Friday, May 26, 2017

Buckeyes Make National List

Seth Wilson, Mechie Johnson, Skyler Schmidt & Chris Livingston
We recently stumbled on national player rankings for the classes for 2022 and 2021, and discovered that 4 Ohio players were featured. The Runna Report lists Seth Wilson (#20), Meechie Johnson (#33) and Skyler Schmidt (#35) among their top 40 players in the class of 2021.  In addition, Chris Livingston (#14) is the lone Buckeye to crack the report’s top 32.  Of course we’ve seen each of these players perform since the 4th grade, so it comes as no surprise that they are receiving national recognition. It should also be noted that each of the 4 players recently participated in the UA Next Combine in Chicago, IL and more than held their own!  In fact, Johnson was widely considered the best performer there, while Livingston, one of only two 7th graders, made a big time impact!

We are, however, surprised at a couple of omissions, as we believe that another handful of Ohio players could have made this list.  Moreover, each of the 4 listed players have been perianal all-stars and Top 5 Award winners at our Buckeye Prep Elite Showcases.  In fact, each of them was a participant in our prestigious Ohio North vs South All-Star Game last September.  Congrats the each player and their parents for this great recognition.  On another note, we also noted several other Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase alumni represented on the list. Zion Harmon (#1), Jalen Blackmon (#12), Ryan Conway (#19),  Furst (#23), Pierre Brooks II (#36) and Carter Whit (#38) all made the 2021 list.

Shockers Log in Impressive Season

2024 Ohio Schockers
The Jackson (Massillon, OH) based Ohio Shockers (2024) just completed their 2017 AAU Campaign with an impressive 27-0 overall record. Their record includes titles in all 6 of the tournaments they entered, including: The Ballers Bash (VAC), The Battle (VAC), Rising Stars Classic (, Massillon Challenge (Ohio, Akron Cage Classic (VAC), and Prime Time Challenge (VAC).  Along the way the Shockers defeated teams such as SMAC-Akron-Evans, Mahoning Valley Elite, Ohio Panthers, MKU, and the Dawgs to name a few.  However, they saved their best last in defeating TNBA East-Loppolo (2 championships & 4 finals this season) 49-32 in the Prime Time Challenge championship game.

Over the past 2 seasons, the Shockers have gone 62-6, with 3 of those losses coming at the hands of teams form out of state in the Dru Joyce Shooting Stars Classic.  The team, coached by Jim Kish, Dan Weekly, and Chad Bailey, includes players from Jackson, Lake, Louisville, and Green.  The key to the Shockers’ success is their unselfish brand of play, and the fact that each player is able to mesh well into a team concept.  We would like to congratulate to Shockers on their impressive 2-year run.  With that said, we would like to see them upgrade their 2018 schedule so the get an opportunity to play teams listed in out top 20 Power Rankings!  Hopefully we get a chance to see them in the Buckeye Prep Invitational next year!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Branham Video Demonstrates Talent

There's a new highlight video out on Malaki Branham (6'3/WF/2021/Columbus) showing his wide range of talent.  We've been following Branham for a number of years now and it's clear he continues to grow and develop.  A perennial all-star and Top 5 Award winner at our Buckeye Prep Elite Showcases, Branham easily projects as a D-I prospect.  Long, athletic with an improving skill set best describes Branham's gifts.  He's also getting to and finishing at the rim on a consistent basis.  As one of the key pieces to our #1 ranked Tru Game, Braham is becoming a force both offensively and defensively.  We expect Branham will contribute to a varsity program early in his freshman season.  Check out the video below.

Highlight Video

Dawg Days Grab Primetime Crown

Dawg Days Basketball
Coach Morgan Wenger’s 2022 Dawg Days Basketball squad finished 6-0 on their way to the title of a Primetime sponsored tournament last weekend. To claim it all, Dawg Days had to take down VAC-Knox (62-38); Ohio Hoopers (57-53); Team Cure-Molk (85-45); VAC Sullivan (70-55); Blue Jays (67-51); and Ohio Hoopers (second time) (55-53).  Standouts for the weekend included: Jalen Wenger, Javar Simpson, and Chris Smith.  Wenger’s team head to Ft. Wayne for the Memorial Run & Slam next weekend before returning to Columbus for the Buckeye Prep Summer Showdown.

