Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bradds is a Bobcat

Today, Jamestown Greeview's Evan Bradds verbally committed to John Groce and Ohio University.  The 6'6 power forward told the coaching staff he wanted to be the first in the class of 2013 to commit to the Bobcats. Congratulations to Bradds, his family and the Ohio coaching staff.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Class of 2015 Gets Early Looks

D'Mitrk Trice has heard from several colleges

Although some may question the value of early exposure, the evidence is clear; college coaches and scouts are watching and paying attention to young standout players much earlier than you might believe. The early exposure often comes in several forms, but make no mistake, with their jobs on the line and the need to replenish talent every year, college coaches must identify and begin recruiting players earlier and earlier than ever before.

Though the NCAA and the College Basketball Coaches Association have frowned on the practice of early recruitment, and have gone as far as to discourage early scholarship offers, college coaches still need to know who the top young prospects are in their area. Most often, college coaches hear about the top kids in their respective states and begin reaching out to them through phone calls to high school and AAU coaches, word of mouth conversations, and questionnaire/introductory letters as early as the 7th and 8th grade.

LaMonta Stone II already has offers

As part of this piece, I spoke with LaMonte Stone Sr., an assistant coach at Bowling Green State University, and he confirmed my suspicions. Because his son, LaMonte Stone II, plays AAU basketball (All-Ohio Red), the elder Stone is able to attend his son's AAU games, while also checking out the other talent in the gym. "When I'm in the gym, I make mental notes of some of the kids I see," said Stone. "I look at Clark Francis' (The Hoops Scoop) reports and websites like yours (Buckeye Prep Report) to see if what I see matchs up with the rankings," continued Stone. I asked Stone about the value of the questionaires he and his coleagues send out to young prospects and he indicated "they are for imformational purposes. We keep them on file. We can't send them any mail, but in a couple years we know where to find them," offered Stone. Stone also pointed out the some AAU organizations do a better job than others of "putting kids in a good situation" (to get exposure) by playing at events where college coaches maybe watching. According to Stone, "if you expose them early, the recruiting starts early."

Luke Kennard

Stone can attest to this practice first hand, as his son is ahead of the game having already received actual offers from a couple of MAC schools, including: Bowling Green, Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan. Other schools showing interest include: Michigan State, Cincinnati, Michigan, Iowa State, Duquesne, and Tennessee. Stone is not the only 2015 player receiving early college interest, as D’Mitric Trice, a rising freshmen heading to Wayne High School, has already received questionnaires from Bowling Green, Loyola of Chicago, Toledo and Detroit. In addition, although he has not received any letters to date, Moeller’s Nate Fowler has received interest from Ohio State, Dayton and West Virginia, and exploratory calls to his high school and AAU coach. Moreover, according to his father, Fairfield’s Luke Kennard’s play this summer has not gone unnoticed by college coaches, as the lefty has already received interest from several college programs. Mark Kennard lists Ohio State, Michigan and Dayton as programs that have shown interest in his son.

AJ Harris

According to Glenn Galermo, coach of the Cincinnati Knights, he has received multiple calls from college coaches asking about AJ Harris, Kennard and Fowler. He mentioned Ohio State, Michigan, and Dayton as programs that have early interest in the trio. Galermo added, "OSU, Michigan, Dayton and Wright State (coaches) were at all of our games at the AAU Nationals." Galermo also indicated that Wright State has shown a great deal of interest in Harris, stating, "Wright State wants him now," and West Virgina is "all over" Fowler. Finally, Galermo predicts 5-6 of the kids on his Cincinnati Knights roster will recieve D-I scholarships.

Esa Ahmed being eyed by Cleveland State

Though he has not received any letters to date, Cleveland State coaches have let it be known that they will be watching Shaker Height’s Esa Ahmed this upcoming AAU season.

Tervell Beck-2016

There you have it, tangible proof that early exposure can pay dividends, as evedenced by the fact that the players profiled above are all ready garnering major college interest despite never having played one minute of high school basketball. Oh wait, it' not just the class of 2015 getting the looks, I know that Ohio State is tracking Akron's Tervell Beck, only a seventh grader!

Ohio Teams Make Mark at AAU Nationals

By Thursday, four Ohio 16-U teams had punched their ticket to the Sweet 16 at the AAU Nationals in Orlando. Ohio Varsity is in the Final Four vs. BABC Sophomore, the No. 1 rated team in the U.S. In some rankings. All Ohio Red played Ohio Hoopsters in a consolation game  yesterday after both teams made the Elite 8 but lost their quarterfinal games. Team CBIZ led BABC at halftime on Thursday but lost by 10, putting them in a consolation bracket where they could still finish 9th overall if they win out. Bottom line, no other state has done as well as the Buckeye State in the 16-U event. 

On Friday, with their 36-38 loss to Xpression Elite, Team CBIZ fell one game short from playing for 9th and 12th place. All-Ohio Red defeated the Ohio Hoopsters Cash 65-54 in quarter final action, and will play the 5th/6th place game today against the Garner Road Bulldogs. After loosing to BABC 51-29 in the semi finals, Ohio Varsity White will face the New York Guachos in the 3rd/4th place game later today. The Ohio Hoopsters Cash will match up with Risings Stars Gold in the 7th/8th place game early this morning.  Regardless of the final outcome, Ohio will place 3 teams in the top 10! Congratulations to all of the Ohio teams for an outstanding showing!!

In U-17 action, four Ohio teams lost second round games (King James Shooting Stars, All-Ohio Purple, Cincinnati Royals and Ohio Shooting Stars) and will play consolation bracket games later today. Hidden Gems Dahn plays its first round consolation bracket game later todaye as well. All-Ohio Red is still alive in championship bracket play after a 85-66 win over the Florida Rams yesterday.  Red will face Houston Hoops in the third round later today.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Ohio Kids Excell at Five-Star Camp

Xavier Holston-Sims & Seth McCoy (2015)

Congratulations to Central Ohio's Seth McCoy and Xavier Holston-Sims for representing Ohio well with their standout performances at the Five-Star Camp located in Pittsburgh, PA. At the conclusion of the week-long camp, McCoy was named MVP of the All-Star game after a 23 point effort, while Holston-Sims was selected as a top "Playmaker."  Both McCoy and Holston-Sims have excelled on the summer AAU and camp circuit and should be positioned well to contribute to their highs school teams this winter.

