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Nik Khamenia, 4-star 2025 recruit, shines on national stage at Hoophall Classic

Harvard-Westlake moves to 20-1 with a win over Ace Bailey and McEachern of Georgia at the Hoophall Classic on ESPNU

SPRINGFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS - National high school basketball evaluators were in discussion as they watched Harvard-Westlake and McEachern of Georgia in the Spalding Hoophall Classic Monday afternoon.

One looked to the other and said, "Ace Bailey has had better days."

Bailey, a 5-star recruit headed to Rutgers, is the No. 3-rated prospect for 2024 at 6-foot-8. He was 4 of 13 shooting in the first half including two airballs from the 3-point line with no murmurs of the defensive job Harvard-Westlake junior forward Nik Khamenia was putting on display.

As the game went on, the tune changed as discussions about Khamenia arose.

"How tall is he?" ... "What's his basketball background?" ...

"He's much bigger than 180 (listed weight)" ... "He doesn't back down from anything" ...

Everyone knows more about Khamenia now.

Khamenia, who does have a 4-star rating on sites like ESPN and 247Sports, will likely climb higher in the player rankings for the 2025 class after being named game MVP with 21 points and eight rebounds in Harvard-Westlake's 60-59 overtime win over McEachern on ESPNU.

McEachern's Jayden Bynes hit a 3-pointer to send the game into overtime. USC-commit Trent Perry hit a mid-range jumper with 49 seconds left before Harvard-Westlake used two defensive stand with nine seconds remaining to seal the victory.

One national pundit thought Harvard-Westlake was going to get blown out.

"Not today," said Harvard-Westlake coach David Rebibo when told what the projected fate of his now 20-1 Wolverines was before tip-off.

Christian Horry had 14 points (four 3s) and Perry added 13 for the CIF Southern Section SBLive No. 1-ranked Wolverines.

To further support Khamenia's much-deserved rise in the recruiting landscape, he went toe-to-toe with one of the nation's best talents, playing 34 of 36 minutes and guarding Bailey, who scored 23 points, but took 24 shots to do it, going 10 of 24 from the field (1 of 7 from 3).

Harvard-Westlake led 40-22 in the third quarter before McEachern set up in a zone defense that anchored a comeback in the second half. McEachern cut the deficit to 44-38 at the end of the third frame. Horry made a corner 3-pointer to give Harvard-Westlake up 54-47 with 1:47 to play that helped keep a cushion down the stretch.

Harvard-Westlake continues to keep itself in the national rankings with big wins, including Perry of Arizona (twice) and St. Pius. The Wolverines also got to the final of the Les Schwab Invitational in Oregon where they lost to Columbus (Fla.) in the final, 55-54, in a controversial ending.


The Wolverines will drive roughly 90 minutes eastbound from Springfield to Boston for an evening flight back to Los Angeles before playing in two big Mission League games on Wednesday and Friday against Notre Dame and Harvard-Westlake, respectively.