Sunday, December 31, 2017

Cottingham has the Right Stuff

Mahogany Cottingham
As we prepare to add girls to the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase for the first time in March and begin our coverage of girls basketball in the state and region, we profile Mahogany Cottingham (5’8”/PG/2023/Parma).  We are very familiar with the Cottingham name, as Makail Cottingham, one of the top guards in the state in the class of 2022, has been one of our top players for several years.  Apparently, sister Mahogany is also a star in the making.

This past middle school season, Cottingham led her Shiloh Middle School team to an undefeated season and played with both the 7th and 8th grade teams. When she was in the 6th grade, Cottingham played 7th grade AAU for Lady James and dominated 7th grade ball this past spring.  In addition, while playing for Reality Sports last season, Cottingham was selected to the USJN All-Star team.  From what we understand, Cottingham is one of the top younr players in the Cleveland area.  We look forward to catching Cottingham in action at our elite showcase in March!

Jones has Gahanna Undefeated So Far

Sean Jones PG 2022 Gahanna
Word has it that Sean Jones (5’6”/PG/2022/Gahanna) has been putting together and phenomenal season so far for Gahanna Middle School South.  In fact, we caught Jones in action on Saturday as his 8-0 Lions faced off against New Albany. Needless to say, Jones took over the game and lead his team to a 51-37 victory on the strength of a season-high 33 points.  Jones made it look easy as he scored from beyond the ark, at the rim and in transition.  From what we saw, Jones is extremely skilled, handles and passes well and impacts the game in every facet. There’s no doubt he can score the rock, but Jones is also a big time defender and is one of his team’s leading rebounders.

We spoke to Brad Marzetz, Jones’ middle school coach and quickly determined that he “loves Sean Jones.” “Sean is the best player I’ve ever coached,” said Marzetz.  According to Marzetz, Jones is averaging 26 points, 5 rebounds and 4.5 steals per game.  In addition, Jones is shooting 53% from beyond the ark and 58% from the field.  In terms of Jones’ future potential, “Sean will be a varsity player as a freshman,” continued Marzetz. Coach Martzete also compares Jones to Stevie Taylor, Gahanna Lincoln’s all time leading scorer.  “I told Sean he has a chance to pass Stevie Taylor's scoring record if he wants to.”  Finally, Marzetz projects Jones as a D-I college player.

Jones has been on our radar for several years now based on his standout performances and MVP caliber play at our Buckeye Prep Elite Showcases.  In fact, most recently, we selected Jones to participate in the prestigious Ohio North vs South All-Star Game. In addition, we have Jones currently ranked among the top 20 players in the state and we selected him as Fourth Team All-State last season.

In terms of the state’s top floor generals, Jones is among the best.  We haven’t seen as much of Jones on the summer tournament circuit the last couple of years, so in all likelihood, we have him under represented in our rankings; however, he’s caught our eye at couple of elite camps and showcases recently where we’ve seen him putting in work.  From what we’ve seen of Jones over the years, he has all the skill necessary play college basketball, but as is the case with smaller guards, his continued growth will ultimately determine his level of play.  We look forward to following Jones’ growth and development over the next couple of years.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Blue Chips Take Holiday Tourney

2024 North Coast Blue Chips-Gym Rats Holiday Basketball Festival Champions
Two weekends ago, Coach Paul Soroka's 2024 North Coast Blue Chips squad finished 5-0 on their way to the championship of the 2017 Gym Rats Holiday Basketball Festival at Spiece Fieldhouse in Fort Wayne, IN.  Their trek to the championship was totally unimpeded as they mowed down their opponents by 20+ point margins the entire event.  The Blue Chips’ path to the title went through Club1-Coffman (71-33), Quest (61-18), Hoosier Select (67-25), Team Focus (55-26) and Quest (49-20). 

It’s not surprising to us that the Blue Chips ran through the competition, as their roster is loaded with talent including the top 3 players in Ohio’s class of 2024. With guys like Jonas Nichols, Jerry Easter Jr and John Mobley Jr., all of whom have big time national reputations, this team is tough to beat!  Both Easter and Mobley have been perianal all-stars at our Buckeye Prep Elite Showcases for several years and are near locks to play in the prestigious Ohio North vs South All-Star game in September of 2018.

