Thursday, March 28, 2013

2013 Buckeye Prep Invitational Tips Off Next Week

The field for the 2013 Buckeye Prep Invitational Tournament is about full and will include over 120 teams from across the region. The grade divisions for the tournament are 3rd-12th. I will start forming the schedule this weekend, so there are still a few days left to register. No teams will be added to the schedule without full payment. Payments can be made using the Pap Pal link located in the upper right hand corner of this website. The Crowne Plaza North hotel has been selected as the host hotel, and they have extended us a good rate of $79.00. For more information about the tournament please click on the link below. You can also email Rob Taylor at or call 614-203-2929. This should be another great event with elite talent, great competition and of course exposure!

Tournament Information

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

NYBL South Well Represented in Power 24 Top 10

Deron Willimas Elite Make Power Move

Below is a link to the updated Power 24 Team Rankings. Since the release of the pre-season ranking, results from session #1 have been factored in.  Although Ohio Select remains at the top after a 5-0 run in Maryland, the updated rankings reflect some movement.  Carolina Preps remain in the top 10 and are joined by Southern Stampede, Metrolina Havoc, S.C. Hornets and Carolina Chaos from the South.

No team made a bigger move up the rankings than the Carolina Chaos, who jumped 14 spots from 22nd to 8th.  Few people had heard about the Chaos heading in to Maryland because they played up a year for most of the last few years.  It will be interesting to see just how good they are at session #2 when the competition is amped up.

With their undefeated record in DC, Texas’ Deron Williams Elite made a power move from #12 in the pre-season rankings all the way up to #3 in the updated rankings. The other Texas team, Future Phenoms, moved up 6 spots from 19th to 13th. After going 1-4 last week, Team Izod/Sports U moves down from 7th to 15th. There are sure to be a lot more movement after session #2, as the top 2 divisions in the league square off in North Augusta, South Carolina in a few weeks!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

NYBL Session #1 Top Performers

Gerard Reynolds-Session 1 MVP

Earlier this month 24 of the nation’s top 6th grade teams made the trek to Washington DC to participate in the first session of the NYBL. Not only were there a number of very talented teams, as you would expect, those teams are loaded with individual talent. As is the case in any elite level event, there were a few kids who performed on a consistently high level, and who deserve to be singled out for special recognition.

In addition to the competition, the NYBL seeks to provide a high level of exposure for teams and their players. To this end, in each of the 3 sessions, the league will be publishing a list of the top performers for the weekend. The league used a 4 prong approach to developing the list. First, the coaches in the league were asked to identify the top players they saw during their games against opposing teams. In addition, the coaches were asked to submit the names of their own top players. Moreover, league commissioners reviewed data obtained from the score/stat sheets, and finally, league commissioners relied on their own firsthand observations as they watched games. As you might imagine, there was some conflicting information between the various sources; however, at the end of the day, every effort was made to create an accurate, credible and unbiased list.

Forty kids were ultimately selected for inclusion on the list. For ranking purposes, the list is divided among 4 “All-Session Teams,” and “Honorable Mention.” In general, teams that finished 5-0 placed 3 kids on the list; 4-1 teams placed at least 2 kids; and every team had at least 1 representative.

As an added benefit to league participation, the NYBL will feature a “NBA-styled” all-star game the weekend of September 21st in Columbus, Ohio. In terms of the format, the top 20 players from the league will be selected to participate in the “Top 20 Game,” while the next 20 players will play in the “Top 40 Game.” Because the all-star games will be in conjunction with the fall session of the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase, the NYBL all-stars will have the opportunity to participate in that event as well. The 2 NYBL all-star games will be part of a slate of games on Saturday which includes “Ohio North vs South” and “Ohio vs Michigan” games. Selection to the NYBL All-Star games will be based partly on the session by session top- performer lists. Finally, participation in the event will afford players a great deal of exposure, as many of the country’s top middle school scouting services and national camp directors will be on hand evaluating players. Below is a link to our list of performers for session #1, as well as video footage from session one.

NYBL Session #1 Top Performers

Session #1 Videos:

Video #1
Video #2
Video #3
Video #4

Monday, March 25, 2013

Nike Grassroots Tournament-Final Day Report

King James-8th Grade Champions

The final day of the Nike Grassroots Tournament featured match-ups between some of the top teams in the state in every age group. Again, I posted up at Reynoldsburg High School where I caught the semi-final games between King James and Next Level's 8th grade squads. For the record, King James ousted Next Level 49-37 to advance to the championship round. I got a chance to see Javonte Richardson (6'2 WF Maple Heights) for the first time, as he is a new addition to King James this year.  Richardson has been concentrating on football and is new on the AAU scene.  Coaches may want to make note of the kid’s name, because he has good length, is a good looking athlete, and could be a long term prospect going forward. On the other side of the brackets, All-Ohio Red defeated King James Williams to punch their ticket to “the show.”

