HYATTSVILLE, MD - The 13th Annual National Hoopfest took place December 7-8 at Dematha Catholic High School and was organized by the good folks over at Separation Sports Management.
Each year, this event brings future NBA talent from around the country to compete with and against future NBA talent in the DMV. I remember watching Cam Reddish put up 50 in what I thought was the greatest performance I had ever seen! That was until the following year Anthony Edwards but 33 points in the second half last year. I can also remember when Paul VI beat an Oak Hill team led by one of the DMV’s all time good guys Nate Britt. This year the same Paul VI team knocked off National powerhouse IMG Academy coached by….you guessed it, a DMV alum in former St. John’s College coach Sean McAloon.
The Hoopfest has become one of the top winter events in the country, and Keith Stevens and crew have done a tremendous job in growing the event. What makes this event a must-attend event for me, especially as a professional operating in the sports biz community, is the amount of high profile people there in various sports and business industries. This year alone I saw and chatted with various people who I have had the privilege of doing business with in some capacity over the years… in one instance I ran into someone I hadn’t seen in a few years but I knew exactly why he was there and he knew why I was there -to get a leg up on 2020. If you are like me and a notorious networker, and strategist, you live for the opportunities presented in a setting like this. Without giving out the secret sauce, I’ll say many deals have been talked about, signed and delivered at this event.
The National Hoopfest parallels what makes the DMV special when it comes to basketball:
High Level Basketball
Top Destination for the “Who’s Who”
Enough about the business, though. Here is who stood out to me from the games I saw:
Trevor Keel, Paul VI 2021
Without a doubt, Trevor had the best performance of the weekend leading PVI to a win over IMG Academy posting 34 points and SEVERAL signature moments. He also was dominant in a win over a talented, Isaiah Todd-led Word of God team. The Reigning WCAC POY looks to be an early favorite to repeat. Duke and Michigan have offered Trevor after last weekend’s performance.
Jeremy Roach, Paul VI 2020
Not to be outdone by his teammate Keels, the top 20 nationally ranked PG was back to his old tricks. Explosive by the rim, devastating from deep and created for his teammates at will. Jeremy plays with a confidence that you would expect from a player of his caliber. If not for his counterpart, Jeremy may have been the event’s top overall player. Jeremy is on the watch list for the McDonald’s All-American Game after the season and with more opportunities to impress against top competition, his case should be an easy one to make.
Earl Timberlake, Dematha 2020
Much has been said about the strides Earl has made over the years, and the Miami commit continues to impress. In a loss to Sunrise Christian, Earl showed what you can expect from him next year. He is a strong power guard who defends, attacks the rim, makes plays for his teammates and as of recent, is a plus shooter from deep.
Guy Fauntleroy, Riverdale Baptist 2021
More of a scorer than lead guard. The 6’1 dynamo fills up the stat sheet and leads by example. There are guards bigger, stronger and faster, but not many that are as wired to score like he is. Guy looks to be in the running for Beltway League POY.
Dimingus Stevens, Bishop Walsh 2020
Ming has been on the national radar for many years. He’s a streaky shooter, but when he is on and dialed in there isn’t a shot in the building he can’t hit. Bishop Walsh lost to Word of God in a close one but Dimingus rained in shots from all over the building. The Seton Hall commit looks to have improved defensively and as a playmaker.
Jaden Springer, IMG Academy 2020
Labeled as one of the top players in the country since he was very young, Jaden has routinely lived up to the hype. The Tennessee signee scored it at will but found the balance to make plays for his teammates. IMG lost to Paul VI Saturday but dominated Cornerstone Christian Sunday. Jaden is firmly on the McDonald’s All-American watch.
Isaiah Todd, Word of God Christian 2020
The knock on the Michigan pledge has always been that he chooses when to play hard. That was the case this past weekend. Isaiah coasted for much of the first half against Bishop Walsh before turning it on late to lead his team to victory. Isaiah should be a McDonald’s All-American and a future NBA lottery pick after developing under Coach Juwan Howard at Michigan.
Rodney Rice, Bullis 2022
Bullis may have lost Sunday, but Rodney was phenomenal. Scoring from all over the court and getting to wherever he pleased all game. Rodney continues to improve and is a firm High-Major prospect.