Monday, June 14, 2010

5th Annual Celtic Basketball Classic: Sunday

With the spring travel season in the books, and the top high school prospects running with their high school squads, I took some time out to check out the Sunday action and Gary Lacrone's 5th Annual Celtic Basketball Classic in Dublin, Ohio. Although the Ohio Youth Basketball Tournament fielded 55 teams in seven grade divisions (4th-11th), I set out to check out some of the younger guys this time around.

I had a chance to catch a 6th grade semi-final game between Scott Bradley's New Birth Warriors and the Dayton Sharpshooters. In that game, Bradley's top guys (Jalani Rogers and DJ Tyree) were doing their usual thing, but the Sharpshooters point guard really caught my eye. Dayton's David Rowlands was a handful for the Warriors all game, as he relentlessly attacked the cup and finished. The heady guard scored in a variety of ways including a floater, pull-up and a nice little step back jumper. The little floor general was skilled, has a nice handle and already possesses a nice stroke. Although I have watched New Birth play on a number of occasions, I had a chance to check out the Warriors' Kyran McClure for the first time, and I liked what I saw. McClure, a lefty and a slasher, brings good size and an active motor to the table. For the record, Bradley's Warriors lost to the USA Panthers, a team they had beaten handily the day before, in the championship game. At the end of the day, despite having made an 18-7 late-game run, the Warriors could not overcome an early deficit and ended up losing to the Panthers by about 3 points.

As I sat and watched a 4th grade game against Court Vision and OYSP, I became more and more impressed with the point guards on each team. For OYSP, keep an eye out for Columbus' Ty Wiley, who displayed a game beyond his years. This little guy was seriously ballin, while making play after play! The kid handles the ball well and is already packing a handful of nice dribble moves. Wiley did a great job of attacking the cup and finishing, but he also shot the ball very well. Not to be out done was Court Vision's Julian Malone who was a one man wrecking crew. Like Wiley, the kid's game was advanced. Not only was Malone very skilled and aggressive, his decision making was impressive. Also, RNB's Paul Jones played well in the limited time I watched him play, as he logged in time with both RNB and the 6th grade New Birth Warriors. Congratulations to RNB for claming the 4th grade championship! To see pictures of the event, visit the Buckeye Prep Facebook Fan Page.

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