Monday, June 30, 2014

Several Buckeyes Receive All-Star Nods

Not only has the National Youth Basketball League (NYBL) attracted the majority of the top teams in the country, the second-year league is also loaded with individual talent.  In fact, all of the national player rankings developed to date are dominated by NYBL participants. Well, this September, the best of the best will return to Columbus, Ohio to participate in the NYBL All-Star Weekend and the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase. For several Ohio kids, they won’t have far to travel. When the NYBL All-Star game rosters were released earlier today, 10 players possessed coveted roster spots, while 8 others were listed as alternates. The following players were listed:

7th Grade Division

Jeremiah Francis-All-Ohio Red (Top 20 Game)
Jordan Mitchell-All-Ohio Red (Top 20 Game)
Chris’Sean Stringer-All-Ohio Red (Top 40 Game)
Alfonse Hale-Ohio Basketball Club (Top 40 Game)
Amari Davis-All-Ohio Red (Top 60 Game)
Chris Payne-All-Ohio Red (Top 60 Game)
Gerard Reynolds-All-Ohio Red (Top 60 Game)

Alternates: Andre Gordon-All-Ohio Red, Gavin Baker-Ohio Hoopsters, Charlie Large-Riverside Flyers, Demarko Bradley Jr.-All-Ohio Red & Will Chatman-Ohio Hoopsters

6th Grade Division

Shemar Morrow-Oakland Soldiers (Top 20 Game)
Chance Mott-Mansfield Cavs (Top 20 Game)
Logan Howe-Mansfield Cavs (Top 40 Game)

Alternates: Tahleik Walker-Mansfield Cavs & Devin Hightower-Oakland Solders

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase Invitations Extended

The 2014 fall session of the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase is fast approaching, and we are busy putting together another fantastic event! Again this year, the event will be held in conjunction with the National Youth Basketball League (NYBL) All-Star Weekend, and will host a slate of 5 all-star games in the 6th & 7th grade divisions. New this year is the USA vs Canada all-star game that will feature the top 10-12 players in the United States vs the top players from Canada.  This first of its kind game will be the feature game of the event and will attract international attention. In addition to the top kids from the NYBL, other nationally ranked players like Tyger Campbell and Sharif Kenny  will represent the USA vs Canada.

For those players who did not participate in the NYBL this season, the showcase will give them an opportunity to go head to head against the best in the nation so they, too, can be featued among the best.  As always, the high school divisions will feature many of the region's most elite players, as will be the case with the 4th-5th grade division. If elite competition and unmatched exposure is what you seek, the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase is a must!

Below is an an email that was sent out this morning along with an invitation and registration forms. If you have attended past Buckeye Prep Elite Showcases and did not receive an invitation, send an email to For those who feel they have what it takes to compete against the best, email us with your credentials.

Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase Information Page

Parents, Coaches, Players

We are now a little over 60 days before my September 13th & 14th Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase (fall).  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 last fall showcase attracted over 350 very talented players, and this September’s event will exceed that.  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 have done before, 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 $129.00 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!

Once again, we will be hosting a 2nd-5th grade division for the younger players. Because of the smaller numbers with these age groups, this division will be combined into 1 division. 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 attended Buckeye Prep showcases in the past, below are a number of links to articles and videos from past events. 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 last September, the positive feedback we received after the event, 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.

Rob Taylor
Buckeye Prep Report

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

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

West Coast All-Stars Take NYBL Championship

West Coast All-Stars-2020 NYBL National Champions
As season two of the National Youth Basketball League (NYBL) unfolded, it was clear that 2 teams were on a collision course toward the championship game.  One of those teams has a collection of talent that would rival any national all-star team, while the other team had talent, but was more cohesive, and reliant on role players and a team concept. The much anticipated west coast match-up was projected for the championship game, but actually went down in the semi-finals.  After the West Coast All-Stars got by the Oakland Soldiers with a 1 point victory (56-55) in the NYBL semi-finals, thoughts quickly turned towards the championship rings. Leesburg’s ticket to the big dance was hard fought as well, as the Virginia based team needed overtime to get a 68-63 victory and advance.

