Hoophall: Paul Biancardi's Players to Watch

January, 12, 2012
1/12/12
8:21
PM ET
The Hoophall Classic kicked off today with a hard-fought victory by ESPNBoston.com's No. 1 team in the MIAA, Central Catholic, over Springfield Cathedral. Over the next four days, some of the nation's best high school players will be squaring off on the campus of Springfield College, the birthplace of basketball.

We've got you covered all weekend, between ESPNBoston.com, ESPNHS and ESPNU's expert recruiting analysts. Today, ESPN's Paul Biancardi breaks down the top players to watch in this tournament. It's a loaded field that includes Las Vegas power Bishop Gorman and the nation's No. 1 overall player, Shabazz Muhammad, along with national powers like St. Anthony (N.J.), DeMatha Catholic (Md.), Simeon (Ill.), Oak Hill (Va.) and Findlay Prep (Nev.). But there is tons of local talent to watch, too.

You can read the full list here. Below are the locals Biancardi will be watching:



Kaleb Tarczewski (Claremont, N.H./St. Mark's)
Class: 2012 | ESPNU 100: 6 | C rank: 2
The Arizona signee is a legitimate 7-foot true center with excellent mobility, terrific hands and enormous upside. He scores the ball by finishing drop-off passes and off any clear paths to the rim, although he is starting to score on the block with a jump hook. Defensively, he's hard to score over and he changes and blocks a lot of shots.

Mitch McGary (Chesterton, Ind./Brewster Academy)
Class: 2012 | ESPNU 100: 2 | PF rank: 1
He is known for bringing a high motor and big-time energy to the game. The future Michigan Wolverine's intensity is infectious and his teammates feed off his energy. He runs the floor, outhustles his opponent, and scores off drop-off passes, high-post jumpers and low-post moves.

Nerlens Noel (Everett, Mass./The Tilton School)
Class: 2013 | ESPNU 60: 2 | C rank: 1
The junior is the nation's best shot-blocker. No one protects the rim better, whether he's guarding his own man or helping a teammate. If he doesn't block the shot he certainly will alter it and when it comes to the glass, he puts in an honest effort and grabs a good percentage. He is much improved offensively and can catch, sweep and drive from 15 feet and is a better passer than people give him credit for. Overall, he is one of the best NBA prospects in high school basketball.

Noah Vonleh (Haverhill, Mass./New Hampton)
Class: 2014 | ESPNU 25: 6 | PF rank: 1
He has a strong frame (6-7, 215 pounds), huge hands and good footwork to finish through contact. He possesses supreme athletic ability and skill at such an early age. His upside is undeniable.

Steven Adams (New Zealand/Notre Dame Prep)
Class: 2012 | ESPNU 100: NR | C rank: NR
The debut of Adams for Notre Dame Prep is one of the biggest stories of the entire weekend. The true center has already signed with Pittsburgh and dominated the adidas Nations in August, including a dominant performance against Tarczewski. NBA scouts are already clamoring for him thanks to his size (6-10, 235 pounds), mobility and skill set. Plus, Notre Dame Prep coach Ryan Hurd said Adams is even more skilled than he expected.


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