Despite missing star forward, Willie Stewart, Another Level 2022 dominated the All-American Cage Classic.  Another Level went 7-0, with wins over Hard Work Basketball (65-44); Ohio KOTC (52-22); Dawg Days Basketball (66-26); Next Level (55-20); BFO (65-50); the tournament favorite, TNBA Shooting Stars (55-38); and Dawg Days Basketball in the championship (65-49).

According to the coach, Another Level “has had some disappointing losses this season.  Coming into the year expectations were very high with this talented group.  It took awhile, but they are finally catching their stride.  Losing to a team in the Elite Eight Gold Bracket at the Dur Joyce Shooting Stars Classic that they previously beat by 30 points illuminates their ups and downs.  However, they seem to be putting it together as the year progresses.”

Below is a look at Another Level’s roster and an evaluation of each player according to the team’s coach. This team has a lot of under the radar talent that has been under exposed so far. Star forward Willie Stewart (Euclid) has already received recognition at Buckeye Prep Invitational. His motor, mixed with his athleticism, could make him one of the best raw talents in the state. Also, forward Duron Montgomery (Euclid) has played like a man among boys all season, but especially against Ed Hebens' Shooting Stars, leading them to a 17-point victory, while completely dominating their bigs. Jalen Brown (Shaker) and John Henderson (Nordonia) is one of the top backcourts in the state. Jalen Brown has received top 20 in NEO national showcase two straight years and is an athletic play making point guard with a very high ceiling.

John Henderson has to be one of the top two-way guards in the state. Scoring 24 points in the championship game against Dawg Days, while also locking down their star player. This kid has unlimited potential. To round out this talented group, sharp shooting guard Sam Mulberry (Solon) is a knockdown shooter who has very high basketball IQ. The depth of this team is hard to match. Claishon Ivory (Euclid) is the most athletic player on the floor. Anthony McCarthy (Twinsburg) is a lockdown defender with a high motor. Lashon Singleton (Shaker) is a glass eater. Maurice Tartt (Warrensville) is a 6'2'' high-motor big. Jordan Cannon is an unstoppable slasher going left. We will catch Another Level at the Buckeye Prep Summer Showdown June 16th-18th.

The 2021 All-Ohio Wolves finished 3-3 on their way to a Silver Division runner-up finish at the All-Ohio Super Showcase on Sunday.  All-Ohio defeated Hardwork Basketball (67-28); lost to Dayton Wolves Blue; lost to MBA National (53-64); beat Dayton Nets (66-38), defeated Chicago’s Old Gold (53-37); and lost to ISG in the championship game (42-46). Deuce Shaw and Aaron Davis II were selected to the All-Tournament Team.  For the season, All-Ohio Wolves are 41-10 overall.

All-Ohio Wolves 2023 have had a good run the last 3 tournaments including a 2nd place, 1st place and a 4-1 record and 2nd place finish at the All-Ohio Super Showcase over their past 3 events.  Their run at the Super Showcase included wins over The Miller Factory, The Family (MI), Uplay Canada and All-Ohio White.  We will see All-Ohio Wolves 2023 at the Buckeye Prep Summer Showdown.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Ginn Elite Claims Championship

2021 Ginn Elite
This past weekend at the Shoot The Rock Classic National Qualifier in Erie, PA, Coach Bryon Ottrix’s 2021 Ginn Elite squad finished undefeated on their way to the title. Bryon Ottrix Jr, led the team in scoring all weekend, averaging 18 points per game, including a tournament-high 23 points. Also playing well for Ginn Elite were Randy Harris, Jaylen Anderson, and Jalen Knott.  Knott logged in a big performance in the championship game, scoring 19 points with four treys.

Congrats to Darryl Peterson's 4th grade All-Ohio Phenom team for making a Final Four run at the George Hill tourney in Indianapolis last weekend.  Peterson's team was upended in the semi-finals by the 2nd ranked (nationally) and eventual tourney champions, Carolina Stars by 8 points.  Phenom was powered by Darryn Peterson, who averaged 24 points per game.  Look for Peterson to move up in the national player rankings based on his outstanding play so far this season.  You can catch All-Oho Phenom in action at the Buckeye Prep Summer Showdown June 16-18th.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Takeovers Takes Nike Super Sixteen Crown

Teamtakeover-2022 All-Ohih Nike Super 16 Champions
The All Ohio Nike Super Sixteen held this past weekend in Columbus, gave us a first look at Team Takeover (TTO) class of 2022. Sponsored by Victor Oladipo of the Oklahoma City Thunder and guided by the steady hand of Ray Brewer (Head Coach), Keith Thomas and Jerald Roy (assistants), this young team made quite the impression during  their weekend in Ohio. Coach Brewer has assembled a talented team of young men that are driven to uphold and defend TTO as a program and the DMV as a whole. 

