Wednesday, September 28, 2011

2011 Buckeye Prep Elite Fall Showcase Report

By most accounts, the fall session of the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase was a huge success! Approximately 320 players from around the Midwest traveled Central Crossing HS in suburban Columbus, Ohio to participate in what has become an elite and must-attend event. The 300 plus players were divided among 32 teams in 4 grade divisions (6/7th, 8th, 9th & 10/11th). Although Sunday proved to be a long day, the level of talent and electricity in the 4-court facility was electric! Add to that the presence of local and national media outlets, and you had what turned out to be a great day of fall basketball and a great opportunity to gain much needed exposure.

Willie Jackson-6'4 8th Grader

One of the things I enjoy most with these types of events is the opportunity they create to discover fresh new talent. Most Midwest based coaches and fans know that Buckeye Prep’s elite showcase is a place for discovery, particularly for kids who live in rural areas or play for teams that do not play at the major AAU-type of tournaments. As is the case at every event, I see kids I have not yet seen. One such player is Willie Jackson, a 6’4 eighth grader from Garfield Heights. The 6’4 wing flashed impressive athleticism and the kind of explosiveness that brings crowds to their feet. Coach Sunny Johnson told me about this kid a few weeks, but I was a bit skeptical until I saw the easy in which Jackson plays the game. Also, from what I hear, Jackson is a good kid with even better grades. Based on everything I’ve heard and seen, this kid could really be something special.

Jaylen McDonald-6'4 9th Grader

Another such player is Jaylen McDonald, a 6’4 swing man from Hudson Ohio. Like Jackson, McDonald already has a good size, a great frame and ample athleticism. I did not see much of him, but what I did see suggests this kid has great upside. In the youngest of the divisions, a couple of kids really caught my eye. Jaylen Harris, a 6’2 seventh grader dominated the showcase. Despite being one of the bigger kids in the division, Harris demonstrated he could run the floor, handle the rock and score. I plan to keep an eye on Harris’ development. Although he was no stranger, Hilliard’s Trey Pugh logged in an impressive day as well. Every time I looked over Pugh was making things look easy, as he scored almost at will.

Jaylen Harris-6'2 7th Grader

In addition to Harris and Pugh in the youngest division, a pair of young guards made some noise. Michigan’s Caleb Hunter is a dynamic and skilled young PG with a basketball IQ beyond his years. Cincinnati’s Marcus Barton was also no stranger, but he proved to me that what I saw earlier in the summer was no fluke, as he played his way into the all-star game and a top 5 finish. Although I did not get a chance to see them play much, the dynamic duo of Tyler Mitchell and Tyler Knecht lived up to the hype. I had heard a lot of good things about the pair prior to the event, and I am happy the reports were credible.

Cassius Winston-8th Grade PG Michigan

As I pointed out earlier, in addition to the Ohio kids, the showcase drew kids from several states including, Michigan, West Virginia, Kentucky, West Virginia, Indiana, New Jersey and North Carolina. As always, there were a few Michigan kids who traveled south, performed well, and deserve some Buckeye love. Algevon Eichelberger, a 6’5 8th grader is an elite showcase returnee, and like he did the last time he came down, Eichelberger got busy. A big with great feet and a soft touch around the bucket, Eichelberger can score in bunches. Joining the big guy from Michigan was Cassius Winston, a 5’10 floor general who possess a full package of dribble moves and tricks. I had heard that Winston is widely considered as the top 8th grade point man in Michigan, and I can see why. In addition to Eichelberger, Winston and Hunter, at least 3 other Michigan players played their way into all-star games (see my post-event report).

Marc Loving-2013 Ohio State Commit

I did not spend much time watching the 10/11th grade division, as there were several high school scouts watching and writing about that group. However, I am aware that Westerville North’s Jack Gibbs, Gahanna Lincoln’s Aaron Jackson, Toledo St. Johns’ Marc Loving, Reynoldsburg’s Wendell Davis, Brookhaven’s Ronnie Williams and Dayton Christian's RaChuan Martin all solidified their reps as elite players. As a side note, although both Loving and Davis were selected to the all-star game, neither player participated.

AJ Harris-Top 2015 PG-Dayton

The guard play at the showcase was spectacular! With young guys like AJ Harris, Lamonte Stone II, Xavier Holston-Sims, Kyle Stergis, Isaiah Jones, Cassius Winston, Rodrick Caldwell, Ashon Riggins, Xavier Simpson, Jalon Lewis, Darion Burns (KY), Craig Randall, Jalani Rogers, Tyrell Carter, Jaqual Parks-Freeman, Marcus Barton, Tyler Mitchell, Ty Wiley and Caleb Hunter in the gym, you know there are going to be some great battles! One such battle featured a match up between two of Ohio's top 9th grade point guards in Harris and Stone. I’m not going to declare a winner at this point (I did not see the entire game), but let me just say this; it was fun to watch!

