Sunday, October 31, 2010

All-Ohio Nike City Series Championship-Day-One

Trey Burke-2011
Although the competition was fierce last week during the opening weekend of the All-Ohio City Series, the play at Whitehall-Yearling High School today took it to the next level. As promised, all-star teams from Cincinnati, Dayton, Cleveland and Toledo descended on central Ohio and the battle for state bragging rights was on. Despite the fact that Cleveland was not well represented at the event in terms of some of the top ranked players, northern Ohio was still able to field teams in each division. In a majority of the four divisions, Columbus dominated day-one of the event. Other than Columbus, the Cincinnati teams appeared to be the most competitive, and the stage is now set for some serious battles tomorrow!

In terms of the format, there were six teams per division from 9th thru 12 grades. Each of the 24 teams played 3 games on Saturday, and will play two additional games on Sunday including championship games in each division. The Saturday games featured two 24 minute halves with a running clock. Although each city brought a team in each division, Columbus had enough interest and talent for two teams in each division. In addition to the competition, exposure opportunities were plentiful, as ESPN’s John Stovall, JJ Huddle’s Kurt Stubbs and Ty Kish were in the house documenting the action. I also saw a handful of small college coaches in the house searching for talent.

In the 12th grade division, the backcourt duo of Trey Burke and Stevie Taylor proved to be too tough for their opponents, as Team Columbus went 3-0 on the day. Add to that a solid performance from Miami-bound Brain Sullivan and ODU verbal Steve Bridgeman; Columbus could be the favorite heading into Sunday. Florida State commit Aaron Thomas arrived in Columbus late, but after he hit the ground, he went to work. Thomas put up big numbers in impressive style. Toledo’s Rob Davis was the man on his squad, as was Dayton’s Keontrae Brown. Cleveland’s Damone Peterson and Robert Morgan were consistently good on day-one as well.

Dayton’s Tyler White was one of the top juniors today, as was his backcourt teammate Andre Yates and big man Jacob Rossi. Rossi, a 6’8 center from Franklin HS, is a big body who has a nice touch and finishes well around the cup. Westerville South’s Isaiah Rogers continued his solid play for the second weekend in a row, and is quietly seeing his stock rise locally and statewide. Northland’s Jalen Robinson and Devon Scott took turns controlling the paint and Westerille South’s Matt Rhodes got his stroke back today. Marion Franklin’s Elijah Macon rolled thru late in the day and wasted no time throwing down crazy dunks. Team Cincinnati is deep with talent with Orlando Berry Jr., Willie Moore in the back court. I also saw some flashes from Josh Lemons. I have to give a shout out to South Charleston’s Ott Elmore, who shot the leather off the ball in the last game of the night and finished with an impressive six treys.

One of the best performances of the day regardless of division was the outstanding play of Cleveland Heights’ Maurice O’Field. Although O’Field is big, strong and powerful, he is highly skilled and playes hard. I had heard a lot about O’Field in the past, and his stellar play today lived up to the hype. I was equally impressed with Kevin Johnson a smooth PG from Cincinnati. I watched this kid several times today and he was consistently good. Johnson has a bag of dribble moves and a superior handle which he employs to beat his defender and score the ball. Gahanna’s Aaron Jackson continues his fall ascent to the top of his class in central Ohio. You know I like point guards, and Dayton’s Jaaron Simmons is fast becoming one of my favorites. I watched him a lot this summer on the AAU trail and I continue to be impressed with his ability to run a team. 6’7 Evans Bradds logged in an impressive performance and continued to knock down perimeter shots all day long. Toledo’s Demetrius Woodley has ton of talent and a bright future if he continues to work on his game.

Cincinnatis seems to always be blessed with guards, and Teonte Robinson is living up to that reputation. Robinson is crafty with the rock and has a whole bag of tricks he uses to get his defender off balance. His Team Cincinnati teammate Macio Teague, only an 8th grader, has game, and has the potential to be one of next top guards to come out of the Natti. Although Big Marcelleous Jones does not play above the rim, and may not project as D-I post player, the kid is getting it done in the post. Simply put, the kid is too big to move and he has a knack for finishing around the bucket. For the second straight weekend I was impressed with the play of Pickerington Central Jae’Shon Tate. I love this kid’s motor and the aggressiveness he shows every time he takes the court. Tate can really score the ball, and if he gets his father’s height, it’s over! I also liked Dayton’s Jermichael Blanton. Below is a more complete list of some of the top players I saw on Saturday.

