Day Two at The Iverson Classic was ACTION PACKED!
After an intense practice the day before, I was excited to see how players would respond and who would elevate their name to the top of the conversation. There was plenty of opportunity to do just that between Practice, The 24k Game, The 1 on 1, 3 Point, and Slam Dunk Competitions. At practice we quickly realized that Rasheed Wallace and Stephen Jackson still don’t like referees so I’m wondering if we will see the first ever All-Star Game technical tonight. During the night’s festivities, A.I. shot around with some of the kids in attendance and showed he can still do it. I counted seven 3’s in a row and it looked EFFORTLESS. NLE Choppa showed up to enjoy the event and ended up suiting up and showing that rappers can hoop too. This has been a talent packed, action infused, and superbly coordinated event so far, but I have a feeling Game-Day is going to take it to an entirely different level.
Iron Sharpens Iron… The competition amongst the players was fierce and nobody backed down from anybody. The players walked into this event with the intention of showcasing their talents/abilities and all the rankings went out the window. Just a few of the moments/players that stood out to me today.
Chet Holmgren & Paolo Banchero Competing
These two are like Tom & Jerry… Whenever they see each other, there’s smoke and they’re not wasting any words. In many “Way Too Early” 2022 NBA Mock Drafts these two have been mentioned as potential #1 picks and it’s as if they are competing for that right now. In every single drill and scrimmage these two are going at each other and it’s been great to see that level of competition.
In Day 1, Chet showcased a more defensive presence while Paolo shined offensively and today Chet came out aggressively showing off his offensive skillset. In the highlight of the practice, Chet stretched out and dunked on Paolo in the 3 on 2, 2 on 1 drill. (You can’t teach a 7’6 wing-span). One of the things that stands out about Chet is his strength. He is deceptively strong. You look at him on highlights or a TV game and instantly thank; “when he puts on a little more size…”, the reality is, he’s extremely strong for his stature and has a high basketball I.Q. that always seems to put him in the right position.
Paolo continued to show more of what he displayed yesterday; He is freakishly skilled! You don’t see people his size that can pass, shoot, handle the ball, and defend all 5 positions. He’s like the basketball version of Thanos once he’s got all of the infinity stones. His shooting form and touch are impressive, he has great range and shoots it well in catch and shoot as well as off the dribble. He showed off his entire bag during the 1 on 1 competition and pulled away as the champion after a tightly contested battle with Trey Alexander.
ESPN #22 (Unsigned)
I’ve been impressed with the play of Nolan Hickman on both ends of the floor during practice. He has consistently competed in every drill. His defensive mindset has shined as well as his pace/feel. He makes the right reads in pick and roll, he’s shifty and picks his spots to attack and score. In speaking with the coaches, they all rave about his attitude, character and overall maturity level. Nolan Hickman is exactly what you look for in a point guard, a leader on and off the floor!
ESPN #10 (UCLA)
The shooting ability of Peyton Watson has stood out over the first two days of practice. He has a great combination of skillset and motor and is able to impact the game in many different ways. He rebounds the ball well, attacks and picks his spots to score. He will be a great addition to Mick Cronin’s Bruins.
ESPN #37 (Iowa State)
You can’t ask for a better group of point guards than the ones who’ve been assembled here. Tyrese Hunter has held his own in competition and represented well for the Midwest. His ability to create space with his dribble is elite and he always seems to be thinking one step ahead of the competition. Hunter has great feel and vision, always appearing to scan the floor and not only know where his teammates are but also anticipating their cuts. The number one need for every coach is a Point Guard who can control the tempo, and Iowa State will be in good hands with Hunter.
ESPN #2 (South Carolina)
5 Star guard, Raven Johnson, is headed to South Carolina to play for the great Dawn Staley and has been more than holding her own throughout the weekend. She has demonstrated her abilities and shown that she is extremely deserving of her inclusion in this event. She’s competed hard and earning respect amongst the guys. She has demonstrated just how good women’s basketball is. The saying “she play’s good for a girl…” is outdated! She has a strong handle, a great basketball I.Q., and can shoot it from deep. The Naismith Girls HS player of the year is truly special and I’m excited to continue to watch her grow and develop.