Derrick Daniels-6'6 8th Grader

Although there were more guards at the event, there were also some very impressive bigs. Shaker Heights Esa Ahmed continues to lay claim as the top 2015 big in the state, as he logged in yet another stellar performance on Sunday. Africentric’s Tony Anderson continues to improve, as does Hilliard’s Michael Simon. Although Dayton’s Derrick Daniels arrived late, he was well worth waiting for. Daniels is easily the best post player in the class of 2016. Long and very active defensively, Daniels is a legitimate D-I prospect going forward. Speaking of long term prospects, I have to add Shaker Height's Kipper Nichols to the conversation,  The 6'5 freshman''s play clearly established him as one of the top players in the class. When his scoring catches up to his rebounding and defense, watch out! I also really love Noah Bramlage’s game. A 6’6 power forward from Ottawa is high skilled and knows what he is doing in the post. Also, Bramlage has a nice face up game as well. From what I have seen from Bramlage during the last couple of events, there is little doubt that college basketball is in his future.

Kipper Nichols- 6'5 Freshman
Also, I need to give a shout out to Ashon Riggens, an 8th grader from Cincinnati who played up in the 9th grade division and still made the all-star team. To many, Riggens gets the nod as the top player in his class. A few other players to keep an eye on include: Cincinnati’s Tommie “TC” Wells and Phillip Dozier. These two Bulldogs are relentless, and really attack the glass both offensively and defensively. Dayton’s Joey Williams Jr., Joey Keeble and Andre Hawes Jr. proved that the love I showed them a few weeks ago after observing them at a Dayton area open gym was justified, as each of these players got the all-star game nod. I saw also saw some flashes from Seth Towns, Josh Williams, Devon Stover, Germaine Britten, Rodney Culver Jr., Elmore Jennoro, Nequan Carrington (WVa), Michael Ryan, Andre Foster and EJ Williams.

Seth Towns-6'4 8th Grader

In closing, I could not be happier with how the showcase turned out. Although there are always areas of improvement, at the end of the day, the event featured a lot of talent, plenty of exposure, great facility all in a safe environment. In addition, I know I have not highlighted every player who played well and deserves recognition, but I brought in other media to serve this purpose as I was busy running the event. Also, I put together a more extensive report with individual and team photos. Enjoy! Finally, based on the overwhelmingly response and positive feedback about Sunday’s event, my March 2012 showcase has the potential to be really really special!! Click on the links below for additional showcase recaps:

Buckeye Prep Report
ESPN Report
Spencer Pulliam's 2015 Report
Triple Double Prospects Report
Cincy Prep Hoops Report
Showcase Photographs
More Pictures
Standout Photos

Monday, September 26, 2011

Levert Verbals to Ohio

Caris Levert-6'4 Sr.
Caris Levert, a smooth 6'4 shooting guard from Pickerington Central High School located in suburban Columbus, Ohio, had an eye catching sophomore campaign with his high school squad and a good summer on the AAU circuit. Consequently, Levert has seen his recruitment pick up lately.  After a visit to beautiful Athens campus late last week, it appears Levert, ranked as the #59 best shooting guard in the country by, liked what he saw, and committed to coach John Groce and the Ohio Bobcats.  Congatultions to the Levert family and the Ohio coaching staff for a good get.

Friday, September 23, 2011

September 25th Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase

I just sent out the below email to parents and coaches.  Please read.

Parents/Coaches, Attached is an updated draft of the showcase material.  Please review the same to ensure the information I have for your son/player is correct.  In addition, there still may still be some minor changes to the rosters up until I call out the names in the morning. Also, as a reminder, the showcase has been moved to Central Crossing High School located at 5400 Big Run Road South, Grove City, Ohio.  Registration begins at 8:00am and the games will tip off about 9:15am.  Games will start early so I would suggest you arrive at the gym as soon as possible.  Please take the time to review the attached game rules.  Because the showcase is completely sold out, there will be no room for walk-up registrations. At this point, if a player is not listed on the rosters, he cannot participate.
 If you are coaching a team, please plan to arrive no later the 8:30am, as we will be having a short coaches meeting. I will be providing you with a t-shirt to wear so please dress accordingly.  Everyone one must have completed registration forms.  You can download them from the website (lower right hand corner) and bring them with you in the morning.  Also, I know some of you have paid the fee by Pay Pal, however, we may not have been able to match the Pay Pal receipt with your son/player’s forms or name.  Therefore, our records may show you as not paid.  Please bring a copy of your pay pal receipt so we can make the match and speed up the process.   There will be a concession stand which will be operated by the school’s booster club and we will be selling camp t-shirts. It’s going to be a long and taxing day for all involved, so please arrive at the gym with a patient and positive attitude.  Every effort has been made to ensure you and your son/player has a positive experience.  If you have any questions or concerns simply call or text me at 614-203-2929 and I will do my best to be responsive. Have safe travels and I will see you in the morning. Rob Taylor

