Saturday, April 30, 2011

Tough Start for Ohio Teams in Opening Session

Saturday morning at the Nike EYBL in Dallas was unkind to both Ohio-based teams, as both All-Ohio Red and the King James Shooting Stars went down in defeat in the opening session.  For King James, the morning session ended much like Friday’s contest, as King James fell to 1-6 over all with an 80-65 loss to Memphis YOMCA last night.  Today, the Shooting Stars were bested by Howard Pulley 87-65. Sheldon Jeter, a 6’6 PF from Beaver Falls, PA was the leading scorer for King James with 12 points, followed by Kevin Clark (10), Devon Carter (8) Pharah Brown (7), Antonio Hearn (7) and Lorenzo Cugini (7). I had a chance to talk with a couple of people who follow King James, and the general consciences is  that the problem is the overall talent level on the team.  Although the kids play hard, the talent in the EYBL is simply superior to the Akron-based team's.

Sheldon Jeter
In their opening game on Saturday, All-Ohio Red matched up with the top team in the nation, Boston’s BABC. Red got on the board first with a Kenny Kaminski 3-ball, but BABC answered right back with a trey of their own.  By halftime, All-Ohio was down only 9 points despite being off their game.  BABC came out of the half on fire and quickly ran the lead to about 15, before Red cut the lead to 11 points.  From there, BABC started delivering body blows, both literally and figuratively (the game got a little chippy), and Red could not respond.  About midway through the second half, it was clear that Red did not have their best stuff, as the BABC kids played with more bounce, and pulled away to claim a lopsided 78-50 victory. 

For All-Ohio, no one really played a good game.  It was also clear that BABC employed an effective 2-2-1 full court press in order to slow down the All-Ohio guards and prevent penetration. Elijah Macon led All-Ohio with 12 points, followed by Teddy Rozier (11), Teddy Hawkins (10), Leroy Alexander (4) and Jordan Potts (2). Although he as not the leading scorer (6 points), that honor goes to Jake Laman, a 6'8 WF from Wrentham, MA. who dropped a game-high 20 points, Nerlens Noel (6'9 C) may have been the best looking prospect on the floor.  Noel is long, active and bouncy, and he does a great job of finishing around the bucket. The second leading scorer for BABC was Rene Castor (6'2 WG) who finished with 18 points.

 Nerlens Noel
All-Ohio will look to get back on track tonight at 6:30 when they face a 0-6 Charlotte Royals.  In this writer's opinion, for All-Ohio to reach their full potential, the post play must become more consistent and the guards must do a better job of finding them when they do get open.  From what I can see, Red's post players spend too much time away from the bucket, resulting in poor rebounding and limted interior scoring.  King James will look for a reversal of fortunes as they take on a tough Indiana Spiece.  Check out the pictures I took at the Buckeye Prep Facebook Fan Page.  Also, follow the game-to-game updates on out twitter account at Buckeye Prep

All-Ohio Red Opens Strong at EYBL

Session number two of the Nike EYBL kicked off on Friday night at the beautiful Fieldhouse USA facility located in suburban Dallas, Tx. The only Ohio-based teams in the league are All-Ohio Red and the King James Shooting Stars. Unlike in most of their games, All-Ohio Red actually got off to fast start in their opening game against Florida’s Each 1 Teach 1.  Medina’s Kenny Kaminski got the party started early with back-to-back treys and eight halftime points.  Not only did Red score the ball well in the opening period, solid defense led to few scoring opportunities for Each 1 Teach 1, and at one point in the first half, Red was up over 20 points.

However, after couple of forced shots, disinterested defense, and a newly energized opponent, Each 1 Teach 1 would come storming all the way back and eventually take a 4 point lead early in the second period. All-Ohio would finally turn the tide late in the second and retake the lead.  He did not score in the first half, but Marion Franklin’s Elijah Macon got busy in the second and scored all of his 10 points down the stretch. Also, Myles Hamilton started getting to the rack, Red’s defense stiffened, and All-Ohio would hold on to win 72-67 and run their league record to 5-1, which puts them in a 3 way tie in pool play.  Kaminski led All-Ohio in scoring with 16 points, followed by Myles Hamilton (11), Elijah Macon (10), Jalen Robinson (10), Terry Rozier (9), Leroy Alexander (8), Teddy Hawkins (5) and Jordan Potts (3).
Kenny Kaminski-Player of the Game
It should be noted that All-Ohio Red was without the services of Jake Kretzer, who is out with an ankle injury he sustained last week at the King James Classic, and Geovonie McKnight, who left the team last week over playing time concerns. McKnight is rumored to be running with All-Ohio Purple. Next up for All-Ohio Red is BABC, the number 1 ranked team in the country in the morning, and the Charlotte Royals in the evening session.