When individual scoring is at the fore front of youth basketball, these young men played as one unit involving each other in all aspects of the game.  As a result of this approach, these young men won each game by an average of 20 + points, including a big win in the  championship game where the final score was 58-34. TTO believes in defense first and that is exactly what was shown over the weekend.

Team Takeover’s 2022 roster includes: Christian Watson  (#1), Devin Dinkins  (#2), Christian Winborne  (#3), Dylan Williamson  (#4), Judah  Mintz (#5), Jabari Smith (#6), Derrick Keys (#7), John Loughlin  (#10), Christian May (#8), Stephaun Walker  (#11), and Wiz Rodger (Not picture).

Buckeye Prep Summer Showdown Taking Registrations

UA Next Combine South Standout Performers 6-20

 Jalen Breazeale, Miles Versa, Garrison Powell, Oliver O'Brian & Jalen Hood
Yesterday we featured our picks as the top 5 players that attended the UA Next Combine Series in Atlanta, GA on Saturday.  Today, we would like to list players 6-15, including several players who made our Honorable Mention squad.  It’s always difficult in events like these to see everybody enough to accurately evaluate each player.  We do our best to see everybody, but we understand we often fall short.  Players need to understand that the window of opportunity to shine often closes quickly, so a slow start early, rest in the middle, or being too fatigued to give their maximum effort for an entire event could all conspire to produce under recognition and exposure.  Of course, some players are simply off their game for some reason.  With that said, let’s take a look at whom and what we saw on Saturday.

We over heard a coach describe Jalen Breazeale (5’8/PG/2021/Mauldin, SC) as the top PG at the camp.  Although we can’t confirm that, based on the standout performance logged in by Khalil Brantley, we can confirm that Breazeale was quite impressive!  He’s supper quick with excellent ball handling skills, and he excels at breaking down his defender and getting into the lane for a layup or dish. Breazeale is also athletic, and his ability to find open teammates and then deliver accurate and timely passes makes him an excellent playmaker.  He’s also explosive, and his knack for finishing wrap around passes in a crowd is exciting to watch. Breazele is a high energy player who seems to make a lot of things happen on the court.  Moreover, he defends at a high level.  Take a look at the highlight video below and we’re sure you will agree that Breazeale has game!

Miles Versa (5’10/PG/2021/Athens, TN) logged in a fine performance as well. Versa has a nice looking mid-range jumper, and he’s also aggressive at attacking the cup. He has an explosive first step and he does a good job of finishing plays.  He also sees the floor well and is a very capable and willing passer.  Versa also has good body control, and he plays with solid motor. We also saw some good stuff out of Garrison Powell (6’2/CG/2021/Roswell, GA). Powell, has good length, is athletic and finishes well through contact.  Powell is a bigger guard, and he finishes at the free throw line.

He may not scare anybody getting off the bus, but few players were more productive on Saturday than Oliver O’Brien (6’1/CG/2021/Davidson, NC). From what we saw, the highly skilled O’Brien just makes plays.  We did’nt keep his scoring numbers, but every time we looked up he was scoring the ball and making highlight plays.  The son of a high school basketball coach, it’s clear O’Brien has been in the gym doing skill work.  

Tony Watters II, Trayvien Curry, Jalen Clark, Robert McCray & Jaden Thomas
Any discussion about the top PGs at the event has to include Tony Waters II (5’9/PG/2021/Charlotte, NC).  Watters put in work on Saturday! He got to the cup on a consistent basis, hit mid-range jumpers off the bounce, set teammates up for easy buckets, scored in transition and was generally difficult to guard. Watters is also quick, explosive and relentlessly attacks the cup where he finishes at a high rate.  Teamed up with Breazeale, the duo gave teams problems all day.  We expect some good things out of Watters in the future. 

Just outside our top 10 were Trayvien Curry (6’4/PF/2021/Cleveland, TN) and Jalen Hood-Schifino 6'0/PG/2022/Charlotte, NC). Curry has good length, a solid frame and was at his beat protecting the rim against would be scorers.  He’s not just a good defender, Curry was seen finishing plays with his left hand. Curry appears to still have plenty of room to grow, so it would not surprise us at all to see him playing college basketball in a few years. Boyd also did enough to catch our eye on Saturday.  He’s well built, strong and he has a nice touch on his jumper. He’s also smooth, poised and plays with nice pace.  Although he did some nice things, everything tells us he had more in him that he did not let go.  Boyd could be another good one with continued growth and development.

