Thursday, July 26, 2012

Ohio 6th Graders Off to a Good Start at Nationals

Ohio has 4 representatives at the D-I 6th grade AAU Nationals in Hampton, VA. this week and all 4 teams are off to a good start. The Pickerington Wildcats, King James Shooting Stars, SMAC U and Murphy AC are all headed to championship bracket play with 2-1 pool play finishes.

The Wildcats defeated D Squad (41-18) in their opening game; lost to the Broward Co Cougars (63-49), then beat the Charlotte Rivals 52-30. Allen Henderson’s squad will face New Renaissance tomorrow at 1:00pm.

King James got out of the gates quickly with wins over the Garden City All-stars (60-47), and Team Felton (68-49). King James would finish pool play with a 56-44 loss to the Gulf Coast Blue Chips. The Shooting Stars will face the Running Rebels at 11:40am tomorrow morning.

SMAC U started slow and was downed by Indiana’s George Hill 54-37 in their opening game, but bounced back with 2 wins against Atlanta Worldwide (56-39) and the Alexandria Titans (63-50). SMAC U will square off against Caveman Carmody at 10:20am.

Murphy AC dropped their opening contest against Izod/Sports U (65-44), but regained their footing with victories over Team Sneed (forfeit) and Illinois Gold Rush Wildcats (51-35). Coach Kevin Jackson’s team will open championship bracket play at 9:00am against the Texas Celtics.

All-Ohio Elite Medals at AAU Nationals

All-Ohio Elite-6th Place Finish AAU Nationals

Coach Leon Ellison and his 8th grade All-Ohio Elite (AOE) team was one of 8 Ohio-based teams to participate in the AAU Nationals in Orlando, FL. last week, but the Cincinnati-based squad was the only team to place at the event.  Although All-Ohio Elite finished the week with an overall 5-2 record, they played their way into an impressive 6th place finish.  All-Ohio finished 3-0 in pool play with wins over the Atlanta Celtics (70-53), North Florida Spartans (63-41) and MADC Bengals (56-33).  AOE started championship bracket play with a 65-31 victory over the Maine Athletic Club and a 58-28 win over Sports Authority. In the quarterfinals, AOE suffered a 6 point lost to the eventual tournament champion, Dunk Dog Elite-LA Select (65-59). All-Ohio rebounded in the quarter-final consolation bracket with a 59-31 victory over WITTS Elite to advance to the 5/6th place game.  In their final game, All-Ohio was downed 54-43 by Team Penny to take 6th place. In that game, AOE was leading for 3 quarters, but allowed a 4-5 point game to balloon to 11 points late in the contest.

Jarron Cumberland-Led AOE in Scoring

According to Ellison, All-Ohio was lead in scoring by Jarron Cumberland.  In addition to Cumberland, newly acquired Anthony Christian added an additional scorer to his defensive minded team. Christian had been running with King James this summer, but hooked up with AOE when the Shooting Stars decided not to attend the nationals. “It was grown men ball down here,” offered Ellison when talking about the size of the 2 teams that defeated AOE. Sports Authority’s top player, and arguably the top player in the class was 7’1 and a force in the paint. Despite the size disadvantage, All-Ohio actually had the former champs down 3 points with only 4 minutes to go, but could not hold on. 

Anthony Christian Added Scoring

Quincy Simpson’s Team Lima Panthers started the tournament strong with a 2-1 pool record, and then knocked off Saint Michaels 59-43 to advance to the second round of the championship bracket. However, from there, Lima took a tough 66-29 loss to Team Scam, followed by a 45-40 hit from the ETU Panthers to close their season. AOE’s coach Ellison thought it was important to note that Coach Q and his Team Lima players were a “class act,” gave big time support to his team, and was at every game cheering and rooting his team on.

All-Ohio Red got out of their pool 2-1, then quickly dropped their first championship bracket game to CP3 All-Stars (96-51), then was bounced from the tournament after a 43-35 loss to X Factor Black.

Every team that participates at the AAU Nationals wants to either win it, or at least bring home a medal by placing in the top 10-15 teams. Nobody wants to play in the Classic/consolation bracket.  However, if your team is unfortunate enough to find themselves there, they have to win the thing to save a little face back home. With a 1-2 finish in pool play, the Cincinnati Lakers could have packed it all end, both figuratively or literally, and headed back to Cincinnati. However, the Lakers did the next best thing; they went on a 6-game winning streak that did not end until they were Classic Champions. The Lakers defeated Minnesota Heat Elite 49-44 in the championship game to grab the hardware. 

