Friday, December 30, 2016

Hornbeak Has Next Level Potential

Clarence "CJ" Hornbeak III-2023 Toledo
We recently featured a Toledo-based rising star in Michael Greenlee Jr.; however, the “Glass City” seems to be loaded with young talent, especially in the class of 2023.  Clarence “CJ” Hornbeak III (5’6/PF/Toledo/2023) is another young stud with loads of potential.  Hornbeak began establishing his reputation during his play with a Maumee Bay Turf Basketball Club team that we considered as a top 10 team (class of 2023) last season.  We were so impressed with Hornbeak that we selected him Second Team All-Ohio last season and gave him a spot on the prestigious Ohio North vs South All-Star game. 

From what we know of Hornbeak, he has good size and a developing skill set that allows him to both bang in the post and step outside and do damage on the perimeter.  We also saw a recent video, which confirms Hornbeak is developing a consistent jump shot out to 17 feet. Moreover, because of his size and ball skills, Hornbeak is versatile and able to play multiple positions.

The last time we saw Hornbeak was at our fall session of the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase, where his impressive play garnered him an all-star game selection.  Additionally, when we saw him initially in our spring session, Hornbeak’s debut culminated in an all-star game appearance.  After his performance in March, we had this to say about Hornbeak:  …We have to mention his AAU teammate, CJ Hornbeak III (5’6”/C/Toledo), who came to Columbus with a rep and confirmed many of the positive things we had heard about him. Hornbeak is a big that rebounds at a high rate and is effective at scoring close to the bucket.  We also think we saw him step away and flash some perimeter skills as well.  Hornbeak is definitely a player to watch going forward…” You can catch Hornbeak in action at our March 4th Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase.

Before we close, we would be remised if we did not give some props to Hornbeak’s AAU teammate, Deric Jaynes (5’0/PG/Toledo/2023), who has also made his reputation excelling at our elite showcases, and who also hails from Toledo.  In fact, at our spring event earlier this year, Jayness' dynamic play led to an all-star game selection, which then led to a Top 5 Award.  In addition, Jaynes was also selected as Buckeye Prep Third Team All-Ohio and also participated in the Ohio North vs South All-Star Game. As we said earlier, Toledo is absoutly loaded with young talent.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

OBC Adds Pieces for 2017 Campaign

Omar Abuhamdeh, Jalen Dial & Tae Perie
The 2017 travel basketball season is only a few short months away and teams continue to solidify their rosters.  When the season tips off in March, Ronell Perie’s Ohio Basketball Club Black (OBC) squad’s roster will reflect some upgrades. New to the team this season will be Omar Abuhamdeh (5’7/combo guard/North Royalton), a consensus top 10 player in the state.  Abuhamdeh has been a consistent standout at our Buckeye Prep Elite Showcases, where he is a perennial all-star and Top 5 Award winner.  Moreover, Abuhadeh was selected to Buckeye Prep’s 2nd Team All-State this past season and was selected to participate in the prestigious Ohio North vs South and Ohio vs Kentucky All-Star games in September.

We’ve also featured Abuhadeh on this site several times and had this to say about him in our last piece “…Abuhamdeh is strong, skilled and possesses an elite motor.  He’s not just a catch and shoot threat, as he’s more than capable of shooting off the bounce and off picks. A solid handle and excellent vision makes him a excellent player maker as well. Blessed with solid stroke from the perimeter, Abuhamdeh also excels at powering his way to the bucket.” (See article).  Needless to say, Abuhamdeh will command a starting spot from day one.

In addition to Abuhamdeh, OBC has added Jalen Dial (5’9/combo guard/Cleveland).  Dial was originally a 2020 kid who has reclassed to 2021, and should make an immediate impact for Piere’s team.  We’ve also been real impressed with Dial’s game in the past and had this to say about him from an earlier event, “…We haven’t seen him in a while, but Jalen Dial (5’10”/PG/2020/South Euclid) is as good as we remember.  Dial, like his brother, has the rock on a string and is always in complete control. He’s difficult to speed up, and his package of dribble moves allow him to get into the paint where he consistently makes solid decisions.  As with any elite floor general, Dial has good vision and consistently delivers pinpoint passes.”  It’s important to note that Dial was selected as Fifth Team All-Ohio in the class of 2020 last season.