Ashton Williams, Marcus Stewart, Anthony Hopson, Collin Albert, Ja'Sean Morris
We were also impressed with Jalen Clark (5’7/PG/2021/Indianapolis, IN), who caught our eye early. Clark is a great floor general, who plays the pick and roll well, is patient, keeps his head up in search of cutting teammates, and he does a good job of making plays.  He pushes the ball well in transition, but still understands how to play with good pace.  Robert McCray (5’11/PG/2021/Columbia, SC) was another solid PG who showed us flashes of talent. McCray was at his best driving to the basket.  He’s also fast, athletic and aggressive. Rounding out our top 15 is Jaden Thomas (6’0/CG/2021/Indianapolis, IN), who is another one to watch going forward.  Thomas has good size for his position, has a great motor, long arms, and he does a good job pushing the ball in transition.

Our Honorable Mention list includes: Justin Dobbins (6’5/PF/2021/Indianapolis, IN), Ja’Monti Wright (5’10/PG/2021/Louisville, KY), Anthony Hopson (5’10/PG/2021/Indianapolis, IN), Marcus Stewart (6’2/CG/2021/Columbus, OH), Colin Albert (5’10/PG/2021/Beachwood, OH), and Quante Berry (5’10/CG/2021/Cleveland, TN). 

Although the event did not have a lot of the big named kids due to a couple of big competing events, we were still please with the overall talent level. The UA Next Combine Series heads to the west coast (LA) nest week for the Memorial Day weekend.  From what we understand, the talent level should be significant!

Monday, May 22, 2017

UA Next Combine Rolls into the ATL

Khalil Brantley, Camden Blount, Joshua Beadle, Korey Richardson & Shayne Monsanto
The second leg of the UA Next Combine Series tipped off at Milton High School in Atlanta. GA on Saturday and played host to a number of talented ball players.  Although he was one of the smallest players at the event, Khalil Brantley (5’10/PG/2021/Jamaica, NY) made a compelling case as the event’s top guy.  Brantley is well known nationally, so it comes as no surprise to us that he excelled on Saturday.  Brantley dominated on both ends of the floor, and he not only scored the ball, his playmaking skills were on full display as he found open teammates consistently.  Brantley is a smart PG who is highly skilled and plays with an elite motor. He’s also crafty and he has the rock on a string.  At his current rate of development, Brantley projects no worse than a mid-major prospect.  In fact, word has it he has already secured an offer form Iona as an 8th grader!

Right behind Brantley in performance was Camden Blount (6’4/combo forward/2021/Smyrna, GA), a strong and athletic combo forward who plays with a lot of energy.  Blount is solidly built, rebounds in bunches, runs the floor with purpose, handles the ball well and finishes at a high rate around the basket. Blount also has a nice little mid-range shot to boot.  Another good prospect with continued growth and development.

We saw some really god things out of Joshua Beadle (6’1/PG/2021/Columbia, SC). Beadle already has good size for his position at an age, and he’s smooth, athletic and possess an impressive skill set.  We saw a three-level scorer who also doesn’t mind sitting down defensively. He excels at 1 dribble pull-ups or knocking down catch and shoot treys.  If left unguarded after he crosses half court, he is more than capable of stepping into a trey with little hesitation.  We also loved his motor and explosive first step! Kory Richardson (6’2/CG/2021/Columbia, SC) balled out Saturday as well.  Richardson showed the ability to create space with a nifty step back jumper. He also has a nice mid-range game including a, effective floater.  He’s got nice size already, rebounds well, and is super smooth.

Rounding out our top 5 is Shayne Monsanto (6’0/WF/2021/Columbia, SC), who is strong, and understands how to use his football-type frame to dominate in the paint.  Monsanto is also full of energy and is more than willing to do the dirty work.  He rebounds well for his size, is a solid defender and feasted on put backs all day. He also finishes plays through contact, is active in transition and has a great motor. We're not sure if Monsanto will stay the course with basketball or end up playing on the grid iron, but for now, he's nice! Although we have featured only our top 5 players, we will feature the rest of our top 10 tomorrow.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Baldwin has Next Level Potential

Patrick Baldwin, Will Jeffress, Dionte Hughes, Caleb Furst & Chris Hodges
Earlier we profiled the top guards that attended the UA Next Combine in Chicago, but it was clear there were a number of quality bigs and wings in the house as well. In terms of long-term prospects, Patrick Baldwin (6’6/WF/2021/Evanston, IL) legitimately could have been the top prospect in the gym.  Baldwin is long, agile, and has a good touch around the rim. He can also handle rock, pass, and he fills the lane on the break at a high level.  With a father who coaches at Northwestern University, it’s easy to understand why Baldwin has since an impressive skill level, IQ and upside potential. 