The Ohio Warriors (2-3), Cincinnati Bulldogs (2-3), Dayton Heat (2-3) and Nova Village (1-3) all joined the Lakers in the consolation bracket, but none of them could make the kind of run the Lakers did, and were forced into early exits. Congratulations to All-Ohio Elite and all of the Ohio teams for going 8 deep at the Nationals.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Ohio Teams Dominate at DII AAU Nationals

Ohio Hoopsters Future-2nd Place D-II AAU Nationals

Three Ohio teams made the trip to Hampton, VA. for the 6th grade D-II AAU Nationals, and all three teams fought their way all the way to the final four. Although none of the Ohio teams brought home the gold medal, the Ohio Hoopsters Future, All-Ohio Purple and Dayton Metro placed 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, respectively. Prior to their 48-36 defeat by ECE Elite in the championship game, Lamonte Tillman’s Ohio Hoopsters’ squad was undefeated, with wins over the NY Dragons (51-21), Fairfax Stars (57-15), Illinois TWolves (42-12), South River Shooters (37-39), and Dayton Metro (44-29).

According to Tillman, his team really shot the ball well the entire tournament. “It’s the best we have shot the ball from the perimeter all year long,” stated Tillman. “We played our best ball and peaked at the right time,” Tillman added. In the championship game, each team took turns holding a lead; however, according to Tillman, “They (ECE Ice) were bigger and more aggressive, and as the game wore on, their size wore us down.” Apparently, Ty Wiley shoot the ball well from the 3 point line all week and averaged about 15 points a game throughout the tournament. Juan Elmore played well down the stretch, averaging 12 points a game, and Dave Fitzgerald and David Madison both made solid contributions, with 11 and 8 points averages, respectively.

All-Ohio Purple-3rd Place D-II AAU Nationals

All-Ohio Purple’s trek to the medal rounds was a difficult one, and included wins over Team Swag (42-35), Chicago Elite (62-36), PR Stars (58-51) and Rameybasketball.con Griffin (35-34). After dropping a semi-final game to ECE Elite, All-Ohio Purple rebounded in the 3rd/4th place game, with a 44-38 win over Dayton Metro to claim 3rd place. According to Coach Scott Kelly and Ray Payton, their team enjoyed “balanced scoring, played team ball and was very unselfish.” Although the usual players did what was expected of them (Jordan Coovert, Terrry Durham, Jackson See, Kane Cooper and Isaiah Payton), defensively, guys like Christian Kelly and newly reacquired Dashawn Lawrence made a big difference. As was pointed out by Coach Tillman, ECE Elite, playing with a huge front line, was just too big and too athletic for Purple.  Even with their size disadvantage, All-Ohio had a chance to win it on a trey by Payton, but the shot fell short.

Dayton Metro-4th Place D-II AAU Nationals

Dayton Metro finished pool play 2-1, with wins over EC Elite (50-33), Hustle Elite (45-37), and a loss to Carolina Hawks BB Association (56-49). In championship bracket play, Dayton Metro started strong with a win over Iron Men Elite (55-46), California Tri-City Youth (66-63) and Eastside Hoops (55-36), before taking a loss to home state rival Ohio Hoopsters Future (44-29) in the final four. Metro would close the tournament 0-2 with a 44-38 loss to All-Ohio Purple. According to Coach Chuck Painter, his squad was “very hungry” the entire week. Although several of his kids had their moments throughout the week, TK Robinson and John Alessandro were the most consistent player over the course of the tournament.  Congratulations to all three teams for representing the Buckeye State big time.

On another note, Ohio will have 4 representatives at the D-I 6th Grade AAU Nationals which is set to tip off in Hampton, VA on Tuesday of next week. Pickerington Wildcats Select, King James Shooting Stars, SMAC U and Murphy AC Elite all made the trip to Hampton for the nationals.  Finally, Ohio has eight 8th grade teams participating in the U-14 AAU Nationals in Orlando, FL. The following are the day #2 results: Team Lima Panthers (2-0), All-Ohio Elite (2-0), Cincinnati Lakers (1-1), All-Ohio Red (1-1), Dayton Heat (1-1), Ohio Warriors (0-2), Nova Village (0-2) and Cincinnati Bulldogs (0-2).

I have to give a shout out to the 5th grade All-Ohio Purple (AOP) for their 9th place finish at the D-I AAU Nationals in Coco Beach, Fl. After defeating their nemesis, All-Ohio Red 36-35 in the second game of the round 2 consolation bracket, Purple defeated Indiana’s George Hill 50-48 to claim 9th place. AOP's 9th place finish represents another great showing for the Buckeye State! Finally, Brian Bishop's U-16 Team Work squad (formally CBIZ) captured 5th place in the AAU Nationals.  If that was not enough, Ohio Varsity White and the Queen City Prophets finished 7th and 8th, respectively at the same tournament.  Congratulations to all of the Ohio-based teams for proving to the country that Ohio is more than a football state; we can hoop to!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

All-Ohio Freshmen Place at AAU Nationals

All-Ohio Red 2015-9th Place Finish AAU Nationals

This past weekend All-Ohio’s U-15 squad recovered from a slow start to go on to collect a 9th place finish at the AAU Nationals in Little Rock, Arkansas. After taking a loss to Team and finishing 2-1 in pool play, All-Ohio was knocked out of the championship round by BABC (63-50).  From there, All-Ohio went on a 3-0 run in the consolation bracket to claim 9th place.  All-Ohio defeated the Arkansas Soldiers 68-53 in the championship game.  All-Ohio’s roster included Garfield Height’s Willie Jackson who had been playing with DB Hoops and King James for most of the summer.