Monday, December 18, 2017

DV45 Claims First Championship

2022 DV45 Gymrats Holiday Festival Champions
We all know them as the 2022 Lansing Prospectors, but based on their standout performances at major events last season like the Nike Made Hoops tournament, Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase and Summer Showdown, Coach Ted Docks’ squad has been rewarded with sponsorship. Denzel Valentine, a former standout with Michigan State, will sponsor Docks’ team for the 2018 season, which will run as “DV45,” a combination of Valentine’s initials and his current uniform number. Docks’ DV45 squad will be Nike sponsored and the only program sponsored by Valentine.  Depending on the team’s success, Valentine may use the team as a model for additional team sponsorship.

DV45 took their show on the road for the first time last weekend and competed in the Gymrats Holiday Festival at Spiece Fieldhouse in Fort Wayne, IN.  For the weekend, DV45 finished 5-0 on their way to the championship.  Their path to the title went through Antelope (65-15), Gymrats Ramer (62-40), Hoosier Premier Red (58-37), Gymrats LaGrange (60-19) and Indy Heat Black (57-42).

In the championship game, Mason Docks led the team with 17 points; Mike Williams added 11 points and 15 rebounds followed by Jacob Wallace with 10 points.  In addition, Ashton Atwater finished with 9 points and played with an intensity all weekend that was unmatched while adding critical baskets down the stretch.  Also, Alex Watters assisted with strong performances and guard play all weekend.  Juwan Maxey was huge leading up to the championship game with strong play in the semi-final game along with Max Burton and Carson Sanders. 

New comers to the team in 6’5” Ben Canty Jr. and 6’3” Tommy McIntosh were great additions to the squad and gave quality minutes throughout the weekend to help secure the team’s first championship.  Congratulations to coach Docks and his team for their early season success. Also, we look forward to catching DV45 in action at the April 13-15th Buckeye Prep Invitational Tournament.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase Welcomes Girls

For the first time in Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase history, when our March 10th event tips off in a few months, it will include girls! Based on our need to select 8th grade girls for a national shoe company sponsored event this summer, we need to identify elite level girls to invite this exclusive event.  Please help us pass the word to all of the top female players in the region so they have an opportunity to participate.  Also, look for additional information in January.  Also, we are looking for partners to help us idnetfy and recruit girls for this event.  Call us at 614-203-2929 if yu can help our efforts. We’re very excited to included girls at our event!

Shaker Heights Poised for Playoff Run

Danny Young Jr. 5'10 CG 2022 Shaker Heights
Sitting at 12-2 in Greater Cleveland Conference (GCC) play, Coach Kevin Foster’s Shaker Heights Middle School Raiders are well positioned to make a deep run in the playoffs and to capture back-to- back GCC championships.  Although the Raiders’ 2 losses came at the hands of both Euclid middle school teams, Coach Foster is confident his team can get it done this year.  “It’s not 100%, but I would say it’s 90% that we will win it all,” said Foster.

Having lost both of their big men from last season, Shaker Heights is riding the outstanding guard play of Danny Young Jr. (5’10/CG/2022) and Jalen Brown (5’6/PG/2022).  Young is averaging an impressive 28 points, 5 assists, 5 steals and 8 rebounds per game.  The Raiders are 38-2 over two seasons, were undefeated last year and are favorites to win the GCC when the tournament tips off the week of January 9th.  In addition, Shaker Height's 7th grade team is a perfect 14-0 in league play and is also favored to make a deep post season run.  Good luck to Coach Foster and Coach Jeremy Hill and the Raiders in their upcoming playoffs!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Warriors' Season off to a Hot Start

6th Grade New Birth Warriors Thanksgiving Shootout Champs
This past weekend, Coach Scott Bradley’s 6th grade New Birth Warriors squad kicked off their season with a championship at the Thanksgiving Shootout at Kingdom Sports in Franklin, Ohio. The Warriors ran into a buzz saw in their opening game against Team Dose, a Columbus based team, eventually suffering a 67-41 defeat in pool play.  New Birth would go undefeated the rest of the way with 2 wins over Springboro, a 44-42 win over the Team Dose  in the semi-finals and a 44-38 win over  the Dayton Swish in the championship game.

