Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ohio's Top Rising Freshmen (2015)

MaCio Teague

Below is a list of Ohio's top rising freshmen (2015).  As I have said before, if you are a youth basketball fan in this state and you have followed this class over the years, you already kind of know who many of the top players are in this class.  Although I have formalized the process by documenting the names on this site, you, the fan, have your own ideas about who the best players are at this point.  I'm not going to go into preach mode with this piece, I have said all I need to say. 

My list of the top guys is based on most of my own observations over the past couple of years, as well as input I received from many of the top coaches in this class, and a few fans who I trust to give me credible and unbiased input (it's so hard to find!).  Like the others, this list will continue to evolve over time and will be updated periodically.  Over the next several months, I will be further defining the lists and assigning numbers (1-30) to the players on the lists.  Also, I will soon be developing a "Next 20" list so that I can submit a top 50 list to John Stovall, (ESPN analyst, Nike rep and Prep Spotlight co-founder) to serve as a foundation for his initial top 50 freshman list in the fall.

Finally, as I have done with the others, I have posted all 3 top player lists on the side bar on the front page of this website, where I will make periodic changes (additions & subtractions), as we proceed through the summer and fall. I know this list will cause some debate, but that's ok, as players will be added as they shine on the bigger stages. Enough said; enjoy/debate the list!!

Ohio's Top 30 Rising Freshmen

Top 30 Player Pictures

Monday, May 30, 2011

Nike EYBL Report-Day Two

EYBL Standings through Saturday Night

All-Ohio finally got back on track Sunday Morning with a convincing 82-62 to win over the Texas Titans.  All-Ohio stepped on the pedal early, as Kenny Kaminski drained a trey to start the game. The lead exchanged hands early until Red went on a 7-0 spurt at about the 11:15 mark (10-6). Shortly thereafter, Jake Kretzer knocked down a 3 pointer, Teddy Hawkins hit a trey, followed by an All-Ohio steal and a Jalen Robinson layup increased the lead to 18-8.  Yet another 7-0 run by All-Ohio put the lead at 25-8 with 6:40 left in the half. All-Ohio continued to increase the lead for the remainder of the period, and entered the locker room up 38-20.  Both Elijah Macon and Teddy Hawkins paced Red with 8 half time points.

All-Ohio bought a ticket to the Kenny Kaminski/Jake Kretzer show to start the second, as both players combined for five 3 balls early to extend the All-Ohio lead to 53-25 by midway through the second half.  Kenny Kaminiski would then play the role as the leading man, as he finally found his stroke to the tune of 7 treys.  There really was not much drama left in this one, as All-Ohio would eventually bury Texas to claim an impressive 82-62 win.  Kaminski would finish with a game-high 24 points, followed by Jake Kretzer (19), Terry Rozier (11), Elijah Macon (11), Teddy Hawkins (8), Myles Hamilton (2), Jalon Robinson (2)and Jordan Potts (2).  

Kenny Kaminski dropped 24 pts on 7 treys

The second game of the day for All-Ohio Red started much like game one, with Jake Kretzer and Kenny Kaminski bombing treys.  After a Terry Rozier layup to start the game; back-to-back treys from Kretzer, and a Kenny Kaminski 3 pointer from deep; All-Ohio found themselves with a 12-0 lead to start the game. Michigan's The Family did not score until a layup at the 13:20 mark, then they drained a trifector of their own to close he lead to 12-5.  From there, The Family went on a short run to cut the lead to 9-13 with 11:12 left in the half.  Kaminski's deep three extended the lead to 17-9 with 10:40 left, but Red would begin to loose focus, allowing The Family to rally and cut the lead to 16-17 by the 8:30 mark. The Family would later take their first lead of the game with about 3:00 minutes left in the period, then continue to ride their new found momentum to a 42-30 half time lead.

The Family started the 2nd half with a layup to extend the lead to 45-30, but Terry Rozier answered with a jumper.  Each team would go back and forth scoring, until Red went to an effective 2-3 zone, which forced The Family it to launching threes with little success.  Although the zone slowed The Family, and All-Ohio would rally, too many empty possessions would eventually lead to another disappointing loss for All-Ohio.  Terry Rozier led All-Ohio with 14 points, followed by Elijah Macon (12), Jake Kretzer (10), Kenny Kaminski (7),  Myles Hamilton (6), Teddy Hawkins (6), Leroy Alexander (5), Jordan Potts (3) and Jalan Robinson (2). 

Despite arriving in LA with an impressive 8-2 league record, sitting at 1-3 after 2 days was concerning for All-Ohio.  Red may have already qualified for the league championship prior to making the trip to the west coast, in terms of seeding for the Peach Jam, things were looking pretty bleak.  Hopefully All-Ohio can right the ship and pick  up a badly needed win against Chicago's Mean Streets on Sunday morning.

Unfortunately for King James,  they could not follow up on their win yesterday, as they dropped a tough one to Each-1-Teach 1 50-52. Apparently, King James led for most of the game, and was actually leading by 8 points with about 8 minutes left in the game, when team chemistry issues caused them to loose focus and cohesion, allowed Each 1 Teach 1 to go on an 8-0 run, resulting in the heart breaker. To see the pictures I took at the event, visit the Buckeye Prep Face Book Fan Page.  See more pictures

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Nike EYBL Report-Day One

Session 3 of Nike's EYBL tipped off today at the HAX Athletic Facility in LA. California. The action was fierce right from the tip, as the 40 Nike-sponsored teams fought hard to qualify for the Peach Jam, the league’s championship tournament. For one of the few times this season, All-Ohio Red got off to a quick start in their opening EYBL game against the Mac Irvin Fire.  Red took advantage of the late arriving Fire (was 10 minutes late for the game), by going up 8-0 to start the 1st half.  Red was led early but a hot shooting Jake Kretzer who buried 2 treys in the first period.  Despite their fast start, All-Ohio would have let down late in the half, allowing the Fire to knot the game at 28-28 to close the first half.

