Cactus Classic Top Performers!

The Cactus Classic is back. After taking a two-year hiatus, Hillcrest Prep (Phoenix, Ariz.) founder Nick Weaver and head coach Marques “Taj” Gantt decided to bring the event back. I still recall attending the 2021 rendition and seeing three players by the names of Jared McCain, Kyan Boswell and Devin Williams as youngsters for a simply loaded Corona Centennial team that made waves in California. The initial BFL Prep team (which later added future NBA Draft No. 1 pick Paolo Banchero) was also in the building. There were no shortage of high major players who certainly established themselves during the event and while the 2024 edition wasn’t quite as loaded, there was still some serious talent in the building in Buckeye, Arizona.

Here are some of the top performers from the 2024 Cactus Classic:

Jason Asemota, 6’9, SF/PF, Hillcrest Prep (AZ), 2024
The most highly regarded player at the Cactus Classic certainly lived up to his billing, as Jason Asemota put on a show in Hillcrest Prep’s two victories. The future Baylor new age forward hit at least 12 threes over the two games, showed the ability to defend multiple spots, and is learning how to utilize his size more on the interior. Asemota averaged 30 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 4.0 assists over Hillcrest's two victories throughout the weekend, doing everything in his power to lock up his spot in the McDonald’s All American Game.

Jinup Doboul, 6’8, SF, PHH Prep National (AZ), 2024
A player whom I was quite familiar with from his days at Minnesota Prep, Jinup Diboul definitely made some serious strides in his game over the past eight months. The lanky swingman truly looks the part of an ideal face-up forward, blending serious athleticism with a vastly improved game off the bounce. Given the continual improvement of Doboul, it should come as no surprise that high majors are tracking him closely for the late signing period.

Jalik Dunkley, 6’6, SF, Canyon International Academy (AZ), 2024
Having seen Jalik Dunkley before in the EIBC, I was already familiar with the Canadian swingman, but it did me well to get another look. The freak athlete was the best above the rim finisher of the event, has unbelievable potential on the defensive end, and even reminds one of Andrew Wiggins at times with the way that he is able to contort his body. Dunkley is still wide open, although many high major programs have been inquiring about him.

Marsai Mason, 6’6, SG, PHH Prep National (AZ), 2024
One of the absolute standouts of the event, Marsai Mason may have helped himself as much as anyone at the Cactus Classic. The powerfully build wing has a perfect frame, can really defend, and has range out to the NBA 3-point line. The Northern Arizona coaching staff was in the building watching Mason on the opening night and it should come as no surprise that they put an offer on the table for him within the week.

Aeramiah Binford, 6’5, SG/SF, Ascending Life (AZ), 2024
A player who I hadn’t seen before, Aeramiah Binford definitely had the physical tools that you’d love to see out of a potential D-1 wing. He utilized his length on both ends of the court, converted at a high rate at the rack, and constantly threw defenders off with his ability to jump off his right leg. Binford averaged 20 points per game on the weekend, while showing serious potential for Ascending life.

Christian Jones, 5’11, PG, Hillcrest Prep (AZ), 2025
Playing in his opening weekend with Hillcrest Prep, Christian Jones certainly showed that he belonged. Jones capped off the weekend with a 20 point, 12 assist, 7 steal show in the final game along with two victories.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *