Friday, April 19, 2013

Buckeye Prep Middle School Team Rankings


King James Shooting-#1 Ranking 8th Grade Team

Although the AAU season is really only about 4 weeks old, several middle school travel teams have already started to separate themselves from the pack, and the AAU landscape is just starting to become a littler clearer. Having scouted several major events recently, including the Nike Grassroots, Buckeye Prep Invitational and Bearcat Classic, I’m a little more comfortable publishing my initial rankings of the top middle school teams in the state. As a disclaimer, I have not seen a couple of teams in each respective class a whole lot, so there is still a slight margin of error. However, with the King James Classic scheduled to tip off next week the picture may become a little clearer.

Let’s start with the 8th grade division. Right now, I’m giving the #1 nod to the King James Shooting Stars. They won the Nike Grassroots tournament that hosted several of the state’s top teams, and in the championship game, they squeaked by All-Ohio Red despite having amassed an early, double digit lead. They also won their own tournament in Cincinnati a few weeks ago. King James’ roster is loaded with top 30 talent, including Tommy Schmock (one of the top 2-3 PGs in the state), Jaylen Harris (arguably the top kid in his class along with Logan Hill) and Kelvin Calhoun II (one of the top bigs in Ohio). The # 2 spot is really close, but I have to go with Dayton’s Next Level. They lost in the semi-finals of the Grassroots, but they beat a very good M.A.T.T.S. Mustangs team in the championship game of the Buckeye Prep Invitational. Next Level has several top 30 players of their own including: Danny Davis, L’ Christian Smith, Ethan Bradds and Ryan Proffit.

All-Ohio Red is in at the 3rd spot. Red has not claimed a title yet, but they have been in the hunt. Besides Logan Hill, All-Ohio’s best players may reside outside of the state, with both Paris Ford and Kenny Robinson driving in from Pittsburgh to run with Red. It’s hard to rank OBC 4th with all of the talent they have on that team; plus the fact they finished so high at the AAU Nationals last year. However, at this point in the season, no one has really seen them play. They passed on 2 of the biggest tournaments of the season so far, so it’s hard to gage exactly where they are right now. With that said, they did have a great showing at the OBBL last weekend, and actually played up a grade. That goes a long ways, but until they match up against one of the top 3 teams in the state, it’s tough to say just how good they are this season. Their top 30 players include: Tyrell Ajain (arguably the top floor general in the class), Dylan Dupler, Jaden Sayles (a big with serious upside), Antwon Smith Jr., Tyler Knetch and Trey Pugh. No disrespect to OBC, but if you care where you are ranked in the state, your schedule has to include tournaments where you are likely to play the other top teams. I have to assume they will play in the King James Classic; if so, they could move up with a good showing.

Queen City Prophets-# 1 Ranked 7th Grade Team

There should be little debate relative to the top spot in the 7th grade division, as the Queen City Prophets (QCP) has owned the division so far this season, with 3 tournament victories that I know about. A virtual unknown last season, QCP has added possibly the top point guard in the class in Kane Cooper, plus the top big in the class in EJ Williams (who has really gotten better); then throw in the sleeper of the year in Middletown’s Xavier Peters, and you have a dominate force. Right behind QCP is Murphy AC who has played the bride’s maiden to QCP twice this year so far. Like QCP, Murphy AC is athletic, brings a lot of pressure, and likes to get up and down the court. However, until they solve the EJ Williams puzzle and find a way to contain Cooper and Peters, they might be spending a lot of time at number 2! Murphy AC’s top 30 guys include: Jerry Higgins, Coryon Rice, Dwayne Cohill Jr., Tyree Harris, Yael Hill and Derrick Veasley Jr.

I saw a lot of SMAC U this past weekend, and I really like the way that team is constructed with Cooper Crawford, Anthony Johnson, Luke Brand and others, but the # 3 spot goes to the Columbus-based Excel for now. The team is not full of high risers, nor do they have a roster full height, but those guys know how to play basketball. I thought they were on the verge of getting blown out against Murphy AC in the Grassroots, but they refused to quit, and fought their way back into the game late. Their top 30 representatives include: Isaiah Speelman & Dane Godwin, but guys like Braden Norris and Matt Allacco (5th grade) are very good.

