The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame created a spinoff of its annual event in Massachusetts: the Spalding Hoophall West. It’s sure to develop into one of the best pre-Christmas showcases on the high school basketball circuit. Student Sports FAB 50 national title contenders Oak Hill Academy of Virginia, Mater Dei of California, Yates of Texas and Bishop Gorman of Nevada are scheduled to play.
The Spalding Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass., is traditionally held on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend and serves as one of the last showcase events of the high school season involving nationally-ranked teams playing each other before the playoffs kick off around the country.
Over the past 12 years, the Hoophall Classic has featured many of the nation’s top high school teams and players and the results of the showcase games have been a major factor in deciding the eventual Student Sports FAB 50 No. 1 ranked team.
This season, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced the creation of Spalding Hoophall West, a west coast version of the annual event held in Springfield. Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Ariz., will serve as the host for this year’s event December 13-14.
The first Hoophall West field will include five teams ranked in the Student Sports FAB 50, including No. 4 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.). The seven-time FAB 50 national champions will make its second appearance in Arizona. In December of 2007, the Warriors defeated Dudley (Greensboro, N.C.) 102-91 at the GOAZCATS.com Showdown held at the University of Arizona’s McKale Center. Brandon Jennings, the eventual Mr. Basketball USA choice for the 2007-08 season, had 49 points, four assists, and five steals for Oak Hill.
Also appearing will be No. 6 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.), No. 9 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.), and No. 32 Yates (Houston).
The event will also showcase many of the best teams in the greater Phoenix area in an Arizona Division, which began as a round-robin showcase to determine the two best local teams to play in the event’s final game. After the eight Arizona-based teams played three game apiece in late November to determine the two best records, FAB 50 No. 47 Corona del Sol (Tempe, Ariz.) will take on Shadow Mountain (Phoenix, Ariz.) in the championship game.
For ticket info and more information on the event, CLICK HERE.
Below is a quick preview of the big games on tap for this weekend at Grand Canyon University.
2013 Spalding Hoophall West Schedule
(All games @ Grand Canyon University Arena in Phoenix)
Friday, December 13
4pm: 7th place game (Arizona Division) – Westview (Avondale, Ariz.) vs. Millennium (Goodyear, Ariz.)
5:30pm: (National Showcase) – Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) vs. Orange Lutheran (Orange, Calif.)
Orange Lutheran will try to keep pace with a hungry Bishop Gorman team coming off a tough loss to regionally-ranked Curie (Chicago) at last weekend’s Chicago Elite Classic. Orange Lutheran is a solid team led by the junior trio of C.J. Hankins (6-3), Rogers Printup (6-5) and Keisean Lucier-South (6-6). There is no Cliff Alexander type on Lutheran’s roster, so if Gorman’s backcourt, particularly senior Noah Robotham, continues to play like he did against Curie (30 points) the Gaels should be in good shape.
7:00pm: (National Showcase) – Yates (Houston) vs. Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)
Yates opened up its season with a 85-79 loss to No. 13 Prime Prep (Fort Worth, Texas) and suffered its second in-state loss to Lincoln (Dallas) on November 30. Coach Greg Wise’s team usually steps up against national competition and the Warriors definitely qualify as that. Oak Hill has one loss so far this season to a team ineligible for the FAB 50 and has received balanced scoring from the likes of 6-6 Cody Martin and 6-8 Rokas Gustys. Martin hit the game-winning shot in 51-49 victory over Carlisle School (Martinsville, Va.). Earlier in the season in a 60-55 victory over the same school, longtime coach Steve Smith won his 900th career game.
8:30pm: 5th place game (Arizona Division) – Mesquite (Gilbert, Ariz.) vs. Desert Mountain (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
Saturday, December 14
2pm: 3rd place game (Arizona Division) – Gilbert (Gilbert, Ariz.) vs. Chaparral (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
4pm: (National Showcase) – Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) vs. Yates (Houston)
Yates will play its second game of the showcase versus the three-time California CIF state champions. Mater Dei comes from the same Trinity League as Orange Lutheran and should be a tougher matchup for Yates. Mater Dei is 4-0 so far this season, but is reeling a bit from the sudden transfer of senior forward Mario Soto. He was a key cog on last year’s state title team and it will be interesting to see how the Monarchs respond against a tough foe without him.
6pm: (National Showcase) – Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) vs. Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)
Wake Forest commit Shelton Mitchell has battled some injuries for Oak Hill, but junior guard Terrence Philips (the younger brother of former Oak Hill guard Brandon Jennings) has filled in admirably. He’ll likely draw the task of slowing down Bishop Gorman’s Noah Robotham. Gorman coach Grant Rice will also look for a big game from big men Stephen Zimmerman and Chase Jeter against Oak Hill’s deep and talented front line.
8pm: Championship game (Arizona Division) – Shadow Mountain (Phoenix, Ariz.) vs. Corona del Sol (Tempe, Ariz.)
Corona del Sol began the season as Arizona’s consensus No. 1 ranked team and only got stronger when transfer center Connor MacDougall won his hardship appeal with the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s Executive Board. With state player of the year Casey Benson and Alaska transfer Dane Kuiper, the Aztecs opened the season ranked No. 47 in the FAB 50, but with the addition of MacDougall Corona del Sol is a potential juggernaut. Shadow Mountain, which has a great crop of young players including 2016 forwards J.J. Rhymes and Carlos Johnson, has opened its season 5-0 and is ranked as the state’s No. 2 Division II program by azcentral.com.