Although All-Ohio got on the board first to start the second period, the Fire came right back with a little mini run.   Now that Mac Irvin was feeling good about themselves after have grabbed some of the momentum, the game was close for most of the final period.  With about 3 minutes left, the Fire grabbed a 3-4 point lead and held on to it late.  All-Ohio would eventually wrestle away a 1 point lead before the Fire answered back to retake the lead.  The game was knotted again late, and All-Ohio had a couple of late chances to win, but missed free throws (about 6), blown layups (point blank), and poor rebounding were too much for Red to over comes.  However, All-Ohio still had a chance to tie the game, as the coaching staff drew up an out of bounds play for Kretzer with the ball and 6 seconds left , but the shot was rushed and errant, as All-Ohio dropped the game 57-54. The Fire’s 6’7 Jabari Parker was a monster, as he led Mac Irvin with 16 points, with Jahlil Okafor adding 12 markers. I have to give props to Derrick Randolph, Fire's undersized point guard, who stayed in the paint and either scored or dished off for easy scores. Kenny Kaminski led All-Ohio with 11 points, followed by Terry Rozier (10), Leroy Alexander (8), Elijah Macon (6), Jake Kretzer (6), Jordan Potts (4) and Jalon Robinson (2).

Jahlil Okafor

Much like they did in game one, All-Ohio got off to a good start against Tennessee's YOMCA, the second best team in the division.  Shakers Height's Terry Rozier was hot early, draining back-to-back treys and getting to the cup to give All-Oho a 7-2 lead early.  However, 3 consecutive turnovers with about 8 minutes left in the half allowed YOMCA to cut the lead to 14-16.  At about the 7:26 mark, YOMCA tied the game for the first time at 16-16.  Red answered back with a Jordan Potts jumper, then Leroy Alexander knocked down a 3  pointer to give All-Ohio back the lead.  Dayton's Teddy Hawkins came off the bench and hit two quick jumpers to give Red a 36-27 lead heading into half time.  Terry Rozier finished the 10 half time points.

YOMCA scored first to start the second period and would make a 6-2 run to cut the lead to 31-36.  All-Ohio finally got on the board with a Myles Hamilton jumper (38-33). YOMCA took their first lead (41-40) at about the 11:39 mark, followed by a trey to increase the lead to 43-40.  YOMCA's full court pressuer rattled All-Ohio, leading to turnovers and a YOMCA 8-0 run. Jordan Potts's jumper with 10:06 left in the half stopped the bleeding and cut the lead to 5 points (42-47). Dayton's Teddy Hawkins' layup at 6:15 and a big trey with 5:10 left gave Red the  53-52) lead.  The 2 teams would take turns holding the lead for the rest of the contest.  A Myles Hamilton put back gave All-Ohio a 61-60 lead with 1:42 remaining, but YOMCA came right back to reclaim a 1 point lead. With the game tied at 64-64, a YOMCA guard was fouled on his way to the bucket and was sent to the line, where he cashed in on both freebies to lift his team to a 66-64 lead with 25.4 seconds left.  Down 2 with just over 25 seconds left ,All-Ohio drew up a play that left Kenny Kaminski wide open for a short corner jumper, but the shot would miss the mark, leading to a YOMCA rebound, an All-Ohio foul and 2 more free throws for YOMCA.  Although Terry Rozier would hit a desperation 3 pointer with only 3 seconds left and down, All-Ohio would go on to take their second loss of the day (69-67). Terry Rozier led all scorers with 20 points, followed by Myles Hamilton (10), Elijah Macon (8), Kenny Kaminski (8),Teddy Hawkins (7),  Jordan Potts (4), Leroy Alexander (3) and Jalon Robinson (2).

Terry Rozer's 20 pts led All-Ohio

Things did not go much better for King James, the only other Ohio team in the event, as they would give up the lead late in the second half and go on to take a 58-50 "L" at the hands of Louisianan Select.  According to the coach, a closely officiated game resulted in his 2 bigs Sheldon Jetter continued to pace the team, while Devon Carter and Antonio Herns both had solid games.  King James would right the ship in their second game, as they took down the Tennessee Travelers 74-77.  Although King James would trail by as much as 13 points in the first half, a feverish comeback resulted in a tied game by half time. The 2 teams would take turns with the lead for most of the second half, but the Akron-based team would go on to get the badly need 3 poit win.  Lorenzo Cujini had a a big game, as he split defenders who were rushing out at him to take away the trey, allowing him to get to the rack.  Also playing well for King James was Antonio Herns.  Tomorrow should be another competitive day of hoops, as both teams have two more games.

Lorenzo Cugini

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Ohio's Top 100 Rising Freshmen (2015)

Amos "AJ" Harris

Identifying the elite players in the class of 2015 is becoming much more relavant, as the players in the class will be entering their freshman year in high school in just a few short months.  At this age, college coaches and scouting services really begin taking a look at this class as they attempt to identify the best players in the state.  From my experience, many of the kids featured on the below list will become household names in just a few years. 

Below you will find a link to my list of the top 100 rising freshmen in the state. So far, this class appears to have a good group of guards at the top, as well as a handful of long-term post prospects.  Although Amos "AJ" Harris is considered by many to be the top player in this class, there are a few kids nipping at his heels for this honor.  The names of the top kids in this class may come as no surprise to our regular readers, as many of them have been featured on this site over the past couple of years. Although kids such has Luke Kennard, MaCio Teague, Nate Fowler, Esa Ahmed have become well known names to many of us, guys like Dayton's D'Mitrik Trice, Versailles' Kyle Ahrens, Hilliard's Michael Simon, Columbus' Issac Anderson and Orange's Kipper Nichols could make a push over the next couple of months. 

It is also important to note that there are still a number of very talented players who have not yet burst on to the statewide scene, but they will eventually begin making names for themselves through school ball, AAU events or camps and showcases. In fact, word has it, there are a couple of northern Ohio kids who deserve some love; however, until they get it done on the bigger stages, where people can see and evaluate them, they may remain just under the radar until later in their young careers. Also, as I have said many times, my list represents a "snapshot" of the kids who are consistently getting it done right now, and does not necessarily attempt to predict future success.  Some of the kids on the top of the class will fade, and some other kids will grow and develop their way to the top.  Remember, "the creme always rises to the top!"

