Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Buckeye Prep would like to wish everybody  a very happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy spending time with family and friends, as life is truly short!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Central Ohio High School Scrimmage-Misc. Notes

Jalen Robinson, Jordan Potts & Devon Scott

Billed as the 6th Annual Making the Right Call Boys Basketball Scrimmage, the one day event was held at the USA Sports Academy in Columbus, featured 18 teams from central, northern and southern Ohio, and afforded the teams in attendance the opportunity for some great pre-season work. Each team played anywhere from 4 to 9 abbreviated games consisting of 12-minute halves with a running clock. The following teams participated in the event: Thurgood Marshall, Westerville Central, Northland, Columbus Africentric, Eastmoor, Groveport, Bishop Hartley, Toledo Central Catholic, Toledo Rogers, Gahanna, Walnut Ridge, Columbus East, Trotwood Madison, Dayton Meadowdale, Dublin Scioto, Chillicothe, Indian Lake, New Albany and Pickerington Central.

Although I was there for only a short period of time, one thing I noticed was the fact the Northland is good. I know that comes as no surprise to anybody who even remotely follows high school basketball in this state, but seeing the size in the front court and the quality of their guard play just makes me wonder who can beat these guys. Boasting 3 division one players in Jordan Potts (UNC Greensboro), Jalen Robinson (Dayton) and Devon Scott (Dayton), the Vikings are the class of the state in Division I. If that wasn’t enough, Northland brings in first year head coach in Sean Taylor, formally from Columbus Eastmoor Academy, who always seemed to have done more with less. That will no longer be a problem for Taylor, who has always been considered one of the better coaches in central Ohio, as he now has his hands on the wheel of a high octane machine. Look for the Northland program to make big strides this year, and to reach new heights as a program under Taylor's leadership.

Grant Harris, Isaiah Brooks, Adam McCall & Dymeier Finch

I was also really impressed with Columbus Walnut Ridge. Although the Scotts possess good front line size with Malik Dime & Alasane Kah, the pressure their guards bring could be the key to their success, and is going to cause a lot of problems for central Ohio teams. With Grant Harris, Adam McCall, Dymiere Finch and Isaiah Brooks, Walnut Ridge has a lot of depth in the backcourt, and Coach Jason Bates has the flexibility to call in reinforcements to keep up the constant pressure. Throw in 6’3 Roy Alexander on the wing and it is easy to see why Ridge has a chance at a deep run in March.

I saw some good things with Thurgood Marshall. The small but scrappy bunch did better than anybody on Saturday at standing up to the neighborhood (Northland). 6’3 Joe Thomasson is the engine on that team and will be counted on to generate the bulk of Marshall’s offense.

Although Coach Sean Taylor left for richer soil at Northland, the cupboard is far from empty at Eastmoor Academy. Eastmoor has solid guard play with John Draper and Doug Richey, and is blessed with a lot of young talent in Xavier-Holston Sims, Elijah Barbour and Jalon Lewis. With experience, Eastmoor should remain relevant for the next couple of years.

I watched Gahanna play a few games and it was evident that they lack size in the post. In addition, with several new faces in the starting lineup, solid guard play will be important for the Golden Lions if they plan to contend for a league title this season. Junior Aaron Jackson’s play and leadership should dictate the level of success Coach Tony Stiab and his team achieves this season. There was a lot of good basketball on Saturday and I'm already hyped for the season to tip off.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Africentric Middle School Boys Basketball Preview Recap

Seth Towns-6'4 C Columbus was Fantastic!

I spent Friday night checking out the action at the Africentric Early College Middle School Preview.  In terms of the format, the 6th year event featured 12 middle school teams who each played 2, six minute quarters. Unlike the suburban middle schools, Columbus City League middle schools combine 7th and 8th graders, so a majority of the players were 8th graders.

One of the top teams at the event was Ecole Kenwood, and the clear top player was Seth Towns, a 6’4 center from Columbus. I have seen Towns play on several occasions, and in fact, he is listed as one of Buckeye Prep’s top 10 players, but his play on Friday night was eye opening. Towns impacted the game in every category. He scored the ball at all three levels, he rebound, he blocked a ton of shots, he pushed the ball in transition, found open teammates with the pass, and established himself as one of the top players in the state and a potential division athlete. Although Towns is thin, he is long, athletic and agile. If Towns continues to develop he could be special.

James May 5'9 SG Sherwood MS

Towns was not the only player who logged in a solid performance on Friday. Some of the other standouts included: Antwon Vaughn (Champion), Korey Burks (Hilltonia), James May (Sherwood), Osaretin Onaiwue (Sherwood), Azenda Johnson (Sherwood), Dexter Kolawski (Arts Impact), Clevon Beard (Woodward Park), Naquon Haynes (Woodpark), LeRieus Agnew (Westerville Genoa), Ryan Kennedy (Westerville Genoa), Nathan Moore (Berwick), Jalen Spencer (7th grade-Mifflin), Kyree Bell (Africentric) and Keauntay Monie (Africentric).

Preview Team Results:

Champion MS-17 Buckeye MS-14
Echole Kenwood MS-15 Hilltonia MS-10
Sherwood MS-27 Arts Impact MS-22
Westerville Genoa MS-24 Woodward Park MS-13
Mifflin MS-25 Berwick MS-20
Africentric MS-19 Groveport Community School-4

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

More Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase Videos

Below is a link to 2 additional highlight videos from the fall session of the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase. Big ups to Cap City Hoops' Darnell Strickland for hooking up the videos!!.

Hightlight Video #3
Highlight Video #4
Highlight Video #2
Highlight Video #1

Taylor Gets Another 1000

2008 Gahanna Lincoln graduate Robbie Taylor has once again reached a personal basketball milestone. As he did his senior year with the Golden Lions to move up to 3rd on the school’s all-time leading scorers lists, the Mount Vernon senior guard recently scored his 1000th career point. Last night in Richmond, Indiana, against the 21st ranked Indiana University East, Taylor drained a 3-pointer with less than 1 minute left in the contest, and celebrated his 21st birthday with a 21 point outburst and his 1000th career point.

So far this season Taylor is off to a fast start and is averaging a little over 21 points per game. Just this past weekend Taylor was named Tournament MVP of the A+ Auto Brokers Invitational Tournament. In May of this year, Taylor will graduate from the NAIA Division II school with a business finance degree and plans to reside locally. Below is a link to a story about last night’s contest.


Scott Chooses the Flyers

Devon Scott-6'8 C Northland

Earlier this morning, Northland's Devon Scott committed to Archie Miller and the Dayton Flyers. The 6'8 center will join Northland teammate Jalon Robinson in the Flyers' front court next. In an earlier story on Scott's decision we mentioned the fact that Scott was heavily considering Ohio University and Dayton. Congratulations to the UD coaching staff and the Scott family!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Central Ohio 6th Graders Excell

Chase Rankin-5-1 PG Gahanna MS East

On Sunday, I had a chance to check out some of central Ohio’s top 6th graders at the tryout for the 6th grade Buckeye Prep travel team. During the skill sessions and scrimmages, several players caught my eye; so much so, when I release by state-wide top 6th grade list in a few months, these kids are likely to be listed.

Chase Rankin, a 5’1 PG at Gahanna Middle School East, displayed a skill level and basketball IQ beyond his years. Rankin already has decent size for his age, a tight handle, a nice looking shot, and is a willing and able passer. Rankin players hard and he already just seems to understand how the point guard position should be played. Coach Tony Stiab and the Gahanna Lincoln Lions could have another elite floor general heading their way.

Julius Brown-4'10 PG Walnut Springs MS

Julius Brown, Rankin’s likely back court team, only stands 4’10, but this crafty little guard already has a lot of tools in the box. Brown already has the ball on a string and can go to one of several dribble moves to beat his defender. Not only can he get to the cup, Brown’s excellent vision allows him to find open teammates. That’s not all; Brown, who attends Walnut Springs Middle School, can also hit the jumper if left unguarded.

Kristian Pechac-5'4 SF Woodward Park MS

I also plan to keep an eye on Kristian Pechac, a 5’4 SF from Woodward Park Middle School. Although it is far too early to suggest that Pechac will one day earn a “paycheck” playing hoops, it is already safe to say that the kid has talent. Pechac is blessed with good size for his age, is athletic, and already understands how to attack the bucket. Look for Pechac to add some toughness and scoring in the paint for Coach Ed Lyshe’s 6th grade Buckeye Prep squad. I also saw some good things in Remington Martin (5’3 SF New Albany) and Malik Lyshe (4’7 PG Westerville).

