Monday, January 27, 2014

Latest Edition of Prep Spotlight Released

I recently received my copy of Prep Spotlight in the mail and was excited to see all of the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase alums prominently featured. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the publication, John Stoval (Ohio) does a great job with highlighting both states’ top high school basketball players and teams.

In the latest edition, both Stoval and Baldwin list the top individual players and top high school teams in each high school class from 2017 through 2014. Included in the addition are state and national rankings in each class, including updates on college commitments. There is also an article from Dave Telep outlining his “Top 10 Evaluation Factors.” If you want to know what’s going on in highs school basketball in Ohio and Michigan, you might want to pick up a copy of Prep Spotlight Magazine!  

To order your copy, send a check or money order for $7.00 to Rob Taylor at 585 Tall Oaks Dr. Gahanna, Ohio 43230.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Buckeyes Run With Elite West Coast Team

Shemar Morrow-6'0 WF Aurora 2020

In the world of elite middle school basketball, sometimes money is no object when it comes to competing for championships. Case in point, a couple of times this winter two Ohio middle schoolers have been on one hell of a roller-coaster ride courtesy Master P and his P. Miller Ballers. Sixth graders Shemar Morrow (6’0 WF Aurora) and Devon Hightower (5’3 WF Aurora) have recently been running with the California-based P. Miller Ballers in a couple of elite events on the west coast. One such event was the Open Gym WCE25 OCSD Challenge where the Ballers ran through the competition on their way to the title.

For middle school basketball fans, Morrow is widely recognized as the top player not only in Ohio, but in the nation in the class of 2020. He is so talented that Rapper Master P is financing his and trips out west to play for his team. Miller’s investment is obviously paying off with MVP performances by Morrow, solid play from Hightower and 2 championships since the pair have been playing with the team. For the record, the P. Miller Ballers were already a quality team, but the addition of Morrow and Hightower, the team is dominate, and the favorite to win any tournament they enter.

Master P With Players
This is not the first time Master P. has involved himself in travel basketball. Several years ago Miller financed a team for his older son, Little Romeo who also accumulated some of the top players in the country. Like his current squad, Master P spares no expense in recruiting and bringing in some of the top talent in the country, regardless of where they live. This time around, Morrow and Hightower get the opportunity to run with Miller’s younger son, Hercy Miller, as well as other talented guys like Fred Burton and Jay Taylor.

With 2 championships under their belts already this year, the P. Miller Ballers are poised to make major noise in the upcoming NYBL season, which tips off in Washington DC in March. Although Morrow and Hightower will be running with the Ohio-based King James Shooting Stars in the NYBL, you can bet Master P. will find replacement players to take up some of the slack left by the departure of Morrow and Hightower, and will be a favorite to win a NYBL National Championship.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Dayton Airmen Tournament Loaded With Talent

Dayton Swish-6th Grade Champions

 On Monday, I made a trip south to Dayton catch the final day action of the Dayton Airmen’s annual MLK Day tournament. Although the tournament has a history of attracting quality teams, this year’s field was especially competitive in the 5th and 6th grade divisions. Monday’s games were all about bracket play and championship games, and boy were there some good ones!

Late Monday I had the pleasure of watching 3 straight games that were very competitive, and were not decided until the closing minutes of the games. In a 5th grade semi-final game, the Game Faith Stars out lasted the Dayton Airmen 36-40.  Although the Airmen were bigger and more athletic, the well-coached Stars played with more precision, executed more efficiently and grinded their way to the victory. The top performers for the Stars were Malcom McKay, Will Thomas and Josh Turner, all of whom reside in Springfield. Standouts for the Airmen included Eric Smith and Tyler Dorsey (4th grade), both from Dayton.

All-Tournament Team (Mims, Anderson, O'Neal, Fulcher, Allocco & Hughley)

The Dayton Swish vs Team Teague 6th grade semi-final game was a nail biter and required overtime before a winner could be decided. Team Teague was clearly the bigger and more athletic squad, but the Swish were quicker, tougher and just seemed to want the game a little more. Dayton’s swarming and trapping defense neutralized Team Teague’s considerable front court size advantage, and in the end, the Swish would punch their ticket to the championship game with a 35-33 victory. Keshawn Hughley (5’4 WF Dayton) was the leading scorer for the Swish with 11 points, while Jason Hall (4’11 PG Indianapolis) paced Team Teague with a game-high 15 points. Although Hughley is a man-child who uses his size and strength score and rebound, Hall is a dynamic PG with loads of potential. More specifically, Hall is very skilled, can shoot from deep, has the ball on a string, has a high motor and basketball IQ and is an able and willing passer. Also, Hall is very smooth and poised and could have future D-I potential with continued growth and development. I also liked Cameron Stash (5’9 WF Indianapolis) and James Curry (5’11 WF Indianapolis), both of whom, are long and very athletic.