Although the Ohio Hoopsters are ranked fifth in our initial rankings, that could change very quickly with the return of Ty Wiley and the addition of Jabari Perkins from OBC. Once they match-up with the top 3 teams in the class, the landscape may change. This weekend could usher in that change, as the Hoopsters and Excel are both in the same tournament. Stay tuned for a report on that game if it happens! For the record, King James is loaded with top 30 talent, but they lost to the Hoopsters in the Grassroots, so they can’t be ranked above them. I hope to watch them again in their tournament in a few weeks.

All-Ohio Red-#1 6th Grade Team

The 6th grade class is on lock, and is likely to be so until well into high school. All-Ohio Red is not only the clear number one team in the state, but arguably the country. Session #2 of the NYBL may crown the early favorite for the national championship, but the Ohio crown was solidified right after All-Ohio Red and Purple joined forces during the off season. Red’s nonstarters would form the second best team in the state with no problem. For this team to get pushed in Ohio, they would need to play up in the 7th and maybe 8th grade divisions on a regular basis. I know there is a lot of debate about this team, but I would suggest that people just relax and enjoy the show this team puts on every time they take the court. Potential top 30 players include: Jordan Mitchell, Gerard Reynolds, Jerome Francis III, Chris’Seon Stringer, Jaidon Lipscomb, Chris Payne and DeMarco Bradley Jr.

In a distant second is SMAC Showtime. I’m not sure #1 and #2 will ever meet up this year, but it really doesn’t matter, does it? Mike Bekeja and Pittsburgh’s Kyi Wright are the stars, but there is a great supporting cast on this team. Dayton Elite, formally known as Salvation Army, grabs the third spot. Having recently lost to SMAC just last weekend, there’s not much debate between #2 and #3. Kendall Matthews, Jaren Smith and Noree Uloho will all be top 30 players once we publish our list later this year.

Below is a link to our complete rankings. I know the comment section will blow up as soon as we drop this list, so allow me to say this first; if you want your team to be ranked and considered as one of the top teams in the state, you have to play in tournaments that feature the top teams! For the coaches and directors reading this article, like the NCAA tournament, you are judged by whom you play and who you beat. If you have not beaten, let alone played, anybody ranked above you, you can’t expect to be ranked higher. In addition, if your team does not participate in more competitive tournaments, then you can’t complain about a lack of exposure. Win/loss records are great for you coaches, but if you compile them against inferior talent they don’t really mean much; more importantly, your kids are probably not developing at the rate they could be if they played against the best. If you are a parent and your team isn’t playing in the top events, then voice your concerns to the coach. On May 31-June 1st, in conjunction with the NYBL Finals here in Columbus, Buckeye Prep will be hosting the “Summer Showdown.” If you want a shot at the top middle school AAU teams in the region they will be there! You have to play the best to be the best! Let the debate begin!

73 comments:

  1. I watched the Solon cage classic a great game was King James Williams and Ohio-Showtime Elite. Ohio showtime elite won by 3 advancing to the championship vs schmock they have a really good guard #3.

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  2. ROB I LOVE YOU BUT I'M SORRY ON THIS ONE BECAUSE ALL OHIO RED (8th) HAS BEEN IN 2 CHAMPOION SHIPS AND WON A CHAMPIONSHIP IN DETROIT LAST WEEKEND!!! OH BY THE WAY THEY HAVEN'T PLAYED ALL WEAK TOURNYS. ROB THIS IS THE WAY IT SHOULD BE:

    1-King James
    2-All Ohio
    3-Next Level
    4??????
    5-?????
    OBC WERE ARE YOU????

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    1. Obc is still ranked 10th in the country not Ohio. Step outside the state and stay past Saturday...

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    2. Top tournaments start when college coaches are in the gym..that's why we all play not for blogs or personal reasons..Think OBC is at Jamfest is that a big tournament?

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    3. No college coach is watching 8th grade games!!

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    4. Recruits&Scouts are watching 8th graders

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    5. They need to watch more canton game we go a lot of noise at faircrest memorial middle school such as Myles Martin Chris fonts

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  3. Rob, it's SMAC Showtime, not Future :-)

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  4. Obc is 10th in the country............