12th Grade Division

Aaron Thomas-2011

Steve Bridgeman-6’5 Team Columbus-Bloom Carroll
Keontrae Brown-6’4 Team Dayton-Dunbar
Trey Burke-6’2 Team Columbus-Northland
Rob Davis-6’2 Team Toledo-Bowsher
Joby Jackson-6’3 Team Dayton-Jefferson
Demarkio Lyshe-5’10 Team Columbus-Westerville South
Robert Morgan-6’3 Team Cleveland-Ginn Academy
Damar Peterson-6’0 Team Cleveland-Brush
JR Rayford-6’0 Team Toledo-Start
Rico Spears-6’3 Team Columbus-Walnut Ridge
Brian Sullivan-6’0 Team Columbus-Upper Arlington
Maurice Taylor-6’3 Team Toledo-Start
Stevie Taylor-5’10 Team Columbus-Gahanna Lincoln
Jaihen Teague-6’1 Team Cincinnati-Middletown
Aaron Thomas-6’6- Team Cincinnati-Withrow

11th Grade Division

Jacob Rossi-2012

Roy Alexander-6’4 Team Columbus-Walnut Ridge
Orlando Berry-5’7 Team Cincinnati-Taft
Ott Elmore-6’3 Team Columbus-South Charleston (Wva)
DJ Hall-6’4 Team Cleveland-HS unknown
Damon Jones-6’0 Team Cleveland-St Peter Chanel
Willie Moore-6’2 Team Cincinnati-Aiken
Matt Rhodes-6’5 Team Columbus-Westerville North
Isaiah Rogers-5’8 Team Columbus-Westerville South
Jacob Rossi 6’8 Team Dayton-Franklin
Carter Smith-Team Columbus-Upper Arlington
Jared Sturt-6’3 Team Toledo-Maumee Valley CD
Tyler White-6’1 Team Dayton-Lima Senior
Andre Yates-6’1 Team Dayton-Trotwood

10th Grade Division

Maurice O'Field-2013

Evan Bradds 6’7 Team Dayton-Greenview
Austin Gardner-5’10 Team Toledo-St. Johns
Jack Gibbs-5’10 Team Columbus-Westerville North
Aaron Jackson-6’4 Team Columbus-Gahanna Lincoln
Kevin Johnson-6’2 Team Cincinnati-Summit
Marquice Lawrence-Team Columbus-Marion Franklin
Maurice O’Field-6’4 Team Cleveland-Cleveland Heights
Deondre Martin-6’5 Team Toledo-Lima Senior
Jaaron Simmons-6’2 Team Toledo-Alter
Mark Williams-6’5 Team Cleveland-Benedictine
Demetrius Woodley-6’3 Team Toledo-Lima Senior

9th Grade Division

Jae'Shon Tate-2014

Jermichael Blanton-6’1 Team Dayton-Thurgood
Jon Elmore-6’2 Team Columbus-South Charleston (Wva)
Dymier Finch-6’1 Team Columbus-Walnut Ridge
Omari Hicks 6’0-Team Toledo-St. Johns
Rosel Hurley-6’4 Team Cleveland-Shaker Heights
Marcelleous Jones-6’4 Team Cleveland-Glenville
Rashaun Martin-5’6 Team Dayton-Dayton Christian
Mike Mitchell 6’3 Team Toledo-St, Johns
Austin Riddle-Team Columbus B-Dublin Coffman
Teonte Robinson-6’1 Team Cincinnati-Macon
Jae’shon Tate-6’3 Team Columbus-Pickerington Central
Maicio Teague-5’7 (8th) Team Cincinnati-Princeton
Jeff Thomas, Jr.-Team Toledo-Norwalk
Reginald Thomas, Jr.-Team Columbus (B)-Gahanna Lincoln
Timothy Williams-Team Cleveland-Benedictine

Te see pictures I took at the event, visit the Buckeye Prep Facebook Fan Page

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Jr All-American Camp Open Run Returns to Cleveland

For a chance at one last run before the upcoming school season, you might want to make your way to Clay Dade’s Open Run event scheduled for this Saturday in Cleveland. By most accounts, last year Dade’s Open Run attracted a boatload of young talent. At the conclusion of the event, you can expect that a post-event report will be posted on the Jr. All-American Camp website highlighting the top players. The top players at this event will be invited the the jr. All-american camp next summer. To register for the event, visit the the Jr. All-American Camp website  Below is more specific information about the event.

