Saturday, February 28, 2015


Below is another article written by Dr Kenneth Ransom exclusively for the Buckeye Prep Report.  Dr Ransom has a son who plays AAU basketball and has continued to provide our readers with a series of health related articles of the past couple of years. Enjoy!

In a hard fought 3 on 3 tournament game a player is “taking it to the hole” when he gets a hard elbow to the top of his head by a defender.  He is a little dazed but not knocked unconscious. On the way home, he doesn’t remember anything about the tournament; where it was, what teams played or even who played on his team. At the Emergency Room he is diagnosed with a concussion. This is a true event that happened to my son on Presidents Day. He missed over a week of school and was not able to return to physical activity for two weeks.

Basketball is not considered a “contact sport” like football or hockey but we all know that there is a lot of physical contact.  Young athletes are getting bigger, faster and play more aggressively than ever consequently concussions are becoming more common in the sport of basketball. Since there is no protective head gear it is essential that a concussive injury is detected early and the player protected from further injury. Not only is a player more susceptible to any type of injury because of the impaired mental condition but more importantly, a repeat concussion could significantly worsen the initial brain injury, resulting in a longer recovery and possibly permanent problems.  Developing brains in young players are especially susceptible to injury and long term problems.

It’s very important for parents and coaches to have a low threshold for suspecting a concussion and recognize early symptoms. Loss of consciousness, by definition, is a concussion! However, the player does not have to be knocked out in order for the brain to be shaken sufficiently to cause injury. Memory loss is the most sensitive sign, especially for recent events.  The player may also feel light-headed or have problems concentrating which could manifest as deterioration in his performance.  A headache is also a very common complaint immediately following the trauma. Nausea or vomiting can be a sign of a more serious injury. It is critical that the player NOT RETURN to PLAY the SAME DAY if suspected of having a concussion. The player should be taken to a health care professional for a complete neurological evaluation as soon as possible.

Treatment for a concussion is to rest the brain, both mentally and physically, with a gradual return to full function. The player will usually need to miss at least a couple of days of school and possibly a week or more. School work may cause headaches and the student can find it difficult to concentrate. Test taking can be especially frustrating for someone with a concussion. Almost all schools require a note from a medical professional before the student is allowed to return to class.
As far as physical activity or playing basketball again, the International Concussion Consensus defines a five step process to:
“Return to Play Progression”

Step 0: As a baseline step, the athlete needs to have complete physical and cognitive rest and not be experiencing any concussive symptoms for a minimum for 24 hours before starting any physical activity.

Step 1: Start with light aerobic exercise only for about 5 to 10 minutes with just enough activity to increase the heart rate.  Activities like stationary bike, walking or light jogging, shooting free throws or threes are acceptable but no weight lifting, running or jumping.

Step 2: The athlete may engage in moderate exercise at a reduced duration and level from their usual workout. Some running and shooting drills, ball handling, light weight lifting or core training are good.

Step 3: Non-contact practice otherwise a typical workout at a full speed. May also add more cognitive challenge as focus should be near normal. There should be no scrimmaging, one-on-one drills or pick-up games where there is physical contact.

Step 4: Full contact practice is next in order to make sure the player is really ready for game play.

Step 5: Return to game competition.

Symptoms and cognitive function need to be monitored during each increase in the level of exertion. Besides headaches or light headedness, the player may have difficulty focusing or experience earlier fatigue.  If any symptoms return, the activity should stop as this may be a sign that the athlete is pushing too hard. Only after additional rest and there have been no symptoms for 24 hours, should he start again at the previous step during which symptoms were experienced.

The “Return to Play Progression” should ideally be under the guidance of a qualified medical professional and the training conducted by an experienced person who is knowledgeable about concussions and knows the athletes physical abilities and endurance. In some cases, the athlete may be able to work through one step in a single day, in other cases it may take several days to work through an individual step.  It could take days, to weeks or even months to complete the entire 5 step progression depending on the severity of the injury.  Do not to rush through the “Return to Play Progression” process.  The concussion has not healed sufficiently until the athlete can successfully complete of all 5 steps, otherwise there is risk of superimposing a second concussion making recovery even more difficult and prolonged.

