Saturday, October 18, 2014

Kennedy's Stock on the Rise

Isaiah Kennedy
The old adage, "keep working hard, someone will notice you," can be attributed to the recent rise of Isaiah Kennedy (5'8 P/SG Beavercreek 2020).  Only 1 year ago Kennedy was balling in virtual obscurity in the Dayton, Ohio area, but 1 year later some media have him ranked  among the top 50 players in the country in the class of 2020 (Prolific Performance #46).  In Ohio, Kennedy is easily top 10 good. It's no accident, Kennedy has taken his talent on the road  and has logged in impressive performances in several elite events.  Not only did he lock down Top 5 Award honors at the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase last month, he put in work at the Future Phenom Camp in D.C. a few months ago, and has performed well in several local Nike events locally, and was a standout out at Quincy Simpson's Tier 1 Middle School Showcase last October.

Kennedy has a nice frame and good size for a PG, but because he is more of a scoring threat than a playmaker right now, Kennedy can slide to the 2 and still be productive. We've seen him have some success with his shot, but his claim to fame is his ability to use his size and strength to bully his way to the basket.  Most big guards struggle with their handle, but that's not a problem for Kennedy.  He does not necessarily have the rock on the string, but he is too strong to get ripped on a consistent basis. If he continues to grow and to hone his skill set, Kennedy could be a good looking guard prospect going forward.

You can catch Kennedy in action in the National Youth Basketball League (NYBL) next year, as he will be running with the King James Shooting Stars, where he will be teamed with Grant Huffman (5'8 SG Aurora) and Devonte Blanton (5'9 WF Cleveland). With the added competition in the NYBL, Kennedy will have the opportunity to compete against the nations's best, which will only accelerate his development. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Jackson Shines on the Big Stage

Hunter Jackson
Once you have an opportunity to perform on the big stage, you had better take advantage it. Hunter Jackson (5'9 WG Indiana 2020) did just that recently while participating in the NYBL All-Star Weekend and Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase.  Jackson's opportunity came during the waining minutes of the 2020 NYBL vs The Nation all-star game when he scored 6 points with under a minute left in the game to lift his team to a 37-34 victory (see highlight video).  Jackson's combination of skill, strength and aggressiveness was the difference in the win.  For the game, Jackson was the second leading scorer behind Donovan Billings (14 points) with 10 points.

Jackson has been on big stages before and has excelled.  In fact, most evaluators have him ranked in the top 20 nationally (Prolific Performance #15).  Jackson shoots well off the bounce, can employ a nice looking floater, has an elite handle, and uses his strength to finish at the cup with contact.  He's not just a scorer, as evidenced in the above video. Jackson is a problem defensively, as his on-baIl pressure is intense. Bottom line, Jackson is tough as nails! In the showcase portion of the event Jackson played up in the 8th grade division and was still one of the better players on his squad. As a member of George Hill, Jackson has earned his rep ballin against the best teams in the country.  If his performance in Columbus last month proved anything,  it's that Jackson has a bright future if he continues to work hard and develop.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Jeremiah Keene Still Under the Radar

Jeremiah Keene
By now, many of Ohio's elite 8th graders have been featured on this and other websites on numerous occasions.  However, because it is still very early for players in the class of 2019, there are still a number of very talented guys who are still flying under the radar and who have not yet been discovered. Columbus, Ohio has always produced great basketball talent, and Jeremiah Keene (5'11 PG Columbus) should be considered among the best in Central Ohio right now. A crafty lead guard with a tight handle and a nice mid-range and 3-point shot, Keene had not emerged on the national stage until his standout performance at the recent Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase last month.

Although he ran with the Ohio Hoopsters and competed among the country's elite in the National Youth Basketball League (NYBL) this past season, it was not until his all-star selection and Top 5 Award winning performance in September that the basketball community finally started to recognise his true talent.  Keene serves as the engine and the primary distributor for the Hoopsters, and not only can he shoot the rock, he gets ample paint touches on his drives, and is an able and willing passer. He may not be a household name just yet, but with continued growth and development, Keene has a chance to be playing college basketball in a few years.  Jeremiah Keene, welcome to the big stage!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Detroit's Keon Henderson has Game

Keon Henderson
Anybody who follows basketball in the midwest knows that the state of Michigan traditionally turns out elite point guards.  Based on his standout performance at the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase in September (made the all-star team), Keon Henderson (5'2 PG Detroit 2021) should be added to the list.  In September, Henderson's extreme handle and ability to defeat his defender off the bounce caught our eye.  Henderson's cross over and in and out dribbles are advance, as is his ability to get into the paint.  A crafty young guard who is fun to watch best describes Henderson's game.  Henderson's talent is apparently no secret, as Prolific Performance has him ranked #36th in the country. Hopefully we get a chance to monitor Henderson's progress, as he has a chance to be a good one!  Before we close, we have to give a shout out to Legend Greeter (5'8 PF Detroit 2021), who traveled to Columbus last month to participate in the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase and played his way into the all-star game and Top 5 Award honors.  Clearly, there is a lot of talent in Detroit.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Chance Mott has a Chance

Chance Mott
For many young aspiring hoopers, the National Youth Basketball League (NYBL) provides a platform whereby they could both compete against elite players from across the country, while gaining national exposure. Chance Mott (6'3 PF Mansfield 2020) did just that this past season as he led his Mansfield Cavs teams to some surprising big time wins in the NYBL.   Mott not only proved he could power a team, rebound and provide low post scoring, his standout performance (Top 5 Award winner) at the recent Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase confirmed his ability to excel at individual events. For his handwork, Mott has received national recognition and now appears on top player lists around the country.  In fact, Prolific Performance recently ranked Mott as the #51st best player in the country. Already 6'3 and only in then 7th grade, Mott projects well and is worth tracking going forward.  Pictured holding some hardware above, with continued growth and development, Mott should add a lot more peaces to his collection down the road.