Saturday, October 30, 2010
Boys 5th-8th Grades 9am-2pm
Girls 6th-8th Grades 2pm-6pm

Jr All-American Camp Open Run
Garfield Heights High School
4900 Turney Road
Garfield Heights, OH 44125

Walkup registration day of the event is subject to availability. Credit cards will be accepted day of the event @ Garfield Hgts. Also, last year, the Cleveland Open Rub SOLD OUT! Register early. Do Not Mail registration. Fax completed registration form to 301-576-5402.

What About Academics?

I was talking to a friend the other day about academics and how so many of our young people tend to concentrate more on athletics than they do their grades, and how websites like the Buckeye Prep Report and many others tend to concentrate more on basketball than they do getting the word out about the importance of school. To this end, and as somewhat of a public service announcement, we at Buckeye Prep want to say to all of our readers, including kids, parents and coaches alike; ACADEMICS ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN BASKETBALL!

As many of us know, each year there are thousands of kids who are talented enough to play college basketball at some level, but because they neglected their academics, they are unable to qualify for a division I, II, or III program. Let’s be clear, although there are a number of programs that will accept players who meet the minimum standards set by the NCAA, there are many schools that have their own academic standards which are much higher. Consequently, there are a number of schools that will look past a player because of grades, thus reducing the pool of opportunities for your child/player. Far too often college coaches shy away from more talented kids with sub-standard grades and eventually sign less talented student-athletes who were wise enough to take care of business in the class room.

What Does the NCAA Require?

The minimum NCAA requirements to play D-I college basketball require something like a 2.5 grade point average (GPA) and an ACT score of about 17. The actual numbers work on a sliding scale, where the higher the ACT/SAT score, the lower the GPA can be, and vice versa (i.e., 2.3/18 , 2.2/19, 2.1/20, 2.0/21). There are a number of factors that go into the equation, so I suggest that parents meet with their child’s guidance counselor for more specific information. Also, it is important to note that the GPA requirement is for “core” courses only (i.e., math, Chemistry, science, English, history, foreign language, government, etc), as opposed to electives (i.e., physical education, home economics, choir). According to NCAA statistics, more student-athletes fail to qualify to participate in NCAA sports because of a lack of appropriate course work than for lower scores. Your child could have a 3.0 overall GPA, but a core GPA of 1.9 and be in serious trouble! Also, for Division II program, there is no sliding scale; the minimum core GPA is a 2.0 and the minimum SAT is 820 and the minimum ACT is a 17 (see article).

Can a Student-Athlete Recover?

From my experience, much of the academic damage is done during a student’s freshman year in high school when the transition from middle school to high school is most difficult. At this stage, kids and parents often fail to pay attention to course work requirements and grades, while being lulled into a false since of security because their child is able to maintain eligibility to play school ball. What’s important to know, it’s very hard to raise a GPA significantly after only a couple of years of neglect.

Making it even more difficult for student-athletes to recover from a low GPA is the fact that traditionally, the NCAA has allowed students to take correspondence and on-line type courses to help a student catch up and raise his or her GPA; however, because of wide spread fraud and abuse and so called “diploma mills,” over the past several years, the NCAA has greatly reduced the number of programs they allow. If you have a child in this kind of situation right now, the Keystone School is one of the few remaining programs the NCAA still recognizes. Your child/player may be able obtain core credits though this program that will count towards the minimum requirements.

Also, one of the strategies employed by guidance counselors to repair damaged GPAs is to have the student to re-take core courses where he or she received C, D, and Fs, and replace them with the higher grade. In addition, most often, rather than coast out of their last year of high school, students who enter their senior year without qualifying scores must scramble and load their schedules with core courses in an effort to raise GPAs. Finally, there are a number of ACT/SAT prep programs available to help students increase their scores. Although many of these programs are a bit pricey, lower cost programs can be found with a little work. Look in local newspapers and go on-line to find affordable programs in your area.

What Else Should You Do?

To you parents, I would suggest that you pay close attention to your child’s course work and grades from day one, and don’t be satisfied with a 2.0 GPA. One bad semester and your child can quickly slip below that mark. A common misperception is that a C average is ok; don’t believe it; your child should at least shoot for at least a B in core courses. As a suggestion, routinely take a look at your son/daughter’s most recent interim and/or final grade cards, and if he or she is under a 2.0 GPA, you need to be very concerned! Also, make sure your child’s curriculum has a sufficient number core courses (the NCAA requires 16). Contact your school’s guidance counselors and ask questions. Ask the guidance counselor to calculate the “core GPA,” it may be much lower than you realize. Get the phone numbers for your child’s teachers and talk to them on a regular basis in order to get updates of his or her performance. I know for a fact that teachers love it when parents are involved in their child’s education and are very receptive to calls and notes. Additionally, many schools now allow parents to check their child’s grades on-line and get up to the minute progress.

