Monday, March 27, 2017

All-Ohio Grassroots-Saturday Action

Rittinger, Wilson, Braun, Braham, Smith, Walker, Williams, Schmidt & Johnson
We spent some time at Jerry Watson’s Grassroots tourney on Saturday and had the opportunity to see a couple of real good 8th grade teams and a few very talented players.  The best team we saw all day was Coach Danielle Love’s Tru Gam Squad.  In fact, the game we watched was a blowout victory over the Motor City Bad Boys out of Michigan.  Simply put, Tru Game was too big, too athletic and too aggressive for the over matched Bad Boys.  After Tru Game slipped into their half court trap things started to get out of hand.  Standouts for tru Game were Noah Rittinger (6’0/CG/2021/Red House, WV) who had the deep ball clicking to the tune of 18 points on 4 treys.  Also playing well for Tru Game were Seth Wilson (6’1/CG/2021/Akron) and Malaki Branham (6’3/WF/2021/Columbus). From what we saw, Tru Game should get the #1 ranking when we release are Power Rankings.

We were also really impressed with Coach Dave Duco’s Cincinnati Royals Blue squad.  They may not scare anybody getting off the bus, but they run great sets, execute at a high level, shoot it well, and they play great team defense. We saw them get by a loaded All-Ohio Red team who we thought had a chance at the #1 spot. At the end of the day, All-Ohio was unable to keep their big man in the game because the Royals were able to exploit mismatches.  With AJ Braun’s (6’5/C/2021/Springboro) ability to handle the rock and to step outside and knock down the 3-ball, 6’10 Trey James’ length was neutralized. The Royals enjoyed scoring balance from 3 guys, Braun, Isaiah Walker (6’1/SG/2021/Cincinnati) and Matthew Smith (6’0/SG/2021/Cincinnati), all of whom finished in double digit scoring.  All three players are super skilled and possess a high basketball IQ. 

For All-Ohio, Alex Williams (6’2/WF/2021/Dayton) returned to the team for this season and his presence is already paying dividends.  Williams is a well-built guard that uses his size and strength to power his way to the cup.  He can also hit the 3-ball if left open. Brent Walker (6’6/C/2021/Huber Heights) did some nice things as well and led All-Ohio in scoring. All-Ohio has added several guards to the roster.  There’s no shame in losing to the Royals as a lot of teams will suffer the same fate this season. It’s still very early in the season for All-Ohio and it’s going to take some time for the new pieces to gel and learn their new roles.  I hope the parents and players are patient! 

We got another look at Coach Greg Johnson’s Cincinnati Royals White team as the just squeaked by (47-45) a scrappy All-Ohio Phenom team. Skyler Schmidt (6’6/PF/2021/Goshan) and Greg Johnson (6’0/PG/2021/Cincinnati) led the Royals in scoring with 11 and 12 points, respectively. We also got a closer look at Kobe Johnson (6’1/PG/6’1/PG/Canton), who was the most productive player on a solid All-Ohio Phenom team.  All in all, we saw some good basketball on Saturday.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

SMAC Premier out of the Gates Quickly

2024 SMAC Premier Off to 9-1 Start
With their 4-1 record and 2nd place finish at the Midwest Hoopfest in Cleveland, plus their 5-0 record and championship victory at the Twin Cities Tip Off last weekend, Brad Down’s 2024 SMAC Premier team has gotten out of the gates quickly in the 2017 season.  Already 9-1 on this young season, SMAC is quietly building a case for a statewide ranking.

In the Midwest Hoopsfest, SMAC defeated SMAC Caleris (49-15), Lake Erie Defenders (49-15), Ohio Warriors (52-12) and SMAC Akron-Evans (50-27) before loosing to West Red 34-39 in the championships game. Standouts for the tournament were Luke Skaljac and Brock Beech, both of who led the team in scoring.

