Sunday, February 28, 2016

Hidden Gems Discovered in Columbus All-Star Game

Gilbert, Sibley, Jackson & Boateng
We had the opportunity to spend some time at the Bruins All-Star Middle School Bonanza at Briggs High School in Columbus yesterday, and we’re glad we did, as a couple of hidden gems were unearthed.  Although the event featured 3 games, including a girl’s game, 7th grade game and an 8th grade game, we only had time to watch the 7th grade game before we had to leave. The game was vey competitive and featured several players on our statewide 2021 top player list. 

Although their were a couple of highly ranked 7th graders in the game, like Malik Branham, Trayvon Jackson, Josiah Fulcher and Makale Massey, the stars of the game were Jaylen Gilbert (6’0/PF/2021/Columbus) who dropped 22 points in a loosing effort and Royal Sibley (5’11/PG/2021/Columbus) who led his Home team to a 52-48 win with a team-high 11 points.  We also liked Luchene Davis (5/8/P/SG/2021/Columbus) who finished with 11 points for the Away squad and Eldon Boateng (5’8/PF/2021/Columbus) who added 8 points.  It’s worth noting that Trayvon Jackson (5’8/PG/2021/Columbus) was a catalyst in his team’s win, as he hit key shots late in the game to allow his team to pull away for good. Jackson finished with 8 points. 

We’re disappointed we could not stay for the 8th grade game, as there were several highly ranked players competing including: Chris Mayfield, Von Cameron Davis, Tahleik Walker and Dominic Penn.  From what we understand, the players and teams were divided between the OCC (suburban) and the Columbus City League, with the OCC team maintaining a lead through out the game before winning by about double digits.  Standouts for the OCC squad were CJ Anderson, who finished with 26 points, and whom some feel was the unofficial MVP, Dominic Penn, who got hot from the perimeter knocking down about 3-4 treys, and Chris Mayfield who’s athleticism was on full display.  For the City League, Marcus Johnson (finished with 22 points), Qian Magwood and Von Cameron Davis were the standouts.  We also heard some good things about Grove City’s Matt Reed and Hamilton Township’s Marquis Moore.  From what we saw, it was a great event.  Finally, several of the above players have been selected to participate in the annual All-Star Saturday All-Star Game at the Bruce Howard Recreation Center on March 26th.  Finally, below is a complete list of 7th and 8th grade all-stars.

7th Grade All-Stars:

Home Team: Isaac Reeves, Royal Sibley, Malik Branham, Trayvon Jaclson, Makale Massey, Alex Crippen, Michael Wright, Marcus Brown, Eldon Boateng, Kasim Dear Jr., Mehki Jerrett, and Richie (LNU).  Away Team: Jesse Johnson, Shaun Moore, Josiah Fulcher, Marques Parks, Shemar Watson, Khaleed Hudson, Luchene Davis, Logan Hudson, John Stuckey, Javaun Blackshear and Jaylen Gilbert.

8th Grade All-Stars:

Home Team: Qian Magwood, Jacob Cash, Ishmeal Luster, Devante Oliver, Trent Robinson, Von Cameron Davis, Austin Morris, Shannon Watkins, Alex Timmons, Marcus Johnson, Julian Binfrod and Jalen Doby.  Away Team: CJ Anderson, Logan Green, Matt Reid, Brian Collier, Luke Lachey, Marquis Moore, Kaveon Ross, Jamir Simpson, Tahleik Walker, Dominic Penn, Chris Mayfield and Fred Wilkes II.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

NEO Youth Elite Camp Final Day Report

Foster, Henry, Barba, Hughley, Huffman
The final day of the NEO Youth Elite Camp featured a series of all-star games which gave us the opportunity to evaluate some players we had not seen on day one, as well as provided us the chance to get a closer look at some kids we only caught glimpse of on Saturday.  We saw Darion Henry (6’5”/PF/2020) on Saturday, and his high level play was still evident in the 8th Top 20 All-Star game on Sunday.  In fact, Henry played his way into MVP honors with a 16 point effort.  Not to be outdone, Andy Barba (6’2”/SG/2020) went off as well to the tune of 16 points and Co-MVP honors. The more we watch Barba, the more we like him.  Some of the things he did in the all-star game were special.  In addition, the fact Barba will be reclassifying to 2021 next year will vault him to the top of our 2021 state rankings.  To my colleagues, Barba’s move to the class of 2021 should land him on national lists.  Finally, D-I college coaches should be track this kid.

