As far as tradition is concerned, there aren’t many schools in North Carolina with more tradition than Broughton High School. A few steps away from downtown Raleigh, it was where the legend of Pete Maravich went to a whole new level. While Pistol Pete’s Pops was coaching at NC State, the younger Maravich was setting records at Broughton. Press ultimately made the move to LSU and took his incredibly highly touted son with him, but the legend was born. It is only fitting that the top high school basketball event takes place in the same gym where he made so many memories: The HighSchoolOT Holiday Invitational.
Bringing many of the nation’s elite recruits in to go to war with NC’s finest, the HighSchoolOT Holiday Invitational was expected to have a even more stacked field. The transfer (and then ultimate season ending injury) of Harry Giles to Oak Hill Academy and decision of Dennis Smith Jr. to head to NC State a semester early took away two of the bigger names, but there was still some serious talent in both the John Wall and David West brackets of the event. Though seniors like De’Aaron Fox and Edrice Adebayo definitely stole the show, there were a number of young bucks who stood out.
Here are a few of the top underclassmen who caught our eye at the 2015 HighSchoolOT Holiday Invitational:
Lavar Batts, 6-2, PG, JM Robinson HS (NC), 2017
Arguably the best junior in the Tar Heel State, Lavar Batts held his own against UK bound De’Aaron Fox. He was a straight up beast converting at the rack with either hand, made some jaw dropping passes in transition, and almost sent the crowd into a frenzy with some of his near-poster dunks. Batts got a little wild with a few of his passes at times, but his ability to create for himself and others has made him a priority of a number of ACC programs.
Thomas Allen, 6-2, PG/SG, Garner HS (NC), 2017
Well known on the local level, Thomas Allen straight balled out at the Holiday Invitational, scoring 94 points in three games. In attack mode every time he got his hands on the rock, Allen was a beast in transition, hit tear-drop floaters, and used his athleticism to get into the paint with ease. Running with Garner Road in the Adidas Gauntlet, Allen will continue to add to his growing list of offers this spring.
Luguentz Dort, 6-4, SG, Arlington Country Day (FL), 2018
A guy who we were not hip to prior to the event, Luguentz Dort made the journey from Montreal to Florida and has not looked back one bit. Built like Rawle Alkins, Dort used his punishing style of play to get buckets against older foes. He showed off a nice handle for a two-guard, finished through anyone in his path, and was able to lock down multiple positions. While those in the states are just getting their first glimpse of Dort, college coaches and scouts are certainly taking notice.
Michael Hueitt, 6-3, SG, High Point Christian (NC), 2017
A straight gunslinger, Michael Hueitt came out blazing in High Point Christian’s title run. He shot it from NBA range, hit J’s on the move, and had no problem letting the D know about it afterwards. With over a dozen D-1 offers on an expanding list, Hueitt will only get more attention as High Point Christian makes their case for a state title this year.
Joey Baker, 6-7, SF, Trinity Chrstian (NC), 2019
While Trinity Christian struggled, you could see that their future didn’t end when Dennis Smith Jr. went down with a torn ACL. Having started varsity as an eighth grader, Joey Baker is the next high major player to come out of the program. The swingman has some serious bounce, can bomb from three, and showed off a nice floater in the paint. While he still has a long ways to go, the tools are all there for Baker to become a big time prospect.
Jared Garcia, 6-7, PF, Cypress Falls (TX), 2019
One of the better freshman in the state of Texas, Jared Garcia proved that he could hold it down against NC’s best. While he wasn’t quite ready to go up against grown men like Bam Adebayo, but still showed the tools to be a real nice player down the road. He was great running the floor, made solid rotations on D, and showed off nice touch shooting the ball.