Thursday, October 4, 2012

Stock on the Rise

As is the case at every showcase, a few kids come in under the radar, perform above expectations, and raise their stock so to speak. Below I will highlight a few players who did just that with their play at the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase.

I'm not sure anybody burst onto the state and national scene more than North Royalton's Omari Spellman (6'6 PF). As some of you may recall, I featured Spellman in a story I wrote before the showcase.  Although I was not surprised at how well he played, I could not have imagined just how well he would be received by the scouts in attendance.  With his standout performance at the showcase, Spellman not only made a case as the top big man in the state in 2016, he may have played his way into a top 50 spot nationally. With good size, a soft touch, a solid skill set and great shot blocking ability, Spellman's upside appears to be significant.

Carlton Braggs 6'9 PF Clevelamd

Right behind Spellman in terms of raising his stock, was 2015's Carlton Braggs, a 6'9 PF from Cleveland VASJ.  Braggs was a dominate force in the paint the entire weekend and showed a lot of aggression defensively. Long and athletic, Braggs is quick off his feet, and has excellent timing when swatting shots. After last weekend, Braggs has solidified himself as one of the top guys in a nicely stocked 2015 class. I have to give a shout out to Gahannas Javon JB Bess (64 SG/WF) who has continued to develop his game.  Bess has continued to stretch out and his size and ball skills allow him to play multiple positions which makes him a match up problem for guys. Look for Bess to be a key cog for Tony Stiabs Golden Lions this upcoming season.

Seth Towns 6'7 WF Columbus

Northland's Seth Towns really raised his stock after the showcase with his superior play in both the Ohio North vs South and Ohio Michigan challenge games. With a recent growth spurt to about 6'7, Town's length is catching up with his skill set, which now makes him a serious high major prospect. In Saturdays Ohio vs Michigan game Towns went head-to-head with nationally ranked Josh Jackson, and more than held his own. Last weekend, Towns showed the ability to handle the ball on the perimeter and knock down shots when left open.  As Towns gets more physical and tougher, look for his national reputation to expand.

Keith Griffin 5'9 PG Shaker Heights

The battle for the top 2016 PG crown has always been highly contested; but after his breakout performance at the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase, Shaker Height’s Keith Griffin has may have tilted the scale a bit. The 5’9 floor general wowed a lot of folks with his attacking, aggressive and physical brand of basketball. Not only did Griffin haul away a lot hardware over the weekend (i.e., NBC4 All-Skill Team, Most Skilled, Top 20 and MVP), he raised his stock portfolio as much as any kid at the event. Right now, Griffin is a pure scorer who excels at bulling his way to the rack. Griffin refuses to allow his defender to relax on defense by exerting constant pressure when he has the rock. Although he is not a big guard by any measure, he is very effective using his body both offensively and defensively. Griffin possess a superior handle and creativity which helps him get a step on his defender then creates havoc. If I were looking to invest, I would buy stock in Griffin right now!

Nick Ward 6'4 C Gahanna

I liked what I saw and heard about Gahanna's Nick Ward (6'4 C). According to one of the referees, Ward "has some of the best post moves," of any big at the event. Ward continues to slim down, and has some of the best footwork of any big in the class. If Ward can get a few more inches, he has a chance to play the post at a high level. With his MVP performance in the 2016 Ohio vs North game, St. Xaviers Hunter Lampley 60 PG Wyoming) was introduced to a state-wide audience. Lampley has been around for years, but I dont think people really appreciated his game until he logged in a solid performance at the showcase. Columbus James Manns II (65 WF Marion Franklin) made his first trip to the showcase and finished the weekend with a solid showing.

Tommy Schmock 5'7 PG Middleburg

 In terms of the middle school guys, Middleburgs Tommy Schmock (5'7 PG) did as much as anybody to raise his stock. Before the showcase, everybody knew the kid could play, but after his stellar play at the point, Schmock left Columbus as the top floor general at the state. Not only can Schmock shoot the rock, he has a creative handle and a hand full of dribble moves that he uses quite successfully to defeat his defender on a consist basis.  Although there are a couple more quality guards in this class, Schmock appears to be the guy for now.

