|Jack Gibbs-Sr. Westerville North|
On Saturday I spent the day at Whitehall HS in Columbus checking out the action at the 3rd Annual All-Ohio Nike City Series. As expected, most of central Ohio’s top players were in the gym. In fact, 120 players and 12 teams of 9-12 graders participated in the 2-day event. At the conclusion of this weekend’s tournament, 10-player all-star teams will be selected in each grade of 4 grade divisions to participate in the statewide competition scheduled for next weekend. All-star teams from Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Akron, Dayton and Toledo will compete with each other for not only community pride, but some serious bragging rights. Undoubtedly, everybody recalls that Columbus swept all four divisions at last year’s event, and I’m sure the other communities are determined not to let that happen again.
|Devin Scott-Sr Northland|
Although I have broken down my top 20 players on day one of the event in the attachment below, there are a few kids I want to mention here, as they had outstanding performances on day one. Westerville North’s Jack Gibbs had another monster day and continues to solidify his case as the top guard in central Ohio regardless of class. As he does every time he steps on the floor, Gibbs dominates in just about every facet of the game (i.e., scoring, rebounding and defending). Northland’s Devon Scott was an absolute monster in game one of the day. Scott tried to dunk everything in sight, and was successful more times than not. Not only did he score often in the post, his defense was relentless. Again, he tried to block everything in sight and he was successful more times than not.
|Jalon Scott-Sr. Dayton Committ|
Dayton commit Jalon Robinson had some bright spots of his own. I’m always impressed with Robinson’s footwork, but his mid range jumper appears to be improving. Robinson is an elite motor away from doing some big things. Also, I have to think college coaches are eyeing Walnut Ridge’s Malik Dime. The bouncy 6’9 center’s game is continuing to improve. He was very active around the cup on Saturday and is finishing at a high rate. I also have to mention Alasane Kah, a 6’8 senior from Walnut Ridge, as he logged in a solid performance as well. Hats off to coach Bates, as his front court has to be one of the best in central Ohio! There were several very good guards putting in work, including: St. Joe's Committ Kyle Molock, Westerville South’s Isiah Rogers, Mansfield South’s Keon Johnson, Brookhaven’s Randal Clarkson, Eastmoor’s John Draper, Gahanna’s Aaron Jackson and Manny Powell and Canal Winchester’s Shemar Waugh.
|Jae'son Tate-Soph Pickerington Central|
One of the most dominating performances I saw all day was logged in by Pickerington Central’s Jae’son Tate. The 6’4 sophomore is a stat sheet stuffer, as he does it all, from scoring, to rebounding, running the offense and locking up guys on defense. Tate is an explosive athlete who is always on attack mode. Another sophomore who really had a great day was little Rod "RJ" Mims, a 5’6 PG who displayed outstanding floor generalship. Every time I looked over Mims was making the right play; rather it was a creative pass or knocking down an open jumper. Mims made great decisions all day and did what you want a PG to do, he created shots for others, scored when open, and he ran his team.
|Rod "RJ" Mims-Sophomore Whitehall|
I also like Dymiere Finch, a 6’2 guard from Walnut Ridge. Finch already has good size for his position, he possess a solid handle and enough dribble moves to keep his defender guessing. Look for Finch to be one of central Ohio’s elite guards going forward. Also, keep an eye out for Eric James, a 6’3 sophomore from Westerville Central. Although I had not seen James before Saturday, I liked what I saw. Possessing good size and athleticism, James did a great job of finishing near the rim, and even stepping out and draining the trey. From what I saw on Saturday, this kid has serious upside potential. Northland has another talented young guy on the way in Jaylen Tucker. The 6’5 wing demonstrated the ability to score in bunches, as he had a 20+ point performance in a game I watched.
|Eric James-6'3 Sophomore Westerville Central|
In any event there are always players who, though don’t necessarily have break out performances, do just enough to grab some attention while displaying enough talent to suggest they have upside potential. Some of these players included: Ronnie Williams (Brookhaven), Nate Jamison (Northland), Kalid King (Brookhaven), Seth Anderson (Teays Valley), Seth Fuller (8th grader), Tony Anderson (Marion Franklin), Michael Simon (Hilliard ), Seth McCoy (Canal Winchester), Jon Elmore (South Charleston, WVa), John Bradley Saxton (Grove City). I can't wait for next weekend, and the battle of the cities event that pits the top kids in each of the larger metropolitan cities against each other. If it comes close to matching the action last year we are all in for a treat!
Top 20 Standouts
Top 20 Standouts