Friday, January 30, 2015

Major Landscape Changes Expected in the DMV

Kevin Durant Sponsors Grassroots Basketball Program
According to several credible sources, there may soon be a major shift in power in the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) area. Long known as a hot bed for basketball talent, with major shoe company sponsored programs such as DC Assault (Adidas), Baltimore Elite (Nike), Bmores Finest (Under Armor),  DC Premier (Under Armor), Team Mello (Jordan Brand) and Team Takeover (Nike), there may soon be a “New Sheriff in Town.”  Word on the street indicates the Team Durant (TD) is poised to explode onto the youth basketball scene with some very competitive teams and elite players

With sponsorship from one of the NBA’s most elite players in Kevin Durant, starting from scratch was not an option. Therefore, the fledging program has already attracted interest from several elite middle school programs such as the former 2020 Slam City Elite, 2019 DC Premier, 2021 Team Glory Elite and the 2021 Annandale Bulldogs.  In fact, each of these programs is rumored to be joining TD for the upcoming season as head coaches have already begun contacting their former program directors to inform them of their departures. It’s not just middle school aged programs as TD will be fielding teams in grades 2nd through 8th, with 8 total teams expected to hit the floor this year.

As most basketball fans know, the above middle school programs have stocked piled the type of individual talent not often seen in the area or nationally. Although the DMV is as talent rich as any area in the country, and annually pumps out anywhere from 60-75 D-I players per year, one has to wonder if there will be enough elite level talent to go around for all of the heavyweight programs in the area to remain viable.  TD’s emergence in the area could mean the demise of some much storied programs.  Only time will tell how the area will be impacted, but we won’t have to wait long to find out as each of the teams mentioned above will be participating in the National Youth Basketball League (NYBL) when the season tips off in DC in mid-March.

Although many may see TD’s arrival on the scene as a potential escalation of the local sneaker wars, Kevin Durant’s involvement in grassroots basketball should result in more opportunities for area youth.  A source close to the negotiations, which begin with initial discussions about 3-4 months ago, is impressed with KD’s commitment to giving back to the community where he grew up. “KD and his people want to be an example of what’s right about youth basketball,” said a member of KD’s team. “KD wants to provide role models, tutoring and other educational programs to the youth in the area.  He [KD] wants to bring a clean program to the area that’s run the right way,” continued the source.  Needless to say, things will be on and popping in the DMV for years to come, and only time will tell to what extent Team Durant makes an impact on the local and national landscape of middle school basketball.  Welcome to grassroots basketball KD!

Hidden Gems to Hold Tryouts


9u, 10u, 11u = Feb 15th 1-3p at Dodge Rec Ctr
12u & 13u = Feb 15th  5-7p at Dodge Rec Ctr
14u = Feb 15th TBD at Columbus State C.C.

Lucius Jones/614-330-1861
Hidden Gems
P.O. Box 26582
Columbus, Ohio 43226

Hidden Gems Basketball C.E.O.
O.B.B.L. - Commissioner
WUBA - Ohio Hidden Gems Owner(Formerly WBCBL) 
UBA - Ohio Hidden Gems Owner(Formerly ABA & IBL)
Verbal Commits National Analyst
Eurobasket Journalist

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Carlton Braggs Reps Ohio in McDonalds Game

Carlton Braggs-6'9 PF 2015 
Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase alum Carlton Braggs is 1 of 2 players who will represent the Buckeye State in the Prestigious McDonalds All-American Game. Braggs, a 6'9 PF from Cleveland ran with Mike Duncan's Ohio Basketball Club during the AAU season, and was a standout at Cleveland's Villa Angela-St Joseph High School.  Braggs recently committed to play his college ball with Bill Selfs Kansas Jayhawks and projects as a NBA player. Although he was a known quantity in Northeast Ohio, Braggs began to gain national attention after his standout performance in the Ohio North vs South All-Star game as part of the 2012 Fall Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase. At the event, Braggs wowed the crowd with his intensity, aggressiveness and elite athleticism.  Clearly, the 2015 stud arrived at the event with the intent to make a name for himself, and that's exactly what he did as the scouts who were in attendance raved about Bragg's performance. Braggs will be joined in the game by Franklin's Luke Kennard.  Congrats to Carlton and his family for this significant honor!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

db Hoops Tryout Schedule

db Hoops will be having AAU tryouts for our spring travel teams. These tryouts will be held at Take Flight Sports in Canal Fulton, OH. The address is 709 Elm Ridge Ave. The tryouts will be held on the following dates and times, there is a $10 cash only fee to tryout. Also if possible please bring a jersey with a number on it to wear during the tryout.

Tryout Dates and Times:

February 15, 2015
5:00pm to 6:30pm - 3rd and 4th grade boys
6:30pm to 8:00pm - 5th and 6th grade boys

February 22, 2015
5:00pm to 6:30pm - 7th grade boys and 7th grade girls
6:30pm to 8:00pm - 8th grade boys and 8th grade girls

Any questions please email

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Regional Camps Scheduled for February

In February, the Buckeye State will offer 2 new opportunities for elite competition and statewide exposure.  On February 21st and 22nd, Paul McMillan will host the first-ever Buckeye Prep Winter Showcase at Woodward High School in Cincinnati, Ohio.  The showcase will be limited to players in grades 3rd-8th who reside in the southwest area of the state.  Participation in this event will give players in the area the opportunity for local and statewide recognition and a chance to obtain an invitation to Buckeye Prep’s spring Elite Showcase in March.  Also, players will have the opportunity to be selected to the prestigious Ohio North vs South All-Star Game in March. 