Team Lima Claims National Title

Xavier Simpson

Earlier this month, Team Lima participated in the 2011 GRBA National Tournament in Ft. Wayne, IN., and brought home the championship trophy.  Coach Warren Pughsley filed the following report.
“As the Gym Rats Basketball Association national tournament for the high school kids is about to jump off, let's look at the event for the younger kids that took place in Fort Wayne July 9-11. 
Of the 35 teams in the 7th grade division of the tournament, Gateway Basketball Club and the St. Louis Tigers repped the STL, while the Michigan Titans, Dorian's Pride and the Michigan Warriors came through for that state up north.  Fieldhouse Elite Blazers, Future Stars and all the Spiece teams were Indiana's finest.  The Illinois Raptors got in the mix and the Louisville Legends and Northern Kentucky Legends made sure that the Bluegrass State wasn't left out of the conversation.  DAT Milwaukee Spartans brought a big team to the event, and Ohio Basketball Club (OBC), the Toledo Kings, and Team Lima (Black) gave Ohio its best chance to bring the title home to the Buckeye State. 

In pool play there were some very competitive games for most teams, but the Michigan Warriors, Gateway, OBC and Fieldhouse Elite Blazers all had easy wins on Friday and Saturday, while Team Lima won by 9 over the St. Louis Tigers.  The Louisville Legends beat the Toledo Kings in a close game.  The Future Stars with Vijay Blackmon beat DTA to finish first in their pool as well.  In the sweet 16 of bracket play, Dorian's Pride eliminated the STL Tigers, Fieldhouse Elite ran away from the Ohio Players, OBC easily beat the Illinois Raptors, DTA Spartans outplayed the Louisville Legends, the Michigan Titans upset Gateway, the Michigan Warriors had no problem with Tolson Select, while the Toledo Kings shocked the Future Stars, and Team Lima beat a solid BN Boys squad.  In the Elite 8, Fieldhouse Elite was too much for Dorian's Pride, OBC beat DTA, the Kings fell to the Warriors, and Team Lima dominated the Titans.  Everyone saw Fieldhouse Elite and OBC blowing through their competition on a collision course in the final 4, and they didn't disappoint with Fieldhouse winning a good game. 

In the other semi-final, Team Lima jumped up 20 points at half against the Michigan Warriors and they Panthers never looked back.  Then Team Lima overcame a sluggish first half to beat Fieldhouse Elite 52-38 for the championship.  Xavier Simpson, Jaylen Thomas and Zach Goecke led the team in scoring while the exceptional defense of Demontay Liles and Trey Cobbs frustrated their opponents.  Newcomer Marcus Dempsey played well in his first event with Team Lima.  Marquevius Wilson and Nick Taflinger led the team in rebounding.  It was Team Lima's 2nd consecutive tourney win after taking the Midwest Youth Tournaments national event last month in Louisville.  Team Lima finished the season 45-8 and is looking to make noise in Orlando at 8th grade AAU Nationals in 2012.”

Report submitted by Warren Pughsley

Monday, July 25, 2011

Knights Capture AAU Super Showcase

Amos "AJ" Harris

As if placing 6th at the AAU Nationals was not enough, the Cincinnati Knights hung around Orlando, Fla for a couple of extra days to participate in the 40-team AAU Super Showcase, and ended up finishing 8-0 on their way to the Showcase championship. In pool play, the second seeded Knights destroyed the Mardi Gras Gators (61-15), knocked off Heart & Hustle (72-52), and finished pool play with a 71-65 win over the GR Bulldogs. In championship bracket play, the Knights beat the Fairfax Stars Black (62-36), the Playaz Basketball Club (66-61), the Florida Family (68-51), and Each 1 Teach 1 in the championship game.

According to coach Leon Ellison, although the field was not as stacked as the AAU Nationals, there was still some great competition at the showcase. In terms of his team’s play, Ellison thought they, “Played much better in the showcase because they were more focused and did not use Nate Fowler’s absence as an excuse.” In addition, although Ellison described the Knights’ success as, “A team effort,” he pointed out that AJ Harris, Luke Kennard (averaged 24 points), JaQualus Matlock and Chris Moxley all played well, and the team enjoyed, “balanced” scoring. Ellison was really impressed with the play of Harris whose, “Point guard play was crucial,” as he, “Got shots for everybody and made everybody better,” said Ellison. He also pointed out the Matlock really picked up the slack for Nate Fowler who was sidelined with a foot injury, Ellison remarked about Indiana's Brennan Gillis stating, "The Indiana kid was a huge pickup.” Ellison also expects Gillis to return to the team full-time next year. As an added bonus for the Knights' players, they got to play in front of a number of college coaches who arrived in Orlando early to watch the U-16 and U-17 kids play.

Speaking of next year, the Knights intend to keep the team together and possibly merge with a larger, more established shoe company sponsored team next year. With a merger, the Knights would be in a position to participate in larger, more prestigious tournaments such as Nike’s EYBL. No formals plans have been made, but the Spiece organization appears to be the front runner for a merger. Congrats to the Knights and their fans for an outstanding season!

All-Ohio Red 4th Grade AAU Champions

On another note, congratulations go out to Coach Jerry Francis and All-Ohio Red’s 4th grade squad for winning the AAU Nationals in Charlotte, NC. On their trek to the championship, All-Ohio finished 3-0 in pool play with wins over the South Peidmont Heat (54-35), Team Rush (47-19) and the Carolina Ravens (57-29). In championship bracket play, All-Ohio defeated West VA Xplosion (52-29), Chicago (45-30), Texas BU All-Stars (52-36), Indy Rising Stars (45-49) and the NC Gators in the championship game. Coach Francis was, "very excited about the boys' effort and their ability to deal with adversity. We made adjustments offensively and defensively," said Francis. "The championship was a total team effort and there was no selfish play or agendas," noted Francis.  For the season, All-Ohio finished with an impressive 60-1 record. All-Ohio's roster includes: Jerome Francis III, Jordan Mitchell, Gerod Reynolds, Jaidon Lipscomb, Garret Wilson, Alvin Byrd III, Morgan Safford, Roshawn Harper, Arron Cincone, John Hansell and Na Simons, coach Larry Harper and Alvin Byrd III.

