Sunday, April 30, 2017

Johnson Impressive at Pittsburgh Jam Fest

Meechie Johnson-2021 PG Garfield Heights
He’s been one of the top 2021 players in the nation for several years now, but Meechie Johnson’s play with the 2020 Ohio Basketball Club at the Pittsburgh Jam Fest this past weekend was nothing short of impressive.  Despite playing up a year, Johnson was still able to get his game off.  In fact, he hit from beyond the arc both off the bounce and in catch and shoot situations.  He also had no problems creating separation from his defender and either getting all the way to the cup or driving and dishing to open teammates.

It’s clear from Johnson’s play at the 9th grade level that his transition to the high school game next year should be seamless!  College coaches should be tracking Johnson as he easily projects as a D-I prospect. We will get our next look at Johnson in person at the UA Next Combine Series-Midwest in Chicago in 2 weeks.  Below is a highlight video of Johnson’s work this past weekend.




MWA Elite Captures Bronze Bracket Championship

MWA Elite-2023 Bronze Bracket Champs
Coach Andre Wheeler's MWA Elite squad won the Bronze Division of the 2017 Dru Joyce Shooting Stars Tournament this weekend. After losing a point differential tiebreaker, MWA Elite breezed through the Bronze Bracket with an average margin of victory of 31 points. Pool play was a mixed bag for MWA as they defeated Silver Bracket Champion Dayton Swish 31-30 and lost to Middletown Finest 38-47. As a side note, Middletown was eliminated by Gold Bracket Champion North Coast Blue Chips. Overall, MWA finished 5-1 over the weekend. The following are the game recap scores: MWA vs Dayton Swish (31-30); MWA vs Middletown Finest (NYC) (38-47); MWA vs Team Delaware (59-28); MWA vs Beach City (CA) (56-19); MWA vs  NeXT (50-18); and MWA vs Albany City Rocks  (61-37).

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

SMAC Goes 9-1 in 2 Weekends

SMAC Premier 2024
With a 9-1 overall record over the last 2 weekends, it’s safe to say that Coach Brad Down’s 2024 SMAC Premier squad is off to a great start to the 2017 season! The SMAC run started with a 4-1 finish at the Bearcat Classic in Cincinnati, where they lost to APEX (44-43) in the championship game. In that event, SMAC defeated Complete Player (55-54), Indiana Elite (38-35), Team Heavy (49-29), and All-Ohio Red (49-40). Standouts for the tourney included: Luke Skaljac, Derek Fairly, Devon Zabursky, Brock Beech, and Bryson Curry.

The following week, SMAC went undefeated on their way to the title of the Ohiobasketball.com Classic in Berea.  SMAC’s rout to the championship ran through SMAC Byers (43-17), OBC (49-34), SMAC Caleris (46-6), SMAC Showtime (44-35), and a rematch with OBC (48-22). Standouts were Luke Skajac and Derek Fairley.  So far this season, SMAC is packing a heafy 24-4 overall record.  SMAC’s early success should see them rise in the Buckeye Prep Power Rankings!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Wolves Win Easter Classic


This past weekend, the 2021 All-Ohio Wolves finished 5-0 on their way to the championship of the Easter Classic at Sports4Sports in Cincinnati. In order to win it all, the Wolves had to get by the Cincy Swish (65-15), AKN (48-34) Dayton Metro-English (48-37), SW Ohio Warriors (32-9) and Ballin Hard (42-39).  Standouts for the Wolves included Aaron Davis II, Michael York, Caleb Pitcock, William Trubisky, Mateo Lopez, and David Larkins.  After the weekend, the Wolves have logged in a 31-6 overall record.  Congrats to the Wolves for an impressive run!

Pro Bound Basketball Program Dedicated to helping kids


According to Ty Hairston, Founder and Director of the Probound Ohio Elite basketball program located in Blacklick (Ohio), his own educational and athletic background led him to start his program 8 years ago with the goals of “helping kids go to college.”  Starting with only 2 teams back in 2009, Hairston, a Kent State graduate, returned to central Ohio and began to notice a need for another basketball facility and another program designed to help kids play basketball at the highest levels.   With the help of Mike Duncan, Founder and Director of the storied Ohio Basketball Club based out of Cleveland, Probound and its now 13 teams in grade 2nd through 11th is a participant in the ultra-competitive Gauntlet circuit.


