For about 15 years, the Buckeye Prep Invitational Tournament has attracted a number of talented teams from around the country. When the longstanding tourney tips off at Central Crossing HS in Columbus, Ohio on Friday, 145 teams at 7 sites will compete for the coveted championship.
In the high school divisions, the Ohio Hoopsters are well represented, as is All-Ohio, Hidden Gems, SMAC, Dayton Nets and db Hoops. I’ve heard some good things about VJ Sports (2015) in terms of talent, but Coach Tony Laveneder-coached teams play hard and are always tough to beat. Ohio Varsity will be in the house and are always a tough out. Akron’s King of Court is always full of talent, as are the Dayton Nets. Hidden Gems has made a serious statement with 19 total teams entered into the tournament, many of which can make a run.
The field for the 8th grade division is the largest with 27 teams. The favorites include the Queen City Prophets, Ohio Basketball Club, SMAC U, Shinning Stars and the Ohio Hoopsters. These handful of teams are very familiar with each other, as they have battled on a regular basis over the past couple of years. Also, with his full roster of players, Coach Ed Lyshe’s Buckeye Prep Team could be a sleeper.
The 7th grade division is lead by the Indiana-based Team Teague and Atlanta’s CMA. Both teams are returning from last year and could match up in the championship game. The Ohio Hoopsters Elite has the squad to win it all, but the Ohio Basketball Club could also get it done, as could SMAC Showtime. This could be the most competitive division in the event.
The Columbus-based Mid-Ohio Pumas are the favorites to take the 6th grade crown, while Team Teague could get the nod as well. OBC/Dayton Swish, Team Toledo, SMAC Primetime, Hard Work and All-Ohio Red could get on a roll and pull an upset. Pool DD is loaded with Team Teague, OBC/Dayton Swish and Team Toledo. This pool is going to be a dogfight, and somebody is going home early!
The Mid-Ohio Pumas, Team Teague and the Ohio Basketball Club are the front-runners in the 5th grade divisions, but Coach Aaron Brown’s Buckeye Prep team has the horses to make the championship game. Team Teague has the best chance to take the 4th grade division. Look for daily recaps and photo galleries of this event.