Jason Hall-4'11 PG Indianapolis

The 6th grade championship was a barn burner and featured a matchup between the New Birth Warriors and the Dayton Swish. Before the game,  Swish Coach Sam Anderson hinted that his team had “something for New Birth,” and his prediction was on the money, as Dayton claimed the title with a hard-fought 51-45victory. In terms of a recap, New Birth scored first to start the game on a layup by Savion O’Neal. The opening quarter was tight, and ended with a score of 12-14 in favor of Dayton. By half time, new Birth and regained the lead and went into the half up 28-27. The Warriors would draw first blood to start the second half with a free throw, but Dayton would answer right back with a Keyshawn Hughley layup to take a 31-29 lead. Back-to-back scores from the Swish put them up 33-29. Dayton would make a run to close the 3rd period with the lead. The Swish would maintain the lead until New Birth tied the game at 43 with 25 seconds left. After a Josiah Fulcher half-court heave missed the mark, the game went to overtime. Dayton controlled overtime and would go on to get the win and the title. I did not get the final score, but Keyshawn Hughely, Sam Anderson and Carter Mims were the standouts for Dayton, while Matt Allocco, Josiah Fulcher, Von Cameron Davis and Savon O’Neal paced New Birth. As a final note, Upper Arlington’s Matt Allocco continues to draw a lot of praise for his spectacular play, and his performance last weekend would have garnered him MVP honors had New Birth got the win.  

In addition to the quality teams in this event, there was a lot of individual talent as well. As evidence of the talent level at this event, many of the participating players are currently listed on the Buckeye Prep Report “Watch List” which we use to identify perspective future stars. In addition to the players featured above, keep an eye of the following players: Keon’te Hughley (5’3 P/SG Dayton), Tavon Goodwin (5’8 WF Dayton), Evan Prater (5’4 WF Cincinnati), Jamel Walker (4’9 PG), Carl Blanton (5’11 WF Dayton), Eric Smith (5th grade PG Dayton) and Daniel Cummings (5’10 C Dayton). 

For the record, Salvation Army teams won the 3rd and 5th grade division championships, while the Warriors captured the 4th grade division crown. I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to Charlotte Harris, Mark Landers, Coach Powell and the entire Dayton Airmen staff for the great hospitality they extended!

Monday, January 20, 2014

March Madness Attracts Talent

The NYBL tips off March 22nd in Washington, DC, but several top NYBL contenders are tuning up in centrally located Scranton, Pennsylvania March 8th and 9th to prepare for the season.  The defending national AAU champion, 7th grade Carolina Preps/CP3 are headed to the Electric City with other NYBLers including Team Rio National to battle for the 7th grade $1,000 American Express first place travel voucher.  Buckeye Prep Report will be on site to get a sneak preview of the upcoming NYBL season in each age group.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Lawrence Funderburke to Speak at BP Elite Showcase

Lawrence Funderburke

Diehard Buckeye basketball fans are well aware of the impact Lawrence Funderburke made on the Ohio State basketball program in the early 1990s. As a three-time All Big Ten performer, Funderburke teamed up with OSU great Jimmy Jackson and helped lead the Buckeyes to a Big Ten Championship in 1992. After 3 years at Ohio State, where he would later graduate Magna Cum Laude with a Business Finance degree, Funderburke took his talents to the NBA after he was drafted in the second round by the Sacramento Kings. Prior to suiting up for the Kings, Funderburke played 3 years of professional basketball in Greece. Funderburke retired in 2005 and later authored 2 books titled Hook Me Up, Playa! and The Triangle Formula of Success, that detailed some of the pitfalls of what Funderburke described as the “limelight.” In addition, in 2000, Funderburke and his lovely wife Monya founded the Lawrence Funderburke Youth Organization (LFYO) which is dedicated to helping at risk youth, by “Changing Legacies, Not Just Lives.”

The Buckeye Prep Report is pleased to announce that Funderburke will be providing his considerable insight to the participants at the spring Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase scheduled for March 1st & 2nd. Having experienced many up and downs as a child growing up in extreme poverty in the Sullivant Gardens housing projects and during his own collegiate and NBA careers, Funderburke’s success story is a must hear for aspiring young basketball players. Not only will Funderburke be serving as the key note speaker, he will be sharing his considerable basketball-related experience as a coach to a lucky team of players during the showcase.

Now residing in Columbus, with his wife and 2 children, Funderburke is not only busy running his foundation, he is also providing individual basketball training using the same offseason regiment he used while preparing for the NBA. This past weekend, I had the opportunity to visit Funderburke and observe one of his workouts up close and personal. During the 2-hour workout, Funderburke and his good friend Art Lowe, ran 2 young players though a series of dynamic drills that worked on multiple skills at 1 time, while emphasizing a holistic approach toward training. “I train kids exactly the way I trained in the off season while I was in the NBA,” said Funderburke. “I believe in the holistic approach; I don’t it dumb it down [training],” continued Funderburke. In addition to the numerous ball handling and foot work drills Funderburke employed during the workout. There was also a lot of attention paid towards strength, conditioning, maintaining good balance and shooting, all designed to increase athletic development and endurance.