4th Draft
Showcase Awards

Thursday, September 22, 2011

National Recruiter Service to Cover Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase

As promised, the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase will offer an excellent exposure opportunity. I just learned yesterday that the National Recruiter Serviceone of the leading college scouting services in the country, will be monitoring our showcase.  National Recruiter scouts cover many of the elite national events across the country and have established themselves as a invaluable tool for college coaches in search of recruitable players. At the conclusion of the event, player contact information will be forwarded National Recruiter, and will then be forwarded to the many college coaches who subscribe to their service.  This represents a great opportunity for our showcase participants, as actual college coaches will be handed their information! Also, a number of small college coaches will be attending the event as well and will be presented with a coaches packet which contains player's contact information.  To ensure your son/player's name is listed in this material, the showcase registration forms must be completed.  In addition to National Recruiters, the following scouting services will be attending the event: John Stovall (ESPN/Prep Spotlight/Nike), Spencer Pulliam (Hype Basketball), Corey Albertson (Triple Double Scouting Service), Jeff Rapp (Bucknuts/Ohio Prep), Ty Kish (City League Hoops), Clay Dade (Jr. All-American Camp), Cap City Prep, Youth1 Sports,  Future Stars Prep, and others.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

db Hoops Skills Academy Spotlights North East Ohio Talent

Team of the Day

On September 17, 2011, db Hoops held the first ever Skills Academy. Founder Dwight Blair provided Buckeye Prep with a post event account of some of the standout players at the event.  Below is his report.
"The high school event drew 50 players in our first year, and out of the 50 kids at the event there were many talented young players. The top three senior players were 6'6" wing Cody Blizzard out of Ashtabula Lake Side; 6'5" D'Vontie Rorie out of Canton McKinley and 6'3" Bryson Smith out of Canton South High School. These three men played hard all afternoon and really turned some heads. In fact, Bryson's play may have earned him an offer from D-II California PA.

Cody Blizzard

The junior division also had some outstanding players including: 6'8" Mike Mills from Canton McKinley; 6'3" Jaevon Johnson out of Canton Glenoak (very smooth left hander); 6'2" Kyle Deckerd from Canton South (deadly 3pt shooter) and 5'9" Hollas "Scamp" Alexander from Canton McKinley. All of these players turned some heads and had solid days. The sophomore class was as solid as they come and had many outstanding players as well. Those players included: 6'5" Ethan Boose from New Philly and his teammate 6'3" wing Marco Columbo really put on a show. Also db Hoops teammates 6'3" Brennan Czuchran from Buckeye Local and 6'3" Anthony Wallace from The Linsley School had outstanding days. Also 5'8" Jarel Wooldridge from Akron ST Vincent ST Mary really put on a show on Saturday.

Devonte Rorie

Finally, not be out done, the freshman class was saying do not forget about us. We had some very talented young men who will be raising stars in the near future. 6'4" Jordan Stock (Massillon Washinton), 6'3" Brogan Scott (Medina Highland), 6'1" twins Michael & Scott Peterson (Lake Center Christian), 5'9" Tyler Dunn (Massillon Jackson) and 5'8" Jaevon McClain ( Akron ST Vincent ST Mary). These young men were solid, and at times, they were the best players on the floor, and will be worth watching this season and in the spring for db Hoops (their summer squad). With all of that being said, our camp MVP was Marco Columbo (New Philly), who just put on a show and was as solid with shooting and passing. Had an outstanding camp and was making every player around him better."

Marco Columbu-Camp MVP

Potts Pulls the Trigger for UNC Greensboro

Jordan Potts-5'10 PG

5'10 2012 PG Jordan Potts (Columbus, OH. Northland H.S.) committed to UNC-Greensboro. Potts is a solid PG that helped lead All Ohio Red to the 17 & under AAU National Championship this year. He is a great get for the UNCG staff. Potts can score and lead a team. He has really come on in the last 6 months and had a great summer this year.

