Posted: 5:15 p.m. Monday, Oct. 7, 2013
By Jimmy Kelley
The Spalding Hoophall Classic has featured players like Jabari Parker, Kevin Durant and Ty Lawson since its inception way back in 2001. The 2014 edition will feature stars like Jahlil Okafor and Emmaneul Mudiay, both of whom should be top-five NBA Draft picks when their time comes, but also sees a bevy of players the UMass Minutemen have extended scholarship offers to.
With submissions from the classes of 2014, '15 and '16 making the trip to Springfield College (my alma mater) for the showcase Jan. 16-20 one could get a pretty good look at what the future of UMass basketball looks like, even if only some of them actually end up signing on.
For a complete schedule for the event, click here. Keep reading for a look at the players with UMass offers who will be on display.
The only member of the senior class who will be at the event, Melvin Swift would be the Minutemen's biggest priority at the event if he is still on the board at that point. Swift is an explosive 6-foot-7 forward who is known for thundering dunks and his ability to run the floor on the break. He is a little undersized for the power forward spot, but what he lacks in height he makes up for in athleticism.
In UMass' favor is redshirt freshman Clyde Santee, Swift's former teammate at Yates. The experts at 247sports believe he is headed to Penn State.
Swift is still considering seven schools: UMass, UConn, Penn State, SMU, St. John's, Baylor and St. Joseph's, as of last week. He has taken official visits to St. Joe's and Penn State already and will be on his official at UConn on Oct. 10.
A local product, Chris Baldwin has been on Derek Kellogg's radar for awhile now. His size may not be jaw-dropping, but he is incredibly skilled around the basket and is exceptional at blocking shots. The anchor of one of the state's best high school programs, Baldwin will grow a lot emotionally during his junior season and promises to be one of the highlights of the Hoophall's local slate.
Baldwin is currently receiving interest from Boston College and UConn, but UMass and LaSalle are the only programs to offer him so far.
One of the more intriguing members of this group of players, Kevin Dorsey is a nice point guard from the DMV who plays in one of the strongest high school conferences in the country. His scouting report on ESPN says that he has a lot of Rajon Rondo to his game, relying on his speed and passing ability to be a playmaker, but lacking the outside shooting touch to be a No. 1 option himself.
Dorsey holds offers VCU, Maryland, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, UMass, Florida Gulf Coast, Kennesaw State, SMU, Old Dominion and Creighton.
If Swift was the biggest 2014 target on this list, this seven-footer from Massachusetts is the top 2015 target. Josh Sharma is a very big, very raw big man who plays in the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council's (NEPSAC) highest class against the likes of post-graduate powerhouse Brewster Academy. He really improved his game over the summer and eight more schools called his number during the summer months.
Sharma currently holds offers from Providence, UMass, Boston College, Vanderbilt, Lehigh, Holy Cross, UConn, Maryland, Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Davidson.
The youngest player in this group, Tyonne Malone might have the biggest upside. At 6-foot-5, he has the length coaches love to see at the shooting guard position. He is wiry and athletic and should see an uptick in his confidence as he joins a stacked Putnam team that is coming off a Massachusetts State Championship last year after attending the Williston Northampton School for his freshman season.
Still early in his recruitment, Malone currently holds offers from UMass, Boston University, Manhattan and St. Peters with Boston College and Siena showing interest in the young man.
The television schedule for the event has not been released yet, but expect to see at least Sharma, Dorsey and Swift featured on the ESPN family of networks over the course of the weekend.