Finally, within the next day or so, I will be publishing a smaller list of the top 30 kids in the state.  As I pointed out in an earlier piece, these list will be updated regularly, as I get a chance to see more kids. Finally, I will be turning over a list of the top 50 kids to John Stovall, ESPN Analyst, Nike rep and co-founder of Prep Spotlight Magazine, which he will use as the foundation for his list of the top 50 freshmen in the state.  As always, I encourage kids and parents to be more focused on development than the rankings and stay in the gym, because at the end of the day, it's about you game, not your name!  Enjoy the list!!

Ohio's Top 100 Rising Freshmen

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ohio's Top 30 Rising Eighth Graders

Ashon Riggens
Below is a link to the top 30 seventh graders in Ohio.  For those kids who made the list, congratulations.  For those who did not make the cut this time, keep working.  It's my hope that players use the list as motivation to either stay on the list, or make the list.  It should be understood that just because a player's name is listed, does not mean they will continue to be listed in the future.  I have seen it happen too many times, a player gains some recognition and feels like they do not need to continue to work, allowing other players to out work them, then displace them as a top player in the state. 

Having been through this process many times with my own 2 sons, I fully understand how difficult it is for kids when their name do not appear on top player type lists.  I also understand how parents and coaches feel when they believe their son has been slighted or is not receiving the recognition they think they deserve.  The only advice I can give you, if you care about these type of lists, your son needs to get exposure, and you need to insure he plays against the best talent possible, either in AAU-type tournaments, camps or showcases.  If your son is not playing where people can see him play and evaluate his talent, then his game will continue to be under appreciated.

In addition, you will read on various message boards that rankings at this age "don't mean anything."  Don't believe that.  I get calls, texts and emails all of the time asking for the names of the top young players in the state.  College coaches are tracking these young players as we speak.  In addition, some kids enjoy more opportunities if they are highly ranked at a young age.  These opportunities can help with thier development and gain them additional exposure. With that said, I would agree that ranking kids this age does not always serve as good predictor of where a kid will end up by the time they are high school seniors, nor does making a list like this garuntee a college scholarship.  In fact, there are a number of kids not listed here who will go on to surpass some of the kids on this list for various reasons. 

That's ebough of that, now to the top 30 list.  At this point, I have decided not to rank the players from 1-30, but rather list them alphabetically, as it has been my experience that doing so thise early causes way too many hard feelings at this point.  However, as I continue to watch the players (and others) over the next several months, and as I get more comfortable ranking the kids, I will start fine tuning the list in and effort to better establish who the top kids truly are.  As I see more kids who deserve a top 30 ranking, I will be adding and subtracting names as I go, based on what I see at various events.  So, with out further preaching, below is a link to Buckeye Prep's top 30rising eighth graders.  Also, below are pictures of many players on the list.  Enjoy!

Top 30 Rising Eighth Graders

Player Pictures

Monday, May 23, 2011

Ohio’s Top 150 Rising Eighth Graders

Trevell Beck 6'5 WF Cleveland
Below is a link to my list of the top 150 rising 8th graders (Class of 2016) in the state of Ohio.  In terms of the process, the list was compiled from both my personal observations of many of the players on the list, as well as the input I solicited and received from many of the top coaches in this class.  This list is not intended to predict long term success, rather, it should serve as a simple list of some of the players who have excelled and been seen at major tournaments, camps and showcases to date.  Let me be clear, there are still many kids around the state who are very talented, but for whatever reason, have not been seen by the right people at the right time.  Also, just because a player is considered a “top kid” at this point in their career, if he does not continue to work hard and develop his game, there will be kids who catch and surpass him over the next couple of years.  Also, some kids excel early because they are bigger and stronger at an early age, however, some smaller kids will continue to grow and develop, and will play their way onto subsequent lists down the road.

In terms of my updated list, as most people know, I originally posted a top player list for this class over one year ago, and since that time, the list has continued grow.  In addition, and a few kids have developed to the point where they have separated themselves from the pack.  This list will continue to evolve, as players continue to develop and are seen at various events.   As I did with my initial list, I have divided the state into 3 sections, Southern, Central and Northern Ohio.  Also, the names are listed alphabetically, with no numerical ranking given at this point.  However, within the next day or so, I will be posting a smaller list of the top 30 players in the class. To see the list, click on the link below.  As I always say, let the debate begin!!
Top 150 Rising Eighth Graders

Check out the highlight video of some of Ohio's top players at Buckeye Prep's Fall Elite Showcase last September.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Ohio D-I AAU State Tournament-Day Two

7th Grade Cincinnati Bulldogs
Day two of my basketball odyssey found me at Landmark Christian High School in Cincinnati, where I had the chance to see some of southern Ohio's up and coming young talent.  As was the case yesterday in Columbus, this weekend's tournament will involve the top 2nd-8th grade travel teams in the southern part of the state.

Right out of the box I watched Dayton's 2016 Salvation Army defeat the Cincinnati Royals 54-52 in very competitive game.  The top prospect in the game was Dayton' Derrick Daniels, a 6'5 center from Mary Queen of Peace.  Daniels is long, thin and is more of a defensive threat at this point in his development, but the kid has a chance to be good as he develops a post game.  Daniels blocks shots and rebounds at a high rate, and is a legitimate post prospect going forward. The Royals have a nice little point man in 5'4 Trey McBride from Paddock Hills.