6'4 2012 SF/SG Dylan Kaufman (Berlin, OH. Hiland H.S.) committed to Findlay. Kaufman is a natural wing scorer. he has put up very good numbers in high school in every year leading up to his senior season. He helped lead his team to an Ohio Division 4 state championship last year and his team should be the favorite to repeat this season. 
Finally, Olentangy's Steve Walczak committed to division II Lake Erie College last week.  Congratulations to each of the above players!

John Stovall

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Williams Cashes in on Hot Summer

Devin Williams-6'8 Junior

Devin Williams, a nimble 6’8 225 pound power forward from Cincinnati Withrow, has seen his recruitment sky rocket since he tore his way through the summer circuit. While running with Mike Duncan’s Ohio Basketball Club this summer, the nationally ranked Williams grabbed the attention of numerous high major college coaches. In fact, in an interview with Williams two weeks ago, he boasted having secured a hefty 40 plus scholarship offers so far. Although too numerous to mention them all, Williams lists offers from the likes of Pittsburgh, Marquette, San Diego State, USC, Tennessee, Xavier, Cincinnati, Penn State, Illinois, and Dayton. In addition to the above offers, Williams reports receiving interest from Arizona, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Kentucky and West Virginia.

Only a high school junior, Williams has not developed a list of favorites just yet, nor does he have any immediate plans to drop a verbal anytime soon, preferring to wait until his senior year in high school. Williams has a good idea about when his recruitment took off this summer, indicating, “After the Indiana tournament (Adidas Take Five). In July, as soon as they (coaches) could call us,” stated Williams.

Williams plans to carry his stellar play into the upcoming high school season, and he feels the Tigers can go deep in Ohio state tourney. “We should make a real big run. I think we can get to the final four,” stated Williams. If you have not had a chance to catch Williams in action, you can't possibly appreciate the footwork, ball skills and the power this athletic big man possess. For a sneak peak at Williams’ game, click on the link to the below video of Williams dominating at last year’s Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase.

Devin Williams Video

Site Change for Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase

Due to an overwhelming response to the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase, the site has been changed from Gahanna Lincoln HS to Central Crossing HS, located at 4500 Big Run Rd, Grove City, Oh. 43123.  At this point, because over 280 kids have registered, we needed a larger facility.  The event will now use 4 regulation sized courts in a very beautiful facility. Also, I have instituted several changes to this event to increase the level of evaluation and exposure for the players.  Also, there will be several new scouting services and video guys in attendance to evaluate and capture the players. Small college coaches are also welcome to attend.  Registration will open at 8:00am and the games will start at 9:15am. 

Not only will the top Ohio kids be in the house, but players from Michigan, West Virgina, Kentucky, Indiana, North Carolina, New and Jersey Wisconsin will also be competing. Right now, there are 28 teams in the following 4 divisions: 10/11th; 9th; 8th & 6/7th. Each team will play 3 games with the top 2-3 kids to play in an all-star game, which is set to tip off at 5:30 PM.  If your son/player is registered for the event he should report to Central Crossing HS by 8:00am. I am currently in the process of fine tuning my information, and I will be posting an initial draft of the rosters, team assignments and game schedule by Sunday night.

Because not everybody is good with a computer, it would be much appreciated if you can help me communicate the changes to friends, players and other coaches, so no one shows up at Gahanna (cross town). Finally, I will be sending out an email with more specific information about the event within the next couple of days.  This will be the biggest and most competitive Buckeye Prep showcase ever!  I hope everybody is as excited as I am about this event; it could be very special!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Friars Club to Host 3rd Annual Basketball Showcase

On October 8th and 9th, the Friars Club will be hosting their 3rd Annual Queen City Superstars High School Showcase at Cincinnati's Woodward High School located at 7005 Reading Road in Cincinnati. Not only will the competition be HOT, but a number of small college coaches will be in the house evaluating players.  For more information about the event, call Lannis or Annie Timmons at 513-702-7726 or email them at

Event Flyer

Monday, September 12, 2011

Central Ohio Open Gym-Week 5 Standouts

Caris Levert-6'3 Shooting Guard

Although there were a number of quality players missing from this week’s Central Open Gym, there were several standout performances worth mentioning.  Pickerington Central's Caris Levert put on a show. The 6’3 sophomore had to convert over 80 percent of his shots over the course of the day.  Levert is really starting to turn some heads with his athleticism and ability to score the ball, and I over heard a couple of observers comment that he might be the best shooting guard in the city.  I mentioned last week that Levert has an offer from Alabama State, but I have to think his recruitment will pick up in a hurry once the high school season tips off. Pick Central will be loaded this year as evidenced by the stellar play of sophomore Conner Kern, a 6’0 shooting guard.  As soon as I thought Kern was just about the jump shot, he showed me more depth in his game, and an ability to get to the basket and to play solid defense.  Also, Kern appears to be a little more athletic than he looks.