Hairston’s program started from humbling beginnings after he returned to Columbus from Cleveland.  Early on, he spent time working out of The Hoop, a local basketball landmark for many years, before he decided to open his own facility.  “I kept riding by this empty warehouse and then one day I decided to do my own thing,” Hairston said.  Now, Hairston has a vibrant facility that’s used for training, team practices and for hosting tournaments, camps and other youth events. After Hairston partnered with Dave Spiller, a former Ohio State coach and local workout guru, Probound’s high school program really took off.  In fact, in terms of competitiveness, Hairston’s 9th grade team nearly won the Dallas session of the Gauntlet series last season, and his middle school teams have proven to be very competitive over the past couple of years.

According to Dave Spiller, he joined Probound 3 years ago because “…he [Hairston] and I shared a common goal.  Ty’s a quality guy and we both wanted to make an impact on kid’s lives,” said Spiller. Spiller went on to draw a distinction between Proboud and other programs. “So many organizations are more wide open; are more about win-win versus helping kids,” Spiller continued. “Probound offers a more personal touch and the people he [Hairston] surrounds himself with are solid,” said Spiller.

Since Probound’s emergence onto the local basketball scene, several other basketball programs have taken notice and have tried to emulate their success. “After we got our Adidas sponsorship other programs started evaluating our success and now you see other program with shoe company sponsorship,” Hairston added.  Hairston’s goals are simple; he just wants to help kids get college scholarships and to go on to have successful lives.  I’ve helped hundreds of kids get college scholarships,” added Hairston.  From our vantage point, Hairston and his Probound Oho Elite program is living up to its mission of helping kids reach their hoop dreams!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Lawrence Shines at All-Star Saturday Event

Idris Lawrence-Middle School MVP 
On Saturday, the 19th edition of Richard Crockett’s All-Star Saturday event tipped off at the Bruce Howard Recreation Center in Columbus. One of a 5-game slate on the day, the Middle School game was one of the most competitive, as the West squad prevailed 59-55 over the East.  Leading the way for the West was Idris Lawrence (PG/2021), who led the West in scoring with a game-high 14 points.  Behind Lawrence in scoring were Jalen Sullinger (11), Jake Lusk (8), Jordan Lowrey (7), TJ Pugh (7) and Peter Pedrozo (7).  The East team was led in scoring by Omari Effiong, who finished with a team-high 13 points, followed by Marcus Stewart (11),  Paul Wilson (10), Tyreese Hughley (10), Carter Jones (6),Wil Sizer (6), and Pat Daniels Jr. (2). 

Lawrence wasn’t the only MVP on the day, as Austin Bennett’s game-high 24 points earned him MVP honors of the High School game. Others playing well in the game included Debaji Walker (23 points), who was a dunking machine, Matt Smith (23 Points), and Antonine Blackshear (22 points).  We would be remised if we didn’t mention the body Bennett caught in the waning minutes of the High School game, when Bennett cocked it back and totally folded his jumping defender to the ground, undoubtedly, one of the best plays we’ve ever seen!

Talia Shaw’s game-high 24 points led the Girl’s East squad over the West 28-13.  For her efforts, Shaw was selected as MVP. We also really liked Shaw’s teammate, Kasie Burnside, who poured in 18 points of her own. In the 5-8 year old game, Khalil Terry took home MVP honors, while Dominique Aekins was the MVP in the 9-13 year old game. All-in all, it was a great day of hoops, and from all appearances, everybody in attendance enjoyed themselves!


