Jalil Bethea, Rob Wright represented Philly at The 2024 HoopHall Classic

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The city of Philadelphia was well-represented at The 2024 HoopHall Classic, which was held from January 11th to 15th. The showcase is widely considered to be the premier high school basketball event in the world. In one of Columbus’ postgame media availabilities, Cayden Boozer, son of Carlos and ESPN’s #14 recruit in the class of 2025 shared a similar thought, “…HoopHall is one of the best tournaments in the country…”

Hosted at Springfield College, where Dr. James Naismith invented the sport in 1891, the showcase annually brings in the top high school talent in the country. Ten of the past 12 #1 overall picks in the NBA Draft have participated in The HoopHall Classic. This year, 43 players in ESPN’s Top 100 from the class of 2024 were featured, along with 18 prospects from the class of 2025 Top 60 and five more from the class of 2026 Top 25. Additionally, 18 of ESPN’s Top 25 ranked teams participated. The following will recap any Philly-relevant performances from the showcase.

Jalil Bethea and Archbishop Wood

Jalil Bethea led Archbishop Wood to a 73-71 win over Corona Centennial (CA). Bethea, the #6 overall recruit in the class of 2024, dropped 40 points (11/23 FG, 8/15 3P, 10/10 FT), eight rebounds, and four assists in 32 minutes. The three-level bucket-getter impressively didn’t record a turnover despite handling the ball frequently as the engine of Archbishop Wood’s offense. Anecdotally, many of Bethea’s eight threes were from NBA range and off-the-dribble/stepbacks.

Named to the HoopHall Classic All-Showcase First Team, Bethea was more recently honored with a spot on the McDonald’s All-American Team. Committed to Miami, Bethea discussed his competitiveness postgame, “I’m from Philly…I feel like I express myself a lot, but, when it comes to my teammates, I got a little bit of a heart.”

Also, the five-star prospect shouted out a member of the Philadelphia 76ers, Marcus Morris, “Me and the Morris twins are real cool– I have their number and all that, and I can call them whenever I want. Sometimes, I’ll text them and ask for advice–see how his process was growing up, being a kid from Philly.”

Rob Wright

The Montverde Academy point guard continued to showcase his ability to run a high-powered offense in front of NBA scouts in Springfield. Next to Wright, the other four starters are all ranked in the top 12 in the class of 2024.

  • W vs Oak Hill (VA) 80-50: 29 minutes, 14 points (5/12 FG, 2/5 3P, 2/3 FT), 7 assists (1 turnover), 5 rebounds
  • W vs Brewster (NH) 91-58: 23 minutes, 10 points (4/6 FG, 1/2 3P, 1/1 FT), 6 assists (2 turnovers), 2 rebounds, 3 steals
  • W vs Prolific (CA) 76-71: 32 minutes, 11 points (5/14 FG, 1/4 3P), 1 assist (1 turnover), 5 rebounds, 2 steals

As expected, Montverde won all three of their games at The HoopHall Classic. The Philly product averaged 11.7 points, 4 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 1.7 steals in 28 minutes per game. Wright only turned the ball over on four occasions in those three contests. Wright shot 43.8 percent from the field including 4-of-11 from three, which spaced the floor for Cooper Flagg, Derik Queen, Liam McNeeley, and Asa Newell.

Wright explained how he has improved at Montverde, “I think I became way better at getting others involved–playmaking at a high level, playing around bigger opponents, and working on my outside shot.” The Baylor commit described how Philly has impacted his play, “Bringing a toughness to the court–I’m the smallest on the court at most times–being physical, being tough, just come in every game trying to win.”

Montverde’s entire starting five was named to the McDonald’s All-American team; however, Flagg, Queen, and McNeeley are the three who will represent the school during the game. This is due to a questionable rule that limits a school to three All-American team selections.

It is common for a head coach and starting point guard to have a unique relationship; Wright said about legendary Coach Kevin Boyle, “We’re really close. He gets on me when there’s stuff I’m not doing or if I’m not being as physical as I can be. He just wants me to be the best player I can be.”

Other Philly-area talent on display

Kentucky commit Billy Richmond led Camden (NJ) to a 67-62 win over the #7 overall prospect in the class of 2024, Duke-bound Isaiah Evans, and North Mecklenburg (NC). Richmond, the #39 ranked prospect by ESPN in this year’s class, recorded 26 points (9/18 FG, 4/5 3P, 4/4 FT0, four rebounds, three assists (zero turnovers), two steals, and a block in 31 minutes.

