|7th Grade Cincinnati Bulldogs|
Right out of the box I watched Dayton's 2016 Salvation Army defeat the Cincinnati Royals 54-52 in very competitive game. The top prospect in the game was Dayton' Derrick Daniels, a 6'5 center from Mary Queen of Peace. Daniels is long, thin and is more of a defensive threat at this point in his development, but the kid has a chance to be good as he develops a post game. Daniels blocks shots and rebounds at a high rate, and is a legitimate post prospect going forward. The Royals have a nice little point man in 5'4 Trey McBride from Paddock Hills.
The 7th grade Elite Cavilers broke open a close game (28-22 at the half), against the Cincinnati Royals to claim a 17-point (57-40) victory. Although the Cavilers are a bit undersized at about every position, they are very tough to beat because they bring extreme pressure for the entire 32 minutes. The only reason this game was close early may have been because of the absence of Jarron Cumberland (6'0 WG), who had to sit out over a state AAU rule. Though I did not catch the scoring, Leon Davis, a young 8th grader who is playing down at the 7th grade level, had to be the leading scorer, as he led the Cavilers with 10 halftime points and solid all around play. Further, Carliq Jones (5'0 PG) and Anthony Dockery (6'1 PF) both stepped up for the Cavilers.
One of the better games of the day pitted All-Ohio Purple (2016) versus the Cincinnati Lakers. Purple sucker punched the Lakers right out of the gate, and found themselves up 25-9 by the end of the 1st quarter. The primary culprit was Reggie Mack (5'7 WG) who came out smocking hot, while knocking down 4 first half treys. Despite having dug themselves a big hole early, the Lakers would scrap and claw themselves back in the game, and actually out scored the Lakers in the 2nd quarter, and finishing the half down only 11 points (36-25). However, at the end of the day, AOP's 3-guard monster of Isiah Jones (5'7 PG), Jermaine Britton (5'6 PG) and Reggie Mack (5'7 WG) was simply too much to handle, as Purple held on to claim a 63-49 win. Although Britton was the high man with 17 points, and Mack finished with 15 points on 5 treys, the outstanding floor game of Jones may have been the difference in this one. Oh yea, I failed to mention that the Lakers got back in the game with the outstanding play of Javon Cumberland (5'8 PG) and Jordan Bradley (5'1 PG).
|Jones, Britton & Mack|
The featured game of the day involved another grudge match between the 8th grade Cincinnati Knights and Dayton's Salvation Army. I always enjoy when these two teams hook up, as the games always feature elite talent, well coached teams, edgy and animated coaches, as well as great individual performances. This rematch lived up to its billing, and almost followed the usual script. However, unlike the last game I watched them play, the Knights jumped on Army early and was already up 17-38 by half time. Playing without their full compliment of players, and an injured D'Mitrik Trice (ankle injury) and Kyle Ahrens (stiff back), it looked like this game was going to be a laughfer early. However, Salvation Army would begin a push in the third quarter and close the gap to 50-36 to start the 4th period. After Trice heated up in the forth with a barrage of treys, and Dayton's Cord'e started getting to the cup, Army was able to get as close as 8 points late, before falling short 57-63. Did I mention the fact that Luke Kinnard had a big boy game, and almost beat Army by himself. The kid had 22 points at the half, and went on to finish with gaudy 33 points for the game. This kid has high major written all over him, with his size, skill package and confident swag. Of course AJ Harrris controlled the game with solid guard play, and Nate Fowler contributed 14 points, but this game was about Kinnard.
Although we don’t really cover 4th graders, I finally had a chance to sit down and watch Jerry Francis’ All-Ohio Red squad. All I can say, the team is as good as advertised. Many in central Ohio have proclaimed this 4th grade squad as the “next great team,” and from what I can tell, that might just be the case. Along with their semi-organized cheer leading section, mostly moms and siblings who cheer and chant the entire game, Red hits teams with a full court diamond press that limits team's ability to get the ball over half court. I kind of felt sorry for Sean Cook’s Friars squad, as All-Ohio unleashed their pressure on the over matched squad. I finally pulled the plug on the game with the score already at 38-12 in the 3rd quarter. The team has a lot of quality pieces, including good guard play and size in the post. Remember these names: Jaidon Lipscomp; Jeremiah Francis; Jordan Mitchell; Alvin Byrd and Morgan Safford, all starts for Red, these kids could be part of the next generation of talented players in the area.
Based on the number of kids I saw this weekend, I feel real good about the rankings I will release some times this week. I have to be honest with you, based on what I saw this weekend, I will have to make some significant changes to my top player lists. Also, it will be tough not to include a lot of southern Ohio kids on the lists, as the area has a boat load of talent. You have to remember, many of these kids have national championships under their belts starting from a very early age, and their play and status in the classes reflects that. Moreover, central and northern Ohio seems to be a bit down in these classes. To check out the pictures I took at the event, visit the Buckeye Prep Facebook Fan Page. Don't forget to follow us on Twitter.