Wednesday, August 29, 2012

NBC4 Added as Sponsor for Elite Showcase

We are happy to announce that NBC4 will serve as a Gold Sponsor for the upcoming Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase. As part of the sponsorship package, NBC4 will serve as the event’s media partner, and will provide on site coverage throughout the event. In addition, NBC4 will be providing event promos in advance of the event and will air stories on their nightly newscasts and website. Finally, NBC4 will be sponsoring the “NBC4 All-Skill Team,” awards which will be presented to 10 of the most skilled players as identified during the skills and drills component of the showcase on Saturday evening. With the addition of NBC4 as a media partner, the level of exposure generated by the event will be significantly enhanced. Stay tuned for future announcements about the event.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Ohio Players Shine at Midwest Camp

According to my sources, a number of Ohio’s top players made the trek over to Indianapolis this weekend to participate in Jr Prep Hoop’s 1st ever Midwest 2016 Showcase. Approximately 70 players participated in the 2-day event which included skill workouts by Lima’s Quincy Simpson, guest speakers, 3-point and dunk contests and league and all-star games.  The camp culminated in Top 20 and Top 40 all-star games on Sunday afternoon.

On Saturday, Dunk Dog’s Spencer Pulliam selected ten players he thought performed the best on day one, and 4 Buckeyes made the cut, including: Derick Daniels (#2); Seth Towns (#4); Derek Funderburk (#6); and Xavier Simpson (#7).  The rest of the 1st day standouts included: Josh Jackson (#1-MI); Cassius Winston (#3-MI); Reggie Jones (#5-IN); Kyle Woodruff (#8-MI); Hunter Christ (#9-IN); and Erin Gordon (#10-IN).    

In addition to the above standouts, several other Ohio kids played their way into either the Top 20 or Top 40 all-star game.  Those players included all of the players previously listed, plus Trey Cobb, Rodrick Caldwell, Trey Smith, Dantez Walton, DJ Hoskins and Matt Moyer. Congratulations to Chad Weaver for pulling together a quality event. For the record, Michigan’s Josh Jackson won the slam dunk contest and was chosen as the Top Performer at the event, and according to some in attendance, Jackson's performance over the weekend solidified him as a top 5 player nationally.  Finally, you can catch Jackson and most of the other top players at the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase on September 22nd and 23rd here in Columbus. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

2012 Buckeye Prep All-State Teams (2018)

Below is a link to my 2012 Buckeye Prep All-State Teams for the class of 2018.  As was the case with the 2016 and 2017 lists, the names appearing on the list represent the most consistent performers this past summer.  The list is not meant to be "rankings" per se, but rather a snapshot of performance. It's important to note that I spoke with several people who know the kids in this class before publishing the list. Also, because several kids were very close in terms of performance and talent, I was forced to make a couple of close calls on the various teams, but that's the nature of the beast. No disrespect was intended, so if a kid was missed or underrepresented, they should use that as motivation to keep working on their game. Because many of the players listed will be participating in the upcoming Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase, we all will be able to see the players compete head-to-head, and maybe then, we can better determine who the better kids are. Finally, please feel free to post your comments (nothing crazy) about the list.  Enjoy!

2012 Buckeye Prep All-State Teams (2018)

NCAA Considering Plan to Allow Coaches to Contact 8th Graders

Below is a link to a story on that talks about potential NCAA rule changes that will once again allow college coaches to formally contact kids while they are in the 8th grade.  What's most important in the article is why the NCAA is looking to allow this early contact when they have legislated against the practice for years.

Because of the higher NCAA qualification standards, college coaches are "panicking" about their ability to find enough qualified students to fill their rosters.  By reaching out to players at an early age, college coaches hope to educate young prospects about the standards, and the need for them to take their education seriously. This is another warning to young players, parents and coaches that any desire to play D-I basketball must be matched by a desire for good grades.  Please help me take the message from this website to the homes and gyms across the state!