All-Ohio Purple with the Hardware

Finally, a shout out also goes out to Coach Demarco Bradley and All-Ohio Purple, who after finishing 1-2 in pool play, ran the table (won 5 games) in the Classic bracket to claim the Classic championship. According Coach Bradley, the experience at the nationals was "Extra special for our players and parents. This was our first year going down to the nationals and words can't even describe the experience."  Also, Bradley expressed his gratitude for the support he and his team received from the All-Ohio Red coaches, players and parents, stating, "Coach Francis was very helpful to me, and to see two Ohio teams come together down there was special."  Bradley firmly believes that had his team not been placed in one of the toughest pools in the tournament, they made have more success in the championship bracket. Some of the standout performers included: Joey Edmonds, Greg Tribble, Nyles McBride, Demarco Bradley Jr. and Jeff Tyus.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Two Ohio Teams Place at 6th Grade AAU Nationals

Cap City Cardinals' Trey Pugh

Congratulations to the Capital City Cardinals and the Dayton Pilots for placing 5th and 7th, respectively out of 68 teams participating in the 6th grade D-II AAU Nationals in Virginia Beach, VA.  Both teams finished pool play unblemished at 3-0, then lost their 3rd round games.  The Capital City Cardinals lost to the Saginaw Panthers 46-41, and the Pilots were defeated by the Illinois Speed 44-37.  Ironically, the Cardinals and Pilots met in the first round of the quarter final consolation bracket.  The Cardinals won the game 42-40 before downing the N.Ky Tarheels (50-44) to take 5th place.  According to coach Tony Freeman, the Cardinals' success at the nationals, "Was a team effort."  The top players on that team include: Trey Pugh, Ryan Teaks, Garcia Dixon and Dylan Dupler. The Pilots bounced back with a 47-41 win over the Kazoo Blues to claim 7th place. Columbus' OIC Dynasty and the Cincinnati Bull Dogs will begin play at the D-I AAU Nationals in Virginia Beach today. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Knights Still in Hunt for National Championship

Luke Kinnard-Player of the Week for Knights
Out of the 128 teams participating in the 8th grade AAU Nationals in Orlando, Florida, including 7 Ohio based teams, the Cincinnati Knights are one of only 8 teams still vying for a national championship. With their 61-43 win over the King Street Kings, the Knights will match up with the top seeded Texas Titans in the elite eight tomorrow at 11:30 am for a spot in the final four. The Knights finished 2-1 in pool with wins over Kentucky Retro (57-41) and the Selma shock (65-52). Their lone loss came at the hands of The Family out of Michigan (47-46) on Sunday. In championship bracket play, the Knights defeated Fairfax Black (67-55); Worldwide Black (64-53) and King Street Kings. The Knights and the Titans have some history, as the two teams have met on a couple of prior occasions, with the Titans holding a 3-1 series lead.

From what I understand, Luke Kennard is doing the heavy lifting for the Knights, who are playing without big man Nate Fowler who is sidelined with a foot injury. In the 6 games they have played so far, Kennard was either the leading scorer, or he tied for the honor, including a 30 point outburst against Worldwide Black. Running with the Knights this week are Columbus’ Chris Moxley, Brennan Gillis from Indianapolis and Jaqualus Matlock, a 6’6 center from Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Reports are that Matlock and AJ Harris are also playing well for the Knights.

Although they were eliminated from the winners bracket with their 75-53 loss to the Houston Defenders on Monday, All-Ohio Red has a chance to place in the top 10 (10/13th game) if they run the table in the 2nd round consolation bracket. All-Ohio will play Nike Team Florida Tuesday night. All-Ohio had smooth sailing in pool play finishing 3-0, with wins over the Louisiana Bayou Flames (52-38); Alabama Dream Team (50-46) and Team Sneed (58-52). In round one of the championship bracket, All-Ohio defeated Soldierz Elite 71-70 before taking the loss to Houston.

Esa Ahmed-Player of the Week for All-Ohio

According to Neshun Coleman, All-Ohio Red’s head coach, Shaker Heights bound Esa Ahmed has been dominate the entire week. Coleman could not be more complimentary of Ahmed’s all-around performance. “Esa has played very, very well both offensively and defensively. He has shot 90% from the free throw line, and has been our most consistent player,” said Coleman. Bowling Green’s LaMonte Stone has been “consistent,” added Colemen, and JaQuan Harris and Kevin Fischer have played well also. Running with All-Ohio this week is 6'5 wing Vincent King Jr, a 7th grader (2016) from Charlotte, North Carolina. Coleman beleives King is "one jump shot away from being dominate.

Coleman is most proud of his team’s pool play performance stating, “We surprised a lot of people winning our pool as the 4th seed.” Coleman is also excited about his team’s overtime victory against the Arkansas Soldierz. In that game, although up 11 points with 6:25 remaining, and after a 30 minute game delay due to a Soldierz injury, Arkansas came storming all the way back to send the game into overtime. In OT, MaCio Teague hit a big shot late, and Esa Ahmed scored to preserve a 2 point victory.

With their stunning defeat over the Cincinnati Knights in the Ohio State AAU State Tournament back in June, Dayton Salvation Army was the highest seeded Ohio team in the tournament. However, they were unable to hold on to the seeding, and were relegated to the Classic (consolation) bracket with a 1-2 pool play record. So far, Army has won two games in consolation bracket play, with wins over the Brevard Storm (forfeit) and Florida TGFB (50-46). Army will face the Southern Kings Tuesday evening at 7:30pm. For the record, Army has been forced to compete with only six players and an injured Kyle Ahrens (hand injury). Ahmed Waggnor is reportedly playing well for Army.

