Monday, June 27, 2016

UA Next Combine Series Southwest Recap

Hampton, Peavy, Fatheree, Flores & Bush

The southwest edition of the UA Next Combine Series rolled into Houston, Texas on Saturday and as has been the case in the 4 previous sessions there was an abundance of talent.  This event was held at South Houston High School in South Houston and attracted 42 players from 6 states including: Texas, Louisiana, Illinois, Iowa, Delaware and Arkansas.  The best player we saw all day was R.J. Hampton (6’3’/PG/2020/Little Elm, TX) who was clearly in a class by himself.  Hampton all ready has D-I size at the PG position, but what really sets him apart is his skill set, fluidity and athleticism.  Oh that’s not all, Hampton is a multi-level scorer who can create space for his own shot or make a play for a teammate.  Hampton is supremely confident and his game reflects that.  In fact, he was overheard several times proclaiming that scoring was “too easy,” and it was with his high IQ and ability to get to the rim at will.  If I’m a college coach, Hampton is on my recruiting board right now and an offer is not far away! We were also super impressed with Micah Peavy (6’4”/combo guard/2020/Cibolo, TX).  Peavy is an explosive athlete who excels at slashing to the basket. Although driving to the cup and a nifty spin move were his go to weapons, Peavy has the ability to create his own jump shot out to 19 feet. What’s most impressive is Peavy’s energy level, both offensively and defensively.  Peavy’s motor is elite and his on-ball defense is a problem for his opponents. We look for Peavy to be playing D-I basketball in a few years.

Although the UA Next Combines are designed for 8th graders, an occasional 7th grader will find their way into the events. Ruben Fatheree (6’8”/C/2021/Richmond, TX) is only a 7th grader (only 13), but you would not have known that based on his level of play on Saturday.  Fatheree, a big space eater, started slowly, but by the time the event concluded he had earned a lot of new fans. Besides his big frame, Fatheree does several nice things and displayed a lot of upside potential. The best part of his game right now is his willingness to set up on the low block, demand the ball and do the dirty work required by a big.  Fatheree also does not mind physical play; he has a soft touch and the ability and to finish with contact.  He’s also an excellent passer for a kid his size and does a great job with outleting the ball for easy transition buckets.  Also, we were most impressed with Fatheree’s ability to make bonce passes in the lane to cutting players. Once he develops his footwork and adds some post moves, Fateree is going to be a problem!  Look for Fatheree to get early D-I looks from local programs.  Braelon Bush (5’6”/PG/2020/TX) was one of the smallest players at the event, but he was also one of the best players at the event.  Despite his diminutive size, Bush is unafraid to attack the cup where he finishes more often than not. Bush is super quick, fast, and has an elite skill set that includes a tight and creative handle and the ability to change speeds and direction on a dime.  Despite his size, Bush is explosive and able to finish in traffic.  He can also knock down treys and he works well in screen and roll situations.  If Bush gets a few more inches, watch out! 

In terms of talented 7th graders at the event (there were 3 of them), Jakoby Flores (5’4”/PG/2021/Pasadena, TX) fits that description.  Flores is small and does not necessarily pass the look test, but his game passes the “baller” test.  Flores is a highly skilled floor general who is equally good at either scoring or play-making. He’s at his best delivering pinpoint passes that lead to open shots.  He’s smart, poised; takes good care of the rock, and is tough as nails.  We can’t tell where he projects right now, but college basketball at some level should be in his future. The other 7th grader at the event was Duncan Powell (6’5”/WF/2021/Murphy, TX), who we initial thought was an 8th grader, but once we figured he was only in the class of 2021, his stock went way up.  Powell showed us some flashes of talent. Specifically, Powell is big, but handles the rock well for his size. Powell is good in transition, is active defensively and can protect the rim. Bottom line, Powell’s size and strong frame are impressive for his age. Corey Smooth (6’0”/PG/2020/Slidell, LA) caught our eye with his elite motor and play-making ability. The dynamic lead guard is extremely active on both ends of the floor and he has a great feel for the game and nose for the ball.  Smooth always seemed to be in the right position to make a play.  In addition, he plays with good pace and confidence, is good at driving and dishing and he understands how to maintain his dribble as he probes the defense for seams.  Miles Goodman (6’1”/Combo guard/Sugarland, TX) has a chance to be real good. An elite skill set coupled with deceptive athleticism makes Goodman a serious threat to score the ball.  Not only can he get to and finish near the rim, Goodman can hit you with the 3-ball if left open.  He’s also poised, can finish with either hand and is super smooth.  Goodman is a definite college prospect going forward. 