CBS Sports Story

Wednesday, August 15, 2012 to Cover Elite Showcase

As has been announced, will be covering the Fall Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase. In addition to creating some of the best highlight videos in the business, including player interviews and other special features, Court Cred will be streaming some of the Ohio North vs South  games and the Ohio vs Michigan challenge games live on their website. This will allow college coaches and other scouting services to order and view the games. The level of exposure Court Cred can provide is significant! Click on the above link and check out the Courtcred website and take a look at the quality of their work.

Recent Courtcred Videos

Monday, August 13, 2012

Central Ohio Open Gym Returns

Week #1 Group Picture

I stopped by Victor Dandrige's open gym for about an hour yesterday, and as usual, there was a gym full of ballers working hard preparing for the upcoming school season. The weekly event is still being held at the USA Sports Academy and will continue to host many of the top varsity level players in central Ohio and beyond. Although it was only the first week of the annual event, about 60 players were in the house.  What's nice about the event is the fact that the top high school guys get a chance to compete against college-bound and current college level players. On Sunday, kids like Stevie Taylor (OU), Devon Scott (Dayton) and Jalon Robinson (Dayton) gave the younger guys somebody to go at in an effort to hone their skill and make a little name for themselves.

Trey Miller, Jalen Tucker, Shamar Waugh, Seth Towns & Wendall Davis

Yesterday, the best team in the gym went 5-0, and was made up of Shamar Waugh (Northland), Trey Miller (New Albany), Wendell Davis (Reynoldsburgh), Jalen Tucker (Northland) and Seth Towns (Northland). While some teams relaxed on defense, was content on going 1 on 5 with limited passing, this team used fundamentals, team work and execution to get the job down. Of course Davis almost always shines at events like this and Seth Towns has emerged as one of the top freshmen in his class, but guys like Shamar Waugh ran the point efficiently and Trey Miller shot the cover off the ball both off the bounce and catch and shoot, mostly off of curl cuts and down screens.  Some of the other kids who caught my eye included Nate Axalrod (soph-Dublin Coffman), Randall Clarkson Jr. (Sr.-Brookhaven) and Elijah Macon (Prep School). Oh yea, Ty Kish was in the, we may be treated to a highlight tape!!

Buckeye Prep Talks NE Ohio Bball on Radio Show

For our northeast Ohio basketball fans, tomorrow at 4:30 PM, I (Rob Taylor) will be the guest on the Big Time Sports Show broadcast on Fox Sports Radio 1350 am in the Akron/Canton area.  During the show, I will be discussing the young up and coming players in northeast Ohio.  In addition, I will be talking about the upcoming Buckeye Prep Elite showcase.  If you have a chance, please tune into the show and hear my ideas about which NE Ohio kids have a chance at future stardom. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

2012 Buckeye Prep All-State Team (2017)

Below is a link to my 2012 Buckeye Prep All-State teams for the class of 2017. The first list generated a little debate, and I assume this list will do the same. Please feel free to add your comments below.

2012 Buckeye Prep All-State Team (2017)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase Update

Below is an email I sent out this morning.  Please read and respond accordingly.

Parents & Coaches,

Below is a link to my preliminary commitment list and showcase updates.  As it reflects, there are only 3 more spots available until the event is sold out. If every person on the list was paid in full, there would only be those few spots available. However, everybody has not paid or sent in their registration forms. At this point, I'm preparing to put together the final showcase rosters and order jerseys. I can not place a player on a roster or order a jersey for any player who has not paid the registration fee and sent in the forms, nor can I hold a spot if the fees have not been paid.  Although a players name may appear on the initial commitment list, that does not hold a spot, and they will not be placed on an official roster without payment and the registration forms. Also, at this point, after I have received 380 paid registrations and the rosters are set, I can't add any additional players. Also, because of no shows the day of the event, I can't turn down anybody who is prepared to pay the fee now.  Therefore, it is first come first served for the remaining spots. Since the deadline has passed, If I get a call today and the parent can pay the registration fee using Pay Pal, I will bump someone and give them a spot. Also, there will be no "walk up" additions, as the event will be sold out. In addition, several parents have paid the registration fee using the Pay Pal Link in the upper right hand corner of the website, but they have not yet sent in the registration forms.  Consequently, their kid's name has not been added to the official list.  If you have paid the fee that way, I need to match the payment with your child's name, so I need the completed registration forms ASAP! Some of you are going to be upset with me when their son is not listed on a roster, but in order to keep things organized, everything needs to be rapped up prior to the event.