Also new to the team are Kobe Johnson (6’2/WF/Canton) and Stone Ambos (6’5/C/Cleveland).  The addition of Johnson and Ambos will add length and athleticism to the team.  Returning starters include Tae Perie (5’7/combo guard/Akron) and Jayden Ballard (6’2/WF/Massillon).  Perie had a break season this past year, which he parlayed into a national ranking.  In addition, we certainly have seen him at several of our events and consider him to be among the top 10-15 players in Ohio.  Also, we had this to say about Perie at an earlier event, “…We have to add Tae Perie (5’3/PG/2021/Akron) to the list if elite guards at the event. Perie, a lefty, played with poise, showed great vision and was strong.”

The rest of the 2017 roster includes MarSuan Robinson (5’6/combo guard/Oberlin), Jonah Lytle (5’7/WF/Canton), Kamron Thomas (6’5/C/Lorain), Demar Small (6’5/C/Akron), Ky’ree Young (6’3/C/Barberton) and Austin Speed (6’1/WF/Solon).  According to Coach Perie, his team will be better in 2017. “We got better, and got a big shot in the arm with [acquiring] Omar.” Perie said. ‘[Kobe] Johnson and [Jayden] Ballard will make us long and athletic,” continued Perie.  Even with his excitement about his 2017 team, Perie is still realistic about where his team stands in the state. “Realistically, we/re not better than Tru Game, maybe a notch below them.  All-Ohio Red has an edge on us with their size,” Peire said.  “We’ll be a team you can’t press.  We will surprise some people.  All in all, we have the best backcourt of the all,” continued Perie.

If Adidas includes the 8th class as part of the Gauntlet (Adidas’ elite high school basketball circuit); Perie expects to participate in those events.  If not, he will play the most competitive tournaments they can find, including playing up a grade or 2 in local tournaments.  Finally, Perie indicated that OBC will field a second team in the class with OBC White.  He feels this team is talented enough to warrant a top 10 ranking.  We look forward to catching OBC in action at our Buckeye Prep Invitational on March 31st-April 2nd!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Battle of the Titans

Monday night featured a crosstown rivalry match-up between two of the top Middle School teams in Central Ohio.  Pickerington North's own Lakeview Junior High took to the floor against Hilliard Bradley's feeder group, Memorial Middle School. This would shape up to be a battle of undefeated teams in 2016. Ironically, this isn’t the first time these two teams have squared off without a loss.  Last year as 7th graders these two teams faced off in the end of the year Middle School Tournament Championship Game, both without a loss.  The Lakeview Panthers prevailed at the time with a 9-point win over the Memorial Jags.  

Each team had not really been tested up to this point, averaging 40-point plus victories in their prior 8 games. This game would be flush with talent, as 5 of the 10 starters at tipoff are a part of the Mid Ohio Pumas top AAU 8th grade team.  You may remember this squad from their 2014 NYBL 7th place finish and top 3 finish in the state, as 6th graders. This past season as 7th graders, they didn’t compete as a 7th grade team, instead many of these players moved up a grade and competed across multiple 8th grade Puma teams. More on that later in the article.

This year the Jags are led by three of five Puma players AJ Mirgon, the Jag’s leading scorer and rebounder with 21 points a game, along with co-captain and team-leading 3 point shooter Keaton Norris, the younger brother of Hilliard Bradley varsity player Braden Norris. Also rounding out the big three is versatile slasher Justice Ross. This trio along with a strong supporting cast had their minds set out to seek revenge over the Panthers. While intentions are great, results are what matter, and tonight the Jags just couldn't finish each quarter, allowing the Panthers to runoff 5 point spurts at the end of each quarter.  Paving the way to a 48-36 defeat of the Jags.  The Panthers now remain undefeated in two full seasons, while the Jags were handed only their second loss in two seasons to the same team.

