Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas From Buckeye Prep

Buckeye Prep would like to wish everybody a very Merry Christmas!  Please take the time to enjoy your families, as the events of last week show us that tomorrow is not promised to any of us!

Monday, December 17, 2012

National Youth Basketball League Debuts in 2013


National Youth Basketball League Debuts in 2013

Columbus, Ohio (December 17, 2012) - Beginning in March of 2013, twenty-four elite travel teams from the current sixth grade class [2019] will participate in the inaugural season of the National Youth Basketball League’s (NYBL) junior high school basketball league (The League).

In terms of the format, The League will host 24 of the nation’s most elite 6th grade teams. The 24 teams will be divided into four, 6-team divisions, and during each of three 3 sessions, each team will play a total of 5 games (1 game on Friday, and 2 games on Saturday and Sunday) against teams from an opposing division. Team standings, individual player stats and a photo gallery will be posted on The League’s website and at the conclusion of the first 2 sessions, and The League will culminate in a championship in Columbus, Ohio on May 31-June 2, 2013. The League entry fee is $1200 ($400 average).

Modeled after Nike’s very popular Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL), The League will offer an unprecedented level of competition and exposure, as many of the nation’s top middle school scouting service will be covering the events (i.e., Dunk Dog & Buckeye Prep Report). In terms of its mission, The League is designed to improve grassroots basketball at the junior high level by providing a challenging and organized circuit series for elite boys’ travel clubs in grades six through eight. The selected venues enable players’ skills to be tested and potential to be accurately identified while facing advanced competition on a national scale. The environment of the N.Y.B.L. is one that encourages team development and the overall experience is one that simply cannot be duplicated in youth basketball. Finally, because “every game counts,” players will compete at a higher level from game to game, which will enhance team-oriented play and foster greater individual development.

The N.Y.B.L. concept will be expanded in 2014 to include an additional 24 sixth grade [class of 2020] clubs as well as returning seventh grade [class of 2019] teams. In 2015, the model will encompass all junior high divisions [grades 6-8], with each consisting of 24 teams. Teams already committed: All-Ohio Red, Carolina Preps, Worldwide/Southern Stampede, Team Izod, SC Hornets, ETU Select, Arkansas Soldierz, WV Xplosion, Maryland's Finest, Reach Higher Kings, Team Penny, Enplay Elite, CJ Hawks, E.O.T.O, 6th Man Warriors, Indy Hoyas, New York Gauchos, New Heights,  Derby State Racers, and Murphy AC. (See AAU Power Rankings)

Other NYBL features:

-A NBA-styled NYBL all-star game.
-Team Profiles

NYBL Dates & Locations:

Session #1 March 15 – March 17, 2013 Bethesda, Maryland
Session #2 May 02 – May 05, 2013 North Augusta, South Carolina
Session #3 May 31 – June 01, 2013 Columbus, Ohio

NYBL Webpage
Committed Teams Update
NYBL League Standings

Monday, December 10, 2012

All-Ohio Red Debuts With Championship

All-Ohio Red Captures 1st Title

On Sunday, I had the opportunity to catch some of the action at the Ohio Hoopsters Holiday Classic in Reynoldsburg. As expected, Demarko Bradley’s super team, All-Ohio Red (AOR), ran through the 6th grade division with little resistance. As most of you have heard by now, AOR is made up of kids from last year’s All-Ohio Purple and All-Ohio Red teams; two of the top 2019 teams in the country.

On Sunday, on their way to the championship, All-Ohio destroyed the Mansfield Cavs 92-24, and then followed that up with a 73-15 blowout victory over RNB, followed by a smack down the Ohio Hoopsters 93-31 to claim their first title as a complete team. In each of those victories, AOR’s trapping defenses, length, and overall skill level was simply too much for their grossly overmatched opponents.

