblebrook (GA) guard Collin Sexton, the Tide also slid in another guard in John Petty. Petty is arguably a top 25 player nationally. BrandonClayScouting.com has the 6-6 combo guard as the 23rd ranked player in the class of 2017. On Saturday afternoon, Petty notched 25 points, 12 rebounds and five assists in a win for Jemison High School. The remarkable length of Petty to go along with complete skill set should have Alabama fans excited, especially when paired with the nation’s top scorer in next year’s back court.

Mid-Major Presence

Although 5-star players get the bulk of attention, college basketball fans should pay attention to the players who will be attending non Power 5 Conferences.

A concensus top 100 player nationally, Jordan Goodwin, chose Saint Louis over a host of Power Conference offers. The 6-4 power guard puts us in the mind of Boston Celtics Marcus Smart. Billiken head coach, Travis Ford, probably thinks that too given that he coached Smart at Oklahoma State and will get a chance with Goodwin at Saint Louis. Goodwin did not disappoint with his showing on Saturday as he put up 30 points and 11 rebounds albeit in a loss with Althoff Catholic (IL). However, his power, strength and skill will be fun to watch in the Atlantic 10 Conference.

We got our first look at Lexington Dunbar’s star guard, Taveion Hollingsworth, last year at the Hoop Fest. In the interim the 6-3 guard signed with Western Kentucky and seems poised to be an impact player when he arrives in Bowling Green. He is a very good scorer moving off screens and getting his shot off in the mid range. He finished with 18 points on 6-13 shooting.

In the game of the weekend, Curie defeated Althoff Catholic in a meeting between two Illinois teams. The MVP of that game was Elijah Joiner from Curie who scored 28 points on 10-16 shooting. The 6-3 shooting guard hit shots efficiently and showed a pure shooting touch. His game should translate nicely for the Golden Hurricanes in Conference USA.

Living Up to Expectations

There were a number of players who showed up in big ways this weekend. They proved why their future college coaches have so much faith in them. Oregon signee Abu Kigab showed a polished wing skill set. At 6-7 he tremendous talent with his best playing days still in front of him. Kigab’s teammates, Paul Scruggs, proved why Xavier went 100% after him on the recruiting trail. He is an aggressive slasher that makes positive things happen with the ball in his hands. Oak Hill guard Lindell Wigginton seems to love playing games in Benton. He earned MVP honors on Friday night with 19 points. He will suit up for the Iowa State Cyclones next season. Big Blue Nation came out to watch future Wildcat, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and were not disappointed. He is terrific at getting his shot (and making it) in the mid range. Gilgeous-Alexander is shifty and a natural scorer.

Uncommitted Impact Players

There were several uncommitted 2017 prospects that project to be impact players at the next level. Most notably Matt Coleman of Oak Hill Academy backed up his billing as one of the best distributors in the land. He lists Duke, Texas and Stanford as his final three. Hillcrest Academy’s Virshon Cotton earned MVP honors after scoring 18 points in a win over Tech Academy. Cotton puts us in the mind of Purdue freshman point guard, CJ Walker. Another point guard that left his mark was Milton Wordlow of Aspire Academy (AZ). The pint-sized lead guard scored a game high 17 points versus Oak Hill on Saturday night. Yet the player who saw his stock rise the highest was Althoff Catholic’s Marvin Bateman. The 6-5 wing scored 26 points on 7-15 shooting from 3-point range. He did not have an offer coming into the event.


Coach Hemi-100-100Jonathan Hemingway is a National Evaluator for the OTRHoopsReport. Hemingway serves on the Board of Selectors for the Naismith Trophy. He is also the publisher of CoachHemi.com. He has been involved in the community since 1996 as a coach, camp director and evaluator. You can reach him via email at JonathanHemingway@PeachStateBasketball.com and follow him on  twitter @JLHemingwayPSB

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