Enough about the administrative matters; the showcase is really shaping up to be special! New features are being added weekly to help make this a fantastic event. Please continue to visit the website for showcase updates, as I will be updating the above link as things occur. I hope to have the rosters and schedule posted 2 weeks prior to the events, but that will be dictated by the parent's prompt response to my requests. The Ohio North vs South Rosters are just about completed, and I will be posting them within the next 2 weeks.  If your child is not yet committed to the event, or the registration forms and fees are not paid soon, they can not participate in the "Challenge" games. As always, please help pass the word to those parents and players who might not have internet access so everybody has the opportunity to participate. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to email me.  Thanks for your time!

Rob Taylor
Buckeye Prep Report

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

NCAA Enacts Higher Academic Standards (Re-Published)

As most of you have undoubtedly heard by now that the NCAA recently implemented changes that will have a major impact on recruiting and college athletics. I’m sure you have heard about rule changes that effect “open periods” where college coaches can evaluate prospects at various AAU type of events and at various times during the spring and summer. In fact, we posted a short article detailing some of the changes associated with scholarship values and the possibility that schools can now offer multi-year scholarships as well as stipends of up to $2000 to cover the “full cost of attendance.”

What has been less publicized are the tough new academic standards now required to get through the NCAA Clearing House and to qualify for college scholarships. These new standards are going to make it much more difficult for high school athletes to realize their dream of playing Division I college athletics. Today, I received a call from a friend of mine who coaches basketball at a D-I mid-major level program in Ohio, asking that I help get the word out to players, parents, coaches and relatives of these young athletes so they understand what’s at stake if the student fails to make the grade.

One of the biggest changes involves minimum grade point averages (GPA). Prior to the new regulations, prospective student athletes were required to have a minimum of a 2.0 GPA to qualify. That minimum GPA is now a 2.3. In addition, although there is still a sliding scale in terms of the GPA and ACT/SAT score, the student must have a minimum of a 2.3 GPA. Let’s be specific here; if your child/player gets all Cs on his/her report card, they will still fall well short of the requirement. To achieve a 2.3 GPA, students must make at least some A's and B's. If your child is bringing home D's and F's it’s going to be VERY difficult to reach a 2.3 GPA.

Making it even worse, the strategy (dropping a failed class and taking it over to achieve a higher score) once used to help repair low GPAs has now been limited due to another change that now requires students to have at least 10 of their 16 required core courses completed by the end of the student’s junior year in high school. The consequences of this change is that students will no longer be able to take a “do over” for core curses which they have previously failed, in hopes of raising the grade in that course. This is very significant for students who get off to a slow start as freshmen and sophomores, because some of the traditional approaches employed get a student qualified are being dismantled.

In addition, the NCAA has not stopped there; according to the college coach I mentioned above, his school's compliance officer just told him that in the very near future the minimum GPA will be increased to a 2.5. If you think a 2.3 is difficult for some of these kids, there are going to be a lot of young kids who struggle with the higher standard. There may be ramifications in other areas as well. Remember, many of the country's most talented basketball players often leave inner-city type programs in order to enroll in more suburban school districts or religion-based schools, where the academic standards may be higher. Faced with higher academic standards by the new school and the NCAA, many of these kids are going to be hit with a harsh reality.

Allow me to cite an example of the potential impact of the new standards. The college coach I mentioned previously looked at the kids on his current roster, and speculated that at least one quarter of his current players would not have qualified for admission or a scholarship under the new standards. That would have meant 3 or 4 of his current players would not have realized their dreams of playing division one college basketball on scholarship after graduation.