Gym City Kings Claim Title

2nd Grade Gym City Kings
We have to give a shout out to the 2nd grade Gym City Kings for claiming the championship of the 8th Annual March Madness tournament at Sports Plus in Cincinnati the weekend before last.  The Dayton-based program finished 3-0 in route to the tournament championship. To win it all, Gym City took down the Lexington Wildcats 25-15; got by R4L (32-13) the first time, then beat them again (48-23) to take home the gold.  So far this season, the Gym City Kings are already an impressive 36-6.  Some of Gym City’s studs include: Darius Dennis, Dashaun Harris, Amileo Norvell Jr., Ja’kye Hoard, Kellen Brewer, Javion Dixion and D’Marriante Crane.  It’s still a little early to be covering this class, but it’s never too early to tell young players congratulations and to keep working hard!


Friday, April 14, 2017

All Star Saturday Tips Off Saturday




In its 19th year, Capital Transportation’s All-Star Saturday will get underway this Saturday at the Bruce Howard Recreation Center (2505 N. Cassidy Ave) in Columbus. As has become a tradition with this popular event, the day’s festivities will begin with a community Easter egg hunter, followed by a series of all-star basketball games in several age groups. DJ City from Power 107.5 will be returning to add his mix of hot music and comedy. Those who have attended the event in the past know how highly anticipated this event has become. All festivities are free to the public, and include free food, drinks, face painting and many other fun activities for the kids.

Make no mistake, All-Saturday is more than just an Easter egg hunt; it’s also about competitive basketball. Four games will tip off immediately after the hunt, starting with the 6-8 year olds, the 9-11 year olds, the middle school game (2:00pm); the high school girls game (2:30pm), followed by the high school boys (4:00pm). Buckeye Prep has again been asked to select the rosters for the middle and high school games. Participation in the games is free, and each player will receive a nice award and a game t-shirt.

With the help of Devon Howard, the high school rosters have been finalized. This event has always attracted the top players in central Ohio. Some of the players who have participated in the games include BJ Mullins, Jamel Cornley, Yancy Gates, Elijah Allen, Devon Moore, Jarred Sullinger, Trey Burke, Stevie Taylor, Rob Brandenburg, and Elijah Macon. This year, the following players will be participating in this year’s high school game:

West All-Stars: Gavin Brown, Danny Corbett, CJ Prater, Ant Mills, Debaji Walker, Austin Bennett, CJ Anthony, Quan Magwood, Brandon Waugh and Elijah Thomas.

East All-Stars: Matt Smith, Elijah Glenn, Tyler Ruff, Antonine Blackshear, Jake Garrison, Basit Seidu, Anthony Tyree, Marcus Johnson, Isaiah Kennedy, and Braylon Mitchell.

The following are the middle school rosters:

West All-Stars: Idris Lawson, Patrick Daniels Jr., AJ Glover, TJ Pugh, Jordan Lowrey, Jake Lusk, Jalen Sullenger, Cameron Cook, Mikale Massey, Petter Pedrozo, and Henry Hinkle.

East All-Stars: Alex Williams, Wil Sizer, Landon Tilman, Marcus Stewart, Omar Effiong, Tasos Cook, Carter Jones, Daaron Brown, Dez Watson, Paul Wilson and Tyresse.

If you're in town and want to see some competitive basketball, we suggest you make your way over to the Bruce Howard Recreational Center Saturday afternoon; you won't be sorry!

2017 All-Star Game Rosters
All-Star Saturday Website
2011 Event Pictures



Thursday, April 13, 2017

Buckeye Prep All-Academic Team Nominations Requested!



The Buckeye Prep Report has always been synonymous with youth basketball excellence. With our ongoing desire to support and recognize academic excellence, we have developed a program designed to shine a spotlight on youth basketball players who are not only excelling on the basketball court, but are also taking care of business in the classroom as well.  To this end, we will be selecting young men in grades 5th-8th for our “All-Academic Teams.” Through the end of the 2016/2017 school year, we are once again asking parents and guardians to send us copies of their child’s grade cards as well as other information relative to academic-related awards, special recognition and/or community service work, which will serve as nominations for this very worthy endeavor. Not only will we track and publish the nominations, later this summer we will publish the names of the “All-Academic Teams” and will present each selectee with an award.

