The sixth annual Iverson Classic All-American Game took place this weekend at Bartlett High School in Memphis. High school sensation Hansel Enmanuel won the slam dunk contest, and Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant was in the house and shared a moment with Allen Iverson.
Shut it down!
Hansel Enmanuel wins the 2022 Iverson Classic Dunk Contest with this one right here 🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/EV0QOc9PJ7
— Wynston Wilcox (@wynstonw_) April 30, 2022
Morant’s elevation to superstar status this year had many comparing him to Iverson.
Ja Morant & Allen Iverson link up at the Iverson Classic basketball showcase pic.twitter.com/yPtDCZm0Jv
— 2Cool2Blog (@2Cool2BlogTV) April 30, 2022
Enmanuel plays high-level prep basketball and does so with one arm. The 6-foot-6 athletic wing is also a social media sensation. He has over 2.4 million followers on TikTok and 1.2 million followers on Instagram.
The kid has got game too! Memphis Tigers head coach Penny Hardaway has already offered Enmanuel a scholarship.
This is the second year in a row the Iverson Classic has been held in Memphis. It looks like this could be the game’s permanent home.
“We knew from Day One we were coming back [to Memphis] after last year,” said Bobby Bates, who organizes the Iverson Classic. “Tennessee is my home, I love the city of Memphis, so it’s a no-brainer. Memphis is hoops city, simple as that. For years and years and years, it’s been known as the hoops city.”
In addition to Memphis, Enmanuel has received offers from Tennessee State and Bethune-Cookman. The high school senior averaged 25.9 points, 11.0 rebounds, 6.9 assists and 3.4 blocks this season for Life Christian Academy in Kissimmee, Florida.
Not only will Enmanuel play college hoops but with the NIL rules and his incredible social media following, there is no doubt that brands will want to work with him and he can start earning.
Who knows if he can play professional at any level, but if not he can take advantage now with the current rules and maximize his popularity.
Morant was in the building fresh off his first playoff series win as his Grizzlies defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves in six games. You can’t help but think about the similarities in his game and Iverson’s.
Of course they’re both smaller players, though Morant is taller. They both attack the rim relentlessly among the NBA’s giants. Morant led the league in paint scoring this season at 6-feet-3.
Iverson had moxie and in-game imagination, with ridiculous athleticism. He turned that into an MVP, NBA Finals appearance and a Hall-of-Fame career.
Morant is similar. He can jump out of the building and can get downhill past any defender. His float game and layup package is also a thing of beauty. Where he has the potential to be better than Iverson is his ability to shoot the three.
Morant shot 34 percent from deep this season and his shot has improved each season. Iverson shot 31 percent for his entire career.
Like Iverson, Morant spends a lot of time on the floor as a result of attacking the rim. The hing about the hardwood is it’s not forgiving.
In order to prolong his career and reach MVP status and multiple-time All-NBA, Morant will need to continue to improve his three point shooting. When the defense knows they can’t sag off because of your shot, and they are afraid of the drive, you’re unguardable.