Brent Royal Jr. (6’3”/combo guard/2020/Saint Rose, LA) was another good-looking prospect. With good size for his position as only an 8th grader, Royal has a chance.  Royal’s strength, athleticism and solid frame allows Royal to muscle his way to the cup.  A drive and dish threat, Royal’s ability to hit the one dribble pull-up is a nice contrast. Jacoby Brown (6’0/PG/2020/Pearland, TX) caught our attention early dribble moves and play-making ability.  Brown is crafty, shoots well off the bounce, has a nice floater game and understands how to work the pick and roll. In terms of long-term potential, Xavier Foster (6’8”/C/2020/Oskaloosa/ IA) has as much as any player at the event.  Foster is long, lean with long wingspan and already has high-major length.  Because he still needs to put a lot of weight on his frame, Foster is not a post up guy and struggles holding his spot. However, he runs the floor well and can put the rock on the floor and advance the ball in transition. We would not be surprised to see Foster playing in the Big Ten one day. Austin Lewis (6’8”/WF/2020/Frisco, TX) is one to watch going forward.  Already possessing great size for an 8th grader, Lewis is a big time prospect. Like most 8th graders he will need to add strength and fill out his thin frame, but Lewis should be tracked by college coaches. Derek Luna (6’0”/PG/2020/Mission, TX) did a few nice things as well with his ability to create his own shot off the bounce and to hit contested threes.  In fact, Lewis knocked down multiple treys in a game we watched. Some of the other standouts we saw included: Byron Joshua (5’7”/PG/2020/ New Orleans, LA), Rasheed Holmes (5’8”/PG/2020/Westwego, LA), Khalen Robinson (5’1“/PG/2020/Little Rock, AR), Elijah Tate (5’11”/PG/2020/Baton Rough, LA), Treylon Payne (6’0”/combo guard/2020/Little Rock, LA), Cameron Clardy (5’11”/PG/2020/Katy, TX) and Anthony Scott (5’9”/PG/2020/Waco, TX).

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Summer Showdown Crown Champions

NEO Shooting Stars-8th Grade Champions
Malcolm Walters’ 2nd ranked NEO Shooting Stars squad may have stumbled in pool play of the Buckeye Prep Summer Showdown on Saturday with an upset loss to the #8th ranked Ohio Bulldogs (58-52), but on Sunday, the Cleveland-based team went on a run that did not end until they had claimed the championship with a 49-41 win over the Rebels.  NEO’s trek to the title included wins over Miller Factory and a very scrappy and Mark Wise-led R4L in the semi-finals.  Playing well for Walters’ team was Grant Huffman who was tied as the leading scorer with 9 points. Isaiah Kennedy finished with 9 points followed by Darion Henry who added 8 points. It’s important to note that Darion Henry’s weekend-long performance garnered him MVP honors. For the weekend, Devontae Blanton was a monster starting with the opening game when dominated to the tune of 17 points.  The Rebels have had a fantastic spring and summer, which has included numerous tournament titles, many of which can be attributed to the outstanding play of Garvin Clarke and Nick Ferguson. This past weekend, the Rebels were rolling with a bolstered roster that included John Hugley and Montori Foster Jr., both of whom made big time contributions.  In the championship game, Garvin Clarke led all scores with a game-high 12 points, followed by Foster who finished with 10 markers.

