|8th Grade Top 5 Finsihers|
In terms of competition, the 8th grade division of the 2012 Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase was top dog. Also, at least in Ohio, the 2016 class is shaping up to be one of the best classes in many years. The class already has a few quality guards and bigs with long term potential, but what makes this class so special is the depth. All of those elements were in place on Sunday. Not only were there a number of elite guards, there were quality wings and bigs in the house as well. According to some people, the top of the 2016 class in Ohio may warrant a national level ranking.
|Derek Funderburk-6'6 SG/WF Bedford Heights|
Since I started with the guards with my last story, I will kick this piece off with the bigs. The biggest kid in the gym was Derek Funderburk, a long 6’7 swing man from Cleveland. Funderburk is a serious competitor who fights for every rebound and is all about getting his team the W. Also, Funderburk possess a solid handle for his size, and he can knock down the 15 foot jumper. Although he is not an extreme athlete and this point, nor does he block a lot of shots, he may have has the skills to play a stretch 4 at the next level, and his upside potential is significant. If Funderburk continues to develop, I think it’s high likely he will be playing high major college basketball in a few years. Oh yea, his coach said the kid has a good attitude. For all you players reading this write-up, people recognize what type of attitude you display, they communicate that to coaches, and it matters!!
|Derek Daniels-6-6 C Dayton|
Although he is not quite as tall as Funderburk, Dayton’s Derek Daniels, an athletic 6’6 center, had a monster day on Sunday. At this point in his development, the best part of Daniels game is his athleticism and his ability to block shots and rebound. Not only does Daniels defend the paint well, he has a couple of offensive moves that he uses to score. Daniels plays hard, and if he can continue to refine his jump shot and tighten up his handle, there is no reason this kid shouldn’t be playing D-I basketball down the raod. As proof of his athleticism, check out the Ty Kish highlight video. Before we move onto the point guards, I need to acknowledge the play of Lima’s Ruben Flowers who logged in a good camp, as did Andrew Homer, Terrance Landers, Ryan Custenborder, Jalen Thomas, William Maynus II and Teddy Hughes.
|Xavier Simpson-5'7 PG Lima|
As I mentioned earlier, the point guard play was impressive on Sunday. Arguably the top 2 PGs in the class were in the gym staking their claim to the top spot. For the sake of this story, I will start with the 8th grade MVP, Lima’s Xavier Simpson. Simpson is a veteran of our showcases and his consistency has been unmatched. Once again he showed poised, a high basketball IQ and the ability to excel at the lead guard spot. Because he has competed so long at a high level, Simpson knows how to play the game. Needless to say he has all the skills necessary to play division one basketball, including great ball skills, solid vision and passing skills, and the ability to create space for a shot. He is not just offensively gifted, he is a great defender.
|Rodrick Caldwell-5'8 PG Dayton|
Like Simpson, Rodrick Caldwell has participated in numerous Buckeye Prep Elite Showcases and every time he has participated he has not only excelled, but has found a way to take home some hardware. Caldwell is super crafty floor general who does a great job with tricking his defender to create space for a solid jumper. What I like most about Caldwell’s game is his ability to run a team, and to get his teammates involved in the game. In addition, the kid never panics, and despite the fact he is almost always the best player on the court, he is unselfish and handles himself well. Caldwell is a good defender as well, and he seems to be a charter kid with a solid head on his shoulders.
|Jalani Roger-5'6 PG Westerville|
Make no mistake, I’ve talked a lot about Simpson and Caldwell, but there were a number of outstanding guards at the event. Westerville’s Jalani Rogers had another nice showcase. The best part of Roger’s game right now is his creative handle and his ability to find his teammates with pin point passes. Not only can he dribble and pass, Rogers and can also knock down the jumper if given space. As Rogers continues to gain strength, his place among the elite guards in this class will be solidified. Some of the other standout lead men included Dayton’s DJ Hoskins who shows a lot of promise. I saw Hoskins several weeks ago and was very impressed with his game. His showcase coach was obviously impressed as well as he ranked Hoskins as the number 1 player on his team.
|Anthony Christian-6'2 SG/WF Akron|
Although he is not a point guard, I have to show some love for Anthony Christian. Thou he started a little slow early in the showcase, and struggled with finishing, he was still able to demonstrate big time potential. In fact, as he did when he last attended our showcase, Christian performed at a high enough level to make the all-star game, and to make the Top 5 cut. Hopefully this kid continues to work hard to develop his game, because all of the tools are in place for him to play college basketball.
|Ryan Custenborder-6'2 PF West Carrollton|
Of course I already featured Indiana’s Chris Hedgepeth in an earlier piece, but I have to also show a little love for Dayton’s Terrance Landers who more than confirmed the reports I had received indicating the kid could play. I like the kid’s athleticism, and as his skill level catches up, watch out for this kid. Landers parlayed a good all-star game performance into a Top 5 award. Add Ryan Custenborder’s name to the list of standout performers, as he too, got it done in the all-star game on his way to Top 5 honors.
|Terrance Landers Jr.-6'2 WF Dayton|
I could not close out this piece without talking a little about Lima’s Trey Cobb and Cincinnati’s Jeremy Larkin, both of who are considered among the best in their class, and both of whom played well on Sunday. Larkin would go on to make the all-star game, while Cobb barley missed the cut. Although he did not get the All-star game nod, most people in attendance felt that Cobb played at an all-star level.
|Andrew Homer-6'3 WF Loveland|
Other Players to watch: Trey Landers, Henry Badley, Jakob Prall, Justin Sylver, Corde Kyles, Messiah DeWeaver, Levi Ethridge, Nathan Shirley, Clay Guillozet, Mitch Peterson, Henry and Darious Dunson.
All-Defensive Team: Rueban Flowers, David Barnett, Xavier Simpson, Jalen Thomas, Keith Smith II and Corde Kyles.
All-Hustle Team: Rodrick Caldwell, Nickolas Reissland, Joey Denny, Yerusalem Hill, Teddy Highes, Larnell Neeley, Cameron Glover and Sevann Williams.
J.J. Huddle Article