The Cincinnati Lakers finished 1-2 in pool play and missed an opportunity to match up with Salvation Army in the second round after being knocked out of the Classic bracket with a 57-53 loss to Florida TGFB. All-Ohio Purple is out of the tournament after a 1-2 pool record, a trip to the Classic bracket and a final 72-53 loss to Team Nola. Club Ohio Maroon finished 1-2 in pool play and won 1 Classic bracket game against Alamo City Diamonds before dropping a 68-43 loss to the Alabama Dream Team. Columbus’ Ohio Elite went 0-3 in pool play and were bounced from the tournament (Classic bracket) after an 81-66 loss to Richmond Metro Gold.

In division II action, four Ohio teams participated, and three teams are still alive. The Cincinnati Rockerz went 2-1 in pool play, but a 67-48 loss to the North Carolina Warriors  in the first round ruined any chance of a championship. The Rockerz’ first game of the 1st round consolation bracket is against T-M-T Express. Ohio Varsity finished 2-1 in pool play, but a first round loss to the Tennessee Edge (83-45) resulted in a trip to the 1st round consolation bracket. Ohio Varsity will face the Carolina Rebels Tuesday Afternoon. The Family II finished 1-2 in pool play and is into the 3rd round of the Classic bracket where they will face the Jacksonville Pistons Tuesday night.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hawkins’ Recruitment Picks Up After Peach Jam

Deontae Hawkins-^'7 PF
The Nike Peach Jam is one of the best AAU tournaments of the season in terms of both competition and exposure.  For Dayton Dunbar’s Deontae “Teddy” Hawkins, a 6’7 power forward from Dayton, the Peach Jam was a coming out party of sorts, as his standout performance garnered him not only new interest, but actual offers from several high major programs.  To date, according to Hawkins, he has received offers from a host of programs including: Georgia, Tennessee, Cincinnati, Alabama, Auburn, Miami (FL), Ball State, Wichita State, Oakland, and Ohio University.  As evidence that his play at the Peach Jam did not go unnoticed, many of the above schools offered shortly after the Peach Jam concluded (Dayton, Auburn, Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama).  In addition to his offers, Hawkins has received interest from Wake Forrest, Virginia Tech, Florida State and West Virginia.

When asked what he prefers in a school, Hawkins mentioned “coaching staff, atmosphere and a coach who is going to push me to be better.”  From my conversation with Hawkins, it would appear he prefers to stay close to home, so "my family can see me play.” However; Hawkins left open the option of going to any program  where he can "reach my full potential.” So far, Wichita State, Dayton and Georgia are the schools recruiting Hawkins the hardest. Hawkins has already taken unofficial visits to Ball State and Dayton, and although he plans visits to Wake Forrest, Georgia and Auburn as soon as possible, no formal schedule has been set at this point.

In terms of the upcoming high school season, Hawkins believes his Dunbar team is a state championship caliber team with the transfer of Andre Yates. “I expect a lot of success with the transfer of Andre Yates. He can get the ball to me and (Gary) Akbar, and I think we can reach our goal of a state championship,” says Hawkins. So far this summer, Hawkins has enjoyed his run with All-Ohio Red, and plans to finish July Strong. “I plan to play my hardest during my last tournaments, have fun, and hopefully pick up more offers,” said Hawkins.  Hawkins’ summer coach, Quinton Rogers, thinks Hawkins is “tough minded, a good rebounder and a good jumper shooter.” Also, Rogers beleives Hawkins "needs to get stronger and work on ball handling in order to make the transition to the 3.” Look for Hawkins to finish July strong as he heads into the AAU Super Showcase and the AAU Nationals.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Rozier Talks Recruitment

Terry Rozier

Coming off a solid performance at the Nike Skills Academy in Akron last week, as well as his stellar play at the Peach Jam this week (averaged a team-high 17 points), Shaker Heights’ Terry Rozier’s stock is on the rise. I sat down with  Rozier this week to get some more details about his recruitment.  According to the smooth and explosive point guard, he has offers from Miami (FL), Georgia, Cincinnati, Wyoming, Dayton, Marshall, Cleveland State, Kent State and Akron.  In addition to actual offers, Rozier is receiving serious interest from Illinois, Tennessee and Boston College.  So far, Rozier has taken unofficial visits to Cleveland State, Kent State and Akron; with plans to visit Cincinnati in the next 2 weeks, and Georgia and Illinois soon after.  Rozier indicated that Cleveland State and his “hometown schools” have recruited him the hardest. When asked about his favorites, Rozier has not yet formalized a list.

 In terms of what he is looking for in a college, “relationship with the coach,” and “family atmosphere” are most important to Rozier. Distance from home may or may not play a factor in Rozier’s decision, as there is a “50/50 chance” he will attend a program in his home state.   In terms of his Nike Skills Academy experience, Rozier indicated the academy “helped build my confidence by playing against the top players in the country and for top coaches.”  That experience apparently paid off, as Rozier was easily the top performer for his All-Ohio Red team at Nike’s Peach Jam this week.  Rozier relentlessly attacked the cup and finished throughout the event, and with his “never say die” attitude he led his team in scoring with a 17 point average. 

When asked about his experience this summer, Rozier mentioned he is enjoying his run with All-Ohio Red, and is “getting more comfortable with his teammates and coaches."  Quinton Rogers, Rozier’s AAU coach, describes Rozier as “competitive and athletic,” and notes that he, “can finish over bigs and can shoot it.” Rogers also believes Rozier, “will be a very good college guard, and if he gets stronger, I can see him as a possible guard at the pro level.”  

Rozier is looking forward to the upcoming high school season, and he likes his Shaker Height’s team’s chances of at least making a regional semi-final appearance.  Before his team can make the kind of run he envisions, Rozier knows he will have to step up and take more of a leadership role on his team.  “I need to be more of a leader and push my teammates more to work harder,” said Rozier.  Rozier expects to make his college decision prior to his high school season. Because of possible summer school obligations, Rozier may not make the trip to Orlando later this month.

