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!


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  2. I hope Purple stays together...the Cincy area needs a high level team. As far as the other comments, let's keep it all about the kids...on the up and up.

    1. it has always been about the kids, no one has made any disparaging remarks about anyone or made any personal attacks towards specific persons and to think otherwise is asinine. coaches are entitled to their opinions about their teams and that is completely okay. you can not expect to interview a coach and think they will speak negative on their squad, if anything they should be the first person to praise their team and highlight what it is they do well. we also can not be sensitive to what certain people say and how they say it. a hurt dog will holler...