In the 7th grade division, Murphy AC, considered the number 1 team in the class heading into the tournament, teed it up with Excel, one of the hottest teams in the state. The game featured a contrast in styles as Murphy AC is about athleticism, pressure and transition scoring, while Excel competes with more precision and execution in the half court. This game was a tale of two halves, as Murphy AC started the game with extreme pressure that rattled Excel's smaller guards and forced turnovers and rushed shots. The longer, more athletic Murphy AC players went at Excel in waves, as Kevin Jackson had the luxury of bringing 4-5 fresh bodies off the bench to maintain pressure.  Just when you thought Excel was going to get blown out of the gym, the scrappy bunch kids refused to loose and fought their way back to make the game a close one until the final horn. Braden Norris was the impetuous to the turnaround with his perimeter shooting. Despite a great effort, Murphy AC was able to hang on and advance to the title game.

In the other semifinal game the Queen City Prophets (QCP) knuckled up with the Ohio Hoopsters for a final spot in the big dance. QCP got out of the blocks early, but the Hoopsters made a run late in the 1st half to cut the lead to 27-17 by half time. The Hoopsters would make a final run in the second period, but the combination of EJ Williams and Kane Cooper proved to be too much, as QCP grabbed a seat in the final game with a 53-46 victory.

8th Grade All-Tournament Team

The 8th grade championship game came down to two of the most storied programs in the state, All-Ohio and King James. Right from the opening tip King James was rocking and rolling and it appeared they were going to run away with the game. “Not so fast my friend,” as All-Ohio mounted a furious comeback, led by Logan Hill who threw down 3 dunks in the comeback. With only 2:28 left in the game, All-Ohio had cut the lead to 2 points (45-47), but that would be as close as they got as King James held on to claim the title. Tommy Schmock and Jaylen Harris led King James in scoring with 14 points apiece, while Marion Jackson added 11 points. The All-Tournament included: Jaylen Harris (MVP), Marion Jackson, Tommy Schmock, Matt Davet, Logan Hill and Ryan Peaks.

7th Grade All-Tournament Team

As many had anticipated, the 7th grade championship game pitted Murphy AC against the Queen City Prophets (QCP). Unlike the semi-final game between Murphy AC and Excel, where you had contrasting styles, Murphy and QCP both utilize a heavy dose of pressure to induce turnovers. After getting off to a slow start, Murphy AC found themselves down by 12 points at the half.  Just when parents starting warming up their cars for the long trip home; Murphy AC woke up and eventually cut the lead to 2 points with 2:40 left in the contest. Because QCP knocked down free throws down the stretch, they were able to hold on to a 54-49 victory.  Kane Cooper was great again, as he ran his team to perfection.  Of course he found EJ Williams in the post on a regular basis for easy buckets. I have to say, Cooper impressed me a lot this weekend and his stock went through the roof in this evaluator’s eyes. The kid is the prototypical PG who knows how to run a team.  I know he is undersized, but he is highly skilled, smart, and he understands what’s happening on the floor at all times.  I’m not sure there is another point guard in state with all of the qualities this kid brings to the court, and I don’t care how big he is! QCP was paced by EJ William’s 18 points, while Xavier Peters added 13 points and Kane Cooper contributed 8 markers. Jerry Higgins led Murphy AC with 13 points, and Tyree Harris had 10 points. The All-Tournament Team included: EJ Williams (MVP), Kane Cooper, Coryon Rice and Tyree Harris.

Queen City Prophets-7th Grade Champions

I wish I could write about a thrilling triple overtime victory in the 6th grade championship game, but when All-Ohio Red plays in their age group in anything other than the NYBL, you can pretty much pencil in another blowout win.  Well, that’s just what happened on Sunday when All-Ohio met up with Dayton Elite in the final game.  Although Dayton kept it close in the opening minutes of the game, like most teams, a heavy dose of pressure pretty much stopped all of that. Story of the game; All-Ohio wins another championship (64-28) without much resistance. To their credit, they tried to play up in the 7th grade division, and actually got in 2 games before some of the 7th grade coaches started complaining (you know those guys hate losing to a younger team), and they were forced to run through an under matched 6th grade division. The All-Tournament team included: Gerard Reynolds (MVP), Chris Payne, Jeremiah FrancisJordan Mitchell, Kendall Matthews and Mike Elmore.