Last weekend at the Twin Cities Tip Off, SMAC mowed down SMAC-Garner (forfeit), SMAC Akron-Evans (54-37), Baller Boys (49-23), Red Storm (48-44) and West Red (38-33). The win over West Red was payback for an earlier loss the previous week. Luke Skaljac and Brock Beech continued to lead the team in scoring, while Derek Fairley joined the list of standouts. Although SMAC’s 9-0 start is noteworthy, we will need to see how they compete against the state’s top teams in order to truly assess if they deserve a spot in our Buckeye Prep Power Rankings!  Congrats to Coach Skaljac, his players and parents for a great start!

MVP Dynasty Makes Early Noise

2023 MVP Dynasty
This past weekend, Aaron Perry's 2023 MVP Dynasty’s team made a semi-final run at the Rumble at Rocky Top in Gatlinburg, TN. MVP finished with a 3-1 overall record, loosing in semifinals to DCA out of Atlanta, GA. Their 3 wins were over Sonic Nation (60-50), EOTO (44-43) and Tennessee Elite Connection (53-43).  In the Sonic Nation game, Mason Shrout went for 17 points; Tyrin Sturdivamt added 13 points and Nathan Western finished with 11 points and 6 rebounds.  Against EOTO, MVP relied on a total team effort and balanced scoring. In the Tennessee Elite Connection game, Dre’Sean Roberts and Mason Shrout led all scorers with 14 points apiece. According to Coach Perry, he has a talented squad filled with elite players.  Below is what Coach Perry had to say about his team and their expectations for the 2017 season.

“After finishing 6th in the state rankings last season we were left feeling unfulfilled. We went on the hunt for talent to help enhance our core. With returning players Dre'Sean Roberts out of Piqua who is considered top 5 in the state and could land in the number 1 or 2 spot before the end of the season, Tyron Barnes out of Springfield, a top 10 PG right now, but will ease his way into the top 3 position, Jamison Rivers out of Lebanon (top 20) who has made huge improvements and will land in the top 10, and Mason Shrout, who made a name for himself last year and will be a name to remember as he joins the top 5 list, we have a very talented and stout team this year,”

Coach Perry continued “…all players have made remarkable improvements starting with Tyrin Sturdivant; he can take you inside or he can give it to you outside, Kaden Christensen (All Academic), don't let his dashing smile fool you, he will cross you over. Akin Perry, who's  intensity and hustle is unmatched, Danny "don't leave me open" Gross, and rounding out the team is Akelius Gordon, who hasn't seen a rebound he doesn't like! It won't be long before we overtake spots 1-10. We have made additions in the bigs department by adding Nathan Western out of Springfield who is a problem in the paint, highflying Ben Majors of Troy, and lights out shooter Wilson Suggs from Eaton. Get your popcorn ready, MVP Dynasty 2023 Black is guaranteed to put on a show.” 

As you can see, Coach Perry is extremely confident about his squad’s chances of making an impact this season.  We’ll see what they have next week at the Buckeye Prep Invitational Tournament.

OV Hidden Gems Looking for Recognition

2021 Ohio Valley Hidden Gems
Last weekend Mark Tate’s Ohio Valley Hidden Gems (OVHG) 14U squad blew threw the Parkersburg Elite Center’s March Madness Green & White Tournament with a 4-0 record. Their path to championship went through the WV Swag (85-15) and the Elite Cavs (63-26). Makiah Merrit led the Gems in the win over the Swag with 28 points in addition to a steal and a dunk early in the 3rd quarter. Mark Duckworth played well also and just missed averaging a triple double for the tournament with 17 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists per game.

Makiah Merritt (6'2" wing), Mark Duckworth (6'0 PG), Tony Munos (6'1" PG), Conner Baker (6'1" Wing) and Jake Baumguard (6'5" post) are all players that could dominate Southeast Ohio basketball in coming years. According to the Coach Tate “The Gems are looking to get a sniff at the statewide stage by playing well at Buckeye Prep Invitational Tournament next weekend,” Hopefully we will get a chance to see what kind of talent OVHG is working with next week.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Buckeye Prep Power Rankings Return


As is the case every season, a debate rages relative to who the best travel teams are in the state.  Well, we will attempt to shed a little light on the matter when we release our 2017 Buckeye Prep Power Rankings in a few weeks. We are currently putting together our initial list of top teams in grades 5th-8th for the state of Ohio, and will update them from week to week based on the performance of the teams. Although in some divisions we have started with a top ten, we have several teams listed as Honorable Mention, and as the season winds on and we get a better feel for teams’ talent level, we will increase our list from 1-15.  