Derrick Daniels-2016
The 6th grade Central Ohio Knights, one of the few Columbus area teams participating in the tournament, continued their winning ways with a 52-32 beat down of the Lakers.  The Knights have been one of the better central Ohio teams this season.  Hilliard's Trey Pugh, a 6'0 WF/PF from Weaver Middle School, led all scorers with 18 points.  Keep an eye on the Lakers' Ron Cage, a 5'7 WG) from Winton Woods, the kid has game. The much anticipated match up between the 2016 Lakers and the Cincinnati Bulldogs went down on Saturday, and featured arguably the state's top 7th grade team in the Lakers, and the one state's best young prospects in Tommie "TC" Wells, a 6'1 WF/PF from Fairfield.  Although the contest was close early, the Lakers flexed their muscles and would eventually out class the Bulldogs 81-52.  As youlready now by no,the Lakers are full of talent with the likes of Ashon Riggens and Roderick Caldwell, but with role players like Jeremy Larkin (5'8 PG) and Jake Houseman (6'3 C), the Lakers are just to talented for most teams.  Caldwell and Larkin led the Lakers with 17 points, followed by Riggens and Houseman with 10 points each.  For the Bulldogs, Phillip Dozier and Tommie Wells led with 17 and 14 points, respectively. Mark my word, Wells could eventually be one of the top players in this class with his impressive athleticism, non-stop motor and physical play,  I also really liked the length and athleticism of Dozier.

Jeremy Larkin-2016

The 7th grade Elite Cavilers broke open a close game (28-22 at the half), against the Cincinnati Royals to claim a 17-point (57-40) victory.  Although the Cavilers are a bit undersized at about every position, they are very tough to beat because they bring extreme pressure for the entire 32 minutes.  The only reason this game was close early may have been because of the absence of Jarron Cumberland (6'0 WG), who had to sit out over a state AAU rule. Though I did not catch the scoring, Leon Davis, a young 8th grader who is playing down at the 7th grade level, had to be the leading scorer, as he led the Cavilers with 10 halftime points and solid all around play.  Further, Carliq Jones (5'0 PG) and Anthony Dockery (6'1 PF) both stepped up for the Cavilers.

Leon Davis-2015

One of the better games of the day pitted  All-Ohio Purple (2016) versus the Cincinnati Lakers.  Purple sucker punched the Lakers right out of the gate, and found themselves up 25-9 by the end of the 1st quarter. The primary culprit was Reggie Mack (5'7 WG) who came out smocking hot, while knocking down 4 first half treys.  Despite having dug themselves a big hole early, the Lakers would scrap and claw themselves back in the game, and actually out scored the Lakers in the 2nd quarter, and finishing the half down only 11 points (36-25). However, at the end of the day, AOP's 3-guard monster of Isiah Jones (5'7 PG), Jermaine Britton (5'6 PG) and Reggie Mack (5'7 WG) was simply too much to handle, as Purple held on to claim a 63-49 win. Although Britton was the high man with 17 points, and Mack finished with 15 points on 5 treys, the outstanding floor game of Jones may have been the difference in this one.  Oh yea, I failed to mention that the Lakers got back in the game with the outstanding play of Javon Cumberland (5'8 PG) and Jordan Bradley (5'1 PG).

Jones, Britton & Mack

The featured game of the day involved another grudge match between the 8th grade Cincinnati Knights and Dayton's Salvation Army.  I always enjoy when these two teams hook up, as the games always feature elite talent, well coached teams, edgy and animated coaches, as well as great individual performances.  This rematch lived up to its billing, and almost followed the usual script.  However, unlike the last game I watched them play, the Knights jumped on Army early and was already up 17-38 by half time.  Playing without their full compliment of players, and an injured D'Mitrik Trice (ankle injury) and Kyle Ahrens (stiff back), it looked like this game was going to be a laughfer early.  However, Salvation Army would begin a push in the third quarter and close the gap to 50-36 to start the 4th period. After Trice heated up in the forth with a barrage of treys, and Dayton's Cord'e started getting to the cup, Army was able to get as close as 8 points late, before falling short 57-63.  Did I mention the fact that Luke Kinnard had a big boy game, and almost beat Army by himself.  The kid had 22 points at the half, and went on to finish with gaudy 33 points for the game.  This kid has high major written all over him, with his size, skill package and confident swag. Of course AJ Harrris controlled the game with solid guard play, and Nate Fowler contributed 14 points, but this game was about Kinnard.

Luke Kinnard-2015

Although we don’t really cover 4th graders, I finally had a chance to sit down and watch Jerry Francis’ All-Ohio Red squad.  All I can say, the team is as good as advertised.  Many in central Ohio have proclaimed this 4th grade squad as the “next great team,” and from what I can tell, that might just be the case.  Along with their semi-organized cheer leading section, mostly moms and siblings who cheer and chant the entire game, Red hits teams with a full court diamond press that limits team's ability to get the ball over half court.  I kind of felt sorry for Sean Cook’s Friars squad, as All-Ohio unleashed their pressure on the over matched squad. I finally pulled the plug on the game with the score already at 38-12 in the 3rd quarter. The team has a lot of quality pieces, including good guard play and size in the post.  Remember these names: Jaidon Lipscomp; Jeremiah Francis; Jordan Mitchell; Alvin Byrd and Morgan Safford, all starts for Red, these kids could be part of the next generation of talented players in the area. 

Based on the number of kids I saw this weekend, I feel real good about the rankings I will release some times this week.  I have to be honest with you, based on what I saw this weekend, I will have to make some significant changes to my top player lists.  Also, it will be tough not to include a lot of southern Ohio kids on the lists, as the area has a boat load of talent.  You have to remember, many of these kids have national championships under their belts starting from a very early age, and their play and status in the classes reflects that.  Moreover, central and northern Ohio seems to be a bit down in these classes. To check out the pictures I took at the event, visit the Buckeye Prep Facebook Fan Page.  Don't forget to follow us on Twitter.

Other Players

TC Wells-2016

Kyle Ahrens-2015

Ashon Riggens-2016

Jake Houseman-2016

Javon Cumberland-2015

Trey Pugh-2017

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Division II AAU State Tournament-Day One

This weekend is a big basketball weekend, as there are 3 big tournaments occurring simultaneously between Columbus and Cincinnati.  In Columbus, the division II AAU State tournament is being played at the USA Sports Academy for 2nd thru 8th grades, and in Cincinnati, the Division I state tournament is being held at several locations for the same age groups.  Starting tomorrow, Jerry Watson Super Sixteen tournament tips off at 4 locations around Columbus for grades 8-11.