Most of us understand a couple of truths; some day the basketball is going to stop bouncing for everyone.  In addition, with ever tightening NCAA academic standards, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for many of our youth to qualify for division I, II, or III college basketball programs. So that we represent more than just basketball exposure, Buckeye Prep wants to send out a clear measure that EDUCATION MATTERS, and just like athletic success, academic excellence is worthy of recognition!  For this program to be successful, we need parents, guardians, coaches and concerned adults to take affirmative steps to get us the information we need in order to recognize these young people.

We will be using the following criteria in our determinations: GPA (3.0 minimum), honors/AP classes taken, awards received, organizations/clubs, community service and basketball accomplishments. Please email grade cards and supporting information (copies, as information will not be returned) to buckeyeprep@yahoo.com or mail to the Buckeye Prep Report at 585 Tall Oaks Dr. Gahanna, Oh. 43230. Decisions will be made at the conclusion of the 2015/2016 school year.  Here’s your chance to create something truly unique special!


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Buckeye Prep Report Weekend Recap

2022 All-Ohio Red
For the 3rd straight weekend, Paul McMillan’s 2022 All-Red team took home a title.  On Sunday, playing up in the 8th grade division of the Best Buy Nationals, All-Ohio Red defeated Team Manimal in overtime in the championship game to claim the championship.  Josiah Harris had a big weekend on his way to claiming MVP honors.  With 3 championships in as many weeks, there’s little doubt that All-Ohio Red deserves to sit atop our Power Rankings.  Congratulations to Coach McMillan, his players and parents for a great weekend.


Coach Danny Young’s 2022 Ohio Basketball Club (OBC) followed up a first round defeat last week at the Buckeye Prep Invitational with a championship win at the Storm Classic in Grand Rapids, MI. this past weekend.  OBC’s 5-1 record included wins over the Michigan Playmakers (76-10), a 62-61 loss to The Family; a 74-41 win over Quest; a 77-37 win over the Michigan Titans; a 63-42 win over Greenwood Elite, and a revenge win over The Family (53-47) in the championship game.  “It was a great team win,” said Coach Young. Standout performers included Jordan Huff, Aiden Lai, Elmore James, Trey Martin, Deon Horn and Jonah Dieterle.  Finally, Danny Young Jr. was widely considered the unofficial MVP by tournament officials.  Congrats to Coach Young and his team for the big win.


Coach Charles Cook’s Ohio Hoopsters traveled up to the Solon Classic this past weekend and brought back an 8th grade crown. On Sunday alone, the Hoopsters went 4-0 with wins over the Young Ballers (56-25), Caveman Maddalon (61-51), Another Levl Marv (71-64) and 4th Quarter Basketball (68-63).  Idris Lawson garnered MVP honors, while Jalen Sullenger, Omari Effiong and Jordan Lowery made the All-Tournament Team. Although the win was described as a “total team win,” by Coach Cook, Sullinger and Effiong led the Hoopsters in scoring with 21 points apiece.


Coach Tony Dixon’s 2021 Dayton Wolves squad did some damage at the Bearcat Classic last weekend with a 64-59 win over SMAC Future in the Gold Bracket championship game.  They also defeated SMAC Attack (48-43) and Warriors Elite (54-27) on championship Sunday. Chase Amerson, Anthony McComb and Allen Lattimore were the standouts.


Coach Jeff Rike’s 2024 All-Ohio Blue squad took the 5th grade division championship of the Bearcat Classic on Sunday. To grab the gold, All-Ohio Blue took down SMAC Showtime, Erie Ice, GHITP, Progeny (48-27) and APEX (45-22).


Coach Andre Wheeler’s 2023 MWA Elite grabbed a championship on Sunday at the Solon Gage Classic near Cleveland.  MWA’s 6-0 path to the title ran through Another Level (54-8), Top Level All-Stars (44-15), Court Leaders (68-19), Hardwork Basketball (55-23), Ohio Hoopsters DOSE (49-48) and TNBA Flash (55-33).  Standout performers for MWA Elite were Adisa (Desh) Molten, AJ Wheeler, MJ Barnes, Cody Head and Jayvion MooreJayvion Moore was selected as the tournament MVP.