All-Ohio Finishes 2-3 at Peach Jam

Stephen Clark-Junior PG was Spectacular

Although it was unlikely All-Ohio would advance to bracket play heading into day three, a win over Athletes First would have put the team over 500 for the weekend, while giving them some momentum heading into the AAU Super Showcase in 2 weeks.  Neither would be the case, as All-Ohio went down in flames 69-63.  All-Ohio took control of the tip, but a turnover and layup gave Athletes First the initial lead.  After a couple of ties, All-Ohio took their first lead (17-14) with 8:55 left in the period. Both teams traded punches until a 5-0 run by Athletes First at around 7:35.  A Jordan Potts jumper cut the lead to 25-30 with 3 minutes remaining, but another 5-0 run put Athletes First up 33-27 heading into half time.

Jake Kretzer got All-Ohio on the board first to start the second half with a deep trey (33-30), but Athletes First came right back with a jumper of their own.  A mini run at the 13:26 mark extended the AF lead to 41-32. A few minutes later, Jake Kretzer drained another trey to pull within 3 points (38-41).  With 5:50 left in the contest, All-Ohio cut the lead to 6 points; however, Athletes First rallied, and eventually ran the lead to 13 points with 4:20 left.  Although All-Ohio would rally late to get within 3, Athletes First would hold on get the 63-69 win.  For Athletes First, junior point guard Stephen Clark from Oklahoma City was spectacular, and led his team with a team high 17 points and 7 assists.  James and Jordan Woodward both added 17 points in support.

Terry Rozier-Player of the Week

All-Ohio’s Terry Rozier continued his impressive play and finished with a team high 17 points and 5 assists, followed by Jordan Potts (13), Jake Kretzer (10), Teddy Hawkins (7), Myles Hamilton (6), Jalen Robinson (4) and Leroy Alexander (3).  They storylines for All-Ohio all week included: poor shooting from beyond the arc (38 for 139),  too many turnovers (43 after 4 games), and an inability to score and defend in the post.  With that said, Red should take some comfort in the fact that other than the second half of the Georgia Stars game; they competed in every game, and were playing without Elijah Macon and newly acquired Devin Scott.  Next up for All-Ohio is the AAU Super Showcase and the AAU Nationals.

Tony Farmer-Player of the Week

All-Ohio'16 bounced back from a disappointing loss against the Baltimore Elite on Wednesday by defeating the Atlanta Nicks on a buzzer beater in overtime.  All-Ohio would later crush Chicago's Meanstreets 103-65 to finish the tournament 4-1.  Because the 16-team tournament only advanced the top team in each pool, the win over Meanstreets represented a consolation game. Although Marc Loving and Nigal Hayes both had good tournaments, the addition of Tony Farmer was the difference.  Although Farmer ran with the Ohio Basketball Club the first half of the season, he will now finish the summer with All-Ohio in the AAU Super Showcase and AAU Nationals. To see more Peach Jam pictures, visit the Buckeye Prep Facebook Fan Page.  Also, follow us on Twitter

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

All-Ohio Stumbles in Session Two

Picture of Houston Hoops v Team Takeover

Sitting at 2-1 heading into the evening session of the Peach Jam, All-Ohio was positioned well to advance to bracket play on Thursday with a win over 11-4 Georgia Stars.  All-Ohio new they would have their hands full with top 100 ranked Tony Parker, but 6’8 Alex Poythress proved to be biggest problem, as he helped the Stars pull away in the second half to claim a lopsided victory over All-Ohio. Although All-Ohio would own a 1 point lead early in the first half, the Stars came racing back and would eventually take a 10 point lead into the break (29-39).  

Alex Poythress

All-Ohio’s pressure defense proved effective, as they cut the lead to 3 points as late as the 13:16 mark. After Red went away from attacking the cup and started jacking up threes (4-21 for the game), the Stars turned a competitive game into a 85-65 blowout win. Alex Poythress finished with a team high 24 points, while Kenny Gains added 19, Jaron Blossomgame contributed 15 and Tony Park dropped 13.  Shaker Height’s Terry Rozier had his game clicking as he did everything he could to get the win. Rozier was good for a game high 26 points and a team high 7 rebounds. Both Deontae Hawkins and Myles Hamilton finished with 11 points, followed by Leroy Alexander (7), Jake Kretzer (5), Kenny Kaminski (4), Jalen Robinson (2) and Jordan Potts (2).  All-Ohio will face Athletes First (8-7) Thursday morning, but with a 2-2 pool record, All-Ohio will need a lot of help to advance to bracket play.  

Rozier  (26 points & 7 Rebounds)
To see more Peach Jam pictures, visit the Buckeye Prep Facebook Fan Page.

All-Ohio Starts Strong on Day Two of Peach Jam

Deontae Hawkins

Coming off a big win against Houston Hoops last night session two of the Peach Jam, All-Ohio began session 3 where they left off as they teed it up with the (6-9) Arkansas Wings. Although the Wings opened the game with a layup to take a 0-2 lead, Dayton Dunbar’s Deontae Hawkins came out smoking hot as he drained three deep treys to give All-Ohio early momentum.  It wasn't just treys, Hawkins had a couple of put backs as All-Ohio would go on a 17-0 run (21-4) with 10:15 left in the half.  The Wings would answer with a run of their own to cut the lead to 15-23 at the 6:02 mark, before a Jalen Robinson layup the next possession extended the All-Ohio lead to 25-15.  Another Wings run cut the lead to 4 points (26-22) with 4.50 left, but a Jake Kretzer put back put Red back up 28-22 with 3:31 left in the period.  All-Ohio would eventually take a 22-33 lead into the break.  Teddy Hawkins and Terry Rozier paced All-Ohio with 13 and 10 half time points, respectively.

Myles Hamilton
Jake Kretzer was fouled shooting a trey and went to the charity stripe where he sank 2 of the3 free throws to start the second half.  The Wings came right back and hit 2 freebie of their own (35-32), and would later go on a 4-0 run before a Myles Hamilton put back at 8:15 slowed their momentum (43-35). From there, All-Ohio would maintain a 6-10 point cushion for the rest of the game, finishing with a 51-59 win. Three All-Ohio players would finish in double figures including Terry Rozier with a team high 17 points, followed by Teddy Hawkins with 13 and Myles Hamilton’s 11.  The rest of the All-Ohio scoring included Jake Kretzer (8), Jordan Potts (5), Kenny Kaminski (3) and Jalen Robinson (2). For the Wings, nationally ranked Archie Goodwin is as good as advertised, as he got to the cup at will, and led the Wings with a game high 23 points.

