|Henry, Laster, Hugely, Barba, Benson, Dial, Foster &Darby|
We already knew Darion Henry (6’5”/PF/C/2020/Cincinnati), and his play on Saturday confirmed his place among the top 2-3 players in the class in Ohio. Henry is a beast in the paint where he uses his big body to collect rebounds and to power the ball in the basket. Despite his size, Henry is more than capable of initiating the break and dribbling all the way to the cup. He’s not playing above the rim just yet, but Henry still protects the rim and owns the lane. Speaking of big, we got our first look at John Hugely (6’6”/C/2020/Cleveland), and we liked what we saw! Although Hugely is a huge kid, he moves well for his size and he has a super soft touch around the basket. As is the case with most players his age, Hugely’s footwork is still under development; however, he has a couple of go to moves that are effective. He’s new to the scene, but as far as we are concerned, he’s top ten in the state potentially (see our rankings).
We had not seen him before, but Jessie Laster (6’1/PF/2020/Cleveland) needs to be recognized among the elite in the state. Lester is a pogo stick just waiting on an oop. Super smooth and super explosive; Lester had the gym buzzing with his above the rim theatrics. With good length and a solid skill set, Lester can play multiple positions. He’s fluid, has good court vision and his upside significant. College coaches should make a note to track this kid. We were also really impressed with Andy Barba (6’2”/SG/2020/Chagrin Falls). Barba has good length, is highly skilled with a high basketball IQ. Surprisingly aggressive, Barba excels at attacking the cup. Barba is another D-I prospect just waiting to happen. Another player we plan to keep our eye on is Brent Darby (6’3”/WF/2020/Cleveland), who has good size and a solid game. He showed us just enough for us to follow his progress.
We haven’t seen him in a while, but Jalen Dial (5’10”/PG/2020/South Euclid) is as good as we remember. Dial, like his brother, has the rock on a string and is always in complete control. He’s difficult to speed up, and his package of dribble moves allow him to get into the paint where he consistently makes solid decisions. As with any elite floor general, Dial has good vision and consistently delivers pinpoint passes. We didn’t see much of him, but Nehemiah Benson (6’2”/WF/2020/Streetsboro) has a chance to be really good. Already possessing good size at a young age, Benson is athletic, and active both offensively and defensively. We plan to get a closer look at Benson on day two.
|Jeffress, Peoples, Abuhamden, Cottingham, Arnold, Johnson, Hameed, Farmer & Sheron|
We got our second look at Ramelle Arnold Jr. (5’8”/PG/2021/Warrensville), and as we remember, he’s a stud. Arnold’s ball skills are excellent, as is his ability to beat defenders with head and ball fakes and score. He plays with good pace, changes direction and speeds well and does not over dribble. Tough to defend, Arnold can put up big numbers. If you don’t need him to get you buckets, Arnold can shift into a playmaker’s role and allow his teammates to get theirs. We only caught glimpses of him on Saturday, but Meechie Johnson (4’7”/PG/2021/Garfield Heights) was up to his old tricks. It’s still very clear; Johnson is one of the most skilled and most dynamic PGs in the state. We hope to see more of him on Sunday. We got a closer look at Jaden Hameed (5’9”/PG/2021/Cleveland) and EJ Farmer (5’9”/SG/Shaker Heights). We knew Hameed was a top 10 player, but Farmer surprised us a bit. Farmer is a threat to shoot it as soon as he crosses half court. Theres no need for him to wait for pass to get his shot off, as Farmer can create his shot off the bounce.
MarSaun Robinson (5’5”/PG/2021/Oberlin) has been on our radar for several years, and from what we observed on day one, he’s continuing to develop. Robinson is crafty with the rock and is determined to defeat his defender and get into the lane. We also saw some good things from Damaryea Gadson (5’4”/PG/2021/Akron). We’ve seen him before, but his motor and speed from baseline to baseline caught our eye. Collin Albert (5’7”/PG/2021/Shaker Heights), Darryl Peterson (5’11”/PF/2021/Akron) and Jamere Sheron (5’3”/SG/2021/Cleveland) all had solid moments on Saturday and will require us to continue tracking their development over the next couple of years.
|Johnson, Tatum, Miller & Horn|
Although the 5th grade division was also loaded with talent, much of the attention in that division centered around the matchup between John Mobley Jr. and Jerry Easter Jr., arguably 2 top five 4th graders in the nation. What was clear early in the matchup was Easter’s length, which he used to his advantage attacking the basket. What’s also clear is the fact that both of these young players spend a lot of time in the gym, as evidenced by their elite skill set at an early age. The significance of the matchup was not lost on these 2 titans, as they worked hard to hold each other scoreless. Because we did not see the individual scoring, we will not pronounce a winner, but what we will do is applaud their talent and enjoy to matchup for years to come. These 2 kids more than deserve their ample national exposure!
|Moore, Flowers, Molton, Miller, Smith, Swain, Vaughn, Cook, & Johnson|
Of course there were a number of other players who deserve recognition for their standout performances on Saturday; however, it’s difficult to catch them all. With that said, rest assured, we will try to find more standouts on day two. Below is a complete list of the standouts we saw Saturday, as well as their pictures. A great day of basketball!
Day One Standout Performers
2020: Darion Henry; Jerry Laster: John Hughley; Jalen Dials; Neimiah Benson; Grant Huffman; Andy Barba; Brent Darby; Omahn Dobbins; Isaiah Patton; and Tevin Jackson. 2021: Noah Peoples: Rannell Arnold; Montorie Foster; Brent Darby; William Jeffress; Omar Abuhamden; Makail Cottingham; Meechie Johnson; MarSaun Robinson; EJ Farmer; Jaden Hameed; Jamere Sheron; Collin Albert; Darryl Peterson; Damaryea Gadson. 2022: Sonny Johnson Jr.; Tavian Tatum; Trey Miller; and Deon Horn. 2023: Jayvion Moore; Dorjan Flowers; Desh Molton; Andre Miller; Dailyn Swain; Cedric Cook; Victor Smith: Markell Johnson; Javen Vaughn; Matt Ellis. 2024: Jerry Easter Jr.; and John Mobley Jr.