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  5. ROB I LIKE THE TOP FIVE TEAMS IN THE 7TH GRADE DIVISION BUT IM SORRY BUT 6TH THRU 15TH ARE A ROLL OF THE DICE I WATCHED KING JAMES AND THE SHINING STARS AND DAYTON METRO THEY ARE NOT MUCH BETTER THAN YOUR OWN BUCKEYE PREP TEAM AND AND I SAW TIER1 SPORTS PLAY QPC IN THE NIKE GRASSROOTS AND THEY HANDLED BIG EJ AND XAVIER PRETTY WELL.IJS IN THE NEXT COUPLE OF WEEKS I THINK IT WILL BE A DRASTIC CHANGE IN RANKINGS OR AFTER THE KING JAMES CLASSIC NEXT WEEKEND.

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    1. If anyone of these top teams played in tht salon cage classic it was terrible competition and if your in the top ten in rankings and you didnt win or come in second place please rethink were rob placed you at. everybody need to look back when jayuan staten played above arron craft when they was at ALL OHIO RED now look who's the better college player ????

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    2. Rankings are designed to change. I'm sure the results of the King James Classic will impact the rankings.

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    3. If memory serves correct, Tier I lost to QCP. I'm not certain that equates to handling a team. I believe the rankings are based on win/loss records, not losing with the smallest point differential.

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    4. :) sensitive

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    5. Not at all! Just haven't met too many individuals who want credit for losing. Maybe that is something new?

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    6. WELL WHEN ROB PUTS YOU GUYS ON YOUR HIGH HORSE THEN ITS MY DUTY TO BRING YOU DOWN TO YOUR LEVEL. I THINK MURPHY AC IS THE BEST TEAM RIGHT NOW HANDS DOWN

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  7. Lol, you must be a parent who's kid didn't get invited to play smh.

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    1. AND YOU MUST BE THE COACH OF THIS CHEATING PROGRAM. SMH

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    2. Nope, just a GWOC fan that knows all of the kids on the team because they play in the same league lol. You sound dumb though. No nationals = cheaters? Wow

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    4. Youre just mad cause u weren't invited to one of the top teams in Ohio or someone who has played them and got beat

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  8. When will you do class of 2020

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  9. OBC's been playing a 9th grade national schedule, not an 8th grade local schedule. OBC isn't even compatible to these other scrub teams you call the "top 3" lol. It's funny how you can be 10th in the nation and still not get respect. Haters lol

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    2. Get in some of the big tournaments in Ohio and then talk

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  10. http://image.aausports.org/dnn/boysbasketball/pdf/clubrankings/8thGrade-DI.pdf

    Check out the real rankings. Where's the rest of the Ohio teams at??

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  11. Isn't M.A.T.T.S. Mustangs from Kentucky? I admit, they are an excellent team.

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  12. Why does OBC 8th think they are so much better than anyone else? Then they do not go and play anyone?

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  13. ALL OF THIS EXPOSURE BS IS JUST HYPING UP SOME KIDS THT WILL NEVER MAKE THE HIGH SCHOOL GRADES. PLEASE DO A SPECIAL ON THE TOP TEN PLAYERS GRADES

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    1. As a parent of a child consistently receiving exposure on this site, I would gladly submit my son's grades for such an article! Matter of fact, I would submit our entire AAU teams. We encourage "student" athletes and emphasis it.

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    2. I second that. My son is constantly mentioned on here and is a 4.0 student

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  14. In 8th grade, King James Williams could not get out of the quarter finals of the Solon Cage Classic. Lost to a Northeastern Ohio team you do not even have ranked. there were 5 better NEO teams in that tourney alone. Lets settle this on the floor and not give artificiacially high rankings to tems because their dads post a lot of comments on your site.

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    1. Not only are your comments unfortunate, they are simply wrong. Just because you disagree with the rankings does not mean there was foul play. I rarely know who posts things on my site, because like you, no one posts their names! As I stated in the story, the rankings are based on what we know right now, As we know more, the rankings will be revised. You guys kill me with all the crap you post sometimes; ever thing has to be some big conspiracy! If there is information that could impact the rankings then send it to me. That would be the most productive way of handling the situation! There is really no need to lob insults from the crowd!!

