Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cincinnati Knights Tournament Action

While I was in northern Kentucky to watch the Ohio v Kentucky All-Star Game (Ohio won by the way), I was able to catch some of the 6-8th grade action at the Cincinnati Knights tournament at the Midwest Sports Complex in Florence, Ky. Based on what I saw over the 2 days, the talent level in the middle school divisions was high. Some of the top teams I saw over the weekend included Mike Peterson’s Indy Hoosiers squads, the Elite Cavilers, All-Ohio Purple, D-I Greyhounds (Wva), Cincinnati Knights, Cincinnati Lakers, Salvation Army and Buckeye Prep’s 8th grade team.

Luke Kinnard-8th Grade
On Saturday, I watched the 8th grade Cincinnati Knights continue their impressive run, as they took on the Indy Hoosiers in super pool play. The Knights would go on to win the game 58-43. What was most impressive about the win was the fact they did so without the services of MaCio Teague (left the team) and Chris Moxley. With Teague gone, they guy doing the heavy lifting was Luke Kennard, a 6’3 WG from Franklin, OH, who continued to look good for the second consecutive weekend. Of course AJ Harris was on his game, and Nate Fowler was still finishing everything around the cup. Depsite their success this weekend, without Teague, this team could be challenged a lot more by the time the AAU Nationals role around.

The 8th grade Indy Hoosiers was absolutely loaded with talent. The top guys on that squad include Jalen Coleman, a 6’2 combo guard from Indianapolis, IN; Brennan Gillis, a 6’5 C from Indianapolis; KJ Walton, a 6’3 WG from Brownsburg, IN. and Brandon Hardesty, a 6’5 WF from Franklin, IN. This team is long and athletic with a roster full of D-I prospects.

Xavier Holston-Simms 8th Grade
On Saturday, Buckeye Prep continued their solid play and finished the day 3-0 with wins over Omega (49-35), All-Ohio Purple (68-62) and the Dayton Pilots. On Sunday, Buckeye Prep defeated a talented Atlanta Xpress team 68-64 to earn a spot in the final four and a battle with the Indy Hoosiers. Although Buckeye Prep played Indy tough for most of the first half, the Indiana team was simply more talented, and went on to win 46-32. For the weekend, Buckeye Prep had several players step up game-to-game. Xavier Holston Simms did a great job running point, while Isaacs Anderson gave the team interior scoring. Kevin Fisher was a defensive presence in the paint and was a shot blocking machine. John Edwards and Dequan Daniels both played well in the opening game against Omega, and reserve Center Rob Dowdy continued to show improvement and the ability to finish shots close to the bucket. For Atlanta Xpress, I will really impressed with Kobi Simmons (6’1 WG), Kaiser Gates (6’3 WF), Keyshon Gibbs (6'0 combo) and Cecil Stallings (6’4 PF).

Sunday morning also featured a final four grudge match between the 8th grade Knights and Dayton Salvation Army. This game got a little chippy on the floor and from the bench, and although Salvation Army played inspired basketball for most of the game, in the end, the Knights were just too tough for Army, and went on to win by double digits. The top guys for Salvation Army were D’Mitric Trice (5’8 PG), Grant Zawawzki (5’8 PG) and Kyle Ahrens (6’2 WG).

One of the better 7th grade games I saw pitted the Cincinnati Lakers against the Indy Hoosiers. Although it was a tight game for most of the contest, and Roderick Caldwell did some real nice things, the Hoosiers’ size and athleticism was just too much for the Lakers. One of the top guys for Indy was Paul Scruggs, a 6’2 6th grader who played for both the 6th and 7th grade teams. Scruggs is a workhorse and scoring machine with good length, a sufficient handle and the ability to slash his way to the cup and finish. I also liked Eron Gordon, a 6’0 combo guard from Indianapolis. In case you are wondering, yes, he’s Eric brother, and judging from his game, his upside potential is great. Holding it down in the post was Antoyne Jackson, a 6’4 C from Franklin Twp. This kid was on attack mode every game I watched and rebounded the heck out of the ball. In addition to controlling the boards, Jackson is an excellent shot blocker and he often came from the opposite side to contest shots. If he wasn’t blocking shots he was altering them.

Jarron Cumberland 7th Grade
I had a chance to watch the 7th grade Elite Cavilers who were undefeated while I was there. In pool play, the Cavilers defeated OBC 45-38 and the D-1 Greyhounds 50-43. The Cavaliers have solid guard play, but the horses on that team are Jarron Cumberland (5’11 WF) and Leon Davis (5’10 PF). However, I also saw some good things from Kwamane Watson (5’10 WF) as well.

Paul Scruggs-6th Grade
The Indy Hoosiers’ 6th grade squad has some very talented players as well, including Paul Scruggs, Justin Roberts (5’8 PG Indy), Evan Ohman (6’0 WG Indy) and Zach Gunn (6’2 PF Indy). I already told you how Scruggs dominated at the 7th grade level, so it goes without saying he could not be stopped by 6th graders. Also, I have seen Roberts several times at my Buckeye Prep Elite Showcases, and he continues a flash big time game. To see the pictures I took at the event visit the Buckeye Prep Facebook Fan Page. Also, for more information, follow Buckeye Prep on Twitter!

Other Top Performers

Gage Hisey-8th Grade

Jason Covington-All-Ohio Purple-(8th)
Cage Hisey-Ohio Elite (8th)
Derrick Long-The Family II (8th)
Skyler Scott-Buckeye Prep (8th)
Charles Aden-Ohio Warriors (7th)
Ronald Jones Jr.-OBC (7th)
Chris Perkins-D-1 Greyhounds (7th)
Devon Walker-Dayton Pilots (7th)
Antown Washington-D-1 Greyhounds (7th)
Dujuan Ford-Dayton Pilots (6th)
Shamari Jamison-Dayton Pilots (6th)

Justin Roberts-6th Grade


  1. I saw the Roberts kid in the 6th grade to. I've never seen anyone with handles like that kid at this age. Also he is a long and tall guard for 6th grade. They should do well with the team they have this year.

  2. Has anyone seen "EXCEL" play? They have an 8th grade team and a 5th grade team. I saw both play at the All Ohio Nike Grassroots Tourney back in March. 8th grade beat Buckeye Prep and made it to the Semis I believe, losing to Team Berea in a competitive game. Team Berea ended up winning that division. The 5th grade team beat King James in pool play but lost to them in the Championship game. Both teams have some good players - and lights out shooters. The 5th group is one of the top in the midwest I'd say - certainly along with King James who was real good too of course.

  3. those 6 graders look like 9th graders but they play for the number 1 team for their age so i believe it

  4. what was the score of the lakers vs. hoosiers