Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Middle School Hoops TV Camp-Final Day Recap

A. Henderson, M. Drone, G. Ott-Large, T. Butry, K. Sykes, M. Sullivan, D. Smith, K. Robinson & D. Stephens
Many of the standout performers from day one of the Middle School Hoops TV Camp continued their outstanding play into Sunday, but we decided to concentrate our evaluations on the 6th grade division as well get a closer look at some players we only caught glimpses of on Saturday.  Much like the older divisions, the 2022 division was stacked with young talent, particularly at the guard position.  Some of the best guards we saw on Sunday  included: Ashton Henderson (5’2’/PG/MI/2022); Mark Drone (5’6/PG/MS/2020); Dajour Stephens (5’2/PG/IL/2020); KJ Robinson (5’0/PG/FL/2022); Turner Butry (5’0/PG/KY/2022); Darion Smith (4’7/PG/IN/2022); Kennedy Chandler (5’4/PG/TN/2021); and  Khary Sykes (4’7/PG/MS/2022).  He wasn’t a guard, but Max Sullivan (6’2/C/IN/2022) caught our eye, as he dominated the boards and collected a boat load of rebounds and put back buckets.  We also liked Brandon Perez (5’11/W/PF/CA/2021), Grant Ott-Large (5’8/PF/IN/2022); Raymelle Arnold (5’9/PG/OH/2021); Makhi White (6’0/SG/KY/2020); and Luke Brown (5’4/PG/IN/2020).

C. Moore, L. Brown, R. Arnold, K. Chandler, B. Perez, A. Leal & O. Abuhamdeh
Day two of the camp was all about the series of all-star games.   We focused most of our attention on the 2021 and 2022 Top 20 All-Star games, and was very impressed with the level of talent and intensity of play. The 2021 Top 2020 game  produced a surprising outcome, as a loaded West squad with Zion Harmon, Ryan Conway, Noah Peeples and Kahlil Brantley went down to an East team  led by  Meechie Johnson, Paris Dawson and Carter Whitt. Johnson should be credited as the spark plug of the team as he pushed to rock in transition, found open teammates and did what elite PGs are supposed to do, run his team. No official MVPs were crowned, but that honor should have gone to Paris Dawson, who went down low and not only got buckets, but rebounded the heck out of the ball. Unofficial scoring had Dawson with 30 plus points in the win.  Other standouts on that team included North Carolina’s Carter Whitt, Tennessee’s Kennedy Chandler and Ohio’s Ramelle Arnold (5’9/PG/2021).  Although Arnold resides in Cleveland, we had not seen him before this event and could not have been more impressed with his athleticism and his ability to shoot from the perimeter.   Arnold's performance on Sunday suggests he deserves more attention.  Akron’s Noah Peoples continued his outstanding play and was virtually unstoppable in the paint.  Right now Peeoples has the ability to play multiple position, is extremely strong and posses an elite motor.

P. Dawson, M. Johnson, N.  Peeples, C. Livingston, P. McMillian, B. Griggs & D. Smith
The 2022 Top 20 game was another competitive affair and went right down to the wire. The East squad got the 64-63 win and was paced by the outstanding play of Chris Livingston (5’8’WF/OH/2022), who reportedly dropped a game high 32 points and 9 rebounds in the game. Livingston runs the floor like a deer, is very fluid and finishes at a high rate around the basket. He also defends well and consistently collects rebounds. Running the point was Darion Smith (4’7/PG/IN/2022), a dynamic PG who is quick, stays in attack mode, has the rock on a string, and possess the ability to deliver passes into tight spots.  For the West team, Cincinnati’s Paul McMillian VI (5’7/G/OH/2022) had a big game, as unofficial scoring had him at a team high 25 points, including 5 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 assists. We have been touting McMillian as a national talent deserving of a national ranking; however, his performance during the event warrants even more recognition. The floor general for that squad was Brice Griggs (5’6/PG/TX/2021), whom some have ranked as the #1 player in the nation.  Griggs did nothing to hurt his reputation, and his play reflected why so many people like his game and consider him the top guy in his class.  Griggs was credited with 17 points in the game. With that said, Chris Livingston has been garnering more national respect, and there were discussions over the weekend that he might soon ascend to the top after his impressive performance in Indianapolis. Other notables in the game included: Ashton Henderson (5’2’/PG/MI/2022); Grant Ott-Large (5’8/PF/IN/2022); and Jaleen Goodman (5’0/PG/TX/2021). Congratulations to Ty Kish and his staff for putting on a great event!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Middle School Hoops Camp Day I Standouts