In other news, All-Ohio’s U-16 squad traveled down to Myrtle Beach, SC and captured the Orange Bracket championship of the always-competitive Hot Shots tournament.  After dropping their opening game, All-Ohio ran the table on their way to the title. After the tournament, All-Ohio headed north to North Augusta, GA to participate in the Peach Jam.

King James Shooting Stars

Also, despite a poor showing at Quincy Simpson’s Nationals Prep Tournament in Lima last week, the 2016 King James Shooting Stars rebounded, and took care of business in the Windy City on Sunday, as they captured the championship of King James Summer Showcase in Chicago.  Playing without studs Tervell Beck and Willie Jackson, King James finished the tournament undefeated, including a win over Ohio-based Elevate in the semi-finals. Below is a recap submitted by a fan in the stands:

Two teams from Ohio made the final four, King James (NE Ohio) and Elevate Basketball (Central Ohio).  King James has really loaded up the talent with several gifted players and strong reputations in Ohio.  King James finished pool play 2-1 losing to Team Y&R 49-47.  Team Y&R was an urban Chicago team with a tough, raw and undisciplined approach.  They played a full court, up-tempo style and intimidated teams with their toughness but didn't shoot well.   Elevate Basketball went 3-0 in pool play.

Anthony Christian

King James beat MPLS Reign out of Minnesota in their first game of bracket play, while Elevate edged the Chicago Demons in a very physical battle.   King James then went on to beat Elevate in the semi-finals 43-40.  Anthony Christian led the way with high score for King James, while Derek Funderburk and Keith Griffin both played exceptional in the semi-final.   Point guard Keith Griffin played well all weekend.   Elevate went 4-1 in the Chicago AAU showcase and was led by Mason Baich and Seve Stavroff all weekend long.

King James went on to beat Iowa Barnstormers in the finals by 13 points.  The Iowa Barnstormers were a very solid team that had won the Iowa summer state AAU championship. They had good size, well coached, fundamentally sound and tough.  The group looked like they had played together for many years.  Ultimately the athleticism of King James outlasted the strong Iowa group.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Team Toledo Takes 8th Place at AAU Nationals

Team Toledo-8th Place Finish

This past week, Coach Eddie Norrils' 4th grade Team Toledo squad captured 8th place at the AAU Nationals in Cincinnati. Norrils' squad got off to a blistering 5-0 start, but hit a wall after the competition stiffened. Team Toledo initially stumbled in the Elite 8 after loosing to Wisconsin Playground Elite, the eventual tournament champions  by 31 points. In the opening game of the consolation bracket, Team Toledo came up short to DC Assault by a score of 41-37.  In the  7th/8th place game, Toledo could not get on track, and went down 41-48. Team Toledo was paced by Zeb Jackson (4'11 PG Toledo) and Dominique Cole (5'7 PF Toledo). Both Ketaan Wyatt (4'11 PG Toledo) and Kendall Marshall (5'3 WF/PF Toledo) added valuable support. Congratulations to Coach Norrils, his players and fans for repping the state!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Nationals Prep Tourney-Recap

Team Lima-Finished 6-1

On Sunday, I took a trip up north to Lima to catch the action at Quincy Simpson’s Nationals Prep Tourney. The 8-team tournament was held at Lime Central Catholic High School and hosted 6 of the top rising 9th grade teams in Ohio, including a rising 10th grade team and the #1 ranked 9th grade squad from Kentucky. In terms of the format, it was a grueling day for the players, as each of the 8 teams played seven-20 minutes games.

I will start with Team Lima. Although the format did not necessarily result in the crowning of an official champion, with a 7-1 record, the top team of the day and unofficial winner was Simpson’s Team Lima squad. Watching Simpson’s squad playing hard, playing unselfishly and executing multiple offense sets; it’s easy to see why this team is arguably the top rising 9th grade team in the state. The team is led by Xavier Simpson at the point. Although Simpson can get you points when needed, he is not a high volume scorer, but he is the engine of this well-oiled machine. Simpson is a pass-first guard who is best when distributing the rock. He is not going to wow you with dribble moves, athleticism or by putting up big numbers, but he spreads the ball around, won’t over dribble or make many mistakes and his team wins. The top scorer on the team is Rico Stafford, a 6’5 athlete with a high motor. Stafford is very active around the basket and because he runs the floor so well, he often gets easy break away buckets. Stafford had a great day on Sunday, and his stock went up in this evaluators’ opinion. The other key pieces to the puzzle are Trey Cobb (5’8 SG) and Ruben Flowers (6’4 PF).