Coach Gary Melliere’s 2023 Ohio Stampede squad finished 3-2 at the Solon Cage Classic with wins over TNBA West (50-18), Hardwork Basketball (51-9), COSA (52-23).  The Stampede lost to Rise High Elite in the championship game 46-43.  Standouts for the Stampede included Keegan Fernlund, Adam Melliere, Hunter Smith, Dawson Williams, and Charlie Zeller.

A shout out goes to Coach Rick White and his 2023 Dayton Swish for their Silver Bracket Championship at the Bearcat Classic on Sunday.  The Swish downed the Miller Factory in the championship game. Standouts for the Swish included Paul Woodard, Michael Smith, Kalerrio Reaves, Tyren Brown, Zion Turner Antone Allen and Dalamar Blanton.  Big ups to Coach White and his team!

The 2020 Ohio Ballstars finished second at the Bearcat Classic on Sunday in a field that included heavyweights like Indian Elite, SMAC Primetime and the Mid-Ohio Pumas.  Standouts for the Ballstars were Blake Loyd, who knocked down 19 treys over the weekend, and Cole Fisher, who averaged 16 points per game.

All-Ohio Phenom 2021 came up big at Jerry Watson’s Nike Cup on Sunday with an 8th grade championship. To secure the title, Phenom had to get by All-Ohio Howard, All-Ohio Black, Extreme Heat, and All-Ohio Red (B team).  Kobe Johnson was selected as MVP, while Darryl Peterson, James McCollum and Devin Williams all made the All-Tournament Team.  We’re really starting to take notice of Kobe Johnson, who just keeps on logging in standout performances.  Look for him to be in the mix for our post season awards!

Congratulations to all of the teams who had success last weekend.  We will do our best to cover as many teams as we can this season, but it requires coaches and parents to send us information. Also, our final rankings will culminate in the season ending Buckeye Prep Summer Showdown scheduled for June 16-18th.  We hope to get as many top ten teams as possible for our final rankings! 


Buckeye Prep Power Rankings Return


Below is a link to our initial release of our 2017 Buckeye Prep Power RankingsOver the course of the season we will use the following criteria to update our rankings: head to head results; results from common opponents; margin of victory; final placements in tournaments; number of ranked players on a roster; and level of competition played. Unfortunately, many of the top teams in the state fail to play against each other during the season.  This happens for several reasons.  In some cases it’s just fate, as teams lose early in a tournament and just don’t meet, while some teams intentionally avoid playing in some of the better tournaments where that may be forced to play other top teams in the state.  We will monitor that situation and factor it in accordingly. At the end of the day, teams and programs know where the competition is playing! In addition, although we attempted to use historical data from previous seasons, that’s difficult because of the high roster turnovers as players change teams.  Also, in many cases, players grow and get better, which impacts a team’s overall talent level. 

Because we can’t be present at every event, we must rely on information from a network of coaches and sources around the state.  In order to produce credible updates, we need coaches and parents to send us accurate and unbiased information at the conclusion of weekend tournaments.  To this end, we have produced a “Tournament Results Reporting Form” designed to capture the information we need to update our rankings and produce feature stories for the website.  If we can get coaches and parents to buy in and take the effort to get the information we need, then we can more accurately track both team and individual progress.  This will help insure that  teams and players gets credit for their efforts.  At the end of the day, if your team is not playing in the top events against the top teams, and is not providing us with your team’s results, you can’t complain about where your team is ranked (or not ranked)!

It should go without saying that we have done our best to be fair and accurate with our rankings.  We mean no disrespect to any team with where we have them ranked.  If you feel you have been unfairly ranked, simply enter tournaments where the ranked teams are playing and beat them.   Out initial release is based on what we know at this point.  As information flows in about who beat who, we will update the information almost daily.  If your team is unranked or under ranked and you have beaten some ranked teams, simply forward that information to us, we will verify it , them update our rankings. We’re excited about this project and we hope it inspires and motivates players, coaches and parents to seek out the highest competition possible and elevate to level of play in the state.  Finally, please feel free to offer your feedback at Buckeyeprep@yahoo.com, and please remember, we put the rankings together as a fun way for teams to follow the season's progress of Ohio teams.  Let the debate begin!!


