For 4 years now, Victor Dandridge’s central Ohio open gym has become a must attend event for elite, varsity level basketball players in central Ohio. As has been the case for the past few years, the event attracted many talented players who are destine to hoop at the college level. A few weeks ago I asked Dandridge to give me a list of his top 10 performers over the cousre of the fall, but as you will read below, he gave me much more than I asked for. Below you will find specific player evaluations as well as Dandridge's take on the player's potential. Enjoy!
|Wendell Davis-6'3 WF Reynolsburg|
Jaylen Benton of Westerville North can be tremendous. He has ability to score or facilitate scoring and should be a D1 recruit if all of his ducks are in a row. Mark Alstork of Dayton Thurgood Marshall is a consummate competitor. I would like to see him develop even more with his ball handling but he is relentless on the court.
|Armarni Towns-WF Northland|
A few diamonds in the rough are Kenny Robinson of Africentric, Armani Towns of Columbus Northland, Tyler Stern of Worthington Kilbourne and Tyrell Jackson of Dublin Coffman. Robinson is a tough dynamic guard. He is about 6'0 tall and has explosion in his leaping ability. Very strong and physical. He will make a great pg find for some university. I found his mannerism off the court to be something to behold. Great kid very good player. Armani Towns is very similar to Kenny Robinson. At 6'3", he can play on the next level at several positions. Both players must continue to improve their ball handling but they should both play at the next level and get a free education. Tyler Stern is a D1 talent that is just coming into his own. He needs work but if he gets in the right situation then someone will walk away feeling like the hit the lottery. Very athletic 6'7" that has a decent jumper from 17 ft out. Tyrell Jackson will be a name that rings out during the coming season. At 6'2" he makes plays all game long. Takes and makes big shots. Very nice combo guard.
Also would like to mention Adrian Cook of Westerville North. He goes primarily unnoticed due to the fact that he plays alongside two of the best guards in Central Ohio (Jaylen Benton and Jack Gibbs). While Adrian has an unorthodox style of shooting he takes and makes good shots consistently. Very worthy prospect. Other notables are Isaiah Osborne and Christian Cumberlander of Centennial High School. Omar Diop of Columbus South. Brian Marshall of Pickerington Central, John Draper of Columbus Eastmoor Academy, Jett Speelman and Conner Keck of Newark Catholic.
|Shamar Waugh-PG Northland|
In the Junior Class, The two best players of all were Shemar Waugh of Northland and Javon Bess of Gahanna. These two players made major impacts on whichever team they played on. On a weekly basis they did it all. Other notable performers from this year’s junior class: Jalen Tucker of Columbus Northland, Alex Stewart of Westerville North, Joey Schmidts of Bloom Carroll, Derek McKeigthen of Columbus Northland, Manny Powell of Gahanna Lincoln High School and Brandon Manley of Bloom Carroll. If I could take all of these players and have my own AAU team I would be set. They are a great collection of talent.
In the sophomore class, Seth McCoy of Canal Winchester; Tony Anderson of Marion Franklin; and Jae’shon Tate of Pickerington Central were all fantastic performers. Tate may be the best player in the whole class. Two hidden gems are Chiante Palm of Reynoldsburg High and Doug Taylor of Columbus Northland. Palm is a very smooth guard who can light up the scoreboard while taking very few shots. Very consistent and capable shooter. Doug Taylor is a potential nightmare. He is 6'8" and while still learning the game he can be a force on both ends of the court. Continued improvement will have both of these players on many coaches A-list of players. A player to watch is Austin Schaub of New Albany. Austin is a coach on the floor and a deadly shooter. His understanding of the game and his ability to take and make good shots will only cause his stock to continue to rise.
|Seth Towns-6'7 WF Northland|
In the freshman class of 2016 we had a few notable performers. Remember that in order to play at this open gym you must be a varsity player. Look for these players to don Varsity uniforms as freshmen: Seth Towns of Columbus Northland. As good as advertised. Can play inside or out. Already one of the top players on very talented Northland team. I expect Seth to start as a freshman and when all is said and done he may be the most prolific scorer in school history. Seth is 6'7" and skilled well beyond his years.
|James Manns-6'7 WF Marion Franklin|
James Manns of Columbus Marion Franklin. Tremendous player who will get better as he gets stronger. He is quick and versatile. At 6'5" he is a smooth lefty who can get a good shot against anyone. He has nice athleticism and is a consistent worker on the court. One of the top 15 freshman in Ohio for sure. Nick Ward of Gahanna Lincoln. A hardworking undersized 4 who does not know he is undersized. At 6'4" this lefty can challenge anyone in the paint. He uses his body well and is very adept at getting his shots off while be guarded by bigger players. I look for Nick to expand his game and if he gets two more inches in height then look out!!!!!
|Tarik Wright-6'2 SG Walnut Ridge|
Tarik Wright of Walnut Ridge. Do everything guard who at 6'2" plays tough. Can get to the cup and will finish inside against contact. Will be a great addition to the Scotts varsity as a freshman. Houston Smith of Africentric. Houston is 6'3" and a sponge. He takes it all in and then cleans up. He can develop into a very nice wing or if he continues to grow an extremely athletic power forward. I look for him to be a contributor on the Africentric varsity basketballs team run to the Schott.