All-Ohio Red-6th Grade Champions

For the record, All-Ohio Red finished undefeated on their way to the 9th grade Championship. In the final game, Red crushed King of Courts. 74-27.  The All-Tournament Team included: Logan Brogden (MVP), Willie Jackson, Rodrick Caldwell, Jaylen Tate, Elijah Miller and Marcus AndersonNext up is the Buckeye Prep Invitational April 5th & 7th.  Look for many of the top teams back here in Columbus in a couple of weeks.

All-Star Saturday Games Tip Off Saturday in Columbus

In its 15th year, Capital Transportation’s All-Star Saturday will get underway this Saturday March 30th at the Bruce Howard Recreation Center (2505 N. Cassidy Ave) in Columbus. As has become a tradition with this popular event, the day’s festivities will begin with a community Easter Egg Hunt followed by a series of all-star basketball games in several age groups. DJ City from Power 107.5 will be returning this year to add his mix of hot music and comedy. Those who have attended the event in the past know how highly anticipated this event has become. All festivities are free to the public and include free food, drinks, face painting and many other fun activities for the kids.

Make no mistake, All-Star Saturday is more than just an Easter Egg Hunt, it’s also about competitive basketball as well. Four games will tip off immediately after the Easter Egg Hunt starting with the 6-8 year olds, then followed by the 9-11 year olds, the middle school game (2:30) then the high school game (3:30). Buckeye Prep has again been asked to select the rosters for the middle and high school games. Participation in the games is totally free, and each player will receive a nice award and a game t-shirt.

Again this year, Victor Dandridge has assembled the high school rosters. This event has always attracted the top players from central Ohio. Some of the past players who have participated in the games include BJ Mullins, Jamel Cornley, Yancy Gates, Elijah Allen, Devon Moore, Jarred Sullinger, Trey Burke, Stevie Taylor, Rob Brandenburg, and Elijah Macon. The following are the rosters for the high school game:

West All-Stars: Omar Diop (South), Lance Leslie (Thomas Worthington), Aaron Jackson (Gahanna), Kris Little (Hartley), Troy Munday (Gahanna), Randall Clarkson (Brookhaven), Deondre Martin (Brookhaven), Claude Bogan (Whetstone) and Jeremy Campbell (Independence),

East All-Stars: Armani Towns (Northland), Ben Baffoe (Northland), Alexis Peterson (Northland), Jaylen Benton (Westerville North), Kenny Robinson (Africentric), Dominique Carti (Marion Franklin), Marquiz Lawrence (Marion Franklin), Patrick Ngeneigwe (Beechcroft) and Wendell Davis (Reynoldsburg).

For the first time this year, the middle school game will draw many of the state’s players in grades 7th & 8th. This year, the following players will be participating in the middle school game:

West All-Stars: Tommy Schmock, Turner Horn, Jayvon Graves, Jarious Ward, Antown Smith, Kelvin Calhoun II, Darious Coker, Seth Goodson, David Fitzgerald, Tyree Harris, EJ Williams and Ty Wiley.

East All-Stars: Keegan Seban, Dylan Dupler, Terell Ajain, Marieon Jackson, Matt King, Taj Clark, Isaiah Speelman, Garret Tipton, Jabari Preston, Kane Cooper and Juan Elmore.

Although the event will showcase some of the top high school and middle school players in the state, the games are really about having fun and just enjoying the festivities. If you are in town and want to see some of Ohio’s top young players, make your way over to the Bruce Howard Recreation Center and check out the action!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Nike Grassroots Tournament-Day Two Report

Ohio Hoopsters Huddle

I headed back over to Reynoldsburg High School on Saturday to get a look at some of the 8th grade teams participating in the Nike Grassroots tournament. As soon as I walked in, I caught the tail end of a game which featured a match-up between Ohio Basketball Club's (OBC) 7th grade squad and All-Ohio Red's 6th grade juggernaut. With the way All-Ohio has been dominating 6th grade teams, they decided to play up in order to get some competition.  Well, that's just what they got with OBC. I did not catch the game, but the score sheet indicated that All-Ohio held on to claim a 54-57 victory. According Coach DeMarko Bradley, All-Ohio jumped out to a 25 point lead, before "we put it on cruise control." Apparently, OBC's pressure was effective in causing turnovers, and OBC took advantage and cut the lead to single digits. All-Ohio was led in scoring by Jeremiah Francis who logged in a monster game with 30 points. OBC was paced by Ty Wiley (5'5 PG Columbus) and Jabari Perkins (5'6 WF Columbus) both of whom finished with 21 points.

