Tuesday, May 31, 2016

It's Going Down!

It's Coming!!

Shooting Stars Take Memorial Day Tourney

Ohio Shooting Stars 2022-Nike Memorial Day Champs
On Sunday, Ed Heban’s #6th ranked Ohio Shooting Stars team got a little revenge, as they defeated Danny Young’s #5th ranked All-Ohio Northeast squad (70-43) in the Gold bracket championship game of the Nike Memorial Day Tournament in Columbus.  Their trek to the title went through EBA Hoops (77-39), All-Ohio White (79-29), All-Ohio Red 2023, Ohio Hoopsters (64-28) and All-Ohio Northeast. Standouts for the Shooting Stars included: Shondo Green, Michael Bova, Steven Bodamer and Joey Battista. Coach Young’s path to the championship game included wins over All-Ohio Black (42-24), BSA (50-20) and EBA Hoops (45-29).  Standouts for All-Ohio included: Danny Young Jr. Trey Martin, Deon Horn and Jordan Huff.  Young and Huffman were selected to the event’s All-Tournament Team.  For the season, All-Ohio packs an impressive 32-8 record.

Coach Dave Wright’s #11th ranked Dayton Swish made the trip over to Fort Wayne, Indiana and brought back the 5th grade championship trophy from the Gym Rats Memorial Day Tournament.  To bring back the title, Dayton had to get by Club 1 and Gym Rats 2023 in pool play before running through bracket play with wins over the #13th ranked Toledo Wildcats (44-21), Spiece FW Heat 2023 (57-56) and Flint Affiliation (51-50) in the championship game.

The #1 ranked Toledo Wildcats just keep winning championships; this time it was the Gym Rats Memorial Day tourney in Fort Wayne.  The Wildcats’ 5-0 run included wins over the Indiana Grind (45-33), Wisconsin Scholars (59-27), Cereal City Hoopsters (40-8) and Prospectors (42-40).  Standout performers included: Emoni Bates, Genesis Kemp, Demarko Criag, Nate Houston and Jorden Brooks. For the season, the Wildcats are an amazing 42-4.

Quintel Wilson’s #9th Lima Gators cashed in this past weekend with a 6th grade championship at the Kings Island Memorial tournament in Cincinnati.  To grab the title, the Gators had to take down Elite Sports Center (56-14), Pro Camps (49-21), Pro Bound Elite (57-26), OBC (49-25) and Tri-State Assault Red (52-39).  Standouts were: Cyrus Burden, Devin Taborn, Ivery Cotton, Quintel Wilson Jr. and Cecil Benton Jr.

NEO Tru Game 2023-BW3 Memorial Day Tournament Champions
Quiment Smith’s #12th ranked NEO Tru Game’s squad went 3-2 to finish in 2nd place in the 5th grade division of the BW3 Memorial Day tournament in Cincinnati this past weekend.  Their run included a 30-37 loss against #7th MVP Dynasty Black, a 41-39 win over All-Ohio South Elite, a 57-34 win over R4L, a 45-43 win over #10th ranked Shinning Stars and another loss in the championship game to MVP Dynasty Black 45-40.  Tru Game was led in scoring by LA Hayes and Kellon Smith who represented a strong one-two combination.  With their run this weekend, Tru Game inches closer to the top 10 of our rankings, and could be poised to make some noise at the Buckeye Prep Summer Showdown in a few weeks!  For the record, with believe Tru Game’s 2021 team grabbed a championship at a Memorial Day tournament in Cincinnati this weekend, but we did not receive in details about their run.

Greg Allocco’s Mid-Ohio Pumas racked up yet another championship (their 7TH straight) this past weekend; this time, the knocked out the Dennis Barba’s Ohio Basketball Club by 9 points in the championship of the Adidas Chicago Classic.  The Pumas reached the championship games with victories over All-In (59-34), King James (57-48), Illinois Attack (52-15) and Minnesota Skills First (79-16). Chris Mayfield was a force in transition scoring, rebounding and passing, as he continues to evolve into a great all around player.  Mayfield twice just missed notching triple-doubles in 2 games. Jack Santa Emma and Matt Allocco carried the way with a consistent 3-ball, while Jack Pugh’s relentless energy at and around the rim was spectacular.