Remember it is essential, especially in youth basketball, for parents and coaches to be familiar with the early signs of a concussion in order to take immediate steps to prevent further injury and get appropriate medical attention for the player.
Reference:  A “Heads Up” on Managing Return to Play from the Center for Disease Control (CDC):

By Dr. Kenneth Ranson

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

NEO Youth Elite Showcase Recap

A. Harris, K. Martin, D. Fox, D. Grant, M. Cottingham, M. Johnson, T. Martin, S. Johnson & M. Robinson
We were not there very long, but the time went spent at the NEO Youth Elite Showcase in Cleveland, Ohio on Sunday was very productive.  According to tournament director Sonny Johnson Sr, approximately 280 kids from northeast Ohio braved the elements to attend the event.  Not only were there established players in attendance, we got the opportunity to see some very good players for the first time. He’s not nearly a household name right now, but Kaleb Martin (5’5/PG/2019 Green) had the gym buzzing with his speed, quickness and excellent skill set.  Martin looked like a seasoned vet with the way he handled the rock, distributed to his teammates and made great decisions with the ball. Because he does not play with one of the better-known teams (Air Attack), Martin’s talent has gone unappreciated at this point in his career. We were also really excited with the upside potential of Christopher Livingston (5’6/PF/2022 Akron), a long, athletic post player with a high motor. Not only can he score around the bucket, he is a rim protector who gets off the floor quickly.  Livingston may have ben the best 5th grader in the gym. We can’t wait to see this kid play again!

We also really liked what we saw in Makail Cottingham (5’4/SG/2021 Parma). Cottingham has good length, is skilled, athletic and shoots the rock well. From what we saw in Cleveland, Cottingham has the potential to be one of the best players in his class in the state. We have seen him before, but Meechie Johnson (5’0/PG/2021 Cleveland) was still very impressive. Although he can score with the best of them, Johnson’s dime game was on and popping on Sunday as he was finding open teammates with ease.  Great vision and passing skills were evident in Johnson’s game.  His little cousin, Sonny Johnson Jr. was dominant on Sunday and could not be stopped from getting to the cup. Johnson was in attack mode all day and either finished the play with a layup or went to the free throw line and converted. Either way, Johnson was extremely productive. Super confident with the ball on a string was Johnson. Andre Harris (6’0 SG 2019 Cleveland) logged in a solid performance on Sunday. Athletic with a strong frame, Harris shoots it well but can also drive to the bucket and be effective. Harris has great upside going forward with continued hard work and development.

Other Top Performers:

We also really liked Devon Grant (5’9/P/SG/2019/Loraine), Devon Fox (5’10/SG/2019 Cleveland), Frik Painter (5’9/SG/2019/Bay Village), Joshua Ball (PG/2019/Elyria), Trevon Wells (6’1/PF/2019/Cleveland), Anthony Maxie (5’11/C/2020/Cleveland), Che Johnson (5’0/PG/2020/Shaker Heights), Jayden Williams (5’2/PG/2020/Cleveland) Andy Barba (5’10/SG/2020/Cleveland), Josiah Harris (5’8/WF/2022/Canton), Trey Miller (4’10/PG/2022/Bedford), Lucas Perusek (4’7/PG/2023/Wallaby Hills), Darryl Peterson (5’6/C/2021/Akron), Xavier Black (5’3/SG/2021/Canton), Koby Johnson (5’3/PG/2021/Akron) Marsaun Robinson (5’1/PG/2021/Oberlin), Roderick Coffee (SG/2022/Paintsville), Andre Yarber (5’1/SG/2022/Oberlin), Lance Hayes (P/SG/2023/Brookville)  Gbolahan Adio (5’6/PG/Richmond Heights),  Devontae Blanton (6’1/W/PF/2020/Nordinia), Montorie Foster (5’7/PG/2020/Cleveland), Trey Martin (5’0/WF/2022), Brandon Rush (5'6/PG/2019/Sycamore Hills) and Akram Abuham.

Although we did not have the opportunity to spend much time at the event, and we’re sure we missed a number of quality players who deserve recognition, we were very impressed with the level of talent in the gym.  Congratulations to Sonny Johnson Sr. and his staff for putting together an excellent event.  Look for many of the above players at the March 7th Buckeye Prep elite Showcase!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Wildcat’s Team Effort Gets It Done

Worldwide Wildcats-7th Grade Champions
Even with the addition of nationally ranked Shamar Morrow, Jason Harris and Donovan BillingsNightrydas Elite's super squad could not get it done this past weekend against the 2020 Worldwide Wildcats at the John Lucas All-Star Weekend tournament in the Big Easy.  A combination of size in the post and pressure defense were keys to the victory. The Wildcats dispatched the DI Shooters in the semi-finals before taking out Nightrydas Elite in the championship game 71-62, while the Nightrydas got by the NYBL’s God First Crusaders to advance to the championship game.