Remington Martin-5'3 SF New Albany MS

I know it’s still very early to be talking about kids who will not graduate from high school until 2018; however, Buckeye Prep has been covering middle school aged kids since we started about 10 years ago. So, look for Buckeye Prep at a lot of tournaments this winter, spring and summer as we continue spotlighting Ohio’s top young ballers.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Cleveland Center Drawing Attention

Mark Williams-6'8 C Cleveland Benedictine

Mark Williams, a 6’8 center from Cleveland Benedictine, has seen his recruitment take off over the past several months. We caught up with Williams at the recent City Series event and asked him several questions about his recrutiment. Williams, ranked as the second best center in the state by Prep Spotlight’s John Stovall, reports offers from Indiana, Ohio, Kent State, Robert Morris, George Mason, Central Florida and Akron.  He is also receiving interest from West Virginia, Michigan State, Minnesota, Indiana State, Central Michigan, Virginia Tech, Xavier and Cincinnati. Williams has not yet established a list of favorites, indicating “the process is just so overwhelming. The whole school thing [recruiting] is confusing right now,” said Williams.

So far, Williams has taken unofficial visits to Cincinnati, West Virginia, Indiana and Kent State. He also indicated that he has no plans for additional visits anytime soon. Though only a junior, and with no plans to commit until August of 2012, Williams has already starting zeroing in on what he’s looking for in a college. “I would prefer to stay close to home,” said Williams when asked if distance would play a factor in his decision. Williams is also looking for “a family atmosphere. “I want to be around people I trust,” added Williams.

This past summer was a challenge for Williams as he suffered a stress fracture in his shin and was sidelined for over 2 months. Despite the injury, Williams was still able to play ball, as he ran with TNBA Elite, King James and All-Ohio at the AAU Nationals. Although injured, Williams thought his experience last summer was good, stating, “I grew mentally. The injury was good because it made me love the game even more. It [injury] gave me much needed rest,” said Williams.

Despite a tough loss in the district semi-finals last season, Williams is looking forward to the upcoming high school season, and feels his team has a chance to do some big things this year. “State bound,” Williams proclaimed when asked how well his Benedictine can do this season. “I’m very confident. We have team chemistry and everybody returning. We did not have team chemistry last year,” said Williams. Look for Williams to have a big season this year.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

King Makes the Call

Khalid King-6'3 Guard Brookhaven

Central Ohio basketball can now celebrate another Division I basketball player, as Khalid King, a 6'3 guard from Columbus Brookhaven, has decided to play his college ball at North Carolina A&T. According to his father Jamison, King made his decision yesterday after a telephone call and offer from the head coach Jerry Eaves. King had been receiving interest from Richmond, Florida A&M, Eastern Michigan and St. Francis PA. North Carolina A&T is a member of the MEAC conference. King was impressed with the school after an unofficial visit to the campus on the school's homecoming weekend in mid October.  Congrats to the North Carolina A&T coaching staff and the King family.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Buckeye Prep 2012 6th Grade Team Tryouts

Buckeye Prep will be holding tryouts for the 2012 6th grade boys travel basketball team from 1:00-3:00pm on Sunday November 6th at Columbus’ Mifflin HS, located at 3000 Agler Rd. For more information contact Coach Ed Lyshe at 614-746-5537 or email him at

All-Ohio City Series-Senior Division Recap

 Billed as the “Battle of the Cities,” the 3rd year All-Ohio Nike City Series was just that, a battle from the opening tip on Saturday until the whistle blew on Sunday afternoon.  The 2-day event featured approximately 60 kids in each of the 4 high school-aged divisions.  Each division was made up of teams from Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dayton, Akron and Toledo.  What has continued to make this event a success is the level of talent it attracts, and the fact that the kids compete hard to represent their respective cities.  This year, the competition seemed extra fierce and drama filled as players, parents and coaches were determined to make statements. As always, the event provided opportunities for kids to begin preparing for the upcoming high school season while gaining more exposure.