Tonight, I took in the action at the D-II states and caught a couple of real competitive games.  In the 7th grade division, Columbus’ Team Court Vision defeated Scott Bradley’s New Birth Warriors 62-52.  The star of the game was Ecol Kenwood’s Seth Towns, a 6’4 WF.  Towns is a good looking prospect with good size, he is active, and he handles the ball well enough to push the ball in transition.  Towns Led Court vision with a game-high 18 points.  Right behind Towns was Hayden Audsley (6'6 C) who added 16 points.  For New Birth, Tyrell Carter led with 18 points.

Seth Towns-2016

The best game of the night pitted Cincinnati’s The Family II (8th grade) against the Columbus-based We Got Game Dennis.  The Family features one of the top players in the state in Derrick Long, a 6’1 WG from Schroder MS.  For We Got Game, 5’9 Robert Martin is the man, but his backcourt partner, David Dennis Jr. makes the guard tandem a tough match up. In terms of the game, The Family got off to a hot start and led until late in the 4th quarter.  With 3:35 left in the contest, We Got Game finally took a 1 point lead (48-47) as their pressure caused some problems.  Both teams would take turns playing with the lead, but We Got Game would go on to claim a 57-55 win.  Robert Martin led We Got Game with a team-high 22 points on six treys.  Hilliard’s Malik Bocook (6'3 PF) added 13 points and Davis Dennis Jr. contributed 7. Derrick Long had a monster game with 26 points in a losing effort.

Robert Martin-2015
Buckeye Prep’s 8th grade squad jumped all over the Cincinnati Royals and never took their foot off of the gas.  Buckeye Prep jumped out to a 7-0 lead on the strength of a strong start by Issac Anderson, and finished the quarter at 9-4.  By half time, Prep had extended the lead to 21-11.  Going into the 3rd quarter, Prep turned up the heat, forced several turnovers that led to easy buckets.  Buckeye Prep finished with an impressive 45-25 win.  Issac Anderson was the driving force early, and would go on to lead Prep in scoring with 10 points. Cincinnati’s Logan Brauning (5’11 WF) did the heavy lifting for the Royals, and scored a game-high 15 points.

Issac Anderson-2015

In other action, Humongous Columbus lost a tough one against the Cincinnati Magic (39-35), which was surprising, given the talent on that team. Columbus was led by Quincy Story’s 8 points. On my way out of the gym, I caught the tail end of the New Birth versus Ohio Hoopsters game (5th), and noted the fact that New Birth has a nice collection of young talented players.  New Birth held on to defeat the Hoopsters 39-35.  Paul "PJ" Jones was the leading scorer with 13 points, followed by Seth Goodson (9).  Trey Watkins led the Hoopsters with 12 points.  My sources tell me that 3 of the New Birth kids intend to move to Gahanna to play their high school ball! To see the pictures I took on Friday, visit the Buckeye Prep Facebook Fan Page.  Also, tomorrow I will be covering the D-II state tournament in Cincinnati, and I will finish the marathon weekend with coverage of the Super Sixteen on Sunday.  Finally, some time next I will be releasing my updated top player lists fro 7th & 8th grades, including a top 30 in each class.

Players to Watch

Derrick Long-2014

Tyrell Carter-2016

Jelani Rogers-2016

James Manns II-2015

Friday, May 13, 2011

Ohio's Top 6th Graders (Class of 2017)

Brett Lauf-2017

Below is an initial list of some of the top fifty 6th graders in the state.  As a disclaimer, the list is just an initial draft, and will be updated as I watch kids play throughout the spring and summer.  As you can imagine, there is no way I can catch every kid who might me appropriate for this list, so if you, your son or your player is not listed, it simply means I have not seen him enough at the various tournaments, showcases and camps.  As we move though the summer, I will be adding to the list, while breaking the list down into the top 50, 20 and top 10. Also, I'm hoping to see more of the northern Ohio kids this summer, so if you know of some big tournaments, showcases or camps in that area please email me with the information.

Kobe Vinegar

Some of the players I've seen the most and am most impressed with so far includes Bret Lauf, a young Steve Nash clone from the Toledo area. This kid has special qualities that will continue to keep him among the top players in the state for years to come.  The Dayton Airmen organization has several players who have a chance to be D-I prospects down the road if they keep developing, including: Keegan Saben, L’Christion Smith, Kobe Vinegar, and Torrey Patton.  Add in Dayton's Jacquel Freeman-Parks and Dujuan Ford, and you have a lot of talent in the Dayton area in this class.  Ben Harris out of Springfield needs to be mentioned among the best, as does Hilliard's Trey Pugh.

