Posted On: 12/27/18 12:00 PM
This year’s Hoop City Classic might not have the Mike Miller name attached to it but it still has the same reputation and big names attending it.
This year the event spans out over four days starting on Thursday and ending with a pair of NAIA men’s college basketball games on Sunday.
The event will include 20 boys high school teams along with seven girls high school teams. There also are four NAIA men’s college basketball teams that play over three days in Sioux Falls and in Mitchell.
The tournament hosts teams from eight states that include the No. 1 ranked team in USA Today’s Super 25 rankings, La Lumiere (Ind.), and all three No.1 boys teams in South Dakota (Yankton, Tea Area and Bridgewater-Emery).
Below are each team’s top players to watch this weekend:
Noah Christensen — Breckenridge (Minn.)
Christensen is a 6-foot-9 senior small forward who has signed with North Dakota State University. He is very versatile as a forward. He can play inside and out, handling the ball and guarding multiple positions, while also being able to shoot it. Last year he averaged 20 points, 10 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game as a junior, leading the Cowboys to the Minnesota Class 2A state tournament for the second year in a row.
Evan Talcott — Brandon Valley
Talcott is an all-state guard who averages 15.3 points per game on 68 percent shooting, along with 5.3 rebounds per game. They will play John Marshall (Minn.) at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Sanford Pentagon.
Sawyer Schultz — Bridgewater-Emery
Schultz will not only play on Friday at the Corn Palace but every home game next year as he committed to play for Dakota Wesleyan next year. Schultz scored a school-record 41 points in the Huskies first game this year. He averaged 22.8 points, 7.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 3 steals a game last year. He also shot 48 percent from the field. The Huskies play Breckenridge at 5 p.m Friday at the Corn Palace.
Jaden Hardy — Coronado (Nev.)
Hardy has “hardly” had any problems scoring lately. He has his team entering the classic on a three-game winning streak. He put up 49 points in Coronado’s last game and has scored over 25 points in each of the last six contests. They will play Dominican (Wis.) at 5.p.m Thursday at the Corn Palace to kick off the classic.
Tyrell Terry — DeLaSalle (Minn.)
The 6-1, 160-pound guard is a consensus four-star prospect and one of the top point guards in the Class of 2019. Terry averaged 17 points and seven assists per game for DeLaSalle during his junior season. He’s a Stanford signee who has played in the classic every year he’s been in high school, DeLaSalle has actually been to all nine classics. Terry along with Jamison Battle has led the Islanders to the No. 1 ranking in Minnesota’s Class 3A. DeLaSalle plays Findlay Prep (Nev.) at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Corn Palace.
Jamison Battle — DeLaSalle (Minn.)
Battle also returns for DeLaSalle who along with Terry has led them to wins over some pretty good Class 4A schools. Battle is a George Washington signee. He has a college-ready jumper, length and toughness that makes it hard to stop. At 6-foot-7 Battle can hit threes with ease from outside as well as hitting the blocks down low. Battle averaged 14.5 points last season.
Alex Antetokounmpo — Dominican (Wis.)
Antetokounmpo is the younger brother of Milwaukee Bucks’ star Giannis Antetokounmpo. He has helped Dominican to the No. 5 spot in Wisconsin’s Divison-3 poll. Antetokounmpo averages 21.4 points, 10.4 boards and 2.3 blocks a game which all lead the team. Dominican plays in the first game of the classic, squaring off with Coronado (Nev.) at 5 p.m. Thursday at the Corn Palace.
PJ Fuller — Findlay Prep (Nev.)
Fuller headlines a talented roster that also boast two other Divison 1 talent in Raymond Hawkings and junior guard Taryn Todd. Fuller is rated as the No. 6 shooting guard for the 2019 class, and is the No. 54 overall player in the 2019 class. Nigel Carter of Future 150 describes Fuller’s game: Fuller is an athletic guard with great length and has the ability to score in a variety of ways. He can create off the bounce, utilizing an effective pull-up jumper, and can also attack the basket with strong finishes at the rim. A high-flyer, Fuller was one of the most athletic guards in attendance but needs to improve his effort defensively. Still, it’s tough to ignore his physical tools, and the means are there for him to become a lockdown defender.
Raymond Hawkins — Finlay Prep (Nev.)
Hawkins is a big boy. A 6-foot-9, 230-pounder Hawkins fights for position and plays hard-nosed physical basketball. He can lay it up with both hands and is unstoppable with his right-handed hook shot. He isn’t afraid to dunk it in your face also. He’s got a smooth jump that he incorporates into his post moves nicely.
Matthew Hurt — John Marshall (Minn.)
Hurt has offers from all the blue bloods; UNC, Kansas, Kentucky and his home state Minnesota. Hurt averaged 33.9 points, 15 boards, 3.6 assists and 3.9 steals a game last year. He has only improved from last year scoring a school-record 55 points in a game earlier this season for John Marshall. They play Brandon Valley at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the Sanford Pentagon.
Isaiah Stewart — La Lumiere (Ind.)
Senior big man Stewart is ranked No. 5 in ESPN’s 2019 top-100 recruits ranking. He has offers from Duke, Indiana, Michigan State and Villanova. ESPN says: As big as he looks it is easy to forget that he’s so young when you look at his man-child like body and tremendous length. He’s an elite rebounder and physical presence who plays with a high motor but needs to continue refining his offensive skill set. La Lumiere and Findlay Prep play at 9:30 p.m. Friday at the Corn Palace.
Keion Brooks — La Lumiere (Ind.)
Brooks is ranked No. 34 in ESPN’s 2019 top-100 recruits ranking. He has offers from Kansas, Kentucky, Indiana and Memphis. ESPN says: He’s a versatile scorer who can create his own shot from different spots on the floor and play both forward positions but he’s a volume based player, more limited on the defensive end, and has some physical uncertainties, especially in his lower body, moving forward.
Shane Sazue Jr. — Lower Brule
Sazue Jr. helped the Sioux qualify for the SD Class B state boys basketball state tournament for the first time in school history. He averaged 16.2 points, 3.7 boards, 2.6 assists and 2.7 steals last season. Sazue Jr. has experience playing in the classic playing in it last year. Lower Brule takes on Mountain Brook (Ala.) at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Corn Palace.
Trendon Watford — Mountain Brook (Ala.)
The six-foot-9 senior forward is Alabama’s reigning Mr. Basketball and the third player in state history to win the award as a junior. He scored 38 points and 12 rebounds against No. 2 IMG Academy before Christmas. Last year he averaged 23.3 points and 12.3 rebounds. Mountain Brook plays Lower Brule at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Corn Palace.
Colby Jones — Mountain Brook (Ala.)
The six-foot-5 junior holds offers from Harvard, Western Kentucky, Samford, UAB and Middle Tennessee. Jones averaged 23.9 points when he played for Pinson Valley last year.
Carter Jacobsen — Mitchell (S.D.)
Mitchell broke the 60-point barrier for the first time since January 2016 in a game earlier this month against Brandon Valley. Jacobsen had 19 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals in that game as well. The Kernels play Yankton at 8 p.m. Friday at the Corn Palace.
Caden Hinker — Mitchell
Freshman Caden Hinker scored a career-high 27 points including seven 3-pointers against Brandon Valley earlier this month. He looks to provide some consistent scoring for the Kernels as they look to record their first win of the season at the Hoop City Classic.
Alec Nelson — Mitchell Christian
The Golden Eagles are making their sixth appearance in the classic. Nelson scored 39 points in a win earlier this season. Nelson was six points shy of the school record. The Golden Eagles are 2-2 so far this season and will play Dominican (Wis.) at 11 a.m. Friday at the Corn Palace.
Gavin Schipper — Sioux Falls Christian
Schipper committed to play for the Trojans of Dakota State next season. Schipper has been apart of some of the most successful Charger teams of late. He was apart of the team that won it all in 2016 and was a starter in last years undefeated regular season team. He averaged 11.6 points on 58 percent. Sioux Falls Christian play Breckenridge (Minn.) at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Sanford Pentagon.
Mitchell Goodbary — Sioux Falls Christian
Goodbary will play football for Augustana (S.D.) next season. Goodbary is a very talented dual-sport athlete, who has also been on some successful Charger teams in the past four years. He is a brick down low averaging 12.7 points and 7 rebounds last year.
Jared Jaros — Sioux Falls Lincoln
Jaros has worked hard on his game this past summer and it has shown this past season. He dropped 32 points on Sioux Falls Washington earlier this season. He was 8-10 from deep and 79 percent from the field as a whole. He did leave the game and didn’t return against SF Roosevelt so we will see if he is healthy enough to play. The Patriots will play Coronado (Nev.) at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at the Sanford Pentagon.
Jack Cartwright — Sioux Falls O’Gorman
The younger brother of current Augustana guard Matt Cartwright, Jack had a great grassroots season with SD Attack. He is currently ranked No. 9 in the 2020 rankings. Last year he averaged just under three points a game but will definitely exceed that this season. The Knights play Aberdeen Central at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Corn Palace.
Akoi Akoi — Sioux Falls O’Gorman
The 6-foot-5 forward has already made a splash this season in South Dakota with a posterizing dunk earlier this season. He is a deadly matchup with his athletic ability, height and wingspan.
Gabe Person — Sioux Falls Washington
Person is a 6’2 guard who has an explosive first step on the offensive side which allows him to break down his defender and penetrate the middle of the offense. He also is deadly in the paint and during the fast break as he can finish with either hand at the rim.
Noah Freidel — Tea Area
Freidel is the one of the first Division I commits from Tea Area. His current teammate Justin Hohn is the other Division I commit. Freidel is going to Wright State next season after verbally committing shortly before the start of the basketball season. He took the school record in points in a game from his brother last season as well as averaging 25 points last season. Tea Area plays No. 1 in Class B Bridgewater-Emery at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the Corn Palace.
Justin Hohn — Tea Area
The other Division I commit from Tea Area, Hohn will play for UC-Irvine next season in California. John holds the season school record in assists with 156 in one season. He also set the single-season steals record with 79.
Matthew Mors — Yankton
Argus Leader calls him “the best South Dakota has to offer” when it comes to the best player in the state. Mors has offers from several Division I schools around the country. He’s also only a sophomore. The 6-foot-7 forward dropped 31 points and six rebounds in the season opener earlier this season. After a noteworthy AAU season, Mors will showcase his skills in one of the most premier classic South Dakota has to offer. The Bucks play Mitchell at 8 p.m. Friday at the Corn Palace.