Friday, September 25, 2015

Buckeyes Garner National Attention

Sonny Johnson Jr., Chris Livingston & Paul McMillian IV
The State Ohio has long been known for producing elite level football players; however, the Buckeye State can also lay claim to pumping out quality hoops talent as well.  Three days after logging in outstanding performances at the recent Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase, three of the state’s top 6th graders were rewarded with national rankings from  Sonny Johnson Jr. (4th), Chris Livingston (7th) and Paul McMillan IV (38th) were all highly ranked after the Buckeye Prep Showcase and national media has taken notice.  While Johnson and McMillian are known for their ability to score and handle the rock from the guard position, Livingston is a long, athletic wing prospect with a big upside. 

Although Johnson has been on the national radar a little longer, McMillian and Livingston are new to the national stage and are the beneficiaries of exposure generated through this website and success during Buckeye Prep events. Based on each of their advanced skill sets already, each player projects as a D-I athlete with continued growth and development.  Other Buckeye receiving recognition includes: Sean Jones (55), Josiah Harris (62) and Derrick James (69). 

Seth Wilson, Meechie Johnson and Noah Peeples
The same media outlet recently released their 7th grade list, and again, Ohio was well represented. Seth Wilson (7), Meechie Johnson (39) and Noah Peeples (65) were the most highly ranked of the 5 players who made the list.  Moreover, all 3 players highly ranked at the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase last week. Omar Abuhamdeh (72) and William Jeffries (77) were the other 2 guys who made the list.  Congratulations to all of the Ohio players who made the 2 lists!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase Rankings

Darious Brazley, Jyare Davis, Zion Harmon, Sonny Johnson & Sarmaritine Bogues
Judging from the number of elite players who made the trek to Columbus to participate in the 2015 Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase, as well as the numerous scouting services in the building to document the action, the annual evert was a complete success! Not only were there some of the traditionally big name kids present and accounted for, but there were some hidden gems unearthed during the 2-day event as well. In terms of breakout performances, no one made more of the opportunity to impress than Jyare Davis (6’5/WF/Delaware/2020).  Although Davis was a standout with his Rip City squad this past season, no one knew just how explosive Davis could be.  Davis plays with a high motor, both on offense and defense, and when he’s not protecting rim, he’s trying to tear in down on offensive. Based on his current size, skill set and athleticism, Davis projects well as a division I athlete.  If Davis was #1, Jordan Toles was #1A. Toles had another spectacular weekend and did nothing to hurt his considerable reputation as one of the top handful of players in his class in the country.  Relentless to the cup with a developing midrange game best describes Toles at this stage in his development.

Also making quite a name for himself this past weekend was another Philly product in Jamil Riggens (6’6/WF/Philly/2019).  Like Davis, Riggens plays hard, is a jumping jack and has good size for his position already.  Look for both players to make a steady climb up the rankings going forward.  Talk about under the radar guys; who knew Darious Brazley (6’7/PF/Cincinnati/2018) was such a stud. In terms of the high school division, the long and lankly Brazley was hands down the top player in the division.  Defensively he was a problem, but his ability to handle the rock for his size was notable. He’s still young, but Brazley needs to be on somebody’s recruiting board!

J. Toles, A. Davis, M. Cottingham, K. Martin, C. Rankin, C. Livingston, S. Wilson & P. McMillian
The battle for the top spot in the 7th grade division involved a rematch which started at the Basketball Spotlight Camp last week, when the consensus #1 ranked player in the nation, Zion Harmon went head-to-head with the newcomer Ryan Conway.  As was the case in southern Maryland, Harmon and Conway traded jump shots and layups as each attempted to stake claim to the top spot. By most accounts, Harmon gets the nod in the Columbus, Ohio battle.  Both guys are tenacious, can shoot the rock and can get to the rack at will. Conway is the bigger, stronger and more athletic of the two, while Harmon’s skill, IQ, maturity and experience gives him the edge.  Both were exciting to watch and should have a bright future with continued hard work and development.

Arguably the top two 6th grade PGs in Ohio were at the showcase and both players held serve. Sonny Johnson Jr. and Paul McMillian IV both had outstanding weekends and more than justified national recognition.  Johnson is more dynamic, crafty with a more advanced handle and a desire to find open teammates, while McMillian is bigger, stronger and faster from baseline to baseline than anybody we’ve seen in the class.  Both lead guards can shoot it from deep and are excellent playmakers.  In terms of their ability to score in the paint, McMillian powers his way to the cup, whereas Johnson usually tricks his defenders then drives by them.  Although we did not see them matchup this past weekend, we’re giving Johnson the nod as the top guy “for this weekend.”  For the second consecutive year, Baltimore’s Samaritine Bogues (PG/2023) made the trip to Columbus and hauled away his fair share of hardware and ink.  Already known nationally, the super slick floor general continues to get the job done.  For his efforts, number 1 baby!

