Monday, September 12, 2011

Dayton Area Middle Schoolers Shine at Open Gym

Joey Williams-6'2 8th Grader
Earlier in the week I posted a story about the middle school open gym at Brunner Catholic School in Dayton.  On Saturday morning I took a quick trip over to Dayton to check out some of the city’s top 7th and 8th graders. Although only about 18 kids showed up, and a few of the kids I wanted to see were playing football, I was pleasantly surprised to find so much young talent in the gym.

Aside from Rodrick Caldwell, who did not arrive until much later, I was most impressed with Joey Williams, a 6’2 combo guard from Valerie MS in Dayton. Williams has participated in prior Buckeye Prep Elite Showcases, but he never really landed on my radar.  If not for the fact that stopped playing the post and assumed the role as the lead guard on Saturday, Williams' considerable skill with the rock may have again gone unnoticed.  Unlike so many young players with early size, Williams has not been regulated to the post, but has obviously receieved perimeter work. Already 6’2 with athleticism, length and ball skills, Williams has upside potential written all over him.  Williams really excelled at getting to the rack and finishing, and his defense was the best I saw all morning. I plan to keep an eye on this kid, he could be a good one.

Andre Hawes-5'7 8th grader

Andre Hawes Jr., a 5’7 combo from Wantz MS in Miamisburg caught my eye as well.  Hawes is a crafty little guard with a tight handle, good vision and a nice shot.  I also really liked his aggressiveness and confidence. I was also really impressed with Joey Keeble, a 6’10 swing man from Horance Mann MS in Dayton.  He is still very slender, but he handles the ball well, attacks the cup on a regular basis and is not afraid to play defense. I think Keeble will be a nice prospect going forward.  According to Tony Boddie Sr., who trains Keeble, "His offense has really picked up over the last year."

Joey Keeble-5'10 8th Grader

I can’t forget Yerusalem Hill Jr., a 6’1 combo forward from West Carrollton MS in Dayton.  Hill has really good length for his age and is blessed with loads of athleticism. What impressed me the most was his vision and willingness to pass the rock. Stiver's Noah Howell, one of the few 9th graders in the gym, did some really nice things on Saturday as well. This pass-first floor general did a good job of running his team, and he showed he could work off screens and knock down jumpers off the bounce.

Roderick Caldwell-5'7 8th Grader

Although he arrived later in the session, and I only saw him play 2 games, Rodrick Caldwell was hands down the most talented kid in the gym.  Despite coming in late, right from the start of his first game, he came out passing the ball to teammates, a sign of his confidence and having nothing to prove.  Caldwell has been featured on this site many times and his advance game, basketball IQ and substantial package of skills have been well documented here.

Tony Boddie-7th Grade Guard

Last but not least; there were only a few 7th graders at the open gym, and Tony Boddie Jr, stoodout the most. Right now, the best part of Boddie’s game is his ability to knock down shots from both the mid-range and behind the arc.  If his handle catches up with his shot, Boddie has a chance to be really good. 

Yerusalem Hill-6'1 8th Grader

Thanks to Tony Boddie Sr. for the invitation; I really enjoyed my trip to the Gem City. Also, if I’m not mistaken, each of the players spotlighted above will be attending my September 25th elite showcase, so I will get a chance to see how they perform against other top players from around the region! To see the pictures I took at the event, visit the Buckeye Prep Facebook Fan Page.


  1. All of these Dayton ballers are the truth, all of them have a great work ethic, and are all great students in the classroom also, there are a few that where not at this open gym, but they have been recognized before in buckeye prep!!!! What also makes all of these kids beyond the rest of the talent in america, is that all of these young men have awesome parents, I speak for Yerusalem Hill Jr's dad, Andre Hawes Jr's dad, Darious Dunson's dad, also Brock Brown Jr's father also!!!

  2. have u updated the top 150 eighth graders yet Mr. Taylor. because if u havent already i recommend austin dulaney should be in there. he can handle the rock, passes are unbeliveable, he can shoot and has great hustle and defense. he just needs to work on the right hand but he can still drive with the right. comment back as soon as u get this. thank u