2017 Buckeye Prep Power Rankings

Saturday, April 8, 2017

State of the Game-Is Anybody Having Fun!


I rarely write and publish these types of stories, but every now and then I feel so strongly about a subject that I feel compelled to share my thoughts with our readers about the state of middle school basketball.  Although the 2017 travel season is only a few weeks old, I'm already asking myself, “Is anybody having fun?” I’m sure that by now you’re already asking yourself what is Rob Taylor rambling about now. Please take a few minutes to ready this article and try to understand what I see week in and week out.

In terms of credibility, and in order to provide a little background on myself and my unique set of experiences in youth basketball before I wade into the deep end with this piece, it’s important that you know that as a parent, I have enjoyed youth basketball with my two sons since they were in the 2nd grade many years ago.   I have coached them in recreation leagues and at the highest levels of travel basketball, including AAU National Championships (8th grade), multiple AAU final fours and placement games.  I have traveled the country to attend elite showcases, camps and competitive tournaments and I have spent thousands of dollars in pursuit of my son’s hoop dreams.  I have sat in stands and bleachers and laughed and cried in direct proportion to the success or lack thereof my sons and their respective teams.  I have realized unbelievable highs and crushing lows.  I have met great people who remain friends to this day, and I have experienced relationships that were shallow, self-serving and short-lived.  Through all of the ups and downs my sons and I had fun and our relationship survived me pushing them almost to the brink!  We enjoyed spending quality time on the road, in hotels and at dinner.  We loved the fellowship with teammates, coaches and other parents.  We enjoyed the thrill of elite competition, and through it all, they became great human beings.  My sons are grown men now, one having finished basketball at the NAIA D-II level and graduated with two degrees, while the other played DI ball, graduated, and is currently playing professionally in Italy.  This is relevant because I have lived the game, understand the game, and have experienced the game in many roles.

Now the truth; over the past several years I have observed a disturbing trend.  In fact, over the course of just the last two weekends alone my observations have caused me great concern and despair!  The behavior of adults, including coaches, parents and fans as well as young players has continued to erode to the point the gyms are now dangerous places, similar to what you find in many crime infested neighborhoods! Specifically, parents are literally fighting parents, coaches are fighting coaches, kids are fighting kids, coaches are fighting kids, parents are fighting other people’s kids, coaches and parents are fighting officials.  It’s absolute madness, and it’s getting worse. To put it bluntly, there is a certain evil and hatred in many gyms I walk into, and I'm in a lot of gyms!  

Not only are coaches and parents turning a blind eye to escalating violence on and off the court, in many instances, they are encouraging physical and dirty play regardless of the negative consequences. What negative consequences you ask; try physical injury, ejection from the game or tournament and criminal charges just to name a few.  What is also disturbing is the lack of understanding that the kids are watching, learning and being influenced by the adults in their lives.  Through their own negative and inappropriate behavior, adults are socializing and teaching kids that it’s ok to yell, scream at authority figures, cheat and fight.  And when everybody else but the child is blamed for the fight or inappropriate behavior, it sends a message that it's perfectly acceptable to fight or engage in other inappropriate behavior.  Oh yeah, we understand that the the code of the street demands that we teach our children to fight and stand up for themselves, despite the fact by doing so it places our children at major risk long after the game has ended.  Simply put, adults who fight get arrested, get injured or killed, loose jobs and ruin relationships.  Is that really what we should be teaching and encouraging our children to aspire to? Well that's exactly what we are doing week in and week out at these tournaments!

Another dynamic of the game is the high level of mistrust of any and everyone, including coaches, officials, program directors, and media that permeates the game.  The “us against the world” mentality and deep-rooted conspiracy theories have turned gyms into powder kegs just looking for a match.  As I walk around gyms all around the country I see adults in the stands yelling and cursing at the top of their lungs at officials, coaches, their sons and other players; basically anybody who is perceived as the enemy.  In most cases, their venom is unwarranted, misdirected and not based on reality, let alone facts.  In most cases, the coach is unwilling and/or unable to control their parent’s behavior, either because they, too, are behaving inappropriately and don’t understand the impact they have on the player, or they are afraid to confront parents who are all too eager to switch teams next week or the next day under the right set of circumstances.  Coaches are virtually paralyzed to take action for fear of losing a stud player. Note to parents, coaches and players, from my perspective, officials just want to get paid!  They are not out to cheat your team; they are out their trying to supplement their income!

