|A. Harris, K. Martin, D. Fox, D. Grant, M. Cottingham, M. Johnson, T. Martin, S. Johnson & M. Robinson|
We were not there very long, but the time went spent at the NEO Youth Elite Showcase in Cleveland, Ohio on Sunday was very productive. According to tournament director Sonny Johnson Sr, approximately 280 kids from northeast Ohio braved the elements to attend the event. Not only were there established players in attendance, we got the opportunity to see some very good players for the first time. He’s not nearly a household name right now, but Kaleb Martin (5’5/PG/2019 Green) had the gym buzzing with his speed, quickness and excellent skill set. Martin looked like a seasoned vet with the way he handled the rock, distributed to his teammates and made great decisions with the ball. Because he does not play with one of the better-known teams (Air Attack), Martin’s talent has gone unappreciated at this point in his career. We were also really excited with the upside potential of Christopher Livingston (5’6/PF/2022 Akron), a long, athletic post player with a high motor. Not only can he score around the bucket, he is a rim protector who gets off the floor quickly. Livingston may have ben the best 5th grader in the gym. We can’t wait to see this kid play again!
We also really liked what we saw in Makail Cottingham (5’4/SG/2021 Parma). Cottingham has good length, is skilled, athletic and shoots the rock well. From what we saw in Cleveland, Cottingham has the potential to be one of the best players in his class in the state. We have seen him before, but Meechie Johnson (5’0/PG/2021 Cleveland) was still very impressive. Although he can score with the best of them, Johnson’s dime game was on and popping on Sunday as he was finding open teammates with ease. Great vision and passing skills were evident in Johnson’s game. His little cousin, Sonny Johnson Jr. was dominant on Sunday and could not be stopped from getting to the cup. Johnson was in attack mode all day and either finished the play with a layup or went to the free throw line and converted. Either way, Johnson was extremely productive. Super confident with the ball on a string was Johnson. Andre Harris (6’0 SG 2019 Cleveland) logged in a solid performance on Sunday. Athletic with a strong frame, Harris shoots it well but can also drive to the bucket and be effective. Harris has great upside going forward with continued hard work and development.
Other Top Performers:
We also really liked Devon Grant (5’9/P/SG/2019/Loraine), Devon Fox (5’10/SG/2019 Cleveland), Frik Painter (5’9/SG/2019/Bay Village), Joshua Ball (PG/2019/Elyria), Trevon Wells (6’1/PF/2019/Cleveland), Anthony Maxie (5’11/C/2020/Cleveland), Che Johnson (5’0/PG/2020/Shaker Heights), Jayden Williams (5’2/PG/2020/Cleveland) Andy Barba (5’10/SG/2020/Cleveland), Josiah Harris (5’8/WF/2022/Canton), Trey Miller (4’10/PG/2022/Bedford), Lucas Perusek (4’7/PG/2023/Wallaby Hills), Darryl Peterson (5’6/C/2021/Akron), Xavier Black (5’3/SG/2021/Canton), Koby Johnson (5’3/PG/2021/Akron) Marsaun Robinson (5’1/PG/2021/Oberlin), Roderick Coffee (SG/2022/Paintsville), Andre Yarber (5’1/SG/2022/Oberlin), Lance Hayes (P/SG/2023/Brookville) Gbolahan Adio (5’6/PG/Richmond Heights), Devontae Blanton (6’1/W/PF/2020/Nordinia), Montorie Foster (5’7/PG/2020/Cleveland), Trey Martin (5’0/WF/2022), Brandon Rush (5'6/PG/2019/Sycamore Hills) and Akram Abuham.
Although we did not have the opportunity to spend much time at the event, and we’re sure we missed a number of quality players who deserve recognition, we were very impressed with the level of talent in the gym. Congratulations to Sonny Johnson Sr. and his staff for putting together an excellent event. Look for many of the above players at the March 7th Buckeye Prep elite Showcase!