Deck the Hall
SLAMonline scouts the 2011 Hoophall Classic.
Kevin Zabo, Ottawa, CA, St. Mark, 2014, PG, 6-2, 170 pounds
If the name doesn’t ring a bell, it will soon. Kevin Zabo, 2014 class, came out from the wood works. Being so young, I was more than impressed with his display of talent and enormous potential that has yet to be juiced out. Zabo, originally from Canada, adds to the train of Canadians invading the states such as Kris Joseph, Tristan Thompson, Cory Joseph, Myck Kabongo and the Bullar brothers just to name a few. For his class, he is exceptionally polished at his given position for his age. With ease, he fearlessly takes command of his team. He has a defined vision of the court which allows him to effectively set-up his teammates. To add to that, Zabo is at one with the ball, and has a clean, smooth shot. Again, as a freshman, he knocked down five three’s, one with 3 minutes left in the game to get his team within 1 of Life Center at 65-64. The game had a total of 15 lead changes, and for the most part, Zabo did not break a sweat of stress which is rare for a freshman. Of course, he still has a vast amount of room for improvement but he is off to a solid high school career. Kevin Zabo, remember the name —as a Canadian would say, “donnoe.”
Demetris Morant, Las Vegas, NV, Bishop Gorman, 2012, PF, 6-8, 185 pounds
Demetris Morant exhibited glimpses of what is to become of him against St. Patrick. With Morant’s long frame, athleticism and impeccable timing he is threat to his opponents defensively. In addition, he is a colossal shot blocker and rebounder finishing with 4 blocks, one denying Gilchrist a dunk, and 7 rebounds. Offensively, Morant is still raw but the potential is there; he has to focus on his footwork, polishing his fundamentals, his post moves in the paint and getting physically stronger.
When asked about where he is pushing to improve his game, Morant stated, “I need to work on my post-moves, my overall shot and handles, basically offensively is where I need to place my focus.” This past summer, Memphis was the first school to offer Morant a scholarship. According to Morant, “Other schools in the running include: San Diego State, Arizona State, UNLV, USC and Washington State.” He doesn’t have a preference or a list of specific schools but Memphis was the first to show interest. Morant still has plenty of time to decide between colleges but whoever scoops him up not only has a solid, coachable player but a great individual as well.
Shabazz Muhammed, Las Vegas, NV, Bishop Gorman, 2012, SG, 6-5, 195 pounds
The name Shabazz Muhammed has a confident ring to it, and the individual himself displays this confidence on the court thus the name fits. Muhammed, ranked fourth in his class, exhibited the qualities of a well-established player for his age. In the first half, Muhammed was struggling to find his groove, and St. Patrick held him to only 5 points. The lefty-Muhammed is known for his slashing abilities, mid-range game, explosiveness and crafty means of racking up points —-that’s the Muhammed I was in search of. At the half, St. Patrick was up 34-26 which must have ignited his fire. He came back after the half and dropped 23 points: Shabazz Muhammed was in the building. The effortless natural scorer in him came alive. “After the half, I simply let it all just come to me instead of forcing it.” He has the gift to either get in the paint and post-up to score or he can either score off the dribble. St. Patrick won, 79-63, but Muhammed’s effort was priceless. Overall, he felt “that [we] played great and tough as a team but we had too many turnovers and they were pressing us throughout the game.” The list of schools interested in him include: Duke, Kentucky, UNC, UCLA, Louisville and Kansas. Factors that come into play when making his decision are, “a style of play that utilizes him, a solid relationship with the coach as well as a good academic program.”
DaJuan Coleman, Dewitt, NY, Jamesville-DeWitt, 2012, C, 6-10, 280 pounds
Up close, DaJuan Coleman has a massive young body that looks like a man playing with younger boys on the court. His size alone intrigues you, then you’re officially set in once you see him run up and down the court. For his size, he’s quite quick on his feet. Defensively, his size and strength gives him an advantage against any opponent. Offensively, he has good hands, will penetrate the paint in traffic, a defined short-jumper, Basically, he just produces. He finished with a double-double of 23 and 20 — say no more. Himself along with Tyler Cavanaugh’s 26 points, Jamesville-Dewitt defeated Webster Grove 76-64. Bottom line, Coleman plays smooth on the court despite his size. His skills are a work in progress but advanced nonetheless. Of course, as he gets older he has to manage his weight but ultimately, sky’s the limit for him.
Anthony Davis, Chicago, IL, Perspectives Charter, 2011, PF, 6-10, 200 pounds
Anthony Davis and Co took on St. John’s Prep in the early morning. The Kentucky commit exploded this summer and made a name for himself in the circuit. From beginning to end, Davis put his team on his back. He transitioned himself around the court to play more than just a power forward. Where he was needed, Davis, the jack of all trades, placed himself whether as a shooter, a passer, a defender or a rebounder. This speaks volumes of him, and will only get more defined once he’s at the college level. What stood out the most were not his impressive numbers but his character and steady-temper throughout the game. He plays not because he wants to be flashy or be the talk of the game but he plays for his team to come out on top. Unfortunately due to an injury, he was unable to finish the last few minutes of the game. Nonetheless, he finished strong with 30 points, 16 rebounds and 7 blocks. In the end, St. John’s Prep finished on top 62-53. Davis hasn’t even come close to what the future holds for him. I saw him early June and he was still coming into his own body after growing a whopping seven-inches. Now though, he appears to finally be comfortable with height and flows with ease around the court. Defensively, he will become an elite shot blocker and attacks for rebounds. Offensively, he has a developed stroke, good ball handles and passer. Above all, he’s coachable, and Kentucky will polish his game.
Isaiah Lewis, Middle Village, NY, Christ the King, 2013, SG, 6-3, 170 pounds
Along side Omar Calhoun at Christ the King is 2013 Isaiah Lewis. Lewis is definitely a player that’s hungry to attack the basket and rack up. Between him and Calhoun, they are able to solidify a strong base for points. Lewis is still young and developing an understanding for his own game. He’s not scared to go up against his opponents if anything, he feeds on it. If need be, he will go in fearlessly to get a rebound as well. Although, on the flip side, he still has to improve and develop certain aspects of his game. Without questions, in two years he will be one of the top guards of his class. Lewis on his performance: “In the open court I was able to score, and I did my best to get the ball to an open man in the half court. My weakness, though, came at the last two minutes when I turned over the ball. I can’t do that, and I have to be more mature by finishing strong. As I get older, I am working on improving my all around game.” He doesn’t have a defined list of schools but he is looking for “great academics, a great fan base and a school that can get me ready for the next level.”
Nikolas Stauskas, Toronto, Can., St. Mark’s, 2012, SF, 6-6, 185 pounds
With teammates Kaleb Tarczewski and Alex Murphy, Nikolas Stauskas may be overlooked but he’s just as much of a contributor as his fellow teammates. In the first half, Stauskas led his team with 12 out of the 35 points with two tre’s. Stauskas is an aggressive player, and is able to shoot efficiently from the inside and the outside. Shooting wise, he’s creative and versatile which will pose a threat offensively. He had a high of 24 points and 4-10 from behind the arc. Naturally, he’s a ball handler and finds his teammates to pass the ball if need be. With that said, he does struggle keeping his man in front of him and needs to become more consistent in that sense. Speed wise, he’s not as quick as others but he does make up for that with his deep range game. He still has another year before college to get stronger, quicker and solidifying his defensive abilities.