|Loveday, Land, Baker, Jackson & McCorkle|
By most accounts, the spring session of the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase was a complete success, and in addition to the usual household names who were in attendance, a number of hidden gems were unearthed. Over 300 players from across the state, region and country descended on Whitehall-Yearling High School to participate in the one-day event. The day tipped off with an inspiring presentation from Ohio State great, Dennis Hopson, and culminated in a series of very competitive all-star games.
Although it’s very difficult for us to adequately scout our own events, as administrative matters consume our time; we always seem to catch glimpses of a few standout performers. It goes without saying that all of the players that made the all-star teams should be considered standout performers, especially given the significant talent level in the gym (see all-star game rosters); however, there was several players who caught our eyes over the course of the day, many of whom we had not previously evaluated.
One such player was Jeremy Baker (6’0”/WF/2020/IN), who’s size, strength and athleticism set him apart from his peers. We first saw him last year at Ty Kish’s MSHTV Camp in Indianapolis, and his performance on Saturday confirmed what we saw then; the kid is a beast. We also really liked Pierre Brooks (5’11”/SG/WF/2021/MI), who is a multi-dimensional athlete who’s size; athleticism and skill set allow him to play multiple positions. From what we saw on Saturday, Brooks’ upside potential is big time. Speaking of Michigan talent, we were also really impressed with the play of Lorne Bowman (5’10”/PG/2020/MI), who was highly skilled, athletic and poised under pressure. Equipped with an elite handle and several go to dribble moves, Bowman was very effective attacking the cup. We had not seen him in a couple of years, but based on his play on Saturday, Zeb Jackson (5’8”/PG/Toledo) should still be considered as one of the elite guards in the state. We don’t seem to get many Cincinnati area kids to oue events, but when we do, they usually can play, as is the case of BJ Bransford, who frequently attends our events, Jared McCorkle and Max Land. In fact, McCorkle and Land were both received Top 5 Awards and have been invited to the UA Next Combine Series Midwest May 14th. both Huber Heights’ Chris Scott (6’2”/SG/WF/2020/) caught our eye with his length, fluidity and athleticism, as did Jadon Dance (6’1”/WF/2019/IN), Josiah Shamsiddeen (5’8”/SG/2021/MI), Kalen Howell (6’5”/PF/2019/Springfield), , Cavon Butler, Taylor Kreeger, Caleb Crawford, sol Hines, Jaheim Thomas and Willieon Yates.
|Schmidt, Abuhamdeh, Gadson, Wilson & Sizer|
In order to be truly elite, a player must display consistency. Seth Wilson, Omar Abudamdeh and Ashton Henderson, all 7th graders, did just that on Saturday and were rewarded with all-star game selections. One of the most impressive performances of the day was logged in by Wil Sizer (6’1”/PFCincinnati). He’s big, can score effectively in the paint and rebounds at a high rate. However, his developing perimeter game, including his ability to shoot and score from the mid-range and beyond the arc suggests his long-term potential is even better than we originally thought. Simply put, Sizer keeps getting better every time we see him! We had heard a lot about big Skyler Schmidt (6’2”/C/Goshen) and his Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase debut stamped a seal of approval on his talent. Schmidt is a beast in the paint and is a high level scorer and rebounder. Good footwork and a soft touch describe his attributes. Based on what we saw on Saturday, Schmidt is clearly a top 10 player in a talent-rich Ohio. Speaking of big time debuts, Huber Height’s Brent Walker (6’4”/C/2021) attended his first Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase and proved his name belongs among the best in the state. Big, strong and explosive best describes his game. Still developing a sold skill set; physically, Walker is among the best in his class. That All-Ohio Red 2021 squad is going to be a tough out!
We have to show some love to Damaryea Gadson, who just keeps demanding attention. We saw him in Cleveland a couple of weeks ago and liked his speed and energy, and he duplicated that success here in Columbus, to the tune of an all-star game appearance and Top 5 honors. It’s not about your name, it’s about your game, and Gadson’s game is worthy of mention. Michigan’s Keyon Menifield is a super talented floor general who has all the tools to be an elite guard in the future. Menifield is a wizard with the rock, and his speed and quickness are elite. Super crafty with vision and passing skills make Menifield a problem in terms of scoring and playmaking. If that wasn’t enough, Menifield is also a pesky defender, which is a must for smaller point guards. Needless to say, Michigan has another elite PG!