Top 6th Graders

Torry Patton

Mykel Anderson-College Hill MS Unknown
Devon Baker 5’1 WG Dayton-North Dayton School of Discovery
Jordan Bailey 4'9 PG Springfield-Northridge Elm
Tony Boddie Dayton-5'8 WF Brunner Catholic
Naz Bohannon 5’6 WF Lorain-Longfello MS
Ethan Bradds 6'2 PF Jamestown-MS Unkown
DeMeak Brandon PG Cincinnati MS Unknown
Desean Brooks 5’7 WF Loraine-Longfello MS
Braden Budd WF Hilliard MS Unknown
Zach Carpenter Toledo
Christian Carter Worthington-Worthington Park MS
Evan Clayborne Dayton-Brunner Catholic
Darious Coker 5’6 WF Grove City-Holt Crossing MS
Daniel Davis 5’9 WG Springfield Roosevelt MS
Preston Easnaugle-Grove City MS Unknown
CJ Fleming WF Cincinnati MS Unknown
Dujuan Ford 4’8 PG Englewood-Northmont MS
Jaqual Freeman-Parks 4’7 PG Dayton-Edison MS
Ben Harris 5’6 WG Springfield-Kenwood MS
Jalen Harris Cleveland Heights-Monticello MS
Nathan Hawkins Nashport-Dresden Elm
Logan Hill 6’0 C Massillon MS Unknown
AJ Hughes 5’3 PG Akron-Revere MS
Nick Irwin-Grove City MS Unknown
Chris Jackson 5’4 WG Dayton-Richard Allen MS
Marreon Jackson 5’3 PG Maple Hgts-Dunham MS
Shemari Jamison 5’7 C Dayton-Rosa Park MS
Raymere Jeters-Madisonville-MS Unknown
Houston King Toledo-Ottawa Hill MS
Robert Littlejohn Columbus-Berwick Alternative MS
Brett Lauf 5’0 PG Toledo-Napoleon MS
Marcus “Deuce” Martin 5’5 PG/WG Loraine-Durling MS
Sam Martin Cincinnati MS Unknown
Michael McKay 4'9 PG Springfield-Perrin Woods Elm
Anthony Mills Jr. 5'2 WG Westerville-Blendon MS
Clayton Noogle 5'3 WF Mt. Vernon-Mt. Vernon MS
Anthony Parker 5’1 PG Trotwood-Trotwood MS
Torry Patton 5’4 WG Trotwood-Trotwood MS
Logan Plummer 4'11 PG/WG Belpre-Belpre Elm
Trey Pugh 6’0 C Hilliard-MS Unknown
Trey Releford-Evanston-MS Unknown
Justin Roberts MS Unknown
Keegan Saben-5-8 PG Beavercreek-Ferguson MS
L’Christion Smith 5’9 WF Huber Heights-Weisenborne MS
Arius Spears 5’4 WG Dayton-Englewood Hills MS
Jace Stockwell
Dawson Tillman 5'8 WG Bellefontaine-Bellefontine MS
Kenny Thompson SG Cincinnati-MS Unknown
Rodney Tucker 5’5 PG Canal Winchester-Canal Winchester MS
Kobe Vinegar 5’6 WF Trotwood-Trotwood MS
Shaylin Waugh 5’4 PG Columbus-St. James MS
Kaleb Wesson 5’11 C Westerville-Blendon MS
Jarrius Ward Lima MS Unknown
Brendon White-WF Olentangy MS Unknown
Thomas Williams Lima MS Unknown
Adam Venturella Lima MS Unknown

Note: if anybody has any updated information on any of the above players, please email me the information at Taylorobe@aol.com so I can update my list.  Also, continue to return to this list for updates.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Big Day at Spiece for Ohio Teams

All-Ohio Red U-16 Division Champions

I will start with the bad news. As if playing 4 games on Saturday was not enough, day three at the Bill Hensley Run-N-Slam All-Star Classic is even more demanding, as the competition just keeps getting thicker, not to mention that 3 more games required to win the tournament. All-Ohio Red’s U-17 squad found out just how tough Sunday in Fort Wayne can be, when they ran into a juiced up Indiana Elite/Team Indiana in quarter-final action. So far this spring All-Ohio has been notorious for slow starts. This time, they could not overcome the 20+ point deficit they found themselves in by the end of the first half (42-23 at the half). Indiana Elite came out with all guns a blazing, as they hit Red in the mouth right from the whistle. Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell was the main culprit, as he shredded the All-Ohio defense to the tune of 26 points. Red simply could not keep Ferrell out of the lane, or from scoring off of the high screen and roll. It wasn’t just Ferrell, super athletic Ron Patterson was almost as equally impressive (19 points). Patterson is explosive, strong and can really score the ball. When I say explosive; people are still talking about his “posteration” of Kenny Kaminski! Not only can Patterson score, be he can defend as well.

Despite their slow start, All-Ohio did finally switched gears, and actually cut the lead to single digits late in the 4th quarter. In fact, All-Ohio outscored Elite 24-15 in the 4th quarter. Northland’s Jordan Potts created the initial spark as he attacked the basket and finished or was fouled. Soon after, Terry Rozier joined the party and did pretty much anything he wanted from there. Both Potts and Rozier led All-Ohio with 17 points. However, at the end of the day, All-Ohio had to expend too much energy to get back in the game, they ran out of time, and headed home early with a disappointing 77-66 loss. Kenny Kaminski finished with 13 points and Elijah Macon added 8 markers.

Things did not go much better for All-Ohio Purple, who went down hard against the Michigan Mustangs 60-71 in an elite eight game. Adoplhus Washington was the leading scores, but performance was not enough to get the win. Indiana's DJ Valentine led all scorers with 20 points, followed by J. Hawkins (17) and Butler commit Chris Harrison-Docks (9).

Now for some good news! In the U-16 division, Team CBIZ, All-Ohio Red and All-Ohio Varsity made up 3 of the 4 teams in the final four. Team CBIZ may have pulled of one of the biggest upsets of the weekend with their 47-37 shocker over the Mac Irvin Fire. This game was no fluke; CIBZ simply outplayed Mac Irvin the entire contest. In fact, at halftime, CIBZ was up 22-13, and then would hold off a late-charging Fire team. Evan Bradds logged in another big time performance with a game-high 21 points. In their final four match-up against Meanstreets, another Chicago-based team, Team CBIZ continued their solid play into the first 2 quarters, as they were leading at halftime 26-25. However, Meanstreets would take the lead, and go on to advance to the championship game with a 43-53 win.  Bradds paced CBIZ with 16 points, followed by Toledo St. Johns' Austin Gardner (11) and Bloom Carroll's Isaac McGlone (11).

Evan Bradds-2013

One of the biggest games of the tournament pitted in-state rivals, All-Ohio Red against All-Ohio Varsity. This game represented a rubber match of sorts, as the two teams finsihed 2-2 last year. The match up is so intriguing because Red is supposed to be the top team in the state, with their roster of highly rated prospects; while All-Ohio Varsity is made up of less heralded journey men who have to scrap and claw for everything they get. Propelled by the outstanding play of Westerville North’s Jack Gibbs Jr. (13 points in the 1st half); early in the game it looked like All-Ohio Varsity was on thier way to a defining victory.  However, when Randell Clarkson Jr. was knocked out of the game with a concussion late in the 3rd quarter, and Jack Gibbs Jr. fouled out in with about 3 minuites left in the 4th quarter, Varsity’s fortunes started to turn. Sparked by a scoring barrage by Keon Johnson (16 points), as well as the gritty and physical play of Toledo Whitmer's Nigel Hayes (9 points) and Cincinnati Aikens' Austin Grimes, Ohio Varsity actually held the lead until a Jordan Lauf (9 points) trey with 56 seconds left in the game put them ahead. All-Ohio Red would go on to complete the comeback and advance to the championship game with a 78-72. Jack Gibbs Jr. led all scorers with a gaudy 26 points, including 6 treys, followed by Gahanna's Aaron Jackson (11), Brookhaven's Randall Clarkson Jr. (9), Northland's Jaylen Benton (8), Reynoldsburg's Wendell Davis (6) and Lima Senior's  Deontray Martin (6).

