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The 4th Annual Iverson Roundball Classic was an amazing event from start to finish.

 

It was great to see this level of talent assembled on the court at the same time. Just over 2 years had gone by since we’d seen a major All-Star Game and this one was worth the wait. The last Iverson Roundball Classic took place on April 24th, 2019 and featured 10 players currently on NBA rosters. To date, the Iverson Roundball Classic has seen 15 alumni go on to be drafted (Including 4 lottery picks and the 2020 #1 overall pick Anthony Edwards) and a total of 20 play in the NBA.

 

The storylines this game provided couldn’t be better if they were scripted. You had potential 2022 #1 picks Chet Holmgren & Paolo Banchero competing every single rep. A battle of unsigned point guards in Nolan Hickman & TyTy Washington. New Bloods vs. Blue Bloods in Matthew Cleveland (Florida State) & JD Davison (Alabama) vs. 3 players attending Duke and 2 (and a possible) attending Kentucky. Daeshun Ruffin & Raven Johnson showed that hoopers come in all sizes and genders. Joshua Minott showed the Memphis fans that they have A LOT to be excited about in the future… and more! Team Loyalty, (coached by Stephen Jackson), faced off against Team Honor, (coached by Rasheed Wallace & Bonzi Wells), in a matchup that won’t be soon forgotten. I will attempt to fit all of the action into this recap, but I guarantee my words won’t do it any justice.

Team Loyalty was led in scoring by future Iowa State Cyclone, Tyrese Hunter, with 20 points. He scored in a multitude of ways in route to an MVP award which certainly reinvigorated the fan base in Ames, who didn’t have much to cheer about this past season. The 6’2 guard from Wisconsin has capitalized on every opportunity over the last year to catapult his ranking up 100 spots and insert his name in the conversation of top point guards in the 2021 class. There was no shortage of stellar performances from the Team Loyalty squad.

 

  • TyTy Washington knocked down multiple 3’s in crunch time and dished out impressive assists finishing with 19 points. His impressive play throughout the event led many to wonder where his decision is leaning. You won’t have to wait much longer to see where he will be playing next year as he is set to announce his commitment on 5/15.

  • Alabama signee JD Davison capped off an impressive weekend with 17 points and 6 assists. Clearly one of the most athletic players in attendance, he put his basketball I.Q. and scoring ability on display during the All-Star Game. He showed his command of pick & roll and ability to make the right reads. Defenders struggled to keep him out of the paint as he created for himself and others. The Crimson Tide fans should be excited about this major addition to a team that is coming off of a Sweet 16 appearance this season.

  • I haven’t seen too many players who’s skillset rivals Paolo Banchero. He showcased his ability to knock down the outside shot, score off the bounce and dominate the glass on both ends of the floor. He finished with 15 points and 8 rebounds but the thing that’s most impressive about him won’t show up in the stat book. Paolo has amazing lateral agility which allows him to defend on the perimeter. He understands the game and doesn’t force anything. He’s an unselfish teammate who competes every single possession no matter what the scoreboard says. He possesses a unique combination of size, athleticism and versatility that will allow him to have an immediate impact for Coach Mike Krzyzewski. Duke fans, if you haven’t already secured your season tickets you might want to make that phone call NOW!

  • Tennessee signee Brandon Huntley-Hatfield started off the game strong and showcased his ability to stretch the floor. He knocked down two early 3’s and finished with 14 points. He posed matchup problems for opposing Big’s and impacts the spacing on the floor. He’s comfortable with the ball in his hands on the perimeter and has the ability to put the ball on the floor and score off the bounce. Huntley-Hatfield rebounds outside of his zone and already has a college ready body. He will be an impact player for the Volunteers.

  • Matthew Cleveland stood out to me with his ability to attack from the wing. He moves exceptionally well without the ball and has great instincts on both ends of the floor. He is an aggressive rebounder and plays with an elite motor. He finished with 10 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and left a lasting impression on all who watched the game. He joins a long line of successful wings at Florida State University. It’s going to be exciting to see how his game continues to develop under the tutelage of Coach Hamilton & Coach CY in Tallahassee.

 

*Other standout performances for Team Loyalty: AJ Griffin 12 points and Hunter Sallis added 9 points & 6 rebounds.*

 

Team Honor was led in scoring and rebounding by Chet Holmgren with 20 points & 12 rebounds. His fingerprint was all over the game. He dominated the glass on both ends of the floor and caused opposing players to adjust their shots all night long. Often you look down the scorebook and notate the amount of blocks a player has had, one thing that you wouldn’t know without watching Chet play is how many shots he affects. Holmgren shared the MVP award with Michael Foster who finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Foster is a monster on the glass who’s multifaceted and multidimensional. He has the ability to knock down the open shot, he can put the ball on the floor and score off the bounce, he is a gifted passer and brings a solid post presence as well. The win from the Honor squad was definitely a team effort.

 

  • Memphis signee Joshua Minott was making himself at home on Saturday night. He finished with 18 points and a grabbed the hearts of fans in Bluff City! Minott’s combination of athleticism and anticipation is extremely impressive. He not only finds himself in the right places at the right time, but also has the ability to capitalize on it and create second chance opportunities for himself and others. He jumps out of the gym and is capable to delivering a momentum changing dunk at any moment. He is an aggressive defender who makes it tough for opposing players. He will fit in well with Penny Hardaway’s system and is clearly already right at home in Memphis.

  • Nolan Hickman is my favorite lead guard in the class of 2021. He has everything you look for in your point guard; leadership, pace, feel, vision, I.Q. playmaking ability with a solid command of PNR, the ability to score at all 3 levels and defend. Hickman finished the game with 13 points and a few impressive assists. He gets in the lane at will and finishes above the rim with ease. His shooting ability doesn’t allow defenders to sag off so he’s always keeping them on their heels. He doesn’t get sped up and rarely turns the ball over. He’s a winner on and off the court and will be a special addition for whoever he commits to.

  • Heart over height… Daeshun Ruffin may be small in stature but he can score with the best of them! He plays with a chip on his shoulder and plays the game with so much passion that you can’t help but cheer for his success. He is intent on proving that his height isn’t a negative factor and doesn’t back down from anybody. His scoring ability allows him to draw multiple sets of eyes when he’s attacking downhill and he has the vision/basketball to find the open cutter. He’s an aggressive defender who will pick up all 94 feet from opening whistle to final horn. Fans in Oxford have to be excited for this electrifying player to step on campus.

  • Trevor Keels was the youngest player on the court, but you wouldn’t know it by his production and performance. He finished with 12 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists. He’s a big, strong, and athletic guard that can create for himself and others. His passing and playmaking abilities are underrated and not talked about enough. He scores at all three levels and is a mismatch problem for opposing guards. He is headed to Duke next year with fellow Allen Iverson Roundball Classic participants Paolo Banchero & AJ Griffin.

  • I was really impressed by Kendall Brown. The future Baylor Bear added 10 points and 4 rebounds for Team Honor. He has motor on both ends of the floor and plays above the rim. He’s a strong rebounder and has the size and length to guard multiple positions. He gets in the lane and finishes through contact. I’m excited what to see what he will do as he continues to develop at the next level.

 

*Other standout performances for Team Honor: Bryce Hopkins 10 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and Trey Alexander 10 points and 3 rebounds.*

Author

Justin Brantley 

National Recruiting Director/Analyst

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