While we’re talking about long-term prospects, William Jeffress (6’5/WF/2021/Erie, PA) has a high ceiling as well. We’ve caught Jeffress in action on a number of occasions and have always been impressed with his athleticism, explosiveness and the ability to finish at the rim at a high level. Jeffress is long, defends well and can guard multiple positions.  Look for Jeffress on a college campus in a few years! Dionte Hughes (6’6/WF/2021/Indianapolis, IN) is another one to watch.  An athletic combo forward, Hughes finishes well around the rim with dunks, grabs more than his share of rebounds and can push the rock from baseline to baseline off the rebound.

Caleb Furst (6’8/C/2021/Ft. Wayne, IN) has long been considered one of the top bigs in the country, and his play in Chicago did not hurt his reputation.  Furst is a lefty with a soft touch on his jump shot.  He also rebounds well, has some nice back to the basket moves, and he make his free throws.  Furst is also a solid long-term prospect with high major potential. Chris Hodges (6’8/C/2021/Schaumberg, IL) attracted some attention in Chi Town. Hodges was biggest big at the combine. He moves well, shows toughness, finishes around the rim and defends the paint.

We should have already mentioned Max Christie (6’2/PG/2021/Arlington Heights, IL) among the top PGs at the event, but we will say it here; the kid can ball! Christie already has good size for his position, can score from all three levels and looks like another long-term prospect.  It certainly doesn’t hurt that Christie’s mother played college ball at Northwestern!  We have to give a shout out to Noah Peeoples (6’2/WF/2021/Akron, OH), who traveled to Chicago and re-established himself as a national talent.  Peoples continues to demonstrate his ability to handle and score the ball away from the cup.  He’s an undersized power forward who is developing wing skills.

Pierre Brooks II (6’4/WF/2021/Detroit, MI) also logged in a solid event and did nothing to harm his growing reputation. We also saw some flashes from Makail Cottingham (6’0/PG/2021/Parma, OH), A.J. Braun (6’6/PF/2021/Springboro, OH), Glenn Bynum Jr. (6’3/CG/2021/Mint Hill, NC), Skyler Schmidt (6’6/PF/2021/Goshen, OH), Jaden Winfield (6’1/CG/St. Louis, MO) and Gregory Johnson (5’11/PG/2021/Cincinnati, OH).  Now that Chicago is in the books, we are now looking forward heading to Atlanta for the South Regional Combine.  Stay tuned!

Midwest Combine Player Pictures

Johnson Excels at Under Armour Combine

Meechie Johnson, Bryce Hopkins, Keon Henderson, Paul McMillan IV & Chris Livingston
Out of the 40 elite 8th graders who attended the UA Next Combine in Chicago last Saturday, Meechie Johnson (5’11/PG/2021/Garfield Heights, OH) may have out performed them all.  Although the event featured several nationally ranked players, including some of the top floor generals in the country, Johnson’s skill set, vision, ball skills, play making and ability to score was on full display.  Johnson is fully confident in his abilities, and his style of play is fun to watch.  He not only has the ball on a string, his ability to find open teammates and deliver pinpoint passes is at an elite level.  If that's not enough, Johnson appears to have stretched out a bit, and if he gets anywhere close to his father's height, he's going to be a problem. He has sat atop the Ohio-based rankings for years, but his national profile has continued to rise.  At this point in his career, Johnson clearly projects as a D-I prospect.  (See video)

Speaking of elite PG’s, we have to recognize Jalen Blackmon (6’1/CG/2021/Ft. Wayne, IN), who logged in another solid performance on the day. Blackmon is scoring combo guard, who possess very nice handle, has all the moves to get his shot off, is deadly from the 3-point line, and benefits from good blood lines.  We also really liked Bryce Hopkins (6’2/CG/2021/Montgomery, IL), who is a big strong point guard and a natural playmaker.  Hopkins also has a nice handle, he attacks basket or hits pull up off dribble, plays with great poise, and may have been the best long-term guard in attendance!

