Hoopsfix All-Star Classic is an event that brings basketball community in the UK together like no other. It allows all the best prospects in the country from this year’s class and underclassmen to come and present themselves in front of many coaches, other players, family and fans rocked by loud music and great atmosphere. For players invitation to this event has become an indicator of their performance and to older ones also some sort of farewell before they go to the US to fullfil their dreams of playing college basketball. After attending the event I have put together a few observations about the best performers from both games.
Tomiwa Sulaiman, 2001, 6’5’’, G/F, West Nottingham Academy (17pts, 6reb, 1ast, 2to, 3stl, 2blk)
From the moment he stepped on the court to the moment the game has ended, his physicality and aggressiveness was really on another level. Most of the game delegated to guard a lot bigger opponents, was doing a very good job keeping his position, strong base and boxing out using well his muscular body, but also lively finding opponents who needed coverage in rotation. Thanks to his quickness and reaction time was able to snatch the ball away a couple of times in the post as well as block his opponents in a flashy way. On the other end was trying to use the same mismatches to his advantage, taking what defense was giving him, beating his man off the dribble, getting inside nicely and finishing with either hand. Fully deserved MVP honors as he was a clear stand out from this game.
Veron Eze 2002, 6’3’’, G, Copleston High School (19pts, 7reb, 5ast, 4to, 1stl, 1blk)
Guard with a nice mix of strength, athleticism and toughness, played evenly throughout the whole game. Was regularly getting inside with his quick first step, but also cutting aggressively off the ball and finishing in traffic. Managed to get 5 offensive rebounds and was distributing the ball well on the move. Struggled a bit on the defensive end making small mistakes in rotation, wasn’t closing out on shooters tightly and got some unnecessary fouls. Sometimes was exposing the ball to defenders allowing them to take him out of balance and force a bad play.
Cameron Hildreath 2002, 6’4’’, G, Sussex Storm (19pts, 6reb, 1ast, 2to, 3stl)
Alongside Veron was the top scorer in the contest finishing with 19pts. Took him a while to find a rhythm but eventually stepped up in the fourth quarter showing nice range and confidence with his 3 point shots in opponents face. Managed to find gaps in the defence nicely with his tight and fast dribble but had some trouble fully separating from his opponents on the drives and was forced to take a couple of awkward shots. Was in tunnel vision at times, not seeing wide open teammates after collapse of the defense and taking some risky decisions with his passes.
Lewis McGlasson, 2001, 6’4’’, G, Myerscough College (15pts, 5reb, 2to, 1stl, 1blk)
After a quiet start into the game, Lewis has exploded in the last quarter scoring most of his points in the crunch time hitting three important shots in a row and sealed the deal with a long corner two. Did a fair job on defense trying to stay in front of his opponents and contest shots. Shined as a spot up shooter with a smooth stroke but struggled playing against faster and more athletic opponents getting blocked twice easily in transition.
Jeremy Sochan 2003, 6’8’’, F, Itchen College (8pts, FG-3/9, 5reb, 3ast, 4to)
Sky is the limit for Jeremy, who has recently committed to La Lumiere and next season he’s taking his talents overseas. Was the youngest player in the contest and is one of the best prospects in his generation in Europe. Athletic body designed for basketball, high shoulders, great wingspan, big hands and a frame that should fill in nicely over time. Didn’t have the best performance missing some easy shot opportunities, forcing a bit and biting to every pump fake but we could see some glimpses of his playmaking abilities and impressive athleticism. Not a confident shooter with a slow release, still needs to improve his left hand, especially on the shot inside and work on his outside game.
Franklin Agu, 2002, 6’5’’, F, Haringey Sixth Form (11pts, 8reb, 2to, 2stl)
Undersized forward with a strong packed body and good mobility, but not much of an outside game. Managed to impact the game on many different levels playing with a lot of effort, fighting on every possession, positioning himself well for rebounds (4oreb) and stopping opponents on defense. Solid all around performance, played with his head up, wasn’t forcing anything and seen his teammates on the perimeter when paint was getting too crowded. Opponents struggled a bit with his physicality and had to stop him with fouls, also where he was usually able to battle his way into the best position for rebounds, he was sometimes unable to secure the ball because taller opponents just reached over him.
Sam Alajiki, 2002, 6’6’’, G/F, Canterbury High School (7pts, FG-3/3, 4reb, 1ast, 1blk)
Only played 15 minutes but presented himself as a good athlete with an interesting body and all the traits/ tools to become a great defender not only on the ball but also as a rim protector thanks to his quickness and leaping ability. Was slashing to the rim nicely to grab easy buckets as well as hustle for offensive rebounds. Still raw with his handles and outside game, at times had a questionable decision-making driving right into traffic and biting on many pump fakes.