Although Columbus teams did not pull off a sweep in all 4 divisions as they did last year, they came close, winning 3 out of 4 divisions, including the 10th thru 12th grades.  In the senior division, Columbus faced off against Cincinnati in the championship game.  Having just playing Cincinnati in a very contentious 12-minute challenge game (which was called off 4 munites into the game), both teams had something to prove.   Although the game was close early, Columbus’ superior talent eventually wore Cincinnati down, and they went on to claim a 76-62 victory.

Rasheed Brooks-Senior Division MVP

The Columbus roster included: Isiah Rogers (Westerville South), Grant Harris (Walnut Ridge), Caris Lavert (Pickerington Central), AJ Ireland (Bloom Carroll), Rasheed Brooks (Lexington), Matt Rhodes (Westerville North), Alasane Kah (Walnut Ridge), Jalon Robinson (Northland), Devin Scott (Northland) and Malik London (Chillicothe). The Cincinnati Roster included: Jamaine Freeman (Taft), Max Hassel (Clark), Malcolm Smith (Princeton), Lionel Hill (Western Hill), Paul Woodson (Aiken), Chris Connell (Woodward), Willie Moore (Aiken), Geovonie McKnight (Middletown), Mark Minch (Lakota East) and Rozzelle Nix (Withrow).

Each of the coaches chose 4 players to represent their teams as all-stars. The list of senior all-stars included: Isiah Rogers, Jalon Robinson, Devin Scott, Malik London, James Brown Jr., Tyler White, Jacob Rossi, Justin Rossi, Bobby Conley, Ron Miller, DJ Blanks, Bryson Smith, Carter Smith, Matt Kurelic, Khalid King, Terry Hopewell, Willie Moore, Geovonie McKnight, Mark Minch, Rozelle Nix, Devin Carter, Desmond Ridenour, Tyree Gaiter and Curtis Oakley

The 6-player All-Tournament Team included: Caress Levert, Matt Rhodes, Devin Scott, Rasheed Brooks (MVP), Jamaine Freeman and Geovonie McKnight.  It should be noted; the MVP and All-Tournament Team selections were based on all-star game performances, and do not necessarily reflect who the top performers were throughout the 2-day event. Therefore, I have put together my on list of players who I felt logged in outstanding performances over the course of the weekend (see link below).

Jalon Robinson-6'8 Dayton Commit

I have to mention the play of Jalon Robinson (6'8 Northland) and Isiah Rogers (5'8 PG Westerville South).  Robinson put together a great weekend and did the bulk of the scoring in the paint for Team Columbus, while Isiah Rogers handled the PG spot as well as any guard in the division.  Not only did Rogers score the ball, he consistently found a wide open Matt Rhodes and Caris Levert on the perimeter all weekend.  Both Levert and Rhodes took turns knocking down treys, while Chillicothie's Malik London patrolled the paint defensively and threw down a handful of nasty dunks.  It should be noted that Western Hills' Lionel Hill had a monster all-star game, scoring a team-high 20 points, while Brush's Curtis Oakley started Saturday's action on fire and continued his solid play through out the weekend. I had a chance to see John Hay's Devon Carter for the first time and I left impressed with his ability to knock down shots. Trotwood Madison's James Brown Jr., Massillon Washington's Bobby Conley and Withrow's Rozelle Nix all caught my eye this weekend.

Other Standouts

All-Ohio City Series-Junior Division Recap

In the junior division, Columbus outlasted a scrappy Toledo squad to claim the junior division championship 82-77. The Columbus roster included: Keon Johnson (Mansfield), Randal Clarkson (Brookhaven), Jack Gibbs (Westerville North), Isaac McGlone (Bloom Carroll), Wendell Davis (Reynoldsburg), Brandon Bapst (Grove City), Kevin Marsh (Dublin Coffman), Tre Fletcher (Ironton), Aaron Jackson (Gahanna Lincoln) and Ellis Williams. The Toledo roster included: Austin Gardner (Toledo St. Johns), TJ Umar, Dan Aaronowitz (Columbus), Darryl Levert (Pickerington Central), Adrian Cook (Westerville North), Devin Price (Pickerington North) and Evan Gardner.

