Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Buckeyes Garner National Attention

J. Francis, J. Mitchell, A. Gordon, C. Stringer & A. Davis
Regardless of where you stand on the relevance and wisdom of ranking middle school-aged players, it has become common practice for national media outlets to begin identifying elite players at a very young age. Traditionally, players begin to receive recognition though a variety of ways.  Primarily, young kids are discovered by playing on elite level teams and in the most competitive tournaments.  In addition, participation in elite camps and showcases where national media is present can help put a player “on the map.” Although sometimes costly and time consuming, participation in elite events is often the ticket to a player appearing in national rankings.

This fall, several media outlets (i.e., Prolific Performance, NYBL, Basketball Spotlight, Coast-to-Coast, (2020 Ballers, etc.) have released national player rankings, and the state of Ohio is well represented any many of their rankings.  The class of 2019 boasts the most players (7) in various top 100 player lists. Consistently, the highest ranked player in the class is Jeremiah Francis (6’1 PG Columbus) who by many accounts, is one of the top 2 point guards in the class and a consensus top 10 player nationally.  Right behind him in most rankings is Gahanna’s Jordan Mitchell (6’5 WF) who has consistently been ranked in/or near the top 10-15 by most scouting services.

After a year of running with All-Ohio Red in the NYBL, Sydney’s Andre Gordon (5’10 WF) has burst onto the national scene. His play during the NYBL season and his outstanding performance at the recent Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase has solidified his place among the nation’s elite.  Any discussion about players whose stock is on the rise has to include Dayton’s Amari Davis (5’11 WF). Not only did Davis make a name for himself in the ultra-competitive NYBL, his play at several elite showcases confirmed that he should be mentioned among the best. In addition, Cincinnati’s Chris’Sean Stringer (5’11 PF) has been a consistent top 100 performer and as evidence, Stringer capped off a great NYBL season with a MVP performance at the NYBL Finals in Columbus in June. Rounding out Ohio’s top 8th graders include Gerard Reynolds (6’0 PF Columbus) and Chris Payne (6’0 PF Cincinnati).

I. Kennedy, C. Mott, S. Wilson, M. Johnson & N. Peeples
Ohio’s class of 2020 is also well represented on the national scene. With Shemar Morrow moving out of state, the top spot in Ohio is now up for grabs. Plain City’s Jack Pugh (5’10 PF) and Matt Allocco (5’3 PG Upper Arlington) are often mentioned in top 100 conversations, as are Zeb Jackson Jr. (5’2 PG Toledo), Willeon Yates (5’3 PG Springboro) and Grant Huffman.  Isaiah Kennedy (5’7 PG) has recently emerged on the national scene and is now considered elite. Having recently received MVP honors at the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase a few weeks ago, as well as a solid showing at other national events, Kennedy’s stock is clearly on the rise. Also new to the national scene are Chance Mott and Taveon Pierre-Louise, Sammy Anderson, Ketaan Wyatt Jr., and Devontae Blanton. Mott capped off a solid NYBL season running with the Mansfield Cavs with a standout performance at the recent Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase and Pierre-Louise was also a standout on that Mansfield Cavs team.

Although smaller in numbers, Ohio’s class of 2021 has a few representatives.  Seth Wilson is the consensus number 1 player in the Buckeye state, but nationally, some consider him as the top guy as well.  In any account, Wilson is solidly in the top 5-10 nationally. Most recently, Wilson’s talents were on display at the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase were he re-established his place nationally. Cleveland’s Meechie Johnson is fast making a name for himself nationally as well. A dynamic guard with a significant skill set, Johnson is moving up the rankings in breakneck speed. Jaden Hameed and Noah Peeples have both moved into the national debate through their stellar play with All-Ohio Red and impressive performances at the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase.  Finally, add Columbus’ Travonne Jackson to the list of fast risers.

Sean Jones, Sonny Johnson Jr. Derrick James & John Mobley Jr.
If you don’t like middle school rankings, I’m sure you are less than impressed with 4th, 5th and 6th grade lists. With that said, Ohio has some quality young guys who are already demanding attention nationally.  In the class of 2022, Cleveland’s Sonny Johnson Jr, Sean Jones, Derrick James and Josiah Harris are already on national radars.  These kids are playing with elite teams and are getting it done at national camps and showcases.  Consequently, they are already firmly on the national map. Lebraun James Jr. is the lone representative in Ohio’s class of 2023 so far, but 2024 is already looking good with guys John Mobley Jr., Jerry Easter Jr., Isaiah Marshall and Kent Hairston demanding attention. Mobley has been mentioned as the #1 player in the class by some media, and from what this writer has observed over the past couple of years, the title is well deserved.  I love this kid’s game and confidence.  Mobley, Easter and Marshall all played up a couple of grades against elite 5th graders at the recent Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase and more than held their own!