We also saw some good things out of Keon Henderson (5’11/PG/2021/Detroit, MI).  We’ve seen Henderson on numerous occasions, and he continues to make his case as one of the top point guards in the nation. Henderson is a quick point guard, who understands the role of distributor, but can knock down the jumper or get to the basket. He was only 1 of 2 seventh graders invited to the event, but Paul McMillan IV (6’0/CG/2022/Cincinnati, OH) more than held his own against the big boys. McMillan is one of the top 7th grade point guards in the country, and he continues to move up the national rankings as more people see his talent. McMillan has a very high IQ, can either knock down the jump shot or attack the rim. We also saw him excel at the drive and kick game, while also making correct reads going full speed.

Speaking of elite 7th graders at the event, Chris Livingston (6’3/CG/2022/Akron, OH) not only played very well, he was clearly better than a number of 8th graders at the event.  On Saturday, Livingston, a top 10-ranked player in the class of 2022, played above the rim, and proved he could score the rock, lock down defenders and can guard multiple positions.  With continued handwork and development, Livingston has a chance to play high major basketball in a few years.  Jaden Hameed (5’10/CG/2021/Northfield, OH) found a way to standout among a lot of talent.  Hameed has burst of speed, is quick, and is a guard that likes to attack the cup. Hammed is strongly built, and is a tough defender on an opposing guards.  Stay tuned as we profile some of the bigger players who attend the event.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

UA Next Combine Series-Midwest Underway

Jalen Blackmon, Caleb Furst, William Jeffress, Pierre Brooks& Meechie Johnson
We’re only halfway through the day of the UA Next Combine Series Midwest and it’s already clear there are some serious ballers in the house! The second year event tipped off at the Quest Multisport facility in Chicago, IL.  On the same court as the NBA Combine earlier this week, 40 elite 8th graders from around the region assembled for the first of 5 regional combines. Under Armour’s new partnership with the NBA and Jr. NBA is clearly evident and the upgrade in resources is quite impressive! Another nice touch was the presence of Oklahoma City Thunder’s Jernami Grant and former NBA great Antonio Davis, who offered their insight and experience to the campers.

So far this morning, players and parents have been treated to informative workshops designed to impart knowledge and valuable information about what kids and parents can expect going forward.  In addition, players are being put through a series of skill and drills as well as the same combine testing as the future NBA guys experienced this past week.  The 9 stations include shuttle drills, vertical jumps, 40-yard dash, wingspan and height measurements and several others.   After lunch, players will begin practicing before the 3 rounds of games begin in the afternoon.

The opening event has attracted some of the some of the top 8th graders in the region including: Jalen Blackmon (6’1/PG/Ft. Wayne, IN), Caleb Furst (6’8/C/Ft. Wayne, IN), William Jeffress (6’5/WF/Erie, PA), Meechie Johnson (5’11/PG/Garfield Heights, OH), Pierre Brooks II (6’4/WF/Detroit, MI), Keon Henderson (5’11/PG/Detroit, MI), Skyler Schmidt (6’6/PF/Goshon, OH), Patrick Baldwin (6’6/WF/Evanston, IL), Glenn Bynum Jr. (6’3/CG/Mint Hill, NC), Chris Hodges (6’8/C/Schamburg, IL) and Jaden Winfield (6’1/CG/St. Louis, MO). In addition to the 8th graders, 2 nationally ranked 7th graders made the cut.  Chris Livingston (6’3/CG/Akron, OH) and Paul McMillan IV (6’0/PG/Cincinnati, OH) will have the opportunity to pit their talent against some of the best the class of 2021 has to offer.  With all the talent in the gym, we can’t wait for the games to jump off later this afternoon!  Stay tuned for our post event report.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Huffman Receives First D-I Offer

Grant Huffman-Freshman St Edwards
We’ve watched him play for several years now, so it comes as no surprise to us that Grant Huffman (6’3/SG/St. Edwards/2020) received his first D-I scholarship offer from Miami of Ohio after his freshman year at St Edwards.  Huffman has always impressed us with his skill set and basketball IQ. As most of our avid readers know, Buckeye Prep has had Huffman ranked in our top 10 for several years. As a starter for Malcolm Walter’s King James Shooting Stars team for several years, Huffman carved out a national reputation for himself that put him on college coaches’ radars early.  In addition, Huffman was a perianal all-star and Top 5 Award recipient at our Buckeye Prep Elite Showcases, and it was clear early on that he possessed D-I potential.  We would like to congratulate Grant and his family for what will be the first of man offers in the next couple of years!