Kowaci Reeves Jr
ESPN #69 (Florida)
Every team needs a shooter and Kowaci Reeves is that guy. He doesn’t need much space and time to get his shot off and his ability to effectively move without the ball always puts him in the right position. He has elite level athleticism, and also possesses the ability to put the ball on the floor and score off the bounce which makes him that much harder to guard due to his sharp shooting abilities. Mike White has a special player headed to Gainesville!
ESPN #19 (Tennessee)
It’s not often you see a player reclass up and not miss a beat! He has a college ready body, and his overall skillset has increased greatly in his time at Scotland Campus Prep. He can stretch the floor and knock down open shots. He’s taken on the tough task of guarding some of the best bigs in the country and held his own. An absolute monster on the glass both offensive and defensively. He has functional ball handling skills and a solid command of pick and roll, providing lots of opportunities to score and impact the game.
ESPN #68 (Memphis)
I am really impressed by Josh Minott. He is long, quick and athletic which make him an exciting player to watch. He can disrupt the game defensively due to his athleticism and Basketball I.Q. He uses a combination of length and instincts to disrupt passing lanes and force players into tough shots. Minott has a high motor and coupled with his ability to score at all three levels, he will be an impact player for Penny Hardaway and the Tigers next season.
Trey Alexander & Daeshun Ruffin vs WHOEVER
I was extremely impressed to see the way these two competed against whoever they were placed against. In the 1 on 1 challenge there were a couple of seemingly one-sided matchups where I expected them to not really stand a chance due to the size advantage but neither of them backed down and they both were able to pull off some upsets. I’ve had the pleasure of watching Ruffin for a few years and he is one of the best small guards I’ve seen in a while. He scores in bunches and will be a problem at Ole Miss next year. After a recent decommitment from Auburn, Trey Alexander is showcasing his abilities and the way he competes, whoever gets him is going to be extremely happy!
Ty Ty Washington Shot The Lights Out
An impressive group of shooters was assembled, and Ty Ty Washington walked away as the 3 Point Champion. One of the hottest players as of late, since his Grind Session World Championship with Arizona Compass Prep and decommitment from Creighton; Washington has one of the purest shots I’ve seen, and he ran away from the competition. Ty Ty has displayed his ability to lead a team, push the pace, defend and make plays during the practice sessions and I’m looking forward to seeing him in the game setting. He checks all the boxes as a lead guard that can efficiently score with ease. It’s going to be interesting to see where he ends up when he makes his college announcement next week.
JD Davison & Jaden Akens Jumping Out The Gym
JD Davison & Jaden Akens put on a show last night well worth the price of admission. They both were not only jumping out of the gym, but also showing off their creativity with some high degree of difficulty dunks. These are two ELITE athletes that are extremely explosive and defied the laws of gravity on their way to an epic dunk contest showdown. JD Davison took home the title after a windmill from nearly the free throw line and a few head at the rim dunks.
24k Showcase Standouts
Nisine “Wooga” Poplar
The Miami signee was intent on coming out and showing that he belonged in the main game! He dominated from start to finish and showed a multi-faceted skillset. The Philly native showed range, athleticism and a high basketball I.Q. as he scored at all three levels and gave glimpse of what Hurricane fans can expect in Coral Gables this year.
The Georgia Tech signee brought a lot of energy to the table and dominated the glass at both ends of the floor. He plays hard at all times, has great lateral agility and an impressively quick second jump. He shoots the ball well, can guard multiple positions and scores well in traffic. He will be a great addition for Josh Pastner next season.
The Marquette signee gets his shot off quick! He moves well without the basketball, plays solid defense and shows an ability to score efficiently and effectively. He’s a name that’s flown a little under the radar, but he can definitely compete at a high level and showed glimpses of what he’s capable of bringing to the table for the Golden Eagles and new Head Coach Shaka Smart.