Jordan Mitchell-Gahanna

In the championship, Gahanna’s Jordan Mitchell dominated early with easy buckets in the paint. Off the bench, Jaiden Lipscomb got hot from the perimeter, and had to have dropped close to 20 points. After watching them play on multiple occasions, I still believe Mitchell has the most upside potential of any 2019 kid in the state, while Lipscome has to be the top shooter and most prolific scorer in Ohio. In addition, anytime you have a nick name like “Grown Man” as a 6th grader you have to be pretty good. Cincinnati’s Chris’Sean Stringer is a man child who possesses a good combination of size, athleticism and skill. Right now, Stringer can legitimately play all 5 positions well. His versatility allows Bradley a number of personnel options.

Chris'Sean Stringer- "Grown Man"

I still continue to be impressed with the footwork and developing skill set of Gerard Reynolds. Although he will surely face much bigger and more athletic players on the national circuit, Reynolds’ strength, toughness and skill will allow him to compete in the post. Pickerington’s Jerome Francis III can dominate games when he is fresh. At the guard position, Francis is a load to defend, and defensively, he difficult to get around. Greg Tribble Jr. and DeMarko Bradley Jr. are smaller guards who bring speed, quickness and toughness to the backcourt. I have not seen much of him, but Chris Payne appears to be another key piece to the AOR puzzle. Payne has good size, athleticism, and he rebounds and defends well. Malachi Matthews is another shooter off the bench while Morgan Stafford and Alvin Byrd Jr. add more quality depth to the squad.

Jerome Francis III-Pickerington

Watching this team for the first time I was left with several observations. First, this team is deep, and can come off the bench with players who can, and have, started on other teams. Also, this team has a lot of length and versatility at multiple positions. With Jordan Mitchell, Chris’Sean Stringer, Chris Payne and Jerome Francis III at the front of a full court trap, it’s extremely difficult for opposing teams to advance the ball up court. On Sunday, AOR fed off easy transition points after their full and half court presses forced numerous turnovers. What’s even more impressive is the fact that AOR did so much damage without 2 key players, as DeMarko Bradley Jr. and Omari Davis were both sidelined with injuries. Finally, AOR is well coached, as Bradley’s high energy has his team executing multiple offensive and defensive sets and playing unselfish, team-oriented basketball.

All-Ohio’s complete roster includes: DeMarko Bradley Jr., Greg Trimble Jr., Jerome Francis III, Jaiden Lipscomb, Chris Payne, Jordan Mitchell, Chris’Sean Stringer, Chris Payne, Garrard Reynolds, Omari Davis, Morgan Stafford and Alvin Byrd Jr. Many of AOR’s players are included on Buckeye Prep’s 2019 Watch List.

From what I saw yesterday, All-Ohio is going to have to be creative in order to find way to play more competitive teams. It’s simply unfair, and unwise for this team to play local talent in their age group. This team is constructed to win a national championship, and from what I saw, there is no reason that should not happen.

Getting back to the tournament, Indiana Elite defeated the Ohio Hoopsters to claim the 3rd grade division title, while the 5th grade Indiana Hoosiers downed the Mid-Ohio Pumas 44-37 to claim the 5th grade crown. There was not 4th grade division in the tournament. Some of the other standout performers included 6th graders Gavin Baker and Treohn Watkins, both from the Ohio Hoopsters.

Photo Gallery

Friday, December 7, 2012

Clark Kellogg Tip Off Classic-Standouts

Below is an ESPN article on the Clark Kellogg Tip Off Classic written by John Stovall.

The inaugural Clark Kellogg Tip Off Classic was held this past weekend in suburban Columbus. This Showcase looks to be a must see event moving forward as it should feature some of, not only Ohio, but the Midwest's best as it continues to gain steam in the coming years.


Marquiez Lawrence - Columbus, OH./Marion-Franklin (2013, PF, 6'8 200)

Long and tall 4 man has improved his skill level. He is a solid face up shooter to 17 feet. He can also do just a enough off the dribble to keep you honest. He is best as an active garbage man that can get quite a few things done around the basket. Marquiez is a mid-major recruit that is unsigned.