While we’re talking about early scholarship offers, we have to give a shout out the Khalil Brantley (5’10/PG/NC/2021), who as only an 8th grader, has already received a D-I scholarship offer from Iona.  Like Huffman, Brantley has performed at the highest level nationally for several years, and we’ve enjoyed seeing his progress and development right before our eyes.  We will get our next look at Brantley at the UA Next Combine in Atlanta next week. These early scholarship offers should serve as motivation for young players to continue to hone their craft, with the belief that college coaches are following their development even at an early age!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Big shake up in 2022 Power Rankings

Dayton Wolves Program Enjoy Big Weekend
In response to the results of the American Cage Classic in Cleveland and the Dayton Metro Roundball Classic in Dayton this past weekend, there have been some significant changes to the Buckeye Prep Power Rankings.  In Dayton, the Dayton Wolves knocked off then #2 ranked North Coast Blue Chips 52-42 in the championship game. In that game, Mekhi Elmore dropped a gaudy 27 points, while Sellers Littles finished with 11 points and 7 assists and Dontez Jones finished with 10 points and 11 assists.

The American Cage Classic had 5 teams listed in Buckeye Prep’s Power Ranking, including: the TNBA Shooting Stars, Court Leaders, Another Level, Dawg Days Basketball, and Hard Work Basketball. Below are the individual team results for each team for the weekend.

TNBA Shooting Stars- Beat Court Leaders in pool play and lost 55-38 to Another Level in the semi finals. This followed their loss to a very marginal VSN Trailblazers team (Youngstown, OH) in the Dru Joyce tournament last weekend.

Court Leaders- Lost 40-28 in pool play vs TNBA Shooting Stars, and lost 47-45 in the quarterfinals vs ABC Argento. Based on ABC Argento’s play at the event, they have cracked our Power Rankings for the first time this season. From what we understand, they are a really solid team and have similar personnel to the SMAC Akron Elite team we profiled on our site last week.

Another Level- Were clearly the best team in this tournament. Their closest game was 65-49 in the finals vs Dawg Days Basketball. They beat Hard Work Basketball, TNBA Shooting Stars, and Dawg Days Basketball (twice) by very comfortable margins over the weekend. Based on their performance, Another Level has made a huge jump in our rankings. 

Dawg Days Basketball- Defeated Hard Work Basketball 65-54 in pool play and lost 66-26 vs Another Level in pool play. They then defeated ABC Argento 59-50 in the semifinals before losing to Another Level in the finals. Dawg Days Basketball has played an absolutely brutal schedule, has strung together two good weekends in a row and is playing much better than what we saw earlier in the season. In fact, they have wins the last two weekends against Hard Work Basketball, Lakeshore 185, Michigan Mustangs, and ABC Argento, all very quality wins.  Based on their recent run, Dawg Days Basketball has also made a move up our Power Rankings.

Hard Work Basketball- They got stuck in a tough pool this weekend. Both of their pool losses vs Dawg Days Basketball and Another Level eliminated them from even advancing to the bracket. Two teams from their pool played in the finals.  Below is a link to the updated Power Rankings.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Trio of Ranked Teams Win Again

2024 SMAC Premier
Danny Young’s 3rd ranked 2022 Ohio Basketball Club team (OBC) has collected yet another tournament championship. This time, OBC finished 5-1 on their way to the 8th grade championship of VAC Great Lakes Championship near Cleveland.  In pool play, OBC got by Team Fusion (94-20) and VAC-Schenz (76-34), before being upended by 20th ranked Team Cure (59-57).  In bracket play, OBC went on a 3-0 run with wins over Lake Erie Defenders (49-19), Ohio Panthers (57-51) and a rematch with Team Cure in the title game (52-50). Although Coach Young describes the results as a “…great team win,” standout performers included: Elmore James, Nolan Williams and Danny Young Jr. Other solid performers included: Trey Martin, Jordan Huff, Deon Horn, Preston Taylor, Aiden Lai and Jonah.

Coach Brad Downs’ 7th ranked 2024 SMAC Premier squad also grabbed gold last weekend at the Caveman North Pittsburgh Classic in Pittsburgh.  SMAC’s 6-0 run went through Caveman-Carr (46-14), Steeltown Basketball Club (58-39), Caveman Kaprose (54-15), SMAC Showtime (51-26) and Mahoning Valley Elite (41-31).  Standouts for SMAC included: Luke Skaljac, Bryson Curry, Evan Oravecz, Gavin Buckles and Devin Zahursky.  To date, SMAC has an impressive 30-4 overall record. 