In addition, have your child begin taking the ACT or SAT as soon and as often as possible, so you have a gauge of where they need to be. Your child can take the test as often as he or she likes and the NCAA will use the highest composite score from those tests. Also, don’t fall into the trap of thinking because your child has a learning disability and/or is participating in Individual Education Programs (IEP), that the minimum standards will be lowered. In fact, other than some allowances for additional time and oral presentation of test material, the same standards apply to all student athletes.

Of course I know many of the kids playing basketball are not fortunate enough to have a parent(s) who will read this piece and who will be willing take affirmative action; therefore, coaches, mentors and other caring adults need to stand up and help. To you coaches who pick kids up from school on Fridays to travel out of town for tournaments; next spring take a few minutes to go inside the school first to talk to the player’s guidance counselor( with parental permission of course), ask questions and then convey that information to the kid’s parent(s) or guardians. We all know “It Takes a Village” to raise our young people. We also know that a very small percentage of players will go on to have careers and make money in this game. Only a quality education and a college degree/occupation will ensure financial security for your child and their future families.

In closing, I don’t mean to preach, but sometimes things need to be said. Moreover, I understand players, parents, coaches and fans log onto to this website to read event reports, search for rankings, and to view the pictures, but as a parent, coach and fan myself, I thought it was important that I send a different message this time around in hopes that at least one person will take heed before it is too late, and take action before a kid misses out on an opportunity of a lifetime! Below are lists of links to some very important information:

Resources (click on hyper-link)
ACT Test Registration
NCAA Eligibility Information
NCAA Clearing House Information
Questions and Answers

Sunday, October 24, 2010

All-Ohio Nike City Series Recap

Nate Anderson, Brian Sullivan, Stevie Taylor, Trey Burke & Treavon Jackson (D-I comits)
  As promised, the opening weekend of the All-Ohio Nike City Series was star studded and competitive, as many of central Ohio’s top high school basketball players were represented at the 2-day event. Over the course of the weekend, each player competed in four games, and the top 20 kids in each of the four divisions were selected to participate in all-star games. As is the case in these types of events, there were guys who held serve; guys who saw their basketball stock rise; kids who took advantage of the big stage, and of course there were players who did not quite live up to the hype. Not only were the roughly 110 kids in attendance playing for local bragging rights, but the big prize is a spot in next weekend’s statewide event to be held here in Columbus. Although the format is still taking shape, we do know the top players from central Ohio will match up against the best talent from Cincinnati, Dayton, Toledo, Cleveland and Akron.

In terms of this weekend’s action,of course guys like Michigan-bound Trey Burke, Wisconsin commit Treavon Jackson and Ohio University verbal Stevie Taylor all handled their business; but guys like Westerville South’s Isiah Rogers, Bloom Carroll’s Steve Bridgeman and Freshmen Dymier Finch saw their stock rise. Watch out for Bloom-Carroll this coming high school season, as they are simply loaded with talent. I don’t think anybody made more of their shot on the big stage than Bloom Carroll’s Isacc McGlone. This kid knocked down shots the entire weekend; not just spot up shots, but shots off the bounce as well. Mansfield Senior’s Keon Johnson, a 5’6 freshman, had a big weekend as he relentlessly attacked the cup, and Gahanna Lincoln’s Aaron Jackson and Manuel Powell continue a solid fall campaign. Jackson made a case as the top sophomore at the event in this evaluator’s opinion. Pickerington Central’s Jea’Sean Tate was beasty around to rim, and Marion Franklin’s Marquise Lawrence has loads of potential. Below are my lists of the top players I saw this weekend in each of the two divisions. To see the pictures I took at the event, visit the Buckeye Prep Facebook Fan Page.