Jaylen Benton-6'1 PG

Westerville North’s Jaylen Benton had a huge day as well.  Benton, a 6’1 PG and recent transfer from Northland, had every aspect of his game clicking. He took guys to the cup and finished; he had his jumper dialed in, and his defense was stifling.  Watching Benton dominate in the first 3 games was very entertaining.  All I can say is; Westerville North is going to be a tough out this year!  I have to give a shout out to his teammate, Matt Rhodes, who shot the cover off of the basketball.  Rhodes is not just a spot up shooter,on no, his use of the jab step moves and head fakes are next level, and he shoots it well off the bounce.  I also saw him attacking the cup a lot more on Sunday.  There have to be some programs pout there looking for a kid like Rhodes! Click on the link below to see the other players of the day as well as the top team.

Dayton Area Middle Schoolers Shine at Open Gym

Joey Williams-6'2 8th Grader
Earlier in the week I posted a story about the middle school open gym at Brunner Catholic School in Dayton.  On Saturday morning I took a quick trip over to Dayton to check out some of the city’s top 7th and 8th graders. Although only about 18 kids showed up, and a few of the kids I wanted to see were playing football, I was pleasantly surprised to find so much young talent in the gym.

Aside from Rodrick Caldwell, who did not arrive until much later, I was most impressed with Joey Williams, a 6’2 combo guard from Valerie MS in Dayton. Williams has participated in prior Buckeye Prep Elite Showcases, but he never really landed on my radar.  If not for the fact that stopped playing the post and assumed the role as the lead guard on Saturday, Williams' considerable skill with the rock may have again gone unnoticed.  Unlike so many young players with early size, Williams has not been regulated to the post, but has obviously receieved perimeter work. Already 6’2 with athleticism, length and ball skills, Williams has upside potential written all over him.  Williams really excelled at getting to the rack and finishing, and his defense was the best I saw all morning. I plan to keep an eye on this kid, he could be a good one.

Andre Hawes-5'7 8th grader

Andre Hawes Jr., a 5’7 combo from Wantz MS in Miamisburg caught my eye as well.  Hawes is a crafty little guard with a tight handle, good vision and a nice shot.  I also really liked his aggressiveness and confidence. I was also really impressed with Joey Keeble, a 6’10 swing man from Horance Mann MS in Dayton.  He is still very slender, but he handles the ball well, attacks the cup on a regular basis and is not afraid to play defense. I think Keeble will be a nice prospect going forward.  According to Tony Boddie Sr., who trains Keeble, "His offense has really picked up over the last year."

Joey Keeble-5'10 8th Grader

I can’t forget Yerusalem Hill Jr., a 6’1 combo forward from West Carrollton MS in Dayton.  Hill has really good length for his age and is blessed with loads of athleticism. What impressed me the most was his vision and willingness to pass the rock. Stiver's Noah Howell, one of the few 9th graders in the gym, did some really nice things on Saturday as well. This pass-first floor general did a good job of running his team, and he showed he could work off screens and knock down jumpers off the bounce.

Roderick Caldwell-5'7 8th Grader

Although he arrived later in the session, and I only saw him play 2 games, Rodrick Caldwell was hands down the most talented kid in the gym.  Despite coming in late, right from the start of his first game, he came out passing the ball to teammates, a sign of his confidence and having nothing to prove.  Caldwell has been featured on this site many times and his advance game, basketball IQ and substantial package of skills have been well documented here.

Tony Boddie-7th Grade Guard

Last but not least; there were only a few 7th graders at the open gym, and Tony Boddie Jr, stoodout the most. Right now, the best part of Boddie’s game is his ability to knock down shots from both the mid-range and behind the arc.  If his handle catches up with his shot, Boddie has a chance to be really good. 