The star of the tournament was Arness Lawson (5’2”/PG/2025/Columbus) who averaged nearly 18 points per game for the tournament, including 21 points in the championship game and 19 points in the semi-finals.  Not only did Lawson put up big numbers offensively, coach Bradley was most impressed with Larson’s defensive efforts.  “I can’t tell you how many steals he had, he just kept ripping people” said Bradley.  Of course we’re not surprised at Lawson’s play as evidenced by the feature we published on him back in October! Bradley also mentioned the solid play of Nino Nesbitt (5'4/PG/2024/Columbus), Juwan Turner (5'5/PG/2024/Columbus) and Maceo Harper (5'6/WF/2024/Columbus).

Lawson, Nesbit & Turner
The rest of the New Birth roster includes: Nathan Isahac (5'6/PF/2024/Columbus), Nathan Erdos (6'6/C/Columbus), Brandon Roddy (5'3/PG/2025/Columbus), Chris Brown (5'6/PF/2024/Columbus), Darius Graves (5'4/SG/2025/Columbus), Mekhi Johnson (5'8/PF/2024/Columbus) and Mykell Murphy (5'8/PF/2025/Columbus). Although Bradley knew his team had talent, his team’s ability to comeback from a devastating loss in the opening game surprised him. “They [his team] proved a lot to me.  To loose like we did to Dose and to come back really pleased me,” continued Bradley.  Now that New Birth already has an early season championship under their belt, they will open regular season play this week.  We intend to keep an eye on Bradley’s team, as they have several Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase alums on the roster.  Congratulations to coach Bradley, his players, staff and parents for the victory.

6th Grade Rebels
We also need to give a shout out to Coach Alphonso Williams and his 6th grade Rebels Basketball team for taking home a championship of their own last weekend in northeast Ohio.   Leading the way for the Rebels were Ken Giles (2025) and De’Erick Barber (2026).  We’ve not yet got look at either Giles or Barber, but from what we understand, the two can go!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Team Thrill off to a Hot Start

2022 Team Thrill
Team Thrill, a UA sponsored program based in Baltimore, MD, has captured their first championship of the season. This past weekend (11/11 – 11/12), Thrill completed a 5-0 record to capture the A game Super Shootout. Coach Donnell “Mookie” Dobbins may have assembled one of the best teams in the country. Headlined by Jarace Walker a 6’5 wing that can do it all. This kid anchor’s their defense and causes major problems with anyone getting past their frontline which is a task in and of itself. Antonio Hamlin sparks the offensive with his penetrating style and gets to the basket whenever he wants to.

Carlos Alexander is a flashy guard that draws attention while creating problems for opposing guards. Samuel Scott is built for the long haul, is kid is extremely strong for his age, can push any guard off their path and normal takes what he wants.  Christian Winborne is another slasher that can get to the basket, but can also stretch the defensive when teams decide to pack it in.  Kai Brooks, a sniper from the outside, is as reliable as they come and can hurt you if left open. 

Andrew Rhuebottom is a physical and active forward that rebounds out of area and consistently scores in the paint. Kids have a hard time containing him.  John Thomas provides the intangibles that are not always shown in the stat sheet and is up and coming. Derrick Moore is the most imposing player on the floor at 6’5, 250 pounds. Although this football/basketball player is new the AAU scene, he is quickly catching up.  We plan to keep an eye on Thrill this up and coming season.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Shrout’s Game Continues to Develop

Mason Shrout 5'9 SG 2024 Eaton
Surrounded by a roster full of elite players on last season’s 2023 MVP Dynasty team like Tyron Barnes, Tyrin Sturdivant and Dre’Sean Roberts, Mason Shrout (5’9/WF/2024/Eaton) has found a way to standout.  The last couple of times we’ve evaluated him it’s been clear that Shrout has continued to grow and develop.  Case in point, at the Buckeye Prep Summer Showdown Tournament in June, Shrout caught our eye with a standout performance. In addition, at our Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase in September, Shrout not only made the Top 20 All-Star Game, his showcase coach selected him as the “Top Prospect” and “Mr. Hustle.”

At our 2016 fall elite showcase Shrout was noticed by Get M e Recruited’s Lamont Taylor who had this to say about Shrout: “Mason Shrout (Preble Shawnee Intermediate/West Elkton, OH) 2023 5'5 CG - Mason may have been the scrappiest, hard-working kid at the entire Buckeye Prep Report Elite Showcase. He literally gave 100% effort on every play. Mason would run down what opponents thought were uncontested layups to poke the ball out. He snatched rebounds and dived for the ball like his life depended on it. But make no mistake about it, he's more than a hustle guy as he also drained some jumpers, played aggressive defense, lead the break, and finished one transition play with a spin move for the and-1. In short, any coach would love to have a kid like Mason on his squad!”