All-Ohio Red would go on to claim the U-16 title with a convincing 81-65 win over Meanstreets. In that game, Ohio State pledge Marc Loving bounced back from a sub par semi-final to finish with an impressive 19-point effort. Nigel Hayes continued his solid play with 16 points.

Marc Loving-2013

In quarter final action, As was the case with All-Ohio’s 17s the night before, George Howard’s All-Ohio Red U-15 squad knocked out another Chicago area team, with a 64-48 beat down to the Mac Irvin Fire. In that Game, Shaker Height freshman Rosel Hurley, a 6’3 WF, had a breakout game, as he dropped 22 big ones on the Fire. This is the first time I really had a chance to see Hurley play, and I left impressed with his athleticism and skill set.

Rosel Hurley-2014

In their semi-final game, All-Ohio Red held off a scrappy Wisconsin Running Rebels team to punch their ticket to the championship game. Although Red enjoyed a comfortable lead early, the Running Rebels fought their way back into the game, and actually had a chance to win it with their last possession. By the time the score board showed zeros, All-Ohio Red was ahead 70-69. The driving force in that win was Louisville, Kentucky’s D’Angleo Russell. Already a nationally ranked PG, Russell has big time potential written all over him. At about 6’3, Russell has good size for his position, is super smooth with the rock, can consistently knock down the trey, and does a great job off ball screens and getting to the cup. Add in a high basketball IQ, and the ability and willingness to find open men; you have a high major prospect. Oh yea, Russell gave the Rebels 26! Dayton Dunbar's William Green added 10 points.

All-Ohio Red-U-15 Division Champions

When All-Ohio Red forfeited their Friday night game due to a lack of players, you could have bet money they would have been heading home early. However, Red more than recovered from Friday night’s set back, and ran the table all the way to the tournament championship, where they got by IBA Select (45-49) in triple overtime to take home the belt. Once again, the standout performance of D’Angleo Russell was the difference. This time, Russell dropped a game-high 25 points to lead his team to the title.

D'Angelo Russell-2014

Congratulations to All-Ohio Red and their two championships on Sunday.  Also, props go out to Ohio Varsity and CBIZ for making deep tournament runs this weekend, and big ups to all of the Ohio-based teams who participated in the Spiece Run-N-Slam Classic this weekend, as you all represented the Buckeye State very well!  To see the pics I took on Sunday, visit the Buckeye Prep Facebook Fan Page.  Also, don't forget to follow us on twitter for up to date information about a whole range of topics.

Spiece Run-N-Slam-Day Two

Early on day two, All-Ohio Red U-17 squad began where they left off Friday night, with a convincing 80-63 win over the Indiana Fire.  Terry Rozier is playing some good ball so far this weekend, and his 17 points paced Red.  Jalen Robinson had another good game off the bench, as evidenced by his 14-point output.  Leroy Alexander has been shooting the cover off the ball, and finished with 14 points. The balance of the scoring included:  Elijah Macon (12), Teddy Hawkins (7), Jordan Potts (5), Kenny Kaminski (5) and Myles Hamilton (4).

In the second game of the day, All-Ohio Red faced off against the Eric Gordon All-Stars, traditionally one of the better programs on the circuit.  Red jumped all over the Indiana-based team with a trapping defense that led to several turnovers. By half time, All-Ohio had ballooned the lead to 42-29. Terry Rozier was smoking hot in the first period with a 20 point outburst.  In the 3rd quarter, Eric Gordon would later make a run of their own and cut the lead to single digits. However, Red would regroup and go on to claim a 80-63 win.

Terry Rozier-Player of the Day

Game 3 on Saturday featured an epic battle between All-Ohio Red and the Mac Irvin Fire, with one of the teams heading home.  Having lost to Mac Irvin at the Swish-N-Dish tourney in Milwaukee earlier in the year, Red had revenge on their minds.  This game was nip and tuck all the way, as neither team would give an inch. By half time, the score was knotted 37-37, and to start the 4th quarter, the game was still tied at 57-57.  The contest went right down to the last possession, but All-Ohio held on to claim the 69-67 victory.   Kenny Kaminski’s 2 free throws with 8 seconds left put All-Ohio up by 2 points and sealed the win. Kaminski led Red with 21 points, followed by Elijah Macon (12), Terry Rozier (10), Jordan Potts, Leroy Alexander and Myles Hamilton who all finished with 8 points.

Kenny Kaminski-Player of the Game

The Spiece Run-N-Slam is always a grind, as teams must play 4 games on Saturday to advance.  In the night cap, All-Ohio matched up with a scrappy Wisconsin DTA.  Although Red got of to a nice start, and was up 20-11 early, DTA came roaring back to make it a close contest.  Despite giving up a comfortable lead, All-Ohio got the 64-61 win and a chance to meet top ranked Indiana Elite/Team Indiana in the elite eight on Sunday morning. All-Ohio enjoyed balanced scoring, with 4 players scoring in double figures. Kenny Kaminski led All-Ohio with 15 points, while Jalen Robinson and Terry Rozier both added 13 points apiece.

OBC (17s) bounced back from a disappointing loss on Friday night by defeating in-state rival Team CBIZ. OBC led for most of the game, and went on to win by 12 points. The second game of the day did not go as well, as OBC would suffer a blowout loss at the hands of Mac Irvin Fire. At the end of the day, OBC could not match the talent level of the Chicago-based Fire, as the team boasts multiple high major players. The leading scorer for OBC was Winston Grays who finished with 18 points, followed by Curtis Oakley’s 14 points .