Yerusalem Hill-6'1 8th Grader

Thanks to Tony Boddie Sr. for the invitation; I really enjoyed my trip to the Gem City. Also, if I’m not mistaken, each of the players spotlighted above will be attending my September 25th elite showcase, so I will get a chance to see how they perform against other top players from around the region! To see the pictures I took at the event, visit the Buckeye Prep Facebook Fan Page.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Rozier Headed to the Big East

Terry Rozier

Terry Rozier's stellar play this summer with All-Ohio Red and at the Lebron James Skills Academy led to interest from several high major programs.  Last night at an open gym in Shaker Heights, the 5'11 floor general wrapped up his recruitment with a verbal pledge to Rick Patino and Louisville Cardinals.  Also in the gym last night was West Virginia's Bob Huggins and Cincinnati coaches. I had the opportunity to coach Rozier this summer with All-Ohio Red, and I became increasingly impressed with his game.  At the Nike EYBL finals at the Peach Jam, Rozier did some amazing things, which obviously did not go unnoticed.  Being a Louisville native myself,  and a big Cardinals fan, I could not be happier about his decision. Congratulations to Terry and his family on this major accomplishment!

Currier Journal Article

Rossi Twins Talk Recruitment

Justin & Jacob Rossi

If twins were not rare enough, how often to you see a pair of 6’8 twins, both of whom are highly skilled, posses a high basketball IQ and can hoop. Last week I caught up Jacob and Justin Rossi, 6’8 power forwards from Franklin, and asked them about their recruitment.  Although neither brother had received an actual offer when we spoke, they reported increasing interest from several low to mid-major D-I programs including: UNC Ashville, Belmonte, Manhattan, James Madison, Gardner Webb and Dayton

Neither player has taken any unofficial visits so far, but both guys plan to visit Dayton in September, and have received notice that many of the above programs will be sending coaches to their high school open gyms within the next couple of weeks. I spoke with Justin this morning to get an update and he indicated that the UD coaching staff will be attending a workout today at the high school, along with Gardner Webb and Cincinnati.  Justin admitted that Dayton will be at the workout to see freshman Luke Kinnard, but was pleased that the coaches will get a chance to see them workout as well.

With twins, the obvious question always centers on their desire to play together at the same school.  Although Jacob and Justin would prefer to play together, it would not be a deal breaker should a program only want the services of one brother.  Both guys are very optimistic about the upcoming high school season. “We have the number one freshman in the state (Luke Kinnard) coming in.  I know we will go undefeated,” stated Jacob.  “No doubt we will win our league,” continued Justin.  Watching these guys play together was a treat, and you could see the pair communicating with their eyes and a simple head nod.  Look for D-II Franklin to do some serious damage this upcoming basketball season.

Central Ohio Open Gym-Week 5 Team Rosters

Below is a link to a tentative list of team rosters for week #5 of Vic Dandridge's open gym.  The rosters are subject to change depending on who shows up.

Week #5 Rosters 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Moore Shifting Through Offers

Willie Moore-6'3 PG Cincinnati Aiken

Willie Moore, a dynamic 6’3 senior guard from Cincinnati Aiken, is currently evaluating several D-I offers including: Wichita State, Tulane, Cleveland State, Kent State, Iona State, James Madison, Ohio, Akron and Miami (OH).  In addition, Moore has also received interest from Dayton and Duquesne. When we spoke last week, Moore had paired his list down to a top four of Dayton, Duquesne, Wichita State and Cleveland State. Although Dayton had yet to offer at the time, it was clear that Dayton would get the nod if an offer was forthcoming. In fact, Moore is scheduled to visit the A-10 school within the next week.  According to a source close to the recruitment, Cleveland State may be the club house leader if Dayton does not pull the trigger. Moore would like to have his decision all wrapped up prior to the start of his senior season, and will be assessing each program’s academics and style of play when deciding on a school.  Moreover, Moore indicated that he would prefer to stay close to home if possible.

Moore has big plans for his final prep season stating, “I can see us in the (Ohio High School Tournament) final four or championship.” Aiken, a D-II program, will face a challenge in league play. “Our league will help us.  Our schedule is tough. We have all the GLC schools plus Taft,” said Moore.

In addition to his recruiting and his predictions for this upcoming season, we discussed Moore’s rocky summer, which included play with multiple teams (Ohio Hoopstars, All-Ohio Purple and Cincinnati Knights). As he spoke, it was clear he had some regrets for bouncing around between several teams. “I should have stayed with one team,” said Moore. "It (changing teams) hurt my recruitment.  Had I stayed with one team my  recruitment would have been different. I would not still be going through this stuff,” continued Moore. Buckeye Prep would like to wish Willie much success in the upcoming season and beyond.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Roderick Caldwell-8th Grade PG

With the football season underway, and as basketball players and fans look toward the start of the hoops season in a few months; kids all across the state are participating in fall leagues and open gyms in an effort to develop their games. One such open gym is being held at Brunner Catholic School in Dayton, where approximately 20-25 elite 7th and 8th grade kids meet every Saturday morning from 9:00am to 11:00am to get in a quality run. In its 5th week, the open gym has attracted many of the city’s top young players. According to Tony Boddie Sr, one of the organizers of the event, “the open gym is designed to give non-football players a good run.” Also, for those players who might be interested in participating, Boddie advised that the open gym will run another 3-4 weeks.