CLASS OF 2019:
Ade Adebayo, 2001, 6’5’’, G, Barking Abbey, committed to UC Davis (6pts, FG-2/8, 4reb, 3ast, 3to)
Guard with a very nice athletic body and great wingspan, dangerous in the open lane as a driver but also as a ball distributor. Didn’t show his full potential in this game but had moments where he was able to present his defensive upside putting pressure on the ballhandler and confidence getting inside. Couldn’t catch the rhythm from outside and finished with 0/4 from behind the arc. It will be interesting to follow his development at UC Davis.
Niall Harris, 1999, 6’4’’, G, Charnwood College (15pts, FG-6/9, 3reb, 4ast, 5to, 1stl)
Top scorer on the team, did a very good job distributing the ball to rollers on the PnR in a timely fashion, creative with his passes, steady with his execution, able to deliver a sneaky pass, but sometimes was gambling too much. Shared ballhandling responsibilities with Ade for most of the game, playing off ball for some time. Got inside frequently, patient, hesitates to see how the play develops and makes appropriate decisions. Careless a bit with the ball in this contest, losing it on drives, stepping out of bounds and taking high risk low reward passes. On defense did a good job both on the ball and in rotation.
Jonathan Brown, 2000, 6’3’’, G, Barking Abbey, committed to Fresno Pacific University (10pts, FG-
3/10, 4reb, 5ast, 4to, 1stl)
Swift guard, able to blow by and separate nicely from his defender. Didn’t have the best shooting night was a bit careless with the ball at times and slightly lost in rotation. Despite that, he was able to present his good understanding of the game delivering the ball to open teammates with one- handed passes and his fast game in the lane. Needs to bulk up, gets pushed out the way fairly easily even by guards.
Mate Okros, 2001, 6’6’’, G, Myerscough College, committed to Drexel University (16pts, 3pts-4/5,
4reb, 2ast, 3to, 3stl)
MVP of the game, had a very good all-around performance for team Black. Constantly put pressure on defense, driving inside with ease using either hand, persistently waiting for the defence to react and countering with smart, well timed passes. Started slowly with missing couple of easy opportunities, but as the game progressed his hand got hotter and was very consistent with his shot from behind the arc throughout the rest of the game as well as active off the ball. Played well on defense as well, always close, tried to put pressure on the ball and was regularly getting in the way of driving opponents. Wasn’t careful with the ball in the end and got 3 to’s almost putting their lead at risk.
Wesley Oba, 6’7’’, F, Sun Live Basketball Academy, committed to University of Sioux Falls (10pts, FG-
5/7, 8reb, 2ast)
I’m not very familiar with Wesley, but he presented himself as a player with good defensive instincts and upside. Interesting lean body with a great wingspan, but rather thin frame. Played with a lot of effort especially on defence, sticking his hands into passing lanes, poking the balls lose, filling the gaps and rotating accordingly. On the other end was tirelessly fighting for offensive rebounds but also showed his back to the basket game, passing skills, good body control, ability to confidently drive to the basket and finish inside with layups as well as hooks. Didn’t show much of his shooting ability.
Hosana Kitenge, 2000, 6’8’’, F/C, Charnwood College (11pts, FG-4/13, 8reb, 3ast, 3to, 2stl, 3blk)
Hosana is a force to be reckoned with, built like a tank that will go through anything that stands in his way. Positioned himself well under the rim, playing back to the basket and finishing strong in traffic through contact nicely. Kept his hands active by blocking few shoots and was able to snatch the ball away twice. Didn’t seem to be focused all the time, having a poor selection on a few shots. Slow footed wasn’t always able to rotate fast enough and was occasionally getting lost in rotation.
Joe Bielak, 1999, 6’5’’, G, Charnwood College (10pts, FG-4/7, 1reb, 1to, 2stl)
Sharpshooter, didn’t need to think twice about pulling from a distance. Started draining threes straight from the beginning and seemed to be cooling down as the game progressed. Played with a lot of effort on the defensive end, not giving up on plays, even when he lost his position was trying to disturb the opponent. Wasn’t always able to stay in front, but looked very competitive. Seemed to lose a bit his defensive momentum when going through screens, couldn’t recover quickly enough and was dominated physically by bigger opponents.
Sam Keita, 1999, 6’9’’, F, Myerscough College (8pts, 11reb, FG-4/6, FT-0/6, 1to, 2stl)
Mobile, pretty fast in the open court, he completely dominated the game on the boards by grabbing 11 rebounds. Was very active in the paint, cutting, keeping spacing well but most importantly tirelessly going after offensive rebounds and giving his team 5 extra possessions. Really struggled with his FT’s, almost every shot looked different than the previous one, didn’t look confident dribbling the ball in the open court either. On defence was moving well into the way of driving opponents after screens but had a tough time recovering back to his man, couldn’t stay in front while defending on the perimeter.