Surprisingly, 6’5 Harley Day may have played his best ball over the weekend, averaging 12 rebounds per game.  The Pumas added some length to the roster for the event in 6’10 Zach Loveday, who is already getting looks from at least a couple of Big Ten schools. Unfortunately for the Pumas, Stud Chris Mayfield may have to shut it down for the rest of the season with a hip injury.  In addition, the Pumas’ Blue team also made the trip to Chicago and lost to OBC 33-30 in bracket play.  A.J. Mirgon carried the Blue squad though pool play with 24 and 21 points, while knocking down a total of 11 treys in both games. Noah Platfoot showcased his superior athleticism in leading the Pumas in rebounding, steals and assists from the PG spot.   All in all it, was a good weekend for Ohio Basketball!

Monday, May 30, 2016

UA Next Combine Series-LA Recap

The 3rd edition of Under Armour’s new UA Next Combine Series platform rolled into the MAP Sports Facility in Los Angeles, California on Saturday and again played host to many of the region’s most elite 8th graders. The event attracted kids from California, Arizona, Washington, Nevada and Utah. Unique to the LA stop was the fact the event was held at the same time and location as Under Armour’s 3rd session of the ultra-competitive UA Association high school league.  Consequently, UA Next Combine participants had the opportunity to play right next to UA’s top high school teams and players, thus getting a bird’s eye view of what’s “next!”

In our opinion, no one played better on Saturday than Nico Mannion (6’0/PG/Scottsdale, AZ). We’ve been hearing a lot of great things about Mannion since we first saw him play 3 years ago, and his high level play more than justified the considerable hype.  Mannion has an elite skill set that includes the ability to work off ball screens, score at all three levels and find open teammates.  Mannion is a smart floor general with an advanced understanding and feel for the game.  In addition, he’s patient, poised and understands how to run a team.  We liked everything about his game, and he clearly projects as a high-major PG with continued growth and development. 

While we’re talking about elite guard play, we might as well mention Devin Askew (6’0/PG/Sacramento, CA), who really demonstrated significant improvement since the last time we saw him over 1 year ago. Although he has always seemed to play in the shadows of elite guys like Shamar Morrow and Kyree Walker on a loaded Oakland Soldiers squad, Askew showed he’s a bona fide star in his own right.  Askew is highly skilled, crafty, can hit the catch and shoot three-ball, pull up for the mid-range or work the pick and roll all the way to the basket.  Although he’s a pass first floor general, he can get his shot anytime he wants.  Askew also displayed great court vision as well as the ability and willingness to get his teammates involved. Mannion and Askew in the same backcourt is simply unfair, and that’s exactly what we saw on Saturday.  At the end of the day, based on what we saw in LA, Devin Askew has arrived!

Mannion, Beauchamp, Askew, Woods & Taitz
We also really liked Marjon Beauchamp (6’2/combo/Yakima, WA), an athletic combo guard with loads of upside potential.  Beauchamp was one of the top 2-3 players at the event with his ability to score from anywhere on the floor. Need a trey, Beauchamp can hit it; need a stop and pop mid-range, Beauchamp has that.  Getting to the rim, Beauchamp’s capable. Explosive with a quick first step, Beauchamp can be a problem. Moreover, we love Beauchamp’s length, athleticism and his willingness to also play defense.  We expect great things out of Beauchamp going forward.  Jalen Green (6’5/WF/Fresno, CA) went down early with an injury, but before he did, the long, athletic wing did some nice things.  Green has a good combination of size, athleticism and ball skills. Additionally, Green is proficient at scoring from beyond the arc, but he can also put it on the floor and get to the rim.  We also liked the fact he plays defense, and with his elite wingspan he plays the passing lanes well. Had he not gotten injured in the first round of games, Green would have had a chance to do more damage. He will need to put on some weight, but Green should be a good-looking prospect down the road. 