Although the Buckeye state is clearly on the national map, there are other players who are talented enough to be considered for placement on some of these lists and over time, as they receive more national exposure, they will assume their place among the nation’s elite. Congratulations on all of the above players for reaping the Buckeye State!

Friday, September 26, 2014

NYBL Press Release

National Youth Basketball League Returns for Third Season

Columbus, Ohio (September 26, 2014) – Season #3 of the National Youth Basketball League (NYBL) will once again reflect significant growth, both in terms of the number of divisions (3) as well as the number of teams (96).  With the addition of the class of 2021, 16 new teams in the class of 2020, and an additional 8 teams in 2019, the NYBL continues to trend upward. Not only will season #3 host more teams, but the quality of teams and the level of competition will remain high.

The 2015 NYBL season will again encompass 4 sessions and will feature 2 new sites and 2 traditional locations. As was the case the first two seasons, the 2015 campaign will tip off in the nation’s capital the weekend of March 21st-22nd; Session 2 is scheduled for April 25th and 26th in Richmond, Virginia; Session #3 is set for Pigeon Forge, Tennessee (just south of Knoxville) May 22nd-24th; and the league will conclude with the NYBL Finals the weekend of June 6th-7th in Columbus, Ohio. 

The NYBL’s motto, Elite Competition and Maximum Exposure, was on full display during the 2014 season. In fact, in terms of league competitiveness last season, NYBL teams again dominated at the AAU Nationals.  As evidence, in both the 6th & 7th grade AAU Nationals, NYBL teams (Team CP3 & Oakland Soldiers) took home national championships.  In addition, as was the case the first 2 seasons, the high level of exposure generated by the NYBL will be unprecedented and unmatched, as the league has re-established partnerships with many of the major media outlets that traditionally cover middle school basketball. Not only will media outlets such as the Buckeye Prep Report, Basketball Spotlight, Middle School Hoops, Prolific Performance, DMV Elite and Lineage of Champions be covering every move the NYBL makes next season, but the league’s official website will also be offering more coverage, including session-by-session recaps, top performer lists, player and team profiles, special feature stories as well as national individual and team rankings. Based on the number of NYBL players that are ranked in the recent top 100 national rankings, it’s clear that the NYBL-generated exposure has played a significant role in determining those rankings!

The season-three format will mirror season two. Specifically, each of the teams in their respective divisions will be divided into four, 5-10 team divisions (depending on the division), and during each of 4 sessions each team will play a total of 5 games (3 games on Saturday and 2 games on Sunday) against teams from an opposing division. Team standings, individual player stats, team and individual player profiles and photo galleries will be posted on the NYBL’s website (http://www.nyblelite.blogspot.com). At the conclusion of the first 3 sessions, the NYBL will culminate in a national championship in Columbus, Ohio the weekend of June 6th-7th 2015. Although others will attempt to match our success, the NYBL has built a solid foundation in just 2 years, has established a credible reputation, and still represents the standard by which middle school basketball leagues are judged!  Come join us in year three and experience the hottest event in middle school basketball!

2015 NYBL Session Dates & Locations:

Session #1                                March 21st - 22nd, 2015            Washington D.C.
Session #2                                April 25th-26th, 2015                Richmond, Virginia
Session #3                                May 22nd-24th, 2015                 Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Session #4                                June 6th-7th, 2015                      Columbus, Ohio

All-Star Weekend                     September 19-20th, 2015          Columbus, Ohio

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase Individual Player Evaluations

In addition to ranking the players for all-star game considerations, and as part of our attempt to provide participants with elite competition, maximum exposure and evaluative feedback, the coaches at the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase also provided individual player evaluations as part of their duties.  Below is a link to those evaluations. Many of the names listed were randomly selected depending on the nature and detail of the evaluation notes.  Unfortunately, not every coach provided detailed, and/ or legible evaluations suitable for publishing.  Hopefully players will continue to work on their overall skill development and physical fitness.

