Monday, April 30, 2012

King James Shooting Stars Classic-Day Three Report

Cincinnati Lakers vs Team Lima Black (8th Grade)

I started my day of watching Ed Lyshe’s 6th grade Buckeye Prep team notch another win in the Bronze division against a scrappy and rugged Elite Sports Center (ESC) out of West Virginia. Although Buckeye Prep would never trail in the game, ESC would mount several runs, including a 5-0 run to start the 4th quarter that cut the lead to 1 point (28-27). Despite ESC, s last minute push, Buckeye Prep would hang on to advance to the final four with a 40-32 victory. He did not lead the team in scoring, but Westerville’s Malique Lyshe sparked Buckeye Prep with back-to-back-to-back defensive plays that preserved momentum. It should also be noted that Lyshe showed a lot of improvement over the weekend, clearly logging in his best performance of the season.

AJ White-4'11 PG Indanapolis, IN

While waiting for the Buckeye Prep final four game, I got the chance to watch a very entertaining 5th grade semi-final game between Demarco Bradley’s All-Ohio Purple squad from Cincinnati and the Indiana Hoosiers from Indianapolis. According to a fan in the stands, the Hoosiers were seeking revenge for a 2 point loss to All-Ohio in Indianapolis a few weeks earlier. When I walked in at half-time, Purple was up 23-19. By the end of the third quarter, Indiana had seized momentum and cut the lead to 1 point (33-34). After scoring on their first 3 possessions to start the final period, the Hoosiers were up 40-34. An Indiana 11-0 run in the 4th quarter broke All-Ohio’s back, as the Hoosiers advanced to the championship game where they defeated the Metrolina Havoc to claim the 5th grade title. Indiana’s AJ White, a 4’11 point guard from Indianapolis, was dynamite at the point as he displayed an impressive floor game and led his team with poise. Also, Keion Brooks, a 5’7 center from Ft. Wayne, has the makings of a star player. He is a bit slender right now, but he has good length, is still very young, and has the body type that usually suggests continued growth. All-Ohio Purple had a nice pair of guards in Demarco Bradley Jr. and Greg Tribble. These two little guys can go. Both guys attack the cup consistently and both bring extreme pressure on the ball. I intend to keep an eye on these two guys going foward. It's also important to note that the Hoosiers defeated All-Ohio Red, the defending AAU national Champions, to adavnce to the semi-final game.

DeMarco Bradley Jr. & Greg Tribble Jr.

In the final four matchup with KYWA out of Lexington, KY, it was clear from the tip that Buckeye Prep was going to have its hands full with the KYWA bigs. I wish I could tell you Buckeye Prep was in this one, but that was not the case. KYWA’s front line featured 5’11 center Kyle Rode who was surprisingly skilled for his age and size, and 5’9 Jefferson Harkless, who was a monster in the paint. Harkless inflicted most of his damage near the basket, while Rode was taking the Buckeye Prep bigs off the bounce and finishing. Harkless was way too physical for Prep’s post guys and he did a great job of finishing plays. Suffering from too many turnovers and an inability to rebound the ball, Buckeye Prep was bounced from the tournament after a 56-27 loss.

Tyree Harrs-6'2 PF Cleveland

For the second day in a row, I checked out Murphy AC Elite’s 6th grade team as the battled it out with Arizona’s Powerhouse in the quarter-finals of the silver division. Not only did Murphy AC Elite get the easy 40-25 win over Powerhouse, they went on the championship game after downing the Dayton Nets. In Friday’s report I highlighted the play of Cory Rice and Jerry Higgens, but the other stud on that team is Tyree Harris, an athletic post from Maple Heights, Ohio. Earlier in the month Harris logged in an impressive performance at my Buckeye Prep Invitation tournament, and really impressed many people who were watching his games. Harris already has the length; size and mobility that will draw people to get an early look at the kid. Powerhouse’s Bryson Mewhinney (5’5 PG) and Paul Bingaman (6’2 C), both paced their team to a quarter-final finish.

Quam Dosumu, Chase Adams & Zion Young

In 6th grade Gold division action, I walked in on a quarterfinal game between crosstown rivals, Chicago Select and Ferrari. As you would expect, these teams and their fans were hungry for Chi Town bragging rights, so you know the crowd was rabid. Ferrari would go on to get the 34-40 win and advance to the semi-finals. Although I had seen Chicago Select the night before, this was the first chance I had to check out Ferrari. From what little I saw of this game, I was most impressed with Ferrsri’s Quam  Dosumu, a dynamic 5’4 PG. Chicago has long since been known for its guard, and from what I saw of his game, Dosunmu has a chance to be special. He is crafty, aggressive, and he has a pocket full of dribble moves he employs to separate from his defender. Dosunmu’s handle is among the most mature I’ve seen from a kid his age. This kid is a gamer! Ferrari also had a pair of quality bigs. I was most impressed with Stephen Harris, a 6’0 center who was strong and physical. Although a lot of big kids this age are just big, Harris fully understands how to use his physical gifts. When he gets the rock form one of the talented Ferrari guards, he immediately attacks the basket. Ferrari would later defeat 916 Select to advance to the championship game.

Sheriff Kenny & Dimarco Baucum-DC Assault

In another 6th grade gold division quarterfinal game, I watched a little of the DC Assault and Showtime Select game. Though it was another close game, DC Assault out lasted Showtime Select and advanced with a 44-40 win. The top guys for Assault were Sherif Kenny, a 5’10 PF, and Dimarco Baucum, a 6’2 center. For Showtime Select, Mark Watts, a 5’1 PG was the man. DC Assault would later punch their ticket to the championship game with a win over Indiana’s George Hill Rising Stars.