Rico Stafford-6'4 PF Lima

With a 4-2-1 record, by most accounts, All-Ohio Elite (AOE) had a good day. Although Leon Ellis’ squad got off to a 0-2 start with losses to Kentucky’s Hoop Dreams and the Dayton Heat, AOE later found their stride, and would go on to get 4 wins and a tie, including a 25-21 win over Team Lima to close out the event. At the end of the day, All-Ohio will go as far as Jarron Cumberland (6’3 WF Cincinnati) leads them. When Cumberland is hitting treys and playing with grit, determination and passion, the team is tough to beat. When Cumberland’s shot is off the mark and he becomes disinterested, the team struggles. Cumberland found his stroke against the Ohio Warriors to the tune of 4 treys. Other than Cumberland, All-Ohio does not rely on 2 or 3 stars to win games. Sure they have solid guard play with guys like Carlik Jones, and yes they have length and athleticism in the paint with Kameron Moore (6’5 PF), but AOE is Jarron Cumberland-dependent.

Kentucky’s Hoop Dreams represented the Commonwealth well as they got at least 4 hard-fought wins on the day. Hoops Dreams, the reigning Kentucky AAU State Champions, is lead by Quentin Goodwin (6’2 SG Campbellsville), Carson Williams (6’5 C Owen County) and Malik Dow (6’3 W/PF Lousiville).

Ryan Mikesell-6'5 SG/WF St. Henry

For the small college coaches who visit our website, you might want to take a look at Scott Nourse’s 2015 Ohio Stars squad. As the lone rising sophomore team in Sunday’s event, the Stars executed good offense and finished the day with 4 wins. Although the team does not boast a roster full of athletes or sure fire D-I prospects, there are a couple of kids who could make nice small college prospects if they continue to develop. In this evaluator’s opinion, the best prospect on the team is Ryan Mikesell, a 6’5 combo guard from St. Henry. Mikesell is a long, point-forward type who possess a solid skill set. I’m not sure he starts on that team, but when he enters the game he makes an impact. The best part of his game is his length for his position and his ability to get to the rack. He’s versatile, can defend multiple positions and can shoot it if left open. In addition, coaches may want to keep an eye out for Luke Knapke, a 6’9 C from Marion Local High School. Although Knapke is still very slender and in need of strength right now, you can’t teach size! With 3 more years of high school left, both Knapke and Mikesell could both emerge as solid players.

Derick Daniels-6'6 C Dayton

The Dayton Heat had a roller coaster of a day; going 4-1 in the morning and 0-3 in the afternoon. At times, the Heat looked like the best team in the state who can beat anybody, but at other times they just looked ordinary. The most impressive player I saw all day was Derrick Daniels, a 6’7 C heading to Thurgood Marshall. Daniels did a lot of good things over the course of the day, including rebounding, blocking shots and scoring in the paint. But what is really starting to separate Daniels form the other players in his class is his ability to score at three levels. Not only is he finishing at a high rate around the cup, he has developed a nice midrange jumper, and he can knock down a trey if you need one. In fact, with the game tied at 18, Daniels excited the crowd when he drained a trey at the buzzer to beat All-Ohio Elite 21-18. The Heat is solid at the point with Darnell Hoskins Jr., but the outstanding play of Joshua Smith (6’1 SG/WF Dayton) surprised this writer. The Dunbar bound Smith is a bigger guard who can score in a variety of ways. I’m going to keep an eye out for this guy to see if his performance on Sunday was a fluke, or whether he needs more attention for his talent.

Rodrick Caldwell-5'10 PG Dayton

As most of you know, heading into Sunday the Cincinnati Lakers was my #1 ranked team in the state. In the morning, the Lakers played the role as they got out of the gates with a 2-1 start, with wins over the Ohio Stars and King James. After that, the wheels fell off and the Lakers would take 4 consecutive Ls before getting a win in their final game against the Ohio Warriors. Early in the day, Stiver’s Rodrick Caldwell (5’11 PG Dayton) looked great, as he had his shot falling and served as his team’s primary scorer. Caldwell is widely considered one of the top 2-3 floor generals in the state, and his play early on Sunday justified such talk. Caldwell was difficult to guard, and easily got in the paint where he did damage by scoring or dropping dimes for easy buckets by his teammates. A’shon Riggins (6’0 SG Hamilton) had some bright moments and showed some nifty dribble moves early.

Seth Towns-6'4 WF Columbus

As was the case with the Lakers, the Ohio Warriors enjoyed some early success, and grabbed 2 quick wins over the Dayton Heat and Hoop Dreams. However, as was the case with the Lakers, the Warriors lost their next 5 games. The Warriors’ inconsistent play was aggravated by an injury to Seth Towns (6’4 WF Columbus), arguably the team’s best player. Although I did not see it personally, word has it that Seth Towns was having a good day before he went down with an ankle injury. What I did see were a couple of good things from Matt Moyer (6’3 WF Gahanna), who appears to still be growing and developing a perimeter game. I also saw a big time performance from Tyus Ferguson (5’8 PG Groveport), who had a monster game in a 33-21 loss to Team Lima. Ferguson attacked the basket furiously and scored his team’s first 3 buckets. Ferguson is on the small side, but his quickness helps make up for his lack of size.