Ty Wiley & Jabari Perkins

This weekend is a coming out party for OBC of sorts, as this team, as configured, is new to the AAU scene this year. After taking it on the chin from All-Ohio, their second game of the day was no easier. In their second game of the day against Hidden Gems, the score was tied at 21 at halftime. The leading scorers at half time were Jabari Perkins with 15 points and Hidden Gems' JR Shumate with 13 points. OBC would pull away in the second half and collect the 52-45 win. I have to give a shot out to Jabari Perkins.  In this evaluator’s opinion, this kid went from virtually unknown, to a potential top 30 player.  I only need to see one more performance like I saw this weekend to make that change! The kid is spectacular.

Jaylen Harris, Marreon Jackson & Matt Davet

I did get a chance to check out some 8th grade action, as King James and the Queen City Prophets (QCP) hooked up early Saturday morning.   Although QCP teams are always scrappy, and Ozie Davis always gets the most out of his talent, it was evident very early that King James is in another class in terms of talent. King James has good size in the post with Kelvin Calhoun II, Matt Davet and Jaylen Harris, and their back court duo of Tommy Schmock and Marreon Jackson is dynamic. King James out sized QCP out every position, and used trapping defenses and precision passing in making this one look easy. I had not seen Maple Height’s Marreon Jackson in a while, but he looked great on Saturday.  He is a undersized PG, but he is very quick in transition; is always on attack mode, and he can shoot it if left unguarded. Jackson led all scorers with 21 points. Matt Davit scored 12 points, followed by Jaylen Harris with 13 points and Tommy Schmock with 6 markers.  Although Schmock may not put up big numbers, he does not have to on this team; being a floor general is enough. Cincinnati’s Will Coker was the high man for QCP with 18 points.

Xavier Peters, Kane Cooper & EJ Willams

Remember what I just said about QCP teams being scrappy and playing hard? Well factor in a 6’6 man child with one of the best point guards in the state, plus good wing scoring from the wing, and you have the 7th grade QCP team. Although my 7th grade Buckeye Prep team got out in front of the Cincinnati-based team early, the combination of EJ Williams in the post and Kane Cooper at the point proved a little too much for the undersized Buckeye Prep squad. “Cooper to Williams,” was the call all game as QCP would get the 56-46 victory. I would love Cooper running my point because he understands the game, always makes the right play, he is scrappy and is tough as nails, and can get the ball where it needs to be.  At the end of the day, Williams is still unstoppable at this point in his career.  If he gets the ball in the right position, look for an “and 1.” I also like Middletown’s Xavier Peters (6’3 PF) who is relatively new to the statewide scene, but already a key cog to the QCP machine with good size and athleticism. Williams finished with a game-high 24 points, followed by Peters with 15 points.  I have to give props to Buckeye Prep’s Seth Goodson, who almost single handedly kept Prep in the game.  Goodson is really starting to separate himself from other guards in this class, as some of the moves he was making on Saturday were “next level,” “big boy” moves! Later in the day, Buckeye Prep would defeat Truth Basketball 45-37. Leading scorers for Prep were Garrett Tipton (17) and Seth Goodson (11). The Truth was led by Alex Heath who finished with 8 points.

L'Christian Smith-Dayton

In other 8th grade action, Brooks Hall’s Next Level team is still one of the top teams in the state; however, the gap may have closed just a bit. Despite jumping out on Team Lima Kings 6-0, and leading for much of the first half, Team Lima recovered from a poor shooting start to get back in this game. By halftime, Next Level was only up 30-24. Credit Lima’s Jarious Ward for leading the comeback, as he slashed his way to the bucket to score or broke down his defender and created easy buckets for  his teammate. As good as Ward was leading the comeback, Dayton’s L’Christian Smith was better.  Smith was a force in the paint both offensively and defensively.  He got buckets (14 points), rebounded and blocked shots. But that’s not all, Smith can handle the ball in transition, he’s athletic, and it’s clear that his game is continuing to develop.  We don’t see much of him here in Columbus, but Smith should be considered one of the top bigs in the state in his class. Other leading scorers for Next Level were Ethan Zielazny with 10 points and Ryan Markoff with 9 points. Ward led Lima with 13 points.