The Lakeview Panthers were led by 6'4 man-child Jack Sawyer's game high 25 points and 11 rebounds, reminding us why he is one of the best post players in the state. As witnessed by Buckeye Prep in the fall Showcase, where he took home MVP honors for his all-star team. Like most good big men, you can only be as good as your PG who is distributing to you.  In this case, Sawyer is blessed to have one of the areas top floor generals in Casey George. Throughout the game George continued to make big plays when they counted, including a key buzzer beater shot to end the 1st qtr. George has delivered a balanced PG stat sheet all season with an impressive assist to turnover ratio, while leading the team from 3-point land. 

Justice Ross led the Jags in 1st quarter with a quick 4 of his 7 game points, and Sawyer countered with 7 of his own.  As the 2nd quarter progressed it was the supporting cast of the Panthers-- led by the Ohio Hoopsters’ Omari Fong and his overall 14 points, that provided much needed scoring.  Those were key points in keeping pace with the hot hand of Keaton Norris, who was bombing away from the deep corners of the gym with a trifecta of threes.

At halftime the score sat at 21-17, but in order to stay in the game the Jags needed someone to step up, and after a slow start in the first half with only 2 points. AJ  Mirgon came out in the 3rd quarter nailing three deep 3 pointers, while beginning to create points in the lane.  Mirgon, also a teammate of Sawyer in the Buckeye Prep Showcase All-Star game--finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds. As the 3rd quarter progressed, Sawyer began to get in a groove again.  Virtually an unstoppable force on the blocks, the strong bodied Sawyer poured in 12 third quarter points, as the Panthers began to pull away and never looked back. The game boiled down to an overall battle of two skilled and strong willed teams, who had a lot of mutual respect for one another.

As for the Puma players, taking last year off from competing together, the plan is connect these young men again for a select few 8th grade tourneys in the spring, while competing mostly in 9th grade again. Mid Ohio Pumas, Founder- Dave Mirgon states, "It is just a better fit developmentally to have these young men take their skills an age level up again. The bigger and stronger competition better prepares them for HS varsity opportunities.  There isn't much more they need to prove at their age level."

We look forward to seeing these Pumas again on the circuit this spring.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Brooks’ Potential is Unlimited

Pierre Brooks II-2021 Detroit, MI
Although the State of Michigan has a long history of producing elite basketball talent, in most cases, the top young ballers rarely receive the recognition they deserve until later in their high school careers.  Pierre Brooks II (6’3/combo guard/2021/MI) is one of those players who deserve early props.  Already 6’3, only in the 8th grade, with an impressive skill set; Brooks has the potential to play high major ball with continued growth and development.  Oh yea, by most accounts, Brooks is easily one of the top 4-5 players in the state of Michigan.

We’ve seen Brooks play on several occasions, and we’ve left impressed every time we’ve seen him.  Specifically, he made his debut at our spring elite showcase, where he established himself as a stud, when his standout performance garnered him an all-star game appearance. We saw him again at our Buckeye Prep Summer Showdown tournament in June, when he teamed up with Keon Henderson’s Detroit Doughboys squad and took home the championship and All-Tournament Team honors.  We last caught him in action at our fall elite showcase, where he again logged in an impressive performance, which led to a spot in the all-star game and a Top 5 Award.

He’s not only made noise at our events, but all-star performances at the John Lucas Right Way Camp in Chicago, Bank Hoops All-State Camp, NEO Youth Elite Showcase and at the D-Rich Camp has made him an elite name on the national level.  Not only does he standout in individual settings, Brooks’ play with The Family at the U-13 AAU Nationals last year where he helped lead his team to a 2nd place finish, proved he can get it done in a team format as well.  According to Sean Moore, head coach of The Family, Brooks had a breakout performance at the AAU Nationals last season.  “…Pierre was dominate; he more than held his own against some of the top teams [at the event],” said Moore.  Coach Moore is also very impressed with Brooks’ game, attitude and character. “…Pierre is the “true definition of a postionless player. He’s silky smooth, a lights out shooter and is a team player who is also is coachable.” Moore offered. In addition, for his 6-1 St. Clair Montesalco Middle School team, Brooks is averaging 22 points, 12 rebounds and 5 assists per game.

