|2022 All-Ohio Red-7th Grade Gold Bracket Champions|
From both a team and individual perspective, there were several very noteworthy performances at the Buckeye Prep Invitational last weekend. Although we didn’t catch them all, we did want to take a few minutes to highlight a few more teams and players. Although many of the 8 divisions were stacked this year, the 7th grade division was a monster. With teams like All-Ohio Red, Bates Fundamental, Indiana Elite/Gametime, Team Teague and the North Coast Blue Chips, the eventual winner of this division would have to run through a gauntlet of talented teams to claim the title. Well, Coach Paul McMillian’s All-Ohio Red team did just that with wins over the Lima Gators (52-22), Indiana Elite/Gametime (57-43) and Team Teague (78-62). McMillian’s squad is built to win with a potential DI backcourt of Khalil Luster and his son Paul McMillian IV. All-Ohio also has athleticism on the wing with Cameren Myles and size in the paint with Josiah Harris. In addition, McMillian has those boys hungry and playing hard! I’m not sure what type of national respect there getting so far, but I need to see them moving up soon.
Elgin Bates’ Bates Fundamental team has a roster full of college prospects, and although they went out relatively early (quarter finals) on Sunday, this team is a force to be reckoned with! They have unbelievable length and athleticism, and they feast off of rebounds, outlet passes and layups. In terms of scoring against them in the paint, good luck. The best player on the team is Eboni Bates, a 6’5 stud who can man multiple positions. He’s long, highly skilled and an elite rebounder and rim protector. In terms of prospects, no player in the class projects higher than Bates. In fact, you could see Bates in the League in a few years! Bates gets most of the ink, but guys like Jayvaughn Hannan, Ty Rogers and Jordan Brooks make this team a monster. Finally, we can’t finish this piece without mentioning how impressed we were with Hannan! A freakish athlete who can handle both guard positions, Hannan was taking guys off the bounce and punching on them! This kid already has great size and athleticism for his position and has high major potential written all over him!!
They returned as defending champions this year and their win over Bates Fundamental confirmed that Indiana Elite/Gametime is still one of the best teams in the country. Indiana has a complete team of highly skilled guys who understand how to play the game. Nick Klaber is one of the studs on a star studded roster, but Reggie Bass, Jalin Lattimore and Max Sullivan all make this team go. This is a good looking team that is going to win their fair share of championships this year. Coach Ed Heban’s 2022 TNBA Shooting Stars opened some eyes this weekend with a quality win over a very good Lansing Prospectors team. Heban’s team was on a role until they ran into a talented Team Teague team (70-46). Team Teague is looking good again this year and will win their fair share of games and championships.
So far we’ve talked about the loaded 7th grade division, but the 2023 division was certainly no slouch! The long anticipated match-up between the North Coast Blue Chips and All-Ohio Red went down on Sunday in the championship game and required 3 overtime periods before a champion could be crowned. Although Drew Lavender’s squad was down by double digits midway through the first half, his guys dug deep and battled all the way back to force overtime. This game was epic as these 2 juggernauts traded body blows in front of a standing room only crowd. In the end, the Blue Chips would get the 74-70 win and claim the Gold Bracket championship.
We have to give some props to Maumee Bay Turf, who made some noise of their own and surprised some teams on their trek to the semi-finals. On championship Sunday, they beat a very good MWA Elite in the opening round (63-54), followed by the Midwest Hustle (58-48), and then took North Coast down to the wire before losing 58-55. Although they are powered by Michael Greenlee Jr., who continues to log in impressive performances, this team is very much a “team” full of quality pieces! We’ve seen Justyn Toller, Deric Jaynes and CJ Hornbeak in multiple settings and know they can go. We also know that Blake Lichtenberg is a key piece to this squad. Maumee Bay is well coached and they execute at a high level. Look for Maumee Bay to occupy a spot near the top of our Power Rankings when we release them next week.
Jason Dawson’s 2023 Team Dos/Ohio Hoopsters team played some outstanding basketball this past weekend. In fact, their 42-29 win over the Cincinnati Royals formally announced their arrival onto the big stage. This game was highly contested, with both teams refusing to roll over. Both teams are well coached and stocked full of highly skilled and high IQ guys. We were very impressed with both teams. We also liked what we saw out of both Team Teague teams. However, their top team’s run came to an end in the semi-finals against All-Ohio Red. Big ups to the Miller Factory, who made a big time run through the Silver bracket, and eventually claimed the title with a 57-46 win over TNBA East.
We have to give a shout out to Coach Anthony Mitchell and his Ohio Varsity/Shooting Stars team for taking the 10th grade championship. Although they took a 43-41 “L” to Rail Cities Attack in pool play, they would revenge that loss with a 59-56 win in the championship game. OV was powered by the play of Soul Hines, who would go on to grab MVP honors. Also playing well for Ohio Varsity were Elijah Glenn, Elijah Thomas, Deshawn Evans and Braylon Mitchell. For Rail Cities Attack, Bryce Dumas, Tommy Cummings and Garrick Hopkins are the guys propelling this team.
As most Ohio basketball fans now know, the Buckeye State has a brand new shoe company sponsored program in C2K Elite. Now sponsored by Under Armour, Chris Anthony got an early win for Quincy Simpson’s fledgling C2K program. With this win, Under Armour begins to build its status with Ohio Basketball! Anthony’s team is absolutely loaded with studs like CJ Anthony, Marcus Johnson, Von Cameron Davis and Quan Magwood, all of whom were selected to the All-Tournament Team. Also, Anthony’s 16 points in the championship game earned him MVP honors. Congrats to Eddie Norrils’ All-Ohio Gold team who finished as runner-ups to C2K (56-59). All-Ohio Gold is a new Toledo-based program that has the potential to make a significant in spotlighting Northwest Ohio talent.
|2021 Tru Game-8th Grade Gold Bracket Champions|
We saw them dominate the field last week at the Grassroots, and they pretty much did the same thing this past weekend. Last week they defeated Coach Dave Ducco’s Cincinnati Royals Blue team on their march to the title; this week they got them again in the semi-finals before beating Coach Greg Johnson’s Cincinnati Royals White (52-43) team in the championship game. As was the case last week, Tru Games’ Seth Wilson was a force and the team’s leading scorer. Wilson is a man child with an impressive skill set as well as size, strength and athleticism. He’s not alone, as Tru Game is loaded with elite talent. For his efforts, Wilson, the state’s No. 1 ranked 8th grader, easily garnered MVP honors.
In terms of new programs, Darryl Peterson’s All-Ohio Phenom put the new program on the map with a semi-final run on Sunday. All-Ohio Phenom took the Royals’ White team right down to the wire before going down (45-47). Look for Phenom to make our top 10 next week. Finally, congratulations to Coach Devon Howard’s All-Ohio-Howard squad for taking the 8th grade Silver championship. What’s most impressive was they made their 4-game Sunday run without the services of stud Alex Williams. Hopefully we will see many of these teams back at are Buckeye Summer Showcase, which is currently scheduled for June 16th-18th!