Imhotep (PA) handled DeMatha (MD) 58-41 behind strong efforts from future Connecticut Husky Ahmad Nowell. Nowell played 31 minutes and managed 17 points (7/20 FG, 2/9 3P, 1/2 FT), nine assists (three turnovers), five rebounds, three steals, and one block. On DeMatha’s side, Malcolm Thomas is committed to Villanova next year and played 18 minutes against Imhotep. Thomas recorded two points (0/4 FG, 0/1 3P, 2/2 FT), three rebounds (two offensive), one block, and one turnover.

Hudson (NJ) dropped a tightly contested matchup to Gonzaga (DC) 72-67 despite a scoring outbreak from McDonald’s All-American Tahaad Pettiford. Pettiford, headed to Auburn next year, dropped 33 points (12/17 FG, 4/8 3P, 5/8 FT), two assists (three turnovers), three rebounds, and two steals in 32 minutes.

Rutgers’ commits continue to impress

The HoopHall Classic featured two high-profile future Rutgers Scarlet Knights, Ace Bailey and Dylan Harper. Bailey is ESPN’s #2 prospect in the class of 2024 and currently plays for McEachern (GA). McEachern fell to Harvard-Westlake (CA) 60-59 in their lone game in Springfield. Despite the loss, Bailey showed the numerous scouts in attendance his capabilities by putting up 23 points (10/24 FG, 1/7 3P, 2/2 FT), 14 rebounds (two offensive), one assist (four turnovers), three blocks, and one steal in 36 minutes.

Dylan Harper, son of Ron Harper, currently plays for Don Bosco Prep (NJ) and is ESPN’s #3 ranked prospect in this year’s class. Don Bosco Prep dropped their only game at the event 74-67 to Kentucky-bound Boogie Fland and Archbishop Stepinac (NY). After a relatively cold start shooting the ball, Harper eventually found his rhythm and ended the night with 22 points (8/18 FG, 4/10 3P, 2/3 FT), three assists (five turnovers), seven rebounds (one offensive), and one block in 30 minutes. The future Rutgers duo was recently selected as two members of the McDonald’s All-American team.

Other Notes

Link Academy, out of Missouri, rosters Andre Iguodala Jr, who is in the class of 2025. Iguodala Jr. played four minutes in Link’s lone contest in Springfield and recorded one steal and one block. The six-foot, six-inch wing missed his only shot attempt–a three. Link (MO) took down IMG (FL) 65-49; current Sixer Jaden Springer is a notable alumnus of IMG.

Former Sixer Jason Richardson closed out his storied 13-year career In Philly in 2015. His two sons currently play alongside Carlos Boozer‘s twins at Columbus (FL). Jaxon Richardson is a four-star recruit in the class of 2026 with seven offers, including Michigan, Washington, and Alabama. Meanwhile, Jase is ESPN’s #23 ranked prospect in the class of 2024 and committed to Michigan State. Their numbers from Columbus’ two games at The HoopHall Classic are below:

W 81-62 vs Long Island Lutheran (NY)MinutesPoints (shooting)Assists (turnovers)Rebounds (offensive)Defense
Jase Richardson3120 points (8/12 FG, 1/2 3P, 3/3 FT)9 assists
(1 turnover)
6 rebounds
(1 offensive)
4 steals, 2 blocks
Jaxon Richardson229 points (3/7 FG, 3/5 FT)0 assists (1 turnover)8 rebounds
(6 offensive)
1 steal,
1 block
W 70-61 vs Paul VI (VA)MinutesPoints (shooting)Assists (turnovers)Rebounds (offensive)Defense
Jase Richardson2921 points (7/11 FG, 2/4 3P, 5/5 FT)4 assists
(2 turnovers)
6 rebounds
(3 offensive)
0 steals, 0 blocks
Jaxon Richardson155 points (2/3 FG, 1/2 FT)0 assists
(1 turnover)
1 rebound
(1 offensive)
1 steal,
1 block

NBA’s Presence at The HoopHall Classic

In a memo dated November 20th, 2023, the NBA announced that scouting would be allowed at the showcase for the second consecutive year. The HoopHall Classic was one of six elite high school events named in the memo. This year’s showcase was also featured on NBATV, the NBA app, and NBA YouTube for the first time.

Carmelo Anthony was courtside for one of Long Island Lutheran’s games to watch his son, Kiyan. Additionally, rap icon Ice Cube was present all weekend as the Basketball Hall of Fame honored the founder of the BIG3 with the creation of the Ice Cube Impact Award. The award will be given out annually to an individual who uses basketball to impact their communities in a positive way.

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