If his size, ball skills, ability to knock down the 3-ball consistently and play multiple positions weren’t enough, Brooks’ basketball IQ sets him apart from his peers. The son of Pierre Brook Sr., a high school basketball coach at Detroit’s Fredrick Douglas High School since 2001, the younger Brooks has been around basketball since he was 3 years old.  Brooks also excels in the classroom and he has a respectable 3’2 GPA to prove it.  Although Brooks is also a standout in baseball, where he’s shortstop and pitcher, he has his sights on college basketball.  We'll get our next opportunity to evaluate Brooks at our March 4th Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase.  Keep an eye on this kid; he could be a good one!

MSHoopsTV Video

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

More Big Changes in Ohio’s Class of 2021

2021 All-Ohio Purple
When we release our 2017 Ohio Team Rankings in March, the class of 2021 will see significant changes at the top.  Specifically, Buckeye Prep’s #1 ranked team last season, All-Ohio Purple, and our Coach of the Year, Orlando Berry, will not be represented in our rankings.  Why, you ask, because the team has been disbanded.  A team, whose full court pressure defense was at times stifling to the point of dominance this past season will not be returning in 2017.

We talked to Berry about the situation and he was quite frank.  “They [his players] don’t have the heart.  I just feel like the kids did not work hard enough; did not get better,” said Berry.  Berry has been coaching AAU since 2004, has always had dominant teams, and he certainly understands what it takes to be successful, both locally and nationally.  “They aren’t hungry enough to travel; it’s a different level in the 8th grade.  When I love it [basketball] more than the kids then it’s a problem,” continued Berry.

Although Berry will not be at the helm of All-Ohio Purple, you can’t rule him out of being in the game in some capacity. “I’m not saying I’m through with coaching, but not at this level [8th grade].  I may coach a younger team or even girls; I don’t know,” Berry said.  One of the obvious questions centers around where Berry’s core group of players will land.  Guys like Montev Ware, Jordan Hale-Frater (class of 2022), Jakada Stone, Adrian Layson, Rob Thompson, Antonio Walker and Kaden Warner are all quality pieces that could serve as a solid core if surrounded by more talent.  “I referred a couple of kids to All-Ohio and King James [NEO Tru Game], the other 2 elite programs in the state,” Berry continued.

Montev Ware & Jordan Hale-Frater
Speaking of NEO, according to Coach Danielle Love, “…everybody has improved and has literally grown,” during the off-season, and are “absolutely, without a doubt,” the best team in the state. “We’re so much more athletic than any team in the state. Other teams may be bigger [a likely reference to All-Ohio Red], but we are more athletic and our basketball IQs are higher,” said coach Love.  Much like All-Ohio Red, Love’s squd has upgraded their roster as well, with the addition of Justin Garcia (6’5/combo forward/2021/Indiana), who moved to West Lake, Ohio this year after running with Indiana Elite the last few seasons.  “Justin will help us in many ways; he has amazing potential.  He’s long, shoots, runs the floor well and has a high IQ,” Love said.  “In our first scrimmage, Justin was a team player who really fit in and looked like he’d been playing with us for 3 years,” continued Love.

With the demise of All-Ohio Purple, coupled with All-Ohio Red’s upgraded roster and Tru Game’s athleticism and team continuity, the #1 spot will surely be up for grabs next season.  We can’t wait for the match-up between these 2 heavy weights!  Look for the match-up at the Buckeye Prep Invitational March 31st-April 2nd.  Can’t wait!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Benton’s Stock on the Rise

Cecil Benton Jr.-Lima 2022
We got our first look at Cecil Benton Jr. (5’8/PG/Lima/2022) last March at our spring elite showcase, where his outstanding play led to an all-star game appearance and a Top 5 Award. Benton’s performance at the event also garnered him a spot in our top 20 list, as well as a 4th Team All-Ohio selection.  In addition, Benton was selected to participate in both the Ohio North vs South and Ohio vs Kentucky All-Star games.  In addition to his showcase performance, Benton also led his Lima Gators to the championship game of the Buckeye Prep Summer Showdown in June. In terms of his game, Benton is a bigger guard who excels at scoring and slashing to the basket.  Benton is also good at driving and dishing, and he uses his size to post up smaller guards.