Despite my efforts to watch King James, I did not get a chance to see them play, and at this point, I don’t know the result of their game. Also, Northland’s Devon Scott is running with The Family out of Michigan this weekend, and although The Family got the 81-60 win over Seattle Rotary last night, Scott was held scoreless.  To see the day one pictures, visit the Buckeye Prep Facebook Fan Page.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

All-Star Saturday Recap

For the 13th consecutive year, Richard Crockett’s All-Star Saturday event was a great success. Despite less than ideal weather predictions all week long, by the time the first Easter egg or piece of candy was found, the sun had burst through the clouds to make the day perfect. In addition to the Easter egg hunt, All-star Saturday is about featuring the best basketball players in the area, through a series of exhibitions games in four divisions. This year posed a problem because the event fell on the same weekend as the King James Shooting Star Classic, reducing the number and quality of the pool of players appropriate for this event. However, with a lot of hard work all of the rosters were filled, and a standing room only crowd was treated to some great basketball. A slam dunk contest was held during the half time of the high school game and several players vied for the title. Although he was not the most explosive guy in the contest, Northland's Trey Burke finished more of his dunks and took home the title. Check out the video of the final round. Also, to see see some of the pictures I took at the event, visit the Buckeye Prep Facebook Fan Page. Below are the rosters, scoring and results of the four exhibition games.

High School Results

East: Trey Burke-MVP (21); Stevie Taylor (13); Rico Spears (10); Quenton Harris (10), LeQuan Williams (10); Trey Warr (8); Jeremy McCoy (4); Wesley Russell (4) DeMarkio Lyshe (2); and Brandon Smith (2).

West: Nate Spears (22); Percy Dean (17); Alex Harris (12); Jakyl Cornley (11); Jamel Morris (9); Lavante Justice (5); DJ Lightfoot (3); Isiah Osborne (2) Charles Edgerton (10) and Ben Jones (0).

East won 55-54

Middle School Results

East: Shad Kiable-MVP (13); Rian Anderson (8); Lorenze Hayes (7); Jelani Rogers (8); Will Maynus (3), Houston Smith (4); Bezan Wright (4); Tristian Tillman (0) and Dawson Tillman (0).

West: Carmel Thomas (16); Jordan Kinchen (8), Matt Moyer (7); CJ Saunders (7); Dantez Walton (4); Trey Charles-Martin (4); Brandon Burks (0) and Austin Dulaney (0).

West won 49-39

9-11th Grade Results

West: Tyion Palmore-MVP (23); David Miller (10); Sean Tyson Jr. (8); Rico Robinson (3); Daniel Bangura (2); Percy King (1); Dae’von Britford (0); David Brown (0); Madison Greeve (0).

East: BJ Battle (11); Jajen Spencer (10); Naiquan Gallaway (9); I’Tika Wynn (4); Tre’ Baumgardner (2); Justin Henley (0); Ryan Greggs (0); Chris Champion (0) and Tre Parks (0).

West won 31-17  

6-8th Grade Results

West: Melquan Scott-MVP (11); Elijah Hariston (9); Alex Parez (4); Montell Edwards (4); Jordan Henley (2); Alex Vanhorssen (1) and Trey Raynor (0).

East: Fred Wilkes (7); Kelan Caine (4); Calen Champions (3); Devon White (2); Sean Jones (0); Deshine Garrett (0); Grant Burkholder (0); Mehki Jarrett (0) and Dominic Taylor (0).


Trey Burke

Shad Kiable

Tyion Palmore

Melquan Scott

Ohio Teams Take King James

This past weekend a couple of Ohio teams ran the gauntlet that is the King James Shooting Stars Classic to win the U-17 and U-16 championships. Both All-Ohio Red and Ohio Varsity went undefeated over the weekend to bring championships back to central Ohio.

Late Saturday night, All-Ohio defeated the New York Gauchos for the second time this spring (66-53) to punch their ticket to the final 4. The difference in the game was the outstanding guard play of Terry Rozier and Myles Hamilton, both of whom dropped team-highs of 17 points. In addition to Rozier and Hamilton, Leroy Alexander had a solid game with 10 points, followed by Elijah Macon who added 7. Melvin Johnson led the Gauchos with a game-high 21 points, followed by Asadou Sidibe’s 10 points. It should be noted that the Gauchos were without one of their top players in Deshann Suber, who had sustained an injury the previous game. On championship Sunday, All-Ohio easily defeated in-state rival King James Shooting Stars (72-56) to advance to the championship game.

In the final game, and for the second straight weekend, All-Ohio Red faced off against DC Assault. Last week at the Pittsburg Jam Fest All-Ohio defeated Assault in the elite eight, and on Sunday Red got a second win (66-74) to claim the U-17 championship. Scoring for Red was as follows: Terry Rozier (15); Jordan Potts (12); Leroy Alexander (11); Kenny Kaminski (9); Myles Hamilton (6); Elijah Macon (5) and Jalon Robinson (4).

I have to give some props to the Ohio Hoopsters, who, despite stubbing their toe in pool play, ran through the U-17 Bronze bracket to claim the title.

Despite only playing with 7 players, Randy Clarkson’s Ohio Varsity squad made an improbable run to the tournament championship. Powered by the outstanding play of Jack Gibbs and Randall Clarkson  Jr., Ohio Varsity defeated OBC in the elite eight, and then got by a solid Atlanta Knicks team to advance to the final game. In the championship game, Ohio Varsity went on to claim victory over Martin’s Wolverines.