Ohio Varsity is making another run this weekend.  I caught some of the first half action in their game agianst Indiana Elite. Ohio Varsity started strong and was up as much as 19 points before stalling and letting Indiana Elite back in the game. Westerville North's Jack Gibbs was hot early, as he scored Varsity's first 7 points, but from there, Gahanna's Aaron Jackson took control, and his team-high 12 points propelled Ohio Varsity to a 7 point victory.  Deontrey Martin added 9 points and Gibbs finished with 7 points.
Jack Gibbs-2013

I finally got a chance to see Mike Duncan's U-16 Ohio Basketball Club squad, as the matched up with a very talented Spiece Indy Heat. OBC was up early and controlled the game until late in the 4th quarter.  When Spiece turned up the heat late with a trapping defense, the OBC guards struggled with turnovers. Although OBC had a shot to tie the contest, as they had the ball with 7.7 seconds remaining, they could not convert, and were bounced from the tournamnet with a 66-63 loss. The strength of OBC is the front court of Cleveland St. Joe's Demonte Flannigan and Cincinnati Withrow's Devin Williams, both of whom got busy in post and kept their team in the hunt. Williams finished with a team-high 16 points, followed by Flannigan (15), Tyler Ptacek (13) and Kevin Johnson (10).
Devin Williams-Player of the Game

I was able to catch a couple of Team CBIZ's (2013) games, and I was very impressed the team's patientce and how the they execute thier sets to perfection.  Team CBIZ makes a living by running good stuff, and running their offense until they get a quality shot. Although not blessed with a stable of high major atheletes, CIBZ is led by Jamestown Greenview's Evan Bradds, a skillfull 6'6 PF who is the clear go-to guy on that team.  Early Saturday I caught their game against the Michigan Mustangs, as they cruized to a 57-43 win.  Bradds dropped a game-high 20 points on the game.  Later in the day, Team CIBZ took down a very talented Mo-Kan by a score of 54-53.  Bradds was the team's leading scorer with a team-high 16 points.
Evan Bradds-Player of the Game

As expected with a Spiece tournament, Saturday proved to be a great day of basketaball!  Sunday should feature another day of very competitive play, as some of the top teams in each division have to play three additional games to claim the prize.  To see the pictures I took at the event, visit the Buckeye Prep Facebook Fan Page.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Spiece Run-N-Slam-Day One

The Spiece Run N Slam has always been one of my favorite tournaments on the circuit, because the competition is always top notch, as are the facilities and the exposures opportunities. Just about every top scout in the country is in Fort Wayne, IN. this weekend checking out the action.  In terms of Ohio-based teams, Friday night action was a mixed bag in terms of success.  All-Ohio Red hit the ground running with a relatively easy win over the Caps All-Stars. Leroy Alexander sparked All-Ohio with 5 long range bombs, to the tune of a game-high 19 points.  Medina’s Kenny Kaminski hit 4 treys of his own, finishing with 14 points, while Northland’s Jalen Robinson finally got aggressive and made several big boy moves on his way to a 12 point night.  The rest of the scoring included: Teddy Hawkins (12), Terry Rozier (10), Elijah Macon (9), Myles Hamilton (2) and Jordan Potts (1).

Leroy Alexander-Player of the Game
Orlando Berry’s All-Ohio Purple squad shook off the long ride to Fort Wayne and logged in a 20+ point win over the Spiece Gym Rats-Kindler. The Ohio Basketball Club lost a tough one against a scrappy R.E.A.C.H.  Legends.  OBC, up by as much as 11 points early in the third quarter, clung to a 4 point lead late in the game, but turnovers by the guards led to a disappointing 2 point loss. It should be noted that OBC was without Evan Payne and Shaheed Davis, which made their task a little more difficult.  Although Team CBIZ hung tough with the Mac Irvin Fire through 3 quarters, the Chicago-based team felex their muscles in the 4th period, and went on to claim a 20-point victory.  All-Ohio Red 16s dropped a 5 point loss to TNBA.  According to the coach, the gurad's failue to defend led to the loss. All-Ohio’s U-15 team was a few players short at tip off, leading to a forfeit to Meanstreets-Wilburn . The 8th grade Red squad took care of business with an 8-point victory over Team NLP. Newly acquired MaCio Teague  had a big game, as did Bowling Green’s Lamonte Stone. To see the pictures I took Friday night, visit the Buckeye Prep Facebook Fan Page.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

All-Ohio Finishes Strong on Day Three of EYBL

Day three of the EYBL brought 3 more quality opponents for All-Ohio Red and an opportunity to match their session #1 record of 4-1.  Right out of the gate at 8:00am, All-Ohio matched up with New York's Metro Hawks. Red got out of the gates quickly by scoring on their first 2 possessions, and would carry the momentum for the remainder at the half (27-15). Although the game tightened, All-Ohio held on to get the 62-54 win. Terry Rozier and Elijah Macon paced All-Ohio with 16 points, followed by Leroy Alexander (10), Jordan Potts (7), Kenny Kaminski (7), Teddy Hawkins (4) and Jalen Robinson (2).

Terry Rozier-Player of the Game
Game two pitted All-Ohio Red against Team Final, a U-16 team playing up.  Don't be fooled by their age, Team Final is a solid squad. All-Ohio got off to a solid start and was up 30-20 by half time.  Once again, Red had a let down and allowed Team Final to make a mini run.  However, All-Ohio hit a couple shots, took back the momentum, and went on to win 61-51.Teddy Hawkins was the high man for Red with 13 points, followed by Terry Rozier (10), Leroy Alexander (8) Terry Rozier (7), Jalen Robinson (7), Jordan Potts (7), Elijah Macon (6) and Kenny Kaminski (5).

Teddy Hawkins-Play of the Game
After this weekend, All-Ohio Red is 8-2, and is no worse than 5th in league play.  All-Ohio will back in action this weekend as they travel to Fort Wayne, Indiana for the Spiece Run & Slam tournament.On a side note, the King James Shooting Stars could not get off the snide, as they dropped 2 more games on Sunday.  To see more tournament pictures, visit the Buckeye Prep Facebook Fan Page.  Also, follow Buckeye Prep on Twitter.