When the AAU season tips off in March, Benton will once again be running with his father’s Lima Gators squad.  Last season, Benton averaged 17 points, 6 assists and 6 rebounds per game.  This school season, with his 4-1 Lima West Spartans team, Benton is averaging a gaudy 22 points and 5 assists per game, despite the fact he’s a 7th grader playing up on the 8th grade team (he was elevated after the first 7th grade game).  In addition to staring on the basketball court, Benton played QB for the undefeated (13-0) Lima West football team.  He may be a basketball stud, but Benton prefers football at this point in his career, and plans to play both sports when he attends Lima Senior High School in a couple of years.

He’s not just an athlete; Benton also takes his education seriously and he has an impressive 4.0 GPA and Honor Roll honors to prove it.  Moreover, Benton was selected to the Buckeye Prep All-Academic Team this past season. With the 2017 season fast approaching, Benton has a chance to enhance his rankings.  In fact, his first opportunity will come with his participation at our elite showcase on March 4th.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Duvall Changes Teams for 2017 Season

Adam Duvall-2022 Beavercreek
He may not yet be a household name, but Adam Duvall (6’4/WF/2022/Beavercreek) has a chance to have a breakout season in 2017, with his move from All-Ohio Blue/North Coast Blue Chips to Coach Paul McMillian’s All-Ohio Red squad.  Last season, Duvall was surround by several talented players including Sincere Harris and Trey Dennis, but still managed to average about 12 points per game for Shaw Thigpen’s talented team. We currently have Duvall ranked in our top 20, but as we see him more this season with Red, he has a legitimate shot at cracking the top 10. In addition, Duvall was selected as 3rd Team All-Ohio last season.

We’ve seen Duvall at 2 of our elite showcases, where both times he played his way into all-star games.  In fact, at our spring event last March, not only did Duval get an all-star game nod, he received a Top 5 Award based on his standout performance in that game.  In our post event report after the event, we said this about Duvall: “Adam Duvall (6’1”/PF/Beavercreek) already has impressive length for his age, which combined with a solid skill set, suggests he could be real good down the road.  In fact, we plan to track his progress.”  

With Duvall’s length and ball skills, he is versatile and able to play multiple positions. Although he plays more in the post during the travel team season, he’s a combo guard for his 3-1 Ankeney Middle School team this season. For his size, Duvall has a good handle, runs the floor well, sees the floor and can shoot it.  Duvall is also a good student as evidenced by his 3.8 GPA.  In our opinion, with continued growth and development, Duvall has D-I potential. You can catch Duvall in action at our March 4th Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase.


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Young Leads Undefeated Shaker Team

Danny Young Jr.-Shaker Heights
Averaging 25 points per game, Danny Young Jr. (5’8/combo guard/Shaker Heights/2022) has his 13-0 Shaker Heights Red Raiders squad poised to receive a #1 seed in their upcoming Greater Cleveland Conference (GCC) tournament.  Coach Kevin Foster’s team has enjoyed mostly blowout victories so far this season, with only 2 close games against Solon and Euclid Gold.  Foster attributes his team’s success to “an attacking style of defense” and the fact that his players “play together like a team.”

In addition to Young, who we’ve seen a number of times at our elite showcases, and who we currently have ranked in our top 7th grader list, the Red Raiders have a solid starting 5 of Jaden Brown (5’5/PG/Shaker Heights/2022), Adam Diaz (5’8/WF/Shaker Heights/2022), Lashawn Singelton (5’11/PF/Shaker Heights/2022) and Ari Green (5’4/SG/Shaker Heights/2022). 