Junior Division All-Stars

The junior division all-star selections included: Jack Gibbs, Wendell Davis, Aaron Jackson, Ellis Williams, Zach Denny, Jaaron Simmons, Jamar Hammonds, Damarion Geter, Armand Fontes, Kyle Deckard, Miles Griffin, Caleb Kleibscheidel, Austin Gardner, Darryl Levert, Vitto Brown, Adrian Cook, Will Clifton, Corey Wise, Kevin Johnson, Devin Williams, Tony Farmer, Kash Blackwell and Maurice O’Fields. The All-Tournament Team included: Jack Gibbs, Randal Clarkson Jr., Wendell Davis, Ellis Williams, Austin Gardner and Vito Brown.  

Jack Gibbs-Junior Division MVP

Although the official all-star list is outlined above, I wanted to take a few minutes to highlight a few other players who left an impression on me this past weekend.  Of course Westerville North’s Jack Gibbs was his usual dominate self, and his supporting cast of Aaron Jackson, Randal Clarkson and Keon Johnson did what they were supposed to do to help bring home the gold, I was really impressed with some of the kids on the Toledo team. Although the team was pieced together at the last minute, coach Randy Gardner really got those guys to play hard and to play team basketball.  I have seen Austin Gardner (6’0 PG) play numerous times since he was in elementary school, but I have to say, the kid played his butt off this past weekend.  Always under extreme pressure, Gardner found away to control tempo, find open teammates and score.  I always knew he could play, but he really put it all together this weekend.

Austin Gardner- 6'0 PG Toledo St. Johns

I can say the basically same thing about Westerville North’s Adrian Cook (5’9 PG).  Although he plays in the shadows of Gibbs and Matt Rhodes; Cook showed he has some game as well. I was most surprised with Cook’s ability to score the ball, as he was the team’s leading scorer.  Cook also did a great job of running the point and distributing the rock.  I had not seen Bowling Green’s Veto Brown, but the 6’8 center stepped of defensively against some pretty good talent this weekend and more than held his own.  Brown has a solid frame, is a solid defender in the post, runs the floor well and has a nice touch around the basket. Throw in Devon Price, a 6’2 guard from Pickerington North who was a great compliment to the above players and added another scoring weapon, and you can begin to see why this team made an improbable run to the championship game.

Mark Williams-6'8 C Benedictine

Toledo and Columbus were not the only teams with talent; in fact, Cleveland came to town with a trio of players who really put in work. Mark Williams (6’8 C Benedictine), Maurice O’Fields (6’5 wing) and Richard Parker (6’1 PG) all logged in impressive performances.  I also like Trotwood Madison’s Jamar Hammonds, a 6’5 wing with ample length and athleticism, and Cincinnati’s Kevin Johnson and Austin Grimes

Other Standouts

All-Ohio City Series Sophomore Division Recap

In the junior division, Columbus easily got by Cincinnati for an 82-56 win. The Columbus roster included: Joey Schmitz (Bloom Carroll), Shemar Waugh (Canal Winchester), Dymier Finch (Walnut Ridge), Ronnie Williams (Brookhaven), Nate Jameson (Northland), Jon Elmore (South Charleston W.Va), Eric James (Westerville Central), Jae’son Tate (Pickerington Central), Jaylen Tucker (Northland) and Seth Anderson (Teays Valley).  The Cincinnati roster included: Larry Moore (Withrow), Kiere Bennie (Colerain), Jeff Larken (LaSalle), Martin Jones (Winton Woods), David Mitchell (Hughes), Tyonte Robertson (Withrow), Latrell Tidwell (North College Hill), Adam Gigax (Moeller) and Blake Simpson (Moeller).

The sophomore division all-star selections included: Dymiere Finch, Ronnie Williams, Jae’son Tate, Jaylen Tucker, Robert Caldwell, Cameron Taylor, JeMichael Blanton, Dezhante Bennet, Spencer Williams, Marco Columbo, Evan Bailey, Victor Dorsey, Lamonte Stone, Ben Haraway, Mike Mitchell, Jeff Larkin, Martin Jones, Tyonte Robertson, Adam Gigax, John Davis, Ryan Budowski, Isaiah Walton and Rosel Hurley. The All-Tournament Team included: Jae’son Tate (MVP), Nate Jameson, Jon Elmore, Joey Schmitz, Jeff Larkin, and Martin Jones.