Keith Griffin-5'9 PG Shaker Heights

The team with the most talent was also the most disappointing team (1-6 record). King James was already talent rich with Buckeye Prep top 30 players Tervell Beck, Derek Funderburk and Anthony Christian, but after picking up DB Hoops’ big three in Willie Jackson, Keith Griffin and Ronald Jones Jr., King James quickly became the team to beat in the state, and arguably the country. However, we all know that talent is not enough to win games if the talent does not play together, play unselfishly and play hard. That was the case with King James on Sunday, as the team did not seem to play with chemistry, discipline and a consistent will to win. Of course they were playing without Beck, Larnell Neely and Yavari Hall, but they had more than enough talent to make a better showing in Lima.

Let’s start with the floor general, Keith Griffin (5’10 PG Shaker Heights). In the opening game against the Lakers, Griffin shot 1-7. It’s tough to win when your PG is a high-volume shooter and is off his game. With that said, Griffin had some bright spots as well, and in fact, in the next game his shot was falling and the team played well. Even with his "shoot-first" approach sometimes, I still think Griffin is one of the top guards in Ohio. Griffin is a streak shooter who can either shoot his team in or out of a game. At the end of the day, he handles the ball well, has a nice floater, great court vision, and when he chooses to pass, he’s good at. Finally, I really like how the kid communicates and directs his teammates. I should also mention the fact that Griffin matched-up with Rodrick Caldwell, and the differences in their games was evident. Caldwell is a bigger, more physical guard and did a good job of staying in front of Griffin; when Griffin guarded Caldwell, Caldwell was more effective getting by him and into the paint. Once Griffin embraces his role as a facilitator, his stock will rise.

Derek Funderburk-6'6 C Cleveland

Anthony Christian played well early and was actually the team’s leading scorer in game #1 against the Lakers. I also thought Derek Funderburk and Willie Jackson were good in spots. Funderburk grabbed a lot of rebounds and blocked a handful of shots, and although I did not see it, I heard Jackson knocked down some treys later in the day. Watching Jackson play, he always seems to be on the verge of making a highlight play, usually an alley oop for a thunderous dunk. Finally, he does not get much attention on this loaded team, but Henry Baddley III is long, athletic and could be one of those kids who emerge as an elite player down the road. Keep an eye on this one!

I would like to give a shout out to Coach Q for his hospitality to this writer, putting together a great event, and for giving the players a great tune-up opportunity before heading down to the AAU Nationals. It was a long HOT day, but the experience the teams received on Sunday should prove invaluable as they head off to represent the Buckeye state. For the coaches in the other classes, take a lesson from Simpson and make an effort to play the top teams as often as possible. Don’t allow egos and win/loss records to keep your teams from bumping heads multiple times during the season. Every class is different, but it takes leadership and the willingness to develop kids regardless of the cost!

Standout Player Pictures

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Invitations Extended to Fall Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase

Below is a copy of the email (and invitation) I sent out this morning regarding the upcoming Fall Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase. Additional information will be forthcoming. Also, see the links to the commitment list, prior Buckeye Prep Alums, and the 2011 Fall showcase post-event report.

Players, Parents & Coaches, Plans are currently underway for the 2012 Fall Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase which is scheduled for September 22-23, 2012. Due to popular demand, I’ve decided to expand the event in 2 ways. First of all, I have added a second day to the event (Saturday) dedicated to skill and drills. On Saturday evening, we will be conducting 2 hours of station work. The Sunday format will remain the same.
 New this year are the Ohio North vs South Challenge games in rising grades 7-10th (2015-2018).  These games will pit the top players from northern Ohio against the top guys from southern Ohio, with central Ohio players divided among both teams to insure competitive balance. That’s not all, in the 9th grade division; Saturday will feature an Ohio vs Michigan Showdown for ultimate bragging rights. The rosters for the Challenge games and Showdown are currently being developed, but will represent the top 10-15 players in the state as defined by Buckeye Prep, based on participation in past Buckeye Prep or other competitive events. I will be posting the rosters within the next 2 weeks. Also, the challenge games will be coached by high school coaches. Participation in the Saturday games is free, but all participants must register, pay and participate in the entire showcase. The media attention generated by this event will be unmatched, as we already have commitments from a number of national media outlets, including: John Stovall (ESPN), Brian Snow (, Cory Albertson ( & Triple Double Prospects), Roger Bohn (Slam Magazine),, Chris Johnson (Hoop Scoop), Ty Kish, Middle School Hoops, National Elite Prospects, Kurt Stubbs (JJ Huddle), Steve Schwanda (All Eyes On U Hoops), Clay Dade (Jr All-American and Fab Frosh Camps), TJ Kelly & Nate Schmidt (Inside Prep Hoops) and many others.  I will be updating the media list as we get closer to the date of the event. We are also excited about the fact the will be streaming several of the games live on line! This will allow college coaches and other interested parties to watch the games as well for even more exposure.  Also, there will be individual players interviews videotaped and posted on Court Cred’s website. Attached to this email is an invitation and registration forms. To reserve a spot for your son/player, the forms must be completed and returned with the registration fee by the deadline. Because of the Saturday games, this event WILL SELL OUT! After we reach our capacity of registered/paid players, we cannot add additional players due to space limitations. As we have done in the past, I will be posting and updating a showcase commitment list so you can see who will be attending the event. Once again, you can pay your registration fee on line using the PayPal link in the upper right hand corner of the Buckeye Prep site. If you intend to send you son/player, please email me you intentions, including his name, grade, height, position, city and school ASAP. I will use this information to update the commitment list, and to determine the number of slots available. However, the email alone will not hold a spot, only full registration and payment. For information about the event, feel free to email me at, or call me at 614-203-2929. Also, continue to follow the website ( for event updates. This event promises to be our biggest and most competitive ever!!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Ohio Hoopsters Finish 10th at AAU Nationals

