The National High School Hoops Festival is one of the area’s marquee basketball events. Over the nine years, the event has featured some of the nation’s top basketball programs and Division I prospects. Players like Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Aquille Carr, Jayson Tatum, and Thon Maker have participated in this festival. This year’s event features a collection of the area’s top basketball teams and some teams from out of state. School’s like DeMatha, Paul VI, Bishop McNamara, Advanced Preparatory International (TX.), St. John’s, and Wise are in this year’s event. There will also be Division I caliber players playing. Here is a breakdown of players you should look out for.
Markelle Fultz, Guard, DeMatha class of 2016
Senior Markelle Fultz emerged as one of the top basketball players in the country after his first season with DeMatha’s varsity basketball team. The Washington commit has good size for a guard as he stands at 6 foot 5. He can score the basketball in many ways. Fultz can shoot the three ball or make that mid-range shot. He is able to get to the basket and score in transition.
Through four games, Fultz is averaging 20.5 points per game. In his last game against Eleanor Roosevelt, Markelle Fultz scored 22 points. Besides scoring, Markelle is becoming a tremendous and creative passer. On defense, Fultz shows a lot of effort. He goes after rebounds, steals, and blocks. Fultz is a player with a lot of potential and continues to improve on his game. He’s rated No. 12 in the 2016 according to ESPN and DraftExpress.com has Fultz going sixth in the 2017 NBA Draft.
Trevon Duval, Guard, API Prep class of 2017
Advanced Preparatory International (TX.) is becoming an instant basketball powerhouse and the reason for that is the players on the team. One player on that team to look at is junior Trevon Duval. The five-star point guard is the best guard and player in the 2017 class. Before playing for API, Trevon was at St. Benedict’s in New Jersey where he averaged 15.9 points per game and led his team to the Prep A title.
In the Addias Nations, Duval scored 12.7 points per game and dished out 4.8 assist. Trevon is a skilled ball-handler and can blow past his defenders with his speed. He’s been compared to Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose since he can absorb contact and finish in traffic. The bar is set high for Trevon since some think he is the best point guard prospect in high school basketball. He has offers from almost every college basketball powerhouse out there. Schools like Maryland, Kansas, Michigan State, Louisville, Arizona, and others want Trevon.
Sacha Killeya-Jones, Power Forward, Virginia Episcopal class of 2016
The 6 foot 10 Kentucky commit is the No.2 overall player in the state of Virginia and No. 51 player in the country according to Rivals. Before committing to the Big Blue Nation, he was going to Virginia. Killeya-Jones is a power forward that can stretch the floor with his ability to shoot from mid-range.
He is good in the post and has a soft jump hook. Throughout John Calipari’s time at Kentucky he has seen his fair share of good big men that went on to play in the pro’s. Players like Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins are two examples. Now Jones doesn’t look like the type of player that will be a one and done. But under coach Cal, he should develop into a great player.
Terrance Ferguson, Guard, API Prep class of 2016
5-star guard Terrance Ferguson is listed as the No.10 best player in the 2016 class. The Alabama commit is 6 foot 7 and he is very athletic. If you ever see his hoopmixtapes, you will be able to see how he can elevate above the rim for a dunk with ease. Terrance is a good shooter especially from behind the arc. In the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship, he averaged 15.3 points per game and helped the USA win the gold. Ferguson size and athleticism is something most scouts want from shooting guards today.
VJ King, Forward, Paul VI class of 2016
The Louisville signee is making an early case for himself as WCAC Player of the Year. In four games, King is averaging 30.3 points per game. Standing at 6 foot 6, VJ King has great size for a perimeter wing player. He has solid ball handling skills and is a good shooter from the three point line or the mid-range.
When Paul VI played Word of God, he went for 35 points and 10 rebounds. Before that, he scored 31 points against Cesar Chavez. In the lost against St. John’s, VJ had 34 points and 8 rebounds. One thing to take note of is VJ King is getting to the free throw line. King went to the line 14 times against Bishop O’Connell and 20 when he played Word of God.
Billy Preston, Power Forward, API Prep class of 2017
Billy Preston is a 6 foot 10 five-star power forward with a lot of talent. According to ESPN, Preston is the No.6 player in the 2017 class and the No. 1 player in Texas. He is a stretch four who can score the basketball well. Preston can score down low or step out and shoot. Billy can shoot from the three point line but he has a better mid-range game. He’s best from the high post where he can consistently knock down jumpers. Preston is also a solid passer for a power forward. Billy has offers from Arizona, Maryland, Kansas, UCLA, Utah, Oregon, and others.
Anthony Cowan Jr., Guard, St. John’s class of 2016
Anthony Cowan is one of the top players in the WCAC and another player that can make a run at the WCAC Player of the Year title. The Maryland signee is known for being a quick and aggressive guard that can score the ball very well. Last season he led the conference in scoring with 20 points per game. When he played Bishop O’Connell last season, he scored 40 points. This year, Anthony Cowan is averaging 24 points per game. And in the last game against Paul VI, he scored 32 points.
DJ Harvey, Guard, DeMatha class of 2017
DeMatha guard DJ Harvey is another top player in the 2017 class. In his class, he is No. 1 player in Maryland and No. 12 player in his country. Harvey is a talented shooting guard with amazing offensive skills. He can shoot from mid-range and behind the arc. During the Nike Global Challenge, Harvey shot 40% from the three point line. He can make shots off the catch and the dribble.
DJ is good at finishing at the rim and is solid when handling the basketball. He is also a good rebounder. When DJ played against St. Vincent-St. Mary High School at the Chicago Elite Classic, he scored 15 points and collected 11 rebounds. In the last game against Roosevelt, Harvey scored 22 points. DJ has offers from schools like Maryland, Duke, Arizona, Georgetown, and Notre Dame.
Ryan McFadden is a freshman at Iona College and alumni from DeMatha Catholic High School. He is the founder of Inside The Locker Room and sports writer for the Ionian. Follow him on Twitter @RMcFadden15.
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