SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The 21st Hoop Hall Classic continued Saturday morning, showcasing the country’s top-tier high school basketball talent from across the country and putting the birthplace of basketball on display.
“We were able to go to the Hall of Fame and see the history, maybe some of the young guys don’t realize it, but we just talked about it in the locker rom. This is something they will talk to their kids about. So we’re excited to be here,” expressed St. Augustine’s High School Basketball head coach Mike Haupt.
Coach Haupt and St. Augustine traveling three-thousand miles all the way from San Diego.
The draw? A chance to hoop where it all started, against the finest competition available.
Greg Procino the Vice President of the Basketball Hall of Fame told 22News, “The best of the best ties into our mission as an institution, to honor celebrate and promote the game of basketball. We feel like we have reached that point with this event.”
Blake Arena hosted nine games on Saturday, day three of the tournament, and five will be broadcast on ESPN. Teams from more than 10 states will be in action, including the first few games showcasing the big-time recruits in attendance.
Two of the top three girls recruits in the class of 2023 were in action Saturday alongside twelve of the top one-hundred boys prospects, including numbers one, five, six and seven. This not just a showcase of basketball talent. It also puts the city of Springfield on display, celebrating the birthplace of basketball.
The first game tipped at 9:00 a.m., and the first nationally televised game started at 1:30 p.m. One of five girls’ games are being played at this year’s tournament, expanded from just two last year.
1:30 p.m. puts Sidwell Friends out of DC versus Sierra Canyon School out of California. Sidwell, led by the third-ranked female recruit in the country, is already committed to Duke, and Sierra Canyon, boasting the number-one ranked recruit, committed to play at USC.
The last tip-off is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. on Saturday.
“Martin Luther King weekend is in the winter months when our visitation is typically in a bit of a valley. This event has really propped up visitation to the Hall of Fame, visitation to the city, exposure for the city, exposure to Springfield College so it really has kind of raised all tides from a business perspective,” added Procino.
Tickets sold out for Saturday’s games and are already sold out for Monday. But there are still some seats left for Sunday’s action. One ticket gets you admission for the entire day of games, and there are eight scheduled for Sunday.