The states of Ohio and Michigan have been fierce competitors for many years on the college gridiron; however, on Sunday, the 2 states battled it out for hardwood bragging rights.  Chalk this one up to “the state up north,” as Keon Henderson’s Detroit Doughboys claimed the 7th grade championship with a close 47-46 win over Marty Finta’s All-Ohio Red squad.  This game was close from the opening tip with both teams playing with depleted rosters.    At the end of the day, the dynamic duo of Pierre Brooks and Keon Henderson proved to be too much for All-Ohio, as the pair led their team in scoring with 15 and 13 points, respectively.  Leading the way for All-Ohio were Alex Williams and Isaiah May, both of whom finished with 11 points.  Behind them were Wil Sizer (10 points) and Brent Walker (9 points).
Scoring Leaders: Huffman, Clarke, Brooks, May, McMillan, Bridges & Roberts
We wish we could report that the 6th grade championship game was a nail bitter that took 3 over times to complete, but that was not the case, as Paul McMillian’s #3 ranked All-Ohio Red squad totally dominated the #8th ranked Lima Gators 52-16.  Although the Gators made a nice run and improved their reputation with their play this past weekend, they had no answer for Paul McMillian IV who exploded for a game-high 16 points.  The only player to finish in double digits, McMillian was unstoppable to the rim.  Too big, too strong and too crafty best described McMillian’s play on Sunday. 

The 5th grade championship game proved to be another blowout, as Drew Lavender’s #2 ranked All-Ohio team had little trouble getting by a scrappy and #7th ranked MVP Dynasty 58-25. In the end, All-Ohio’s defensive pressure was just too much for the Dayton-based Dynasty to handle. All-Ohio enjoyed balanced scoring, with 3 players finishing with double digits. Davion Bridges led all scorers with 13 points, followed by Bedi Lori and Jade Cunningham who both finished with 12 points.  The lone bright spot for MVP Dynasty was Dre’sean Roberts who finished with a game-high 15 points.  Although small in numbers, by most accounts, to 2016 Summer Showdown was a complete success, and will continue to grow over the next few years.  Also, based on what we saw this past weekend, a number of players raised their stock and will be able to take advantage of some upcoming opportunities to develop their games and increase their exposure!  Congratulations to all of the teams that participated in this year’s event.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Sumer Showdown Day I Recap

Blanton, Clarke, Magwood, Wise & Yates
Although the numbers were low (by design), the talent level at the Buckeye Prep Summer Showdown was elite. With a majority of the field representing ranked teams and tournament champions, the anticipation for the event was at a high level. The story line of the day involved the upset of #2 ranked NEO Shooting Stars at the hands of the #8th ranked Ohio Bulldogs 58-52.  As they did in 2 earlier games, NEO dug themselves a hole.  This time NEO could not fight back, as the 1-1 Bulldogs, on the strength of excellent guard play from Quan Magwood (5’9”/PG/Columbus/2020) held on to claim the victory.  Magwood played with poise, broke down his defender and made plays for his teammates.  Basically, the dynamic guard was unguardable. Also logging in big time performances were Marcus Johnson (6’2”/WF/Columbus/2020) and Von Cameron Davis (6’2”/PF/Columbus/2020).  Johnson displayed athleticism and the ability to finish consistently at the rim, while Davis has good touch around the basket, finished well and showed signs of face up game.  Also putting in work for the Bulldogs was CJ Anthony (5’10”/SG/Columbus/2020) who excels at scoring the ball, played with poise and has a high motor and Basketball IQ.

In their opening game, NEO Shooting came back against the MVP Dynasty on the strength of a big time performance by Devante Blanton (6’5”/WF/2020/Nordonia) to the tune of 21 points.  Blanton has always been big, but now he’s big and skilled.  Blanton’s size, strength, athleticism and ball skills make him a huge match-up problem.  Because Blanton is a multi-level scorer, he can put up big numbers at any time, as evidenced by his 17-point outburst in the opening game.  Other standout performers for NEO were Grant Huffman (6’2”/SG/2020/Aurora) and Darion Henry (6’5”/PF/2020/Cincinnati). The Rebels finished 2-1 on Saturday and enjoyed solid play from Garvin Clarke (5’9”/PG/Euclid/2020) and Nick Ferguson (6’3”/C/2020/Shaker Heights).  Clarke’s motor and elite skill set at the PG spot makes this team a tough out.  Clarke was easily one of the top 2-3 floor generals in the gym.  Big Nick Ferguson doesn’t jump out of the gym, but he’s a force in the paint in terms of rebounding and finishing shots.  He’s not just a low post scorer; Ferguson consistently stepped out side and drained treys.  In fact, in one game we watched, Ferguson knocked down 4 3-balls. Perhaps his best quality is his IQ and ability to make played down the stretch. Montori Foster Jr. (6’0”/SG/2020/Cleveland) was a pick up for the weekend and paid immediate dividends with his toughness and ability to score the ball.  John Hugley (6’6”/C/2020/Cleveland) arrived to the event late, but went right to work when he got here. Hugley is a big body with good footwork, good hands and a soft touch around the basket.  As his skill level increases, Hugely's stock will soar.  

Walker, Pryor, Abuhamdeh, Henderson & Perie
We were also really impressed with Willieon Yates (5’7”/PG/2020/Dayton), whose quickness; handle, vision and passing skills solidified him as one of the top 3 PGs at the event.  Yates is a pass-first floor general who understands the game and how to create scoring opportunities for his teammates.  Larry Stephens III (5’11”/SG/2020/Springfield) attacks the basket, finishes at a high clip and can shoot it from the perimeter.  R4L was not really on our radar when they arrived, but by the end of day I the Cincinnati-based squad had gained our respect.  Mark Wise (6’1”/combo guard/2020/Cincinnati) is a big part of this team's success. Wise is strong to the basket and finishes at a high rate.  Although he’s at his best using his strong frame and athleticism slashing to the basket, he can knock perimeter shots when left open.  We plan to keep an eye on Nic Smith (6’5”/PF/C/2020/Cincinnati) and Jaheim Thomas (6’5”/PF/C/2020/Cincinnati).  We’ve seen Nic Smith play well in prior events, but Thomas is worth tracking going forward.

There was a lot of talent in the 7th grade division as well with guys like: Brent Walker (6’5”/C/2021/Huber Heights), Alex Williams (5’11”/PG/2021/Xenia), Isaiah May (6’1”/SG/Williamson, WVA), Tae Perie (5’6”/PG/2021/Akron), Randy Harris (6’2”/C/2021/Cleveland), Brian Ottrix (5’3”/PG/2021/Cleveland), Terrell Harvell (5’8”/PF/2021/Cleveland), Keon Henderson (5’6”/PG/2021/Detroit, MI), Sean Fulton (5’7”/SG/Detroit, MI), Jonah Lytle (5’8”/SG/2021/Canton), Darryl Peterson (6’0”/WF/2021/Akron), Omar Abuhamdeh (5’7”/PG/2021/North Royalton), Austin Speed (5’11”/WF/2021/Solon), Peyton Mele (5’11”/PF/2021/Hermitage), Todd Simons (5’10”/WF/Youngstown), Jonah Wilkerson (5’10”/PF/Williamsfield), Reuben Talley (5’2”/combo guard/2021/Youngstown), Aston (6’2”/C/Warren), Jonah Lytle (5’8”/2021/Canton), Jalen Wenger (5’8”/WF/2021/Dalton), Jonah Waag (5’8”/SG/2021/Lyndhurts) and Pierre Brooks (6’1”/PF/2021/ Detroit, MI).

McMillian, Luster, Henderson, Hayes & Campbell-Finch
In the young divisions were also loaded with talent.  The following players were standouts on day I: Paul McMillian (5’8”/PG/2022/Cincinnati), Khalil Luster (4’9”/PG/2022/Lima), Cecil Benton Jr. (5’6”/PG/2022/Lima), Ashton Henderson (5’4”/PG/2022, Detroit, MI), Joey Battista (6’1”/PF/2022/Youngstown), Robert Robinson (6’2”/C/Port Huron, MI), Robbie Cass (5’1”/PG/2022/Cincinnati), Isaiah Johnson (5’3”/PG/2022/Columbus), Devin Taborn (5’0”/SG/2022/Lima), Raymar Pryor (5’11”/WF/2022/Canton), Shhondo Green (6’1”/PF/2022/Cleveland), Daniel Farmer (5’3”PF/2023/Gahanna), Davion Bridges (5’1”/SG/2023/Columbus), LA Hayes (5’2”/PG/2023/Brook Park), Majad Cunningham (4’11”/PG/2023/Columbus), Conner Cravaack (5’5”/C/2023/Cincinnati), Elias Lis (5’2”/SG/2023/Wilmington), Brady Hardwig (4’11”/combo guard/2023/Cincinnati), Antone Allen (5’5”/C/Dayton), Marrmarr Blanton (5’2”/WF/2023/Dayton), Tyron Barnes (5’1”/SG/2022/Springfield), Akeilis Gordon (5’5”/PF/2023/Huber Heights), Dre’sean Roberts (5’4”/SG/2023/Piqua), Isaiah Campbell-Finch (4’9”/PG/2024) and John Mobley Jr.(4’10”/2024/Columbus).

