|Patrick Daniels, Jayden Hawkins-White, Azzan Daniels, Malachi Branham & Will Miller|
When the third season of the National Youth Basketball League (NYBL) tips off in Washington D.C. next week, Columbus, Ohio will be well represented by Coach Aaron Brown’s 6th grade Buckeye Prep squad. Brown’s team has seen steady improvement over the past 2 years as evidenced by their 7th and 15th place finishes at the D-II AAU Nationals. In addition, this past weekend, Brown’s squad played up in the 7th grade division of Ohio Youth Basketball’s Dot.com Classic and more than competed against older kids. In fact, Brown’s team won the 7th grade Shootout Bracket.
Although Brown has been able to maintain a good core group of kids over the past 3-4 years, with the addition of more size in the post in the form of Malachi Branham (5’9 PF) and Elijah English (5’9 PF), Brown believes he has closed the talent gap on other 6th grade teams in the city and around the state. As further proof of his team’s talent, in the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase last week, 5 of Brown’s players were selected to the prestigious all-star game, while Patrick Daniels’ game-high 14 points garnered him top 5 honors. Buckeye Prep’s core group includes Daaron Brown (5’2/P/SG), Azzan Daniels (5’2/PG), Patrick Daniels (5’7/WF) and Jayden White-Hawkins (5’5/SG). The rest of the roster includes Will Miller (5’9 C), Makhale Massie (5’9/WF), Damion Davis (5’2/PG), Mark Small (5’5/PF) and Jake McCon (5’1/G).
“This is by far my best team yet!!! I don't think anyone can argue we may be best team in our area,” said Brown. Other Ohio-based teams/programs headed to the NYBL this season include the Mid-Ohio Pumas, Ohio Basketball Club, SWO Elite, All-Ohio Red, King James, The Truth, Rail Cities Attack, EBO Hoops and the Dayton Wolves.