Player Evaluations

Tier 1 Sports Middle School Showcase Returns

Quincy Simpson's Tier 1 Sports Middle School Showcase returns on October 18th in Lima, Ohio.  Always a great event for players looking for development and exposure!

Adidas Midwest Elite Exposure Camp Scheduled

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase-Final Rankings

Cory Davis, Keion Brooks, Donavan Billings, Zion Harmon & Sonny Johnsom Jr.
Below are links to the final rankings for the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase held September 13th & 14th at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio. In terms of our methodology, the rankings are based primarily on how players were ranked by their respective coaches during the showcase games.  As an example, those players ranked in the top 20 were ranked either 1st or 2nd on their teams, while players ranked in the top 30-40 were ranked anywhere from 2nd-4th depending on the number of teams in any given division.  In addition, the specialty awards were all determined by the player's coach.  This method of evaluation and ranking is a bit non-traditional, but with 530 plus kids and 53 teams, it's impossible to see and evaluate every player, so we believe this method gives us the best chance of accurately identifying kids who had standout performances. With respect to the top 10 (listed in red), for the most part, those players were ranked 1st on their team, and/or excelled in the Sunday all-star games.  However, a player's performance in the all-star games does not necessarily effect the final rankings.  Final, the player's names are not listed in any particular order. Congratulations to all of the players who are represented in our final rankings!

Showcase Rankings

High School
8th Grade
7th Grade
6th Grade
5th Grade

Monday, September 22, 2014

Hidden Gems Showcase Tips Off 10-11-14

HIDDEN GEMS BOYS SHOWCASE * DATE: OCTOBER 11TH, 2014 * LOCATION: Thomas Worthington H.S. * M.S. CHECK IN TIME: 1130am * H.S. CHECK IN TIME: 2pm * M.S. STARTING TIME: 1230pm * H.S. STARTING TIME: 3pm * 4 Game Guarantee * Open to 3 Divisions: 6th-8th/9th-10th/11th-12th Graders * Sell Out Expected & Space is limited to 200 High School & 100 Middle School * ENTRY FEE: $6.00 Regular Admission, $3.00 Senior Citizens & Children Age 10 & Below * HIGH SCHOOL FEES: $70.00 * MIDDLE SCHOOL FEES: $55.00 * REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Online Registration Closed on October 7th! At The Door Sign-Ups Open until 230pm; 1st Come, 1st Serve * Highlight Films of the event will be on youtube from: Scarberry Productions, Citylghoops' Ty Kish, EHoops Ohio's Ethan Knopp, and more * Media Scouting & H.S. Rankings Services always cover the event like: John Stovall of ESPN & Prep Spotlight, Prep Scouting, TripleDoubleProspects, 3rd Coast Hoops, Buckeye Prep Report, Top Billing Sports,+ MUCH MORE!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

NYBL All-Star Weekend & Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase Recap

By most accounts, the NYBL All-Star Weekend Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase were a tremendous success!  With over 530 elite level players crammed inside the beutiful 8-court facility at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio, the atmosphere was electric and the competition was next level.  With that amount talent assembled in the gym the national media had to be in the house to document the action. Day one of the event was multi-dimensional, consisting of a series of 6 all-star games featuring the best players from the ultracompetitive National Youth Basketball League (NYBL); a riveting presentation by former Ohio State standout Sconnie Penn, and the traditional Buckeye Prep Elite showcase.

In terms of the NYBL games, the 2019 NYBL Top 40 Game tipped off first, and a Keyshaun Langley led West squad got the first win of the day with a 85-55 victory over the East. Butler Elite’s Matthew Brown paced the East with a game-high 22 points, while Cleveland’s Alfonse Hale led the West with 20 points.  Although Langley was the second leading scorer on his squad with 15 points, he was the driving force in the win.  Other standouts in the game included Quinn Cafferty (13), Larry Canady (9), Michael Moreno (13), Simon Banks (11), Amari Davis (9) and Cartier Jernigan (7).  For their efforts, both Langley and Brown were named MVP.

The 2019 Top 60 Game was a nail biter, with the East team edging the West 75-74.  All-Ohio Red’s Andre Gordon had a monster game to the tune of a gaudy 30 points in route to MVP honors. According to one observer, Gordon dominated the contest and was virtually unguardable.  The DMV’s Cameron Byers (2020) took home the MVP for the West with 15 points. The Lexington Hustle’s Jalen Burbage was the leading score for the West with 17 points. Other standouts included Charlie Large (15) and Jalen Gaffney (11).

There wasn’t must drama in the 2020 Top 20 Game, as the East ran away with an easy 88-64 victory over the West squad. Chuck Harris led all scorers with a game-high 16 points, while Paris Dawson paced the West with 15. Other standouts included Zion Harmon (12), Chance Mott (12), Jeremy Roach (10) and Jordan Toles (8). Both Harris and Dawson grabbed MVP honors. The 2019 Top 20 Game was another close contest, with the West taking down the East 73-69. The West was led in scoring by Terrance Williams and Isaiah Moseley, both of whom finished with 12 points. The East was led by Dexter Shouse who finished with a game-high15 points. Other standouts included Chris Harris (10), Bryan Antoine (11), Sydney Curry (11) and Chris’Sean Stringer (8).
Kobe Langley & Marquise Walker-MVPs
The two feature games of the day pitted the top kids from the NYBL against a team nationally ranked players from outside the league.  Billed as the “NYBL vs the Nation” games; both contests were chucked full of talent and proved to be as competitive as anticipated.  The class of 2020 was first to tip off and was highly contested until the final seconds ticked off the clock. In the end, Bill Francis’ elite squad had secured bragging rights with a 37-34 victory.  Although Hunter Jackson’s outburst in the later minutes of the game were key to the win, Donovan Billings’ game-high 14 points were the difference, and garnered him MVP accolades. Hunter Jackson finished with 10 points. Terrence Williams led the NYBL with 12 points, while Jordan McPhatter added 8. The NYBL roster included: Jordan Toles, Zion Harmon, Jeremy Roach, Tyler Brelsford, Jordan McPhatter, Charles Harris, Terrence Williams, Justin Powell, Isaiah LeBlanc, Latrelle Gonzales, Paris Dawson and Cameron Byers, while the Nation roster included: Tarik Booker, Nimori Burnette, Jaden Springer, Ryan Conway, Mike Saunders, Hunter Jackson, Donovan Billings, Reece Beekman, Raymond Terry and Dylan Branson.

The 2019 NYBL vs the Nation game was equally as impressive, but the NYBL squad would jump out to an early lead and hold it for much of the game, until finally notching a 36-32 win. Kobe Langley and Wendell Moore both paced the NYBL with 7 and 6 points respectively, while Marquise Walker was the high man for the Nation with 11 points.  The NYBL roster included: Myles Pierre, Bryan Sanders, Chris’Sean Stringer, Balsa Koprivicia, BJ Mack, Kobe Langley, Wendell Moore, Jeremiah Francis, Isaiah Moseley, Nobal Days and Chris Harris, while the the Nation rosters boasted: Marquise Walker, Sheriff Kenny, Tristan Miller, Makhi Mitchell, Makel Mitchell, Korbin Spencer, Daniel Rodriguez, Christian Depollar, Marvin Price and Makani Whiteside.

Brooks, Kenny, Moseley, Moore, Shouse, Sanders, Langley, Banks & Days
As competitive as the slate of NYBL all-star games proved to be, the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase segment of the weekend was equally as competitive.  In addition to the Saturday all-star games, players had another opportunity to play themselves into final all-star games on Sunday, based on how their were ranked by their coaches over the course of 4 games. During the showcase games several players logged in standout performances.  We’re not sure anybody’s stock raised more the Indiana’s Keion Brooks, who arrived in Columbus on a mission.  Brooks has always been considered an elite player for quite some time, but his play at the showcase put him in top 10 discussions.  Brooks played hard, demonstrated a nice skill set and displayed his length and athleticism.  Oh yea, Brooks tried to dunk everything in sight.  His George Hill teammate, Dexter Shouse, also had a big weekend, and proved that his game his perimeter skills are evolving and that he can prosper further away from the bucket.  Shouse is big, strong and aggressive and can get to the cup on a regular basis.

North Carolina’s Kobe Langley was impressive all weekend.  Although he did not hang around for the final all-star game, he put in work during the NYBL all-star games and the showcase games.  Langley has a high basketball IQ, knows how to run a team and can score the rock of needed.  In addition, Langley is a good defender who rarely turns the ball over. Moore really impacted the NYBL vs the nation game on both ends of the floor.Wendell Moore’s performance was impressive and his play solidified his place among the top 10 players in the class.  Chicago’s Marquise Walker had another big weekend.  Walker’s handle is elite as are his play making skills.  In addition, he can get you buckets or find teammates for easy scores. Fun to watch; Walker is quietly moving up the rankings and has staked claim to top 10 status.

Maryland’s Sharif Kenny did nothing to hurt his stock, in fact, Kenny was all that was advertised.  At times, Kenny was simply too big and to strong to be guarded, while and dominating games.  From what we saw, Kenny has the skill set to do damage on the wing; he is a great looking prospect, and is clearly a top 5 player in the class.  Canada’s Isaiah Moseley continues to display an elite level game, and his play in Columbus was consist with what we saw during the NYBL season and a few weeks ago and the Future Phenom Camp. Very skilled, athletic and a playmaker best describes Moseley’s game.  Indiana’s Simon Banks was impressive this weekend and he re-emerged as one of the top guards in the class.  Team Florida’s Balsa Koprivcia and Bryan Sanders both had standout performance during the weekend.  Sanders’ size, strength and ability to handle the rock sets him apart from many in his class.  Koprivcia was much more aggressive this past weekend and his production reflected that.  In terms of upside, Koprivcia has high major potential.  Wisconsin’s Nobal Days drew the attention of several scouts over the weekend and what’s most impressive about Days’ game right now is his defense and shot blocking ability.  As he gets stronger and more offensively gifted, look for Day’s stock to rise significantly.  Already, days’ long-term potential is high major!

Jeremiah Francis, Alphonse Hale & Andre Gordon
Columbus’ Jeremiah Francis has consistently excelled in NYBL play and on the national camp circuit, and his performance this past weekend was just as impressive. Widely considered one of the top 1 or 2 floor generals in the country, Francis’ play supported those claims. With good size for his position, Francis goes strong to the cup and either finishes with contact or kicks the rock to a spot up shooter for a jumper.  Francis clearly understands the game and often makes the right decision.  He’s a hard-nosed defender who can also rebound the ball at a high rate.  Francis is a stat sheet stuffer.  His All-Ohio Red teammate, Andre Gordon, had a coming out party of sorts. Francis, Mitchell and Stringer got most of the love on that team, but Gordon’s 30-point outburst in the NYBL Top 60 all-star game announced his arrival.  Gordon is a strong guard who understands how to use his strength and body to get into the paint and score. In terms of guards in Ohio, Gordon is in the top 2-3 range, but deserves more national attention We have to give some props to Cleveland’s Alfonse Hale.  He does not get a lot of ink on that Ohio Basketball squad, but he is as productive as many of the more heralded players in the class.  Nationally, he is a virtual unknown, but at some point, that’s going to change.  Easily top 5 in Ohio.

Harmon, Jackson, Dawson, Toles, Billings, Williams, S. Johnson, M. Johnson & Wilson
We have spent most of this recap talking about the class of 2019, but the showcase was jammed packed with talent at every age division.  Guys like Cory Davis (2018), Kristian Pechac (2018), Justin Johnson, Shawn Christian, John Kirinick, Jeremiah Keene (2019), Zerek Thomas (2019), Tariq Aman (2019), Daniel Rodriguez (2019), JC Tharrington (2019), Hunter Jackson (2020), Zion Harmon (2021), Donovan Billings (2020), Jordan Toles (2020), Isaiah Kennedy (2020), Parris Dawson (2020), Cameron Byers (2020), Chance Mott (2020), Jordan McPhatter (2020) Christopher Ford (2020), Tyler Brelsford (2020), Cameron Byers (2020), Meechie Johnson (2021), Seth Wilson (2021), Noah Peoples (2021), Legend Greeter (2021), Khalil Brantley (2021), Sonny Johnson Jr. (2022), Aaron Davis (2021), Mike Saunders Jr. (2020), Andre Irvin (2021), Collin Albert (2021), Jackson Holt (2021), Paul McMillan Jr. (2022), Sean Jones (2022), KK Bradford (2022) and Khalil Luster (2022) all logged in standout performances.

With over 530 players in the gym it’s near impossible to see all of the players and to identify all of the standout performers who deserve some recognition.  With this in mind, we brought in several scouting service to help cover the event and evaluate players.  Hopefully, between all of the scouts present in the gym, players deserving of recognition will receive it.  Below are link to several articles and recaps featuring standout out performances during the event.