Ohio Hoopsters-10th Place AAU Nationals

Congratulations to the Ohio Hoopsters for taking 10th place at the 7th grade AAU Nationals in Memphis, TN on Sunday. After finishing 2-1 in pool play, with wins over the Puerto National Team (65-42) and the Atlanta Celtics, the Hoopsters defeated Team Penny 67-62 in the opening round of bracket play. In the second round, the Hoopsters were clipped by GTH Elite 2017 64-61, and were relegated to the second round consolation bracket.  The Hoosters shook off the disappointing loss, then went on a 4-game winning streak to claim 10th place.  On their trek through the consolation bracket, the Hoopsters knocked off the Virginia Panthers (56-55), Oakland Soldiers (76-40), Atlanta Knicks (55-44) and the Gainesville Kings (65-64). Cincinnati's Tyler Knetch is reported to having played well all week as did Tyrell Ajain.

Tyler Knethc-6'2 C Cincinnati

Devon Howard's All-Ohio Red (AOR) squad made the trip to Memphis, and after going 2-1 in pool play, AOR faced off against Indiana Elite South, but went down 31-43. In the first round consolation bracket, All-Ohio was defeated by QCAA Force Red (52-71).  It should be noted that Coach Devon Howard raved about the play of Jackson's Logan Hill (6'4 C) who averaged a double double (18 points & 11 rebounds) over the course of the week. "The game just comes easy to him," stated Coach Howard. Also, Jim Schmock's Murphy AC Knights team was in Memphis as well, but without his star player in  Jaylen Harris, the team went 1-2 in pool play, then lost their first game in the Classic bracket. Finally, Columbus' OIC Dynasty did not fair much better, after a 0-3 pool record and a short trip to the Classic Bracket. Congratulations to all of the players, parents, coaches and fans for making the trip to the nationals and representing the state of Ohio.

Ohio Hoopster's Midwest Pre Nationals-Recap

Despite the extensive damage and power outages caused by a fast moving thunderstorm on Friday, the organizers of the Ohio Hoopsters' Midwest Pre Nationals in Columbus found a way to make the tournament happen. With the power out at the USA Sports Academy, most of the action went down at Reynoldsburg HS.  Over the course of the event, there were several big time match-ups in terms of teams and individual performances. Although I’m going to talk more about the individual standout performances I saw this weekend, a couple of team match ups need to be mentioned.

One of the biggest upsets in the tournament occurred on Sunday, when the 8th grade Ohio Hoopsters downed the Dayton Heat 50-46 in overtime. Despite an impressive performance by the Heat’s Darnell Hoskins and Derrick Daniels, the Hoopsters refused to lose. Northland bound Naquan Hayes (6’1 C) lead the way with a game-high 18 points. It was a tough weekend for the Dayton Heat, as Ohio’s #4th ranked team fell to All-Ohio Red big time on Saturday.  It’s important to note that All-Ohio was rolling with James Manns II, while the Heat was missing several key players including Derrick Daniels. All-Ohio would go on to dominate the Heat and collect a. easy 62-31 win.

All-Ohio’s 9th grade squad played up in the 10th grade division and was cruising toward a championship by the time I left the gym on Sunday.  However, playing with a depleted roster that included 7th and 8th graders, All-Ohio survived a scare from a scrappy Team One squad from Cincinnati, and required overtime to get to the win. At the end of the day, Shaker Heights’ Esa Ahmed was simply too much to handle in the post, as Team One hand no answer for Ahmed’s size and skill.

Jarron Cumberland-6'3 9th Grader

All-Ohio Elite (2016) was rolling this weekend and may have won the event had they not headed back to Cincinnati early to avoid yet another thunder storm speeding its way through central Ohio. Wilmington’s Jarron Cumberland was looking like a man child in the games I watched, and is clearing establishing himself as one of the top 5 players in the state. Keep an eye out for Kameron Moore, a long 6’5 PF from Middletown. This kid has the length, body type and athleticism that suggest he could be a very good college prospect heading forward.