David Madison, David Fitzgerald & Juan Elmore

One of the games of the day was a night cap featuring two of Ohio’s top 7th grade teams with a “new look” King James squad and the Ohio Hoopsters. Going into the game most fans were eager to see how the Hoopsters would perform without last year’s starting point guard, Ty Wiley who left the team for greener pastures at the Ohio Basketball Club (OBC). Also, with an apparent roster upgrade for King James that included SMAC’s Sincere Carry, All-Ohio Purple’s Jordan Coovert, and Antwaun Johnson, King James was considered the favorite.  That was not the case last night, as the Hoopsters fought back from a slow start to capture a 58-64 win.  Midway through the first period the contest became a game of runs, as each team had scoring spurts.  Credit the win to hot shooting from David Fitzgerald and David Madison, and post scoring from Juan Elmore. Although the Hoopsters would keep King James in the game with ill-advised shots, the Hoopsters would hold on the claim the early season prize. Madison finished with a game-high 17 points, while David Fitzgerald added 16 points and Elmore added 10 markers. Mike Bothwell led King James with 13 points, while Jordan Coovert added 12 and Nico Cagiluso contributed 11 points.

Dane Goodwin-Excel

With the addition of Isaiah Spellman, and Dane Goodwin playing well, Excel is really looking good. I caught a couple of their games on Saturday and this team is hitting on all cylinders. Great guard play from Allocco, Norris and Goodwin combined with post scoring and defense from Speelman makes this team hard to beat, and maybe deserving of  the number one ranking in the state when the rankings come out in a couple of weeks. On Saturday, excel dispatched Next level’s B team 63-30. Earlier, Excel got by Lima’s Tier 1.  I did not see the finish, but what I do know, Excel was up 39-16 at the half.

All-Ohio’s 7th grade squad collected a couple of more wins. One of those wins came against the Ohio Stampede by a lopsided score of 94-27. Jimmy Weirick was the high man with 20 points. Quincy Simpson’s 7th grade Tier 1 squad defeated Next Level’s B team 42-35. Van Wert’s Kobe Kelly (5’4 SG) went for a game-high 21 points. Finally, Chris Dennis’ 9th grade King of Courts squad took down the Hope All-star 57-47. Garfield Height’s Trashawn Robinson (5’10 SG) looked good as did Buchtel’s Ronnell Clark (5’8 PG). The Hope All-Stars’ Malik Harrison (6’3 WF Columbus) looked good also. Look for a final day recap later.

We will get a chance to take another look at these kids and teams in 2 weeks at the BuckeyePrep Invitational Tournament here in Columbus.  It should be another great field with loads of talent.  For more information about the event, click on the highlighted link.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Nike Grassroots Tournament-Day One Report

Buckeye Prep vs Murphy AC B

On Friday, I spent some time at Reynoldsburg High School watching the action at the Nike Grassroots Tournament, one of the first big AAU events of the season. Since I started with the 7th grade division, of course I had to check out my 7th grade Buckeye Prep team as they faced off against Murphy AC’s B team. Although the game was close for most of the first half (28-22 at halftime), Buckeye Prep’s pressure eventually wore down a very scrappy Murphy AC team, and Prep went on to collect an easy 34-52 opening night victory. Buckeye Prep was led in scoring by Gahanna’s Seth Goodson who effectively attacked the cup the entire game on his way to a game-high 17 points.  In the paint, Garret Tipton displayed several advanced post moves and finished with 13 points. Cameron Carlisle added 6 points as well.  I plan to keep an eye on Big Walnuts’ Kalob Phillips, a 6’4 center with good upside.

Seth Goodson & Garret Tipton Led Buckeye Prep

I also caught some of the All-Ohio Red versus Dayton Metro game. From what I could tell, All-Ohio’s pressure gave Metro a lot of problems right out of the gate.  Although Metro was playing without their top player, they battled with Red before going down 49-42.  Pickerington’s Jimmy Weirick and Mansfield’s Elijah Cobb led Red with 12 points apiece, while Toledo’s Houston King added 11 points.  Dayton’s Drew Ashurst scored a team-high 11 points. Keep an eye on Logan Jones, a 6’4 center from Mansfield and 5’10 Jamil Goliday from Reynoldsburg; both of whom showed flashes during the game.