Noah Taitz (6’2/combo/Henderson, NV) won’t wow you with his size, length or explosiveness, but if you like tough, hardnosed skilled guys then you might appreciate what Taitz brings to the table.  Sneaky athletic, Taitz has an elite motor and is more than willing to get on the floor for a 50/50 ball.  He showed he could both get to the cup and sit down on defense.  We suspect Taitz’s future high school coach is going to love him. Khamron Cantrell (6’3/WF/LA, CA) is another good looking prospect with good size for his position, surprising bounce and the ability to rebound and push the rock 94 feet for the score.  We loved Cantrell’s crossover dribble and 3-point stroke. From what we saw, Cantrell has a good chance of playing college basketball in a few years.  Austin Cook (6’4/WF/Montclair, CA) impressed us with his size, toughness, ball skills, and ability to go strong to the cup and finishes with contact.  Also, Cook has perfected the jab step and employs it to either beat his man off the dribble or to step into a jump shot.  We also liked Cook’s ability play inside or outside depending on the size of his defender, and the fact he can step out side and drain the trifecta.

 Green, Cantrell, Strawther, Frank & Cook
C.J. Woods (6’4/PF/Long Beach, CA) caught our attention on Saturday with his solid frame, strength and the ability to finish plays around the rim with guys hanging on him.  Woods’ post moves are still under development and he’s still a little raw, but his upside is still very evident.  As the day progressed Terren Frank (6’4/combo/Studio City, CA) just got better and better.  We liked Frank’s size, explosiveness, quick feet and face up game, as well as his activity around the cup.  He’s still a little raw and flying under the radar, but Franks the kind of kid that can come out of nowhere and end up be a force to be reckoned with.  We also loved his motor and the fact he embraces physical play and contact in the paint.  Julian Strawther (6’5/WF/Las Vegas, NV) is a long lefty who handles the ball well in transition, has good body control and can take the contact and still finish the play.  His play on Saturday suggests Strawther’s potential is significant.

He may have been one of the smallest players at the combine, but Jordan Nowden (5’7/PG/Fountain Valley, CA) was one of the quickest.  A blur with the rock and always in attack mode, Nowden found his way in the paint on a consistent basis, where more times than not he was able to get his shot off among the trees and still finish. Nowden has the ball on a string and is an excellent playmaker.  He also does well communicating with his teammates and running his team, which is a must for an undersized PG hoping to play ball at the next level.   Every time we looked up Dareyon Davis (5’10/PG/Moreno Valley, CA) just seemed to be at the right place at the right time and making positive plays.  With a good nose for the ball, Davis is smart, has a nice motor and is the kind of glue guy every team needs.  The same thing can be said about Anthony Spencer (5’8/PG/Pacific Palisades, CA), who although diminutive, is cat quick, tough as nails and is always probing the defense for a seam. He has an elite motor and is a pesky on-ball defender.  He may not pass the look test to some, but he passes the baller test to us.

Bowden, Jones,    Davis & Spencer
Michael Pearson Jr. (5’9/PG/Tracy, CA) impressed us with his quickness, explosive first step and the ability to make solid basketball plays.  He’s not very big, but Pearson is a gamer who can hit shots if given space.  Jaden Jones (6’3/WF/Lakewood, CA) just looks the part as a long, lanky athlete with ample room to grow.  Although we only saw flashes of some of the things he could do, Jones could end up being good when he puts some pounds on his thin frame and grows a few more inches.  We will be watching.  Bajot Sahi (5’11/combo/Ceres, CA), who made solid plays, distributed the rock and finally convinced his defender he was a catch and shoot threat from deep.  His quick release allowed Sahi to squeeze off several kick out treys that found the bottom of the net.  Clark Slajchert (5’10/PG/Westlake Village, CA) showed us some things late in the day, including the ability to convert multiple 3-pointers, solid plays to the rack, mid-range jumpers all while finding cutting teammates. Delani Hunt (5’8/PG/ ) kept making plays and was productive later in the day, while Adam Schab (6’4/PF/Laguna Niguel, CA) proved he should not be left open, as he knocked down multiple treys in a game we watched.  Jahveon Medearis (6’1/combo/Downey, CA) hit a few shots from beyond the arc, but also knocked down midrange jumpers off the bounce. 