Over 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.  We will provide a couple of opportunities for the top teams around the state to hook up.  You can see from our “committed team list” for the Buckeye Prep Invitational Tournament next week that a number of ranked teams will be here.  Here’s your chance!  Also, we will invite the top teams to an exclusive event (Summer Showdown) June 16-18th, where the top teams will go ahead for final rankings and “Team of the Year” honors.  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.  Let the debate begin!!


Wolves Ready for Breakout Season

2023 All-Ohio Wolves
Although Coach Durand Barnes’ 2023 All-Ohio Wolves team has enjoyed a lot of recent success, the team is still flying under the radar.  Barnes’ Cincinnati-based Wolves team finished the winter season with 2 league and 3 tournament championships.  In addition, last week the Wolves finished 4-0 in tournament play.  They may not yet be widely known statewide, but Barnes has a lot of confidence in his team’s potential. “We are definitely a top 10 team in the state,” said Barnes.  Barnes is equally complimentary of his top 2 players, Deshawne Crim (5’7/WF/2023/Cincinnati) and Trent Lloyd (5’3/PG/2023/Cincinnati). He [Crim] is probably the best player in the state,” Barnes proclaimed. Well, time will tell exactly how good the Wolves are and at what level Crim can compete.  We plan to keep an eye on the Wolves over the next several weeks.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Shinning Stars on the Board Early

2023 Shinning Stars-OYB.com Dublin Classic Champions
Gary Hardwig’s 2023 Shinning Stars team is on the board early, with their championship win at the OYB.com Dublin Classic last weekend.  To grab the title, the Shinning Stars had to take down Next Orange (56-26), Showtime (64-14) Franklin Titans (53-47) in pool play, followed by West Virginia Burn (40-38) in the semis and Next Basketball Green (42-28) in the finals.  The Stars were led in scoring by Brady Hardwig who averaged 14 points per game and Elias Lewis who kicked in another 12 points per game.  Also playing well for the Shinning Stars were Conner Cravaack, Alex Devine and Jack Decurtins.  Next up for the Shinning Stars is the Battle of Boarders in Louisville followed by the Bearcat Classic in a few weeks.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Rebels Begin 2017 Campaign with Tournament Championship

2020 Ohio Rebels-New Castle Tipoff Classic U-17 Champions
The 2020 Ohio Rebels left off where they finished last season, wining championships!  What was most impressive about this past weekend’s win was the fact the Rebels were playing up in the U-17 division of the New Castle Tipoff Classic and still got the victory. On their trek to the title the Rebels defeated St. Basil (80-38), BSA (68-22), Steel City Warriors (48-41) and the Red Storm (74-54).

Coach Justin Ferguson returns most of his top players from last season, but added 6’7 Chris Ringfield from St. Edwards.  Ringfield averaged 12 rebounds and 14 points during the Rebels’ run. Garvin Clarke is already off to a hot start this season as evidenced by his 32-point average over the weekend.  Other standouts included Taj Staveskie, Nick Ferguson, Dakota Chchran, Tyler Lacy, Cory Floyd and Omahn Dobbins.  We look forward to seeing the Rebels next weekend at the Buckeye Prep Invitational in Columbus.

Ginn Elite Wins Tune-up Tourney


Gina Elite-2021 Champions Midwest Hoop Fesrt
Coach Byon Ottrix’s 2021 Ginn Elite team notched their first tournament win of the season by defeating SMAC Blue in the championship game of the Midwest Hoop Fest in Middleburg Heights, Ohio on Sunday. Ottrix’s team finished 5-0 for the weekend in what Ottrix described as a “tune-up” tournament. Some of the other teams Ginn Elite faced were MOB and Akron Explosion.  Playing big for Ginn Elite were Bryon Ottrix Jr. (5’6/PG/2021/Cleveland) and Jaylin Anderson (5’9/SG/2021/Cleveland), who averaged 18 and 16 points per game, respectively. In addition to solid guard play from Ottrix, Anderson had several nice dunks over the weekend.

