As the Iverson Classic closed the book on the 2021 class this weekend, usual suspects reinforced their elite status while undervalued stars boosted their stock.
SI All-American Player of the Year Chet Holmgren, a Gonzaga signee, led Team Honor to a 143-131 win over Team Loyalty, posting 20 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks en route to claiming MVP hardware, but multiple players made their case for the top tier of the final SI99 basketball rankings.
Here are a handful of other players who stood out.
TyTy Washington: In a game where bad shots were launched in abundance, Washington opted to create for his teammates in the first half, masterfully maneuvering past his defenders and finding the open man for kick-outs. Washington, who took home the three-point championship hardware on Saturday, was automatic from the perimeter in the second half and led all scorers with 22 points.
Josh Minott: The 6-9 forward seemed eager to show the local fans what they’d be in store for when he suits up for the Tigers next season, and if his play was any indication, Penny Hardaway could be making his first trip to the NCAA tournament in the near future. Minott’s athleticism caused matchup problems on the offensive end, but his intensity on the defensive end was what made him standout. Minott scored 18 points in the game, including the game winning dunk.
Tyrese Hunter: Hunter had the hot hand at the Iverson Classic, efficiently draining three-pointers and mid-range jump shots on the way to a 19-point outing. Hunter showed off his trademark high-wire act and athleticism, but also competed on the defensive end. Expect Hunter to be an instant impact player for the new coach T.J. Otzelberger and the Cyclones.
Paolo Banchero: The all-around dominance on both ends of the floor made Banchero nearly impossible to stop all night. At 6-11, he regularly ignited the break and threw precise passes in stride for efficient finishes. Banchero scored in every way imaginable and guarded all five positions masterfully. Banchero, who took home the title in the 1-on-1 competition on Friday, more than proved why his No. 1 NBA Draft pick buzz continues to grow.
Chet Holmgren: For the past year, Holmgren has been the top player in the class, and his dominance has come to be expected to some degree. That said, dominating every aspect of the game at 7-1 is never something you get used to seeing. Holmgren dominated the glass, blocked and changed shots and scored at will from all over the floor. The SI All-American Player of the Year not only backed up the hype, he surpassed it… Again.
JD Davison: No player thrived more in the uptempo setting than Davison, who took home the slam dunk championship hardware on Saturday. Davison, who scored 18 points in the game, showed the entire package offensively and his combination of speed, shiftiness and athleticism was devastating for opposing guards. Davison is tailormade for Nate Oats’ system at Alabama, which is built around quick scoring opportunities and guards playing off of their instincts.
Michael Foster: Last week, Foster opted for the NBA G League over the college route, and, whether in practices or in the game, he looked like a pro playing with high school players. Foster’s versatility is often understated, but he continued to display the full repertoire of his offensive arsenal, compete on the offensive glass against future top five NBA Draft picks and defended all five positions efficiently. Foster’s best basketball will undoubtedly come on the G League court next season.
Brandon Huntley-Hatfield: Last month, Huntley-Hatfield not only committed to Tennessee, but reclassified to the 2021 class; the move makes even more sense after watching him operate at the Iverson Classic last weekend. In a game full of versatile bigs, Huntley-Hatfield, who finished the game with 14 points, more than held his own and showed flashes of dominance in spurts all weekend. Expect Huntley-Hatfield to log big minutes and big a key contributor for Rick Barnes next season.