Top two squads win impressively at Hoop Hall Classic

SPRINGFIELD, Ma. – Some 30 minutes after the top-ranked team in the country rolled to a 26-point victory, No.’s 2 and 3 took to the Blake Arena court Monday afternoon on the final day of the 17th Spalding Hoop Hall Classic.

And, 90 or so minutes later, Mouth of Wilson (VA) Oak Hill Academy left the floor looking every bit worthy of its No. 2 standing behind Florida’s Montverde Academy.

The Warriors, fresh off a Bass Pro Tournament championship in Missouri Saturday night, moved to 21-0 behind their convincing 83-69 victory over No.

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Plenty of MLK hoops “celebrations” set for Monday

Many of the top high school basketball programs along the west coast will be involved in “one-day events” on Monday in honor of Martin Luther King Day.

Among those are the “MLK Classic”, just outside of Las Vegas at Henderson’s Coronado High.

The six-game event culminates in the 8 p.m. clash between Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, CA) and Las Vegas Bishop Gorman. Both squads are jammed with high-quality underclassmen, including Cassius Stanley (Sierra Canyon), along with a terrific senior in University of Washington-bound Tyler Bey (Bishop Gorman).

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A lot of eyes get close looks at Hoop Hall Sunday

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. –  Sunday’s second major day of the 17th Spalding Hoop Hall Classic in Springfield College’s Blake Arena was as noteworthy for who was watching the action on the court as it was for who was playing.

Head honchos Dana Altman (Oregon), John Calipari (Kentucky) and Patrick Ewing (Georgetown) were among the college coaches who were in the building for at least a few of the eight games played Sunday that tipped at 9 a.m. and didn’t wrap up for 13-plus hours.

Altman was there to watch, specifically, future Ducks Miles Norris (the 6-foot-9 resident of San Diego who is attending Brewster Academy in New Hampshire as a senior) and Bol Bol (the 7-3 son of late NBA player Manute Bol, who played for Mater Dei in Southern California for the second half of last season before relocating to Findlay Prep in Henderson, NV, in the fall).

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Okongwu, Williamson duel in Saturday Night Special

Springfield, MA – Onyeka Okongwu of Chino Hills High in Southern California and Zion Williamson of Spartanburg Day School in South Carolina hooked up in a crowd-pleasing confrontation Saturday night to a cap the day’s eight games played in Springfield College’s Blake Arena for the 17th Spalding HoopHall Classic.

Ultimately, Okongwu, a 6-foot-8 junior, came out on top ever-so-slightly, statistically, against the 6-6, 275-pound Williamson, who made a strong on-court presentation as to why he should be rated the No. 1 player in the national senior class.

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Rancho Christian, Fairfax with hoops events Saturday

Temecula’s Rancho Christian High and L.A. Fairfax will be the sites for two noteworthy “one-day” hoops events Saturday.

Rancho Christian (313000 Community Way) plays host to the Eagle Showcase, with the first of six games getting underway at noon and a field that includes two of the Top Five teams in Southern California in Etiwanda and the host Eagles.

Etiwanda (17-1), led by seniors Kessler Edwards and Elijah Harkless, faces Twenty-Nine Palms at 3 while the Eagles (15-2) play Chula Vista Mater Dei at 6.

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Chino Hills showing off post-December progress

LA VERNE, Ca. – The Chino Hills basketball team that left Las Vegas on Dec. 23 after dropping its final three Tarkanian Classic games wasn’t the same one that showed up for its Baseline League opener at Damien High Tuesday and won in oh-so-impressive fashion, 85-72.

The Huskies, under first-year Head Coach Dennis Latimore, were punched out by 21 (Rancho Christian) and 15 points (Corona Centennial), respectively, during the Nov. 27-Dec. 2 Battle Zone Tournament in Corona.

It was then on to Scottsdale in Arizona where they held 10 point-plus advantage against that state’s best team, Phoenix Shadow Mountain, before dropping an 85-81 decision in the Dec.

