|Jalen Robinson, Jordan Potts & Devon Scott|
Billed as the 6th Annual Making the Right Call Boys Basketball Scrimmage, the one day event was held at the USA Sports Academy in Columbus, featured 18 teams from central, northern and southern Ohio, and afforded the teams in attendance the opportunity for some great pre-season work. Each team played anywhere from 4 to 9 abbreviated games consisting of 12-minute halves with a running clock. The following teams participated in the event: Thurgood Marshall, Westerville Central, Northland, Columbus Africentric, Eastmoor, Groveport, Bishop Hartley, Toledo Central Catholic, Toledo Rogers, Gahanna, Walnut Ridge, Columbus East, Trotwood Madison, Dayton Meadowdale, Dublin Scioto, Chillicothe, Indian Lake, New Albany and Pickerington Central.
Although I was there for only a short period of time, one thing I noticed was the fact the Northland is good. I know that comes as no surprise to anybody who even remotely follows high school basketball in this state, but seeing the size in the front court and the quality of their guard play just makes me wonder who can beat these guys. Boasting 3 division one players in Jordan Potts (UNC Greensboro), Jalen Robinson (Dayton) and Devon Scott (Dayton), the Vikings are the class of the state in Division I. If that wasn’t enough, Northland brings in first year head coach in Sean Taylor, formally from Columbus Eastmoor Academy, who always seemed to have done more with less. That will no longer be a problem for Taylor, who has always been considered one of the better coaches in central Ohio, as he now has his hands on the wheel of a high octane machine. Look for the Northland program to make big strides this year, and to reach new heights as a program under Taylor's leadership.
|Grant Harris, Isaiah Brooks, Adam McCall & Dymeier Finch|
I was also really impressed with Columbus Walnut Ridge. Although the Scotts possess good front line size with Malik Dime & Alasane Kah, the pressure their guards bring could be the key to their success, and is going to cause a lot of problems for central Ohio teams. With Grant Harris, Adam McCall, Dymiere Finch and Isaiah Brooks, Walnut Ridge has a lot of depth in the backcourt, and Coach Jason Bates has the flexibility to call in reinforcements to keep up the constant pressure. Throw in 6’3 Roy Alexander on the wing and it is easy to see why Ridge has a chance at a deep run in March.
I saw some good things with Thurgood Marshall. The small but scrappy bunch did better than anybody on Saturday at standing up to the neighborhood (Northland). 6’3 Joe Thomasson is the engine on that team and will be counted on to generate the bulk of Marshall’s offense.
Although Coach Sean Taylor left for richer soil at Northland, the cupboard is far from empty at Eastmoor Academy. Eastmoor has solid guard play with John Draper and Doug Richey, and is blessed with a lot of young talent in Xavier-Holston Sims, Elijah Barbour and Jalon Lewis. With experience, Eastmoor should remain relevant for the next couple of years.
I watched Gahanna play a few games and it was evident that they lack size in the post. In addition, with several new faces in the starting lineup, solid guard play will be important for the Golden Lions if they plan to contend for a league title this season. Junior Aaron Jackson’s play and leadership should dictate the level of success Coach Tony Stiab and his team achieves this season. There was a lot of good basketball on Saturday and I'm already hyped for the season to tip off.