Derrick Daniels-6'5 Center

From what I hear, Roderick Caldwell is lighting it up, and has clearly separated himself from the other 8th graders in the city. Right behind him is Derrick Daniels, a 6’5 center at Mary Queen of Peace. I had a chance to see Daniels this summer and came away super impressed with his upside potential. I’m also hearing some good things about Joey Williams Jr, a 6’2 combo guard. Although I have not seen Williams, his game is well respected by those who follow youth basketball in Dayton. It should be noted that both Caldwell and Dainels are listed as one of Buckeye Prep's "Top Thirty 8th Graders."

Below is a full report on some of the standout players at last Saturday’s session. If possible, I plan to attend the event in person with in the next couple of weeks to see firsthand who is getting it done. Also, look for many of the below players at my September 25th Elite Showcase here in Columbus.

Event Report

"Some of Dayton's top 8th graders and a couple of the top 7th graders have been playing weekly at Brunner Catholic School in Dayton. The 8th graders are led by Roderick Caldwell, Derrick Daniels, and Joey Williams Jr. Other 8th graders that shown well include: Josh Smith, Isaiah Williams, Joey Keeble, Terance Landers and Michael Pickel. The 7th graders are led by Tony Boddie Jr. and Brandon Sutherland.

The games are becoming increasingly fierce with some serious intensity. Caldwell is a point guard that continues to show a high hoop IQ while regularly unleashing a killer jump shot. Derrick Daniels remains raw on the offensive end but is one of the most intimidating defensive players in the state. At 6'6" he can dunk the ball almost any way you want it and uses that height and athleticism to defend the middle. Joey Williams Jr. is a multiple-skilled player that at 6'2" can play the 1, 2, or 3 at a high level. If he continues to work on his shot he has a chance to be special.

There have been two 8th graders that until now, at their fathers' discretion, have flown under the radar screen. They are Joey Keeble and Michael Pickel. Michael is a big body lefty guard that can play the 1 or 2, while Joey Keeble is a 2 or 3 that can lock down an opposing 2 guard. Terance Landers is multi skilled and can get to the basket at will. Also, watch out for Tony Boddie Jr. and Brandon Sutherland, the only two 7th graders participating in the open gym. Tony holds his own well with the older fellas due to a mid-range game reminiscent of 80's ballers like Bernard King. Brandon Sutherland is a hard nosed point guard that plays the game from baseline to baseline. Watch out for these guys. They should have outstanding Jr. High campaigns this winter."

Monday, September 5, 2011

Central Ohio Gym-Week #4

Walnut Ridge's Roy Alexander had a big day

Week # 4 of Vic Dandridge’s open gym was the best yet in terms of both the amount of talent in the gym as well as the level of play. The competition was enhanced with the participation of a Cincinnati/Kentucky based team of Devin Williams, Willie Moore, Tyonte Robertson, Paul Woodson, Nick Ruthsatz (Ky) and Nick Fredrick (KY) The team ended the day with a 4-2 overall record. A shout out to Cincinnati Prep Hoops’ Corey Albertson for bring the kids up to Columbus to participate. This week, I thought I would try a new format for listing the team and players of the day.  Please click on the link below for that information.  Let me know what you think in the “comment” section below.  

I have to mention a couple of other things.  First, I really enjoyed watching the Rossi twins play.  Jacob and Justin, both 6’8 centers, attend Franklin HS, and both logged in a solid day of basketball.  Look for a feature of the two in a few days.  Also, Northland’s Ke'Chaun Lewis’s dunk over Devon Scott was simply nasty!  Click on the red highlight to check it out; I’m sure you will agree.  It was all in good fun thou, as the 2 teammates were seen laughing about it later.

DJ Blanks-6'2 ASVSM 

I got a chance to watch ASVSM’s DJ Blanks play for the first time and was very impressed with the young man’s game. Arguably the top 2 teams of the day were the Jack Gibb’s led team #7 (including Matt Rhodes, Steve Wolscak, Jake Bischoff & Jaylen Benton), and team #5 with Jordan Potts, DJ Blanks, Jacob Cashen (Norwalk), Devon Scott and Jalen Robinson.  Team #5 grinded it out all day, while having to play 3 sudden death games on the day. Also, the match up between Gibbs and Potts was a good one!