We caught a little of him on Saturday, but Montorie Foster’s (5’10”/SG/2020) performance in the all-star game on Sunday was unmistakable, as he exploded for a game-high 23 points.  Foster simply could not be guarded, as he either slashed his way to the basket with athletic plays or unleashed a barrage of perimeter jump shots which he converted at a high rate.  What’s most impressive about his MVP-garnering effort was the fact he was playing in intense pain, as he had hit the floor hard in an earlier play.  We always knew he could play, but Foster’s performance on Sunday was redefining! We got a second look at big John Hughley (6’6”/C/2020) on Sunday and we are even more convinced of his upside potential. Hughley is still learning the game, but he already knows how to use his big frame to power the rock into the basket.  We saw him face up, step way a little bit and knock down a shot or two, but unlike a lot of big men these days; he was ok with banging in the paint and getting physical. Grant Huffman (6’0”/SG/2020) had a solid all-star game and was rewarded with the 5th Co-MVP award.  Some of the other all-star players included: Tevin Jackson (5’7”/PG/Maple Heights), Jessie Laster (6’1”/WF/Cleveland), Jalen Dial (5’10”/PG/South Euclid), Nick Camacho (6’0”/SG/Columbus), Jordan Jackson (6’0”/PG/Lorain), Hunter Drenth (6’3”/PF/Akron), Kyler Lacy (6’4”/C/Norwalk), Quentin Richardson (5’6”/PG/Maple Heights), JK Williams (5’9”/PG/Cleveland), Josh Wanton (5’7”/PG/Twinsburg), Nehemiah Benson (6’2”/WF/Streetsboro) and Aaron Whitehead (5’4”/PG/Loraine).

Johnson, Peoples, Chicone, Abuhamden & Arnold
In the 7th grade all-star game, Meechie Johnson (4’7”/PG/Garfield Heights) unleashed an offense barrage that did not end until the dynamic playmaker had tallied a game-high 24 points. As he so often does, the entertaining Johnson made it look easy, as he scored in every way imaginable. Johnson’s elite skill set, IQ and confidence make him a serious problem! Needless to say, Johnson added another MVP trophy to his ever-expanding collection. Johnson was not the only guy to put up big numbers in the 7th grade all-star game, as Noah Peoples (6’0”/WF/PF/Akron) logged in an impressive 16 point day. Peoples is still too strong and aggressive for most kids his age. 

Talk about hidden gems; we would like to welcome Luke Chicone (5’1”/PG/Mentor) to the statewide stage.  Judging by the number of AAU coaches gathered around Chicone after the game, the kid can play.  Chicone may not necessarily look the part, but he’s hardnosed and a throwback type of player.  A solid skill set and an elite motor allows Chicone to compete with the best, and his 12 points and Co-MVP node proves he’s legitimate. Omar Abuhamden (5’6”/PG/North Royalton) capped off an impressive weekend with a 9 point performance and Co-MVP honors. Abuhamden’s consistent play over the weekend has confirmed for us his place among the top 10 in the state. Ramelle Arnold Jr. (5’8”/PG/Warrensville) continued his steady play, and his 9 point effort got him Co-MVP.  We've seen him three time now and it's clear Arnold has D-I potential. Rounding out some of the other scoring, Jaden Hameed and Trent Jakacki added 9 points, and William Jeffress finished with 8 points.  Other all-stars included: Darryl Peterson, Enavell Lighty, Tae Perie, MarSaun Robinson, Makail Cottingham, Jimmy Salomone, Joe Labas, EJ Farmer and Jarius Jones.

