RALEIGH, N.C. – The John Wall Holiday Invitational welcomed a host of talented local teams, plus a handful of national teams to a basketball crazed environment for a four-day event at Broughton High School.
The event sold out on the first day by 3:30 ET, and produced one of the best basketball environments I’ve seen at a holiday tournament. Not only was the atmosphere and crowd great, but the on court action was as well.
In the first two days, the top player in the 2021 class – Jon Kuminga – put on a show, North Carolina native Dontrez Styles managed to raise his stock and a handful of local standouts emerged.
JON KUMINGA SHOWS WHY HE’S NO. 1
Arguably the biggest attraction of the event was Kuminga and the top ranked recruit didn’t disappoint, scoring 31 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in a win on Friday.
Kuminga was dominant and showed the full, versatile scoring package. Kuminga was aggressive from the tip, making shots from long-range, pull-ups from mid-range and throwing down powerful, high-flying dunks in half court and in transition. The later were impressive enough to get John Wall out of his courtside seat to cheer on the action.
Perhaps the most impressive was his blend of scoring inside and out. His jump shot continues to improve and it’s easy to see the confidence he’s gained in shooting it both from well beyond the three-point stripe, but also on the move or off the bounce from mid-range.
It also should be noted that he saw and took advantage of mismatches, taking smaller defenders to the post, where he either rose over and made mid-range shots or backed them to the paint for finishes at the rim. This time last year, Kuminga wouldn’t have done that, which speaks to his progress and improved mentality.
This was the type of performance you want to see from a top ranked player in the class. All the tools have been there – plus size, length, athleticism, scoring package, versatility, skill and potential on defense – now he’s starting to add a killer instinct, which is a scary thought for others in the class.
NC STATE COMMITS SHINE
The best and perhaps most important prospect for Kevin Keatts’ program was Moravian Prep forward Josh Hall. Hall showed his unique game, long-term potential and a versatile scoring attack. Hall made shots from the perimeter, operated effectively out of the high post and showed off an impressive skill set at 6-foot-8.
Moore, Hall’s high school teammate, was impressive too. It starts with his defense, as he has the potential to be a lockdown defender because of his lateral quickness, strength, toughness and mentality. Moore also showed off his athletic ability, made a ridiculous ¾ court bounce pass and knocked down a catch and shoot three. Moore could be the steal of N.C. State’s class.
It was our first live viewing of Smith, a 6-foot-2 wiry scoring guard. What stood out about his game was the confidence he has in his jump shot. Smith showed deep range on his shot, plus good quickness, a fearless mentality and potential on the defensive end.
Late Friday night, Farrar took the court in a battle with The Patrick School. While his team fell short, Farrar did all he could. Farrar had 24 points in the first half, scoring off deep jump shots and battling inside. Farrar is undersized, but his offensive attack is versatile and he plays a tough brand of basketball. Farrar finished with 35 points, including 5-for-6 from three.
OTHER TOP PERFORMERS
Dontrez Styles, SF/PF, Kinston: Outside of Kuminga, Sytles impressed us as much as any player in the event. It was his energy and effort that caught our eye, but it was also how effective he was inside and out. Styles used his supreme athleticism to make plays in the paint and in transition. He was active on the glass, made a pair of mid-range jump shots and also knocked down a three-pointer. Styles is in between position at 6-foot-6, but he can guard both forward spots and plays with the type of intensity you look for in an versatile forward.
JaDun Michael, SF/SG, The Burlington School: Jadun Michael had two strong days of ball. A Wichita State signee, Michael showed an effective scoring attack that allows him to score at the rim and from the perimeter. Michael has fine size at 6-foot-5 with good length and athleticism. He was aggressive off the dribble, and finished at the rim, but he also made multiple jump shots from mid-range and three in both viewings. As he’s been known to day, Gregg Marshall did a great job of evaluating Michael and is adding an immediate contributor.
Day’Ron Sharpe, C, Montverde: Returning to North Carolina for the high school event, Sharpe dominated the painted area. Durham Academy didn’t have anyone that could match his pure size or strength, and Sharpe took advantage of it, dunking everything in the paint and owning his area. Sharpe is a physical specimen with good hands, nice touch and a developing post game. He’s also a very good area rebounder. Over the course of the last two years, Sharpe has done nothing but improve and get better, which is a great sign for Roy Williams. Sharpe scored 14 points in the first half of their nearly 40-point win.
Eric Van Der Heijden, SF/PF, Millbrook: One of the best finds of the event was this 6-foot-8 versatile combo forward. Heijden, a 2021 recruit, impressed out of the gate with his passing. He has terrific vision and is a pinpoint facilitator with either hand. Van Der Heijden is also a shooting threat with good shot mechanics and deep range. In the 12 games heading into the event, Van Der Heijden was 25-for-52 from long-range. Van Der Heijden’s skill level, combined with his positional size and fluidity makes for an intriguing long-term prospect.
Kuluel Mading, PF, The Burlington School: While his teammate – Michael – was doing the scoring, Mading played the role of rim protector, rebounder and rim runner for TBS. Mading did all three of those things quite well. At 6-foot-8, Mading is a bouncy athlete that gets off the ground with ease and quickness. He moves well laterally, has good quickness and is capable of switching on the perimeter. Mading is thin, and needs to add weight, so the post-graduate season he’s planning to do next year will be beneficial.
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