Friday, June 17, 2016

Oakland Elite Takes Team Teague Title

2022 Oakland Elite-Jeff Teague Invitational Champions
Coach Keith Ford’s 6th grade Oakland Elite squad defeated nationally ranked Indiana Elite Gametime 57-51 in championship game of the Team Teague Invitational in Indianapolis, IN on Sunday to solidify their top ranking in the State of Michigan. Ty Rodgers (6’1”/WF/MI) was outstanding in the event as he led his team in every statistical category. Rodgers’ versatility makes him virtually unstoppable on either the perimeter or in the post.  Also playing well for Oakland were Michael Williams (5’11”/PF/MI), who averaged a double-double over the weekend; Julian Scott (5’3”/SG/MI) and Juwan Maxey (5’6”/SG/MI).  Oakland’s path to the championship included wins over Team Future, Indy Hoyas, Impact Basketball, Team Teague 2022 and Gametime. Gametime’s trek to the final game went through the Midwest All-Stars, Topp Dawgs, Michigan Prospectors and Indiana Rise. Congrats to Rolden, his players and parents for a big time win!

Monday, June 13, 2016

2016 Summer Showdown Schedule

Below is a link to the 2016 Summer Showdown schedule.  The numbers may be small, but there are some really good teams participating in this event.  The tournament will give us one last look at some players before we begin the selection process for the Ohio North vs South All-Star Games and the All-State Teams.  With this smaller event, we can sit down and really evaluate the players.  Look for a full event report early next week.

Summer Showdown Sunday Schedule 

Best of the Best Hosts UA Next Combine Series

Corey Walker, TJ Reels, Toneari Lane, Akeem Odusipe & Rongie Gordon
This past weekend Winfred Jordan’s Atlanta Xpress organization played host to the 4th installment of the UA Next Combine Series at Maynard H. Jackson High School in Atlanta, GA.  Jordan’s  Best of the Best Middle School Camp has a long history of attracting elite players from throughout the Southwest including: George, Florida, Alabama, South Carolina and Tennessee. Approximately 120 middle schoolers in grades 6th-8th participated in the 2-day event which featured skill and drill sessions in the morning on Saturday and Sunday and a series of 3 games in the afternoon both days.  On day 1, The campers were also treated to words of advice and encouragement by former NBA standout and college legend Charlie Scott and Education Specialist Nichole Watson.  In addition,  on Sunday, the event featured a slam dunk contest and all-star games in 2 divisions (6th/7th and 8th grades).

Because we were there on behalf of the UA next Combine Series, we concentrated our efforts on the eighth grade division. Arguably the best player we saw at the event was Cory Walker (6’6/PF/2020/Hasting, FL). Big, athletic and skilled best describes Walker’s game. In addition, he’s super smooth with a strong frame, is adept at scoring at all three levels and defending the rim.  Moreover, Walker is a pick and pop option and he can catch and shoot with range beyond the arc. That's not all, as Walker has a big time motor and is a clear high major prospect.  For the record, Walker was selected as the camp’s MVP.  Finally, it’s not official, but we would be very surprised if Walker is not selected to play the Under Armour Elite 24 Under rising freshman game in July! We also really liked TJ Reels (6’2/SG/2020/Snellville, GA) who is an explosive athlete with an elite motor and skill set. Reels has good length, is crafty, and is a defensive hawk. He’s also has the ability to hit the 3-ball or euro step his way to the rim.  Reels is great looking prospect going forward. Toneari Lane (6’4/SG/WF/2020/Lawrenceville, GA) was another big time athlete and D-I prospect. Lane has major bounce and is the definition of perpetual motion both defensively and offensively. Lane was all over the floor contesting shots, rebounding and initialing fast breaks. Lane is strong and is well equipped to take the contact and finish around the rim. The kid simply does it all!