One of the elite 2020 teams in the National Youth Basketball League (NYBL) last year, the Wildcats have established themselves as one of the elite teams in the class, but their win over stacked Nightrydas Elite has to make them one of the favorites to win the NYBL National Championship this year. The big three of Khalil Brantley, Justin Powell and Chase Ellis powered the Wildcats to the upset win. 

Oakland Solders-6th Grade Champions
A shout out goes to Josh Woodson and his Nike Team Texas team for grabbing the gold in the 2019 division 79-58. The dynamic duo of Chris Harris and Davion Harmon proved to be too much for the Louisiana Red Storm. Finally, the Oakland Solders, who flew in their own nationally ranked studs in Zion Harmon and Jaden Springer, easily defeated Team Takeover in the championship game of the 6th grade division.  In the semifinal game, Oakland matched up with the Nightrydas and advanced to the final game on the strength of a 14 point victory. For the record, the Nightrydas brought in elite talent from around the country with Seth Wilson, Kennedy Chandler, Johnathon Lawson and Donnell Harris. Look for the Oakland to be one of the better teams in the NYBL this season.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Buckeye Prep Winter Showcase Recap

Jaydin Arnold, Taylor Bacon, Donte Ingram, Trent Lloyd & Shelby Humphrey
Despite the winter storm that had moved into the greater Cincinnati area on Saturday, die hard basketball fans made the trek to Woodward High School to participate in the inaugural Buckeye Prep Winter Showcase. Approximately 100 players participated in this 2-day event that attracted a number of talented players from the southwest area of the state. The event wrapped up on Sunday with a series of all-star games in three divisions.

One of the best players we saw on Saturday was one of the youngest players. Jaydin Arnold is a highly skilled 3rd grader with big game. He handles the rock superbly, and doesn’t mind sharing it with open teammates. He’s young, but this kid can really play.  We were also really impressed with Taylor Bacon (4th grade PG ), who like Arnold, has excellent ball handling skills.  Bacon is quick; is always in attack mode and can really score the ball. We plan to keep an eye on Donte Ingram Jr. (4th Grade PG) who almost single handily kept his squad in games. Ingram pushes the rock from base line to baseline with great speed and excels at getting to the cup. Joshua Brown, Jeremiah Henderson, Trent Lloyd and Shelby Humphrey were also standouts on day-1 of the event.

In the 5th/6th grade division, no one dominated more than big Will Sizer, Sizer, a 6’0 center from Cincinnati, is a horse in the paint. Sizer, a 6th grader, is strong and is more than capable of finishing close the cup with defenders draped all over him. Sizer has nice hands and decent footwork for a player so young.  Oh yea, if your not careful, Sizer will drop 30 on you and make it look easy. The biggest surprise of the day was the play of Osean Anuford, a 4’10 PG from Cincinnati.  We had not seen him before, but Anuford’s dynamic game was quite impressive. Anuford is an elite score who can score at all three levels, but can also set up teammates with a drive and dish.  From what we saw, Anuford needs to be mentioned among the best in the state in the class of 2021! We also really liked Aaron Davis II (5’4 WF 2021 Cincinnati). Davis shoots the trey ball well and is an able and willing passer.
Will Sizer, Paul McMillan, Osean Anuford, KK Bransford & Aaron Davis
Not only are we convinced he is one of the most elite point guards in the state, everything we saw in Cincinnati on Saturday indicates that Paul McMillan IV (5’4 PG 2022) Cincinnati should get more respect nationally. McMillan has the ball on the string, has great vision and passing skills and is an √©lite shooter from deep.  Like most elite floor generals, McMillan plays with great pace, makes good decisions with the rock and rarely turns that thing over.  Because he has good size, McMillan can play more physical.  He can also create his own shot Very impressed with the kid! Remember this name, KK Bransford, a 5’1 PG from Cincinnati will be playing major college basketball for a lucky D-I program in a few years. She may be a female playing with the boys, but you would never know it by her game. Advanced skills, tough as nails and relentless best describe her game right now.  We know she has had success in past events, but Saturday was really the first time we had enough to watch her play and appreciate her game. Big upside potential!

Darrion Henry, Dontae Mosley, Dare Moffit, Ronald Hampton & D'Marco Howard
The 7th/8th grade division featured several big time players as well. One of the most impressive performances we saw all day included Darrion Henry (6’3 PF 2020 Cincinnati). Henry has good size, is strong, athletic and rebounds in bunches.  Henry also runs the floor well and does not mind doing his work in the paint.  Dontae Mosley (6’3 PF 2021 Cincinnati) also has good size, but also has the skills to be productive further away from the basket.  Mosley can knock down the open shot; he defends well and can also get up and down the court well. We got our first look at Dare Moffett (6’1 PF 2019 Cincinnati) and we liked what we saw. A good athlete who shoots it well from the mid range and off the bounce, Moffett has good upside potential. D’Marco Howard (5’8 SG 2019 Fairfield) and Ronald Hampton Jr. (5’7 PG 2019 Huber Heights) both logged in solid performances.  All in all it was a great first year event that gave us an opportunity to evaluate players who we had not seen before.  Congrats to Paul McMillan for making the event happen!