Although the LA stop did not have the size, freak athletes and star power of the first 2 events, we were pleased with some of the talent at the top of the field.  Next up is a trip to Houston, Texas where there is an abundance of talent and where we will truly find out if “everything is bigger in Texas.”

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Pair of 2020 Standouts Reclassify to 2021

Jack Pugh & Andy Baba Headed to the Class of 2021
Two of Ohio’s top 8th graders will both be repeating the 8th grade when the 2016/2017 school year begins in in the fall.  Jack Pugh (6’3/WF/Plain City) and Andy Barba (6’2/SG/Chagrin Falls) are both top 10 players in the state in the class of 2020, so a move to the class of 2021 could continue to boost their already sizable stock going forward.  Pugh, after returning from an early season injury this year has been lighting it up for the Mid-Ohio Pumas this spring.  However, from what we understand, Pugh will be attending middle school in San Diego, California next year, will be training with Steve Wade’s elite San Diego Select team in the winter and will return to the Pumas next summer before returning to Ohio to begin his freshman year in high school.  Barba is currently playing with the Ohio Basketball Club (OBC) and will either remain in Ohio and attend Kenston Middle School, or head down to Florida and attend IMG Academy.  In the summer, depending on his size and strength, Barba will either continue to play with his father’s 2020 OBC team next season, or play up at the U-16 level. 

Pugh is arguably the #1 ranked player in Ohio right now and would surely reclaim the top spot in 2021 if he remained in the state.  However, with Barba, already ranked in the top 10 in the state, he could vie for the top spot with the likes of Seth Wilson, Noah Peoples, Meechie Johnson, Jaden Hameed, Raymell Arnold and Omar Abuhamdeh just to name a few.  In any respect, we can expect both players to make a significant impact on the class in elite spring and summer events and at the middle school level next year.  Also, rumor has it the Jalen Dials and Javon Patton, both in the class of 2020 will be reclassifying as well.  Next season is already shaping up to be exciting.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Ohio Varsity Captures D-II AAU State Qualifier

Ohio Varsity-2022 D-II AAU Champions
With their 3-0 run and double digit win over Scott Bradley’s New Birth Warriors in the championship game, Ohio Varsity’s 2022 squad captured the AAU D-II State Championship in Cincinnati last weekend.  Standouts for Ohio Varsity included: Javan Simmons (5’8/C/Gahanna), Josh Harlan (5’4/SG/Pickerington), Jerry Saunders (5’8/SG/Pickerington), Eljae Deas (4’10/PG/Gahanna) and JaVajion Jordan (5’4/SG/Columbus).  Congratulations to Ohio Varsity’s players, coaches and parents.

Rebels Continue to Rack up Tournament Championships

Rebels Basketball-Coaster Classic Champions
The 2020 Rebels, one of the state’s most successful teams this season, has notched another tournament championship. This time, the Rebels rode a 5-0 record to the title of the Coaster Classic in Sandusky, Ohio. To claim the title, the Rebels had to take down OBC Black, SMAC-Austin, TNBA West (47-16), Lorain Basketball Club (65-33) and the Lake Erie Thunder (61-39).  Garvin Clarke, John Hugley and Dakota Cochran all took turns leading the Rebels in scoring. In addition, last weekend in Boston, the Rebels finished in third place in AAU’s new TBL League.  Congratulations to Coach Justin Ferguson, his players and parents for all of their success this season.  You can catch the Rebels in action at the Buckeye Prep Summer Showdown June 17th-18th,where they can attempt to secure yet another title against some of the best teams in the state.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Time Running out for Summer Showdown