Archie Goodwin

All-Ohio’s U-16 squad hooked up with the Baltimore Stars this afternoon, and found themselves in an early hole. Although Red would trail for the entire 1st half, they were able to trim the lead to 4 points (23-27) by the 1:30 mark.  The Stars would extend the lead to 7 heading into the break (32-25). Marc Loving scored 6 straight points early in the half as All-Ohio seized a 40-35 lead with 10:55 left in the game.  After All-Ohio coughed up the ball 6 times in 10 possessions; the Wings would capitalize and cut the lead to 53-52 with a little over two minutes left in the contest.  Baltimore’s Daxter Miles knocked down a jumper with 26 tics left to give the Stars their first lead of the second half (59-58). This game would tighten, as both teams had a chance to get the win late.  Coming out of a timeout, All-Ohio had the ball down 1 with 24 seconds left.  Marc Loving received a pass on the wing, drove baseline, was fouled and then proceeded to knock down 2 free throws to put Red back in front 60-59 with 10.1 remaining.  The Stars in bounded the ball under All-Ohio’s basket, drove the full length of the court, missed a layup, but retained possession with 3.6 left. Baltimore then in bounded the ball at their end of the court, and Kameron Williams got off a desperation shot at .5 that did not look like it had a chance; however, All-Ohio’s Marc Loving fouled Williams in the act of shooting a trey.  Williams then stepped to the line and calmly sank all three free throws to put the Stars ahead 62-60 with .5 seconds left.  A full court heave missed left and the Stars claimed the hard fought victory. Tony Farmer and Marc Loving both led All-Ohio with 16 points. To see the day 2 pics, visit the Buckeye Prep Facebook Fan Page.

Tony Farmer

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

All-Ohio Bounces Back in Session Two of Peach Jam

Terry Rozier finished with 18 pts and 5 asts

In the second session of the day, All-Ohio Red would face a 12-3 Houston Hoops and a roster full of high major prospects. Duke commit Rasheed Sulamon would open the game with a layup to give Houston the initial lead.  However, Teddy Hawkins answered back with a three ball, and  Kenny Kaminski would hit a trey of his own to give All-Ohio its first lead at 6-5.  Both teams would take turns playing with and loosing the lead, but Houston would take a 33-31 lead into the half.  Kaminski scored on a layup and a free throw to give All-Ohio a 34-33 lead to start the second half, but Houston would answer right back with an ally oop to retake a 1 point lead (41-40). Although the lead would exchange hands for most of the second half, All-Ohio held on to claim 71-69 victory.

Michigan State verbal Kenny Kaminski continued his impressive play with a gaudy 30 point outburst.  Terry Rozier bounced from a subpar first game to finish with 18 points and 5 assists. Jordan Potts finished with 10 points, followed by Donte Hawkins (9), Myles Hamilton (4) and Leroy Alexander (2).  Rasheed Sulaimon led Houston with 24 points, while Brian Bridgewater added 19 and J-Mychal Reese finished with 12.  First up for All-Ohio in the morning are the Arkansas Wings followed by the Georgia Stars in the afternoon.

All-Ohio Teams Finish Session One 1-1

Kenny Kaminski 

With a 9-6 league record, All-Ohio’s U-17 squad qualified for Nike’s the 24-team EYBL Finals, located at the Peach Jam in North Augusta, GA.  Unfortunately, All-Ohio was forced to open the tournament with a match-up against the undefeated and number one seeded Team Takeover (15-0).  Coming off a dominate 3-0 finish at the Big Shots tournament in Myrtle Beach a day before, All-Ohio drew first blood with a Kenny Kaminski layup. After Teddy Hawkins drained a trey, Red was up 5-0.  Team Takeover finally got on the board with 13:40 left in the half, but All-Ohio would play with the lead for the rest of the period, finishing the half up 31-24.  Kenny Kaminski led with 8 half time points.  

All-Ohio started the second half strong with a Myles Hamilton jumper; however, although All-Ohio had the lead and momentum to start the second period, the tide started turning after Red began coughing up the rock (16 total turnovers) and allowing easy buckets for Takeover and a huge momentum shift. Although the turnovers started the slide, mounting fouls and Team Takeover free throws would ultimately be their undoing, as 5 players would eventually foul out of the game, leaving only three players left on the floor when time expired.  Takeover went on to win 73-68. According to the stats, Team Takeover would convert 27 of 43 free throws, while All-Ohio went 11 of 15.  Kenny Kaminski led All-Ohio with 21 points, followed by Teddy Hawkins (15), Leroy Alexander (10), Terry Rozier (8), Jake Kretzer (7), Myles Hamilton (4), and Jordan Potts (3).  It should be noted that All-Ohio was without the services of Elijah Macon.

Marc Loving

All-Ohio’s U-16 squad would fare better in their opening game with a 76-71 win over California Supreme.  The score would be as close as 54-55 with 8:25 left in the game, but All-Ohio was able to hold off a group of scrappy guards to get the win. Ohio bound Marc Loving added an early spark and would go on to lead All-Ohio in scoring with 17 points.  Nigel Hayes added 14 and Charles Tucker finished with 11. To see some of the pictures I took, visit the Buckeye Prep Facebook Fan Page.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Pre-National Championships-The Young Guys

All-Ohio Red-8th Grade Champions

In the middle school division, All-Ohio’s U-14 teams was favored to win it all after picking up top 30 ranked Esa Ahmed from Shaker Heights.  Although Ahmed played with Team Berea for most of the AAU season, he has joined All-Ohio for the stretch run. As we have already found out on a couple of occasions this weekend, the team with the most talent does not always win.  Such was the case early Saturday when Ohio Varsity upset All-Ohio in a shocker. Despite having a front court full of quality bigs (Esa Ahmed, Michael Simon, Kevin FisherTony Anderson) and highly ranked guards, Red took the loss.  Although I missed the game, I got it on good authority by many who caught the action that Reynoldsburg's Loyd Chatman went to work and hit All-Ohio for 28 points. What's funny is the fact that several weeks ago I told Chatman I needed to see him excel against better talent before I could upgrade his ranking, so I guess he used that as motivation and got it done against some of the top kids in the class!