Tyler Golphin, Dwayne Cohill Jr. & Coryon Rice paced Murphy

Before leaving the gym on Friday, I watched the first half of the Excel vs Cincinnati Friars game, and right from the tip it was apparent that the Friars were grossly over matched.  In fact, by halftime, the score was already lopsided at 49-8. A review of the score sheet revealed that Isaiah Speelman and Dane Goodwin were already putting in work with 12 points apiece, followed by Matt Alloco  and Braden Norris with 9 and 7 points, respectively. Finally, Kevin Jackson’s 7th grade Murphy AC team enjoyed an opening day blowout victory against the Mansfield Cavs, crushing Mansfield by 53 points (69-16). Murphy AC was paced by Coryon Rice’s 12 points, followed by Tyler Golphin with 10 points and Dwayne Cohill Jr. who added 8 points. I plan to head back over to the tournament to see more of the action.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Session #1 Random Thoughts & Observations

Although I was only able to attend the final day of session one in Maryland, I was impressed with a number of things I saw.  First of all, as expected, the competition was fierce. In fact, a few of the games I watched reminded me of the final day of an AAU Nationals; where the top 3-4 teams  battle it out for a championship or to simply medal. The buzz in the gym you get when elite teams face off is what makes events special, and it’s in those games where you can see players getting better right before your eyes.

From what I witnessed the short time I was in DC, players, coaches and parents alike were all excited about being part of the NYBL! There is nothing like being surrounded by the top talent in the country and watching competition in its purest form. Although updated team rankings will be released by the end of the week, it’s clear that the top 10 teams may include Ohio Select, Carolina Preps, Deron Williams Elite, Arizona Monsoon, Metrolina Havoc, SC Hornets, Southern Stampede, 6th Man Warriors and ETU Select.

SC Hornets Finished 4-1

In terms of the regional break downs, the big question is this; is the South really that strong, or is the North just weak. I think the question may be answered during session # 2 in North Augusta, GA when the South will hook up with the East teams and the North will try their hand at the West teams. I would have to think that the North teams realize they will have to bring it in May to gain back some of the respect they lost last weekend.

Although all of the teams in the NYBL are talented, and had somewhat of a reputation heading in to DC, I think most people were surprised at how tough Deron Williams Elite played. Clearly, they have upgraded their roster from since year, and may now be one of the top 3-4 teams in the country. Another surprise was the play of Arizona Monsoon.  They may not scare anybody getting off the bus, but when the ball is tipped up you know you have a game on your hands! Very skilled and team-oriented is how I would describe Monsoon’s play.

Carolina Chaos-Big Surprise in Maryland

Maybe the biggest surprise of the weekend was to 5-0 finish of the Carolina Chaos. I hadn't heard a lot of buzz about this team going into prior to Maryland, but their play over the weekend has people talking! Also, I have to give a shootout to the 6th Man Warriors who logged in a very solid 4-1 resume in DC.  Although they have good all around talent, their bigs was the difference. Everybody expected teams like Ohio Select, Carolina Preps, SC Hornets, Southern Stampede and Metrolina Havoc to handle their business, but it was nice to see some new names emerge.

I’m already hearing from coaches about joining the league next year. Although some coaches decided to take a “wait and see” approach to joining the league this year, and in fact, many of them had doubts that we could pull it off [the league], they now know the potential of the NYBL and regret being on the sidelines! We are already hearing from coaches from the west coast about next year, and we plan to add a 4th session further west to pick up more of those teams.

Terrance Williams-ETU Select

I had a chance to look through some of the score books and noticed a few players who had big games over the weekend. Levar Allen Jr. from 6th man Warriors dropped 30 points against the Arkansas Soldierz, and then hit Enplay Elite for another 22. Rumor has it that he may have had a second 30 point game over the weekend. The Hornets’ Thomas Brunner went for 25 points against the Metro Flyers, and he followed that up later with 17 against the Gauchos. Terrance Williams from ETU Select had a big game against Future Phenoms to the tune of 24 points. Gerard Reynolds from Ohio Select gave Deron Williams Elite 23 points from the post, and before that he went for 18 markers. Metrolina Havoc’s Myles Pierre busted Team Izod for 20 points in a win. The Hornets’ Naseem Khalid had 20 points against Team Rio Elite. New Height’s Ed Sanchez scored 19 points against Carolina Preps followed by 17 versus Southern Stampede.  Look for the All-Session Teams to highlight a more complete list of the standout performers for the weekend.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

South Division Dominates NYBL Session #1

Ohio Select versus Deron Williams Elite

In terms of the competition, the first session of the NYBL was a smashing success! As envisioned, the best 6th grade teams in the country converged on southern Maryland intent on competing against the best the class has to offer. Of the 4 divisions that make up the NYBL, the South dominated the North, with two teams finishing 5-0, and no team finishing worse than 4-1. Carolina Preps and Carolina Chaos both went undefeated, while the South Carolina Hornets, Southern Stampede and Metrolina Havoc only sustained 1 loss. Of the 6 teams in the North Division (i.e., Team Izod/Sports U, Metro Flyers, Team Rio Elite, New Heights, MJ Mavericks and New York Gauchos), only the Mid-Jersey Mavericks won more than 1 game. In total, the South teams won 22 games while the North teams won only 4 games.