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    2. THE ONY KING JAMES TEAM THAT IS MAKING NOISE IS THE 16U & 15U TEAMS SO DON'T GET ON HERE HYPING UP KING JAMES WILLIAMS BECAUSE ALL HE DOES IS LOUD TALK THE KIDS AND CURSE THEM OUT HIS COACHING IS SUSPECT . IT ISNT HARD TO GO GET THE BEST PLAYERS IN OHIO AND LET THEM PLAY BUT ITS HARD TO DEVELOP A PLAYER AND MAKE HIM GREAT.PLEASE STOP USING LEBRONS NAME IT DOESNT FIT THE MANS IMAGE

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  15. Hello I'm a parent of a young man & girl that plays AAU ball...its kind of sad that parents are on here arguing about the kids playing on the court... its not us as parents that run up & down the court its our children...some kids come on this site to get in site on the competition that's out there not to read comments they insult them or hurt their confidence... if you guys don't like Rob rankings don't come on here my son & daughter don't play for the best team in Ohio, but they play & its keeping them off the streets, to me that's all that matter...as when seen during March Madness you can be ranked #1 & don't make...I think all these children are going to do something with their lives...be blessed & stop the pettiness....

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    1. okkkkkkkkkkkk bye this is freedom of speech

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    2. You are absolutely right..this is freedom of speech, however this is about the kids not the parents...we are suppose to build them up not break them down...state your name

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  16. alright rob what is the best way to send you information that could impact the rankings then?

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  17. The Ohio Unity 8th grade team beat the Columbus Crusaders and the Cincinnati Lakers this year.

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  19. The funny thing about all these teams cheating is if it went by the old AAU rules with only 2 age exemptions, how many teams currently with a roster will be able to be compliant???

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  21. AAU Super Regional are being held this weekend in Cincinnati. This might have some impact on the 7th grade rankings -- #7 Shining Stars (Kelly) won their all 3 games they played on Saturday ... including a 77-60 victory over #14 Ohio Unity.

    The other two victories were over Motor City Thunder (80-41) and Cincinnati Vikings (60-52).

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  22. OK ROB IN JUNE PUT TOGETHER THE TOP TEN TEAMS IN OHIO TOURNAMENT FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL AAU TEAMS THRU HIGH SCHOOL TEAMS TO SHUT UP ALL THE CRITICS THEN WE WILL SEE WHO'S THE BEST IN OHIO

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    1. June is for high school coaches. *th on up usually do not play aau in June

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  23. Okay people, listen. Most of these kids are not going to play in college who are ranked on these teams. Guards you do not have a chance to play in a big time program if you are under 6'0.Not going to happen. 2 guards you better shoot the lights out and 3's bettter be athletic, agile, attack, slash and score. 4's and 5's you better be 6'5 minimum and offer something. You also have to be athletic and quick. Slow isn't going to get you anywhere. Now with that being said the 8th grade rankings are off. OBC has earned the right to be 1st, King James 2nd, All-Ohio 3rd, Next Level fourth and then its a toss up between Cincy royals, lima, ohio unity, King of the court and Matts Mustangs has no business being on here, they are not from ohio and the 2 kids from ohio are not top 30 kids. Btw Next level does not cheat and nor would they. Now my opinion who has promise at playing at a high level in college if they keep progressing and growing: Logan Hill, Trey Pugh, Jaydean Sales, Antoine Smith, Keegen Seban, Jalyn Harris, Kevin Calhoun, Matt king, Lchrstin Smith, Matt Davet,Dylan dupler,there is also a kid from King James from Michigan but I dont know his name. Now a few who have to grow but def. have the mindset and talent Tommy smock, tyrell ageaon, Tyler mitchell, matt Dotson,and Tyler knecht. I know a few of you are going to disagree but this is based on performance up to this point, size, quickness, and how the play the game of "basketball".

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    1. Tyler knecht was built for football I must say.

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    2. I totally agree with this guys comments. Size is everything! Up side!!!! Some of these kids will never play D1 ball. Sad but true!!! Anyway OBC other team has 6 2" guard wearing number 3. I watched him play. He real smooth with ball n plays great defense !!! U guys might wanna check 4 him. Defiantly looks like he got potential

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    3. Darius Coker

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  24. Here are top 2-3 kids at each position in the 8th grade in no particular order
    point guard-Keegen Seban, Tommy Smock, Tyrell agean
    shooting guard-Dylan Dupler, Danny Davis,(Not really a pure shooter but Dupler is the closest to one in the class and both smock and Seban can shoot the 3 really well.
    Wing-Jaelyn Harris, Trey Pugh, Matt King
    Forward, Antwoine Smith, Matt Davet, Tyler Knect
    Center Logan Hill, LChristian Smith, Kevin Calhoun,

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  25. Rob when will you come out with the new top 30 rankings for 7th and 8th grade?