D. Scott, D. Holloway, J. Hairston, D. Henry, C. Byers, C. Furst, N. Peeoples & M. Johnson
There was far too much talent in the gym to document in 1 article, but many of the scouting services in attendance will further break down the standouts.  Below is a link to the final showcase rankings.  For the most part, those players ranked highly by their showcase coach were listed, including performance in the Sunday all-star games.  While there were some standout performances in the NYBL all-star games on Saturday, our rankings are based on showcase performances only.  Look for additional reports coming soon.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

NYBL Co-Founder Severs Ties to Youth Basketball League


NYBL Co-Founder Severs Ties to Youth Basketball League

COLUMBUS, OH. (September 15, 2015) - With the conclusion of the NYBL all-star games this past weekend, Buckeye Prep Report Founder, Rob Taylor has severed all ties with the National Youth Basketball League, and will no longer have any involvement with the day-to-day operations of the 3-year old league. Although Taylor is extremely proud of his role in taking a raw idea, selling the vision of the league to coaches, and spearing heading significant growth over the past 3 years, he has concluded that it is now time to move on and focus on further strengthening the Buckeye Prep Report brand. 

Anybody who knows anything about Rob Taylor and the Buckeye Prep Report knows that he and his events are synonymous with integrity, fairness, passion and organization. In the wake of the recent Elite Basketball Circuit (EBC) debacle, and being unwilling to compromise his principles and risk tarnishing his hard-earned reputation, Taylor has decided to step away from a league in which he was instrumental in building and managing. “I would like to thank all of the players, coaches and parents who helped in the realization of the vision, while simultaneously playing a role in “changing the face of middle school basketball!” said Taylor. 

Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase All-Star Game Rosters

J. Riggins, A. Davis, Z. Davis, K. Martin, D. Scott, J. Toles, AJ Hoggard, S. Boguess, P. McMilliam
When an event has numerous elite players from around the country and a player makes an all-star team, that accomplishment becomes significant.  Such was the case at the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase this past weekend where a handful players logged in great weekends and were awarded with coveted spots on an all-star squad. If making an all-star game at a Buckeye Prep Event is special, then being selected a MVP is truly the pinnacle. Below is a link to the all-star game rosters including players chosen as Top 5 Award winners and MVPs.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase-Day One Recap

J. Riggens, J. Springer, Z. Harmon, J. Toles, J. Hairston, K. Martin, S. Wilson, C. Byers & C. Livingston

The 2015 Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase tipped of with a bang yesterday as nearly 500 players form across the country and Canada descended on Otterbein University in Columbus, Ohio to gage their skills against the elite and to impress the 15 plus scouting services in attendance. The event began with a series of NYBL all-star games in the morning and early afternoon followed by the first round of showcase games later in the afternoon. NYBL All-Stars: Jalen Blackmon (2021 Top 20); Courage Ogbeide (2021 Top 20); Isaiah May (2021 Top 40); AJ Hoggard (2020 Top 20); Zion Harmon (2020 Top 20); Chris Mayfield (2020 Top 40); Evan Johnson (2019 Top 20); Alec Pfreim (2019 Top 20) and Aaron Estrade-(2019 Top 40).

Although a majority of the teams only played 2 games on day one, several players quickly established themselves as top players.  Some of the day one standouts included: Davin Zeigler; Corvey Chapman; Chase Rankin (2018); William Muffit (2019); Jordan Hairston (2019); Aaron Estrade (2019); Christian Depollar (2019); Nobel Days (2019); Amari Davis (2019); Donte Scott (2019); Kaleb Martin (2019); Jamill Riggins (2019); Larry Canady (2019); Jordan Toles (2020); Jaden Springer (2020); Jayer Davis (2020); Isaiah LeBlanc (2020); Ernest Sanders (2020); Christian Moore (2020); Zion Harmon (2021), Julian Thomas (2020); HJ Hoggard (2020); William Greene (2020); Cameron Byers (2020; Joshua Boscoe (2020); Ricky Canady (2020), Zach Loveday (2020);Ryan Conway (2021); Seth Wilson (2021); Chris Ford (2021); Caleb Furst (2021); Kerell Booker (2021); Makail Cottingham (2021); Hughes (2021), Meechie Johnson (2021); Paul McMillian IV (2022); Tony Munoz (2021); Jalen Blackmon (2021); Jakobe Thompson (2021); Keon Henderson (2022); KK Bransford (2022), Sonny Johnson Jr.(2022); Chris Livingston (2022);  Edelen (2022); Dionte  Austin Nellis (2023), LA Hayes; Marcus Johnson.

