Thursday, July 8, 2010

Buckeye Hoopfest: Early Look

The July evaluation period began on Tuesday and for the first time I can remember, Columbus, Ohio hosted a "live" event where D-I college coaches could be in attendance. Over the course of the 3-day event, college coaches from across the country can be found at Ohio Dominican University for this first-year event. Because this is the first year for the Buckeye Hoopfest, and the event had to compete with more established events like the Adidas Invitational and the LeBron James Skills Academy, the overall numbers were low (about 34 teams in 3 divisions). With that said, there were a few very talented teams as well as several high major players participating in the tournament. Oh yea, there were a number of college coaches in the house, including Mick Cronin (Cincinnati), Tom Crean (Indiana), Buzz Peterson (Marquette) and Richmond's Chris Mooney.In the 20-team U-17 division, the top teams appeared to be All-Ohio Red, St. Louis Gameface, West Virgina Wildcats, Team CBIZ, and YAACCE (Canada). The U-16 division (8 teams) boasted top teams such as 4-Deep (really All-Ohio Red), Team CBIZ, Team Toledo and Drill 4 Skills (PA), and in the 6-team U-15 division, the West Virgina Wildcats were the top team. During the first 2 days of the event, the top teams rolled. All-Ohio Red kicked off the tournament with a 65-56 win over Drills 4 Skills. In that game, Trey Burke was the high man with a game-high 21 points. Elijah Macon and George Fant added 14 and 12 points, respectively. For Drills 4 Skills, Michael Lambert scored a team-high 13 points and Matt Polo finished with 12 points. All-Ohio, playing without Stevie Taylor who is out with a calf injury, got by XBA 67-41. The St. Louis Gameface, led by supper hot BJ Young, began Friday with a 58-47 win over Ohio's Friends 4 Life. Gameface won their second game but was tripped up in game 3 by Columbus' Hidden Gems to finish 2nd in their pool. The West Virgina Wildcats finished 3-0 in pool play with wins over All-Ohio Swag (76-53), Team CBIZ (79-68) and a 63-56 nail bitter against Team CBIZ. Playing well for the Wildcats were Chase Fischer and Treavon Jackson. YAACCE finished pool play 3-0 with wins over All-Ohio Force, College Bound and the Columbus Storm. The Buckeye Ballers won their pool with victories over Humongous Columbus Force, MAC Ohio and the 2012 West Virgina Wildcats. One of the best games of Saturday involved Hidden Gems versus an Anton Grady-led Friends 4 Life. Although the scrapper Hidden Gems squad got a quick start, Friends 4 Life fought their way back to tie the game at 27 by halftime, then pulled away late to claim a hard fought 69-62 win. Jazzell Garrett paced Friends with 16 points and Anton Grady finished with 12 points. Gahanna's Trey Warr led Hidden Gems with 21 points. In the U-16 division, Victor Dandridge's 4 Deep squad cruised through pool play with wins over Team CBIZ, Team Toledo and the Dayton C-Hawks. For the final results, visit the tournament website at

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