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Frank, Kyman pace Take Flight Challenge wins

NORWALK, Ca. – The Santa Margarita and Sierra Canyon high school basketball teams bounced back Saturday night from losses to collect what could prove to have been significant victories once the CIF Southern Section’s Open Division playoff field is announced on Feb. 9.

On the second and final day of the fifth Take Flight Challenge, held at Cerritos College, Santa Margarita – behind junior Jake Kyman’s career-high 31 points – toppled Shareef O’Neal-led Crossroads, 72-61.

And, in the last of the eight games played Saturday in front of an estimated crowd of 1,200, Sierra Canyon finally pulled away from Mayfair, 84-79, as sophomore forward Terren Frank (PICTURED) chipped in with his own career-best of 33 points.

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Knights extend Cali streak to 42 at Take Flight

NORWALK, Ca. – The Bishop Montgomery High basketball team may come into its Take Flight Challenge 18 game against one of the west’s most gifted starting fives Friday night at Cerritos College.

In terms of out the outcome, though, it was status quo for Coach Doug Mitchell’s Knights.

Bishop Montgomery, minus three starters in UCLA-bound David Singleton (broken nose) and juniors Gianni Hunt (broken leg) and Will Crawford (foot injury), trailed Sierra Canyon by as many as 10 points in the first half and by seven with less than three minutes remaining.

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Top-ranked squads tussle at Take Flight Challenge 18

NORWALK, Ca. – A Friday night game pitting the top-ranked teams in Southern California highlights the 12-game, “Take Flight Challenge 18” to be held Friday and Saturday at Cerritos Community College.

Bishop Montgomery (12-0) and Sierra (Canyon (9-1 before its Wednesday night game with Cantwell-Sacred Heart) are scheduled to tip off at 7:30 as the fourth game to be played Friday.

Sierra Canyon lost every key player from the squad that was beaten by eventual CIF Southern and State Open Champion Bishop Montgomery last March in USC’s Galen Center.

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Jarod Lucas’ buzzer-beating 50-footer gives Los Altos one of the four Classic at Damien championships

LA VERNE, Ca. – Etiwanda High’s basketball team wrapped up the second The Classic at Damien Saturday night in Damien High’s Athletic Center by pulling away down the stretch for a 65-54 victory over the St. Bernard Vikings in the Platinum Division championship game.

The 64-team event’s other three titles were taken by Los Altos (Gold/60-58 over Eastvale Roosevelt), Muir (Silver/72-63 over Bonita) and Troy (54-40 over Mark Keppel).

Each of the Platinum’s 32 games over the week was a virtual “preview” of CIF Southern (14 of the teams), L.A.

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Meet Frank
Frank Burlison

Frank Burlison is a well-regarded basketball writer who was inducted into the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Hall of Fame in 2005. His opinions on the potential of high school and college players are widely respected and sought by college coaches and NBA scouts, personnel directors and general managers from coast to coast. Oh, yes – he can offer plenty of thoughts on movies, television and pop music. Yes, he can rank those, too. Hint: He’s a big The Godfather, Larry Sanders, The Wire and The Beatles loyalist.

To learn more about Frank's scouting services, click here.


“I’ve known Frank since he was a student at Long Beach State and no writer ever worked harder at studying and understanding basketball. When I was coaching I always put more stock into what he said about (high school) players than anyone I knew. As far as I’m concerned, he’s the best there is at evaluating the potential of basketball players.”
Lute Olson, Hall of Fame and NCAA Championship Winning Coach

"I have known Frank for 15 years and there is no one outside of those in the Trail Blazers' organization that I trust more than Frank when it comes to player evaluations."
Neil Olshey, Portland Trail Blazers' General Manager

“Frank Burlison has always been a proponent of my talent and, even more so, of my potential – far before it was evident to most. Even as a smaller and determined player who was being overlooked by most high-major colleges and national scouting services, Frank always served as a friendly voice who got me into the door to most events to help me prove my talents.”
Russell Westbrook, the No. 4 overall selection in the 2008 NBA Draft out of UCLA and an all-star guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder

To see what other people in basketball are saying about Frank, click here.

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