|Caleb McConnell, Justin Phillips II & Antwan Johnson|
I also really liked Justin Phillips II (5’9 PG Charleston, WVA 2018). Phillips is a strong lead guard who plays with poise, does a great job of finding open teammates and can hit the jumper if left open. Phillips has a high basketball IQ, makes few mistakes and does a god job of distributing the rock. Phillips also pushes the ball in transition and he has a nice little floater he can go to for a bucket. Antwuan Johnson (6”0 WG Dayton 2018), was a horse all day, as he bullied his way to the basket consistently. Johnson continues to develop perimeter skills and is more than able at handling the rock and scoring from the wing. I also plan to keep an eye on CJ Robinson (5’10 WG Toledo 2018) who has good length, athleticism and good upside potential. Robinson is another long-term prospect worth watching.
|Isaiah Kennedy, Da'san Clair & Montorie Foster|
Montorie Foster (5’3 WG Cleveland 2019) was lighting it up from beyond the arc all day. Foster has a great stroke and showed that he can consistently knock down the 3-ball. I did not get a chance to see him play, but word has it that Toledo’s Zeb Jackson (5’2 PG Toledo 2020) was ballin, despite playing up in the 7th grade division. I did not see a lot of him, but what I did see of Da’san Clair (5’5 PG Lima 2020) I liked! Clair is another well built guard who can score the ball. Isaiah Kennedy (5’5 PG Dayton 2020) had another nice outing. With good size for his position, Kennedy over powers most guards on his way to the cup.
As was the case last year, the event featured some really talented young guys. One such player was Sean Jones (4’9 PG Columbus 2022) who continues to impress this evaluator with his advanced skill set and mature game. Jones has the ball on a string and he has a host of dribble moves that makes it almost impossible to stay in front of him. Jones is also good at creating his own shot and creating scoring opportunities for his teammates. It’s not all about beating his man off the bounce, as Jones can also get to the cup with regularity and can shoot the trey as well. I have seen Jones play on several occasions now and I absolutely love this kid’s game!
He may be small, but Khail Luster (4’1 PG Lima 2020) gets it done at the point. Luster is quick, can really handle the rock and is always in attack mode while probing the defense for a lane to the basket. John Mobley Jr. (4’6 PG Reynoldsburg 2024) is only a second grader, but you would not know it from watching his game. This dynamic little PG has a big game and is unafraid to battle with kids 3-4 years older than him. Because he is so highly skilled and confident, Mobley is very effective running the point and scoring in traffic. Much like his All-Ohio teammate Jones, Mobley can create his own offense. This kid has a very bright future with continued growth and development.
Other players to watch include: Devon Baker (5’10 WG Dayton 2018) Darron Taborn (5’5 PG 2020), Kayvon Sanders (5’9 WG 2018), Elijah Kimmons (5’2 WG Springfield 2020), Shane Jacobs (5’8 WG Toledo 2018), RaShad Craig (5’0 WG 2020), Jhaiden Wilson (4’8 WG 2021), Anthony Milner (4’1 PG Columbus 2021), Jadakis Mack (5’2 WG Lima 2020) and Dominique Cole (6’0 C Toledo 2020). There were a number of other standout performers, many of who are pictured below. All-in all, the Tier 1 Middle School Showcase was a competitive and well run event.