In the championship game, West Coast faced off against the Leesburg Basketball Club. We wish we could describe the contest as an instant classic that was decided by a thrilling half court buzzer beater in overtime, but that was not the case, as West Coast grabbed the lead early and never really was threatened. By the time the clock showed zeros, the West Coast All-Stars were up 30-79 and were NYBL National Championships.

West Coast’s march to the title game included wins over Team Nation (forfeit), Brampton Warriors (65-40), CBC Elite (64-53) and the Oakland Soldiers (56-55). Leesburg’s path went through the Mississauga Knights (52-23), Mansfield Cavs (55-49), Worldwide Wildcats (62-56), and the Banneker Kings (68-63).

Jason Harris-Championship Game MVP
In the 3rd/4th place game, the Oakland Soldiers finished on a winning note after collecting a 64-55 win over the Banneker Kings. The Worldwide Wildcats defeated CBC Elite in the 5th/6th place game (51-41), while the Carolina Kings took down the God First Crusaders 45-38 in the 7th/8th place game. Team Glory’s 48-37 win over the Mansfield Cavs rounded out the top 10 finishers. The final order of finish was: (1) West Coast All-Stars; (2) Leesburg Basketball Club; (3) Oakland Soldiers; (4) Banneker Kings; (5) Worldwide Wildcats (6) CBC Elite; (7) Carolina Kings; (8) God First Crusaders; (9) Team Glory; (10) Mansfield Cavs; (11) Enplay Elite; (12) Brampton Warriors; (13) Flints Finest; (14) Go Hard in the Paint; (15) Mississauga Knights; and (16) Team Nation.

Z. Harmon, S.Marrow, J. Toles, K. Walker, J. Ross, J. Harris, C. Elliott, L. Gonzales & C. Mott
 The NYBL Finals provided a stage for some of the class of 2020’s most elite players to log in some pretty impressive scoring performances. No one lit it up more than Team Glory’s Zion Harmon, who put up consistent gaudy numbers the entire weekend. In fact, in a span of 4 games, Harmon, only a 5th grader, scored 45, 39, 36 and 35 points, for a total of 155 points and an average of 38.75 points per game. Also putting up big numbers were: Shemar Morrow (Oakland Soldiers), Jordan Toles (Banneker Kings), Hobby Ross (Carolina Kings), Kyree Walker (Oakland Soldiers), Letrelle Gonzales (Brampton Warriors), Chase Elliott (Worldwide Wildcats), Jason Harris (West Coast All-Stars), Paris Dawson (West Coast All-Stars), Isaiah LeBlanc (God First Crusaders), Chance Mott (Mansfield Cavs) and Isaiah Folkes (Leesburg Bball Club).

The numbers were smaller in the 2020 division, but the intensity and the competition was comparable to that of the 7th graders.  Congratulations to all of the teams that participated in the NYBL this season. Look for the number and quality of teams to double for 2015.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

All-Ohio Red Claims Back to Back NYBL National Championships

All-Ohio Red-2014 NYBL National Champions
Since season two of the NYBL tipped off in Washington D.C back in March, 2 teams have continued to separate themselves from the pack. This weekend at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, the same 2 teams met in the NYBL National Championship game for the second straight year. As was the case last year, All-Ohio Red faced off against Team CP3 (formally Carolina Preps) for all the marbles. Again, All-Ohio had to erase a double digit deficit before eventually going ahead to claim the title. This time around, All-Ohio was down on one knee with some in their camp ready to pack it in.  However, the guys on the court would have none of that, as they used an early 4th quarter run to seize a lead that they never relinquished.

Although up by about 4 points with four minutes left in the game, CP3 was dealt a significant blow when starting guard, Kobe Langley fouled out of the game. With Kobe Langley out and Wendell Moore on the bench in street clothes due to an earlier knee injury, All-Ohio’s patented press began to take its toll on CP3, resulting in uncharacteristic turnovers and easy transition buckets. Later, with Keyshan Langley left to shoulder most of the ball handling duties, the handwriting was on the wall for CP3. Truth be told, the fact that Team CP3 got by George Hill in the semi-finals, made it to the championship game, and actually had a great chance of winning the thing was a true testament to their talent and will to win.