In the 9th grade division, All-Red beat OBC in the semi-finals, but could not get it done in the championship game, as they lost to Expression Elite. In the 7th grade division, the Cincinnati Lakers continued their championship level play, as they defeated cross-town rivals Elite Cavilers 59-43 in the final four, followed by a 34-50 domination over the Georgia Stars Black to take the title. To see the full tournament results click on the tournament link.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Pittsburgh Jam Fest-Day 3 Report

Although, to best to my knowledge, no Ohio-based teams won championships at the Pittsburgh Jam Fest this weekend, several teams made a little noise with deep runs in the tournament. All-Ohio Red U-17s stated Sunday with a big match up against a very talented DC Assault Gold squad. Assault has good size, athleticism and nice guard play. As they did the entire weekend, Red got off to a slow start and DC Assault exploited it by taking an early double digit lead. When the reserves were inserted into the game for All-Ohio the defensive intensity increased and All-Ohio fought back and eventually took the lead by midway through the second half. In addition to a stiffening defense, Northland’s Jordan Potts was the catalyst for the comeback, as he pushed the ball and attacked the rim in transition. Despite the start, Red got the 66-61 win. Michigan State-bound Kenny Kaminski had a breakout game and finished with a game-high 16 points, followed by Marion Franklin’s Elijah Macon who added 13 points, Jordan Potts who contributed 12 points, and Terry Rozier who finished with 9.

Game two found All-Ohio Red in a semi-final contest with North Carolina’s Team Loaded. Another sluggish start, combined with missed chippies and free throws, landed All-Ohio Red in the hole. Once again, the second unit stepped up to help erase an early deficit. Despite having to play from behind for most of the game, Red fought back to take a small lead late in the second period. When Northland’s Jalen Robinson began exerting control in the post, and Terry Rozier committed to getting to the cup, the game changed. Only problem, All-Ohio could not effectively guard North Carolina State commit Tyler Lewis (26 points) or his back court teammate, Andrew White (21 points), both of who lived in the paint and either scored or dished for easy buckets. It wasn’t just the guards; Frank Mason hit Red for 10 points as well. All-Ohio had a chance to tie the game with 6 seconds and the ball, but a Jalen Robinson trey missed the mark. Although they would later loose in the championship game to Team Takeover, Team Loaded went on to defeat All-Ohio Red 66-62. The leading scorers for All-Ohio were Robinson (16), Elijah Macon (video) (14), Myles Hamilton (9) and Terry Rozier (video) (7).

OBC’s 17’s made a big run this past weekend that did not end until the championship game of the silver division. OBC was tripped up by a hot SYF Players team out of Indiana by 20 points. 6’11 Mitch McGary (video) dominated the action and finished with over 20 points. Isiah Rogers and Evan Payne both finished with about 10-12 points. In the semi-final, OBC needed a tip in by Evan Payne with time running out to get by the West Virginia Wildcats. In that game, OBC was lead in scoring by Desmond Ridenour (17) and Isiah Rogers (16). In quarter-final action, OBC defeated the Franklin All-Stars by double digits on the strength of Desmond Ridenour’s 30 point explosion. OBC had to overcome a 10 point defect in the first half. A late arriving Isiah Rogers hit 6 straight points to spark the run. Next up for OBC is a showdown with All-Ohio Red on Friday night at the King James tournament. This game will feature 6 of Ohio top point guards

Isiah Briscoe 8th Grade

I was able to catch some of the action between the U-15 King of the Courts and the NJ. Playaz. The Playaz got the 67-53 win to advance to the championship game. Evan Bailey scored a team-high 16 points followed by T. Junior with 13 and C. Davis with 9 points. King of the Courts were 3-0 at the point, with a 20 point victory over Grassroots Canada and a 2-point win over All-Ohio red in the first 2 rounds of bracket play.

In the U-14 division, All-Ohio Red faced off against the NJ Playaz in the final 4. When I left at half time, the Playaz were up 41-26. Keep an eye out for New Jersey’s Isiah Briscoe, a super smooth combo guard with good size and athleticism. Briscoe plays with a lot of poise and skill, and he handles the rock well for his size. I really like the New Jersey kids and I look for them to be a force in the future if they stay together and continue to develop. Hilliard’s Michael Simon was putting in work in the paint. He consistently worked hard to post up and get the ball, and he finished at a high rate. Lamonte Stone looked good running the point for All-Ohio, and it is already clear he is one of the top PGs in the class. Although he is a bit undersized, he is crafty, scrappy, and has a solid handle. Ohio High School Hoops post-event report. Check out Ty Kish's video of 2 of the top 8th graders in the country ballin at the Pitt Jam Fest. Second video.

All-Star Saturday Classic Set for This Weekend in Columbus

This Saturday from 11:00am to 4:00pm, Richard Crockett and Capital Transportation will be hosting their annual All-Star Saturday All-Star Basketball Classic at the Bruce Howard Recreation Center located at 2505 North Cassidy Ave, Columbus, Ohio. Buckeye Prep is co-sponsoring the event and is responsible for filling the middle and high school rosters. If you have never experienced this event you are really missing something special. Each player will received a very nice participation trophy and a game jersey at no cost. DJ City from Power 107 will be in the house spinning tunes, and free food will be offered all day at no cost. This is a charity event, not a money maker and a way for us to give back to the community.