Jerry Higgins-5'6 PG Wickcliff

While I'm talking about guards, I could not be more impressed with the play Wickcliffs Jerry Higgins. Already considered as one of the elite guards in the class of 2018, Higgins impressed a lot of onlookers at the showcase.  In fact, a coach from one of the top AAU teams in the state thought Higgins "was the best kid I saw all weekend." Every time I had a chance to see Higgins play he was slashing to the bucket and either finishing or getting to the free throw line.  Higgins is a physical guard with a great motor, and he does not mind contact. Higgins had to have made the play of the showcase when he drained a shot while sitting on his butt. Higgins is not the only quality guard in the class, but he has to be considered among the best! 

Dwayne Cohill Jr 5'8 WF Brookpark

Some of the other guys that logged in impressive performances included Cincinnati's Demontez Kane Cooper. He's small, but the kid really impacts a game. One of the things I liked most about his game is the fact he keeps pressure on the defense, and if you let up defensively, he will get in the paint and create a scoring opportunity for somebody. Also, you might want to keep an eye on Brookpark's Dwayne Cohill Jr., a long and athletic wing who has a chance to be one of the top kids in the class by the time it's all said and done. Cohill is a great looking athlete with loads of potential. 

With his MVP performance in the Ohio North vs South game, Springfield's DeShawn Parker muscled his way into the top PG discussion. The 5'4 guard is more of a scorer right now, but that could change down the road when his high school coach determines his role. In addition, Ernest "EJ" Williams had a big weekend as well, and for now, there is nobody bigger or anybody who is as effective guarding the paint.

Kelvin Calhoun II 6'5 C South Euclid

He's a local guys that Ive watched play since the 5th grade, but Gahanna's Seth Goodson really impressed me at the showcase. I know his athleticism will give him options on the gird iron, but the kid could be nice on the hardwood as well if he chooses that path. Although it was his first trip to the showcase, South Euclid's Kelvin Calhoun II (6'5 C) raised his stock over the weekend. At this point, other than Lima's Riley Gough (6'6'C), Calhoun has more size than any big in the class.

Logan Hill 6'4 PF

Jackson Township's Logan Hill lived up to the hype at the showcase. Not only is he described as a nice kid, his game can be described as nice as well. His play in Columbus keeps him in the discussion as top guy in the class along with Jaylen Harris and Tommy Schmock.  I have to mention Sego's Dylan Duplar, who's play over the weekend made him a favorite with the scouting bunch.  Although I did not get a chance to see him in action. several guys I talked to loved the kid. Cincinnati's Matt Sichterman got a bump in his portfolio as well, as the 6'3 PF did some damage over the weekend. Although Sichterman does not possess great size for his position, he brings his lunch pail to work and is very productive around the basket.

Jordan Mitchell

Over the next couple of weeks I will begin to focus a little more attention toward the class of 2019. In terms of the showcase, Gahanna's Jordan Mitchell met expectations, as his performance resulted in an all-star appearance, despite the fact he was playing up against 7th graders. Mitchell has been profiled on this site many times in the past, but he continues to meet the challenge and expand his reputation as a player to watch. Pickeringtoin's Jeremiah Francis, Mitchell's All-Ohio teammate, also played his way into the 6/7th grade all-star game, as did Jaiden Lispscome. I have not devoted much space for this class just yet, but when I start turning my attention to these young guns, look for these guys to be mentioned among the best in their class! 


  1. like my mother always said the cream always rises to the top! congrats to Gene higgins, dwayne cohill, tommy scmhock and Big Cal.

  2. Great article, Rob. What an amazing vehicle that you have created to showcase talent. Thanks for all of your efforts.

  3. Where did the Spellman kid come from? Who does he play for? AAU?

  4. Because of this website, everyone knows so much more about all of the kids in Ohio! Great article.

  5. FYI, I added a paragraph about Keith Griffin above. I can't believe I left him out of the initial article based on his play at the showcase. I also added a couple of pics.

  6. keith is the truth! All the top point guards mentioned 16,17,18 from Cleveland!