Also playing well for Ginn Elite were Jalen Knott (5’8/SG/2021/Cleveland), Randy Harris (6’3/WF/2021/Cleveland), Donald Stover (6’5/C/2021/Cleveland) and Andre Rogers (5’11/PF/2021/Cleveland). Coach Ottrix credits his team success to defense. “ We played very hard defensively.  We played fast; we were active, pressed and got a lot of steels,” said Ottrix.    You can catch Ginn Elite in Action next week at the Buckeye Prep Invitational in Columbus, where his team will be in a much more competitive environment with other ranked teams.

Royals Finish 3-2 in League Play


Cincinnati Royals-2023
Josh Havens took his 2023 Cincinnati Royals team on the road to Washington DC for session #1 of the NYBL. Over the course of the weekend, the Royals finished 3-2 with wins over Pennsylvania’s Bridgetown, Indiana’s Team Teague and Maryland’s New World.  Haven’s squad took losses to Chicago Swish and the Louisville Magic. Standout performers for the Royals included Evan Ipsaro (5’3/SG/2023/Cincinnati) and Riley Woods (5’0/PG/2021/Cincinnati).  With the 3 quality wins over solid programs, the Royals should be well represented in our Power Rankings when we release them in a few weeks. Next up for the Royals is the Buckeye Prep Invitational next weekend.  We hope to get a good look at Hanven’s squad!

Friday, March 17, 2017

All-Saturday Games Draw Near


The 19th Annual All-Star Saturday All-Star Game Series is scheduled for April 15th,  For the 19th consecutive year the Buckeye Prep Report has been asked to assemble rosters for both the middle and high school exhibition games.  Over the next few weeks, we will be extending invitations to this prestigious to previously identified top players.  This is a storied event, as many of Columbus' best players have participated in this event over the past 2 decades.  Although it is primarily a local event, we will be extending invitations to some of the top middle school players from around the state who are willing to make the drive to Columbus.  All-Star Saturday is a fun event that is presented at no cost to the participants.  The event will also feature a DJ and on air personailty from Power 106, a local radio station.  In addition, food will be served and nice trophies will be presented to each participant.  We will also crown a MVP in each grade division.  Of course the Buckeye Prep Report will be on hand to provide media coverage for the event so exposure is another benefit for participation.  All-Star Saturday is a must attend event and invitations are highly sought after.  Please stay tuned as we will be publishing the rosters as soon as they are developed.

Tuesday, March 14, 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 2015/2016 school year, we are 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!


Cincinnati Royals Blue off to Fast Start

Cincinnati Royals Blue-2021
The 2017 AAU season is only a few weeks old and already teams are stating to make early statements.  This past weekend, Dave Duco”s 2021 Cincinnati Royals Blue squad notched the first hole in their belt with a championship win at the Southwest Ohio Basketball AAU Super Regional Qualifier in Cincinnati.  Out of a field of 6 teams the Cincinnati Royals Blue had to take down a program cousin with a win over Greg Johnson’s Cincinnati Royals White Team.  

Although the White team raced out to a 12-2 lead including a dunk by Skylar Schmidt, in typical Blue fashion, Duco’s team stayed composed and cut the game to 25-23 at half, with strong gap defense and quick outlets that ignited their transition game.  To start the 3rd quarter, Blue went on a 10-0 run, but White closed the gap and tied the game with less than a minute left.  Matthew Smith and Isaiah Walker, son of former Xavier player, Tyrice Walker and brother to TJ Walker from Summit High School, both continued to put up big numbers throughout the tournament.  Smith went 8-8 from the line in the 4th quarter and finished with 24 points, while Walker finished with 12 points.  Schmidt led White with 21 hard-earned points.   