Johnson, Tatuam, James, Rumple & Young
Sonny Johnson Jr. (5’2”/PG/Garfield Heights) had another breakout performance in the 6th grade all-star game, scoring 14 points on his way to Co-MVP accolades. As has been the case just about every time we’ve seen him play, Johnson is most always the best player on the court. His countless hours in the gym doing skill work is evident in his game, as he easily gets by his defender for a layup or dump off.  Moreover, Johnson’s court vision and passing skills are as good as any we’ve seen in the county.  Although his game can seem a bit flashy at times, what he’s doing on the court translates at the next level. Finally, Johnson is not a trash talker, but he will absolutely destroy you if your defensive game is not on point. We don’t often get excited about young players, but Tavian Tatuam (5’10”/C/Garfield Heights) got us excited! Tatum’s size, athleticism and tenaciousness in the post are special.  Tatuam’s performance over the weekend has vaulted him near the top of our 2022 list.  Can’t wait to see him on March 12th at our elite showcase! Oh yea, Tatuam’s 14 points and 6 rebounds were enough for Co-MVP props.

He was not on our radar before arriving in Cleveland, but by the time we headed home on Sunday we felt we had discovered another hidden gem.  Elmore James (5’7”/PF/South Euclid) has a chance to be really good. He’s big, strong, 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. We looked for him on Saturday, but did not see what we expected; however, on Sunday, Danny Young Jr. (5’4”/PG/Shaker Heights) came alive in the 6th grade all-star game and solidified his place among the state’s elite. No one attacks the cup like Young, who gets to the rim without over dribbling or tricks.  Also, most often than not, young finishes his drives.  Young’s 8 points were good enough for Co-MVP honors.  We were also really impressed with William Rumple (5’4”/SG/Auburn).  Just like Luke Chicone, if you’re not paying attention, he will hit you with double digits.  As an example, Rumple finished with 10 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists on his way to Co-MVP honors.  Other 6th grade all-stars included: Rasheed Carter, Akin Popoola, Jeshurun Pleasant, Larry Harper, Johnny Graham, Jaylan Clark, Tommy Dejesus, Ty Locklear, Trey Miller, Jalen Brown, Sean Conway, Roderick Coffee, Zaden Abuhamdeh, Lydell Byrd and Deon Horn.

Easter, Mobley, Hayes, Molton and Moore
As was the case on Saturday, a pair of 4th graders was the center of attention, as both Jerry Easter Jr. and John Mobley Jr. put on a show in the 5th grade all-star game.  Easter followed up a solid Saturday showing with a MVP performance on Sunday, as evidenced by his 19 point, 4 assist and 4 rebound stat line.  Mobley was right there with him with 16 points and 4 assists of his own.  Mobley’s ability to shoot from deep was on full display as he sank multiple deep treys late in the game. LA Hayes (5’2”/PG/Brookpark) came alive on Sunday just in time to grab Co-MVP honors.  Hayes got busy to the tune of 12 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists.  Hayes is relentless to the cup and very athletic. Desh Molton (4’9”/PG/South Euclid) continued to impress us and finished strong with 11 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists, which was good enough for a Co-MVP node.  A few other players that caught our eye included Dorjan Flowers (4’10”/SG/Cleveland Heights) who demonstrated the ability to shoot from deep, and Dailyn Swain (4’8”/SG/Columbus) who is proficient at attacking the cup.  Other all-star game participants included: Jayvion Moore, Markell Johnson-Nichols, Jyles Branden, Javen Vaughn, Kellen Smith, Caleb Walker, Najih Wright, Cody Head, Victor Smith, Que Miller, Andre Wheeler, Rob McFarren Jr., Sedric Cook and Adam Williams.

We have to send a shot out to Landon Brown and Stewart “Nic” Smith who dropped 21 and 18 points, respectively in the Top 40 All-Star game. Also, little Marcus Johnson, a 2nd grader, exploded for 20 points, 7 assists and 7 rebounds in the 3rd grade all-star game. In the same game, Mike Jones matched Johnson with 20 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists, while Jason Henlon finished with 18 points and 7 assists.  Curtis Long added 17 points and Luke Newton finished with 14 points and 15 rebounds. We are looking forward to seeing many of the above players at our March 12th Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase.  Congratulations to Sonny Johnson and his staff for putting on a great event!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Last Call

Below is an email that was sent out this morning regarding the march 12th Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase.  LAST CALL!