More Buckeye Prep Elite 60 Coverage

Buckeye Prep Report led by Rob Taylor put together a great one day event called the Elite 60 Midwest Challenge where players from different areas of the Midwest were put on teams representing their state.  Indiana, Michigan, Illinois and 3 Teams from Ohio squared off and played 4 games each in a showcase environment.  The talent level was high, the event was well organized and it seems that it was a success in its inaugural year.  The following are the 10 players that caught our eye during the event.

Grant Huffman 6’2 Combo Guard (Ohio) – Huffman is a high IQ guard that can play on or off the ball.  He always seems to make the right play and he has a great demeanor.  He rebounds really well for his position and understands how to move without the ball.  Grant can score from all three levels but looks most comfortable attacking the basket.

Jack Pugh 6’3 Forward (Ohio) – Pugh is a hardnosed forward that plays bigger than his size.  He moves well without the ball and finishes around the basket at a high percentage.  Jack rebounded the ball very well and competes hard on defense.  He also works well from the midrange and has a great motor.

Jahquez Williams 6’3 Wing (Indiana) – We have never seen Williams before but he was a pleasant surprise and is one to watch out for in the future.  With nice length and a high motor he is a promising prospect.  He could guard multiple positions and had good quickness and athleticism.  Jahquez looks like he is just scratching the surface offensively but we saw him knock down a few jumpers and finish at the rim.

Jeremy Baker 6’1 Combo Guard (Indiana) – Baker is a strong body combo guard that is a scoring machine.  We like how he is able to take over a game when it is money time.  Jeremy plays to his strengths and always seems to be around the ball.  His jumper will keep you honest but his bread and butter is getting to the rim.  He also can give the opposing guard fits on the defensive end.

Jack Townsend 6’0 Combo Guard (Indiana) – Jack was probably the top 3pt shooter in the event.  He has a quick release and isn’t afraid to pull it from NBA range if you give him a little space.  His range allows great spacing for him and his teammates opening up driving lanes.  Townsend is a high IQ player that also can be a facilitator if asked to but he is at his best when he is looking to score.

Kevin Rice, Jr. 6’2 Combo Guard (Michigan) – This kid is wired to score.  Rice is sneaky athletic with a quick first step.  He has no wasted motion and has the knack to get into the seams of the defense and finish at the rim with either hand.  Kevin also has a nice jump shot with range to the 3pt line.

Tyler Brelsford 5’11 Point Guard (Maryland) – Tyler is a true floor general that understands how to get his teammates involved while still picking his spots to score the ball.  He had one of the best jump shots in the event both from the midrange and the 3pt line.  Brelsford also was getting in the paint finishing with his floater or kicking it out to an open shooter.

Marcus Johnson 6’4 Wing (Ohio) – Johnson is more of a prospect right now but he passes the look test and is super athletic.  He can guard multiple positions and if he puts his mind to it he can be a defensive stopper.  Marcus is playing above the rim and is at his best in transition but as he continues to develop his ball skills he will be one to keep an eye on.

Zeb Jackson 5’10 Point Guard (Ohio) – Jackson has great pace to his game and he is very patient while looking to attack or set up a teammate.  He has a really good pullup but is still crafty enough to get in the paint and make the right play.  The one thing that Zeb does well is that he always keeps his dribble and if he doesn’t have anything he will back the ball out and reset.

Collin Crothers 6’5 Forward (Illinois) – If you like a tough, strong big man that likes to do the dirty work then Crothers is your guy.  His comfort zone is the painted areas and he doesn’t stray far from there.  Collin rebounds the ball and finishes around the basket.  He also looks like he will set a mean screen and also blocks a fair amount of shots.