DC Assault-6th Grade Gold Division Champions

The 6th grade gold division championship game featured a battle of AAU program heavy weights with Ferrari and DC Assault. Right from the tip, Ferrarri’s superior backcourt of Quam Dosumu, Zion Young and Chase Adams went to work, when Young, a 5’5 SG, drained a trey to start the game. Ferrari would start the game on a 6-0 run. DC Assault would finally respond at the 2:49 mark with back-to-back scores to close the lead to 2 points (6-4). Ferrari would counter with another 6-0 run to finish the first half up 12-4. Early in the second quarter DC Assault mounted their own run and was able to trim the lead to just 2 points (16-18) with about 2:51 left in the half. DC Assault tied the game at 18 at the 2:12 mark on a layup by Dimarco Baucum, and completed the comeback with 2 free throws and a 2 point lead to close the first half (18-20). Assault would begin the second half by knocking down 2 free throws, then mount a 5-2 run midway through the quarter (20-25).Ferrari would make a run of their own and retake the lead (26-25) with 1:28 left in the third quarter. Assault went back in front at the 1:00 minute mark on another Baucum layup (27-26). Assault would close the third period with 3 consecutive buckets to run their lead to 31-26. Though Ferrari would score first to start the 4th quarter, Assault’s final run propelled them to a 44-32 victory and the championship trophy. Dimarco Baucum was big for Assault. Though Ferrari’s 2 bigs were nice, I really loved the Chicago guards. He may be small, but Chase Adams is one of the most exciting players I’ve seen in this class. He is an absolute blur with the ball and has an insane handle. Also, the kid is not afraid to mix it up with the big boys, which is a must for smaller guards. I already told you about Dosumu; the kid has a polished game. If I’m not reading about this kid a few years, something is seriously wrong. Zion Young, the third piece of the puzzle, has an athletic body, is strong, and can shoot the 3-ball.

Team Lima Black-8th Grade Gold Division Champions

Last but not least, there were a few significant observations associated with the 8th grade gold championship game. First of all, the fact that there were 3 Ohio-based teams (Team Lima Black, Cincinnati Lakers & All-Ohio Elite), in the final four of this major tournament was a statement about Buckeye basketball! In terms of story lines, AAU basketball at the highest levels is often about respect for individual performances, matchups and team supremacy. Along those same lines, we may have seen a “changing of the guards” of sorts in Ohio’s class of 2016. The Cincinnati Lakers have been the standard by which this class was defined for many years. With that said, the Elite Cavilers (now All-Ohio Elite) have occasionally challenged the Lakers for “top dog” honors. Although there is still a great deal of debate about who the top team has been in the class over the years (I’m not picking between the 2 in this piece), there should be no doubt that Quincy Simpson’s Team Lima Black went a long way in gaining some respect and a seat at the 2016 table with his convincing 56-36 win in the championship game on Sunday.

Jaylen Thomas, Xavier Simpson, Ruben Flowers & Rico Stafford

In terms of individual matchups, the championship game featured 3 of Ohio’s top 3 guards in Xavier Simpson, Rodrick Caldwell and Ashon Riggens. I have seen all three of these guys for many years and in many settings, and all-three elite guards have been consistently selected as all-stars at my Buckeye Prep Elite showcases. Since I did not get an opportunity to watch much of the 8th grade division this past weekend, and only caught half of the championship game, I’m not going to claim a winner in the “top PG in Ohio sweepstakes” at this point. However, if there were ever a gap between the elite floor generals in the state, the gap has surely narrowed. For my out-of-state readers, there are a number of other quality 8th grade teams in the state including the Cincinnati Bulldogs, Hills Sports, King James, All-Ohio Red, VCC Ohio Warriors, All-Ohio Purple, Nova Village, Dayton Heat, DB Hoops and others. Simply put, the 2016 class may be one of the best Ohio classes in many years. For Team Lima Black, the top performers for the weekend were Xavier Simpson (Unofficial MVP), Ruben Flowers (6’3 PF), Jaylen Thomas (6’0 SF) and Rico Stafford (6’4 SF). The Lakers’ Rodrick Caldwell (5’10 PG), Ashon Riggins (6’0 PG/SG) and Jeremy Larkin (5’9 SG/WF) were the standouts. It should be noted that Larkin did not play in the championship game due to a jaw injury he sustained in the semi-final game.

All-in-all it was a great weekend of basketball. Once again, the King James Shooting Star Classic has proven to be one of the most competitive tournaments in the country. Congratulations to Drew Joyce and his staff for putting on an outstanding event. For the final results in all of the divisions, visit the tournament website at:

Day Three Standouts

Day One & Two Standouts

Day Three Pictures

Sunday, April 29, 2012

King James Shooting Stars Classic-Day Two Report

Dahjuan Lee-6'0 C Grand Blank, MI

Although I spent most of day two camped out at the 7th grade gyms, I started my day off watching my 6th grade Buckeye Prep team play against Michigan's FABE. Like last night, Buckeye Prep dug themselves a big hole, as FABE held Prep scoreless until the 3:12 mark in the second quarter. Although Buckeye Prep would make a 7-1 run early in the 2nd quarter to close the first half down 7-14, FABE would go on to get the 26-36 win. The Michigan team was powered by McKyan James, a dynamic little PG from Grand Blank MI. He is small, but James knows how to get in the paint and make things happen. Armed with a sold handle and prerequisite speed, James has some some nice tools in his box. In the middle, 6'0 Dahjaun Lee showed a lot of promise. Although he has only played the game for about 1 year, Lee already has the kind of athleticism and physical tools coaches covet. He handles the rock well for his size, has good length, passes well out of the post and runs the floor like a guard. Michigan guys might want to keep an eye on this kid. I also liked Dotwan Comb, a 5'6 SF from Flint. What made Comb special was his size and ability to handle the ball. For Buckeye Prep, Julius Brown stepped up and played a solid game, as did Malik Lyshe and Trevor Grady. Buckeye Prep Would later win their first 2 games in the bronze division bracket play

All-Ohio Red (6th grade) found themselves in an early morning battle with Indiana Elite. Though Indiana Elite led for most of the contest, AOR battled back and actually took a 1 point lead with about 4 minutes left. However, a couple of empty possessions by Red, and Indiana buckets, led to a 49-43 loss. Columbus' Tavion Kansey was the high man for AOR, while Indiana was paced by Jordan Webb, Drew Bruns and Nate McClain.