On the same weekend, Sonny Johnson will be hosting the inaugural NEO Youth Elite Basketball Showcase at Garfield Heights High School.  This event is also developed for players in grades 3rd-8th who reside in the northeast area of the state.  Participation in this event will also provide opportunities for participation in the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase and the Ohio North vs South All-Star Game in March.  Both events will be covered by Buckeye Prep staff.  For additional information about each event please click on the links below.

Buckeye Prep Winter Showcase:

NEO Youth Elite Basketball Showcase:

Stovall's Ohio Class of 2017 Player Rankings


1.            KAELIB WESSON -6’9 245- C- Westerville South: Big bodied post player with versatile skills. Great hands and feet. Tremendous upside. Averaged 2.8ppg and 2.4rpg last season.

2.            MARTEL JOHNSON -5’11 165- PG/WG- Cleveland East Tech: Big time talented combo guard. Skilled and athletic. Has a chance to be special. Averaged 11.8ppg last year.

3.            DEREK CULVER -6’8 225- PF/C- Warren Harding: Best looking prospect in the state. Great pieces. Starting put it together. Could top the list when it is all said and done. Averaged 6ppg and 8rpg a season ago.

4.            KYLE YOUNG -6’7 205- PF – Massillon Jackson: Coming fast. Solid athlete and a good shooter. Learning to become dominant. Played JV last season.

5.            DERRICK KOCH -6’7 210- PF- West Salem Northwestern – Versatile big man. A skilled 4 that can shoot some and is an effective straight line driver. 12.8ppg and 10rpg

6.            KADEN SANCHEZ -6’7 205- C/PF – Columbus DeSales: Fundamentally solid low post player. Great future ahead of him. Put up 7.2ppg, 6.1rpg and 2.8bpg.

7.            A.J. GARERI -6’7 200- PF – Akron Ellet: Has a chance to be a big time shooter. Stretch 4 man. Nice range already. Averaged 7.3ppg and 4.4rpg a season ago.

8.            DALONTE BROWN -6’6 195- WF/PF – Toledo Bowsher: Transfer from St. John. Very skilled combo forward. May be the most talented player on this list.

9.            DANNY DAVIS -6’1 180- WG/PG – Springfield: Talented combo guard. Can do a little of everything. Threw in 12.9ppg, grabbed 6.2rpg and handed out 2.7apg. 

10.        JADEN SAYLES -6’8 210- PF/C – Cincinnati Kings – Athletic big man. Nice talent. Great upside. Averaged 5.1ppg and 2.8rpg.

11.        JAYLEN HARRIS -6’5 200- PF/WF – Cleveland Heights: Transfer from Villa Angela St. Joseph. Skilled 4 man. Can combo if needed. Nice talent that averaged 1.8ppg and 2.2rpg last year in limited minutes.

12.        LONNIE BERRY -6’4 180- WF – Cincinnati Aiken: Wing that is wired to score. Attended Colerain last year and averaged 7.1ppg and 3.7rpg.

13.        JAYVON GRAVES -6’0 170- WG – Akron SVSM: Very athletic wing. Can score and dunk.

14.        DARRYL (DEE) STRAUGHTER -5’9 165- PG/WG - Canton Timken: Scoring combo guard. Good shooter with range. Averaged 9ppg, 1apg and 1.3spg

15.    B.J. DULLING -6’5 190- WF/PF- New Albany: A lot of potential. Good size and developing skill.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Spring Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase Scheduled (March 7th & 8th)

Below is an email that was sent out last night along with invitations to the Spring Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase.  If you have attended past Buckeye Prep Elite Showcases, are currently listed in our rankings/watch lists or have been featured on this website and you did not receive an invitation, email us at  This event will represent another opportunity to compete against the best in the nation while gaining national exposure.  Don't miss the opportunity!


Attached you will find an invitation letter and registration forms for the Buckeye Prep Spring Elite Showcase. This year the event is scheduled for March 7th & 8th. The invitation letter should provide most of the information you need initially. This year, the event is likely 2 days, but will be contingent on the final registration numbers. The spring event will be similar to what you saw last September in terms of the slate of all-star games on Saturday, followed by the first round of league games that will start sometime late Saturday afternoon or early Saturday evening.  In addition, we plan to bring back the Ohio North vs South all-star games in the middle school divisions.  We are currently putting together the rosters for those games, but participation is limited to players who are registered for the showcase. As soon as I get the schedule completed I will post it on the website.

It’s very important that you register ASAP as this event WILL SELL OUT! With the addition of some of the new Saturday all-star games, there will be a lot more kids participating in the showcase this year so space will fill up quickly! You can pay your registration fee on line using the Pay Pal link, but make sure you provide specific player information so that your payment can be matched with your child/player.

As always, I need quality volunteer coaches to work the event. If you or anybody you know is interested in working the event please contact me as soon as possible.  You cannot coach your son or player, and you must be able to render fair and unbiased assessments of the kids you evaluate.  Coaches will be provided with a camp t-shirt and will have access to a fully stocked hospitality room where they can relax, eat and drink at no cost.

If you intend to send you son/player please email me with his name, grade, height and position ASAP so that I can enter his name on the “Committed Player List.” This helps me keep track of my numbers and allows people to track who will be attending the event. This list is unofficial, but I find that people like to keep track of the list as it grows to see who is coming to the showcase. I think this showcase has the potential to be the biggest and most competitive event ever, so don’t let your child/player miss this experience! If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at 614-203-2929.  See you in September!