This year, because of the conflict with Easter and the King James tournament in Akron, we are forced to be more aggressive in filling the rosters for this event. If you are a 7th, 8th 9th or 10th grader who has participated in Buckeye Prep events in the past and/or you play AAU level basketball and are interested in playing in this event, email Rob Taylor at ASAP! You do not have to be from Columbus to participate in this event. This is a fun day of basketball that you do not want to miss!! For more information visit the All-Star Saturday website. Pictures from last year's event.

2010 Middle School West Squad

2010 High School East Squad

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Pittsburgh Jam Fest-Day Two

Day two of the Pittsburgh Jam Fest proved to be very competitive, and several of Ohio’s top programs enjoyed some success.  All-Ohio Red’s U-17 squad finished 3-0 for the day and 4-0 for the tournament.  Red started the day with a convincing 87-32 win over the Northeast Sting in pool play.  Elijah Macon led Red in scoring with 14 points, followed by Kenny Kaminski (13) and Terry Rozier (9). In the first round of bracket play, Red matched up with talented Virginia Fusion Gold and went on the break open a close game to get the 78-58 victory. Jake Kretzer found his stroke and finished with a game-high 18 points, followed by Geovonni McKnight (15) and Terry Rozier (11).

The second round of bracket play featured a showdown between All-Ohio Red and All-Ohio Purple. Although Red was the favorite going in, Orlando Berry’s squad has won multiple championships and they know how to win.  Purple jumped to an early lead and maintained the advantage into the second half.  Big Adolphus Washington got busy in the post, while Willie Moore was getting it done on the perimeter. However, at the end of the day, the depth and talent of Red was simply too much, and both Washington and Moore were both saddled with foul trouble down the stretch. All-Ohio Red enjoyed balanced scoring, with Terry Rozier  and Elijah Macon leading the way with 11 points each, followed by Jalen Robinson  and Deontae Hawkins (8) and Kenny Kaminski (6).  Next up for Red is a match up with DC Assault.  I caught a glimpse of Assault earlier in the day and was impressed with their athleticism and size in the front court.  This should be a good one.

All-Ohio Red’s 16s got off to a slow start in the first game of the day against Delaware’s Team Rebel Black, but was able to rally and win by 20 points.  Without Marc Loving and Nigel Hayes, both of whom are with Bobby Korteson in Italy, Red is relying on their Toledo connection of Tony Kynard and Clemie Owens. Also, Kettering Alter’s Jarron Simmons has been having a solid weekend as well.

Ohio Basketball Club’s U-17 team righted the ship from Friday night’s loss with 3 more wins on Saturday.  Game one on Saturday pitted OBC against a very scrappy Chester Panthers.  Although the game was not decided until the very end, OBC got the win. Later in the day, OBC matched up with Columbus, Ohio based Mustang Ballers and went on to get the win and advance to Sunday. From what little I saw of them, it appeared that Desmond Ridenour had a solid weekend, as did Evan Payne and Isiah Rogers. (Video)

The Ohio Hoopsters almost pulled a shocker against the NJ Playaz, one of the top Nike sponsored teams in the country.  Early in the contest, the Playaz put on a fast break and dunking clinic.  But not so fast my friend, the Hoopsters, without Tony Lavender at the helm, kept their composure and did not lie down.  The comeback was sparked by Stephon O’Daniel who knocked down thee treys in the first half, and before you knew it, OBC had scrapped their way back into the game.  Despite the poor start, the Hoopsters were able to trim the lead to 34-39 by the half.  In the second period, Tyler White heated up and knocked three treys of his own to keep the game close. With 18 seconds left in the game, down 61-62, the Hoopsters went for broke and held the ball for the last shot. Although O’Danial was able to get off a rushed shot, it fell short and the Playaz held on to win 62-61. White led the Hoopster in scoring with 13 points, followed by Thurgood Marshall’s Joe Thomasson (12), O’Daniel (9) and Andre Yates (7).

The Hidden Gems 17s were still playing late on Saturday, with a 67-64 win over The Flame. Also, the West Virginia Wildcats squeaked out a 51-50 win over Grassroots Canada on Saturday, as Northland’s Devon Scott continued to play well.

King of the Courts U-15 team finished 3-0 on Saturday, including a 2 point win over All-Ohio Red and a 20 point blowout win over Grassroots Canada.  All-Ohio Red’s 15 took an L late Saturday, and headed back to Columbus a little early. They were 2-0 heading into bracket play, and won both games by a combined 37 points. To see the pictures I took at the event, visit the Buckeye Prep Facebook Fan Page. Also, Follow Buckeye Prep on Twitter! More pics.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Pittsburgh Jam Fest-Day One

On the first night of the Pittsburgh Jam Fest several Ohio-based teams were in action. At the Peterson Event Center on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh, All-Ohio Red’s U-16 team hit the ground running with a 64-55 win over Triple Threat. Thurgood Marshal’s Edmond Early was the leading scorer with 15 points, followed by Jarron Simmons who finished with 10 points.  It should be noted that All-Ohio was without several key players including Mark Loving. Right after the 16’s got the win, All-Ohio Red’s U-17 squad took the same court and went on to rout a late arriving BSA I-70 squad 87-50. Myles Hamilton scored a team-high 14 points, followed by Jalen Robinson (13) Terry Rozier and Kenny Kaminski (12) and Elijah Macon (8). All-Ohio Purple got a 64-56 win over 3D Bball and All-Ohio Gold defeated the Mitchellville Trailblazers 60-43.