The other side of the session pitted East versus West. On that side, the final results were more even, with a win total of 18-12 in favor of the East. The East teams included: Ohio Select, 6th Man Warriors, ETU Select, Each 1 Teach 1, Murphy AC and the West Virginia Xplosion. The West teams included: Arizona Monsoon, Deron Williams Elite, Arkansas Soldierz, Future Phenoms, Enplay Elite & St. Louis Wildcats (DNP). The only undefeated team in the East was Ohio Select (5-0), followed by 3 teams with 4-1 records (6th Man Warriors, Arizona Monsoon & Deron Williams Elite).

Of the 3 undefeated teams, by most accounts, DeMarko Bradley’s Ohio Select team was the most talented. Despite early challenges from Arizona Monsoon and Deron Williams Elite, Ohio Select coasted to easy victories most of the weekend. Speaking of those 2 games, Ohio Select new they were in a battle with both squads! I caught only some of the game between them and Monsoon, but it was clear early on that Monsoon had enough talent and was coached well enough to hang with Ohio.

Gerard Reynolds Was a Beast on Sunday

One of the best games I saw on Sunday was Ohio Select versus Deron Williams Elite (DW). In that game, in front of a packed crowd, DW opened the game on a 4-0 run, and was up 9-8 by the end of the quarter. As is the case when Ohio plays teams, DW used full court pressure to get easy buckets. Both teams took turns sharing the lead in the second quarter and by halftime, Ohio was on top 19-17. Halftime leading scorers were Ohio’s Gerard Reynolds (10pts) and DW’s Tyrese Maxey (8pts). Ohio scored first to start the third quarter with a Jordan Mitchell jumper, but DW would retake the lead at the 3:38 mark (24-23). The lead would see saw midway through the third quarter, but Ohio would remain up 33-26 to start the 4th quarter. With about 3 minutes left in the game, Ohio’s size in the post would start to take a toll on DW. Ohio’s size coupled with DW foul trouble contributed to a 48-38 win for Ohio. Although Ohio won by double digits, the game was much closer than that. Big props go out to Ohio’s Gerard Reynolds who was simply a monster in the post the entire game. Reynolds finished with a game-high 23 points, followed by Chris Payne with 9 points and Jerome Francis with 8 markers. Deron William’s Tyrese Maxey finished with a team-high 15 points, followed by Chris Harris with 8 points. Great game!

Jason Harris-Arizona Monsoon

Possibly the most exciting game of the day involved an overtime thriller between ETU Select and Arizona Monsoon. Although ETU Select raced out to an early lead, Monsoon fought back and tied the game at 14 with 6.1 seconds left in the first quarter, and was ahead 18-14 to start the second quarter. Monsoon was awake by the start of the 2nd quarter, and actually extended the lead until ETU Select made a run to cut the lead 27-28 to end the first half. ETU scored on the first couple of possessions to start the 3rd quarter, but Monsoon retook the lead (42-41) to close the third period. The lead would change hands several times in the final period before regulation ended in a 59-59 tie. Monsoon had a chance to win the game at the free throw line but failed to convert the front end of a 1 and 1. In over time, Monsoon dominated as ETU would not score in overtime as Monsoon claimed the 67-59 victory. Arizona’s Jason Harris led all scorers with 14 points followed by 10 points from Lucas Hobbs and 6 points from Nico Mannion. ETU’s Josh Watts and Che Evans paced their team with 14 points apiece, followed by  Jahmir Young with 12 points.

Another very competitive game I saw included a matchup between the Hornets and Team Izod that went into overtime. The Hornets would go onto to get the win.  Also, the Mid-Jersey Magic gave Carolina Preps all they could handle early in the contest. Carolina would eventually take control and get the win.

Session #2 will tip of in North Augusta, SC in early May and will feature match ups between the top 2 divisions in the league, as the East will battle the South for regional bragging rights. In addition, the updated league rankings will be updated to reflect the results of session #1. Finally, we will soon be publishing our lists of the standout performers for session #1. The list was compiled based on feedback from the opposing coaches.

All-Session Teams

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Inaugural Season of NYBL Tipped Off on Friday

In the opening session of the NYBL, a couple of West Division teams flexed their muscles early. On Friday, Mark Brown’s 4th ranked Arizona Monsoon got off to a good start with a 67-52 win over 8th ranked Each 1 Teach One (E1T1).  According to Brown, the game was “very competitive,” and despite E1T1’s length, they were able to defend well, and to hold on to a second half lead.  Masoon’s next game is at 12:00 against Ohio’s Murphy AC. Standouts of Masoon included Dylan Dipena and Trent Brown.

