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Hoophall Classic: Five Days, Five Standouts

Duke-bound center Kyle Filipowski highlights a list of talented performers at the Hoophall.

Over the course of five days, multiple SI99 prospects and SI All-American nominees invaded Blake Arena to compete at the prestigious Hoophall Classic, which, quite naturally, resulted in multiple memorable performances.

With less than two months left in the high school season, capitalizing on these moments goes a long way in determining spots on the postseason SI All-American teams and positioning in the SI99.

That said, we’ve sifted through the dominant showings and zeroed in on five stellar individual outings that caught our attention for a multitude of reasons.

Kyle Filipowski, Wilbraham & Monson (Mass.), 2022, C

College: Duke

Why He Stood Out: Filipowski filled the stat sheet up and dominated on both ends of the floor, posting 28 points, 10 rebounds, five blocks and two steals in a 72-42 win over Life Christian Academy (Kissimmee, Fla.). Filipowski is known as a gifted and versatile scorer, who is comfortable on the wing or in the paint, but Monday’s win highlighted one of the most underrated aspects of his game: vision. Filipowski’s facilitation was what made the Titans’ offense unguardable for Life Christian. Filipowski is ranked No. 6 overall in the SI99 for 2022. After the game he tweeted out the famous Drake line “I'm top two, and I'm not two,” and that’s certainly the type of performance that could bring that bar to fruition.

Naasir Cunningham, Gill St. Bernard’s (Gladstone, N.J.), 2024, SF

College: Undecided

Why He Stood Out: Cunningham backed up his standing as the top sophomore in the country with a 23-point, 10-rebound performance in a win 70-60 over Westtown School (West Chester, Penn.) on Sunday. It’s an even bigger moment for Cunningham because he managed to steal the show from Westtown center Dereck Lively, the top ranked player in the SI99 for 2022.

Cunningham had the highlight of the game when he caught a missed shot off the rim and threw down a monster put-back dunk with his left hand. He displayed an efficient perimeter jump shot (5 of 7), which opened up every other aspect of his offensive arsenal. It’s clear that he’s taking on the challenge of not only solidifying his top dog status in his class, but among upperclassmen as well.

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DJ Wagner

DJ Wagner shook off a two-game skid to shine in the final day of the Hoophall.

DJ Wagner, Camden (N.J.), 2023, PG

College: Undecided

Why He Stood Out: Wagner managed 21 points, five rebounds and two steals in a win over Milton (Ga.) and elite junior point guard Kanaan Carlyle, a Stanford commit. Wagner makes the list because his strong showing was a response to dropping the two previous games after previously reeling off 44 straight. Wagner was masterful at beating traps with his speed and making high-IQ reads on the offensive end. He remained in attack mode, which is where he thrives, and competed on the defensive end. Wagner is widely regarded as the top player in the junior class and his final performance at the Hoophall showed just why.

Keyonte George, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.), 2022, PG

College: Baylor

Why He Stood Out: The matchup everyone was waiting for coming into the event was the IMG-Montverde (Fla.) Academy rematch. George’s last second layup sealed the Eagles’ fate 65-64 on their homecourt last month, and on Monday he tactically dismantled the Eagles, scoring 17 points to lead the No. 2 Ascenders past No. 4 Montverde 57-53. George, who is ranked No. 9 overall in the SI99, was efficient from the field (6 of 11) and scored in a variety of different ways at key moments in the second half. He brought the same energy on the defensive end against Montverde’s talented backcourt of SI99 stars like Dariq Whitehead, Skyy Clark and Jalen Hood-Schifino.

Ian Jackson, Cardinal Hayes (Bronx, N.Y.), 2024, SG

College: Undecided

Why He Stood Out: Jackson was easily one of the most impressive prospects at the Hoophall this year, scoring in every way imaginable in an 80-41 win over De La Salle (Chicago) on Sunday. Jackson displayed a mixed bad offensively with an equally impressive assortment of counter moves to go along with freakish athletic ability. That translated into 30 points, four rebounds and four assists in the win. Jackson is widely regarded as a top-five prospect in the sophomore class, but he put the country on notice that he’s coming for the top.