As a consequence, the 3-4 players who would not have made the grade with the changes would have created opportunities for someone else to take those scholarships, and who do think that might be? That’s right, students who took care of business in the classroom. Those players who stand to benefit from the new standards may not run as fast, jump as high or be as athletic as others, but they were just talented enough and took care of their grades, so they get the opportunity to compete at the next level. Let me be clear, a college coach may still bring a student into the program if he/she has less than a 2.3 GPA, but the kid will have to sit out the first year, and will have to pay their own way through school. With that said, the problem with that scenario is that most programs can’t afford to bring in a kid in who cannot play the first year.

Oh, it does not stop there; once a kid actually arrives on a college campus the NCAA has increased the penalties on programs that fail to maintain an acceptable Academic Progress Rate (APR). Now, if a program fails to meet the new standards, the program may face scholarship reductions or actually be unable to participate in the NCAA tournament. How do you think that will play out? I'll tell you how; college coaches will now be much more selective about who they recruit and bring into their programs. Of course coaches may still take a risk on an all-American caliber player, but for players who are borderline D-I players, they may not risk post-season play, or their jobs for that matter. “The first thing you have to do is look at transcript. We will be forced to take less talented kids; bring in guys who can make it in our program academically,” said the coach I spoke with.

I wanted to post this story as a wake up call to players, parents, coaches or anybody who might be in a position to influence these kids. If you have contact with these kids and you are not educating them on the standards, and attempting to make them understand the consequences of poor grades; you are doing the kids a grave dis-service. As an AAU coach or parent/guardian, it may require sitting a kid out of games, not letting him/her travel to tournaments, taking away a cell phone or anything that helps get their attention. The consequences for not taking these, or other steps could be dire.

To you parents, as a suggestion, how about requiring your child/player to sit down for a moment and read this article, and ask him/her to process what it means and the potential ramifications of poor academics? If they can come to this site in search of rankings, pictures or praise, they can actually take a few minutes to read something that could have a more long-term effect on their future goals. Also, ask your child/player what their current GPA is. Review the grades on the transcript and report cards.  Ask the school for a copy of transcript now, and actually review it with your child/player.  Coaches, request that your players bring a copy of their transcript to tryouts, practices or other events, and employ some type of awards/punishment system designed to educate and motivate the child to achieve his/her academic goals. How about making a copy of this story and take a few minutes before or after a practice to review and discuss.

Moreover, parents, the next time a coach calls your house (or cell phone) in an attempt to recruit your child to play for them, ask them how they can assist your child academically. Require the coach/recruiter to articulate how they intend to encourage good academics if your child joins their program. Clearly, exposure is a great thing and we try to provide that through this website, however, don't allow your child's poor academics to get exposed when all of your friends and family wonder why your child is not on a college roster when they have been featured in the newspaper (and on Buckeye Prep's website) for years. The NCAA is not playing around people; they have an agenda, and they are making the kind of major changes the will alter the face of college athletics!

Recent ESPN Story

Prior Story about Academics Posted October 26, 2010

Sunday, August 5, 2012

2012 Buckeye Prep All-State Teams (2016)

Now that the summer travel circuit has come to an end and the AAU Nationals are in the books, I thought it would be a good idea to put together my thoughts about which players logged in the most consistent standout performances over the course of the summer. To this end, below is a link to my "2012 Buckeye Prep All-State Teams" in the 2016 division. For the most part, the 3 teams plus honorable mentions, are made up of players who made significant impacts for their teams this summer. In addition to their play at local events, performances at the AAU Nationals was also factored in.

Also, the All-State teams do not necessarily represent how I would rank the players, but rather the teams are more about a players production this summer based on what I saw and/or heard. I know there is always debate when lists like these are published, but it's my belief that debate is good as long as it remains healthy and can be used as motivation for those players listed or not listed.  As always, I invite you to use the comment section below to express your thoughts about the teams. With that said, keep it positive! On a final note, many of the players listed will be participating in my September 22nd and 23rd elite showcase and will be representing their communities in the inaugural  Ohio North vs South games. Let the debates begin!

2012 Buckeye Prep All-State Teams (2016)