The second game of the night pitted Maryland’s ETU Select against Texas’ Deron Williams Elite. Deron Williams raced out to a 22-2 lead, and despite the fact that ETU would later cut the lead to 8 points by the 3rd quarter, D. Will. held on to claim a convincing 56-36 win over one of the top teams in the northeast. When asked about his team’s early deficit, ETU Coach Andrew Brelsford indicated that he started the game without 3 starters, 1 of which never showed up for the game. Standouts for ETU Select included Terrance Williams and Josh Wyatts. According to Coach Josh Woodson, the early run as all about pressure and a balanced attack. “We hustled on defense and tried to run,” added Woodson. The standouts for Deron Williams included Reece Maxey, Chris Harris and Bryce Okpoh. Next up for Deron Williams is 6th Man Warriors at 1:20pm.

Some of Saturday’s key matchups include Team Izod/Sports U vs Carolina PREPS, Arkansas Soldierz vs Ohio Select and 6th Man Warriors vs Future Phenoms. Stay tuned for Saturday updates.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Who the Scouts Liked (8th Grade)

Like I always tell kids; “you never know who is watching.” During the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase last weekend, a scouting friend of mine agreed to check out some of the action, and to provide me with a list of the kids he liked. He concentrated on the 8th grade class and provided me with the following list of what he describes as “Fresh Faces,” “Surprises,” and “Standouts.”

Fresh Faces  (Very impressive despite being unknown)
Matt King  (Pictured)
Qua Southward (Saginaw, MI)
Jay Joseph
Harrison Riggs

Surprises  (More unknowns who grew on me as day went on. By the end, I was a fan)
Jayden Sayles (Pictured)
Jayvon Graves
Hunter Sieben
Shayne Smith (WVA)
Chase Munro
Jarius Ward

Standouts  (Kids I really liked who dominated)
Jaylen Harris (Pictured)
Tyrell Ajian
Keegan Saben
Tommy Schmock

Monday, March 11, 2013

All-Ohio Dominates In Indiana

All-Ohio Red-Indy Gardens Gold Medal Invitational Champs

DeMarko Bradley’s 6th grade All-Ohio Red squad ran through the competition at the Indy Gardens Gold Medal Invitational in Fishers, Indiana over the weekend. As a tune up for the NYBL in Maryland this weekend, Bradley’s team finished 6-0, and notched impressive wins over the Hoosier State’s top teams.

Because the tournament had a super pool in the 6th grade division, All-Ohio jumped right in the heat with pool games against arguably the top 2 teams in the state, in the G3 Hoosiers and Raw Hoops. Right out of the box, and in front of a packed crowd, Red matched up against the Hoosiers and proceeded to handle them easily to the tune of a 78-57 victory.  In game two, Bradley’s team crushed Raw Hoops 70-40. It’s important to note that both teams featured national ranked players, and are widely considered nationally ranked teams.

In the opening round of bracket play All-Ohio drew a forfeit from the Indiana Thunder (they probably knew the deal), before taking down the Illinois Raptors 90-25. The semi-final game featured a showdown with another of Indiana’s top teams, the Jeff Teague All-Stars. As was the case with their previous opponents, Jeff Teague proved to be no match, as they fell to All-Ohio 70-55.

The championship game featured a rematch with the G3 Hoosiers, the defending AAU National Champions. This time around, a sluggish start found Red down 19-7 to the Hoosiers before Bradley turned up the defensive intensity with their patterned full-court press. After erasing the early deficit, and with a little more than 1 minute left in the contest and the game tied at 38, Jerome Frances drained a trey to give All-Ohio a lead they would not relinquish. Red would go onto to win 50-40. Congratulations to the All-Ohio red players, coaches and parents for making Ohio proud!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase Features Young Talent

On Sunday, approximately 300 elite players in grades 6th-12th participated in the spring session of the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase held at Central Crossing High School in Columbus, Ohio. In addition to the skills and drill stations in the morning, the players and their parents were treated to an informative presentation by Jeremy McCool, Associate Director of High School Review with the NCAA Eligibility Center.

Because many of the region’s top high school guys were still participating in the state tournament with their high school teams, the showcase talent was heavily weighted in the middle school divisions.  With that said, there were a number of quality players in the Varsity division, which featured players in grades 9-12th.

Below are links to showcase rankings in each of 4 divisions, in addition to the lists of players who played their way into all-star games.

Showcase Rankings: