Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Brandon’s Vision is Impressive

Jules Brandon-2023-Garfield Heights
From what we saw in a recent Middle School Hoops TV Camp highlight video, Jyles Brandon (5’2/CG/2023/Garfield Heights) embraces the role playmaker.  The video clearly reflects Brandon’s ability and willingness to deliver passes on time and on target, a rare skill for young players.  It’s also rare to see a young guy master the art of the bounce pass. That’s not all, although Brandon is proficient at finding open teammates for easy buckets, Brandon has to be guarded, as he can get his own shot as well. Brandon is crafty, handles the rock with ease, shots the ball well out to the 3-point line, but can also get his shot off the bounce.  Moreover, despite his slim build, Brandon finds away to get to and finish at the cup, often despite contact.  Also, Brandon appears to have under gone a recent growth spurt and seems a little longer.

His new highlight video only confirms what we already knew about Brandon; the kid can play! Exhibit No. 1, Brandon played his way into the Sunday all-star game at the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase last September when the competition level was at its best.  In addition, Brandon made the cut for the Ohio North vs South all-star game a few months ago, was selected as Fifth Team All-State last season, and is currently ranked among the top 15-20 players in the state.  We’ve also seen Brandon excel at other elite events as well, which illistrates his consistency. 

This winter, Brandon is running with Antwon Williams' Garfield Heights team in a local winter league and is one the team's 3 leading scorers along with Sam Brown (5'7/PF/Cleveland) and Adam Williams (5'3/CG/Hudson).  The trio is averaging about 13-14 points per game.  Because Williams also coaches Hardwork Basketball, Brandon's AAU team, he is very familiar with  Brandon's talent.  "Brandon's biggest improvement over the last year is his willingness to compete. Now that he has improved on his defense this last year, he [Brandon] has become more of a complete player," said Williams. "He's not only a fierce competitor, he's one of those kids who loves the game and enjoys his teammates," continued Williams.

Brandon is not just a basketball player; he’s well rounded student athlete who is serious about his academics.  In fact, because he’s a straight A student, we selected him to our First Team All Academic Team last season.  In addition, Brandon is a peer leader at his elementary school, where he is currently participating in an anti-bullying campaign.  Moreover, Brandon will be playing the role of Former President Barrack Obama in an upcoming school program. 

There's a lot of talent located in northeast Ohio in the class of 2023, and in terms of the top tier, there are guys like Jayvion Moore, Desh Molton, Cody Head, LA Hayes and Marlon Barnes.  Brandon has a chance to join that group with continued growth and development   In fact, Brandon's upside potential is worth noting. We look forward to getting another look at Brandon at our March 4th elite showcase and at our Buckeye Prep Invitational Tournament March 31st-April 2nd..

Monday, January 30, 2017

Prospectors Take Opening Session of Michigan League

Lansing Prospectors-7th Grade Champions GLBC
The Lansing Prospectors finished 4-0 last Saturday in the first of 3 sessions of the Great Lakes Basketball Circuit (GLBC) in Rochester, MI.  The Prospectors’ trek to the session No. 1 championship included wins over OE Harris (75-23), Michigan Heat (78-18), MC Thunder (75-40) and OE Ford (50-47) in the 7th grade championship game. Mason Docks took home MVP honors, and was supported by the stellar play of Alex Watters, Jacob Wallace, Ethan Dunn, Max Burton and Carson Sanders. We recently profiled Docks in an earlier piece, and we recall that Watters, Carson, and Dunn all made all-star games at our September elite showcase. 

The Prospectors will return to GLBC play February 11th in Lansing.  For the record, Motorcity Bad Boys Black won the 8th grade title with a 63-52 win over an Emoni Bates-led Bates Fundamental squad (2022), and the Michigan Heat won the 6th grade division with a 47-45 victory over Big Dogs.  You can catch the Prospectors in a action at the Buckeye Prep Invitational Tournament at the end of March.  Congrats to Coach Docks, his players and fans for a job well done!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Wenger Paces Undefeated Middle School Squad

Jalen Wenger-2022 Dalton
Jalen Wenger (6’0/WF/2022/Dalton) currently has his Dalton Middle School team undefeated at 12-0 and is poised to enter the Wayne County Athletic League post season tournament as the No. 1 seed. According to Dean Clark, Wenger’s middle school coach, Wenger is the leading scorer (averaging over 20 points per game) and rebounder on his team and is considered one of the team’s leaders.  “With his skills and level of play, Jalen is looked to by his teammates [for leadership],” said Clark. “Jalen is a great perimeter shooter and slasher, and because of his length, he leads us in rebounding,” continued Clark.

We know Wenger well, as we’ve been following him for a while and know that he’s a prolific score; sometimes dropping 40 plus points in a single game for his father’s EBA Hoops team.  We know he has good length for his age; can shoot the heck out of the rock and is able to get to and finish near the rim.  Because he does not play for one of the more high profile teams in the state, Wenger does not get the recognition and respect his talent deserves.  In our opinion, he’s one of those kids who tends come on late and seems to materialize from nowhere and dominate.

We were so impressed with Wenger’s game that we invited him to play in the prestigious Ohio North vs South all-star game last September; selected him as Forth Team All-State last season; and currently have him ranked among the top 20 seventh graders in the state.  In 2017, Wenger will be playing with his father’s Dawg Days Basketball squad.  We look forward to getting another look at Wenger and his new team at our Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase on March 4th, and our invitational tournament March 31st-April 2nd.  We would like to wish Wenger and his Dalton teammates much success in their next 4 games and tournament run.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Lori Exhibits Early Leadership

Bed Lori-2023 WF-Caldwell
It can sometimes be rare for young players to exhibit leadership traits; however, Bedi Lori (5’8/WF/2023/Caldwell) is doing just for Scott Bradley’s 2023 New Birth Warriors squad.  Lori, according to Coach Bradley, leads the Warriors, one of the most talented 6th grade teams in the state.  “Bedi is the leading score on my team and one of my leaders,” said Bradley. He’s not just a leader; Lori is skilled; is an excellent shooter; and attacks the glass with true conviction.  “He [Lori] works the glass well; plays hard; has a good attitude, and can run the point when we need him to,” continued Bradley.  Lori has recently experienced a growth spurt, and at his size and skill set, he’s versatile and able him to play multiple positions.

During the spring and summer AAU season, Lori is a key piece on Drew Lavender’s All-Ohio Red squad, where he’s surrounded by even more talent, but still manages to stand out. Of course we are very familiar with Lori’s talent, as we’ve seen him ball on several occasions, both on the summer circuit as well as at our Buckeye Prep Elite Showcases.  In fact, we think so highly of Lori that we invited him to participate in the prestigious Ohio North vs South All-Star game in September, and selected him as Third Team All-Ohio last season.  Moreover, we have Lori listed among our top 10-15 plauers in the state in his class.

Lori is already preparing himself for future success, as he currently practices with players from his local high school near Caldwell.  In addition, Lori is projected to skip 7th grade middle school ball all together next year and go directly to the 8th grade team.  Speaking of middle school, Lori has already demonstrated that he takes his education seriously, as he’s packing an impressive 4.0 GPA, and was selected to Buckeye Prep’s All-Academic Team last season.  You can catch Lori in action at our March 4th elite showcase.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Little has a Chance to be Really Good

Sellers Little III-2022 Trotwood
Any discussion about elite 2022 point guards should include Dayton’s Sellers Little III (5’1/PG/2022). Little first caught our attention at our Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase last April, when his outstanding play led to an all-star appearance and a Top 5 Award. As proof that his April performance was no fluke, in September, at our biggest and most competitive showcase, Little again balled his way into the final all-star game on Sunday.  We were so impressed with what we saw with Little that we invited him to participate in the Ohio North vs South All-Star game, and selected him as Second Team All-Ohio last season.

In terms of his talent, Little is a quick, crafty PG who does well in either a scorer or playmaking role.  He is highly skilled, which includes a tight handle, great passing skills and solid court vision.  In addition, he’s dynamic, plays hard on both ends of the court and is fun to watch.  According to Treyshon Jones, Little’s Trotwood Middle School coach, Little is not only a key contributor to his team, but one of the leaders and primary scorers.  In addition, Little is described as “strong-minded and a good all-around player,” who is hard to rattle and easily handles defensive pressure.  We look forward to getting another look at Little at our March 4th elite showcase.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Houston Having a Great Season

Nate Houston III-2022 Toledo
Playing up on the 8th grade GESU squad, Nathaniel Houston III (5’9/WF/2022/Toledo) is having an impressive school season so far.  In fact, Houston is averaging 15 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists per game while playing against 8th graders.  This past weekend, Houston was one of the leading scorers (along with Fiesal Crumby Jr.) and helped lead his GESU team to the championship of Eddie Norrils' Bee Spotlight MLK Day Youth Tournament in Toledo.  In the championship game against a Brayden Lichtenburg led St Johns Academy team, Houston finished with 10 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists.  In that same tournament, Houston had a high of 21 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists.

We’ve seen Houston play on several occasions, both with his Toledo Wildcats team and at our September elite showcase, where he participated in the prestigious Ohio North vs South All-star Game and played his way into the final all-star game on Sunday.  Not only do we have Houston listed among the top 10-15 players in the state; we selected him as First Team All-Ohio last season.  We’ve always been impressed with Houston’s size and his ability to both power his way to the cup and hit from the perimeter.  At this point, it’s unclear where Houston will be playing AAU ball, as he will not be returning to the Toledo Wildcats this season.  We hope to get another look at Houston at out March 4th elite showcase.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Warriors Prevail at MLK Tourney

New Birth Warriors-6th Grade Dayton Airmen MLK Tourney Champion
On Monday, Scott Bradley’s New Birth Warriors went undefeated on their trek to the championship of Dayton Airmen MLK tournament in Dayton.  The Warriors’ 4-0 record included wins over the Dayton Airmen (35-18); Dayton Dreamers (55-3); MVP Dynasty (30-28) and the Dayton Gators (59-33).  The semifinal game against MVP Dynasty proved to be the biggest challenge for New Birth, as they had to erase an 11-point defect to get the win.

Standouts for New Birth included Bede Lori, who knocked down 4 treys in the championship game, and averaged 9.5 points per game throughout the event. Behind Lori were Jadi Cunningham (7 ppg), Davion Bridges (6 ppg), Carter Reese (5.7 ppg) and Alex Styles (5.2 ppg).  Congratulation to Coach Bradley, his coaching staff, players and fans for representing the Capital City.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Perie Putting up Big Numbers

Tae Perie-Akron 2021
It’s widely accepted that middle school basketball often lacks the level of competition most associated with AAU basketball.  With that said, when players drop big numbers on their winter teams it goes a long way in solidifying their overall talent.  Barberton Saint Augusta Middle School’s Tae Perie (5’7/SG/Akron/2021) is putting up gaudy numbers for his school team so far this season.  With games of 37, 40, 40 and a career high 53 points over the past 4 games, Perie is averaging an eye-popping 42.5 points per game in the last 4 games, and 39.5 PPG for the season.

Of course we’re no stranger to Perie’s talent, as we selected him to participate in the Ohio North vs South All-Star Game in September; have him ranked among the top 20 players in the state, and selected him as Forth Team All-Ohio last year.  In addition, Perie achieved all-star status at our elite showcases, including a MVP performance in the Top 40 All-Star game last September.  On his Ohio Basketball Club team Perie is one of its leaders and leading scorers.  Because of his outstanding play, Perie is one of the few 2021 players who have been recognized nationally.  Perie should have another opportunity to add to his resume at our upcoming March 4th elite showcase.

Monday, January 16, 2017

2023 Blue Chips off to Great Start

2023 North Coast Blue Chips-Tournament Champions
This past weekend at the Nike Gym Rats’ MLK tourney in Ft. Wayne, IN, David Lane’s North Coast Blue Chips (NCBC) team started the 2017 season off with a bang after finishing 6-0 on their way to the 6th grade title. After roaring though pool play with four 30-40 point victories, the Blue Chips would face a talented Maumee Bay Turf in the championship game.  Although the game was competitive early, NCBC would go on to get the 53-33 victory and the crown.  It should be noted that NCBC found themselves in a dog fight with a very talented MWA Elite (Michigan) in the semifinals.  Although they easily handled most of the teams they faced in the tournament, they only got my MWA Elite by 9 points (49-40). MWA Elite is powered by Anthony Benard, Tyler Jamison and Ryan Hurst.

The Blue Chips have added some pieces for this season including Ohio’s Ty Long who has had a big impact on the team’s post play, Chicago’s Amir Robinson, Cleveland’s LA Hayes and Cincinnati’s Chandler Starks.  Still there are Broney, Gabe Cupps, Chicago’s Koi Thurman, Dayton’s Sean Thigpen and Pittsburg’s Rodney Gallagher.  We look forward to catching the Blue Chips in action at our March 31st-April 2nd Buckeye Prep Invitational Tournament!

Maumee Bay Turf (MBT) may have fallen short in the title game, but a 4-2 record against some tough teams bodes well Brad Morrison’s team going forward. MBT was led by the efforts of CJ Hornbeak III, Luke Montgomery, Michael Greenlee Jr. Justyn Toler and Deric Janes.  MBT has a chance for a rematch, as they will also be attending our tournament March 31st-April 2nd.  Can’t wait to see that game!

For the record, NCBC’c 2024 team brought home a championship as well, going 5-0 over the weekend.  This championship comes on the heels of a tournament victory at the Winter Jam in Texas.

Finally, as a follow up to an earlier piece, the 7th grade Shaker Heights Raiders rode an undefeated (17-0) season to a GCC League Championship on Saturday.  On Saturday, the Raiders claimed the title with a 58-52 win over Solon Middle School.  In the championship game, Danny Young Jr. exploded for a game-high 31 points, followed by Jaylen Brown with 10 points, and Adam Diaz who finished with 8 points.  Congratulations Coach Kevin Foster, his players and fans for a fantastic season!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Smith Continues to Fly Under the Radar

Jamel Smith II-2022 Dayton
In terms of basketball talent, the Dayton area always seems to produce their fair share of studs.  High school programs like Dunbar, Trotwood Madison and Wayne are always loaded with the area’s best players, and Jamel Smith II (5’6/WF/Dayton/2022) could be a force for one of those programs within the next couple of years. We’ve seen Smith ball on several occasions and we’ve always been impressed with his upside.  In fact, at our last 2 elite showcases, Smith balled his way into all-star games, and in the spring of last year, Smith even grabbed Top 5 honors.  This is what we had to say about Smith after the spring event, “It was our first time seeing him, but Jamel Smith II can play, as evidenced by his Top 5 selection.  We did not see a lot of him, but we will going forward.”

We’ve been most impressed with Smith’s athleticism, motor and ability to get to the basket.  Smith is also a good defender who excels at scoring in transition. This school season, Smith has his Trotwood middle school team undefeated at 9-0, and Smith is a big reason for his team’s success.  According to Smith’s middle school coach, Treshon Jones, his team is likely to go undefeated, with the only potential losses coming from Wayne and/or Centerville. That’s no surprise considering that Trotwood team is loaded with players who play AAU ball, including guys like Trey Dennis and Rico Colter.  As a side note, Dennis is a stud that has mostly flown under the radar since he has not yet broken out at elite camps and showcases.

In terms of Smith’s talent, Jones could not be more complimentary. “Jamel is tough, gives 100% effort on every play and is going to wok harder than anybody,” said Jones.  “He handles the ball well, can shoot it and is the leader on my teams,” continued coach Jones. Although Smith ran with MVP Dynasty last season, according to his mother, Smith is going to take a break from AAU basketball, and will instead,  concentrate on training and attending a few camps.  Although we selected Smith as Fifth Team All-Ohio last season, that was mainly do to a lack of exposure during the spring and summer.  We look forward to getting another look at Smith at our March 4th elite showcase.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Elite Showcase Alum Gets McDonalds Nomination

Jalen Miller-Lake Fenton HS-2017
In our long history of holding our elite showcases, many of our alumni have gone on to do great things.  Earlier this week, Jalen Miller (6’3/SG/Flint/2017) was nominated for the prestigious McDonalds All-American Game.  Miller is currently lighting it up for his Lake Fenton (Michigan) High School and people are taking notice.  We got our first look at Miller at our September elite showcase where his dominate play garnered him an all-star game selection.  That’s not all; Miller also excelled n the all-star game, which led to Top 5 honors.

Miller utilizes his strong frame to get to and finish at the rim. Because of his size and skill set, Miller is a match-up problem and is also able to play multiple positions. He can bang in the low post and still step outside for a jumper. Miller can also get his shot off the bonce or convert in catch and shoot situations. With what we’ve seen of Miller, college basketball should be in his future!  We would like to congratulate Miller on his nomination and wish him much success in the future!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Swain Emerging as a Talent

Daily Swain-2023 Columbus
We have recently highlighted several 2023 standouts from Northwest and Northeast Ohio, but this time we would like to turn the focus on Central Ohio.  One of Columbus’ emerging young talents is Dailyn Swain (5’6/PG/Columbus/2023), who started to make some noise on the statewide scene last season. He first caught our attention with his standout performance at the fall session of the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase in September, where he played his way into the all-star game.  In addition, Swain logged in an all-star performance at the NEO event last year.

Although we only selected Swain as Ninth Team All-Ohio, we did have the opportunity to extend Swain a late invitation to play in the prestigious Ohio North vs South All-Star game.  With what we’ve seen and heard recently, Swian should finish higher in 2017 and has a chance to crack the top 10 in our player rankings going forward.

Although we’ve seen very little of Swain, we know he’s a shifty and deceptive PG who excels at getting to the rim.  In addition, because of his tight handle and quickness, Swain is difficult to stay in front of defensively.  According to Jason Dawson, Head coach of Swain’s Dose-Ohio Hoopsters travel team, Swain “is a scoring guard, who does a little bit of everything. [Swain] is long lanky and plays the passing lanes well,” said Dawson. In addition, last summer, Swain averaged 10-15 points per game, and was one of the leaders on Dawson’s squad.  We look forward to getting get a closer look at Swain at our March 4th elite showcase.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Shooting Stars to Hold Tryouts

It’s no secret that the King James Organization is currently undergoing a transition period.  Over the past several years ,Malcolm Walters’ 2020 King James team has been one of the more dominate programs in the state, and nation for that matter.  Despite all of the team’s success, 2017 may be a challenge for the team. One of the biggest changes will be in the branding.  Going forward, Walters’ team will be known as Drew Joyce’s NEO Shooting Stars (NEOSS).  Although they will play under a new name, the program will still be “Nike affiliated,” and in terms of the very popular EYBL, the 2020 NEOSS will have the opportunity to participate in the 15U Nike Challenge Peach Jam qualifier and possibly play their way into the EYBL going forward.

According to Walters, his team is looking for undiscovered talent and other quality players who want to play a very competitive schedule.  “We will put them up against the best teams in the state,” said Walters.  Walters’ goal is to allow his players to demonstrate their skills on a national level. “It’s [Ohio] a big state; there’s a lot of players who are unable to showcase their talent.  We have a lot of talent in Ohio,” Walters continued. According to Walters, he already has several top 20 players committed.

The NEOSS will be holding their first round of tryouts on Sunday, March 26th at Akron St. Vincent St. Mary’s High School from 9:00am to 1:00pm.  For more information about the program and/or tryouts, you can email Walters at mwalters8295@gmail.com.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Hayes has been Consistently Elite

LA Hayes-2023-Brook Park, OH.
As we’ve stated several times before, Ohio’s class of 2023 could be one of the best we’ve seen in years.  Right at the top of the class is LA Hayes (5’7/PG/Brook Park), who has been one of the most consistent young players we’ve seen in a while. Not only has Hayes enjoyed success on the travel team circuit running with the Shooting Stars, he has been a consistent standout performer at our elite showcases.  In fact, Hayes is not only a perennial all-star at our events, he routinely takes home Top 5 Awards.  Moreover, Hayes is easily among our top 5 in the state and could make an argument for the top spot based on his consistent play.  In terms of Northeast Ohio kids, Hayes is one the top 2-3 players in the area!

As further evidence of his consistent play, he was selected to participate in the prestigious Ohio North vs South All-Star Game in September, where his breakout performance led to MVP Honors.  Mind you, Ohio’s best of the best participated in that game!  Moreover, based on his body of work in 2016, Hayes was selected as Buckeye Prep’s Second Team All-Ohio.  According to Damon Stringer, coach of Hayes’ Cleveland Heights winter team, Hayes is averaging 18 points per game and is the second leading rebounder as a guard.  Stringer had this to say about Hayes, “…LA is an all-around player.  His on ball defense is second to none, he puts pressure at the top of our defense, and is good in transition.  If I had to start a team, I would start with LA,” Stringer said.

From what we’ve seen, Hayes is a threat to score in catch and shoot situations, and his solid handle, aggressiveness and length allow him to get to and finish at the basket.  Although it’s either a 3-ball or a lay up at the rim for Hayes right now, when he develops a mid-range game he’s going to be tough to handle.  Also, he’s a great on ball defender, who also uses his long arms to step into passing lanes, collect steals, and then finish easy transition buckets.  In our post event report in September of 2015, we had this to say about Hayes, “…We were well aware of Hayes and Molton, as both players attended our September elite showcase, and not only did they get all-star game nods, they went on to secure MVP honors and were both ranked in the top five in our post event rankings.  We were really impressed with Hayes’ motor, aggressiveness to the cup and his willingness to defend.  What’s most impressive is the fact that he competed against older guys and more than held his own.”

He’s not yet a national name, but Hayes has a chance to build on his national reputation as he participates more at national events.  In fact, there are some suggestions that Hayes might be balling with the North Coast Blue Chips this season.  If that’s the case, he will have the opportunity to make more noise nationally.  We look forward to seeing Hayes in action at our March 4th elite Showcase.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Docks Leads Team to League Championship

Mason Docks-2022 East Lansing, MI

In Michigan, many of the middle school basketball leagues have already concluded their 2016/2017 seasons. For Mason Docks (5’7/PG/2022/East Lansing), the culmination of his Lansing Christian School basketball season ended in a 10-1 record and a Greater Lansing Athletic Conference Co-Championship. Averaging 23 points and 6 assists per game, Docks was rewarded with team MVP honors. We’ve had the opportunity to evaluate Docks on several occasions; both with his Michigan Prospectors travel team as well as at our Buckeye Prep Elite Showcases.  In fact, at our spring showcase last March, Docks rode a standout performance to an all-star game selection and a top 10 ranking.

The best part of Docks’ game is his ability to make his teammates better.  Although he can score at all three levels, Docks is a pass-first floor general who often passes up opportunities to get his own offense in order to set his teammates up to score.  He knows how to run a team, has a high basketball IQ, plays with great pace and has great intangibles. Docks is also athletic and able to finish with contact with drives to the cup.  He makes the game look so easy, that after a game his stat line is surprisingly stuffed.

The last time we saw Docks our post event report reflected the following evaluation: “We could not have been more impressed with the play of Mason Docks (5’4/PG/Lansing, MI), who is one of the best 6th grade PGs we’ve seen all spring. Along with an elite handle and a high basketball IQ, Docks is quick, understands the game and just seems to always make the right play.  Oh yea, he can shoot it, but he prefers to make the pass first, which is just what you want in a floor general.  Like his brother Chris Harrison-Docks, who played at Butler and is now at DePaul, Docks has an excellent chance to play D-I ball with continued growth and development.”

Docks’ skills and natural abilities are not surprising, as he comes from great stock. Docks’ father, Ted, hooped for Morehead State University from 1995 until 1999, and his older brother, Chris Harrison-Docks is a senior guard at DePaul University. Although he’s reluctant to say it, the elder Docks suggested that his younger son might be the best of the bunch by the time it’s all said and done.  “Chris was more polished and a scorer at this age, but Mason is more athletic and better able to take the bump going to the basket,” Docks father stated.  Having coached both of his sons, he has a great perspective of what each brings to the table.

Docks is also a good student as evidenced by his 3.6 GPA, and he also loves science.  Although Docks played travel soccer when he is younger, and may play high school soccer, he’s concentrating on basketball for now.  We look forward to seeing Docks again when his Michigan Prospectors teams come to Columbus to participate in our March 31st-April 2nd Buckeye Prep Invitational Tournament.  For our college coaches, who regularly visit this site, we suggest you take an early look at Docks, as he easily projects as a D-I PG going forward if he stays on his current track!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Easter at the Top of His Class

Jerry Easter Jr.-2024 Toledo
As most basketball fans know, the state of Ohio has become a hotbed for basketball talent, and routinely pumps out top 10 players nationally. We also know that guys like Seth Wilson (2021), Chris Livingston (2022) and LeBron James Jr. (2023) are well known nationally, but you have to add Jerry Easter Jr. (5’5/PG/2024/Toledo) to the list of nationally recognizable names from Ohio.  Currently, Easter is ranked by some as the #1 ranked player in the country in the class of 2024.  Moreover, recently, we gave Easter the edge for the #1 spot in the state.

We’ve recognized Easter’s talent for several years while evaluating him at elite events around the country; however, it was not until his standout performances at our elite showcases did we really start to appreciate Easter’s talent.  In fact, in our elite showcase in September, Easter parlayed a standout performance into an all-star game selection and then a Top 5 Award.  In addition, at our Buckeye Prep Invitational Tournament last April, Easter was selected to the All-Tournament Team after leading his team in scoring.  In terms of his consistency, we’ve also seen Easter excel at other elite camps and showcases as well.

Easter is a dynamic PG who is highly skilled; plays with poise, and can get his buckets while also creating offense for teammates.  He has great court vision and is also a willing passer who can deliver the rock on time and on target. Although you might assume that Easter is a ball dominate guard who forces shots in order to get his own numbers, you’d be wrong, as Easter is a distributor who can also score. Easter he can shoot off the bounce or in catch and shoot situations or he can employ a nice little floater.  Not only can he use his ball skills to get in the lane, he’s a threat to shoot it from beyond the arc as well.  We’re most impressed with Easter’s poise under pressure and the fact that he cannot be sped up even when doubled teamed defensively.  We also like Easter’s length for his position, his high basketball IQ and the fact that he’s a great on ball defender.  In our opinion, Easter easily projects as a D-I player with continued growth and development. The highlight video below does a good job of featuring Easter’s many talents.

Easter’s talent is a hot commodity, as he has played for several different programs over the past several years. Last year alone, Easter was seen running with All-Ohio Red, the Western Kentucky Wildcats and North Coast Blue Chips (NCBC).  It’s also worth noting that any team he has suited up for has won on a high level!  According to his father, the younger Easter will play exclusively with the North Coast Blue Chips this upcoming season.  That team was already loaded with guys like Tyler McKinley, Jaiden Arnold and Jonas Nicholas, but with the edition of Easter they are going to be tough to beat!  According to Coach Tuffy Rhodes, Easter “…by far will be my best all around player [this season].” Coach Rhodes also likes Easter’s versatility, “…He can play anywhere; can do anything,” Rhodes said.

We look forward to catching him in action at our march 4th elite showcase and again when his NCBC squad attends our Buckeye Prep Invitational tournament March 31st-April 2nd. We plan to keep an eye on this kid!