According to Aaron Perry, Shrout’s travel team coach, Shrout has shown remarkable improvement since joining his squad. “Mason is definitely offensive-minded.  He has a great outside shot and is a 3-point threat,” said Perry. “He’s definitely gotten better. When we first got him on our team he was all about offensive, but since then, his game has really opened up,” continued Perry. 

From what we’ve seen, Shrout was easily a top 15-20 player in the class of 2023; however, we have confirmed that he has reclassified to the class of 2024. With this move, Shrout should be one of the best 6th graders in the state!  Also, Shrout is also a standout in the classroom as evidenced by his impressive 3.97 GPA at Preble Shawnee Middle School. 

This winter Shrout will be playing with his community team in the Dayton Metro League, and this spring he will be returning to Aaron Perry’s team.  It should be noted that Perry has left the MVP Dynasty program and will be starting a new program named Emerge Elite.  According to Perry, all of his top players will be coming with him to the new organization.  We intend to continue to follow Shrout’s development and his new place among the class of 2024.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Young Excels at Competitive High School Event

Danny Young Jr. 5'10" PG 2022 Shaker Heights
Although he was the youngest player (8th grader) at Next Up Recruit’s Ohio Camp last month, Danny Young Jr. (5’10/PG/2022/Shaker Heights) logged in a standout performance and was recognized along with some of the top high school players in the state.  In fact, evaluators had this to say about Young: “Danny Young Jr. – 2022 5’10 G – Shaker Heights (OH) The youngest camper in attendance, but you could not tell by his performance. Danny is a coach’s son, holding a high IQ and he has a good feel for the game. This PG helps run his team on both ends. He is a lock-down perimeter defender and has a lot of potential and upside. “ 

Of course we’re well aware of Young’s talent, as he has participated in our Buckeye Prep events for several years.  As a matter of fact, Young has been a perennial all-star at our showcases; consequently, he’s a “Potential Top 10” player on our list of the top 8th graders in the state, and he recently received Second Team All-Ohio honors. Moreover, Young was selected to play in the prestigious Ohio North vs South and Ohio vs Michigan all-star games in September.

From what we’ve seen of Young the past couple of year, his game is consistent with the above evaluator’s assessment.  Based on Young’s current body of work, college basketball at some level is a real possibility.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Best of the Midwest Class of 2023

Rodney Gallagher, Khoi Thurman, Jahkary Towns, Gabe Cupps, Desh Molton & Marlin Barnes Jr.
As was the case with the last Midwest list we published, we would like to share our list of some of the top 20 players in the Midwest.  Since we put this list together for a friend who will soon release a national 2023 list, we thought our readers might be interested in what we shared.  Like the last time, the names are listed in alphabetical order.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Powell has Next Level Ability

Jonathon Powell 5'4 SG 2024 Copley
There is one thing we know for sure, Jonathan Powell (5’4/SG/2024/Copley) can shoot the heck out of the rock! During our Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase in September, Powell announced his arrival on the statewide scene with an eye popping performance in which he knocked down 6 consecutive 3-pointers in a game. We had not heard about Powell before his shooting clinic and his all-star game appearance, but he’s now firmly on our radar.  In fact, Powell is now listed among our top 2024 players in the state, and we recently selected him as Fifth Team All-Ohio.

According to Julian Wesley, coach of Powell’s All-Ohio Phenom team, Powell’s 3 point barrage at the showcase was no fluke, as Powell consistently drains deep treys.  “Jonathon is a 3-point specialist; he can really shoot that thing.  He can also drive to the cup and score, he handles it [ball] well and he defends,” said Wesley. Powell is the top player and leading scorer on a very talented All-Ohio Phenom team and led his team to a record number of wins this past season.

It’s also clear that Powell takes his education seriously, as he is currently packing a gaudy 3.943 GPA at Copley Fairlawn Middle School. This winter, Powell will be suiting up for Copley’s travel team to continue to hone his skills.  We plan to get a closer look at Powell this upcoming season and we expect him to continue to build own his new reputation.