Naseem Khaalid-2020/PG
Possibly the best floor general in the event was Naseem Khaalid (6’1/PG/2020/Jacksonville, FL), who already has good size for his position as a 6’1” 8th grade PG.  Khaalid is super smooth and bouncy and excels at getting to the rim. His fingers are all at the rim on layups and his court vision and passing skills are next level. He’s not just an offensive threat, as Khalid’s motor and on-ball defense are strengths as well. As an example of his explosiveness, Khaalid was the shortest player in the slam-dunk contest, but he finished his dunks and was arguably the unofficial second place finisher in the contest.  Khaalid finishes in traffic and is already playing at a high school starter level. We easily see Khalid playing high major D-I basketball in a few years.  Any conversation about big explosive athletes with unlimited potential must include Akeem Odusipe (6’8/C/2020/Knoxville, TN).  Adusipe’s skill set is still under development, but his size and athleticism are unmistaken, as his D-I potential.  Odusipe plays above the rim and is more than comfortable getting physical in the paint and rebounding out of his area. Odusipe has a strong frame and is fluid in the open court. Over the weekend, Odusipe was a human highlight film as he thrilled spectators on day 2 with multiple ally oops.  In fact, he sent the crowd into a frenzy when he jumped over a 6’6” kid in the slam dunk contest.  Needless to say, Qdusipe took home the Slam-dunk Champion trophy!  Speaking of big, Rongie Gordon (6’6/C/2020/Montgomery, AL) fits that description. Gordon is big and physical and is a big time shot blocker and rebounder. He handles the rock well for his size, runs the floor with guards and finishes at a high rate around the basket. From what we saw this weekend, Gordon should play college ball with continued growth and development. 

Sharif Cooper, Kyler Rodman, Bradley Douglas, Emory Lanier & Camerone Cherry
Camron Cherry (6’1/SG/2020/Macon, GA) is another big, athlete guard with good length and a lot more room to grow. Cherry can shoot from beyond the arc as evidenced by the multiple treys he knocked down on day-1. Cherry also looked good on day-2 of the event and proved he is fluid and moves well with out the rock. Cherry plays with good pace and he converted several catch and shot treys over the weekend. Cherry also has solid ball skills and could be real good going forward.  Based on his play on Sunday, Cherry is in the top 10 range for the event. Sharif Cooper (5’9/PG/2020/Powder Springs, GA) is widely known as one of the best floor generals in the area, and his performance this past weekend only confirmed his considerable reputation.  Cooper is highly skilled and excels from the perimeter and getting into the paint. Cooper is great at creating space for his own shot or breaking down his defender for a drive and dish.  Also, Cooper is poised under pressure and cannot be sped up.  Ultimately, Coopers rate of growth will determine his ceiling, but the kid is fun to watch! Marcus Niblack (5’9/PG/2020/Leesburg, FL) was among the top 5 guards at the event. Although he can't be considered a big guard at this point, Niblack is a problem. Crafty, with the ball on a string, Niblack is a playmaker who can also get to his spots for his own shot.  He also has good quickness, a good feel for the game and an understanding how to create or score off the pick and roll.  Very impressive was Niblick!

Kasen Jennings' (6’2/SG/2020/Atlanta, GA) play separated himself from the pack.  Good length, springy, smooth, with good body control to the rim are just some of Jennings’ gifts. He’s quick off his feet when rebounding, handles the ball well and has good length for a young guard. Jennings can also hit the long ball and has the ability to turn the corner on his defender.  We like Jennings’ upside. The more we watched Kyle Rodman (6’6/C/2020/Saint Cloud, GA) the better he got.  We were initially impressed with his size, but as the event went along, Rodman’s skill and IQ became more evident.  He can bang inside, but Rodman can also step outside and knock down the 3-ball as well.  He’s does not have big time lift, but he gets his fair share of rebounds and seems to find a way to get a hand on his opponent's shots.  Rodman has a soft touch around the rim and he’s good at out letting the rock after a rebound.  Rodman also demonstrated solid ball skills for a kid his size. 

Kasen Jennings, Jaimmoni, Isaac Smith, Rodney Mason & Marcus Niblack
Emory Lanier (6’0/PG/2020/Knoxville, TN) was one of the better PGs at the event. Lanier has a tight handle and the ability to create separation and his shot.  He plays good defense, excels in transition and has a good nose for the ball. Isaac Smith (6’3/SG/2020/Memphis, TN) has good length for his position and showed the ability to drain deep threes in the all-star game.   Bradley Douglas (5’11/WF/2020/Eustis, FL) is another fine athlete with a nice motor and a willingness to play defense. Although Douglas was best on defense, he flashed the ability to deliver passes on time and on target while also knocking down mid-range pull up jumpers.  We loved the kid’s intensity and he's  definitely one to watch going forward.  Some of the other standouts included: Nathinal Mikell (6’6/WF/2021), Jacorrei Turner (6’2/PF/2020/Atlanta, GA), Joe Woolfolk (5’2/PG/2020/Macon, GA), Ashton Malone (5’8/PG/2021/Lawrencville, GA), Jaimonnie Watkins (6’4/PF/2020/College Park, GA), Moses Moody (6’3/SG/2020), Brodrick Jones (6’5/PF/2020/Lithonia, GA) Dominic Allmonds (5’11/PG/2020/Jackson, FL), Payton Xavior Manggrum, Caleb Bowers, Draylan Burton, Nyrese Carter, Tu’Larrious Carr, Justin Edmondson and Rodney Mason.

All-in all we enjoyed a great weekend of competitive basketball. There was plenty of talent, in the gym, kids played hard, and the event was very well run from start to finish.  Congratulations to Winfred Jones and his staff for their hospitality and for running a professional event!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Saunders Receives D-I Offer

As further evidence that college coaches closely follow middle school basketball standouts, Mike Saunders Jr. (5'6'/PG/2020/Indianapolis, IN), recently picked up a D-I scholarship offer from the indiana-based IUPUI.  We last saw Saunders, a crafty and skilled PG with a High IQ, at the UA Next Combine in Columbus last month, where his play was outstanding and garnered him further national acclaim. As the lead guard for the nationally ranked George Hill Rising Stars, Saunders has been on the national stage for many years.  Congrats to Mike Saunders Sr. and Junior for this most significant accomplishment!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Rebels Take U-14 Lake Erie Qualifier

Rebels-2016 Lake Erie AAU District Qualifier Champions
Coach Justin Ferguson’s 2020 Rebels continue to rack up tournament championships. This past weekend, the Rebels qualified for the AAU Nationals with a 6-0 run at the Lake Erie AAU District Qualifier.  It wasn’t enough they played in the U-14 division; the Rebels actually played in both the U-14 and U-15 divisions, racking up a total of 10 games in 2 days! The Rebels’ run through the 8th grade division included wins over All-Ohio Northeast (73-63), Another Level (73-44), Mid-Ohio Magic (65-48), Diamondz Sports (54-37), The Wolfpack (73-59) and a Seth Wilson-led (2021) NEO Tru Game (52-46). In the U-15 division, an exhausted Rebels squad played a semi-final game against the Basketball Factory where they lost a 16-point lead down the stretch, ultimately losing by 5 points.  The Basketball Factory would go on to loose to the NEO Shooting Stars in the championship game by 25 points.

