Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
By ALAN AVITALNEW YORK — Cheers and jeers reverberated throughout the iS8 gymnasium Sunday afternoon, but in the midst of all the hoopla during the finals of the iS8/Nike Spring Classic, some Sean Bell fans were clearly yelling, “Get The Shooter.”
That reference clearly put Harvard recruit Max Hooper square in the spotlight.
Hooper, a 6-foot-7 shooting guard from San Jose, Calif., via Brewster (N.H.) Academy, clearly knew his experience playing at iS8 would be beneficial as he ventures onto Cambridge this fall.
“I can’t say enough of how great the experience was to play at iS8,” said Hooper, who is doing his postgraduate work at Brewster after transferring from Mater Dei High School in California. “Being able to compete with some of the high Division 1 prospects was great. It’s the highest level possible.”
Despite his Real Scout team falling to the Sean Bell All-Stars , 71-60, in Sunday’s finale, Hooper displayed that long-range stroke by drilling four 3-pointers, including a fall-away trey from the right corner with two defenders in his face as the first half expired, inciting a long cheer from the raucous crowd.
“There is no better excitement than hitting a shot like that,” said Hooper. “It’s a rush.”
Harvard secured Hooper, one of Tommy Amaker’s six incoming recruits, back in October in a move that fit the 18-year old like a glove.
“Why Harvard? Because it’s Harvard,” said Hooper, who was Brewster’s valedictorian this year. “Coach Amaker recruited me since my sophomore year. Every time we talked, I trusted him even more. He told me that I could play a major role in the next couple of years.”
At Brewster, Hooper got his opportunity to play with Kansas recruit Naadir Tharpe, Villanova signee Markus Kennedy, Pittsburgh-bound Durand Johnson and St. John’s recruit and prep school roommate Jakarr Sampson, a move that high school recruiting expert Tom Konchalski believes helped elevate Hooper’s all-around game.
“Mater Dei is a storied program,” said Konchalski. “But the knock against West Coast players is they are known to be soft. Max got his nose calcified on the East Coast. He is a terrific shooter with inter-galactic range, and playing under Tommy (Amaker), he will definitely improve his all-around game.”
Hooper, who wants to emulate Boston Celtics guard Ray Allen and Chicago Bulls guard Kyle Korver, scored all 12 of his points in the first half and was named to the All-iS8 third team.
“I love the way that both Ray Allen and Kyle Korver come off screens,” said Hooper. “That is where I see my game heading.”
**Josiah Turner named MVP of iS8 final
**St. John’s recruits engage in dunkfest at iS8
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.