Monday, July 31, 2017

Team Takeover Fab 48 Champions
The Takeover continues for Team Takeover 2022 class. Coming fresh off the Peach Invitational Championship in Georgia. Takeover arrived in Las Vegas (July 26th - July 29th) for the Jr. Fab 48 this past week and did not disappoint. Winning by a double-digit average, Takeover was on a mission to win a Championship that eluded the 2021 class the year before. Victor Oladipo (Indiana Pacers) was present at each game providing his expertise as Coach Brewer and staff made their run. The Championship game was against a familiar team. Takeover was facing Team Thrill out of Baltimore. This was a physical and hard played game, but thru execution and patience, Takeover pulled out a two-point victory. Congratulations to Team Takeover on a well accomplished season.

Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase Update

Below is an email that went out to players and coaches Saturday morning which provides updates for the upcoming Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase.  Please read it carefully and contact me at with any questions.


We are now just about 5 weeks away from the fall session of Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase, and I’m currently putting the finishing touches on the event format and schedule. As a reminder, the event is scheduled for September 9th & 10th at Otterbein University located at 160 Center St. Westerville,  OH. 43081)  On that Saturday, registration will open by 7:30am and run through about 3:30pm. After the all-star games, we will have opening remarks and the showcase games are scheduled to begin around 4:00pm (tentative).  For those players who will be participating in the Ohio North vs South or interstate rivalry games need to arrive at least 1 hour prior to the tip off of their game.  We will be posting the selectees for the North vs South, Ohio vs Michigan (2021 & 2020) games this weekend.  If selected, payment and forms must be received ASAP to retain a player’s spot.

I plan to have an initial draft of the rosters, team assignments and schedule posted on our website ( at least 1 week prior to the event.  The only names that will appear on the rosters will be those players who have submitted the registration forms and fee. Although I have posted a tentative participant list on the website, that list is not official, so if your son/player’s name is listed there but you have not sent in the forms and/or fee, they will not have a spot in the event.  For those coaches who are bringing multiple players, we need registration forms from each of them as soon as possible. In addition, I have to place the jersey order at least 2 weeks prior to the event and I cannot order a jersey if we have not received the registration fee and forms. Therefore, you must act quickly if you want to get your son/player registered. Additionally, it’s very important that you continue to visit our website on a regular basis so you can follow any updates that may be posted.  There will be slight changes up until the day of the event so please follow the website for updates!

Also, I know a number of you have paid the registration fee via Pay Pal, but have not yet sent in your registration forms.  If that’s the case, I need you to do so as soon as possible so we can match the forms I received with your son/player’s name and get them on my official participant list. If you have/or will pay your fee via Pay Pal, please make sure you bring the receipt with you when you register your son/player. In case you have misplaced the invitation and registration forms, I have attached another copy to this email. 
In addition, the deadline for making reservations at the host hotels will soon expire, so if you have not made your hotel reservations yet, you need to do so ASAP, as the room block will close and you will have to pay the standard rate.

Finally, I’m still in need of a more coaches for this session.  In addition to the satisfaction of working with young people, coaches receive free admission to the event ($20 value), a t-shirt and access to the media/coaches lounge where they can relax and enjoy complimentary food and drink the entire 2 days. Also, as a reminder, any player who has participated in past events, have been featured on our website or is ranked nationally on statewide is invited to all Buckeye Prep Events.  If you know of any player(s) who meets these criteria, please have them contact me at or 614-203-2929 for an invitation.

If you have any questions or concerns about the event, please feel free to email or call me at the number listed above.

Rob Taylor

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Dayton Wolves win USBA National Championship

2021 Dayton Wolves-USBA National Champions
This past weekend, Coach Tony Dixon’s 2021 Dayton Wolves finished 7-1 on their way to the championship of the USBA National Championship in Charlotte, NC. Other than their lone loss to NC Elite (69-78) in pool play, the Wolves defeated Sparkle City Thunder (70-43), Team Power (61-34), Severn Elite (60-47), Team Loaded (67-49), Low Country Bulldogs (52-48), Team Alyve (60-49) and NC Elite (63-56) in the championship game. 

Standouts for the Wolves included Carter Mims (Tournament MVP), Chanze Amerson (played great on both ends), Allen Lattimore (hit 20 treys over the weekend), and Anthony McComb.  According to Coach Dixon, Mims “could not be guarded all week.”