Kyran McClure-6'1 PG Columbus

The 2016 championship game pitted All-Ohio Red against Columbus-based Nova Village. According to sources, Nova Village outplayed All-Ohio in just about every phase of the game, and went on the win the championship by double digits.  I have to give a shout out to Nova Village, as every game I saw them play, the kids played extremely hard. I got my first real look at Kyran McClure, and I was quite impressed with his game.  As a PG, McClure has good length for the position, and can score at all three levels. He has solid ball skills and is the engine for his team.  Gahanna’s Nick Ward is getting bigger and leaner.  I had not seen him for a while, but it was clear that when he wants to turn it on, he can get you buckets in the paint. Look for Ward to be suiting up for Gahanna’s JV squad this winter. Gahanna’s Ryan Baker and sharp shooting Joey Rowling deserve some mention as well as both players are valuable pieces to the Nova Village puzzle.

Other than the 8th grade division, the 6th grade division may have been the most stacked.  The 2 semi-final games featured matchups between 4 of Buckeye Prep’s top 10 teams. In semi-final #1, Allen Henderson’s 5th ranked Pickerington Wildcats totally dismantled the 7th ranked King James Shooting Stars.  Right from the tip, the Wildcats’ suffocating defense resulted in turnovers and a 15-2 lead by the 15:18 mark. By halftime, the score was already a lopsided 32-10. Even with the addition of Chicago’s dynamic Jordan Simmons, Pickerington would advance to the championship game.

Cory Rice-7th Grader

In the second semi-final contest, 3rd ranked Murphy AC fought off a hard charging Ohio Hoopsters (ranked 4th) to claim the victory.  Although I left before the game was decided, I noted that Murphy controlled the game early, and entered halftime up 18-11. I really liked the play of Murphy AC’s Coryon Rice this weekend. Rice specializes in slashing to the basket and finishing.  Very athletic, strong with a high motor best describes Rice’s game at this point. I plan to keep an eye on Dwayne Cohill, a-5’10 WF from Brookpark. This kid could surprise some people in the future as his skill level catches up with his physical gifts (i.e., length, strength, athleticism & aggressiveness).  In the 6th grade championship game, although the Wildcats would race to a double digit lead, Murphy AC erased the deficit, and the half time score was knotted at 28. It was nip and tuck the entire the second half. Murphy AC went on to grab the title with a close 55-54 win. Murphy's Tyree Harris finished with a team-high 11 points, followed by Coryon Rice who added 6 points. David Madison was the leading score for the Hoopsters with 9 points.

Prince Michael-6'9 C Cincinnati

On Saturday, I caught the game between Team Queen City and All-Ohio Connection. On the strength of a solid performance from Dublin’s Mason Baich, All-Ohio Connection got the 49-41 victory.  There was a great deal of discussion about Team Queen Cities’ big man. By most accounts, Prince Michael, a 6’9 man child living in Cincinnati and who will be entering Cincinnati Christen Hills HS this fall, has the potential to be a dominate force in the class of 2016 in the state. Prince looks more like a college junior than an 8th grader, but if the OHSAA approves his application to play high school hoops next year, the debate will surly continue. What is known about Michael at this point is that he is big, strong and well developed physically for his grade.  Although he is still very raw offensively, because he has played more soccer than basketball (has only been playing for 2 years), his footwork is surprisingly advanced relative to the other areas of his game. Michael is not afraid to mix it up inside, and if given a chance, he will throw down a rim rattling dunk that appears painful to watch. Stay tuned as we learn more about this kid.

Mason Baich-5'11 SG Dublin

 Below is a list of some of the standout performers we saw over the weekend.  Because I was unable to watch many of the games, the list is incomplete, and does not capture all the players who got it done this weekend.

Dwayne Cohil-5’10 WF Brookpark (7th)
Coryon Rice-5'8 SG Bedford (8th)
Taevion Kinsey-5’5 PG Columbus (7th)
Kyran McClure-5’11 PG Columbus (9th)
Nick Ward-6’4 C Gahanna (9th)
Mason Baich-5’11 SG Dublin (9th)
Jarron Cumberland-6’3 SG Wilmington (9th)
DeAnthony McCallum-6’1 WF Cincinnati (9th)
Joey Rowling-6’0 SG New Albany (9th)
Prince Michael-6’9 C Cincinnati (9th)
James Manns II-6’5 PF Columbus (9th)
Kameron Moore-6’5 PF Middletown (9th)
Derrick Daniels-6’6 C Dayton (9th)
Darnell Hoskins-5’9 PG Dayton (9th)
Ryan Baker-6’1 WF/PF Gahanna (9th)
David Madison- 5'7 WF Columbus (7th)
Jalen Tate-6’1 WF Pickerington (9th)
Jae’Sean Tate 6’4 WF Pickerington (11th)
Esa Ahmed-6’5 PF Shaker Heights (10th)
Gabe Adkins-6’1 SG Upper Arlington (9th)
Antwon Johnson-5’10 WF Dayton (7th)
Jordan Simmons-5’4 PG Chicago, IL (7th)
Isaiah Speelman-6’2 C Hilliard (7th)
Omari Fanbro-6’1 C Bedford Heights (7th)
Tyree Harris-6'2 C Cleveland (7th)
Jeremiah Francis-5’6 SG Canal Winchester (6th)
Keely Elmore-4’5 PG Columbus (6th)