On another note, Coach Tony Dixon’s 3rd ranked 2021 Dayton Wolves won the 8th grade division of Dayton Metro’s tournament on Sunday. Also, Coach Nathan Kaple’s 12th ranked Extreme Heat Neon got a tournament win Sunday at Ohio Youth Basketball’s Tyger Challenge. The Heat beat Donald Graham & Associates by 28 points in the championship game. T.J. Pugh scored 18 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in the final game.

Monday, May 8, 2017

UA Next Combine Series-Midwest Tips Off Saturday

This coming Saturday, Under Armour’s UA Next Combine Series Midwest will tip off at the Quest Multisport Facility (2641 W. Harrison St) in Chicago, IL.  The second year event will host forty elite players from around the region and will involve skill and drills, workshops for players and parents, a guest speaker and 3 rounds of games.  In terms of the roster breakdown, there are 14 players from Illinois, 14 players from Ohio, 6 from Michigan, 3 from Indiana, 2 from Missouri and 1 player from Pennsylvania. Although the combine is primarily an 8th grade event (2021), 2 nationally ranked 7th graders (2022) have been invited to participate. Each player will receive free Under Armour gear ($200 value), including shoes, a uniform, t-shirt and lunch.

In addition to being highly competitive, the event will receive a high level of exposure. Not only will the Buckeye Prep Report be covering the event, Middle School Hoops will also be in the house providing video coverage.  In addition, players will be competing for an opportunity to participate in Under Armour’s prestigious UA Next Experience at the Elite 24 this August in New York City.  The nation’s annual premier high school basketball showcase, Elite 24 is a three-day basketball event in its 12th year that offers the world’s best players an opportunity to experience the energy and spirit of authentic playground basketball.

Finally, the Jr. NBA will partner with Under Armour in year two of this prestigious event to provide skills and drills to the players. The following week, (May 20th) the combine series will move to Maynard H. Jackson High School (801 Glenwood Ave. SE) in Atlanta, GA.  Invitations are currently being extended for this event.  Make sure you return to this site for the post event reports on Saturday’s action!

The event schedule is as follows:
8:45-9:00-Transition Workshop
9:00-9:40-NBA Player Development Workshop
9:40-10:00-Stretching for combine testing
11:00-11:50-Combine Testing
11:50-12:00-Transition to Lunch
1:00-1:15-Prep for Practice
2:00-3:00-Round 1 Games
3:00-4:00-Round 2 Games
4:00-5:00-Round 3 Games
5:00-5:15 Closing Remarks

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Luster Impresses at National Camp

Khalil Luster-2022 PG Lima
Apparently, Khalil Luster (5'1/PG/2022/Lima) is turning heads at the John Lucas International Middle School Combine in Houston, TX.  According to his camp coach, Luster is demonstrating his full array of skills, including: vision, passing, ball handling, playing making, shooting and defending.  Even in a camp type environment, Luster is running his team like a true floor general, getting other players involved, communicating and defending at a high level. Luster’s performance is getting attention from camp staff and scouting services there to cover the event.  Of course we have covered Luster frequently over the past several years and we’ve seen him excel at a high level at our Buckeye Prep Elite Showcases and tournaments, so we know this kid can ball. He may be diminutive, but Luster has all the tools necessary to play at the D-I level.  We plan to continue to follow Luster’s development going forward.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Cincinnati Royals Open Run N Slam with Win

2021 Cincinnati royals-Blue
Despite missing 3 key players, including starter AJ Braun, Coach Dave Ducco’s # 5 ranked 2021 Cincinnati Royals Blue squad opened the Bill Henley Memorial Run N Slam 1-0 after a 72-18 win over the Gym Rats 2021-Dream Big.  The Royals rode a “total team effort” to erase an early 5-0 deficit and go on to get the lopsided victory.  Playing for the Royals this weekend is big Wil Sizer, who formally ran with Marty Finta’s All-Ohio Red squad.  Sizer will add lost post scoring and rebounding to an already solid team.

In terms of other Ohio-based teams, All-Ohio Gold, Pro-Bound 2021 and Hidden Gyms-Black are also 1-0, while NW Ohio, Hardwork Basketball, All-Ohio Red, Hidden Gyms 2021, Ohio Hoopsters-Cook, Ohio Stampede, Ohio Varsity/Shooting Stars, and Ohio Hoopster-Tillman are all 0-1 after Friday action. We hope to follow all of the Ohio teams during the course of the weekend.