In terms of some of the younger players, Najih Wright (4’9”/PG/2023/Loraine) is a small, but dynamic PG who can shoot it, get all the way to the cup, or drop it off to a teammate for an easy bucket. He came all the way from Jackson, MS. and we’re glad he did, as Khary Sykes (4’7”/PG/2022/MS) was fun to watch. Lighting quick, tough and aggressive with an elite motor best describes Sykes’ game. The kid seemed to be everywhere. Ezra Manjon (5’8”/PG/2019/Columbus) was quick and crafty, while Jaheim Thomas (6’2”/PF/C/Cincinnati) has good size, strength and is very explosive.
|Smith, Rumple, Little, Duval & Benton|
In the 6th grade division, Marlon Elliott Jr. (5’1”/WF/Columbus), Evan Unruh (5’2”/PG/Elida) Turner Butty (5’1”/PG/KY) and Tegan Myers all appeared highly skilled, poised under pressure with elite motors. Also, we can’t say enough about Dayton’s Sellers Little III (5’0”/PG/Dayton)! Every time we seen him he was attacking the basket and finishing. High energy and aggressive are his calling cards. Finally, based on what we observed on Saturday, he may be top 10-15 in the state right now. Adam Duvall (6’1”/PF/Beavercreek) already has impressive length for his age, which combed with a solid skill set; suggests he could be real good down the road. In fact, we plan to track his progress. William Rumple (5’4”/SG/Auburn) just keeps turning heads. Tough and hardnosed, Rumple burst onto the statewide stage at the NEO event a few weeks ago and then followed that performance up with an all-star game appearance and Top 5 honors here in Columbus. It was our first time seeing him, but Jamel Smith II can play, as evidenced by his Top 5 selection. We did not see a lot of him, but we will going forward. Another event; another all-star selection for Danny Young Jr., who is proving to be a consistent star.
Michigan’s Ashton Henderson has displayed his talents all over the country and has been consistently elite. Well, he did it again here in Columbus, as his performance was among the best. Having been battled tested against the best, Henderson if tough to rattle and knows how to score the ball. He’s not just a scorer; his advanced ball skills and court vision make him an elite playmaker as well. According to his showcase coach, Michigan’s Mason Docks has talent. If he’s anything like his older brother, Chris Harrison-Docks, a division I standout, Docks’ future is bright. Cecil Benton Jr. did some nice things on Saturday and is now firmly on our radar, as did Deon Horn and Alex Waters.
The more we see the talent level in the class of 2023 (5th graders), the more impressed and excited we are! This class is turning out to be deep. No one impressed us more than Michael Greenlee Jr. (5’0”/PG/Toledo); a long and athletic lead guard who displayed an almost complete game. Not only is he effective at getting into the paint and finishing, Greenlee can knock down the jumper as well. Greenlee’s performance was so impressive; he will vault to the top of the class on our top player lists. We have to mention his AAU teammate, CJ Hornbeak Jr. (5’6”/C/Toledo) who came to Columbus with a rep and confirmed many of the positive things we had heard about him. Hornbeak is a big who rebounds at a high rate and is an effective scoring close to the bucket. We also think we saw him step away and flash some perimeter skills as well. Hornbeak is definitely a player to watch going forward. Staying with the Toledo guys, Justyn Toler (5’0”/SG/WF) also did his thing and made it clear he deserves some attention as well. Also from Toledo is Deric Jaynes, who is a talented player as well, resulting in his selection to the all-star game, followed by a Top 5 selection. It’s important to note that each of the above players run with Coach Brad Morison’s Maumee Bay Turf team. As it’s no wonder we have them ranked #3 in our recently released Power Rankings!
|Greenlee, Allen, Frazier, Jaynes & Brandon|
Piqua’s Dre’Sean Roberts (5’0”/PG/Piqua) logged in another solid performance and did nothing to hurt his sizable reputation. We’ve seen him twice now and on both occasions, Marquez Frazier (4’4”/PG/Toledo) has stood out from his peers. As a reward, Frazier got the all-star game nod, where he proceeded to score a game-high 8 points. We were also super impressed with Jyles Brandon, Antaune Allen, Tyron Barnes, Paul Woodard and Blake Lichentenberg (5’3”/WF/Toledo). Finally, it should be mentioned that Dayton has a ton of talent in this class, some of which we’ve not even seen. We plan to keep a close eye on this group in the future. We also plan to monitor the progress of Nino Nesbit, Willie Alexander and Jayson Levis, 4th graders who more than held his own against the big boys. We had our first-ever 1st grader in the house, and from what we here, Lamont Hamilton is a tough little customer who was not afraid to mix it up with bigger and stronger guys. He could be a good one in the future.
We did not see all of the standout performers, but from what we did see, the event was absolutely brimming over with talent. We can’t wait to see what happens at the fall elite showcase, which is currently scheduled for September 17th and 18th at Otterbein University. Several of the players featured in this recap have punched their ticket to the prestigious Ohio North vs South All-Star Game and have partially built a case for “All-State” honors. You can catch many of these players in action at the Buckeye Prep Invitational Tournament in 2 weeks. Below are links to our Standout Performer list and All-Star game rosters.