Day two promises to feature many more of the elite players as players pick it up on oder to make all-star teams.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase Rosters & Schedule (Initial Draft)

Below is an email I sent out to everybody on my bulk email list about the upcoming Buckeye Prep Report Elite Showcase.  For those of you with kids/players planning to attend the event, please review the email carefully.

"Below is a link to the initial draft of rosters and schedule for Buckeye Prep Report Elite Showcase. The initial draft is being released early in order for corrections (i.e., name spelling, division placement, scheduling errors, etc) to be made prior to the event. As you can see from the showcase documents, the event is now SOLD OUT and no additional players can be added at this point. Although the event is sold out, there are still players who have not paid their entry fee. At this point, if I continue to receive interest, I will replace an unpaid player with a paying customer in order to reduce the number of no shows. If your son/player’s name does not appear on a roster, he is not entered in the event. No “walkups” will be accepted.  Also, although some of the rosters reflect 11 players, I always over book each team by one player to account for last minutes no shows.  In most cases, the teams will settle in at 10 players. If you paid your fee using Pay Pal, please have your receipt available as confirmation.

Please review the rosters, schedule and showcase rules very carefully to insure your child/player is listed, was placed in the correct grade division, and his name is spelled correctly. Also, please check the other team rosters as well to insure your child/player is not listed twice.  If you see an error, simply email me at and I will make the correction(s). If a player is listed on one of the rosters and you know he is not planning to attend the showcase for any reason, please email the information so the spot can be made available to a player on the waiting list.

The final rosters for the Saturday all-star games will be released by next week.  For those players who are not participating in the Saturday all-star games, they will not need to arrive at the gym until 1:00pm on Saturday to register. After opening comments and team assignments, the showcase games will tip off at 2:45pm. Every team will play at least 2 games (3 games for some teams) on Saturday. Games will begin at 8:30am on Sunday.  The top 2-4 kids from each team will be selected for a final all-star game on Sunday afternoon. In addition, in most cases, games will start early, so make sure your son/player is in the gym and prepared to play at least 45 minutes before his game is scheduled.

For my coaches, please read the enclosed letter, and plan to report to the facility by 1:00pm on Saturday for a short coaches meeting. Also, please review the rosters for the team you are assigned to insure you are not coaching your son, a friend’s son, a player you coach or anybody else that might represent a conflict of interest. If that’s the case, please contact me so you can be re-assigned. Finally, you will be presented with a camp T-shirt that you will be expected to wear so please dress accordingly.

I hope you and your son/child is excited about the event! As I have pointed out earlier, this event will be our biggest and most competitive ever, with over 500 players attending from across the country. Also, there will be numerous media outlets in the gym to document the action. In closing, please arrive at the gym with a positive and healthy attitude. Because there will be a lot of people in the gym, please bring a healthy dose of tolerance and patience! If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to email me at and I will do my best to respond.  See you on the 12tht!"

Rob Taylor

Event Director

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


According to my sources in the DMV area, there is a new player on the AAU scene.  Coach Mookie Dobbins and his Nationally Ranked 3rd and 7th grade teams have separated themselves from the Bmore’s Finest Brand, and have taken their talents to “Team Thrill.”  Earlier reports had Mookie and his teams merging with the MD Playmakers, however, reports that the NBA’s Will Barton was looking to start a program in his hometown resulted in a shift of plans. If you don’t know who Will Barton is, Will Barton is the shooting guard for the Denver Nuggets and a Baltimore native who is adamant about giving back to the place where he grew up.  Baltimore has not had a lot of bright spots over the last few months and we all know what I’m talking about, but Barton wants to change that and give kids hope, not just in basketball but in life. This is just the first step in his attempt to give back to the city that raised him.

Coach Dobbins will not be alone in this move, as Coach Woody Gunter will be joining him, and along with Gunter he will be bring the 2014/2015 4th Grade West Coast Champions. Gunter and his team were crowned West Coast Champs approximately  two hours before Dobbins 6th grade did the same.  We wish Coach Mookie and Gunther well in their new endeavors.  You can catch several of Team Thrill’s top players at the upcoming Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase on September 12th.