Both teams have made roster changes for the 2017 season, but the Blue team, who finished 10th in Country in grade based AAU Nationals in 2016, added much needed size with 6’4” Joseph Eubank and 6’5” AJ Braun. These 2 additions enable 6’4” Walt Mattingly to play more of a 3 or 4 versus the 5 spot he’d played for the last 2 years.   During the course of the tournament, Brandon McClendon, Wyatt Wachs and Will Downton were strong from beyond the arc, while holding down PG duties. Downton has a quick trigger and lit it up off the bench in the pool play game for 18 points vs the Ohio Blue Devils, going 5/6 from the 3-point line.   Elijah Jackson played strong from the wing, brought strength to the defense and demonstrated a great mid-range and 3 point stroke.  

In general, the Royals stick to strong man-to-man principals, thus preparing their boys for high school ball.  They also work out 3 days per week on drills and skills and run numerous sets when not in transition. The entire Blue roster includes: Front Row -Brandon McClendon, Isaiah Walker, Will Downton, Wyatt WachsElijah Jackson (son of Antwon Jackson who is Mick Cronin’s asst at UC), Back Row - Joseph Eubank, Walt Mattingly, AJ Braun, and Mathew Smith.  The assistant coach is Tyrice Walker.

According to Coach Duco, his team is looking forward to playing a competitive schedule this year.  “We look forward to a great season and will be playing in the Buckeye Prep Invitational, Nike Grassroots, Dru Joce Shoot for the Stars and the Bill Hensley Run & Slam in Fort Wayne over the next few months.”  We did not follow the Royals much last season, but they are now firmly on our radar, and should be weel represented in our Power rankings when we release them in a few weeks.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase 4th/5th Grade Recap

Elam, Weaver, Nesbit, Foster & Harris
Although smaller in numbers, the talent level of the 4th/5th grade division the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase was very impressive.  One of the best young players in the gym was Juwan Turner (4’9/PG/Columbus, 2024).  Turner ‘s game is mature and predicated on skill and an understanding of the game.  Turner already has a good feel for the game and he’s good at either scoring or distributing the rock.  From what we saw of Turner, his upside potential is significant.  We were also very impressed with the play of Nino Nesbitt (5’0/PG/Pickerington/2024), who has established himself as one of the top floor generals in the state.  Nesbitt’s skill set and basketball IQ are beyond his years.  He handles the ball extremely well and can either get to the cup or hit the 3-ball. As a reward for a big day, Nesbitt was selected to the all-star game and went on to grab Top 5 honors. 

We had not seen much of him, but Nick Harris is firmly on our radar now. Harris is a great rebounder, finishes well near the bucket and is a solid defender. Harris not only logged in an impressive performance during league play, he exploded for 16 points in the all-star game, thus earning a Top 5 Award.  Stevie Elam opened some eyes with his dynamic play. Elam runs the floor well and proved to be a proficient shooter. Elam also made the all-star game and was rewarded with a Top 5 Award.  Michigan’s James Weaver was another standout and another all-star game selectee and Top 5 Award winner. DeMarr Foster (5’0/SG/2024/Lima) is another one to watch. Foster has a good all around game, but he really showed the ability to create offense.  Also playing well during the event were Je’Kel Cotton, Julian Bunton (KY), Cyanda Grren (only the 2nd female in our history to attend the event), Sincere Horrison, Markus Jackson, Javen Vaughn and Ethan Young.  It should be noted that Vaughn went home early as a result of an injury. Congrats to all the young guns who represented at the event.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Buckeye Prep Invitational Tournament



Below is an email we sent out to all of coaches who have committed teams to the Buckeye Prep Invitational Tournament.  If you are a coach and did not receive the email, then you have either not formally committed to the event, or we don't have a good email for you.  Please take a few minutes to review the email below.  If you have any questions please feel free to call me at 614-203-2929 or email me at taylorobe@aol.com. My staff and I are extremely excited about this year's event, as it will be our biggest ever!  Can't wait!"