When describing Young’s performance this season, which includes two 30-point games, Foster could not be more complimentary. “His [Young’s] game is very well rounded.  He leads the team in just about everything right now.  I don’t think there’s  anything he can’t do, both offensively and defensively,” said Foster.  Congratulation to coach Foster and his players!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Greenlee has a Bright Future

Michael Greenlee Jr-Toledo
It’s still very early, but Ohio’s class of 2023 is starting looking like it’s going to be one of the better classes we’ve seen in years.  Near the top of the class is Michael Greenlee Jr. (5’4”/combo guard/Toledo/2023). We’ve seen him in action a couple of times at our elite showcases and each time we were impressed with his game. In fact, the last 2 showcases Greenlee attended, not only did he punch his ticket to the all-star game; he balled out on his way to Top 5 Award honors.  Greenlee also put in work at Jerry Watson’s Nike City Series a few months ago, and was selected to the event’s All-Tournament Team.

The first time we saw Greenlee we had this to say about him: “…No one impressed us more than Michael Greenlee Jr., a long and athletic lead guard who displayed an almost complete game.  Not only is he effective at getting into the paint and finishing, Greenlee can knock down the jumper as well. Greenlee’s performance was so impressive, he will vault to the top of the class on our top player lists.”  Greenlee excelled this past season on a loaded Maumee Bay Turf team, where he averaged nearly 20 points per game.

We think so highly of Greenlee that we selected him as 1st Team All-Ohio, and currently have him listed as a potential top ten in the state in the class of 2023. That's impressive because he’s up their with guys like Gabe Cupps, LA Hayes, CJ Hornbeak, Dre’Sean Roberts, Chase Walker, Desh Molton, Jayvion Moore, Jyles Brandon, Daylin Swain, Karl Burroughs, LeBron James Jr. and Antaune Allen. If you’re listed among the best in this class that’s really saying something!  You can check Greenlee out on March 4th when he returns to the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase where he will once again put his rep on the line and compete against the best in the state, region and country!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Bova’s Play Draws Attention

Mike Bova-Avon Lake
Up until recently, discussions about elite guards in Ohio’s class of 2022 have not included Michael Bova (5’8/combo guard/Avon Lake/2022).  However, with his MVP performance in the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase Top 40 All-Star game in September, and his play in the Ohio North vs South All-Star game (second leading scorer with 13 points), Bova has now muscled his way into the conversation.  In terms of consistency, Bova also logged in a standout performance at a recent NEO event in Cleveland, where he parlayed a top 20 finish into an all-star game selection. Moreover, Bova averaged 22 points per game in the Ohio Shooting Stars Fall League, and averaged 16 points per game at the AAU Nationals last season.

Bova might not look the part to some, but his skill set, which includes a consistent stroke out to the 3-point line, a tight handle, court vision and playing making ability, are all attributes in a top guard.  In addition, Bova is a hardnosed competitor who aggressively attacks the basket.  According to Ed Heben, Bova’s AAU coach, Bova can play both guard positions, is coachable and is a “great and willing passer.” According Paul McMillian, Head Coach of All-Ohio Red 2022, who has had an opportunity to compete against Bova, “…the kid can play. He’s a solid shooter who is above average and will not back down,” McMillian said.

Because Bova’s Learwood Middle School team does not open their season until January (girls play first), we don’t have any stats; however, Bova is not just good on the hardwood, he’s also a big time scorer on the grid iron, as evidenced by 20 touch downs this past middle school season.  Bova also takes his studies seriously, and he has an A/B average as proof.  You can catch Bova in action at our March 4th elite showcase, and again when his Ohio Shooting Stars team attends the Buckeye Prep Invitational Tournament March 31st-April 2nd.  We plan to keep an eye on Bova’s development.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Farmer Continues to Develop

EJ Farmer-Shaker Heights
In our effort to turn the spotlight on more “under the radar” type guys, we turn our focus to EJ Farmer (6’1/Guard/Shaker Heights/2021), who has continued to grow and develop since we saw him in Cleveland earlier this year. In our post event report for the NEO showcase in February, we noted this about Farmer, “…We knew Hameed was a top 10 player, but Farmer surprised us a bit. Farmer is a threat to shoot it as soon as he crosses half court.  There’s no need for him to wait for a pass to get his shot off, as Farmer can create his own shot off the bounce.” We last saw Farmer in action at the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase in September, where he participated in both the Ohio North vs South and Ohio vs Kentucky All-Star games.  In addition, Farmer logged in a top 100 performance later in the showcase.