The Ohio Basketball Club (U-17) came out flat and ended up dropping their opening game against the PG Bulls 49-42. Poor rebounding and questionable defense were the primary culprits. Dillon Anthony scored a team-high 13 points, followed by Evan Payne (8) and Isiah Rogers (6). OBC's U-15 squad got an 12 point win. The West Virginia Wildcats, with central Ohio’s Devon Scott and Keshawn Lewis, held on to claim a 66-60 win over the Franklin All-Stars. Zac Grossenberger hit five treys and scored a team-high 17 points, followed by Cam Shannon  (13) and Devon Scott (12).  To see the day one pictures, visit the Buckeye Prep Facebook Fan Page. Tournament website.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cincinnati Knights Tournament Action

While I was in northern Kentucky to watch the Ohio v Kentucky All-Star Game (Ohio won by the way), I was able to catch some of the 6-8th grade action at the Cincinnati Knights tournament at the Midwest Sports Complex in Florence, Ky. Based on what I saw over the 2 days, the talent level in the middle school divisions was high. Some of the top teams I saw over the weekend included Mike Peterson’s Indy Hoosiers squads, the Elite Cavilers, All-Ohio Purple, D-I Greyhounds (Wva), Cincinnati Knights, Cincinnati Lakers, Salvation Army and Buckeye Prep’s 8th grade team.

Luke Kinnard-8th Grade
On Saturday, I watched the 8th grade Cincinnati Knights continue their impressive run, as they took on the Indy Hoosiers in super pool play. The Knights would go on to win the game 58-43. What was most impressive about the win was the fact they did so without the services of MaCio Teague (left the team) and Chris Moxley. With Teague gone, they guy doing the heavy lifting was Luke Kennard, a 6’3 WG from Franklin, OH, who continued to look good for the second consecutive weekend. Of course AJ Harris was on his game, and Nate Fowler was still finishing everything around the cup. Depsite their success this weekend, without Teague, this team could be challenged a lot more by the time the AAU Nationals role around.

The 8th grade Indy Hoosiers was absolutely loaded with talent. The top guys on that squad include Jalen Coleman, a 6’2 combo guard from Indianapolis, IN; Brennan Gillis, a 6’5 C from Indianapolis; KJ Walton, a 6’3 WG from Brownsburg, IN. and Brandon Hardesty, a 6’5 WF from Franklin, IN. This team is long and athletic with a roster full of D-I prospects.

Xavier Holston-Simms 8th Grade
On Saturday, Buckeye Prep continued their solid play and finished the day 3-0 with wins over Omega (49-35), All-Ohio Purple (68-62) and the Dayton Pilots. On Sunday, Buckeye Prep defeated a talented Atlanta Xpress team 68-64 to earn a spot in the final four and a battle with the Indy Hoosiers. Although Buckeye Prep played Indy tough for most of the first half, the Indiana team was simply more talented, and went on to win 46-32. For the weekend, Buckeye Prep had several players step up game-to-game. Xavier Holston Simms did a great job running point, while Isaacs Anderson gave the team interior scoring. Kevin Fisher was a defensive presence in the paint and was a shot blocking machine. John Edwards and Dequan Daniels both played well in the opening game against Omega, and reserve Center Rob Dowdy continued to show improvement and the ability to finish shots close to the bucket. For Atlanta Xpress, I will really impressed with Kobi Simmons (6’1 WG), Kaiser Gates (6’3 WF), Keyshon Gibbs (6'0 combo) and Cecil Stallings (6’4 PF).

Sunday morning also featured a final four grudge match between the 8th grade Knights and Dayton Salvation Army. This game got a little chippy on the floor and from the bench, and although Salvation Army played inspired basketball for most of the game, in the end, the Knights were just too tough for Army, and went on to win by double digits. The top guys for Salvation Army were D’Mitric Trice (5’8 PG), Grant Zawawzki (5’8 PG) and Kyle Ahrens (6’2 WG).

One of the better 7th grade games I saw pitted the Cincinnati Lakers against the Indy Hoosiers. Although it was a tight game for most of the contest, and Roderick Caldwell did some real nice things, the Hoosiers’ size and athleticism was just too much for the Lakers. One of the top guys for Indy was Paul Scruggs, a 6’2 6th grader who played for both the 6th and 7th grade teams. Scruggs is a workhorse and scoring machine with good length, a sufficient handle and the ability to slash his way to the cup and finish. I also liked Eron Gordon, a 6’0 combo guard from Indianapolis. In case you are wondering, yes, he’s Eric brother, and judging from his game, his upside potential is great. Holding it down in the post was Antoyne Jackson, a 6’4 C from Franklin Twp. This kid was on attack mode every game I watched and rebounded the heck out of the ball. In addition to controlling the boards, Jackson is an excellent shot blocker and he often came from the opposite side to contest shots. If he wasn’t blocking shots he was altering them.