Unique to Funderburke’s “FunderMax Training” is the emphasis he places on scouting his trainees. Specifically, a couple of times during their training program, Funderburke will pay a visit to AAU or school games and actually observe a player’s performance during the games in order to analyze their strengths and weaknesses and to better tailor an individual training program. His scouting sessions chart stats like field goals attempted and made, free throws made and attempted, assists, turnovers, rebounds, steals, blocks, hustle plays, work ethic, athletic ability, talent level for grade, court awareness, includes a shot chart and several other factors. In addition to the scouting, Funderburke also pays attention to his player’s nutritional needs and provides spring water and energy bars after each workout. Finally, Funderburke’s workouts are high-energy, fun, and he caps that all off with regular feedback to parents about their child’s progress. Based on the feedback I received from 1 parent, Funderburke’s approach has really played a factor in his son’s development. Funderburke relies on referrals to select who he trains, but if anyone is interested in his program, he can be reached

In our effort to help players reach their goals and dreams, the Buckeye Prep Report is pleased to partner with Lawrence Funderburke for the elite showcase!

Photo Gallery 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2014 Spring Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase Invitations Extended

Below is an email that was sent out this morning extending invitations to the 2014 Spring Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase. Please read it carefully. If you did not receive the email, but you have attended previous showcases, and/or may be talented enough to attend the event, please feel free to email at Recommendations from coaches will be considered.

Parents, Coaches, Players

We are now a little over 60 days before my March 1st & 2nd Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase.  Attached is an invitation for your son/player.  As was the case last September, the event will be loaded with talent, and will represent another opportunity for your son/player to compete against the best players from around Ohio, the Midwest and the nation. The fall showcase attracted over 350 very talented players, and the March event should draw close to 400 players.  As is the case with every Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase, the exposure opportunities will be great, as there will be several scouting services, video guys and small college coaches in the house to document the action.

As I did for the September showcase, I will be maintaining a running list of the players who have committed to the event (right hand side of the website).  This list is not official, and will not hold your son/player a spot in the showcase.  Only a full payment of the $125.00 registration fee by the deadline will guarantee a spot. Also, for your convenience, I have placed a Pay Pal link in the upper right hand corner of the website if you would like to pay the fee online with a credit card. There will be a $3.00 surcharge for this method of payment. When using Pay Pal, please enter your son/player’s name, grade, height and position in the space provided, as this will assist me to match your payment with the registration forms. Also, please make sure you note the Pay Pal receipt number on the registration form, and then bring the receipt with you the morning of the event.  If you plan to attend the event, please email with your intentions, provide me with your son’s name, grade, height and position, then send in the registration forms and fee ASAP. Please do not send registration forms without the fee!

For the first time ever, we will be adding a 2nd-5th grade division for the younger players. Based on the reduced number of players and format difference, the cost for players in that division is only $50). Please help pass the word about the younger division, as most people may not recognize the addition.

As the date of the showcase gets closer, I will be sending out emails and updating the website.  It is very important that you continue to follow the website up until the day of the event ( for updates, as things may change. I know I don’t have email addresses for everybody, and some people don’t use the internet very often; therefore, please help me spread the message and share the information and updates with those parents who you know may not receive the information they need. 

For those of you who have not attend Buckeye Prep showcases in the past, below are a number of links to articles and videos from the last event. Please take the time to go through the material, as they offer some great insight into the events.  For those you who have participated in the showcases, you know that the competition is fierce; the right people are there watching; and the event is always well run.

Based on the level of participation in September, the positive feedback we received after the event, and the fact that football will not be an issue, this event will likely be SOLD OUT. Because of facility limitations, once all of the spots have been filled, I cannot add additional players. Spots will be filled on a “first come, first served basis.” If you have any questions or concerns, emailing me is the best option, but feel free to call me at 614-203-2929.  I hope to see you in March!

PS. I’m always looking for quality coaches.  If you enjoy working with kids; have a coaching background; can be objective; and are interested in coaching at the event, please email me. Coaches will receive a showcase T-shirt and free meals and drinks in our “coaches and media only” hospitality room. Please note, you cannot coach your son or player(s), and every attempt will be made to schedule around your son’s games.

PSS. Also, please let your AAU coaches know about out April 4-6th Buckeye Prep Invitational Tournament. Like the showcase, the competition and exposure is top notch!

Rob Taylor
Buckeye Prep Report

Committed player list and updates
Media & video from past events: