Tuesday, June 27, 2017

NEO Showcase Full of Talent

Alonzo Gaffney, Zion Harmon, Mechie Johnson, Tarik Watson & Josiah Harris
On Sunday, we spent a few hours at Sonny Johnson’s NEO Showcase at Garfield Heights High School near Cleveland.  Although we saw only a fraction of the players in attendance, the players we did see shined brightly.  Clearly, the loudest noise came from the high school division where nationally known guys like Zion Harmon and Julian Neman (5’7/PG/Orlando, FL) were crowd favorites.  However, one of the best players in the gym was Cleveland’s own Alonzo Gaffney (6’8/PF/Garfield Heights), who put on a show with highlight highflying dunks and deep treys.  In terms of long-term prospects with next level potential, Gaffney may be the guy.  Point guard matchups ruled the day at the NEO event, as Newman picked battles with anyone brave enough to try and guard him.  Jaythan Bosch (2020/PG) was up to the challenge and his play on Sunday has been immortalized on video.  By now, most basketball fans have seen the videos of the match ups, so we will let the videos speak for themselves. Bosh has the rock on the string, has excellent court vision and easily finds open teammates if he can't get his own shot off. Newman's ball skills are epic; he's quick and heck and can shoot the cover off the ball. To be honest, I'm not sure how you guard the guy! We also have to give a shout out to Fred Mulbah, who whipped the crowd into a frenzy with his above the rim creativity in the dunk contest.  For his services, the PA junior took home the hardware.

In terms of the middle school guys, Meechie Johnson (2021/PG/Garfield Heights) was spectacular!  Not only did he display his ball skills and play making ability, his 3-ball was defenately dialed in.  In fact, at one point, we saw him drain 4 strait treys in a game where he had to have about 5 more.  Johnson’s ability to shoot from deep has made him even tougher to defend.  Ryan Conway (2021/CG/Baltimore, MD) proved why he has been one of the top guards in the country for several years.  His macth-up with Meechie Johnson was another crowd favorite, and the two both got buckets. Conway is strong to the cup, but is more than capable of stepping into a deep trey, or finding a cutting teammate for an easy bucket. In addition, Kobe Johnson (2021/PG/Cleveland) had good weekend, as did Will Jeffress, Darryl Peterson, Brandon Brown, Colin Albert Albert, Trevor Taylor, Deandre Boyd, Mozi Jackson, Davion Edmand, Jai Smith, Randy Brady, Ryan Conway, TyRion Donson, Makail Cottingham, Eric Rivers, Tae Perrie, Michael Lucarotti, Brandon Brown and Henry Raynor.

In the 7th grade division we saw some good things out of Josiah Harris who has returned to the top of his game.  He was good early, fell off a bit due to injury and growth issues, but is back to being a force in the paint.  We also noticed Sean Jones playing well again.  Other standouts in this division included Sonny Johnson Jr., Tavian Tatum, Isaac Gonzalez, Luke Debow, Steven Bodamer, Everton Browne, Nicholas Padilla Jr., Jalen Brown, Danny Young Jr., James Prescott, Detric Hearst Jr., Aden Lal, Zachary Lockhart, Roderick Coffee, Malik Moore, Mason Woods and Austin Cole.

Amaree Pickesn, Michah Tucker, Mikkel Tyne, Javen Vaughn & Jyles Brandon
In the 6th grade division Jayvion Moore (5’11/PF/Cleveland) looked good again since we saw him last week at the Buckeye Prep Summer Showdown. Chris White (5’6/SG/WF/Cleveland) and Malik Olafioye (5’5/PG/Detroit, MI) also caught our eye.  Other 6th grade standouts included Xavier Peterson, Duncan Moffitt, Calden Lecee, AJ Wheeler, Tyran Gray, Jakhary Towns, Jordan Fitzgibbon, Curtis Staie, Sam Brown, Anthony Bernard, Tye Curry, Samuels Korbyn, LA Hayes, Chase Welch, Davyn Dejongh, Adisa Molton and Akil Watson.

We really liked several 5th graders we saw such as Amaree Pickens (5’0/CG/Erie, PA), Tarik Watson (6’0/C/New York, NY), Mikkel Tyne (5’4/SG/Tronoto, CN), Maverick Binder (5’3/PG/Auburn, NB), Javen “Tank” Vaughn (4’9/PG/Dayton), Michah Tucker (5’4/CG/Alpharetta, GA), Jyles Brandon (5’3/CG/Bedford) John Mobley Jr. (4’8/PG/Columbus), Demarr Foster (PG/Lima) and Dominic Scott (4’7/PG/Paintsville, OH).  It's important to note that John Mobley's skill level is next level, and it's clear his countless hours in the gym are paying off. Exciting to watch! Other standouts included Gregory Brooks, Jarrett Taylor, Brandon Liepins, Logan Davis, Isaiah Brennerman, Bennett Meyers, Xavier Bowman, J Anthony Grimes, Anthony Januzzi and Mikey Johnson.

The 3rd/4th grade division had some studs as well, including Darryn Peterson, Malsi Pearson, Kodah Allen, Mike Jones, Williams Morris, Justice Griffith, CJ Thomas, Colton Rawlings, Colben Landrew, Daron Miles, Marcus Johnson, Yale Davis, Stephen Thomas, Keshawn Vanval, TJ Crumble, Kevin White, Milan Pere, Kenny Scott, Isaiah Rogers and Gunner Woods.  All in all, it was an exciting day of hoops.  Next up is the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase set for September 16th & 17th in Columbus, OH.

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