Buckeyes Impress at National Camp

Ohio Players at the Fab Frosh Camp

According to several evaluators sitting court side at Clay Dade's Fab Frosh Camp in Suwanee, GA. this past weekend, the Buckeye state had several representatives that logged in standout performances.  Akron's VJ King was the most heralded player of the Ohio contingent, and was widely mentioned as one of the top prospects in the camp. King, a 6'5 wing headed to ASVSM this year, was lauded for his scoring ability, over all skill set and on-court maturity. In addition, King was selected for the Top 20 All-Star game, and was later presented with the Top Prospect Award.

VJ KING-Won the Top Prospect Award

Garfield Heights bound Willie Jackson's athleticism  created a buzz on day 2 when he threw down a thunderous dunk on an unsuspecting defender. Jackson was also selected for the Top 20 All-Star Game. In addition, Bedford Height's Derek Funderburk's low post game was on full display and was noted in second day write-ups.  Because of his standout performance, Funderburk made the cut for the Top 40 All-Star Game, as did Tervell Beck. According to reports, the 6'7 forward "scored, rebounded and used his length well on the defensive end." Other Buckeyes at the prestigious camp included: Xavier Simpson, Tervell Beck, Deven Stover, Anthony Christian, Rodrick Caldwell, Seth Towns and Ronald Jones Jr., Seth Towns, Andrew Homer, David Bennett, Rico Stafford, and Henry Baddley. Look for most of these players at the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase on September 22nd and 23rd, when they will face off for state bragging rights in the inaugural "Ohio North vs South" and the "Michigan vs Ohio" Games!

Willie Jackson-Made the Top 20 Game

My man Reggie Stover was in the house at the Fab Frosh Camp and agreed to keep a close eye on the Ohio guys.  Below are his notes about what he saw:

The Buckeye State was well represented at the most recent Fab Frosh Invitational Basketball Camp in Suwanee, GA.  The Fab Frosh Invitational Basketball Camp is an elite showcase of some of the best 8th grade basketball talent of whom will be entering the 9th grade at various high schools across the country. Several of this year's attendees for the class of 2016 are previous attendees of  the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase and/or have been featured on our Buckeye Prep Report.

Top 20 All-Star Game 

Some of the notables were VJKing  (6'5 SF) who at the Fab Frosh Camp displayed an array of skills in running the floor, finishing strong at the rim along with a smooth touch on the jump shot, and great athleticism.  Willie Jackson (6'4 SF) was  one of the best high flyers at the camp. He displayed an array of alley-oop dunks, dunks off missed shots and was a one man rim wrecker that brought the gym to its feet. 

Xavier Simpson (5'8" PG) was a true floor general, while getting all teammates involved, showing excellent ball-handling skills along, and the ability to score by dropping three pointers and coast-to-coast driving lay-ups.  Deven Stover (6'1 SG) showed the ability to step away from the three point shot and get to the rim to finish, get to the line for numerous three point plays, and was called Mr. Hustle for his high motor and defense by his coach. 

Derek Funderburk-Made the Top 40 Game

Derek Funderburk (6'6 PF) opened a lot of eyes with his strong rebounding and defense as he was cleaning the glass and swatting shots. The big man also showed he was able go put the ball on the floor as he rebounding and went coast-to-coast a few times and made nice off-the-dribble passes.  Tervell Beck (6'6" PF) was all over the place rebounding, passing, scoring and really handled the ball well on the dribble, while getting to the basket and finishing with mixed lay-ups.  Ronald Jones Jr (6'3" SF) was a bruiser while banging his way inside for easy finishes at the rim and clearing out bigger/taller SFs for tough rebounds.  Seth Towns (6'6 SF) was an inside/outside threat, connecting on low post moves,  short jump shots and he
rebounded well. 

Tervell Beck-Got the Top 40 Nod

Henry Baddley (6'3) SF is a high-energy guy with an engine that just goes and goes. Baddley was a relentless attacker who finished strong consistently.  Rodrick Caldwell (5'8" PG) showed great quickness on/off the ball, good composure with excellent ball-handling skills, distributes well and is does a very good job of getting teammates involved.  Rico Stafford (6'4" SF) was a work horse. He does whatever the team needs, bangs hard, crashes the boards and is a strong finisher at the rim; the type of guy you want on your team as he does all the little things that don't show up in the stats.  Anthony Christain (6'2" SG) is a relentless penetrator, with good body control, unassuming quickness and also played well.

By Reggie Stover