On Saturday I spent the day at USA Sports Academy in Columbus checking out the young guns at the Nike City Series Championships. For the first time in the 3 year history of the event, Jerry Watson added divisions in grade 4-8th. One of the things I noticed on Saturday was the overall strength of the northeast Ohio. The Cleveland and Akron/Canton regions bought down some really strong teams in most of the divisions. The 6th & 7th grade teams, made up of mostly Murphy AC kids, boasted many of the top kids in their respective classes.
|Logan Hill-6'3 C Jackson Twp|
Although there were a number of young talented kids in the gym., there were certainly a few players who really stood out. Jackson Township’s Logan Hill logged in another solid day of play. The 6’3 post had his way all day and put up big numbers in the games I watched. Although there were a lot of the top 8th graders at the event, Hill was clearly the top representative of the class. Both She’mari Jamison and Jaqual Freeman-Parks represented the class of 2017 and Dayton with impressive performances as well. I got my first real look at Loraine’s Naz Bohannan (6’1 WF) and I liked what I saw. Bohannan has good length, blocks a lot of shots and finishes well close to the bucket. His team was not that talented, but Bohannan was the unmistakable bright spot and should be a good college prospect going forward.
|David "DJ" Dials-5'3 PG Cleveland|
With the Murphy AC kids, some of 2018’s top guys did work at the event. Dwayne Cohill Jr. and Coryon Rice both had big days, as did Juan Elmore, Ty Wiley and PJ Jones. I was really excited to see the new crop of 6th graders and evaluate some kids I had not seen. Of course the top guys like Jeremiah Francis Jr., Jordan Mitchell, Jaiden Lispcome and Gerard Reynolds all performed as expected, but a few less heralded guys had big days. I could not have been more impressed with David “DJ” Dials, 5’3 PG from Cleveland. Dials is a dynamic little guard who has skills and an IQ beyond his years. Watching him play on Saturday, there wasn't really anything he could not do. Dials’ handle is tight and creative, his change of speed is advanced and his shot mechanics look good for a kid his age. Very impressive! Also liked little Tevin Jackson, a 5’3 PG from Maple Heights. Although he is small, the kid is a little pit bull with a serious motor. Don’t leave him open because he will take the deep trey and knock it down more times than not.
|Shamar Marrow-5'9 WF Aurora|
Keep an eye on Shamar Marrow, a 5’9 WF from Aurora. This kid was clearly the top 5th grader in the gym and has a chance to be a star down the road. Morrow, a lefty, has tremendous size and athleticism for his age. The kid runs the floor well and finishes at a high rate. Morrow is not just productive around the cup, but his shot looks good and he defends the paint very well. Not only did Morrow create a buzz in the gym, he has motivated me to track his progress. The kid just looks like a stud, and you could be reading a lot about him on Buckeye Prep over the next few years!
|Seth Wilson-5'2 PG Loraine|
While I’m talking about up and coming young talent, I have to say a few things about Meechie Johnson, a 5th grade floor general from Cleveland Heights. This kid has a crazy handle and a great feel for the game. Also, Johnson has a bag full of dribble moves which he uses very effectively to either score or set up a teammate. This kid is just fun to watch. Keeping it in the family, Sonny Johnson Jr. continues to follow in the family tradition of elite ballers. Another smaller point man, Johnson already possesses the skills and IQ required of an elite PG. The future should be brought for this young guy. I also like Seth Wilson, a 4th grade scoring machine. Someone told me to keep any eye on this kid, and when I did, I saw what makes the kid special, he can get buckets! Some other players to watch include: Chase Wells (8th), Garner Wallace (4th), Jerry Higgins (6th), Yael Hill (7th), Josiah Hitchens (6th), William Henry (7th) and Darius Moss Jr. (6th). Below is a link to the other standout performers on day #1.