"Coaches,

You have received this email because you have expressed interest in attending my March 31st-April 2nd Buckeye Prep Invitational.  Let me say right from the start, this will be our biggest event ever, with over 160 teams already committed!  Also, the number of elite teams committed to this event will result in a significant level of competition! This email is designed to give you some basic information about this year's event.  First and for most, to receive the $395 registration price, you must have both your fee and registration forms submitted by March 14th.  After that date, the fee goes to $450.  The final deadline is March 24th.  However, by that date, no more spots will be available.  In fact, we already have more committed teams than we can accommodate biased on our court space.  Consequently, some of you may not get in if your fee and form aren't return promptly. Right now, it's first paid, first in!  Also, we CAN NOT accept payments the weekend of the event.  I have promised my staff that I will not make them chase down coaches Some of who intentionally hide from us) to collect fees.  With 160 teams this situation is simply not manageable! Also, by then, we will have sold out our spot We are not going to turn away a paying customer on a promise a team will show up.  If you have previously committed a team(s) to this event and have changed your minds, please contact me ASAP so I can remove your team from my list.  Also, even if we have previously spoken, I need email confirmation that you still plan to send your team(s) to the event ASAP.

We are excited to be using the Tourney Machine program to do are scheduling this year!  This will allow you and your parents to get up to date and real time updates and scores on every game from your smart phone.  We will also be able to send out instant update and schedule changes should we need them.  To this end, if you are a program with several teams, we need you to email us with the names, phone numbers and email addresses of each of your program teams, so we can contact them directly with changes and updates.

In terms of scheduling, special requests will be kept to a minimum.  However, if you have some specific needs other than trying to design a perfect schedule, I need for you to email them to me ASAP.  In addition, ALL Columbus and Dayton-based teams must play on Friday.  There will be no exceptions, because we have to have a certain amount of Friday games in order to fit 160 teams into the tournament. We have no choice.  With that said, we would appreciate other teams to volunteer to play some Friday games.  As a result, you players will be fresher on Saturday because they don't have to play 3 games.  Also, some of you will be required to play 8:00am and 9:30pm games.  These time slots are necessary in order to squees in 160 teams. It's part of the game so be prepared in case your team is selected.

We will have a printing company to print tournament t-shirts.  Because they plan to print the individual names on the back of the t-shirts, you must make sure to send in you registration/roster form by March 28th or your player's name will not appear on the t-shirts.  Also, hotel space is limited in the city, so I would suggest you make reservations ASAP.

As you know, the Buckeye Prep Report is about "Elite Competition and Maximum Exposure!"  In order for your player to have a better chance at receiving exposure, I need you to put their full names into the score books.  If you only list a number, which of course is the easiest thing to to do, when I look back at the books in order to prepare my post event report, I will be unable to identify your player's name.  Please help me provide these players with the exposure they desire by taking an extra few minutes to write down their complete names!  I plane to create an expanded list of All-Tournament Teams.

I hope you, your players and parents are excited about attending this event!  You can be assured that me and my staff are working hard to create a great experience for you.  Please plan to arrive at the event with patience and a positive attitude so that everybody can enjoy a positive experience.  Should you have any questions and concerns, feel free to contact me at 614-203-2929.  See you a couple of weeks!!

Links:

Tournament Rules:

Rob Taylor"

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase-6th/7th Grade Recap

Miles, Luster, Duvall, Benton & Smith
Although the 6th and 7th graders at the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase were combined into 1 division, several 6th graders found a way to grab some attention Cameron Miles (5’11/SG/2022/Lima) had a big day on Saturday and put up big numbers throughout the day. Miles is strong, athletic and is at his best slashing to the basket. Once he gets up a head of steam he’s hard to stop. Although Miles uses his solid frame and strength to get to the cup, he also is a nifty passer.  For his standout play, Miles grabbed both an all-star game bid and Top 5 honors.

A crowd favorite, Khalil Luster (5’1/PG/2022/Lima) had the gym buzzing with his ball handling magic.  Luster is a speedy little guard who always has total control of the rock, and is always looking to make his defender look foolish.  He’s also equally adept at scoring and/or playmaking. He’s diminutive, but he has all the tools necessary to run a team, and he’s also a pesky defender, which is a must for undersized guards. His eventual size will determine his level of play at the next level, but we would not be surprised to see Luster in the MAC in a few years. Right now, he’s awfully fun to watch!  Cecil Benton Jr. (5’8/PG/2022/Lima) just keeps getting better and better every time we see him.  He has good length for his position as only an 8th grader, and is highly skilled.  Benton runs the floor well and does a good job of finding open teammates.  Benton should be a nice looking prospect going forward.