Oh, it's not just limited to gyms, you need only visit your local message board to experience the shear hatred and venom of parents and coaches who feel that either their son or team has been disrespected. So, from the cover of their homes, offices and smart phones, the angry anonymously express their displeasure with whomever and whatever represents a perceived impediment to their goals.

Why is everybody so angry and so hyped up? Can it be the high cost of a college education and a parent’s burning desire to educate their child?  Could it be the allure of a NBA contract and the riches and fame afforded to so few!  Could it be the parent’s own ego that thirsts for attention and adulation?  Could it be a way of reliving a childhood that fell short of expectations?  Could it be the high costs of participation, including player fees, hotels, equipment, tournament entry fees, gas, planes, food, etc and the pressure to realize a return on investment? Could it be a combination of all of these dynamics?  Whatever it is, it’s destroying youth athletics and it’s setting many of our youth up for failure!  Let the kids have fun and enjoy the game people!

From my perspective, much of what we’re seeing is about ego.  Everybody wants to be the parent or coach of the top ranked kid, from the top ranked team, and anything that remotely gets in the way will be viciously attacked.  Those parents and coaches who are fortunate enough to participate on a top team often walk in the gym with a sense of entitlement and the expectation that everybody owes them something, and when they don’t get the respect they think they deserve, watch out, somebody is going to be attacked!

There was a time when kids played outdoors on concrete courts or in dimly lit and poorly ventilated gyms with their friends; totally unsupervised by adults.  These days, if the gym is not college regulation, made of wood or their team does not play on the main court with seating for 5000, it’s unacceptable, yet another source of frustration and complaints, and represents further proof that “they are out to cheat and disrespect us!”  In addition, although parental expectations are at an all-time high, their willingness to pay the cost (i.e., invest) of everything is at an all-time low!  Parents expect for their son to play for free, travel for free, to attend tournaments for free, and if team A can’t provide a free ride, then team B just might.

For the sake of full disclosure, the Buckeye Prep Report and other media organizations like us could be construed as being part of the problem by providing exposure at such an early and at an impressionable age.  I acknowledge that, but I submit that early exposure, if used and managed appropriately, can be a powerful motivator.  In addition, the same way that the names of Honor Roll recipients are published as a reward for hard work and achievement in the class room, so to should excellence and hard work on and off the court be recognized and embraced. In our opinion, parents, coaches and other adults are responsible insuring that exposure is managed in a healthy and productive manor.

If I’m nothing else, I’m a realest, and the prospect that this editorial will change adult behavior is pretty slim.  I just ask that the next time you’re in the gym watching your child compete, please take a few minutes to look around and observe what’s happening.  Although most people struggle to see faults in their own behavior, they see with great clarity the faults of others!

In closing, I’m a positive person who tries to see the positive in people, and I fully understand that not every parent resembles the parent described above.  In addition, although there are not nearly enough of them, I do believe there are still some good people in the game who love the sport and want only what's best for our youth.  Although publishing this may be bad for business and may upset some folks, I feel compelled to articulate how I feel for the sake of the children and the sanity of the adults. My suggestion to the adults is to just relax a little, be conscious of how your behavior is/will affect you child long term.  Moreover, I wish we could be civil to one another and refrain for shouting matches and out and out fist fights. The kids are watching us! 

At the end of the day the ball is going to stop bouncing for everyone, so you should ask yourself; what kind of human being am I creating?  Will my child become a well-adjusted adult that I can be proud of? Also, don’t get to the end of the journey and realize you forgot to enjoy the ride.  Basketball is a great game and can produce enormous long-term positive benefits for you child; try to have fun people; it’s only a game people!