This is your last chance to enter the March 12th Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase!  The field for this event will be very competitive, and of course the exposure opportunities will be unmatched.  I have ordered the jerseys and will begin forming the rosters and finalizing the schedules this weekend.  Right not, it looks like the event will kick off at 9:00am with opening remarks, followed by our guest speaker, Ohio State's Dennis Hopkins, at 9:30am.  The games are currently scheduled to tip off at 10:00am, and the first round of all-star games should tip at about 4:45pm. Participation in this event will give us an opportunity to evaluated your son/player for future rankings, special awards and elite event opportunities.  

We will soon be announcing our participation in an elite shoe "company-sponsored" event scheduled for May 14th, which will bring together the top 40 7th and 8th graders from around the 6-state Midwest region.  Buckeye Prep will be hosting the event and making the selections.  This is a very exclusive event that will provide for possible participation in a major event in New York later this summer.  Also, we will be making selections to the prestigious Ohio North vs South All-Star games and as well as end of season All-State teams.  Participation  in these quality opportunities all start March 12th.  

We have ordered a few extra jerseys for late registration and walk-ups, but those numbers are very limited.  For those of you who have already registered, I will be emailing and posting the initial draft of the schedule and rosters by the ned of next week.  That will give you an opportunity to review the material for needed changes (spellings, division assignments, etc) before the start of the event.  Although a players name may appear on the "Committed Player List" on the website, if the registration forms and fee have not been received, a player will not be added to a roster.  Please act soon if you want to get in.  We are very excited about this year's event, and we look forward to featuring the standout performers for years to come.  See you March 12th!

PS  Please consider nominating your son/player for our Buckeye Prep All-Academic Team!  This would be a great honor and resume builder! 

Rob Taylor"

Sunday, February 21, 2016

NEO Youth Elite Camp Day I Recap

Henry, Laster, Hugely, Barba, Benson, Dial, Foster &Darby
From what we saw during day one of the NEO Youth Elite Camp in Cleveland yesterday, there’s no doubt that Northeast Ohio is producing a ton of basketball talent.  Sonny Johnson’s second year event is a complete success, as over 200 of the areas’ top players have descended on Garfield Heights High School.  As is the case with most elite events, ranked players produced and solidified their reputations, while previously undiscovered players announced their arrival onto the scene. 

We already knew Darion Henry (6’5”/PF/C/2020/Cincinnati), and his play on Saturday confirmed his place among the top 2-3 players in the class in Ohio.  Henry is a beast in the paint where he uses his big body to collect rebounds and to power the ball in the basket.  Despite his size, Henry is more than capable of initiating the break and dribbling all the way to the cup.  He’s not playing above the rim just yet, but Henry still protects the rim and owns the lane. Speaking of big, we got our first look at John Hugely (6’6”/C/2020/Cleveland), and we liked what we saw! Although Hugely is a huge kid, he moves well for his size and he has a super soft touch around the basket.  As is the case with most players his age, Hugely’s footwork is still under development; however, he has a couple of go to moves that are effective.  He’s new to the scene, but as far as we are concerned, he’s top ten in the state potentially (see our rankings).

We had not seen him before, but Jessie Laster (6’1/PF/2020/Cleveland) needs to be recognized among the elite in the state.  Lester is a pogo stick just waiting on an oop.  Super smooth and super explosive; Lester had the gym buzzing with his above the rim theatrics. With good length and a solid skill set, Lester can play multiple positions.  He’s fluid, has good court vision and his upside significant. College coaches should make a note to track this kid. We were also really impressed with Andy Barba (6’2”/SG/2020/Chagrin Falls).  Barba has good length, is highly skilled with a high basketball IQ.  Surprisingly aggressive, Barba excels at attacking the cup.  Barba is another D-I prospect just waiting to happen.  Another player we plan to keep our eye on is Brent Darby (6’3”/WF/2020/Cleveland), who has good size and a solid game.  He showed us just enough for us to follow his progress.