The Wolves were not the only Ohio-based team to win a USBA title, as the North Coast Blue Chips (NCBC) went 6-0 on their trek to the championship. NCBC’s path to the gold included wins over Capital City Vipers (58-20), WV Eplosion (46-21), Boilling Springs Bulls (69-7), Team Coal (49-21), Atlanta Nets (45-19) and All-Ohio Phenom Northeast (52-51) in the title game.  Standout performers were Jaden Arnold, Kent Hairston and Bryce James.

Monday, July 24, 2017

All-Ohio Wins Summer Championship

All-Ohio Black-7th Grade Champions Nike Summer Showdown
On Sunday, Oji Sprigins’ All-Ohio Black squad finished 5-0 on their way to the 7th grade championship of the Nike Summer Championships.  On championship Sunday, All-Ohio took out Toledo Ice (60-22), TNBA Shooting Stars (63-60) and Lakeshore (69-59) on their way to the title.  All-Ohio was powered by the play DJ Moore who exploded for 34 points and 14 points in the semi-finals to take down a star studded TNBA Shooting Stars team.  For the event, Moore averaged and impressive 30 points per game.  We’ve not really seen Moore play (may have reclassed from 2021)  but his outstanding play over the weekend suggests we need to pay more attention to him! 

Below are the results of the other divisions:
3rd grade Gold-Above All Athlete
4th grade Gold-All-Ohio Red
5th grade Gold-TAD
5th grade Silver-TNBA
6th grade Gold-Middletown Finest
6th grade Silver-TNBA West
7th grade Gold-All-Ohio Black
7th grade Silver-CIA Bounce
8th grade Gold-Team Renegades Elite
9th grade Silver-Ohio KOTC
9th grade Gold-All-Ohio Elite 
10th grade Gold-All-Ohio Gold
10th grade Silver-?
10th grade Bronze-Hawks Canada
11th grade Gold-Akron Bobcats
11th grade Silver-A Hoops
11th grade Bronze-All-Ohio Black

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Team Takeover Takes Peach invitational

2022 Team Takeover-Peach Invitational Champions
During Nike's prestigious Peach Jam weekend (July 12-16), North Augusta, SC and Augusta GA, became a one-stop shop for basketball fanatics. High school basketball was the main attraction, but the Middle School had their own elite event, "The Peach Invitational.”  This event hosted teams from Texas, Georgia, Ohio, Louisiana and Illinois and a few other states around the country. Our own All Ohio Red made it to the Final Four defeating RM5 Elite (TX) and Texas Pro Skills (TX), but would later be upended by eventual Champion Team Takeover. Takeover took care of Elfrid Payton Elite (LA) and the Atlanta Cavs (GA) in route to the championship. According to their coach,Team Takeover's 2022 class has brought into the "STAY DA COURSE" motto, and they hope to ride their success into the Jr. Fab 48 set for Las Vegas the week of July 26-29.

Nike Summer Championship-Saturday Action

Rammer Pryor, Juleeon Carter, Vernon Smith, Davon Smith-Johnson & Barret Labus
We had the opportunity to take in some Saturday action at the Nike Summer Championship in Columbus.  The relatively new event represents a joint venture between Jerry Watson and Steve Vega, and pulled together several talented teams in multiple grade divisions. We were most interested in watching Ed Heben’s 2022 TNBA Shooting Stars team that picked up a couple quality players for this tournament.  The most notable addition was Jalen Wenger of Dawg Days Basketball. We only caught one of their games, but it was clear that Wenger will add a significant scoring punch to this team.  What was also clear is that Raymar Pryor is a stud, and he was easily the best player in the gym.  We’ve seen him play for a couple of years now, but this year he has had a breakout season. He’s extremely athletic and is at his best attacking and finishing at rim level.  He even punched one in the game we watched.  Ohio’s class of 2022 is a good one, but it’s time for Pryor to take his place among the top tier of players.  In our opinion, Pryor deserves more national recognition!  With continued growth and development, Pryor has D-I potential and should be tracked by college programs around the state.

We also continue to be impressed with Michal Bova who is the consummate floor general.  He’s highly skilled, smart and always seems to make the right play.  He was in foul trouble in the game we watched so he did not put up big numbers, be he knows how to set up teammates for easy buckets and rarely turns the ball over.  We expect Bova to play college ball at some level.  We also liked what we saw with Joey Battista. He’s a workhorse in the paint and his soft touch allows him to score around the bucket. You can expect to see Pryor, Wenger, Bova and Battista in the Ohio North vs South All-Star Game in September.