9th/10th Grade Division

Jaylen Benton-6’2 Soph Northland
John Drapper-5’10 Soph Eastmoor Academy
Dymier Finch-6’1 Fresh Walnut Ridge
Jack Gibbs-5’10 Soph Westerville North
Aaron Jackson-6’4 Soph Gahanna Lincoln
Keon Johnson-5’6 Soph Mansfield Senior
Marquise Lawrence-6’5 Soph Marion Franklin
Kevin Marsh-6’4 Soph Dublin Coffman
Isaac McGlone-6’1 Soph Bloom-Carroll
Manuel Powell -5’8 Fresh Gahanna Lincoln
Jae’Sean Tate-6’3 Fresh Pickerington Central
Ronnie Williams-6’2 Fresh Brookhaven

11/12th Grade Division

Nate Anderson-6’9 Sr Teays Valley
Nick Archer-6’7 Jr Olentangy Liberty
Dwayne Bazemore-6’9 Sr Walnut Ridge
Steve Bridgeman-6’5 Sr Bloom-Carroll
Trey Burke-6’2 Sr Northland
Grant Harris-6’1 Jr Harvest Prep
Treavon Jackson-6’3 Sr Westerville South
Clinton James-6’2 Sr DeSales
Tyler Kelly-6’2 Sr Pickerington North
Elijah Macon-6’7 Jr Marion Franklin
Zach Riddle-6’1 Sr Dublin Coffman
Jalen Robinson-6’8 Jr Northland
Isaiah Rogers-5’8 Jr Westerville South
Devin Scott-6’8 Jr Northland
Brian Sullivan-6’0 Sr Upper Arlington
Stevie Taylor-5’10 Sr Gahanna Lincoln

Other Players to Watch

Tony Anderson II-6’5 8th Afrocentric
Brandon Bapst-6’4 Soph Grove City
Rian Burrell 6’3 Sr Zanesville **
Mario Davis-5’10 Fresh Mansfield
Adam Hall-6’6 Sr Dublin Coffman
Kam Harris-5’11 Sr Westerville Central
William Hill-Jr.-5’8 Thomas Worthington
AJ Ireland-6'3 Jr Bloom-Caroll
Khlid King-6’1 Jr Brookhaven
Ke’Chain Lewis-6’4 Jr Northland
DeMarkio Lysh-5’10 Sr Westerville South
Adam McCall Jr. 5’10 Jr Harvest Prep
Chris Moxley-5’10 Fresh Bishop Hartley
Nicke Neale-6'4 Jr Dublin Jerome
DeVon Price-5'11 Sophmore Pickerton North
Jordan Potts-6'0 Jr Northland *
Kyle Schrimal-6’3 Sr Canal Winchester
Carter Smith-5'11 Jr Upper Arlington
Rico Spears-6’3 Sr Walnut Ridge *

*Played well but only played one day
 ** Injured late

Friday, October 22, 2010

All-Ohio Nike City Series Returns Bigger and Better

2009 Group Picture
For the second year, Jerry Watson’s City Series returns to central Ohio. The 2-day event kicks off this weekend, and unlike last year, the event has been expanded to include events and teams from Cincinnati, Dayton, Toledo, Akron and Cleveland. The central Ohio event tips off at Whitehall Yearling High School Saturday afternoon and will conclude with all-star games on Sunday. Although the first round of games don’t tip off until 5:00, players and coaches are asked to arrive at the facility at 2:45 (freshmen and sophomores) or 3:45 (juniors and seniors). The event will also feature a freshman and sophomore division and is expected to attract most of the top young talent in the area.

The 120 juniors and seniors slated for the event will be divided among 12 teams, and each team will play a total of four, 48 minute games (2 on Saturday and 2 on Sunday). At the conclusion of the event the top 40 players will be selected to participate in all-star games, and ultimately, the top 10 kids in each class will be selected to compete against all-star teams from other cities the following weekend. Some of the top players expected to participate in the central Ohio event include: Trey Burke, Stevie Taylor, Treavon Jackson, Brain Sullivan, Nate Anderson, Jaylen Ragland, Dwayne Baismore, Tyler Kelly, Nick Archer, Elijah Macon, Jalen Robinson, Devon Scott, Isiah Rogers, Malik London, Matt Rhodes, KeChaun Lewis, Adam Westbelt and Jordan Potts. Some of the top players from the other cities include: Travis Trice, Marcus Crider, Aaron Thomas, Jared Bryant, Deonte Hawkins, Jaaron Simmons, Marc Loving, Tyler Herron, Tony Farmer, Maurice Ofield, Demonte Flanningan, Mark Williams, Terry Moorer, Tysean Powell, Vinay Reddy, Charlie Byers, Dwayne Stanford, Delvin Williams, Adam Gigax, Macio Teague, Gene Primus, Josh Lemons, Orlando Barry, Jabril Coaston, Zack McCormick, Mark Minch, Dontonio Wingfield and Austin Grimes. If you have some time, you might want to stop by Whitehall Yearling HS the next couple of weekends if you want to see some of the top players in the Buckeye state.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Hidden Gems Showcase Report