Jaylon Harris-6'2 PF Cleveland

Over at Wadsworth High School, I caught the matchup between the 7th grade Murphy AC Knights and Team Elite out of New York. The Knights got the job down with a 62-53 win. The big dog for the Knights is Jaylon Harris, a 6'2 PF from Cleveland. In this game, Harris finished with 18 points. I've seen Harris on a couple of occasions at my Buckeye Prep Elite Showcases, and he has always dominated the competition. This was my first time seeing him in a team setting, and he did not disappoint. He is still tough to guard in the paint and can score at a high rate. In addition, Harris is a rebounding machine and is great rebounding out of his area. While Harris was handling his business in the post, Tommy Schmock was finding creative ways to get Harris the rock. Schmock, a 5'8 point man from Middleburg Heights is the kind of guard coaches love. He has a high IQ, makes sold decisions with the ball and is just crafty enough to handle "AAU type"  pressure. Later on Saturday, in a matchup with AI9 from Springfield, Murphy AC gave up an early lead, and ended up going down 57-50. Before he went down with a minor injury late in the game, Jaylen Harris finished with a team-high 15 points, followed by Tommy Schmock who contributed solid PG play and 10 points. AI9 had a couple of standouts with Nojel Eastern (20 points) and Yakeema Rose (14 points). AI9 is no stranger to success, having finished 8th and 6th at the AAU Nationals the last 2 years, respectively.

Frank Royals-5'6 PG College Hill

All-Ohio Purples collected a couple of wins today, the first of which was against the MC Cougars 54-24. From the way Purple got out of the gates, it looked as though they were well on their way to a blowout victory. However, the Cougars had different plans. The leading scorer for AOP was Frank Royals who dropped a game-high 19 points. I really liked the way Royals attacked the rim and finished. Royals can also knock down the shot if given the chance. AOP has several raw prospects, that with time, work and continued growth, could have good upside potential. Kyvon Mattress, a 6'2 PF, has all the athleticism, motor and natural ability he needs; he just needs skill work and more experience playing the game. Christian Hawkins, a 6'4 center from College Hill, fits that same mold. He is bigger, stronger and possess the same upside as Mattress. Also, this kid could also have football in his future if the hard-court thing does not work out. This AOP team is deep and talented, but the players need to stay the course and continue to develop. Later in the evening, All-Ohio Purple stubbed their toe against Maryland's 6th Man Warriors 40-57. Cameron Norman, a 5'7 PG from Severn, MD, paced his team.

All-Ohio Red (AOR) ran their tournament record to 2-1 with a 54-24 victory over CFBL. This game was never really close, as AOR was clearly more talented in every position. Toledo's Brett Lauf was the top scorer with 13 points, followed by Walker (10) and Houston King (10). Though he can sometimes be a high risk, high reward kind of guy, I continue to be impressed with Lauf's skill set, aggressiveness and his overall approach to the game. As I have said in the past, this kid is a smaller version of Steve Nash.

Cody Bowes, Jerald Butler, Al-Wajid Aminu & KJ Fitz

In bracket play late Saturday night, AOR hooked up with a bigger and more athletic Miami City Ballers from Miami, FL. Out sized in the post, and with an apparent lid on the rim, All-Ohio found themselves down big, early. The Ballers got the early lead and found themselves up 21-5 at the 8:10 mark in the first half. In the later part of the opening period, Toledo's Brett Lauf and  Houston King got dialed in from beyond the ark as Red drew to within 7 points (20-27). At the half, Miami was led in scoring by big Corey Bowes, a 6'2 C from Miami. In the first half the kid was a horse, but he inflicted his damage from the three point line. In the second period he went to work in the paint. Miami scored on first 2 possessions to start the 2nd period, before Lauf buried his 3rd trey (23-23). About midway through the second half the floodgates opened as the Ballers took full advantage of easy run out buckets. At the end of the day, Miami's front line was just to big, too tough and too effective finishing in the paint. When the last horn sounded, All-Ohio's was headed home at the hands of a 52-27 loss. The Ballers's top scorer was Jerald Butler who finished with a game-high 16 points, followed by Cody Bowes with 14 markers. He did not put up big numbers, but KJ Fitz found guys often in the half court and in transition. Keep an eye out for Al-Wajid Aminu; the kid has a chance.

Logan Hill-6'3 C Jackson Twp

As proof that no lead is ever safe in AAU basketball, in 7th grade bracket play action, I caught a great game between Team Lima Kings and DB Hoops. In that game, Team Lima appeared to be coasting to a comfortable win, when momentum switched and a 30-19 halftime lead evaporated into a 2 point contest. DP Hoops, on the strength of a monster 27 point game by Logan Hill, fought all the way back and tied the game at 43 with 17 seconds left. However, Team Lima was able to hold on for dear life and advanced with a 46-44 win. Lima was led by Jariuos Ward, a 5'10 WF from Lima (18 points). Ward is a good looking athlete who excels at slashing to the cup, but he can also shoot it and defend. Ward's name should appear among my list of to 7th graders when I drop the list in a couple of weeks. Brian Williams (6th grader) was the second leading scorer with 10 points. Despite being on the loosing end of the game, one of the most impressive performance of the tournament was logged in by Logan Hill, a 6'2 post from Jackson Twp, Ohio. Although he does not play near or above the rim, and he may not get high major size for his position, this kid can play! Extremely efficient would be how I describe his game. He finishes at a high rate under the bucket; he rebounds well, and he blocks a ton of shots. Look for Hill's name in Buckeye Prep's top 30 players in a few weeks.

Antwon Smith-6'3 PF Dublin

Blessed with balanced scoring as a team, the Ohio Hoopsters are humming along and are 4-0 heading into Saturday night. Earlier in the day, the Hoopsters took down a very talented DC Assault team. Against Michigan's Brother's Keepers, the Hoopsters advanced with a 54-48 victory. The high man for the Hoopsters was Garcia Dixon, who finished with a team-high 13 points. BK's Jaylen McFadden led his squad with a game-high 18 points. In the quarterfinal game, the Hoopsters jumped all over Team Lima Kings, and the outcome was predictable by halftime, as the Hoopsters had already run the lead to 33-13. Watching the Hoopsters play defense you would almost think the had 6 players on the court. The Cardinals utilize an effective half court trap to force turnovers and to get easy money. The Hoopsters were paced by Antwon Smith, a 6'2 PF from Dublin, who finished with a game-high 14 points, followed by Trey Pugh (12 points) and Tyrell Ajain (9).