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.  We didn’t see much of him, but Nehemiah Benson (6’2”/WF/2020/Streetsboro) has a chance to be really good.  Already possessing good size at a young age, Benson is athletic, and active both offensively and defensively.  We plan to get a closer look at Benson on day two.

Jeffress, Peoples, Abuhamden, Cottingham, Arnold, Johnson, Hameed, Farmer & Sheron
The 7th grade division was absolutely loaded, and no one was better the William Jeffresss (6’2”/SG/2021/Erie, PA).  He’s not only a big kid; he’s only 12 and looks like he has plenty of room to grow. Because of his size and skill set, Jeffers can hold down multiple positions.  Jeffers finishes near the basket at a high rate and is a great interior passer.  Jeffers could have easily been the top long-term prospect in the gym on Saturday.  We all know that Noah Peoples (6’0”/WF/2021/Akron) is a monster, but he continues to impress us every time we see him.  He’s really starting to fill out his frame and his strength is a valuable assist. Peoples is simply too strong and aggressive to defend near the cup, where he finishes at a high rate even through contact.  As he continues to develop ball skills, Peoples is going to be a problem.  One of the best performances all day was logged in by Makail Cottingham (5’5”/PG/2021/Cleveland). We’ve liked him since we saw him for the first at our elite showcase last year, and his play on Saturday raised his stock in our eyes.  Although he started slowly against a late day matchup with Omar Abuhamden (5’6”/PG/2021/North Royalton), Cottingham got hot from the perimeter, ultimately finishing with 6 treys.  As soon as you think Cottingham is limited to slashing to the cup, he’ll unleash a long-range bomb that finds the bottom of the net. Cottingham is athletic and all ways appears to be in attack mode.  If you fall for any of his many dribble moves and stand up on defense, it’s a layup at the rim. We have to mention the play of Abuhamden, which was simply impressive. We new he was good, but what he did on Saturday finally convinced us of his talent. Highly skilled and smart, Abuhamden gets it done both offensively and defensively.  He has mature game, which includes step back jumpers and the ability to score off the bounce and from the pick and role.  Abuhamden has a strong frame, which he uses to power his way to the rim.  That’s not all; Abuhamden sees the court well and is a willing and able passer.

We got our second look at Ramelle Arnold Jr. (5’8”/PG/2021/Warrensville), and as we remember, he’s a stud. Arnold’s ball skills are excellent, as is his ability to beat defenders with head and ball fakes and score.  He plays with good pace, changes direction and speeds well and does not over dribble.  Tough to defend, Arnold can put up big numbers.  If you don’t need him to get you buckets, Arnold can shift into a playmaker’s role and allow his teammates to get theirs.  We only caught glimpses of him on Saturday, but Meechie Johnson (4’7”/PG/2021/Garfield Heights) was up to his old tricks.  It’s still very clear; Johnson is one of the most skilled and most dynamic PGs in the state.  We hope to see more of him on Sunday. We got a closer look at Jaden Hameed (5’9”/PG/2021/Cleveland) and EJ Farmer (5’9”/SG/Shaker Heights).  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.  Theres no need for him to wait for pass to get his shot off, as Farmer can create his shot off the bounce.

MarSaun Robinson (5’5”/PG/2021/Oberlin) has been on our radar for several years, and from what we observed on day one, he’s continuing to develop. Robinson is crafty with the rock and is determined to defeat his defender and get into the lane.  We also saw some good things from Damaryea Gadson (5’4”/PG/2021/Akron).  We’ve seen him before, but his motor and speed from baseline to baseline caught our eye. Collin Albert (5’7”/PG/2021/Shaker Heights), Darryl Peterson (5’11”/PF/2021/Akron) and Jamere Sheron (5’3”/SG/2021/Cleveland) all had solid moments on Saturday and will require us to continue tracking their development over the next couple of years.