Stevie Taylor-Showcase MVP
Long known as one of the best resources for local division II and III talent, Lucious Jones’ Hidden Gems basketball organization has a history of connecting local talent with small college programs. On Sunday, approximately 85 players spent the afternoon at New Covenant Church on the east side of Columbus, Ohio competing for scholarships in front of about 28 D-II and D-III college coaches. As is the case with all Hidden Gem events, there was ample talent on hand. Some of the colleges I saw in the gym included: Ohio Dominican University, Ashland, Norte Dame College, Wittenberg, Ohio Valley, and Capital University. As evidence of the value of this event, 7 players in attendance received D-II offers before they left the gym! Also in the house was Ty Kish, so expect a few hot mix tape videos in the next couple of days.

Making his comeback after 2 months of recovery from a stress fracture in his right fibula, Gahanna Lincoln’s Stevie Taylor (Video),  logged in an impressive performance on his way to MVP honors. It was hard to tell that Taylor had been on a basketball sabbatical, as his usual speed and quickness were on full display, as was his ability to separate from his defender, score the ball and find open teammates. Taylor,  an Ohio University commit, was not the only player to grab some attention, as Westerville Central’s Kam Harris was straight balling. Harris is a strong physical guard who uses his size and strength to bully his way to the cup. He is not just big, he has a nice looking shot and is very active both offensively and defensively. In addition to Taylor, Gahanna Lincoln had several other representatives putting in work including Trey Warr, who made a number of very athletic plays and put up big numbers throughout the day. Jamal Morris, a 6’2 WG, played on a loaded team but managed to standout, as he continued to shoot the ball very well. For their solid performance, both Warr and Morris picked up offers from D-II Ohio Valley, and Warr received an offer from Glenville State University. While we are still talking about Gahanna, freshman guard Manuel Powell continued his solid play, while handling his business against the older guys and building his case as one of the top freshmen in the city.

Although a majority of the players at the event hailed from central Ohio, Cincinnati Hughes’ Ryan Green had a big day, as did his teammate Elijah Walker. Green is athletic, has good size for a guard, has a very active motor and is a nice looking prospect. A few of the guards I thought played well included Walnut Ridge’s Isaiah Brooks, Pickerington North’s Tyler Kelly (received an offer from D-II Ohio Valley)and Westerville South’s DeMarkio Lyshe. Northland’s Devon Scott had a good day and his extra work in the weight room continues to pay dividends. Although he did not put up gaudy numbers, Scott’s defense around the basket made it awfully difficult for his opponents to score. What I like most about Scott is his willingness to stay in the paint where his talent is most obvious. In addition, when he played in the paint (on a rare occasion today), Northland’s Jalen Robinson did a few nice things and showed flashes of his potential.

I also liked Whetstone senior Cameron Vines and Canal Winchester’s Kyle Schriml. By most accounts, Schriml was a human highlight reel and was clearly the most explosive player in the gym. I know for a fact, the coaching staff at ODU would love to see Schriml in the black and gold. Keep an eye out for Gahanna’s Aaron Jackson who had a few highlights of his own, as did senior Steve Bridgeman. Both Trey Burke and Rico Spears arrived at the event late but were both still able to make a little noise. The official Hidden Gems All-Tournament Team included: Kam Harris, Tyler Kelly, DJ Lightfoot, DeMarkeo Lyshe, Jamel Morris, Jordan Potts, Manuel Powell, Devon Price, Jalen Robinson, Devin Scott, Marcquice Taylor and Stevie Taylor (MVP). Too see the pictures I took at the event visit the Buckeye Prep facebook Fan Page. Check out the event mix tape.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tyler Herron Shows Promise at Elite Camp

Before I finish up my coverage of the John Lucas Camp, I have to give one last shoutout to Tyler Herron, a 6'8 C from Cleveland, Ohio. Already possessing good size and a solid frame for a freshman, Herron has a chance to be the best long term prospect in the Buckeye State. Although he showed more promise than production last weekend, Herron's upside is unmistakable. Once he adds some strength, refines his collection of post moves and develops more of a mean streak, the sky is the limit. Look for Herron to make an impact this high school season.