Dayton's Next Level advanced to to the semi-finals with a 65-46 blowout victory over Indiana Elite. Springfield's Daniel Davis was the man for Next Level, finishing with 9 points, followed by L'Christion Smith who added 9 points. Next Level will match up with the NC Rising Prospects in the semi-final game tomorrow.

Lydell Geffrard-6'2 PF New York

As I moved around from court to court, there were a number of players that caught my eye. That list includes the following players: Kelvin Calhoun-6'2 C South Euclid Ohio-DB Hoops; Lydell Geffrard-6'2 PF New York-King Street Kings; Bobby Dhaliwai-6'5 C Brampton, Ontario-Brampton Warriors; Jordan Fulerton-5'11 SG/WF Brampton, Ontario-Brampton Warriors; Troy Brown-5'9 WF Saginaw, MI-Saginaw Panthers; Janlen Davis-5'4 PG Saginaw, MI-Saginaw Panthers; Jaylen McFadden-6'1 C Detroit, MI-Brother's Keepers; Brian Miller-4'9 PG Lima, OH-Team Lima Kings; Jarious Ward-5'10 SG/WF Lima, OH-Team Lima Kings; Login Hill-6'2 C Jackson Twp, OH-DB Hoops; JJ Foster-5'6 PG Ft. Wayne, IN-Ft Wayne Next Level; Niko Braster-6'1 PF Ft. Wayne, IN-Ft. Wayne Next Level; Garcia Dixon-5-10 SG Whitehall,OH-Ohio Hoopsters/Cardinals; Cameron Norman-5'7 PG Severn, MD-6th Man Warriors; Cody Bowes-6'2 C Miami, FL-Miami City Ballers; Jerald Butler-6'1 PF Miami-Miami City Ballers; KJ Fitzgerald-5'8 PG Miami-Miami City Ballers;  Charlie Carter-6'1 PF Indianapolis, IN-Indiana Elite; Daniel Davis-5'10 PF Springfield, OH-Next Level; L'Christian Smith-6'3 WF Dayton, OH-Next Level; Keegan Seban-6'0 PG Beavercreek-Next Level; Nojel Eastern-5'10 SG/WF Chicago, IL-AI9; Yakeema Rose-5'3 PG Springfield, IL-AI9; Houston King-5'7 SG Toledo-All-Ohio Red; Brett Lauf-5'6 PG Toledo-All-Ohio Red; Antwon Smith-6'2 PF Dublin, OH-Ohio Hoopsters/Cardinal ;Tyerell Aijan-5'9 PG Mansfield-Ohio Hoopsters/Cardinals; and Trey Pugh-PF Hilliard and OH-Ohio Hoopsters/Cardinals.

Day One & Two Standouts

Day 1 & 2 Pictures

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Kings James Shooting Stars Classic-Day 1 Report

Isaiah Gaston & Malik Oneali-Chicago, IL

The 2012 King James Shooting Stars Classic tipped off on Friday night in the Akron, Ohio area, and as in years past, the tournament featured some of the top teams from around the country in multiple age groups. The first game I was able to catch was my 6th grade Buckeye Prep team versus Chicago Select. Prior to the game a parent informed me that the Chi Town team had already secured a spot in the final four of the Illinois AAU State Tournament.  Based on that bit of information, I had a suspicion that it might be a long night for Buckeye Prep.

My fears were realized early, as a clearly bigger and more athletic Chicago Select team came out in a 2-2-1 full court press.  Unfortunately for my guys, they were unable to handle the pressure, and Chicago raced out to an early 18-0 lead to end the first quarter. I wish I could say Buckeye Prep fought back to close the lead, but that was not the case, as  Chicago kept their foot on the pedal and cruised to an easy 42-9 victory. Although Select was talented at multiple positions, they were led in scoring by 2 players.  Isaiah Gaston, a 5’10 PF, and Malik Onyeali, a 5’8 combo guard, both led their team in scoring with 9 points each.

Steve Cannady-5'1 PG Bowie, MD

The second game of the night was much more competitive, as Maryland’s 6th Man Warriors matched up with the Cleveland area Murphy AC. This was the second chance I had to watch Murphy, as they were runner-ups at my Buckeye Prep Invitational Tournament earlier in the month. From the onset of the game, Murphy AC appeared to be the most athletic and deepest of the two teams.  In fact, they drew first blood, and used an effective zone trap to force turn overs and cash in on easy buckets. By the end of the first quarter, Murphy AC appeared to be in control of the game with a 12-7 lead. Despite the 11 point first half effort from Steve Cannady, a 5’1 PG from Bowie, Maryland, it was much of the same in the 2nd quarter, and Murphy AC finished the half up 27-17.

The start of the second half was in stark contrast to the first, as the Warriors went right to work and got on the boards first.  Although he spent much of the first half on the bench in foul trouble, Silver Springs’ Tyler Baylor was effective once he returned to the game. By the end of the third quarter, the Warriors had clawed their way back in to the game, and had cut the lead to only 1 point (33-34). As he had done in the first half, Cannady heated up from beyond the arch, and propelled his team to a lead that they would never relinquish. The Warriors went on the win the contest 51-49.

