SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Some of the best high school basketball players from around the country are in Springfield this week for the 21st annual Spalding Hoophall Classic.
The basketball showcase at Springfield College’s Blake Arena brings in elite boys and girls teams from as far away as California. There will be 17 teams from 17 states in attendance. In all, 39 players on ESPN’s Top 100 from the Class of 2023 (34 boys and 5 girls) will be there.
“It’s just super cool to have that at the birthplace of a such a big sport, at your school, and to see all these people that I never thought I could watch in person come here,” said Ryan Brady from Springfield College.
“It’s the future of the NBA, future of basketball in general,” said Alex Parga from Springfield College.
A total of 31 games is to be played over the next five days, throughout Martin Luther King Day Weekend, inside Springfield College. The first games will be held Thursday afternoon and evening and will have a local focus with several local Massachusetts and northern Connecticut, teams playing.
Springfield College recruiting the help of sports management students to put it on. Ben Gomez from Springfield College told 22News, “Basically we just get early experience, it’s a good thing for us to get our foot in the door early. It’s a really beneficial experience really looking forward to it. Great event, has a long history here.”
Tickets are purchasable on their website. Games begin Thursday night at Blake Arena on the campus of Springfield College and run all the way through Monday with the anticipated return of one Bronny James. However, it’s not just a showcase of basketball talent nationally and locally, its also a huge economic boost for the city of Springfield.
“That means they have to eat, sleep, drink here in the city of Springfield, which means my hotel rooms will be filled and my establishments will be patronized,” said Mayor Sarno.
The tournament will also feature five women’s games this year, expanded from two last year, with four of the top 22 ranked recruits lacing up.