|Mid-Ohio Pumas vs The Prospectors|
We had the opportunity to spend a day at Mike Saunders’ George Hill Invitational Tournament in Indianapolis, IN on Saturday and needless to say, there were a number of elite players and teams in the gym. Although we concentrated most of our efforts on the Ohio-based teams, we were able to catch glimpses of some of the other nationally ranked teams participating in the event. One of the first games we watched was the 2020 Mid-Ohio Pumas vs the Prospectors. Like most of their games on Saturday, it wasn’t even close, as the Pumas easily dealt the Prospectors a 53-27-loss. The Pumas were paced by the 3-headed monster of Chris Mayfield, Jack Pugh and Matt Allocco, who finished with 15, 13 and 11 points, respectively. Later in the day, the Pumas matched up against the Indiana Red Storm, and again, it’s wasn’t even close, as the Pumas cruised to an easy 54-17 win.
The 2022 Toledo Wildcats have had a fantastic 2016 champagne so far and from what saw in Indy on Saturday, they were the clear favorites to win it all on Sunday. In a pool play game against GameTime, Toledo enjoyed a height advantage at every position, and was simply to big for the much smaller GameTime. In fact, the score was 20-0 with 8:20 left in the first half, and the Wildcats would go on to a 59-33 win. As has been the case this entire season, Michigan’s Emoni Bates was dominate. Bates, at a long 6’4, can play every position on the court. Although his length allows him to play in the post, his coach and skill set often has him handling the ball out front. Consequently, Bates’ combination of size and ball skills make him a special athlete with tremendous upside potential. With the addition of Genesis Kemp (6’1/PF/Grand Rapids, MI), who is also big, athletic and skilled, the Wildcats are a tough match-up. The other stud on a loaded Wildcats team is Dior Conners who provides defensive pressure but can also score the ball when needed.
We got our first look at Alvin Mobley’s 2021 All-Ohio Red squad as they matched up with the Gary, Indiana Panthers. The game was never really close, as All-Ohio maintained a 20 plus point lead for most of the game, and would go on to win it 45-26. The top guy on that team appears to be Alvin “AJ” Glover (6’0/WF/Reynoldsburg) who is best at slashing to the rim. Glover has good length, athleticism, a solid handle and he defends well. In the post is big Trey James (6’9/C/Inez, KY) who is a space eater, rim protector and a high volume rebounder. At the point is Josiah Mobley (5’4/PF/Columbus), who has great ball skills and is always in attack mode. Mobley can also score the ball and is a great on-ball defender. We hope to get a better look at Mobley’s team at the Buckeye Prep Summer Showdown June 17-19th.
|Pugh, Sibley, Jackson, Bates & Louden|
In the 4th grade division, we watched the Columbus-based C.Y.E.C. Monarchs take on the Western Kentucky Wildcats. The Monarchs were not much of a match for the hot shooting Wildcats, and would eventually go down 56-30 by the time it was all said and done. The Wildcats had a bit of an Ohio flavor, as Jerry Easter (5’2/PG/Toledo) was on the roster. As he has done for a number of different teams this season, Easter was the floor general that found open shooters on the perimeter and handled the Monarchs’ defensive pressure. Easter is highly skilled, poised under pressure, and although he is a solid playmaker, he can get his own shot as well. From what we have seen this season, Easter is clearly one of the top players in the country in his class. At the end of the day, everywhere the kid goes his team wins championships! For the Monarchs, we were really impressed with LB Towns (4’8/PG/Columbus), a dynamic little PG with a mature game beyond his year. Towns has elite ball skills and an array of dribble moves that allow him to create separation and get his shot off. In addition, Towns has great vision and is able to deliver passes on target and into tight spaces. He’s poised, confident and the kind of kid you want running your team. We have not watched a lot of 4th graders this year, but Towns has to be one of the best 4th graders in the state. We plan to keep a close eye on his development going forward.
In addition to watching the Ohio teams, we had the opportunity to get a look at several other really talented teams. The Indiana Rise vs The Family (2022) match-up was not very competitive early, but by the time the horn sounded the Rise had won 47-35. We really liked John Louden (5’11/WF/Indianapolis) and Caden Whitehead for the Rise. Louden’s length athleticism make him versatile and able to play and defend multiple positions. We didn’t see him shoot much, but he sure got to the cup on a consistent basis. Caden Whithead (4’10/PG Indianapolis, IN) ran the point for the Rise. White is a small guard with ample quickness, court vision and superior passing ability. He’s also very crafty with an elite handle. For The Family, the backcourt duo of Bryce Eaton (4’10/PG, Detroit) and Jamarion Wilson (5’0/PG/Pontiac, MI) is a good one. Eaton is a smallish floor general with blinding quickness and a big time playmaker. As soon as you settle in on his ability to find open guys with precision passes, Eaton will pull up for the trey and knock it down. In addition, Eaton always probing the defense for a crack so he can exploit it with a dime or floater. Finally, he’s hella small, but his confidence and production are huge. We also like Wilson who also had solid ball skills and could score getting to the basket. The Rise’s 7th grade team has a few studs as well, but Jaden Thomas (6’0/WF/Indianapolis) caught our eye on Saturday. Thomas is long and appears to be more of a slasher than a perimeter from what little we saw on Saturday.
|Allocco, Docks, Whitehead, Glover, James Towns, Kemp, Eaton & Easter|
We watched the 2022 Michigan Prospectors absolutely man handle the Heroes by 20 plus points. We could not have been more impressed with the play of Mason Docks (5’4/PG/Lansing, MI), who is one of the best 6th grade PGs we’ve seen all spring. Along with an elite handle and a high basketball IQ, Docks is quick, understands the game and just seems to always make the right play. Oh he can shoot it, but he prefers to make the pass first, which is just what you want in a floor general. Like his brother Chris Harrison-Docks, who played at Butler and is now at DePaul, Docks has an excellent chance to play D-I ball with continued growth and development. We also were impressed with his teammate, Alex Watters (5’8/SG/WF/ East Lansing, MI). Watters will surprise you with his athleticism and his ability to get to and then finish at the cup.
In terms of long-term prospects, college coaches should be tracking Jamari Sibley (6’8/C/ Milwaukie, WI). Sibley is long and lean and needs to put on a lot of weight, but he’s explosive and plays above the rim. He has a long wingspan, which he uses to get his hands on balls. He runs the floor well and is proficient in advancing the ball down court after a rebound. Sibley is a sure fire D-I prospect going forward. There were several other standouts on Saturday including Jamal Molton (5’8/PF/ St. Louis. MO), Grant Newell (6’0/WF/Chicago, IL), Veron Williams (6’1/WF/ St. Louis, MO), Hunter Jackson (5’10/SG/Indianapolis), Trey Galloway (6’2/WF/Indianapolis, IN) and Mike Saunders Jr. (5’6/PG/Indianapolis). With so much talent in the gym we were very disappointed we could not attend the entire event, as there were a number of other standouts that deserved recognition. Thanks to Mike Saunders Sr, for the invite, and congratulations to he and his staff for putting on a first class event!