Loyd Chatman Dropped 28 Points on Red

I did get the chance to catch All-Ohio Red match up with All-Ohio White.  This game featured several of Buckeye Prep’s top 30 players among the two teams.  Right from the tip Esa Ahmed impacted the game with a layup in the opening possession, followed by a blocked shot on the defensive end.  Although Red got out of the gates early and was up 12-4, White battled back and eventually cut the lead to 18-14 with 5:35 left in the half.  From there, White would score only one more point in the half as Red went on a serious run to close the first half at 34-15.  There was not much drama in the second half as Red would eventually claim a blowout (61-39) victory.  Red was led in scoring by Esa Ahmed who finished with 18 points, followed by Hilliard’s Michael Simon who contributed 10. Rodney Coliver Jr. led White with 11 points and Gage Hisey  added 9. Adding Ahmed is almost unfair, as no team in the state can come close to matching their size.  Also, there are very few teams who can come off the bench with two kids over 6’5.  Make no mistake, it’s not just All-Ohio’s post play that makes them a tough out, but their guard play more than solid with Bowling Green’s LaMonta Stone II, and I’m really starting to like Andre Foster (6’1 WG) and JaQuan Harrison (6’3 WF), both of whom have good length, athleticism and big upside potential.

Esa Ahmed MVP

Saturday’s action also included a grudge match between Ohio Varsity and the CYEC Monarchs (8th grade).  The game was up for grabs early, but the Monarchs would eventually over power Varsity with their size and athleticism and go on to get the 65-43 win.  Every time I watched the Monarchs play this weekend I became more intrigued with a few of their players. Toliver Cunningham (Beechcroft) and Niqville Bell (St Charles) paced the Monarchs with 16 and 15 points, respectively, and both flashed some real potential. I also liked Doug Taylor, a 6’6 center who is heading to Columbus Northland this fall.

8th Grade All-Tournament Team

In the 6th grade division, the Capital City Cardinals totally over powered All-Ohio Purple in the championship game, and went on to cruse to an easy 86-38 win. The Cardinals were just too big and physical for the undersized Purple squad. Hilliard's Trey Pugh was simply a monster, and he did pretty much anything he wanted to in the paint.  Pugh led the Cardinals in scoring with a game-high 28 points, followed by Ronnie (LNU) (12) and Ryan Alexander (11). All-Ohio Purple's leading scorer was Frank Royals who finished with 10 points, followed Marcus Barton (7).  One more word about Barton; what he did on Friday was no fluke, as I saw him knocking down treys all day Saturday as well.

Trey Pugh-6th Grade

Although the Inaugural Pre-Nationals Championship was small in numbers, the first-year tournament served as a great tune-up for the elite tournaments in July.  Good luck to all the teams that participated in this weekends event. To see some of the handful of pictures I took at the event visit the Buckeye Prep Facebook Fan Page. Also, follow us on Twitter.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

King James Shooting Stars Claim D-II AAU National Title

Congratulations to the King James Shooting Stars' 7th grade team for winning the D-II AAU Nationals.  King James finished pool play 3-0 with wins over Team Texas, MM33 and Team Destined for Greatness. In championship bracket play, King James defeated Fast Break 61-62 in round one, knocked off Corns 69-53 in round two, and held off Loudoun Triple Threat 64-59 to punch their ticket to the final four.  King James would then beat the Houston Defenders 73-62 in the semis, before claiming the title with a convincing 70-43 win over Gulf Coast Blue Chips.

Congratulations also go out to the Elite Cavaliers for their 9th place finish at the D-I AAU Nationals.  After falling to Sports Academy 46-28 in the third round, the Cavaliers went on a 3-game winning streak with wins over the Fairfax Stars Black (61-59), NC Team Felton (57-54) and BWSL New Generation (47-46).  For the record, after loosing to the Elite Cavaliers in the second round, the Lakers defeated Impact Basketball 67-64, Athletes First 53-44, before finishing one game shy of the 10/13th place game with a 59-49 loss to The Family out of Michigan.  Big ups to all of the Ohio teams who competed at the AAU Nationals this year.

Pre-National Championships-U-17 Results

Ohio Hoopsters-11th Grade Champions

The second day of the Pre-National Championships was complete with stellar play, upsets and the usual drama that is AAU basketball.  In the upset department, All-Ohio’s U-17 squad, ranked in the top 20 nationally, took an “L” at the hands of All-Ohio Purple 60-52. Purple’s Jalean Lowe helped his team to an early 10-2 lead after 3 quick treys. Although Terry Rozier was getting busy early, and finished with 10 half time points, Purple enjoyed a 32-23 leading by the end of the first half.  Red started the second period strong, scoring on their first 3 possessions; limiting Purple’s scoring, and cutting the lead to 32-30 by the 18 minute mark. Purple would not score until about 16:45 left in the period.  The game would remain close until late when Red was forced to foul. Big Adlophus Washington was a force down low, finishing with a team-high 17 points.  Lowe would eventually cool down a little, but he still managed to add 15 markers.  Although he did not put up big numbers, Orlando Berry Jr. had a great floor game, and exhibited tenacious defense.  Red was led in scoring by Terry Rozier (17), followed by Elijah Macon (13), Teddy Hawkins (9), Jalen Robinson (8) and Jordan Lauf (2).  As a side note, despite their win against Red, All-Ohio Purple would back their bags and head south back to Cincinnati, giving up their spot in the final four.

Adolphus Washington

In the first semi-final game, the Ohio Hoopsters avenged their earlier loss to the Columbus Hawks.  Although they had revenge on their minds, the Hawks would not go down easy, as the game was still tied with only 6:09 left in the contest.  Thou they had to battle, the Hoopsters would go on to claim a 54-50 victory and a spot in the championship game.