Kevin Mack, Martavien Johnson, Paris Locke, Raynell Hester & Jimmykael Manning
We also had the opportunity to watch a couple of players we had not previously seen. Davon Smith-Johnson (6’2/PF/2022/Cleveland) is a player to watch going forward. He has good size, is athletic and has great upside potential.  He runs with Court Leaders who we have ranked in the top 10 of our Power Rankings.  His teammate, Raynell Hester (5’7/PG/2022/Cleveland) is a solid PG with a solid skill set. We also really liked Juleeon Carter (5’11/PF/2022/Toledo).  Carter is a bruiser with a strong frame, power and nimble feet.  He’s strong to the cup and has perfected a spin move that gives him good looks at the cup.  From what we saw on Saturday, Carter deserves a spot on our top player list.  We also saw some good things out of Keivon Mack (6’2/WF/2022/Toledo).  We were most impressed with Mack’s athleticism and motor.  Both Carter and Mack run with Toledo Ice, a team good enough for a spot in our Power Rankings.

We also got another look at MKU Athletics in a game against Michigan Rising Basketball. Vernon Smith (6’4/C/2021/Akron) was impressive as he rebounded at a high level.  He’s better defensively right now, but with continued skill work he could become a scorer as well. Martavien Johnson (5’8/PG/2021/Akron) caught our eye with his high energy both offensively and defensively. The speedy guard is aggressive to the cup and does not mind defending 94 feet. Demarcus Rogers (5’8/PG/2021/Akron) was solid as were Darrian Lewis (5’7/PG/2021/Akron) and Jumacius Portis (5’11/WF/2021/Akron).  Michigan’s Paris Locke (5’11/PG/2021/Ypsilanti, MI) was the man for Michigan Rising Basketball and did most of his damage with the 3-ball.

Arness Lawson, Jahmeel Wakeel, Samuel Johnson, Dominique Aekins & Collin Washington
We were treated to a barnburner between All-Ohio Red and TADD (2024).  This game was not decided until the closing seconds of the game as both teams took turns hitting big shots near the end. TADD would go on to get the 49-48 win in a thriller.  Tadd’s top guy and leading scorer was Samuel Johnson (5’8/C/2024/Worthington), while the standouts for All-Oho were Isaiah Marshall (PG/2024/Pickerington) and Dominique Aekins (PG/2024/Sunbury). 

Other Standouts we saw included: Barret Labus (5’11/CG/2021/Wadsworth), Omar Abuhamdeh (5’8/PG/2021/North Royalton), Terrance Callaway (5’11/WF/2022/Tuscaloosa, AL), Jimmykael Manning (6’2/C/2022/Tuscaloosa, AL), Arness Lawson (PG/2025/Columbus), Jahmeel Wakeel (SG/2025/Columbus), Devin Colbert Jr. (PG/Indy) and Collin Washington (PG/Indy).

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Wright has the Right Stuff

Najih "Nye" Wright-2023 PG Lorain
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, Ohio’s class of 2023 is loaded with talent.  Najih “Nye” Wright (5’0/PG/Lorain/2023) is an example of the talent level this class has to offer.  We’ve seen Wright perform at a high level at our elite showcases, and in fact, we tabbed to in participate in the prestigious Ohio North vs South All-Star Game last year.  Well, he’s out with a new video that clearly displays the breath of his talent.

In terms of his game, Wright is a three-level scorer who can shoot from deep both off the bounce and in catch and shoot situations, knock down floaters or get all the way to the rim where he finishes at a high rate.  He has elite ball skills, which he uses to break down defenders and get into the paint where he either scores or dishes. His court vision and passing skills are also elite, and his ability to finish with both hands is impressive for a player so young.  Wright’s great in transition, can pull up on a dime and shoot it and is already proficient at euro stepping and finishing.

We already have Wright ranked among the top 20 in the state, but another solid performance in the Ohio North vs South game and the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase in September could propel him into the top 10.  Take a look and Wright’s mix tape below and we're sure you will agree the kid can ball!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Johnson Pockets a Pair of Early Offers

Mechie Johnson-6'0" PG 2021 Garfield Heights, OH.
He hasn’t played a minute of high school basketball yet, but after a big weekend at the Adidas Invitational in Indianapolis last weekend, where he averaged 25 points per game, Garfield Height’s Meechie Johnson (6’0/PG/2021) has already picked up a pair of scholarship offers from Maryland Eastern Shore and Southeast Missouri. “Maryland Eastern Shore called yesterday and Southeast Missouri called today,” said Johnson’s father. “We were running with Michael Duncan’s OBC squad in Indy last week and we got a call when we goy home,” continued the elder Johnson.