Kale Abrahamson Shines in Lousiville

I'm not sure if anybody else was paying attention, but Kale Abrahamson, a 6'7 Junior from West Des Moines (Valley HS) IA, was quite impressive in Louisville. Although he did not shock you with above the rim type explosiveness, the kid put up big numbers the entire weekend. With that said, he may not not look like it but Abrahamson is deceptively athletic. Although I tried to dismiss his play as isolated success; every time I looked over he simply kept scoring the ball and making big time defensive plays. Abrhamson is skilled, has a high basketball IQ and he really understands the game. Keep an eye on this kid, he has high major written all over him!

Brain Bridgewater Dominates at Lucas Camp

Although I did not see him play on day 2 of the John Lucas Midwest Invitational Camp, Brian Bridgewater's stellar play on Saturday was, in this evaluator's opinion, enough to establish him as the top player at the event. Bridgewater, a 6'5 sophomore from Baton Rouge, (Episcopal HS) LA, was simply dominate on both ends of the floor the entire day. Not only did he consistently score around the basket with rim rattling dunks and a soft touch, Bridgewater tried to block everything he could get his hands. More often than not, he got his hands on some shots. Bridgewater has a big frame, is strong and is surprisingly quick and agile for his size. Although he is a bit undersized for his position, Bridgewater gets in done and could have a very bright future at the next level. I also have to show some more love to Cimmeon Bowers, a 6'7 sophomore from Milwaukee (Nicolet HS), WI. As he did when I saw him at Spiece Fieldhouse this summer (he was playing up against All-Ohio Red), he was virtually unstoppable. Super aggressive and strong is how I would describe Bowers, and he can really get you buckets when he gets on a role.

Monday, October 4, 2010

John Lucas Midwest Inivtational Camp-Day Two

Marcus Paige
As was the case on day one, the final day of the John Lucas Midwest Invitational Camp was brimming over with young talent, competitive play and juice match ups. On Sunday, in addition to some additional station work, there were 3 more sessions of games. Below is a list of players who caught our eyes on day two. Also, see the pictures of the top guys by visiting the Buckeye Prep Facebook Fan Page. Also, click on the highlighted link to watch the Ty Kish mix tape.

Standout Performers:

Marcus Paige-6'0 PG (WI) (2012)
Kale Abrahamson-6'6 WF IA (2012)
Austin Colbert-6'9 PF NJ (2013)
Cimeon Bowers-6'7 PF WI (2012)
Mike Gesell-6'1 PG NE (2012)
Malik Newman-6'3 WG MS (2015)
Duane Wilson-6'2 WG WI (2013)
Justice Winslow-6'4 WF TX (2014)
Jalen Lindsey-6'6 WF TN (2014)
Jabari Parker-6'7 PF IL (2013)
Zach Peters-6'9 PF TX (2012)
James Blackmon-6'2 PG IN (2014)
Shai-Shai Matthews-5'10 PG VA (2013)
Justin Jenifer-5'6 PG MD (2015)
Amos "AJ" Harris 5'9 PG OH (2015)
Isaiah Austin-7'1 C TX (2012)
Zavier Turner-5'9 PG IN (2013)
Aquille Carr-5'6 PG MD (2013)
Justin Coleman-5'10 PG AL (2014)
Christian Cunningham 5'10 PG KY (2014)
Bryson Scott-6'2 PG IN (2013)

Other Players to Watch:
Cedric Barefield-5'10 PG CA (2015)
Johnnie Vassar-6'0 WG IL (2014)
Trey Guidry-6'5 WF TX (2012)
Jarvis Calhoun-6'0 WG AL (2014)
Trevon Bluiett-6'5 PF IN (2014)
Arroyo Edwards-6'4 WF WI (2012)
Alex Foster-6'7 PF IL (2015)
Isaiah Jones 5'8 PG OH (2015)
Tyler Herron-6'7 C OH (2014)

AJ Harris Shines at Lucas Camp

Of the roughly 10 Ohio players who attended the John Lucas Midwest Invitational Camp in Louisville, Kentucky over the weekend, no one performed better that Dayton's Amos "AJ" Harris, a 5'9 8th grader. Teamed up with Baltimore's Justin Jenifer, the backcourt duo represented a powerful one-two punch. Harris handles the ball well, has good speed and quickness, can catch and shoot, as well as shoot off the bounce. In addition, Harris has a nice looking pull-up jumper as his money shot. My first look at Harris was at last year's Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase where he logged in an impressive performance on his way to Top 10 honors. His game has continued to develop as evidenced by his standout performance in Louisville. It's safe to say, Harris is one of the top 8th graders in the state. Harris was not the only Buckeye putting in work, Isiah Jones (2015), a 5'8 point guard from Cincinnati, also had some highlights, as did Stedman Lowry (2013), a 6'3 WG from Cincinnati and Tyler Herron (2014), a 6'8 C from Cleveland. Other attendees included Nate Fowler, Dylan Lowry, Joey DeNardo, Craig Randell, Ryan Gabbard, and Brian Parker. With the abundance of talent in this state, hopefully next year Ohio can send more representatives to this outstanding event.