Top Performers:

3rd/4th Grade Division

Jaiden Arnold (3rd)
Taylor Bacon (4th)
Trent Lloyd (4th)
Donte Ingram Jr. (4th)
Joshua Brown (4th)
Jermaine Matthews (4th)
Jeremiah Henderson (4th)
Shelby Humprey (4th)

5th/6th Grade Division

Will Sizer (6th)
Osean Anuford (6th)
Dillon Britton (6th)
Aaron Davis II (6th)
Kelvin Turner (6th)
Antonio Lowe (6th)
Paul McMillan Jr (5th)
KK Bransford (5th)

7th/8th Grade Division

D’Marco Howard (8th)
Mario Freeman (8th)
Ronald Hampton (8th)
BJ Bransford (8th)
Shubh Khandhadia (8th)
Brad Colbert (8th)
Dontae Mosley (7th)
Darrion Henry (7th)
Prophet Johnson (7th)
Dare Moffett (8th)

Friday, February 20, 2015

Big Weekend for Youth Basketball Tips Off Saturday

This weekend will be big for youth basketball in the state of Ohio as 2 regional showcases will tip off at opposite ends of the Buckeye State. In Cincinnati, the inaugural Buckeye Prep Winter Showcase will go down at Woodward High School starting Saturday afternoon.  According to the event director, Paul McMillan, the 2-day event is sold out and will host many of the area’s top young players.  On Sunday, the showcase will conclude with all-star games in each of 3 divisions. Because the event will host a number of 3rd and 4th graders, it will give us an early opportunity evaluate the city’s upcoming young talent.

According to event director, Sonny Johnson, his NEO Youth Elite Showcase will host over 200 of the area’s elite youth talent at Garfield Heights High School this weekend.  In addition to skill and drill sessions on Saturday, the event will include 5-on-5 action and all-star games on Sunday. As is the case with the Cincinnati-based event this weekend, the top players will receive invitations to the March 7th Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase in Columbus. In addition, the truly elite of the weekend will be invited to participate in the prestigious Ohio North vs South All-Star game which will be head in Columbus on March 7th. Buckeye Prep will be on hand to provide coverage at both events.

Team Rio Constructed to Win it All

Team Rio National
Widely considered as one of the elite teams in the class of 2019, Team Rio National has added the type of quality pieces that could result in a national championship.  Finishing with an impressive 16-4 record in last year’s ultra-competitive National YouthBasketball League (NYBL), the New Jersey based team has upgraded an already stacked roster.  Most everyone who follows the class is familiar with studs Scottie Lewis (6’4 WF), Brian Antoine (6’4 SG) and Mikeal Jones (6’6 PF/C), but guys like Jordon McCoy (6’4 WF) Jalen Gaffney (5’11 PG) and Ahmadu Sanor (6’0 SG/WF) are all solid contributors to the team. The addition of Tariq Ingraham (6’8 C New Castle, DE) adds size in the post and will allow Team Rio to compete with any team in the country.

Antoine and Lewis are playing some great basketball right now and college coaches have taken notice. In fact, the “big three” of Lewis, Antoine and Ingraham are all receiving high major interest as college coaches are flocking to the gym to watch the trio practice. Although he gets very little ink, Ahmadu Sanor is starting to make a name for himself and his play at the Winter Warz was impressive.

While many teams were forced to shut it down until the 2015 travel season, Rio has stayed busy. In fact, recently, the team dominated the competition at Mike Melton’s Winter Warz last week, finishing 5-0 on the weekend. In addition, Rio’s resume includes wins at the Fun Sport tourney at the Barkley Center, Fab 48 in Las Vegas last July, and the Nike Showcase in January. It should also be noted the Team Rio has only lost to 1 team since the NYBL concluded last season and that was a single digit loss to DC Premier. Team Spokesman Brian Klatsky is confident in his team’s ability to compete for a title this season. “We have been in the NYBL since day 1 and this is the year we can take home a championship,” said Klatsky. With only a few short weeks remaining until the tip off of the NYBL the excitement is really starting to build!

Lewis, Antonie, Jones, Ingraham, Gaffney, Sanor & McCoy