Farmer is fast, sees the floor well and can get to any spot on the court he wants to in order to get his shot.  He also works well in transition, defends and can put up big numbers.  Farmer has stretched out  bit since we last saw him, and at 6’1 with the ability to play the 2 spot or slide over and play the point, Farmer’s upside potential is worth noting. From what we here, Farmer is enjoying a lot of success with his 7-2 Shaker Middle School squad so far this season, where he is averaging 17 points, 6 assists, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks per game.  

In addition, Farmer is excelling in the classroom as well, and is packing a hefty 3.7 GPA. This coming AAU season Farmer will again be running with Jonathon Burge’s Another Level organization.  We look forward to seeing Farmer again at our March 4th elite showcase and again when his Another Level team participates in our March 31st-April 2nd Buckeye Prep Invitational Tournament.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Myers off to a Fast Start

Tegan Myers-2022
With his 31 point, 7 assist, 5 steal and 3 rebound outburst on Monday night, Tegan Myers (5’8/SG/Logan/2022) is poised to have a big season for his 2-0 Logan Hocking Middle School.  Myers logged in those impressive numbers in a 61-31 win against Newark Heritage in his team’s opening game on Monday. We first saw Myers at the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase last March when his standout performance caught our eye. Although we did not see much of him during the 2016 season, we liked his IQ and motor enough to select him as Buckeye Prep’s 7th Team All-State, and to give him a spot on our top 7th grade list.

From what we recall, Myers plays with great energy, runs the floor and excels in transition.  He’s also aggressive, tough, shoots it well and has a high basketball IQ. With his size and skill set, Myers can play multiple positions.  Myers is also a good student, as evidenced by his selection to the 2016 Buckeye Prep All-Academic Team and his 3.5-3.8 GPA.  Because both of Myers’ parents are educators, his academic future would appear to be set.  Although Myers played AAU last season with a southeast Ohio based team, he’s looking to upgrade his team next season in order to face more competition and receive more exposure.  We look forward to getting a closer look at Myers on March 4th at the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase.

Buckeye Prep Top 2022 List

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Introducing Elmore James IV

James Elmore IV
As most Buckeye Prep Report fans know, many of the elite 2022 players in the state have been featured extensively on this website. Guys like Chris Livingston, Paul McMillian IV, Sonny Johnson Jr. and Khalil Luster have made their names with standout performances at Buckeye Prep Elite Showcases and other competitive events around the state; consequently, their success has been well documented. Well, with each season, as players grow and develop, new names emerge on the scene and demand recognition.  Although he enjoyed some success running with Court Leaders last season, his talent went mostly unrecognized.  His outstanding play and all-star game selection at the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase last September convinced us we needed to give James his props.

He’s not yet a hot name, and most fans who follow this class have not seen nor heard much about him, but Elmore James IV (5’9/WF/South Euclid/2022) can play, and deserves to be recognized on the statewide stage.  We first saw James play at an NEO event this past February and were really impressed with his game.  In fact, in our post event report we described James as “…big, athletic and plays hard.  James runs the floor well and finishes at a high rate around the basket.  James has good genics as well; as he’s a relative of Ohio State commit Derek Funderburk. We think James’ upside is huge…”

Based on what James is currently accomplishing with his 7th grade Memorial Middle School in South Euclid, where he’s averaging 24 points per game, including a high game of 29 points, James has his 5-2 Arcs squad on a 5-game winning street, and it’s clear that what we saw in February was no fluke. Also, the fact that his cousin, Ohio State’s Derek Funderburk is 6’9, projections that James will to grow 6’7-6’9 is realistic.  In addition, with his current skill set, size and strength, it would not surprise us if James ends up playing college basketball at the D-I level.

We asked a couple of people about James’ game and the conscience is that he’s big, athletic, with a developing skill set.  Specifically, with his size and ball skills, James is versatile, allowing him to play multiple positions from the point to the post.  In addition, James’ size allows him to finish with contact, and his skill set, IQ and decision making equips him to be effective further away from the basket. Not only is James handling his business on the court, he’s an honor role student and with an A/B average. According to his father, James is likely to attend Brush High School in a couple of years.