Jonathon Powell Mix Tape

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Nesbitt has a Bright Future

Nino Nesbitt 5'1 PG 2024 Pickerington
We’ve written about him several times on this website, but Nino Nesbitt’s (5’1/PG/Pickerington/2024) consistent performance has boosted his stock in our eyes.  Most recently, Nesbitt not only made the all-star game at the September Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase, he took home Top 5 honors as well.  Moreover, we ranked Nesbitt 3rd overall at the event and we currently have him in ranked in our top 10 in the state.  In addition, we selected Nesbitt as Second Team All-State this season

Based on his body of work, Nesbit has established himself as one of the top floor generals in the state.  Here is what we’ve said about Nesbitt’s game in the past “Nesbit’s skill set and basketball IQ are beyond his years.  He handles the ball extremely well and can either get to the cup or hit the 3-ball.” 

According to Anton Turner, Nesbitt’s former coach, Nesbitt’s game is elite.  “Nino is very crafty, knows how to play the game, has great court awareness and is a good defender.” In terms of Nesbitt’s upside potential, Coach Turner sees a bright future.  “He [Nesbitt] is going to make a great point guard one day. If he gets some height, he projects as a mid to high major prospect,” continued Turner.

Over the past several weeks Nesbitt has been playing in open gyms at Pickerington Central Crossing High School where he’s had a chance to compete against 7th and 8th graders, and from what we’ve heard, he’s more than held his own. In addition, Nesbitt will be running with Coach Scott Bradley’s 6th grade New Birth Warriors squad, which is absolutely loaded this year! Not only is Nesbitt getting it done on the basketball court, he’s holding down an impressive 3.7 GPA at Berwick Elementary School and he speaks fluid Spanish.  The future is bright for Nesbitt and we intend to continue to track his development.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Foster is one to Watch

Demarr Foster PG 2024 Lima
Demarr Foster (PG/2024/Lima) has caught our eye at the last several events we’ve scouted. In fact, his standout performances at our Buckeye Prep Elite Showcases has landed him on our radar, and his consistent play at other elite events has convinced us that he's worth featuring.  From what we’ve seen, Foster is supper skilled, quick, has a high basketball IQ, and he has the type of game that projects well going forward.  In addition, Foster’s ball skills are elite, he has the ability to score the ball and his feel for the game is beyond his years.

Running with the Lima Gators the last couple of years, Foster has become a hot commodity with the other elite programs around the region, and he's actively being recruited by several of the top programs in the region. Last September, not only did Foster make the all-star game at the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase, his showcase coach selected him as “Top defender.”  Moreover, in terms of consistency, Foster was an all-star at the NEO Showcase and the MSHTV Camp this fall.  Finally, we liked him so much, we have him ranked among the top 10 in the state, and we selected him to our 2017 Buckeye Prep Second Team.  Needless to say, we plan to keep a close eye on Foster’s development!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Basketball Spotlights Highlights Buckeyes

Livingston, Johnson, Pryor, McMillan & Luster
Mike Melton and his Basketball Spotlight website dropped a list of their top 80 eighth graders (2022) yesterday and 4 Ohio players received recognition. Chris Livingston was the highest ranked Buckeye at #3, while Sonny Johnson Jr. came in at #35, Raymar Pryor received his first bit of national recognition at #40, Paul McMillan IV was ranked #45 and Khalil Luster rounded out the list at #74.  All 5 of these players have logged in standout performances at our Buckeye Prep Elite Showcases for several years, so it's no surprise to us the other national scouting services have taken notice! Congrats to all of the Ohio players who made this prestigious list!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Best of the Midwest Class of 2022

Chris Livingston, Emoni Bates, Reggie Bass, Paul McMillan IV, Sincere Harris & Javaughn Hannah
A good friend asked us to compile a list of the top 8th graders (2022) in the Midwest for a national list he was putting together.  Having seen guys like Chris Livingston, Emoni Bates, Reggie Bass, Paul McMillan IV and a number of other elite 8th graders on several occasions we felt pretty good about our ability to putt together a list that was credible. Since we took the time to compile the list we thought we would share it with our readers.  Below is a list of the top 15 players in the Midwest based on what we’ve seen over the past couple of years.  Please note that the names are listed in alphabetical order.  Let the debate begin!