Mike Wells - Delaware, OH./Hayes (2013, PG, 5'7 175)

Mike is a Tailback on the basketball court. He gets in the lane at will with his strong body. Once he gets his shoulder into you it's over. He is either scoring or getting fouled. He is a streaky shooter with range to 19 feet. He scored 29 in a solid win. He is another Division 1 talent that is still available.

Carlton Bragg - Cleveland, OH./Villa Angela - St. Joseph

2015, PF, 6'8 205

Bragg has a chance to be an elite level recruit. He has all the tools. Long, tall, athletic and skilled. His motor is not always running at maximum level but he is still productive. He had 17 in a victory over Columbus Africentric. He is being recruited by practically every high major school in the midwest. Carlton is a much improved shooter and has solid range to 19 feet. He should be in our national rankings once they are updated.

Brian Parker - Cleveland, OH./Villa Angela - St. Joseph

2015, SG, 6'2 195

Brian is a strong bodied scorer that is tough to stop when he is in attack mode. The lefty attacks the rim and is an excellent finisher in the paint. He needs to improve his shooting range and consistency but he knows how to get the ball into the basket. He has the build of a future college linebacker but he will be D1 college basketball player.

Seth Towns - Columbus, OH./Northland

2016, SF/PF, 6'6 190

Seth is on his way to being an elite level prospect. He is skilled and has good size and length. He scored 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in his first varsity game. He has a nice turn around baseline jumper already. He is another that will appear in a future ESPN rankings list.

Clemmye Owens - Toledo, OH./Rogers (2013, SG, 5'10 170)

This pocket wing knows how to score the basketball. He is a streaky shooter with range to 22 feet. He is strong and is effective scoring in traffic. Owens plays hard and should be a very good player next season at his college choice...Bethune Cookman.

Jae'Sean Tate - Pickerington, OH./Central (2014, SF/PF, 6'4 195)

Tate is tough to handle on the high school level. He is strong and has a motor that won't quit. He scores in the paint and has improved his range so that he can be effective out to 19 feet. The lefty is best when he is attacking the basket where his strength and athletic ability make him virtually unstoppable.

Connor Kern - Pickerington, OH./Central (2014, SG, 6'2 185)

Connor is a specialist. He is one of the better shooters in Ohio with his feet set. The lefty is a little streaky and can get on a roll where he can knock down 4 or 5 in a row from 22 feet or beyond. Kern is committed to attend Wheeling Jesuit University.


Though Canton Timken did not fair so well in their game versus Pickerington Central, their best propsect by far was 6'3 Freshman wing Lepear Toles. The lefty is raw but has some skill and talent. He has a solid feel and is a good passer. He struggled some in his first high school game but showed enough promise that he is a player that will need to be monitored in the future.

6'0 Sr. wing Kenny Robinson of Columbus Africentric is one of the better athletes you will see on the high school level. He is built like a Football Safety and plays basketball with that same attitude. He is probably a Division 2 basketball prospect but he is an attacker that finishes well at the rim.

Written by John Stovall-ESPN

Monday, December 3, 2012

John Stovall's Recruiting Tips

As most Ohio basketball fans know, John Stovall is an athority when it comes to boys hoops in the state. With his role with Nike, ESPN and Prep Spotlight, Stovall understands the inner working of travel basketball and what college coaches are looking for in recruites.  Below Stovall offers several tips that may prove helpful to aspiring ballers. Feel free to share you comments and questions in the "comments" section below.

Recruiting Tips

1) Be open, friendly and grateful to any college that contacts you. It is truly a blessing! First, you don't want to burn any bridges. Your goal should be to go to school for free despite the level. Second, the basketball community is very small. People and coaches talk. You don't want to be the family that has a bad or rude reputation.

2) Not counting academics (which should be priority one) your basketball goal should be to play once you get to college. Level is overrated. If you want to be a Pro it will never happen if you are not playing 30 minutes a game. A player at a D3 level school that scores 1500 points for his college career has a better chance at having some type of professional career than a player at a high major school that sits the bench for 4 years. It is better to have a great college experience even if you have to play at a "smaller" school. The key is to play! That's my opinion.....you have to make your own.