6"9 Malik Dime-Walnut Ridge 

The pair of Walnut Ridge kids represented the red & white well.  6’4 Roy Alexander had a big day while 6’9 Malik Dime showed flashes of something special.  I also noted several D-II & D-III coaches in the gym checking out the talent. I saw coaches from Walsh, Dennison and Cincinnati State to name a few. It’s always nice for kids to get college looks. I spoke to Pick Central's Caress Levert and he mentioned he had received an offer from Alabama State recently.  The way the kid has been playing, that should be the first of many offers coming his way.

Finally, in case you have not heard, there were several college commitments this past week. Elida’s Reggie McAdams pulled the trigger for Akron; big CJ Getty verbaled to UNC Wilmington, and Pickerington Central’s Chad Nelson committed to Ohio Dominican University.  Congrats to Coach Artie Taylor and his staff at ODU. In closing, the way it is going, I can't wait to see what goes down in week #5!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Toledo Junior Holds Early Offers

Nigel Hayes-6'7 Jr Toledo Whitmer

Nigel Hayes, a 6’7 power forward from Toledo Whitmer, has parlayed a solid summer of AAU basketball into a handful of college scholarship offers, as well as interest from several high major programs.  In a conversation with Hayes recently, he advised he has received offers from: Xavier, Cincinnati, Dayton, Butler, Akron, Central Michigan and Toledo. In addition, Hayes, ranked as the #2 power forward in the state by John Stovall and Prep Spotlight,  is reportedly receiving interest from Ohio State, Purdue, West Virginia and Memphis.  Although it’s still early in the process, Hayes already lists his favorites as Ohio State, Xavier and Butler.

The only unofficial visit he has taken so far was at Xavier 3 years ago.  Hayes does not have any current plans to make any visits prior to the high school season, and he expects to make his decision sometimes before his senior year.  When he does pull the trigger on a program he will consider the school’s “academics, athletics and location.” Hayes also mentioned that he would prefer to “play close to home, either in-state or a neighboring state.” Also, although Hayes plays wide receiver for the Toledo Whitmer football team, and has already secured a scholarship offer from Wisconsin, he prefers hoops at the next level.

When asked about the upcoming prep season, Hayes indicated his “goal is to win states. We still need to see if our transfers are able to play (Leroy Alexander, Recardo Smith & Chris Harris). Three of our five starters are new,” said Hayes. “If we can get our chemistry together we can be pretty good,” continued Hayes. Although I saw Hayes dominate at times this summer, he appeared to be a little disappointed with his personal and team's performance (ran with All-Ohio Red), stating, “It was pretty good, but not as good as it could have been.  As a team, we should have won more tournaments than we did.” Hayes accepted his role in his team’s limited success stating, “I should have played better than I did.”  Look for Hayes to have a breakout season this year.

Prep Spotlight High School Showcase

John Stovall and Prep Spotlight will be hosting a one day showcase for high school aged players in the Cleveland, Ohio area later this month.  Below is additional information about the event:

What: Prep Spotlight Showcase

When: Thursday, September 22nd
            5pm to 10pm
            Registration: email:

Cost: $30

Where: Garfield Heights High School

Note: There will be over 30 D2 and D3 colleges in attendance

Email questions to

Friday, September 2, 2011

Potts Evaluates Offers

Jordan Potts-Senior PG Northland

Last week I sat down with Jordan Potts, a 5'10 senior floor general at Northland High School, to get an update on his college recruitment. According to Potts, he is currently considering offers from UNC Greensboro, Radford and Bethune Cookman. Potts also reports interest from Indiana State, Tennessee Chattanooga and Southeast Missouri State. I asked Potts what factors would play into his college decision and he mentioned the desire to play at mid-major level. He also values the ability to “play right away” with a program that has “a good non-conference schedule.” Potts also does not see distance (from home) as an issue in his decision, and although he did not declare a favorite, people close to the family predict UNC Greensboro as the program to beat.

By most accounts, Potts had a solid summer and rapped up his AAU career with a nice run at the AAU Nationals. Potts agrees, describing his performance this summer as “productive.” Potts is also optimistic with Northland’s chances this upcoming high school season, and when asked how deep he thinks the team can go in the state tournament he indicated, “state, no doubt.” Look for Potts and his Northland team to once again make a serious run at another state title. With Cincinnati commit Devon Scott and Dayton pledge Jalen Robinson in the front court, Northland certainly has enough talent to get the job done. Good luck to Potts and his family as they ponder their decision.