Jarron Cumberland 7th Grade
I had a chance to watch the 7th grade Elite Cavilers who were undefeated while I was there. In pool play, the Cavilers defeated OBC 45-38 and the D-1 Greyhounds 50-43. The Cavaliers have solid guard play, but the horses on that team are Jarron Cumberland (5’11 WF) and Leon Davis (5’10 PF). However, I also saw some good things from Kwamane Watson (5’10 WF) as well.

Paul Scruggs-6th Grade
The Indy Hoosiers’ 6th grade squad has some very talented players as well, including Paul Scruggs, Justin Roberts (5’8 PG Indy), Evan Ohman (6’0 WG Indy) and Zach Gunn (6’2 PF Indy). I already told you how Scruggs dominated at the 7th grade level, so it goes without saying he could not be stopped by 6th graders. Also, I have seen Roberts several times at my Buckeye Prep Elite Showcases, and he continues a flash big time game. To see the pictures I took at the event visit the Buckeye Prep Facebook Fan Page. Also, for more information, follow Buckeye Prep on Twitter!

Other Top Performers

Gage Hisey-8th Grade

Jason Covington-All-Ohio Purple-(8th)
Cage Hisey-Ohio Elite (8th)
Derrick Long-The Family II (8th)
Skyler Scott-Buckeye Prep (8th)
Charles Aden-Ohio Warriors (7th)
Ronald Jones Jr.-OBC (7th)
Chris Perkins-D-1 Greyhounds (7th)
Devon Walker-Dayton Pilots (7th)
Antown Washington-D-1 Greyhounds (7th)
Dujuan Ford-Dayton Pilots (6th)
Shamari Jamison-Dayton Pilots (6th)

Justin Roberts-6th Grade

Monday, April 11, 2011

Team Ohio Erases 27 Point Deficit to Claim Victory

For many of the participants in the 20th Annual Ohio versus Kentucky All-Star Game, their high school career ended when the final horn sounded last night at Thomas More College in Crestview Hills, Kentucky. All I can say is; that was one hell of a way to go out! Team Ohio left the locker room flat, and found themselves down 27-2 early in the first half. The key to the early lead was the fact that Team Kentucky enjoyed superior size in the post, on the wings and in the back court. They took advantage of their size advantage defensively and on the boards, and by half time, Team Kentucky had ballooned the lead to 43-65.

From what I understand, the half time speech was direct and to the point. Whatever was said obviously had an impact, as Team Ohio began the second half with an attitude and a new commitment to defense. With a lineup that included Stevie Taylor, Brian Sullivan and Treavon Jackson, Team Ohio turned up the defensive intensity, forced the bigger Kentucky guards into turnovers, and finally found their shooting touch before chopping the sizable deficit to 56-60 by the 16:14 mark. The next round of substitutions included Trey Burke, Trey Lewis and Aaron White, and this group would continue the early success and eventually take a 2-point lead with 10:45 left in the contest. From there, the lead would change hands a couple of times, but Team Ohio would eventually squeak out a 102-100 victory. By the way, the Ohio Boys leads the series 13-7, and the Ohio girls also got a win last night.

Iowa bound Aaron White was key to the comeback, and his team-high 19 points earned him Co-MVP honors. Stevie Taylor was second in scoring for team Ohio with 14 points, followed by Trey Lewis (11), Trey Burke, Travis Trice, Nate Anderson (9), Tre Brown (8), Treavon Jackson, Jaylen Ragland, Markus Crider (5), Blake Justice (4), Brian Sullivan and Cole Krizancic (2). Although Remy Abell led all Kentucky scorers with 20 points, Anthony Hickey was named Co-MVP and finished with 14 points. The Breakdown in scoring includes: Timmy Knipp (13), Jermaine Jackson (11), George Fant (8), DeOndre McWhorter (7), Jordan Shanklin, Ryan Taylor (5) Donovan Kates, Lyonell Gaines and Chris Freeman (3).

I can't speak for everybody in attendance, but the game was truly special, as many of the Ohio kids have competed against each other for years, so for them to complete their high school careers playing together and winning such a big game will create lasting memories! To see pictures I took at the event, visit the Buckeye Prep Facebook Fan Page. Also, check out the video.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Bigs

Dequandre Dentment (9th Grade)
Everybody loves to watch the guards, but guards tend to be a "dime a dozen."  However, bigs are often hard to come by and are often crucial to the success of their teams.  The Buckeye Prep Invitational played host to several quality big men.  Below is a list of some of the post players we saw at the event.  The list below contains names of players who are most likely to be long-term post prospects.