The Rebels were led in scoring by Garvin Clarke and big Nick Ferguson, who averaged a double-double (scoring and assists) for the tournament. Other notable performers for the Rebels were: John Hugley, Devin Hightower, Dakota Chocran and Adio Balenhein.  With their win U-14 division, the Rebels will be participating in the D-I AAU Nationals in Orlando, FL. There 3rd place finish last weekend allows them play in the D-II U-15 AAU Nationals in Memphis, TN. in July. Next up for the Rebels is the Buckeye Prep Summer Showdown next weekend.  We are very excited to get one more chance to evaluate the team and players.  Congratulations to Coach Ferguson, his players and parents for a huge weekend of basketball.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

All-Ohio Blue Shocks #1

All-Ohio Blue-AAU State Qualifier Champions
Ohio Blue 2022 has been one of the biggest surprises this season, as the Dayton-base team has continued to win tournaments, thus moving up in our Power Rankings.  With several big wins under their belts this season, All-Ohio may have collected their biggest victory of the season with their 61-45 conquest over the powerful Toledo Wildcats, nationally ranked and the consensus  #1 ranked team in the state.  All-Ohio got by Toledo as part of Blue’s 4-1 run to the championship of AAU State Qualifier in Columbus this past weekend.

In the semi-final game nobody played better than Sencire Harris, who did everything from scoring, rebounding and playing defense.  In fact, Harris was the leading scorer of the game with 25 points.  Harris has been described as a “special Player” who deserves to be mentioned as one of the best players in the country. In the championship game, All-Ohio got by Central Ohio AAU 60-34.  Trey Dennis and Zach Lopez led in scoring with 14 points apiece, while Sencire Harris finished with 12 points.  All-Ohio’s wins were against Feasel (81-0), Cincinnati Blue (65-43), Toledo (61-45) and Central Ohio AAU (60-34). For the record, All-Ohio’s lone loss in the tournament came at the hands of the Ohio Basketball Club, who has put together a fine season of their own.

Coach Aaron Perry’s 5th grade MVP Dynasty team finished 4-0 on their way to the championship of the PBSA Jr. Nationals in Cincinnati over the weekend. Their trek to the title included wins over the Goshen Warriors (65-19), Cincinnati Shooters (50-25), Detroit Bad Boys (57-10) and the Wolfpack Eagles (43-19).  Standouts for the Dynasty included: Dre’Sean Roberts, Tyren Barns, Keden Christensen and Jamison Rivers.

Ohio Varsity-Gym Rats Summer Classic
Ohio Varsity White (2022 ) made a 5-0 run in Fort Wayne, IN to win the Gym Rats Summer Classic.  In their wake were Warsaw 2022 (52-18), Gym Rats-Bunyan (53-91), Toledo Thunder (52-35), Gym Rats-LaGrange (46-33) and Gym Rats-Linder (51-29).  Standouts for Ohio Varsity included: Jerry Saunders (5’8/WF/Pickerington), Josh Harlan (5’4/SG/Pickerington), John Lipscomb (5’9/PF/Pickerington) and Javan Simmons (5’8/C/Gahanna).

Ed Heban’s Ohio Shooting Stars went undefeated in the 4-team Lake Erie AAU District Qualifier on Sunday.  Of note were their 2 wins over All-Ohio Northeast.  In pool play the Shooting Stars beat All-Ohio Northeast 76-43 and in bracket play they won 57-44.  The other 2 teams in the event were 4th Quarter Basketball and Basketball Factory.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

NEO Showcase Scheduled

OBC Finishes 2nd in Chicago Tourney

OBC 2020-Adidas Chicago Classic Champions
Dennis Barba’s 2020 Ohio Basketball Club (OBC) squad made a 5-1 run to the championship game at the Adidas Chicago Classic last weekend before being upended by the Mid-Ohio Pumas Black, another Ohio based team.  OBC’s run included wins over 43 Hoops (54-42), Made Men (57-53), Mid Ohio Pumas Blue (38-35), Wisconsin Crusaders (44-35) and M33M (50-35).  In the championship game, OBC went down to the Pumas 36-45. The starting lineup for OBC includes Montorie Foster Jr., Jake Younkin, Evan Prater, Ethan Morton and John Hugley. In the championship game, Ethan Morton and Evan Prater led OBC in scoring.  Because we’ve not seen OBC play this season it’s been difficult to rank them; however, with their runner up finish in Chicago and some results in several out of state tournaments, it’s time to move them up.  Congrats to Coach Barba, his players and parents for a nice run.