J. Toles, H. Jackson, AJ Hoggard, J. Springer, R. Conway, C. Whitt, C. Byers, J. Baker & A. Miller
With the middle school basketball season right around the corner, Ty Kish’s inaugural Middle School Hoops Camp provided a final opportunity for the county’s elite middle and high school players to get elite level bump. The first-year event tipped off at Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis, IN. and attracted approximately 230 players from around the country.  Of course we concentrated on evaluating the middle school kids, but the 2019 division was loaded with talent.  We were most impressed with Marcedus Leech (6’4/SG/Poplar Bluff, MO/2019). Leach is thin and long, but his claim to fame was his ability to drain deep treys. With a solid handle and the ability to create separation, Leech can really score the ball. As evidence, in one game we saw, Leech dropped 24 points in one half of play, A definite D-I prospect. Chicago’s Marqusie Walker (5’11/PG/2019) was up to his old tricks in terms of beating guys of the dibble and getting to the rack. Walker continues to stake his claim as one of the top PGs in the nation. Dexter Shouse Jr. (6’2/SG/IN/2019) logged in a sold performance as well.  Still strong, still aggressive, and still one of the elite players in the class.  EJ Jackson (5’7/PG/Englewood, CA/2019) shared the backcourt with Leech, and between the 2 of them, their team dominated.  Jackson’s handle is elite, as is his vision and ability to find open teammates. A pleasure to watch.

Z. Harmon, R. Conway, P. Dawson, N. Peeopls, C. Livingston, K. Brantley, M. Johnson, P. McMillian, B. Griggs
As you would expect from a Middle School Hoops event, the class of 2020 was absolutely loaded with talent. Among that talent was Jordan Toles (6’0/SG/MD/2020), who continued to add to his already impressive reputation.  Toles is an exceptional athlete who is relentless to the basket. With a developing jump shout, Toles is difficult to guard. Jaiden Springer (6’3/SG/NC/2020) was putting in work on Saturday, as he was clearly in a different class than most of his opponents. Athletic, skilled, and smart best describes Springer’s game on day one. He lit it up at the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase last month, and AJ Hoggard’s (6’1/PG/PA/2020) performance in Indy was just as impressive.  A big guard with a solid handle, Hoggard can scorer the ball from either the perimeter or at the rim.  But that’s not all; Hoggard also has great vision and the ability to deliver the rock on time and on target. Continuing our discussion about elite PG, add Hunter Jackson (5’9/PG/IN/2020) to that list. When he gets a head of steam, Jackson is almost unstoppable to the cup. Although he can get you buckets, Jackson always plays hard, can really defend, and possess a high basketball IQ.  Carter Whitt (5’8/PG/NC/2020) followed up a solid performance at the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase a few weeks ago with a solid effort on Saturday.  Crafty, skilled and exciting to watch describe Whitt’s game.  Cameron Byers (6’6/PF/MD/2020) was a beast on day one and did pretty much anything he wanted to on Saturday. Byers uses his powerful frame to reek havoc in the paint, as he rebounds well, finishes at a high rate around the cup, and is now dunking on a consistent basis.  Keep an eye out for Emmanuel Okpomo, a 6’9 big (2020) from Jackson, MS. Great size, athleticism, and the ability to block shots at a high rate. Okpomo displayed his athleticism by winning the slam-dunk contest before an excited crowd. Like most bigs his age, Okpomo is still developing his footwork and an offensive game, but his ability to protect the rim is already game ready!

The 2021 division had its fair share of talent with guys like Zion Harmon, Ryan Conway, Paris Dawson, Meechie Johnson, Kahlil Brantly and Noah Peeoples, al of whom had outstanding performance on day one. Harmon and Conway renewed their battle in Indy, with each player auditioning for the #1 spot. A contrast in styles, Harmon is craftier with his game, while Conway uses his superior size and strength to score the rock.  Both players had big days on day one. Paris Dawson was dominating on Saturday as he took full advantage of his size.  Also playing well on day one were: Paul McMillian (IV), Chris Livingston, Brice Griggs (PG/TX), Jaden Bradley (5’10/PG/NC/2022), Josiah Mobley (5’3/PG/OH/2021), Jalen Whiteside (5’9/WF//MI/2021), Devin Carter (5’0/SG/MS/2022), Jalean Goodman (5’0/PG/TX), Ray Taylor (5’9/SG/TN/2020), Adam Miller (6’0/WF/IL/2020), Joe Bamisile (5’10/PG/VA/2020), Robert Martin (5’0/PG/MO/2020), Jeremy Baker (6’0/WF/IN/2020), John Mobley Jr. (PG/OH/2023), Amari Bailey (WF/IL/2022), Jaemyn Brakefield (6’8/PF/MS/2020) and Jalen Drane (5’7/SG/IL/2022).  All in all, Saturday featured a great day of basketball by an elite level of talent.  Can’t wait to see what day two has in store!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase Individual Awards

J. Riggins, N. Days, C. Davis, C. Depollar, M. Cottingham, L. Pellott, J. Lipscom, K. Wyatt & A. Nelles
Although the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase is known for attracting and recognizing the top middle and high school talent in the country, there continues to be a holistic emphasis relative to what it takes to be well rounded and to possess long-term potential.  As we all know, size, length and athleticism are basic building blocks for future success; however, without intangibles such as skill set, defense, hustle and attitude, more long-term success can be elusive.  To this end, in addition to the all-star selection process and overall showcase rankings, a number of players have been recognized for possessing several other basketball related assets.  Below is a link to a list of award recipients who exhibited several positive qualities over the course of the event. Congratulations to all of award recipients!