Long-Term Post Players

CJ Gettys 6’11 Findley (11th)
Jalen Robinson 6’8 Northland (11th)
Zach Garber 6’7 Vanlue (10th)
Nick Detlev 6’10 Norte Dame Cathedral (9th)
Tyler Heron 6’8 St. Edwards (9th)
Dequandre Dentment 6’7 Lansing Catholic Central (MI) (9th)
Nate Fowler 6’6 Cincinnati (8th)
Kevin “Sticks” Fisher 6'6 Groveport (8th)
Esa Ahmed 6'4 Cleveland (8th)
Rob Dowdy 6'5 Westerville (8th)

CJ Gettys 6'11 (11th)

Jalen Robinson 6'7 (11th)

Nate Fowler 6'6 (8th)

Esa Ahmed 6'4 (8th)

Kevin Fisher 6'6 (8th)

Tyler Herron 6'7 (9th)

Monday, April 4, 2011

All-Ohio Purple Takes 7 of 7 BPR Championships

For 7 years the Buckeye Prep Invitational has been hosting many of the top teams in the sate, region and nation.  In every year since the tournament started, Orlando Berry's All-Ohio Purple juggernaut has claimed the title in their respective divisions.  Some people may not know or recall, but a few years ago, the BPR Invitational was arguably the hottest and most competitive youth tournament in the country, and played host to may of the players in this year's McDonalds All-American Game and a number of other high major college players.  In all of those years, Berry's squad took home the title.  He won so much, I had to start changing up the championship trophies because I felt guilty presenting him with the same piece of hardware.  Although he did not have his entire team (or uniforms), his team still found a way to get it done against a talented Ohio Hoopsters. 

Before the tournament tipped off, many people anticipated the game between Purple and Tony Lavender's new Ohio Hoopsters squad.  With players like Northland's Jalen Robonson, Cincinnati's Willie Moore, Dayton's Tyler White and unknown Zach Garber (10th grader), a lot of basketball people felt Purple could be had this year.  That was not the case as Purple road Adolphus Washington, Jalean Lowe and big CJ Gettys to the win. With his 7th win in 7 years, Orlando Berry is the first inductee ito the "Buckeye Prep Hall of Fame!"

ESPN Article
Adam Shoulder's Day 2 Report
Ohio HS Hoops' Day 3 Report
Day 3 Pictures

All-Tournament Team

CJ Gettys-MVP All-Ohio Purple
Jalean Lowe-All-Ohio Purple
Adolphus Washington-All-Ohio Purple
Zach Garber-Ohio Hoopsters
Jalen Robinson-Ohio Hoopsters

Other Players to Watch
Zach Garber

Matt Bingaya 6’4 WF Delaware
Antonio Blunt 6’5 WG Horizon Academy
Isiah Brooks 5'8 PG Walnut Ridge
Joe Ballard 6’5 WF Thirgood Marshall
Edmond Early 6’1 WG/WF Thurgood Marshall
CJ Gettys 6’11 Findley
Julian Johnson 6’1 PG Horizon Academy
Kahlid King 6’0 PG Columbus Brookhaven
Kerssey Long 5’7 PG Columbus West
Elias Osborne 6’1 PG Centennial
Matt Rhodes 6'3 WG Westerville North
Carter Smith Upper Arlington
Dominque Stollings 6’1 WG Northmont
Joe Thomasson 6’3 WG Thurgood Marshall
Andre Yates 6’0 PG Trotwood Madison

Millennium Fire Goes Undefeated to Claim Title

The Millennium Fire got hot this past weekend and road some hot players all the way to the 10th grade championship of the 7th Annual Buckeye Prep Invitational Tournament. To get to the championship game, the Fire defeated King of the Court, OIC Ball Dynasty, Columbus Predators, Buckeye Prep/Dayton Nets and the Ohio Playmakerz.

All-Tournament Team

Monte Goodwin-MVP Millennium Fire
Arthur Christian-Millennium Fire
Tylnn Alexander- Millennium Fire
JJ Smith-Ohio Playmakerz
Jalen Benton-Ohio Playmakerz

Other Players to Watch

Phillip Black 6'1 PG Maple Heights HS
Brandon Dawson 6'3 WF Brush HS
Zach Garber 6’7 Vanlue HS
Jae’son Tate 6’2 WF Pickerington Central HS

Team Berea Takes Second Consecutive Champonship

With their second tournament championship in as many weeks, Team Berrea has to be considered as one of the hottest 8th grade squads in the state. Yesterday, Team Berea broke open a close game against Buckeye Prep to claim their 2nd tournament championship of the season. Team Berea was led by the outstanding play of 6'4 Esa Ahmed who dropped an impressive 30 points in the championship game.

This weekend was the second time I have seen Ahmed and I continue to be impressed with his game.  He excelled at the the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase in March, and he dominated this past weekend.  With good size, great footwork and the ability to finished around the cup, Ahmed has to be considered one of the top 2 post players in the class. I really want to see the match up between Nate Fowler and Ahmed; that could be really special.  Maybe we can get the two together in my September Elite Showcase! 

I have to give some props to my Buckeye Prep team, who finished 0-3 last week, but got back in the gym the following week and finished 5-1 and as runner-ups yesterday.  As they continue to play and practice, look for them to be a tough out by the end of the season.  Buckeye Prep was led by Tyrone Cherry who had a fantastic weekend.  Issac Anderson and Kevin Fisher gave great post support, while Xavier Holston-Simms helped run the point.  Also, Salvation Army looked really good with a trio of players as did the Buckeye Prep/Dayton Nets who made the final four.