Jea'son Tate-Sophomore MVP

For the second consecutive weekend Pickerington Central’s Jae’son Tate logged in a dominate performance.  As he did last weekend in the local event, Tate left everything on the court, and his productivity propelled his Columbus squad to the championship. I have to give a shout out to Nate Jameson, a 6’3 guard from Northland, who has continued to develop his game.  Like others, I have seen Jameson play for a number of years and it was clear from his play that his production is starting to catch up to his potential. Westerville central’s Eric James had another good weekend and has officially become one of the hottest players in central Ohio this fall.

Jeff Larkin-5'11 G LaSalle

Some of the other sophomore standouts included Dezhante Bennet (6’2 Trotwood Madison), Robert Caldwell (5’8 Stivers), Spencer Williams (6’3 Orange), Evan Bailey (6'5 Massillon Jackson), Mike Mitchell (6’4 Norwalk), Steve Carpenter (6'3 Fairfield Christian), John Davis (5’10 Beachwood), Larry Moore (6’0 Withrow), Martin Jones (6’3 Winton Woods), Jeff Larkin (5’11 LaSalle) and Adam Gigax (6'6 Moeller).

Other Standouts

All-Ohio City Series Freshman Division Recap

The freshman division featured a battle of northeast Ohio teams, as a loaded Cleveland squad finished with a 65-54 win over Team Akron, area bragging rights and a championship. The Cleveland roster included: Kyle Stergis (Garfield Heights), Brandon Peters (Bedford), Jamie Bloxson Jr. (Berea), Darien Knowles (Amhurst), Kaleb Roy (CCC), Brian Parker (VASJ), Antwan Lillard (CCC), Devon Andrews (Lorain), Esa Ahmed (Shaker Heights) and Derek Pardon (VASJ).

Freshmen Division All-Stars

The freshman division all-star selections included: Xavier Holston-Simms, Seth McCoy, Jaquan Harrison, Michael Simon, Grant Zawadski, Andre Foster, Chris Landrum, Ahmed Wagner, Nick Miller, Austin Marciniak, Josh Williams, Brogan Scott, Bakari Evelyn, Katwan Singleton, Josh Jackson (8th MI), Kheir Maxwell, Jordan Bailey, Robert Tubbs, Germaine Britten, Seth Orlemann, Jamie Bloxson Jr., Brian Parker, Devon Andrews and Esa Ahmed. The All-Tournament Team included: Esa Ahmed (MVP), Brian Parker, Kaleb Roy, Devon Andrews, Brogan Scott and Josh Williams.

Esa Ahmed-Freshmen Division MVP

The consensus top player in the freshman division was Esa Ahmed, a 6’5 C from Shaker Heights.  Ahmed has consistently shined in every event we have covered this year.  Ahmed’s size, agility and ability to score around the bucket set him apart from other post players in the state. Add to that the fact he is now trying to dunk everything he can get his hands on, Ahmed is getting even more difficult to defend. I have to say a few words about Josh Jackson, a 6’6 swingman from Detroit.  With his length, the 8th grader has the ability to excel at multiple positions.  Already blessed with size and a solid handle, the bouncy athlete is a consistent jump shot away from the big time.

Josh Jackson-8th Grader Detroit, MI

I had a chance to watch Ahmed Wagner closely for the first time this weekend and I really liked what I saw. The 6’3 wing from Wayne is strong, has a solid frame and can score with the best of them. We don’t get a chance to cover many northeast Ohio guys, but Medina Highland’s Brogan Scott (6’4 wing) and Green’s Austin Marciniak (6'2 WF) are a pair to keep an eye on.  Although Scott scored a little closer to the bucket, Marciniak was dropping 3-point bombs from deep all weekend long. Other freshmen standouts included: Jordan Bradley (5’6 Princeton), Antwan Lillard (6’2 CCC), Seth McCoy (6’0 Canal Winchester), Tony Anderson (6’6 Marion Franklin), Andre Foster (6’2 Trotwood Madison) and Brian Parker (6’1 VASJ).  

Other Standouts