Johnson, Tatum, Miller & Horn
There was a lot of young talent in the gym on Saturday, headlined by Sonny Johnson Jr. (5’2”/PG/Garfield Heights).  Johnson’s skill set and positive approach toward the game sets him apart from other 6th graders in the state.  We were really intrigued by Tavian Tatum (5’10”/C/2022/Garfield Heights).  We loved his size as well as his ability to score in the paint.  In terms of 6th graders, Trey Miller (5’0”/PG/2022/Bedford) was a standout, as was Deon Horn (5’7”/SG/2022/Akron). 

Although the 5th grade division was also loaded with talent, much of the attention in that division centered around the matchup between John Mobley Jr. and Jerry Easter Jr., arguably 2 top five 4th graders in the nation. What was clear early in the matchup was Easter’s length, which he used to his advantage attacking the basket.  What’s also clear is the fact that both of these young players spend a lot of time in the gym, as evidenced by their elite skill set at an early age.  The significance of the matchup was not lost on these 2 titans, as they worked hard to hold each other scoreless. Because we did not see the individual scoring, we will not pronounce a winner, but what we will do is applaud their talent and enjoy to matchup for years to come.  These 2 kids more than deserve their ample national exposure!

Moore, Flowers, Molton, Miller, Smith, Swain, Vaughn, Cook, & Johnson
Of course we can’t disrespect the 5th graders (some 4th) at the event, as there were a number of quality players. Some of the top 5th graders we saw included: Jayvion Moore (5’6”/C/2023/Cleveland, Desh Molton (4’9”/PG/2023/South Euclid) Dorjan Flowers (4’10”/SG/2023/Cleveland Heights), Andre Miller (4’10/PG/2024/Lyndhurst), Dailyn Swain (5’2”/SG/Columbus), Javen Vaughn (PG/2024/Dayton), Victor Smith (4’8”/PG/2023/Gahanna), Matt Ellis (PG/2024/Cleveland), Cedric Cook (PG/2023/Sandusky) and Markell Johnson (PG/2023/Columbus).

Of course there were a number of other players who deserve recognition for their standout performances on Saturday; however, it’s difficult to catch them all.  With that said, rest assured, we will try to find more standouts on day two.  Below is a complete list of the standouts we saw Saturday, as well as their pictures.  A great day of basketball!

Day One Standout Performers

2020: Darion Henry; Jerry Laster: John Hughley; Jalen Dials; Neimiah Benson; Grant Huffman; Andy Barba; Brent Darby; Omahn Dobbins; Isaiah Patton; and Tevin Jackson. 2021: Noah Peoples: Rannell Arnold; Montorie Foster; Brent Darby; William Jeffress; Omar Abuhamden; Makail Cottingham; Meechie Johnson; MarSaun Robinson; EJ Farmer; Jaden Hameed; Jamere Sheron; Collin Albert; Darryl Peterson; Damaryea Gadson. 2022: Sonny Johnson Jr.; Tavian Tatum; Trey Miller; and Deon Horn. 2023: Jayvion Moore; Dorjan Flowers; Desh Molton; Andre Miller; Dailyn Swain; Cedric Cook; Victor Smith: Markell Johnson; Javen Vaughn; Matt Ellis. 2024: Jerry Easter Jr.; and John Mobley Jr.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Hopson to Speak at Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase

We are happy to announce that Ohio State great and NBA standout Dennis Hopson will be serving as a guest speaker at our upcoming March 12th Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase.  For those of you who may be unfamiliar with Hopkins, the following is a short bio. “Dennis Hopson (born April 22, 1965) is a retired American professional basketball player and until the end of the 2013-14 season was an assistant coach at Bowling Green State University. A prolific scorer while playing at Ohio State University, Hopson's stellar shooting skills placed him in second for the NCAA Men's Basketball Division I scoring title during the 1986–87 season and eventually in first on Ohio State's all-time men's basketball career points record.[The All-American and 1987 Big Ten Conference Player of the Year was selected as the third overall pick in the 1987 NBA Draft by the New Jersey Nets, playing a total of five seasons in the league. Hopson spent the majority of the 1990s playing basketball overseas before retiring at the close of the decade.”