3) The level chooses you...you don't choose the level. In other words if you think you are D1 and there are only D2 schools recruiting you then guess what.....you are D2!! It's still school for free! You are 1 of a very few players (generally 40 to 60 per year) in Ohio that gets a basketball scholarship. Be happy and embrace it! If you tell D2 schools you are not interested and that is all that has offered you a scholarship you are making a mistake. You could end up with nothing. Recruiting is like dating for women. It is best to go with the guy that wants you and shows he cares for you. When they pursue a guy that has not shown any interest it normally does not turn out very good. Go where you are truly wanted.

4) If possible be sure to go to practice before choosing a school. It gives you some idea of what the environment will be like.

5) As soon as possible during the recruiting process have the schools you are interested in examine your transcript and let you know what you need to do qualify academically as well as what is needed to gain admittance to the school. The sooner you have this information the better. Even being a freshman is not too soon.

6) Letters from schools does not constitute being recruited. You are not being recruited until a school actually calls you. Even that isn't that significant. It only counts once they put money on the table..ie...offer you a scholarship. My advice is to stay totally open and only count those schools that actually offer you a scholarship.

Please send any questions you may have to Mr. Taylor. I will answer as many as I can. I hope this helps. I will write some summer basketball suggestions soon.

Thanks for "listening."

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Calhoun Impresses at Lucas Camp

Kelvin Calhoun II-6'4 C South Euclid

Last weekend, Kelvin Calhoun II, a 6’4 C from South Euclid, Ohio was one of 4 Ohio kids to make the trek to Chicago for John Lucas’ Camp Right Way regional camp.  According to a Brian Merritt, who is in charge of player selection for Lucas, Calhoun logged in an impressive performance as one of the top big men at the event. “Calhoun has high major potential,” said Merritt. “He needs to continue to develop a left hand, but the potential is there. He can be either a starter or ride the bench at the highest level, depending on his continued development,” Merritt said.

Prior to his MVP performance at the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase in September, Calhoun was only really known to basketball fans in northeast Ohio; however, the 6’4 eighth grader’s performance at the event convinced some people that he has the potential to be the top big man in the state going forward.  For his efforts, Calhoun has been invited to Lucas’ International Combine in Houston, Texas in May. An invitation the event is hard to come by, as only 100 7th and 8th grade players are invited, and that includes international kids. Also, as an example of the prestige of the event, of the 43 players invited to the tryout for Team USA, 27 of them had attended the combine in the past.  

Joining Calhoun in Chicago were Tommy Schmock (8th grade), Yael Hill (7th grade) and Derrick Veasley Jr. (7th grade). Although Calhoun was the only player to receive an invite, Merritt noted that Derrick Veasley Jr. was a player he intended to keep an eye on in the future.  On another note, Michigan’s Brian Bowen, another standout out at September’s Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase, made some noise of his own and received an invitation as well. Merritt described Bowen as skilled, athletic with a motor. Bowen will reportedly be running with King James next spring and summer. Congrats to Calhoun and the other players for participating in the event.

John Stovall's D-II High School State Rankings

State Division II Breakdown by Area

Central Ohio
1.   Columbus Brookhaven
2.   Columbus Bishop Watterson
3.   St. Clairsville
4.   Columbus Centennial
5.   Columbus Eastmoor
Southwest Ohio
1.   Dayton Thurgood Marshall
2.   Dayton Dunbar
3.   Trotwood Madison
4.   Cincinnati Aiken
5.   Franklin & Kettering Alter
Northeast Ohio
1.   Akron SVSM
2.   Cleveland Benedictine
3.   Cleveland John Hay
4.   Cleveland Central Catholic
5.   Akron Buchtel & Alliance
Northwest Ohio
1.   Sandusky Perkins
2.   Elida
3.   Bowling Green
4.   Napolean
5.   Toledo Scott