|All-Ohio Red Captures 1st Title|
On Sunday, I had the opportunity to catch some of the action at the Ohio Hoopsters Holiday Classic in Reynoldsburg. As expected, Demarko Bradley’s super team, All-Ohio Red (AOR), ran through the 6th grade division with little resistance. As most of you have heard by now, AOR is made up of kids from last year’s All-Ohio Purple and All-Ohio Red teams; two of the top 2019 teams in the country.
On Sunday, on their way to the championship, All-Ohio destroyed the Mansfield Cavs 92-24, and then followed that up with a 73-15 blowout victory over RNB, followed by a smack down the Ohio Hoopsters 93-31 to claim their first title as a complete team. In each of those victories, AOR’s trapping defenses, length, and overall skill level was simply too much for their grossly overmatched opponents.
In the championship, Gahanna’s Jordan Mitchell dominated early with easy buckets in the paint. Off the bench, Jaiden Lipscomb got hot from the perimeter, and had to have dropped close to 20 points. After watching them play on multiple occasions, I still believe Mitchell has the most upside potential of any 2019 kid in the state, while Lipscome has to be the top shooter and most prolific scorer in Ohio. In addition, anytime you have a nick name like “Grown Man” as a 6th grader you have to be pretty good. Cincinnati’s Chris’Sean Stringer is a man child who possesses a good combination of size, athleticism and skill. Right now, Stringer can legitimately play all 5 positions well. His versatility allows Bradley a number of personnel options.
|Chris'Sean Stringer- "Grown Man"|
I still continue to be impressed with the footwork and developing skill set of Gerard Reynolds. Although he will surely face much bigger and more athletic players on the national circuit, Reynolds’ strength, toughness and skill will allow him to compete in the post. Pickerington’s Jerome Francis III can dominate games when he is fresh. At the guard position, Francis is a load to defend, and defensively, he difficult to get around. Greg Tribble Jr. and DeMarko Bradley Jr. are smaller guards who bring speed, quickness and toughness to the backcourt. I have not seen much of him, but Chris Payne appears to be another key piece to the AOR puzzle. Payne has good size, athleticism, and he rebounds and defends well. Malachi Matthews is another shooter off the bench while Morgan Stafford and Alvin Byrd Jr. add more quality depth to the squad.
|Jerome Francis III-Pickerington|
Watching this team for the first time I was left with several observations. First, this team is deep, and can come off the bench with players who can, and have, started on other teams. Also, this team has a lot of length and versatility at multiple positions. With Jordan Mitchell, Chris’Sean Stringer, Chris Payne and Jerome Francis III at the front of a full court trap, it’s extremely difficult for opposing teams to advance the ball up court. On Sunday, AOR fed off easy transition points after their full and half court presses forced numerous turnovers. What’s even more impressive is the fact that AOR did so much damage without 2 key players, as DeMarko Bradley Jr. and Omari Davis were both sidelined with injuries. Finally, AOR is well coached, as Bradley’s high energy has his team executing multiple offensive and defensive sets and playing unselfish, team-oriented basketball.
All-Ohio’s complete roster includes: DeMarko Bradley Jr., Greg Trimble Jr., Jerome Francis III, Jaiden Lipscomb, Chris Payne, Jordan Mitchell, Chris’Sean Stringer, Chris Payne, Garrard Reynolds, Omari Davis, Morgan Stafford and Alvin Byrd Jr. Many of AOR’s players are included on Buckeye Prep’s 2019 Watch List.
From what I saw yesterday, All-Ohio is going to have to be creative in order to find way to play more competitive teams. It’s simply unfair, and unwise for this team to play local talent in their age group. This team is constructed to win a national championship, and from what I saw, there is no reason that should not happen.
Getting back to the tournament, Indiana Elite defeated the Ohio Hoopsters to claim the 3rd grade division title, while the 5th grade Indiana Hoosiers downed the Mid-Ohio Pumas 44-37 to claim the 5th grade crown. There was not 4th grade division in the tournament. Some of the other standout performers included 6th graders Gavin Baker and Treohn Watkins, both from the Ohio Hoopsters.