Chris'Sean Sringer-Championship Game MVP
The big names for All-Ohio are Jeremiah Frances and Jordan Mitchell, but the star in this game was Cincinnati’s Chris’Sean Stringer, who took control of the situation and powered his team to a 73-61 victory on the strength of a 22-point performance. Stringer kept things simple as he relentlessly attacked the basket and either finished near the rim or drew fouls and converted. He also defended well and grabbed a ton of rebounds. At the end of the day, Stringer was a serious match-up problem for CP3 as they had no one who could stop his drives to the basket.  All-Ohio’s trek to the championship included wins over D. Wade (75-33), 6th Man Warriors, Team Rio (39-43) and Team Takeover (44-39). Team CP3 made the final game with wins over The Truth (75-36), Team Texas (63-45), TNBC (78-32) and George Hill (72-57).

The Final 4 teams included All-Ohio, Team CP3, George Hill and Team Takeover. Elite 8 match-ups included Team CP3 vs TNBC, George Hill vs Team Florida, All-Ohio vs Team Rio and Team Takeover vs Memphis War Eagles. Unlike most events, there were very few cupcake games in bracket play. Case in point, the first game in the Sweet 16 featured a rematch of the 2013 AAU National Championship game. Although that game required overtime to crown a championship, Team CP3 easily got by an injury-plagued Team Texas Express (63-45) to advance. Exhibit # 2; Memphis War Eagles vs the Brampton Warriors and George Hill vs Butler (74-63).  Elite match-ups in the second round of tournaments are extremely rare, but they are almost common place in the NYBL!

There are several things that are clear since the last horn sounded Sunday afternoon. Scottie Lewis reestablished himself as a top 5 player in his class. Lewis was back to his highflying self as he thrilled the crowd with dunks and athletic plays. Also, Lewis’ teammate, Bryan Antonie, is the real deal, and he has raised his stock considerably since the start of the NYBL season. From what we have seen since March, Antonie was at times, the best player on a stacked Team Rio team, and has high major potential written all over him with continued development. Team CP3’s Wendell Moore threw down what might possibly have been his first dunk in NYBL play this weekend.  Moore’s upside has never been questioned, but his production is among the best in the country right now. He did not get the poster he dissevered, but his place among the top tier of NYBL’s elite is firmly established.

Even without the services of Moore in the last 2 games, Team CP3 was a force to be reckoned with. They are not the tallest team in the league, nor do they possess a roster chucked full of strong and athletic slashers or post players, but what they do have is great coaching, a high basketball IQ, patience, discipline, and role players who know how to execute their jobs. Moore gets the ink, but that team does not win without the guard play of the Langley twins; the perimeter threat from Michael Green and the big time scoring spurts from Chaz Gywn.  Finally, a shout out goes to Max Farthing who held down the post with Moore out.  Farthing is an important piece of the puzzle, and although he rarely gets the credit he deserves, his role is an example of why this team wins.

C. Stringer, S. Lewis, K. Rode, J. Moore, K. Langley, D. McKenny & B. Sanders
The Brampton Warriors arrived in Columbus with the intentions of pulling an upset and taking the championship trophy and rings back across the border. That obviously did not happen, and the team’s leader, Rowan Barrett Jr. was off his game against the more athletic Memphis War Eagles. However, Barrett’s status as one of the 2-3 top players in the league remains intact.  All-Ohio Red is loaded with talent, but Chris’sean Stringer, Jeremiah Frances and Jordan Mitchell all took turns pacing their squad. Some are speculating that All-Ohio will have to re-tool and overhaul their rosters to repeat next year, but that may just be wishful thinking for those who would seek to unseat them from the throne.

George Hill toyed with joining the NYBL in its inaugural season before opting to sit it out; however, their presence in the league this year raised the level of competition. It’s clear from their performance this past weekend (Final 4 appearance) that they will be a force to be reckoned with going forward. Kyle Rode, Dexter Shouse Jr, Sidney Curry and Keion Brooks make up a formidable core! Team Florida, with workhouse Bryan Sanders and future high major Balsa Koprovica, were one of the surprise teams of the season, and were only a 3 points shy (74-71) of punching their ticket to the Final 4. Look for Team Florida to make a run at the other national championship later this month.

Team Takeover had a more than respectful NYBL season this year, but I’m not sure many NYBL fans saw them making a Final 4 run. Undoubtedly, the addition Justin Moore and Anthony Harris was a big reason for their success this past weekend, as both players excelled and made a significant impact on the final results. In addition, the Memphis War Eagles rolled into town with a legitimate chance at the crown. Despite having Chandler Lawson in tow, DJ Jefferies adding depth, solid point guard play from Joe Cooper, and standout performances by Kyle Sturdivant and Dashaun McKinney, the War Eagles were bounced from contention by Takeover (76-62) in one of the best 7th grade games of the session. In addition, much like the addition of George Hill, Memphis’ participation in the league bought an edge and increased competition to the table.

Team United’s NYBL campaign started off with a bang in the opening weekend, but their success was more limited in subsequent sessions. With that said, a top 10 finish for a newly formed and first year team is still impressive. With Brian “BJ” Mack and Niclas Evtimov holding down the post, and JC Tharrington providing both solid backcourt support and scoring, Team United is a piece or 2 away from being right there. I’m not sure they get much respect closer to home, but the NYBL has much love for them!

J. Francis, T. Williams, B. Antonie, R. Barrett, DJ Jefferies, M. Jones, B. Koprovica  & J. Mitchell
We’re not quite sure what happened to the SC Hornets this past weekend. One of the elite teams last year who was smoking hot after Session # 1; the Hornets were no more than a footnote in Columbus. A 16th place finish might be good for some teams, but we’re sure the Hornets aren’t satisfied with their finish in the championship session. To regain their national respect and status, the Hornets may need a roster upgrade and an infusion of talent.

Speaking of under achieving, after a second place finish at the other national championship last year, a 4-1 start in Washington DC, and an impressive win over the defending National Champion Team CP3, Texas Express was expected to do big things in the NYBL this year.  That simply did not happen, and Josh Woodson’s team limped out of Columbus with an 11th place finish. When I say “limped,” it was just that. Slowed by injuries to De’vion Harmon since the opening weekend, Texas could not recover, even with big time performances by Chris Harris Jr. and Tyrese Maxey. I don’t want to make excuses for them, but Texas Express has not been the same squad that teams once feared. With that said, don’t count Woodson’s team out just yet, as Harmon’s recovery is progressing well!

The 2019 final order of finish is as follows: (1) All-Ohio Red; (2) Team CP3; (3) George Hill; 
(4) Team Takeover; (5) Team Rio; (6) Team Florida; (7) Memphis War Eagles; (8) TNBC; (9) Brampton Warriors; (10) Team United; (11) Texas Express; (12) 6th Man Warriors; (13) Northern Kings; (14); Reach Higher Kings; (15) Butler Elite; (16) SC Hornets; (17) Carolina Chaos; (18) Arkansas Soldierz; (19) Upstate Warriors; (20) Arkansas Wings; (21) Charlotte Rivals; (22) DC United; (23) Lexington Hustle; (24) Academy Prep Hawks; (25) Ohio Hoopsters; (26) Riverside Flyers; (27) OBC; (28) DWade; (29) Enplay Elite; (30) The Truth; (31) DC Assault; and (32) Future Phenoms.     

Although some in the business counted the NYBL out this past summer, by most accounts, season #2 of the league was an outstanding success! In fact, the league doubled the number of teams, added a 6th grade division, upgraded the talent by adding several very competitive teams, added a 4th session, upgraded their facilities, upgraded their awards package, and really pumped up the exposure for the players and teams. Moreover, others have tried to duplicate the success of the NYBL, but have fallen well short of what the league has achieved. The NYBL has been a game changer that is challenging the status quo, while changing the face of middle school basketball! The NYBL is only one big sponsor away from blowing the game wide open! For those teams and players that were on the sidelines this year with their faces pressed against the window looking in at what was happening in the NYBL, get in the game next season!