Coryon Rice-5'8 SG Cleveland

Cannady led all scorers with 18 points, followed by Temple Hills’ Deonte Hill with 7 and Tyler Baylor with 6 points.  Jerry Higgens, a 5’5 floor general from Wickcliff, OH, paced Murphy AC with 15 points, followed by Cleveland’s Corey Rice, a 5’8 SG, with 9 points. Keep any eye on Rice; this kid is a superior athlete who has just enough skill at this point to be potential force down the road.  Rice flashed a few advanced one-on-one moves and really looked like he knew what he was doing out there. I also really liked Higgens’ grittiness and determination. Although his team was down towards the end, Higgens refused to loose and kept making plays until the horn sounded. Although they let this one get away, this Murphy AC squad is talented, and will win their fair share of games. Check back latter because I will be adding some pictures i took from the above games.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

On The Trail-Tournament Updates

U-16 Team One-Silver Bracket Champions at Eddie Ford Tournament

The U-16 Team One defeated Shining Stars Blue in the Silver Bracket Championship game of the Eddie Ford Spring Classic in Louisville Ky. Herman Brunis (Fairfield) led the team in scoring with 25 points, while Christian Jones (Hamilton) added 12 and Tim Fleming (Fairfield) finished with 10. Both Fleming and Herman are former Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase all-stars.

Michigan State AAU Championship

U-14 The Family-Michigan AAU Champions

This past Sunday, the Family 14U squad defeated Dorians Pride 14U in the 2012 State of Michigan AAU Championship game at  Joe Dumars Fieldhouse in Detroit. The Family was led in scoring by tournament MVP Cassius Winston who dropped 26 points in the championship game. Brailen Neely's 14 points led to an All-Tournament Team nod, and Darwin Hubbard added 8 points and 10 rebounds.

Cassius Winston-Tournament MVP

Dorians Pride was led by Algevon Eichelberger who was also selected to the All-Tournament Team on the strength of a game-high 20 points and 11 boards. According to a source who watched the game, the Family started the game with 20-5 run in the 1st quarter. Dorians Pride would later close the lead to 9 points in the third quarter, but that's as close as they got. The Family claimed the title with a 68-47 win. 

Algevon Eichelberger-All-Tournament Team

The Family's roster: includes: Tabin Throgmorton (5'11 G), Karim Murray (5'10 G), Luke Trent (6'0 WF), Cassius Winston (5'11 PG), Darwin Hubbard (6'1 PF), Jaye Patrick (6'0 PG), Kenyon Wilkerson (5'11 WF), Corey Allen (5'11 G), Jalen Bouldes (5'7 PG), Kyree Boynton (5'9 PG), Brailen Neely (5'8 PG), D'Angelo Hansbro (5'11 G), Marly Blommers (5'8 PG), Boe Neely (Head Coach) and Reg Winston (Asst. Coach). The Family has a long history of success, and for this particular group this win represents the 6th consecutive Michigan State AAU Championship, as well as placing nationally in the U-6, U-10 and U-13 age divisions.

The Cincy  Buckeyes’  6th  grade  boys team won  the  Play  for  Pink  Tournament  at  Kingdom  Sports  Center  in Dayton this  past weekend, finishing with a 4-0  record. Lorenzo Sparks lead  the way,  averaging  16 points per game. 

Recruitment Notes

Cincinnati PG Willie Moore has recently narrowed his list of schools to South Carolina and Oregon, and plans to visit both schools within the next couple of weeks. As most people know, Moore initially signed with Duquesne  before decommitting after a head coaching change. Also, Aiken's Paul Woodson, a 6'7 PF, has pledged his services to D-II Lincoln Memorial.

U-14 All-Ohio Elite-Team Profile

All-Ohio Elite-U14

Over the next several weeks, Buckeye Prep will be profiling some of the top teams in the state and beyond. In our profiles, we will introduce the players, talk about the history of the team, review their record and get some quotes from the coach about his/her team. For our first profile we will take a look at Leon Ellison's U-14 All-Ohio Elite team.

So far this season, Leon Ellison’s 8th grade All-Ohio Elite (AOE) squad has already enjoyed significant success, as evidenced by their impressive 27-2 record. AOE opened the AAU season with a second place finish in the Nike Grassroots tournament. Two weeks ago, although playing up a grade, AOE finished second in the Buckeye Prep Inviatitional Tournament. Last weekend, Ellison’s team won the 9th grade division of the All-Ohio Nike Cup, and just this past weekend, AOE traveled up to Maryland and defeated All-Ohio Red to claim the U-14 championship of the Big Shots tournament.

Previously known as the Elite Cavaliers, Ellison’s teams have won two AAU National Championships; their most recent of the two came in 2009. Because the team is so talented, their schedule has included play in both U-14 and U-15 divisions. “Anytime we play in the Midwest we will play up,” Ellison said.

All Ohio Elite’s Roster includes: Jarron Cumberland (6'3 SG/S); Kameron Moore (6'5 PF); Chip Sparks (6'6 PF); Kwamaine Watson (6'0 SF); Kobe Brown (6'0 SF); Leon Davis (5'8 SG); Caleb Tregre (5'5 PG); Juwann Lindsey (5'7 combo Guard); Payton Smith (5'3 PG); Carlik Jones (5'3 PG); Damion Blyth (6'0 PF); Micah Blyth (5'4 SG); Royal Thurman (5'3 PG) and Cameron Lewis (5'0 PG).

Jaron Cumberland-6'3 SG

Although AOE’s roster is loaded with talent, the clear leader of this team is Jaron Cumberland, a tough as nails SG who is an elite level scorer. Ellison believes Cumberland is “one of the top 25 players in the country” in his class, and we agree with his assessment of Cumberland! Along with Cumberland, “we have solid guard play with Tregre, Jones, Smith, and Lindsey,” said Ellison. “Our perimeter players, Brown, Davis and Watson, have really improved. Kameron Moore has really stepped up and will be one of the top posts in the state. Sparks is really improving by the day and the two of them gives us a strong post presence,” continued Ellison.

According to Ellison, “our guys have really grown both physically and in the skill level.” In comparison to some of the other teams Ellison has coached, “this team is scrappyer, tougher and full of hard core guys,” said Ellison. "We are in the gym 2 or 3 times per week getting better," offered Ellison. All-Ohio Elite will travel to Akron this weekend for the King James tournament. In terms of their biggest competitor, the Cincinnati Lakers should challenge All-Ohio Elite for the state AAU crown. This rivalry has long been one of the most fierce and contentious in Ohio! Look for more team profiles in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

All-Ohio Nike Cup-Championship Sunday

Although Jerry Watson’s All-Ohio Nike Cup hosted 35 teams over the course of the weekend, on Sunday, I was only able to catch the U-17 championship game between All-Ohio Red and the King James Shooting Stars. Despite injuries to Marc Loving and Keon Johnson, Red was able to easily handle King James on their way to a 79-60 win. By most accounts, Jarron Simmons was great at the point, scoring 16 points, and Tony Farmer (16 points) looked to be in mid season form.  Nigel Hayes was a monster down low, newly acquired Maurice O’Field (11 points) was a human highlight reel and Zach Denny provided perimeter shooting and led Red in scoring with 18 points.

Mark Williams, Zach Denny, Jaaron Simmons, Tony Farmer, Wendall Davis & Nigel Hayes

Of courses Randy Clarkson’s King James squad played without their stud as well, as Jack Gibbs Jr. is still recovering from an ACL injury. Randy Clarkson Jr. was the leading scorer with 10 points, and sharp shooting Isaac McGlone added 9 points. All-Ohio has added some key pieces to last year’s team, with Maurice O’Field, Zach Denny and Tony Farmer.  King James' key additions include Mark Williams and McGlone. The All-Tournament Team consisted of Nigel Hayes, Zach Denny, Jaaron Simmons, Tony Farmer (MVP), Mark Williams and Wendall Davis.

In the freshman division championship game, All-Ohio Elite (8th grade) thumped Who Got Game 60-38. All-Tournament Team selections included: Jarron Cumberland (MVP), Carlik Jones, Kameron Moore, Caleb Tregre, David Dennis Jr. and Austin Armwood.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Cap City Hoopfest-Day Three Report

Juan Elmore-Player of the Game

The final day of day of the Cap City Hoopfest featured some very competitive games. The semi-finals in the 6th grade division featured match-ups between All-Ohio Red and the Ohio Hoopsters, and Buckeye Prep versus Ohio Hoopsters. Both games resulted in blowouts, with the Hoopsters winning 51-31, and Excel defeating Buckeye Prep 37-17. Corey Baker led the Hoopsters with 12 points and Excel's Dane Goodwin led his team with 13 points.

The best game of the day pitted a bigger and more athletic Ohio Hoopsters against a scrappy and fundamental Excel. This game was close the entire game, with the Hoopsters maintaining a slight lead through out most of the contest. Early in the first half, big Juan Elmore was having his way in the post as his size advantage was undeniable. Elmore finished the game with a team-high 14 points. Dane Goodwin hit the game's first bucket and would go on to lead his team in scoring. Despite a Valiant effort, the Hoopsters' pressure defense eventually took its toll on Excel, resulting in a 38-31victory and a second championship in as many weeks for the Hoopsters.

Dane Goodwin-6th Grader-Upper Arlington

One of the things I'm most impressed with about the Hoopsters is their balanced scoring from game to game, as there seems to be different standout player every game. In the championship game it was the post play of Elmore and the guard play of Ty Wiley. Clearly, Dane Goodwin was the man for excel as he finished with a game-high 18 points. It's evident by the way he played this weekend that Goodwin's father is a college basketball coach (Capital) and has taught his kid how to play the game, as his skill set is advanced for his age. One of the top point guards over the weekend was Upper Arlington' s Matt Alloco. Only a 5th grader, Alloca has a special talent. I don't think I have ever seen a kid so young be as verbal with his teammates as Alloca was. That's not all, the kid is tough as nails, has a tight handle, a high basketball IQ and is poised beyond his years.

Tre' Charles-Martin-8th Grader Groveport

In the 7th grade division, Devin Howard's All-Ohio Red squad held off a feisty OYSP team. In the championship game, Toledo's Brett Lauf was his spectacular self as he led his team to the tournament championship. The Ohio Hoopsters/Cardinal's 7th grade team played up in the 8th grade division and still got it done. The seventh graders defeated Ohio Hoopsters Holliman 60-45. Dylan Dupler led all scorers with 19 points, followed by Garcia Dixon with 15 points. Corey Benten led his team with 14 points, followed by Tre' Charles-Martin who added 10 points. Martin, a 5'10 SG from Groveport Middle School, has good length, athleticism, and looks to be a good looking prospect going forward.

Day 3 Pictures

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Cap City Hoopfest-Day Two Report

Early yesterday morning, I caught some of the action at the Ohio Hoopsters' Cap City Hoopfest. Although the 40-team event attracted mostly local teams in grades 3-8, there was still some quality teams and players on the court. Right out of the gate on Saturday morning, the much anticipated match up between the 6th grade Ohio Hoopsters and Buckeye Prep jumped off at New Covenant Church. Although Buckeye Prep drew first blood, the much more physical and aggressive Hoopsters quickly seized the lead and never looked back. By the end of the game, the Hoopsters had amassed a convincing 57-19 victory.

David Fitzgerald-Player of the Game

Key for the Hoopsters was their dominance in the post, stellar shooting from the perimeter, and solid guard play. The Hoopsters dominated the rebounding battle and scored easy buckets in transition. Westerville's David Fitzgerald, a 5'8 wing from Blendon Middle School, paced the Hoopsters. Fitzgerald scored at every level, including the trey ball, floater and put backs. Fitzgerald displayed constant motor, the ability to defend and he finished at a high rate. The Hoopster's Juan Elmore is a force in the paint. Although not a super athlete at this point, he is big, aggressive and he knows how to use his attributes. Ty Wiley did another solid job at the point and consistently found open guys. After their success the last couple of weekends, it's safe to declare the 6th grade Hoopsters as the top 6th grade team in Central Ohio.

Matt Allaco and Braden Norris-Dynamic PG Duo

I finally had a chance to check out All-Ohio's 6th grade team as they matched up against a scrappy Excel squad. Excel got on the board first with a Dane Goodwin trey. All-Ohio answered right back on a three pointer by Tavion Kanzy. Both teams would trade buckets early in the first half, before Excel went on a run, finishing the 1st half up 32-23. The second half was all Excel, as All-Ohio would only score 5 points as late as 2:29 left in the contest. Simply put., the Excel kids put on a basketball clinic against All-Ohio, as they totally out executed Red. Excel was led y the backcourt duo of Matt Allaco, a 5th grade PG from Hastings Middle School, and Braden Norris, a fearless floor general from Memorial Middle School in Hilliard. Add to that the rugged play of Dane Goodwin, a 5'9 PF from Jones Middle School in Upper Arlington, and it is easier to reconcile the fact the Excel totally out classed All-Ohio in their impressive 62-31 victory. Excel was led in scoring by Allaco who dropped a game-high 16 points, followed by Braden Norris (14 points) and Dane Goodwin (14 points). The top guy for All-Ohio was Columbus' Tavion Kansy who finished with a team-high 12 points.

Both Buckeye Prep and All-Ohio would both bounce back from blowout defeats earlier in the day, as Buckeye Prep would take their anger out on a defenseless OSYP Lions (46-23), and All-Ohio would win big over a under-matched Rodgers Neighborhood (46-16).

Trey Pugh-Player of the Game

In the 8th grade division, the Ohio Hoopsters defeated King of the Court 39-32. Tamal Watkins, a crafty PG from Columbus finished with 14 points. Justin Sylver, a 6'5 C from Cleveland, is a kid to keep an eye on. Sylver is a wide body and a space eater with upside potential. In their second game against the Ohio Hoopsters/Cardinal, Sylver's front court mate, Rayvon Lewis, logged in a nice performance as well. Lewis, a 6'3 PF from Lynchfield MS in Akron, let his team with 12 points. Speaking of the Cardinals, they easily handled King of the Court to the tune of 64-40. Hilliard Weaver's Trey Pugh continues to dominate the competition, as he led all scorers with 18 points. I also liked Antwon Smith, a 6'3 C heading to Dublin Coffman High School. Tyrell Ajian also played well, finishing with 10 points. Ajian attends Madison Middle School in Mansfield, and will likely attend Madison High School next year.

Tournament Pictures

Saturday, April 14, 2012 College All-Star Classic Preview

Johnny Clark-Jump 25 Founder
If you are anything like me, you are already looking for a college basketball fix. If you find yourself in the central Ohio area on Saturday, you might want to stop Ohio Dominican University to take in the action at Johnny Clark’s 4thAnnual College All-Star Classic. Clark’s annual event will once again play host to some of central Ohio’s elite high school and college players.

The festivities will tip off at noon on Saturday with the Central Ohio Girls High School All-Star Game. The following players will participate in the game: Morgan Plummer (Jonathan Alder), Brittany Bakehaster (Jonathan Alder), De'Ottia Robinson (Mifflin), Ashley Bassett-Smith (Pickerington North), Jaila Bryant (Pickerington North), Nicole Payne (Olentangy), Marissa Elliott (Worthington Kilborne), Jasmine Craig (Independence), Jaren Francis (Africentric), Aliyah Zantt (Reynoldsburg), Adesuwa Aideyman (Reynoldsburg), Lindsey Reiland (Dublin Jerome), Jasmine Johnson (Brookhaven), Essence Bates-Hatcher (Brookhaven), Brandi Curd-Watson (Northland), Morgan Neighbors (Westerville North), Katie Dymek (Hilliard Davidson), Jessie Baldridge (Mt. Gilead), Jasmine Junkins (Hilliard Bradley) and Torrie Ruffin (Mifflin).

At 1:30, the Ohio Women’s College All-Star Game gets starte and will feature: Kristi Kotterman (Otterbein), Shea McCoy (Otterbein), Meredith Fox (Ohio Dominican), Abby Glover (Ohio Dominican), Casey Nance (Dayton), Tyeasha Moss (Xavier), Amanda Dobbins (Muskingum), Tenishia Benson (Ohio State), Clare Aubrey (Findley), Samantha Prahalis (Ohio State), Tiffany Shields (Hiram), Morgan Korinex (Kenyon), Kori Wiedt (Mt. Union), Bjonee Reeves (Cincinnati), Jen Caiola (Lake Erie), Stephanie Rogers (Lake Erie), Kara Dysert (Ohio Northern), Jessica Slagle (Bowling Green), Cathy Ingersoll (Toledo), Kenya Middlebrooks (Youngstown State), Sarah Watson (Wittenberg), Amanda Francis (U-NW Ohio), Alexis Harkins (Mt. Vernon Nazarene), and Shalene Hawkins (Capital). The teams will be coached by Mark Baker (Ohio State) and La”sawn Brown (La Tech/Columbus Quest).

3:00 marks the start of the Central Ohio Boys High School Game featuring: Zack Abbruzzese (Dublin Coffman), Jake Bischoff (Olentangy Liberty), Zach Ratcliff (Columbus Academy), Trent Weaver (Hilliard Bradley), Christian Graves (Westerville Central), Chad Nelson (Pickerington Central), Jalen Robinette (Bexley), Fuquan Tucker (Africentric), Hosie Smith (Africentric), Kai Turner (Walnut Ridge), Alex Randall (Jonathan Alder), Brad saxton (Grove City), Kris Carius (Westeland), Kyle Wade (Worthington Christian, Dewey Rice Jr. (Briggs), Julian Johnson (Horizon Science), Matt Rhodes (Westerville North), Taivon Thomas (Westerville North), Andy Bosley (Olentangy Orange) and Malik Dime (Walnut Ridge). The team will be coached by Brian Brown (Ohio State) and Devin Green (Hampton/La. Lakers).