James is currently weighing a couple AAU team options, both of which would put him in a more competitive situation and allow for even more exposure. We certainly expect to keep an eye on James’ development when the 2017 season tips off in March.  You can catch James in action at the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase on March 4th, and again at the Buckeye Prep Invitational Tournament March 31-April 2nd. Welcome to the big stage James Elmore!

Buckeye Prep Top 2022 Player List

Thursday, December 1, 2016

All-Ohio Red 2021 Upgrades Roster for 2017 Season

Trey James, Jaden Hameed & Keon Henderson
Last year, they were already one of the top 7th grades teams in the state, who could more than hold their own on a national level; however, with 3 key roster upgrades for the upcoming season, 2017 could be a big year for Coach Marty Finta’s All-Ohio Red 2021 squad.  Gone are Alex Williams, a big bodied slasher from Dayton and Quincy Clark, the team’s steady floor general from Gahanna. The biggest addition to Finta’s team is Trey James, a 6’10 athletic, space eater from Kentucky who will provide rim protection, rebounding and additional low post scoring.  We last saw James in action during the Ohio vs Kentucky All-Star Game and the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase in September, where he showcased his ability to block shots, grab rebounds and score. For the record, James played with Al Mobley’s All-Ohio Red 7th grade team last year.

Also new to the team is 5’11 Jaden Hameed, a strong, athletic combo guard from Cleveland, who will add a more robust scoring punch with his ability to attack the cup and finish.  He joined the team late last season and made an immediate impact, but Keon Henderson, a dynamic 5’10 PG from Detroit, will join the team full-time in 2017.  Last season, Henderson provided both a scoring option as well playing making ability, and showed flashes of greatness. Another addition to the squad is Cleveland’s Collin Albert, a 5’7 PG who will add additional depth and shooting at the guard position.  In addition, Albert has been described as a fearless defensive specialist who is willing to guard the opponent’s best player. Rounding out All-Ohio’s roster additions is 5’8 Caden Edmondson, a very athletic combo guard who’s quick and defends at a high level.

With the return of 6’5 Brent Walker (Huber Heights), 6’1 Wil Sizer (Cincinnati) and 6’2 Elijah English (Gahanna), All-Ohio will have the biggest front court in the state.  Add 6’3 Isaiah May to the list and Finta’s squad will have 6 players over 6’0 tall.  Also returning is 6‘0 Gabe Finta, (Columbus) the team’s best 3-point shooter. With a roster that includes, size, multiple scoring options, elite defenders and solid guard play, Finta is excited about his team’s potential.  “Our team has been assembled with top talent, and we will focus on team ball,” Finta said. “We will have good attitudes, a 10-man rotation and we will play heavy and intense defense,” continued Finta.  According to Finta, his team’s keys to success require “team oriented play, coachability, and parent’s willingness to allow their sons to be coached,” offered Finta.

When we release our pre-season team rankings in March it will be hard not to give All-Ohio Red 2021 the nod as the #1 ranked team in the state based on the quality of their roster additions.  As far as Finta is concerned, it’s not even close [the #1 spot]. “I don’t see anybody close. This team will be tough to beat.  I wouldn’t want to coach against us,” proclaimed Coach Finta. In anticipation of their dominance next season, Finta has upgraded their schedule to include more competitive tournaments. Not only is Finta looking to play the other top teams around the state; he wants to play them in pool play! Joining Finta on the bench will be assistant coaches Anton Hameed and Harry Albert, both of whom coached with All-Ohio Northeast last season.

We’re confident that when the rest of the coaches and players in this class read Finta’s comments there will be no shortage of motivation, especially from the likes of All-Ohio Purple, last’s season #1 ranked team, the NEO Shooting Stars and the Ohio Basketball Club! You can catch All-Ohio in action when they debut their new team at the Buckeye Prep Invitational March 31st through April 2nd in Columbus.  Can you say “Super Pool?” We can’t wait to see this team take the floor in March!