In the second semi of the 11th grade division, All-Ohio Red ran into an inspired All-Ohio Black team.  Every kid wants to someday beat big brother, and that is exactly what they did, as they clipped Red 51-50.  Red had a chance to get the win, but an errant shot by Terry Rosier as time expired lifted White to the championship game where they would face the Ohio Hoopsters. Pickerington Central’s Caris Levert did the most damage, dropping a cool 20 points, followed by Ryan Carter’s 10. Dayton Dunbar’s Teddy Hawkins led Red with 14 points, followed by UD verbal Jalen Robinson (12), Jordan Potts (9), Jordan Lauf (7), Terry Rozier (4), Devin Scott (2) and Elijah Macon (2).

Joe Thomasson

The championship game pitted the Ohio Hoopsters against All-Ohio Black. Although Black was winning for most of the game, the Hoopster’s stifling defense forced Black’s guards into to turnovers, and resulted in a Hoopsters run with about 13 minutes left that did not end until the lead was cut to 46-41. A Tyler White trey at the 9:45 mark knotted the game at 46, and a free throw by White gave the Hoopsters their first lead of the game. All-Ohio Black answered with on a run of their own and would retake the lead and go up  61-56 with 2 minutes left.  The Hoopsters answered by cutting the lead to 61-60 at 1:09. Andre Yates knocked down a pull up trey to tie the game at 63.  Black still had a chance at the upset, as they had the ball with 30.4 seconds left.  However, Levert turned the ball over on an errant inbound pass which Andre Yates intercepted. Yates would then hold the ball for the last shot, but after missing a rushed pull up, the game was sent into overtime (63-63).  Yates would hit a 3-pointer to start the overtime period.  Remember that "drama" I mentioned earlier? From there, technical fouls and a near bench brawl tainted what had been a real good game.  Oh yea, the Hoopsters would get the 77-70 win to claim the championship. The leading scorer and eventual MVP was Thurgood Marshall's Joe Thomasson who dropped a game-high 21 points.  Right behind him for the Hoopsters was Andre Yates (14) and KeChaun Lewis (12). Caris Lavert was the high man for All-Ohio Black with 16 points, while Roy Alexander added 15. The All-Tournament Team consisted of: Joe Thomasson, Andre Yates, Gary Akbar, Roy Alexander, Caris Lavert.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Pre-National Championships- Day One Report

Devin Scott-Cincinnati Commit

As players wind down their involvement with their high school programs and the second half of the AAU season gets under way, the first weekend of July is a time for tune up type tournaments to get teams ready for the final grind of the summer.   One such event is the first year Pre-National Championships, a collaboration between All-Ohio and the newly formed Ohio Hoopsters organization.  Although small in numbers, the 31-team tournament has some really talented teams at the top.  The 2-day tournament has 6 divisions from 2nd/3rd grade all the way up to 11th grade.  The following are the results of some of the games I watched on day one.

The U-17 All-Ohio Red tipped off the tournament with a match up with Hidden Gems.  Playing with only 5 players, one of which was Jordan Lauf from the U-16 team, red would finish with a convincing 75-50 win.  Newly acquired Devon Scott is already making a positive impact on the team since his arrival at the AAU state tournament, and his solid play on day one here is evidence of that.  Both Scott and Jalen Robinson were the leading scorers for Red.

Kalid King-2012

Day one saw its first upset in the U-17 division, as the local Columbus Hawks pulled off a shocker against the Ohio Hoopsters.  Although the Hoopsters have crept up on unsuspecting teams all summer long, this time the tables were turned, as the Hawks simply played better ball on their way to a surprising 52-41 victory. I don’t think anyone would argue that the Hoopsters are a much more talented team, but that fact does not always guarantee victory. Kalid King had a big game and led the Hawks in scoring with 16 points, and Grant Harris was right behind him with 11.  Andre Yates led the Hoopsters with 15 points.

Game 2 of the day pitted All-Ohio Red's 11th grade squad against No Limit.  Although the game was close for most of the contest, and was actually tied 30-30 at the half, Red’s significant size advantage was simply too much for a scrappy No Limit squad in the second half.  All-Ohio would eventually assert itself with about 17 minutes left in the game and go on to claim a 82-61 blowout win. All-Ohio enjoyed balanced scoring, as five players scored in double figures. Dayton commit Jalen Robinson was the high man with a game-high 19 points, followed by Terry Rozier (14) and Jordan Lauf (14), Jordan Potts (11), Teddy Hawkins (10), Elijah Macon (8) and Devon Scott (5). Tyler Miller paced No Limit with 14 points, followed by Lance Carter (13) and Tutu Brown (12).

Jalean Lowe

Orlando Berry’s All-Ohio Purple squad was barely challenged by Hidden Gems, as they cruised to an easy 87-52 win in their opening game. Jalean Lowe was smoking hot from beyond the arc, as he buried 6 treys and finished with a team-high 18 points.  Josh Lemons finished with 14 while Willie Moore added 12 and Orlando Berry Jr. contributed 10 points.

All-Ohio Red’s U-15 team got by the Ohio Hoopsters  64-50.  Red was led in scoring by Pickerington Central’s Jae’sean Tate who dropped an impressive 26 points in the win.  Delaware Hayes’ Mike Wells was the high man for the Hoopsters with 17 points, followed by Nick Deitsch’s  (Olntangy Orange) 10 points.

All-Ohio’s U-14 team pulled out a close 37-34 win against the CYEC Monarchs.  Dublin’s Gage Hisey led all scorers for All-Ohio with 12 points, while Springfield’s Demarko Cannon supported with 10.  The Monarchs had a couple of players who caught my eye, including  Josh Chellares, a 6’3 WF headed to Beechcroft, and J’saun Davis, a 6’4 C headed to Brookhaven.

Marcus Barton-6th Grader

On my way out of the gym I stopped and caught the first half of a 6th grade game against  All-Ohio Purple and Ohio Hoopsters.  I’m glad I waited around, as I had a chance watch an excellent display of young talent. All-Ohio Purple’s Marcus Barton put on a show and had the gym buzzing with his long range shooting and advance set of skills.  In the first half alone, Barton knocked down five 3-pointers, including a step back trey with time running out in the half.  Not only can the kid shoot, he has a nice handle, has great vision, is a willing passer, and he plays great defense. Barton’s game has the maturity often found in older players.  I’m going to keep an eye on this kid, because if he keeps developing he could have a real nice future.  I also like his teammate, Frank Royals who showed he has some game as well.