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The Allen Iverson Roundball Classic has quickly become one of the nation’s premier high school tournaments, with an accompanying All-Star game. Since its inception in 2018, the game has hosted dozens of NBA guys, including most recent #1 overall pick Anthony Edwards. The location of this year’s tournament was chosen to be Memphis, Tennessee, with Showtime Sports covering the tournament and Stephen Jackson hosting. WIth appearances
from NBAers like Mike Miller, Matt Barnes, and Tracy McGrady, the #IVERSONCLASSIC has quickly become one of the most anticipated gatherings of grassroots talent. Over the next couple days, I will be recapping the most exciting games and performances from the tournament, discussing how top prospects fared in their stint in the Bluff City.
The second game on the first night of the tournament had the Calhoun School (Letohatchee, AL) and America’s top senior point guard, J.D. Davidson go up against Bartlett High School, an up-and-coming private school program located in West Tennessee. Bartlett was one of the only schools positively impacted by the decision made by Memphis’ Shelby County Schools municipal school board to not have in-person classes until February, leading to Bartlett receiving two transfers from Memphis East as well as Amarr Knox, who transferred to Bartlett from Memphis Central less than three weeks ago. Despite Davidson’s high profile reputation, it was actually Knox who stole the show with 37 points and the W, as well as harassing Davidson into tough shots all night.
Knox was named All-Metro as a sophomore for Central, and played for Team Thad, an Under Armour-sponsored AAU program founded by former NBA lottery pick and Memphian Thaddeus Young which has produced NBAers OG Anunoby and Chris Chiozza in recent years. Knox showed off his impressive shooting ability, knocking down six 3PT’s to knock off Calhoun and Davidson, as well as some hard takes to the rim. Knox, a low-major recruit at best entering the tournament, immediately received a personalized scholarship offer from Penny Hardaway and Memphis, and more will surely come after his performance vs Davidson. Calhoun, coming from a largely football state, didn’t appear to be as well-balanced at Bartlett and relied on Davidson as a Mr. Do-Everything. Despite his team’s loss, Davidson did nothing to hurt his reputation. A muscular, chiseled frame at 6’3, Davidson attacks the rim with reckless abandonment and has countless YouTube videos as evidence that jumping with him is simply not a good idea. More than just a dunker, Davidson uses his plus athleticism to clean the glass and protect the rim for Calhoun, things he won’t be asked to be in college, but nonetheless adds to his versatility. His frame and skillset immediately reminded me of another Alabama native, Birmingham’s Eric Bledsoe.
Davison’s next step, much like Bledsoe’s was playing alongside John Wall and Chris Paul, will be to become more of a point guard and less of a guy that simply handles the ball. ESPN actually has Memphis’ Kennendy Chandler (#10) ranked one spot above Davison for the #1 PG spot in the senior class, so it’ll be interesting to compare their senior years and see who will be ranked higher by the end.