Having played and coached basketball at the highest levels, Hopkins is uniquely qualified to provide our showcase attendees invaluable insight into his own past experiences, as well as what it takes to become successful in the game of basketball.  In addition, Hopkins developed and ran his own travel basketball team program locally for several years, so he understands the dynamics of middle and high school basketball.  We are honored and excited to have Hopson speak at our event where he can play at least a small part in helping our showcase attendees to reach their future basketball goals!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

R.I.P. Stevie Ray

Stevie Ray
It’s with great sadness and sorrow that we report the sudden death of Stevie Ray, who was killed in a tragic automobile accident yesterday.  Most people might recognize Stevie from his play with the 2020 Mid-Ohio Pumas during the spring and summer.  However, most recently, Stevie started on the undefeated and tournament championship 8th grade Hilliard Memorial team which also featured Matt Allocco and Chris Mayfield.  Of note is the fact that Ray had his best game of the season in the championship game against Dublin Davis Middle School. We wanted to take this opportunity to both honor Ray’s life, and to remind players, parents and coaches that life is short, and that basketball is a game that should be enjoyed and taken in the context of what truly matters in our lives.  Rest in Peace Stevie Ray; you will be missed!

Local TV Station Story

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

MVP Dynasty Take President’s Day Crown

MVP Dynasty 2023-President's Day Tournament Champions
On Monday, Aaron Perry’s 2023 MVP Dynasty squad finished 4-0 on their way to the championship of the President’s Day Tournament held at the Kingdom Sports Center near Dayton.  In the championship game, the Dynasty cruised to an easy 45-25 victory over the Cincinnati-based Wolves Elite.  Although the Dynasty’s run was a total team effort, the team’s standouts included: Dre’Sean Roberts (5’0”/SG/2023/Piqua), who averaged about 15 points per game, Kaden Christianson (5’0”/WF/2023/Dayton) and Akeiles Gordan (5’3”/PF/2023/Dayton).  Dynasty’s well-built roster could land the team among our top 10 when we release our preseason Power Rankings in a few short weeks. 

Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase Update

Below is an email I sent out to everybody on our bulk email list regarding the upcoming session of the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase.  Please review.


We are now just a little over 3 short weeks away from the spring session of Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase, and I’m currently putting the finishing touches on the event format and schedule. As a reminder, the event is scheduled for March 12th (one day only) at Whithall Yearling High School located at 675 S Yearling Rd, Whitehall, Ohio 43081.  On that Saturday, registration will open by 7:30am and the games are scheduled to begin around 9:15am (tentative). 

I plan to have an initial draft of the rosters, team assignments and schedule posted on our website ( at least 1 week prior to the event.  The only names that will appear on the rosters will be those players who have submitted the registration forms and fee. Although I have posted a tentative participant list on the website, that list is not official, so if your son/player’s name is listed there but you have not sent in the forms and/or fee, they will not have a spot in the event.  In addition, I have to place the jersey order by next week and I cannot order a jersey if I have not received the registration fee and forms. Therefore, you must act quickly if you want to get your son/player registered. Additionally, it’s very important that you continue to visit on a regular basis so you can follow any updates that me be posted.

Also, I know a number of you have paid the registration fee via Pay Pal, but have not yet sent in your registration forms.  If that’s the case, I need you to do so as soon as possible so I can match the forms I received with your son/player’s name, and get them on my official participant list. If you have/or will pay your fee via Pay Pal, please make sure you bring the receipt with you when you register your son/player.  In case you have misplaced the invitation and registration forms, I have attached another copy to this email.

Finally, I’m in need of additional coaches for this session.  In addition to the satisfaction of working with young people, coaches receive a free admission to the event, a free T-shirt and access to the media/coaches lounge where they can relax and enjoy complimentary food and drink the entire day.  Also, as a reminder, any player who has participated in past events, have been featured on our website or is ranked nationally on statewide is invited to all Buckeye Prep events.  If you know of any player(s) who meets these criteria, please have the contact me at 614-203-2929 for an invitation.

If you have any questions or concerns about the event, please feel free to email or call me at the number listed above.

Showcase Information Page


Rob Taylor