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  26. The 7th grade was recently updated - within the last couple days

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  27. btc 8th grade should be in the rankings they just finshec second at supet regionals and the beat one of.the king james teams and beat ohio unity

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    1. The Ohio Unity B team.

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    2. Come on guys, there is no reason to be saying anything about kids being on or off teams on this site. There is also no reason to be talking about teams struggling. Parents grow up!!!! This is ridiculous. Who the heck is up at 1:32 a.m. on a bball site?

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    5. As a parent I think it is absolutely ridiculous that I must get online and dispute claims made by individuals posting anonymously on a youth basketball message board. For the record I appreciate the job that Rob does in creating a forum for individuals to discuss teams and players in a good natured way. Sometimes the banter is fun and some posts are very informative or provide an opinion on players that is different than the Rob’s. No harm in this. I do have a problem when individuals start posting messages that depict my kid or family in a negative light. Quite frankly the above posts are foolish. To post that a team would be better with Keegan would insinuate that kids that our family likes, are in some way deficient in their skills. It would be insulting to them and their families. Sorry folks we don’t play that game. The kids on Next Level are good kids from good families. The coaches of Next Level always treated Keegan well and always had his best interests at heart. That’s all a parent can ask for. So quite frankly whoever the pot stirrers are in the mess might as well give it up. By this point many of you know Keegan, my wife, and myself personally. If you ever need to talk with us, we are in a gym almost every weekend, hoping to help our son become a better player as well as a better person.

      Rich Saben

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    6. Well said Mr. Saben!!

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  29. I think this debate has run its course! Let's move on. I know it's too much to ask that Ohio-based teams support each other and to take pride in the accomplishment of these young people, but some of the comments on this site are starting to be ridiculous. Regardless of what you think, I continue to try and provide a healthy forum for the players so they have a platform to display their talent and to secure opportunities that will help them reach their goals, but despite my efforts, ADULTS, continue to use this site to advance their own negative agendas. I leaned a long time ago that this game is full of jealousy; envy and people who are bitter, but don’t use this website to spew your venom. Buckeye Prep is about the positive; keep that negative stuff to yourself! For you “freedom of speech” folks, exercise your rights somewhere else where it’s more appropriate and more accepted!!I will be deleting inappropriate comments from here on out.

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    1. Rob, I think the above posts you are referring to should be deleted now. Nothing positive is going to come out of those.

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    2. Rob, well said! The fact of the matter is that whenever something (or someone) is 'ranked' it immediately opens the person compiling the ranking (and the individuals ranked) up for criticism. Rankings are inherently meant to create dialogue and discourse. However, they are not absolute and the dialogue quickly becomes personal and vindictive. As Rob correctly stated, ADULTS are doing this. Instead of the snide comments, congratulate the kids and teams on the list and use it to motivate your own to continue to work to get better.

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  30. After this weekend, we will see who is the best 8th team in the state. Tell me one tournament so far this year where there were competition. This year King James tournament will be the real test. Let's see how your so call rank teams can compete against teams from out of state.

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    1. Pittsburgh jam fest was pretty big

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  31. Hey Anonymous they must be pretty good coaches because from what I see there team is winning, there are ranked in Ohio and have several kids who will be ranked in the Nation.....I smell hater

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  32. All ohio red 7:15,King James Shmock 8:30 , Ohio Showtime Elite 9:45 Friday at Copley, all top 10 teams in action.

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  33. I'd like to point out one clarification on the 8th grade King James tournament in Cincinnati. There was no bracket play--only pool play--thus, there was no championship game or champion crowned. To write that any team 'won' that tournament is somewhat misleading unless you interpret going undefeated as winning the tournament. If that is the case then we should also mention the BTC Trojans in the category of co-champion of that tournament, as they too went undefeated.

    Separately, no child deserves to be ridiculed on these blogs/comments. I appreciate that all comments from this organization focus on the positive aspects of a player/team. Everyone can't make the headlines--that's life.

    Peace people,

    MT

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  34. how about ohio unity they ballin and they picked up big men watch out for them. and there b team they gona make a run. they could even play each other at state

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