All-Tournament Team

Esa Ahmed-MVP Team Berea
David Dowell-Team Berea
Andrew Dowell-Team Berea
Issac Anderson-Buckeye Prep
Tyrone Cherry-Buckeye Prep

Other Players to Watch

Kyle Arms 6'1 WG Versales
Kei Beckham 5’10 WG Trotwood
Demarko Cannon 5’10 PG Columbus
Kevin Fisher 6'6 C Groveport
Brice Hinton 6’3 WF Trotwood
Xavier Holston-Sims 5'6 PG Columbus
Montae Iiley 5'7 PG Saginaw, Michigan
Tyree Kinnel 5'10 WG Huber Heights
Alex McCall 5'7 PG Saginaw, Michigan
D'Mitric Trice 5'8 PG Huber Heights

Cincinnati Knights Dominate 9th Grade Division of BP Invitational

The Cincinnati Knights have long proven to be one of the top 8th grade teams in the nation.  This weekend in the 7th Annual Buckeye Prep Invitational, they proved to be too tough for even 9th grade teams to handle, as they breezed through the 9th grade division to claim the championship.  Although the Millennium Fire put up a good fight early, the machine-like Knights switched gears and went on to claim a lopsided win.  At the end of the day, the Knights team is simply more talented than most other teams. 

With arguably the top guards in the class with AJ Harris and MaCio Teague, plus one of the best bigs in the class in Nate Fowler, then throw in Luke Kennard, the Knights are just too tough.  I have talked a lot about Harris and Teague on this site, but the play of Fowler and Kennard was very impressive this weekend.  I knew Fowler was a quality post player with his simple but effective game, but the way he finished around the bucket the entire weekend was incredible.  Nothing fancy, the kid simply finishes everything. Luke Kennard surprised me with his productiveness.  Kennard has good length, solid ball skills, can hit open shots and is a great long-term prospect.

I have to mention that the Millennium Fire is no chopped liver; that is a quality team with great players. John Davis and Korey Pearson are the top kids on that team, but Greg Alexander and Marcus Bagley do a good job running the point and John Cirillo holds it down in the paint.

All-Tournament Team

Amos “AJ” Harris- MVP Cincinnati Knights
Luke Kennard-Cincinnati Knights
Nate Fowler- Cincinnati Knights
John Davis- Millennium Fire
Korey Pearson- Millennium Fire

Other Players to Watch

Dequandre Dentmond

Arius Moore 6’0 PG Beavercreek HS
Tysean Powell 6’4 WG Benedictine HS
Mike Angers 5’3 PG St. Edwards HS
Evan Bailey 6’3 WG Jackson HS
Michael Clark 6’1 WG Findley HS
Dequandre Dentmond 6’8 Lansing Catholic Central HS
Carlos Jackson 6’1 WG Cincinnati Roger Bacon HS
Aaron Odon 6’0 PG Cincinnati Hughes HS
Damon Willis 6’1 WG St. Ignatius HS

Cincinnati Lakers Get It Done

The 7th grade Cincinnati Lakers entered the tournament late, but proved to be the class of the division with their undefeated trek to the title game.  With standout performances from a trio of elite players, the Lakers defeated a strong Team Lima team to claim the 7th grade championship. To get to the final day, the Lakers got past Team Toledo, Dayton Pilots, Michigan Titans, Dorian's Pride and Team Lima. 

Let me go on the recored right now, if there is a better point guard than Roderick Caldwell in the class I want to see him.  I have profiled Caldwell on this website in the past, but I continue to be impressed with this kid's talent. Advanced is how I would describe Caldwell's game.  He is simply doing things no other PG in the state is doing.  Caldwell's dribble moves, vision and passing ability set him apart from other guards in this class.  Don't get me wrong, there are some other nice guards in this class such as Xavier Simpson, who had another great weekend, and I really like Ashon Riggens, and of course Jeremy Larkin was the 7th grade MVP, but Caldwell continues to show me a big game.

All-Tournament Team

Jeremy Larkin-MVP Cincinnati Lakers
Ashon Riggins-Cincinnati Lakers
Rodrick Caldwell- Cincinnati Lakers
Ruben Flowers-Team Lima
Xavier Simpson-Team Lima

Other Players to Watch

Devin Edwards-Michigan Titans
Vontrel Jackson-Michigan Titans
Alex McCall-Dorian's Pride/Saginaw Panthers
E'Monte Riley-Dorian's Pride/Saginaw Panthers
Trent Stone-Michigan Titans

Team Toledo 6th Graders Grab Title

Powered by the outstanding play of Brett Lauf, Team Toledo's 6th grade team finished 5-0 to claim the championship trophy. Toledo knocked off Lima's E3 Kings in the championship game.  To get to the title game, Team Toledo had to get by OIC Ball Dynasty, Millennium Fire, Showtime Basketball and the E3 Kings (twice).  You can't really talk about Team Toledo without talking about Bret Lauf, a dynamic point guard with a game beyond his years.  It's not that he is the biggest, fastest or most athletic player on the floor, but his basketball IQ, vision and skill level are off the charts.  I told someone standing next to me to me that Lauf reminded me of a little Steve Nash with the way he sees the floor and finds open teammates. If I were you, I would keep an eye on this kid, he could be special!

All-Tournament Team

Brett Lauf-MVP-Team Toledo
Zach Carpenter-Team Toledo
Houston King-Team Toledo
Jace Stockwell-E3 Kings
Jar Ward-E3 Kings

Other Players to Watch

Sha'mari Jamison-Dayton Pilots
Jaquel Freeman-Parks-Dayton Pilots