Over the next several weeks, Buckeye Prep will be profiling some of the top teams in the state and beyond. In our profiles, we will introduce the players, talk about the history of the team, review their record and get some quotes from the coach about his/her team. For our first profile we will take a look at Leon Ellison's U-14 All-Ohio Elite team.
So far this season, Leon Ellison’s 8th grade All-Ohio Elite (AOE) squad has already enjoyed significant success, as evidenced by their impressive 27-2 record. AOE opened the AAU season with a second place finish in the Nike Grassroots tournament. Two weeks ago, although playing up a grade, AOE finished second in the Buckeye Prep Inviatitional Tournament. Last weekend, Ellison’s team won the 9th grade division of the All-Ohio Nike Cup, and just this past weekend, AOE traveled up to Maryland and defeated All-Ohio Red to claim the U-14 championship of the Big Shots tournament.
Previously known as the Elite Cavaliers, Ellison’s teams have won two AAU National Championships; their most recent of the two came in 2009. Because the team is so talented, their schedule has included play in both U-14 and U-15 divisions. “Anytime we play in the Midwest we will play up,” Ellison said.
All Ohio Elite’s Roster includes: Jarron Cumberland (6'3 SG/S); Kameron Moore (6'5 PF); Chip Sparks (6'6 PF); Kwamaine Watson (6'0 SF); Kobe Brown (6'0 SF); Leon Davis (5'8 SG); Caleb Tregre (5'5 PG); Juwann Lindsey (5'7 combo Guard); Payton Smith (5'3 PG); Carlik Jones (5'3 PG); Damion Blyth (6'0 PF); Micah Blyth (5'4 SG); Royal Thurman (5'3 PG) and Cameron Lewis (5'0 PG).
|Jaron Cumberland-6'3 SG|
Although AOE’s roster is loaded with talent, the clear leader of this team is Jaron Cumberland, a tough as nails SG who is an elite level scorer. Ellison believes Cumberland is “one of the top 25 players in the country” in his class, and we agree with his assessment of Cumberland! Along with Cumberland, “we have solid guard play with Tregre, Jones, Smith, and Lindsey,” said Ellison. “Our perimeter players, Brown, Davis and Watson, have really improved. Kameron Moore has really stepped up and will be one of the top posts in the state. Sparks is really improving by the day and the two of them gives us a strong post presence,” continued Ellison.
According to Ellison, “our guys have really grown both physically and in the skill level.” In comparison to some of the other teams Ellison has coached, “this team is scrappyer, tougher and full of hard core guys,” said Ellison. "We are in the gym 2 or 3 times per week getting better," offered Ellison. All-Ohio Elite will travel to Akron this weekend for the King James tournament. In terms of their biggest competitor, the Cincinnati Lakers should challenge All-Ohio Elite for the state AAU crown. This rivalry has long been one of the most fierce and contentious in Ohio! Look for more team profiles in the coming weeks.