The Camden High boys’ basketball team will face the nation’s No. 1 player at the annual Hoophall Classic on Jan. 18 in Springfield, Mass.
The Panthers are to play Rancho Christian School of Telecula, Calif., which features 7-foot Evan Mobley, at the four-day showcase near the site of the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Mobley, a USC recruit who is rated as the No. 1 player in the class of 2020 by 247sports.com and other recruiting sites, has a 7-5 wingspan and a 40-inch vertical jump. He averaged 19.2 points, 10.4 rebounds and 4.7 blocks last season and was named the Gatorade player of the year in California.
Mobley’s coach at Rancho Christian, Ray Barefield, said the player is one of the top to ever emerge from California and told the Los Angeles Times that Mobley is “a little bit of the Greek Freak [Giannis Antetokounmpo] and Kevin Durant, all in one.”
Mobley committed to USC in August. His father, Eric, is a USC assistant coach, and his brother, Isaiah, a top recruit in the class of 2019, is a freshman for the Trojans.
Camden’s schedule, released late Wednesday by athletic director Mark Phillips, also features several other marquee matchups with top teams in the region.
Camden this season will be led by 6-9 senior Lance Ware, a Kentucky recruit rated as the No. 32 player in the class of 2020 by 247sports.com, as well as juniors Taquan Woodley and Jerome Brewer Jr.
Much of the anticipation for the Panthers’ season surrounds freshman D.J. Wagner, the son of former Camden legend Dajuan Wagner and the grandson of former Camden legend Milt Wagner.
D.J. Wagner, a 14-year-old who stands around 6-foot-1, recently attended the USA Basketball junior national team’s training camp in Colorado Springs, Colo., for the second time in the last three months. He was one of just five players in the class of 2023 in attendance.
Camden will be coached this season by former NBA player and coach Rich Brunson, a former Temple star.
Other key out-of-conference games on Camden’s schedule include a Dec. 30 meeting with Philadelphia Catholic League power Roman Catholic at Cherry Hill East; a Jan. 4 battle with old rival Atlantic City at Cherry Hill West; a Jan. 23 clash with Roselle (N.J.) Catholic at Cherry Hill West; a Feb. 8 meeting with Gill St. Bernard’s (Gladstone, N.J.) at Kean University, and a Feb. 16 showdown with Wildwood Catholic at Cherry Hill East.
Camden also will face tough competition from its rivals in the Olympic Conference’s National Division, including perennial powers Paul VI, Camden Catholic and Bishop Eustace.
Camden is set to open the season on Dec. 20 against the Philadelphia Public League’s Simon Gratz at Woodrow Wilson.
Without a gymnasium while its new high school is under construction, Camden will play most of its “home” games at Rutgers-Camden, with some at Woodrow Wilson.