Ron Massey Fall Hoops Classic: First Five

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Nevada

Posted On: 09/10/18 10:59 PM

Norwalk, Calif. — The 2018 edition of the Ron Massey Fall Hoops Classic further cemented the event as the must-attend basketball fall tournament in Southern California.

The Dinos Trigonis-led event drew many of the Southland’s top high school programs, along with two of the best teams in the state of Nevada, for a two-day event at Cerritos College featuring an eight-team Challenge of Champions tournament along with showcase games with plenty more high-level teams and players.

Bishop Gorman out of Las Vegas defeated Torrance Bishop Montgomery, 59-57, in Sunday’s tightly contested championship game. Gaels junior shooting guard Noah Taitz scored 18 of his game-high 21 points in the first half and earned tournament MVP honors in the process.

Taitz, along with two of his teammates, highlight our “First Five” lineup from the Ron Massey Fall Hoops Classic.

FIRST FIVE

Zaon Collins, PG, Bishop Gorman

Collins has all the tools necessary to lead a high level basketball team at the point guard position. The 6-footer has poise and basketball IQ well beyond his years with his ability to pick apart pressure defenses and carve up opponents with his court vision and passing ability. One of Collins’ best attributes is his bullheaded approach on the defensive end. The rising sophomore picks up 94-feet and uses his quick hands to pick pockets or get into passing lanes.

Bishop Gorman shooting guard Noah Taitz was named the Ron Massey Fall Hoops Classic MVP after averaging 21.6 points per game and leading the Gaels to the title.

Noah Taitz, SG, Bishop Gorman

Taitz, the tournament MVP as mentioned above, shot the cover off of the ball in all three of his games. The 6-foot-4 junior averaged 21.6 points per game on the weekend with a majority of those coming from behind-the-arc. Taitz has picturesque shooting form, gets great lift on his shot and doesn’t need a whole lot of time and space to get it off. He’s also an underrated athlete and can create his own shot off the dribble.

Isaiah Johnson, SF/PF, Bishop Montgomery

Johnson, for some reason, remains one of the more under-appreciated players in all of Southern California, but hopefully playing on the biggest stages with Bishop Montgomery will change that. The 6-foot-6 forward is the definition of a “hard-nosed” player with his no-nonsense and businesslike approach to the game. Johnson understands his role with the Knights: Rebound, defend multiple positions, run the floor, finish around the basket and crash the offensive glass and he plays that part with precision, production and without saying a word, really. Johnson’s body control and ambidextrous finishing ability around the basket are his distinguishing traits.

Bishop Montgomery forward Isaiah Johnson is one of the more underrated players in all of Southern California.

Will Crawford, PF, Bishop Montgomery

Crawford is another guy who doesn’t get enough credit for what he brings to the floor. His style is best described as earnest as he doesn’t do anything flashy that will draw the camera lenses of mixtape-men lining the baselines, but the 6-foot-6, 220-pound senior consistently makes the right basketball play and competes on the defensive end. Crawford has shown major improvements in his 3-point shooting ability and is a legitimate stretch four prospect at the Division II level.

Isaiah Cottrell, F/C, Bishop Gorman

Cottrell continues to peel back layers of his game as his body fills out and he gets more touches. The 6-foot-9 junior showed some offensive progress with his back to the basket, and instead of floating on the perimeter looking for face-up jumpers, he established deep post position and made a handful of strong moves on the block. Cottrell can knock down a face-up set shot when needed, is a consistent free throw shooter and is continuing to improve as a rim protector and shot blocker.