We were not really familiar with his game before Saturday, but Chris Smith (5’6/PG/2022/Orville) impressed us.  Smith is strong to the cup, plays with poise and does a good job of changing speed and direction. His on-ball defense is solid as are his ball skills.  We also liked his aggressiveness and his attack mode approach.  We hope to see more of Smith, as he has a chance to get more love on this site.  Adam Duvall (6’4/PF/2022/Beavercreek) has prospect written all over him.  Duvall has great length at an early age, excellent hands, solid footwork, and soft touch around the basket makes him an effective low post scorer. Duvall also rebounds the ball well and is solid defensively in the paint. With continued growth and development, Duvall has a chance to be big time.

James, Littles, Wenger, Pryor & Battista
He’s still flying just under the statewide radar right now, but Elmore James IV (5’10/PF/2022/South Euclid) is starting to assert himself as a force to be reckoned with. James has a good combination of size and ball skills that make him versatile and able to play multiple positions.  He doesn’t have to outlet the ball after a rebound, as James has the ability to handle the ball in the open court and push the rock all the way to the rim.  He’s a beast in the paint and does not mind physical play.  He rebounds well and finishes at a high rate.  James is another good-looking prospect long term. 

One of our favorite players in the class is Sellers Littles III (5’4/PG/2021/Dayton), who handles the rock as good as any player in the class. Littles has the rock on a string and has all the dribble moves necessary to live in the paint.  We’ve seen no other player in the state with the court vision and passing skills Littles possess.  He sees everything, is extremely unselfish, and always makes the right pass.  There is no doubt this kid has college ball potential as long as he stays in the gem, stays humble and continues to develop. 

Bowen, Brown, Hester, Burden & Carter
Any discussion about elite scorers has to include Jalen Wenger (5’11/WF/2022/Dalton).  Wenger is a scoring machine.  He put up gaudy numbers the entire AAU season and he did the same thing on Saturday.  Wenger is a threat to shoot it from deep, but he’s also proficient at getting to the rim.  Wenger also has good length and is likely to grow several more inches.  We were also really impressed with Raymar Pryor (6’0/WF/2022/Canton). He was just coming off of an injury, so he was nowhere close to being full speed; however, he showed us he’s a player to be reckoned with.  He’s athletic, runs like a deer and works well in transition.  We hope to see Pryor again once he fully recovered.

Joey Battista (6’2/PF/2022/Youngstown) had a good day on Saturday and continues to move up on our board.  Battista plays well both inside and out.  He shoots it well out to the 3-point line in catch and shoot situations, but he’s also surprisingly athletic and goes strong to the rack.  Other 7th grade standouts include: Brody Gowen, Elijah Brown, Raymell Hester, Cyrus Burden and Amir Carter.  


Greenlee Jr., Woodard, Blanton, Rice, Allen & Brown
In terms of the top 6th graders at the event, Michael Greenlee Jr. (5’4/PG/2023/Toledo) more than held his own.  Because Greenlee has good size for a 6th grader and doesn’t mind physical play, he fit right in with the older and bigger players. In addition, Greenlee’s spin move in the lane is a thing of beauty, and often results in a bucket.  The same thing could be said about Delmarr Blanton (5’3/SG/2023/Dayton).  Blanton is big and strong with excellent ball handling shills.  He’s aggressive and loves to attack the basket.  Blanton also does a good job of scoring the ball and is a solid defender. Some of the other standout 6th graders included: Paul Woodard (PG/Dayton), Lawrent Rice (PG/Dayton), Tyren Brown (PG/Dayton) and Antone Allen (SG/Dayton).  It should be noted that Greenlee, Blanton, Rice and Woodard all made the all-star game.