The finale tips off at 5:00pm with the Ohio Men’s College All-Star Game. Rosters include: Scott Thomas (Bowling Green), Dee Brown (Bowling Green), Johann Mpondo (Wright State), Chris Davis (Otterbein), Brice Raush (Otterbein), Clayton Black (Wittenberg), William Buford (Ohio State), Scott Dennis (Christian Brothers University), Robbie Taylor (Mt. Vernon), Du’Shawn Brooks, (Youngstown State), Michael Porrinni (Kent State), Justin Manns (Kent State), Carlton Guyton (Kent State), Corey Shontz (John Carroll), Mark Hester (John Carroll), Sharif Muhammed Jr. (Urbana), Jimmy Wood (Mt. Union), Nate Barnes (Alderson Broaddus), Aaron Gibbs (Ohio Domincan), Justin Hallowell (Wooster), Greg Rice (Central State), Jamaal Watkins (Hiram), Kendall Allison and (Ohio Valley). The teams will be coached by Scoonie Penn and Matt Sylvester (Ohio State). Buckeye Prep will be covering the event and will be posting a story.

College All-Star Game Pictures

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

8th Annual Buckeye Prep Invitational-Final Results

By most accounts, the 8th Annual Buckeye Prep Invitational was a great success! Over 120 teams participated in this year’s event. Thanks to all of the players, coaches, parents and fans that helped make the event a success! Below is a link to the final results, including pictures of the champions, runner-ups, All-Tournament Teams and MVP’s.

Nations Elite Prospects Write-up
Triple Double Prospects Write-up
Full Court Hoops Write-up Day 3
Full Court Hoops Write-up-Day 2
Full Court Hoops Write-up-Day 1
Full Court Hoops Write-up
Final Results
Championship Sunday Pictures

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Buckeye Prep Invitational-Day Two Report

Day two of the Buckeye Prep Invitational ended much like Friday; very competitive. For the first time ever, I had a chance to get around to all of the facilities to take in some of the action.  At the Dublin site, I caught the end of the Ohio Purple vs Hidden Gems Orange (9th) game. While I was there, I watched Purple’s James Bolden, a 5’10 SG from Cincinnati, drop a game-high 22 points on Hidden Gems.

James Bolden

In addition, Don Jackson’s 6th grade Michigan Titans team was getting it done against Next level. Next Level’s Peyton Harris, only a 5th grader, was the work horse and the leading scorer. I continue to be impressed with Cody Blankenburg, a slick lil PG from the state up north. I last saw Blankenburg at my Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase, and he proved his March performance at the event was no fluke. The best part of his game is penetration and dishing.

John Williams

Dwight Blair’s DB Hoops teams are making noise this summer, as he has begun to stock pile northeast Ohio talent.  His 7th grade squad had its way with Toledo Elite, to the tune of a 62-39 victory. DB Hoops is powered by John Williams, who knows how to run the point and get his teammates involved.  Williams finished with 13 points. Naz Bohanan had a big game also, as he logged in a game-high 14 points. Keep an eye on Loraine’s Deuce Martin and West Salem’s Derek Koch, both of whom are playing well this weekend.

Zach McCormick

Although they were playing up in the U17 division, King James Shooting Stars 2014 looked more than comfortable against the Showtime Ballers. Showtime may have gotten off to a slow start in the first half, but they fought back to within 2 points midway through the first half. Despite the mini run, the success was only short lived, as King James would go on a run of their own, and finish the half up 44 to 26, then collect a 74-44 win. King James is loaded with talent, with guys like Zac McCormick (16 pts), Cameron Taylor (8 pts), and Vincent Edwards (10 pts). Finally, let me say this, he may not look like it when he walks in the gym, but Zach McCormick will put you in a poster if you try and challenge him at the rim.  McCormick is not only super athletic; he is skilled as will and possess a nice jump shot.

The 10th grade Michigan Titans faced off against the Ohio Hoopsters, and by the time the final horn sounded, Michigan had claimed a 58-36 victory. The Titans were led in scoring by Collen Jones (16 pts), Nick Spitleg (14). The top guys for the Hoopsters were Douglas Bennefield (10 pts) and Gabe Rodriquez (8 pts). In the sophomore division, Millennium Fire Select notched a close 46-42 win over Nitro USA.  Ohio Varsity White (sophomores) pulled out a 76-65 win over Buckeye Nation.  Big Alex Stewart led all scorers with 16 points, while J. Thomas finished with 14 and Ty Hairston added 11.

Carter Mims

They may still be young, but I saw some 4th graders today who straight balled. Georgia’s Worldwide Sun Devils rolled into town and finished the day 3-0 heading into championship Sunday. They’re on the small side, but guard play is the key to this team.  The team’s top guy is Kalil Brantley, a dynamite floor leader with a solid skill package. While we are on the subject of point men, I plan to keep an eye out on Carter Mims from Dayton. From what little I saw of him, I can’t imagine there are many kids his age who can handle the rock like this kid.  He has a lot of tricks in his bag, and is only a couple of growth spurts away from being special. Last but certainly not least, Toledo’s Zeb Jackson continues to impress this evaluator. This kid has as complete a game as you might expect for a 4th grader. He can shoot, penetrate, pass and defend. Add in a high basketball IQ and poise under pressure; it’s easy to see why he might have a bright future.

Chase Rankin

I finally had a chance to check out Ed Lyshe’s 6th grade Buckeye Prep team, and I could not have been more proud of their effort.  This team may not be the most talented team in the state, but they play the game the right way. I really enjoyed how they played unselfishly, passed the ball well, and defended from whistle to whistle. The strength of this team lies with its guard play.  Gahanna’s Chase Rankin is the lead guy for this team, and he excels at running the show. Rankin continues to show development in not only his skill set, but how he approaches the game. In support, Julius Brown is often the spark plug for this team and brings toughness and aggressiveness to the table. This team is deep at the guard spot, as evidenced by the contribution of Troy Taylor Jr., who is talented in his own right. Kristian Pachac was also a standout in the game I watched.

King James’ U-17 advanced to bracket play with an undefeated record  With Jack Gibbs Jr. still recovering from knee surgery, primary leadership of the team has been delegated to Randall Clarkson Jr. who has embraced his new role. Clarkson has been on attack mode the entire tournament. I heard some good things about Tyree Harris, a long athletic wing with Murphy AC Elite.Word has it, he has a high motor, runs the floor like a deer and is very active around the rim. Day three should prove to be pretty interesting