Justin Jenifer-The Real Deal

All to often we hear about the next great phenom who is destine for the pros, while simply biding his time in high school and a single season of college hoops. We also view home videos shot and edited by hopeful parents designed to show proof of their child's unlimited potential. Up until this past Sunday and my visit to the John Lucas Midwest Invitational Camp in Louisville, Kentucky, I suspected that the hype surrounding Justin Jenifer, a 5'6 8th grader from Baltimore, Maryland was just that, hype. Oh yea, I saw the 2006 Washington Post video clip of this reported phenom, and yes I was impressed with his early skill level and dedication to his craft, but not until I saw him play this weekend was I convinced of his talent. Trust me on this one, this kid can ball. Blessed with a superior skill package, great instincts for the game, and a healthy dose of competitiveness, Jenifer made a big statement in the Bluegrass State on Sunday. When he is not scoring the ball (he is very good at that), his vision and creativity are on full display as he finds open teammates for easy buckets. His advanced handle and collection of dribble moves allow him to routinely beat his man off the dribble on his way to the cup. Not only is his offensive game tight, his defense is solid as well. Hopefully this young man can keep his head on straight and continue to develop his game, because if he can, the kid has a bright future! Click on the link to check out Ty Kish's highlight video.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

John Lucas Midwest Inivtational Camp-Day One

Although he and his organization are based out of Houston, Texas, John Lucas brought his basketball Resources machine to the Midwest and showed that his brand of tough nosed instruction and "keeping real" evaluations have national appeal. The John Lucas' Midwest Invitational Camp attracted 130 elite players from over 25 states and Canada to the state of the art Hoops facility located in suburban Louisville, Kentucky. Not only is there a great deal of talent participating in this 2-day camp, there are good number of national scouts and VIPs here to evaluate the players. Here watching the the campers are Hoop Scoop's Clark Francis, Scout's Evan Daniels, ESPN's Reggie Rankin, Slam Magazine's Rodger Bohn, Nike's Vince Baldwin and Ron Brisco, City League Hoop's Ty Kish,'s John Cookman and a couple of local television stations and newspaper outlets. In terms of the format, the camp tipped of with opening comments for John Lucas himself, following by an informative talk from ESPN's Len Elmore. After 3 good hours of skill and drills station work, the first round of games began in the late afternoon, as each of the 12 teams played two games. The 10 Ohio kids attending the event included Tyler Herron, Isiah Jones, Dylan and Steadman Lowrey, Amos "AJ" Harris, Joey DeNardo, Brain Parker, Nate Fowler, Ryan Gabbard and Craig Randall. Some of the day one standouts are listed below. To see the pictures I took on day one of the event, visit the Buckeye Prep Facebook Fan Page.
Day One Standouts:
Brian Bridgewater-6'7 PF LA (2013)
Cimeon Bower-6'7 PF WI (2012)
Austin Colbert 6'9 PF NJ (2013)
Jabari Parker-6'7 PF IL (2013)
Je'lon Hornbeak-6'4 WG TX (2012)
Shai-Shai Matthews-5'7 PG NY (2015)
Jaylen Reid-6'7 WF NC (2013)
Kale Abrahamson-6'7 WF IA (2012)
Isaiah Austin-7'1 C (TX) (2012)
Dylan Jones-6'7 WF (TX) (2013)
Jaylen Reid-6'7 WF (SC) (2013)
Duane Wilson-6'6 PG (WI) (2013)
Aquille Carr-5-6 PG (MD) (2013)
Chandler White-6'2 PG (IN) (2015)
Alex Foster-6'7 WF (IL) (2013)
Stedman Lowrey-6'3 WG (OH) (2013)
Will Ferguson-6'1 PG (VA) (2013)
Daelyn Franklin-5'8 PG (KY) (2015)
Brenton Scott-6'1 PG (IN) (2013)
Bryson Scott-6'2 PG (IN) (2013)