|2021 All-Ohio Purple|
We talked to Berry about the situation and he was quite frank. “They [his players] don’t have the heart. I just feel like the kids did not work hard enough; did not get better,” said Berry. Berry has been coaching AAU since 2004, has always had dominant teams, and he certainly understands what it takes to be successful, both locally and nationally. “They aren’t hungry enough to travel; it’s a different level in the 8th grade. When I love it [basketball] more than the kids then it’s a problem,” continued Berry.
Although Berry will not be at the helm of All-Ohio Purple, you can’t rule him out of being in the game in some capacity. “I’m not saying I’m through with coaching, but not at this level [8th grade]. I may coach a younger team or even girls; I don’t know,” Berry said. One of the obvious questions centers around where Berry’s core group of players will land. Guys like Montev Ware, Jordan Hale-Frater (class of 2022), Jakada Stone, Adrian Layson, Rob Thompson, Antonio Walker and Kaden Warner are all quality pieces that could serve as a solid core if surrounded by more talent. “I referred a couple of kids to All-Ohio and King James [NEO Tru Game], the other 2 elite programs in the state,” Berry continued.
NEO, according to Coach Danielle Love, “…everybody has improved and has literally
grown,” during the off-season, and are “absolutely, without a doubt,” the best team
in the state. “We’re so much more athletic than any team in the state. Other
teams may be bigger [a likely reference to All-Ohio Red], but we are more
athletic and our basketball IQs are higher,” said coach Love. Much like All-Ohio Red, Love’s squd has
upgraded their roster as well, with the addition of Justin Garcia (6’5/combo forward/2021/Indiana), who moved to West
Lake, Ohio this year after running with Indiana Elite the last few seasons. “Justin will help us in many ways; he has
amazing potential. He’s long, shoots,
runs the floor well and has a high IQ,” Love said. “In our first scrimmage, Justin was a team
player who really fit in and looked like he’d been playing with us for 3
years,” continued Love.
|Montev Ware & Jordan Hale-Frater|
With the demise of All-Ohio Purple, coupled with All-Ohio Red’s upgraded roster and Tru Game’s athleticism and team continuity, the #1 spot will surely be up for grabs next season. We can’t wait for the match-up between these 2 heavy weights! Look for the match-up at the Buckeye Prep Invitational March 31st-April 2nd. Can’t wait!