Because we have seen Johnsons play and develop since the 4th grade, and he’s been a consistent standout out performer and all-star at our Buckeye Prep events, we are not at all surprised that college coaches have already taken notice of Johnson’s talent. We recently saw Johnson in action at the NEO event in Cleveland and he was simply amazing.  Not only are his handle, court vision and the ability to find open teammates at an elite level, he has added the ability to knock down deep threes consistently.  He’s highly skilled, but his IQ and will to win set him apart from his peers.

“It’s nice [getting offers], but we got to stay in the gym and keep working hard.  It’s too early [to relax],” Meechie’s father added.  From what we’ve seen of Johnson’s development, he should expect many more offers by the time he’s running the uncle’s offense early in his high school career. You can catch Johnson in action in September, when he will represent Ohio in the Ohio vs Michigan All-Star Game as part of the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase set for September 9th and 10th.   I always tell young guys, people are always watching and taking notice of elite talent and an early age!  Congratulations to Johnson and his family!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Artic Rush Upends #2 Ranked Lima Gators

2022 Arctic Rush 
Last week, the 8th ranked Artic Rush (2022) upended the 2nd ranked Lima Gators 54-43 in the Gym Rat GRBA Nationals.  The Rush’s 4-2 run during the event included wins over Gym Rats 2022-Ramer (64-60), Club 1 Miller (77-29), Kalamazoo Legends (53-36) and Lima Gators (59-40).  Rush’s run ended in the semi-finals with a 54-43 loss to the Indy Heat NWA.  It should be noted that Indy Heat NWA went on to beat Team Teague in the championship game. Standout players for Artic Rush included Jared Frey, Trey Robertson and Doogie James.  Frey averaged 18 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steal per game, while Robertson averaged 12 points and James added 10 points per game.

Other ranked teams (Ohio) in the event included #3 Ohio Basketball Club and #12 ranked Ohio Hoopsters.  For the season, Artic Rush finished an impressive 44-10 and either won or lost to the eventual tournament champion in bracket play in every tournament they entered. We saw them at our Buckeye Prep Summer Showdown where it became clear that they were extremely talented, well coached and more than deserving of a top 10 ranking.  With their performance in Fort Wayne last week, they will make a significant jump in our Power rankings.

In addition, Paul McMillan’s 2022 All-Ohio Red lost to Team Takeover in the Peach Invitational last week.  All-Ohio Red was powered by Paul McMillan IV and Jerry Saunders.  Other standout performers included Bowen Hardman (had 29 points ve Nike South Beach), Cameron Miles, Khalil Luster and Jordan Hale-Frater. McMillan finished with 32 points in the final game. Red’s run at the event included wins over Nike South Beach, the Bryce Griggs led Nike Pro Skills and AAU National Champions CP3. McMillan’s squad rapped up their 2017 season with a gaudy 45-6 overall record, which includes wins over several nationally ranked teams such as Minnesota Spartins, Nike Pro Skills, Indiana Elite, New Jersey Hill Toppers and CP3..

Also we have to give a shout out to Greg Jonson’s 2021 Cincinnati Royals who finished in 9th place at the AAU Nationals a week ago.  The Royals’ trek to the title included wins over Next Level Show (60-38), Riverside Hawks (61-51) and LA Blue Chip Academy (41-39). The Royals were bounced from title consideration with a 78-62 loss to Kessel Heat Black in the second round.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

UA Next Combine Series DC Top Wings and Bigs

Julius Ellerbe, Darrius Tilghman, Nanna Njoku, Mohammed Aminu & Victory Nagoya
The UA Next Combine Series had its final stop in Washington DC and the talent level was high as was expected.  Let’s take a look at the front court players that impressed us during the one day event.  Our analysis will cover the top wings and bigs that attended.  Julius Ellerbe (6’5 WF Temple Hills, MD) was the top wing and overall number one player at the conclusion of the event.  Julius is a do it all wing that has the potential to stay in that elite top 25 status in the class of 2021.  He can play the point forward or play more his natural position on the wing.  He rebounds very well for his position and then he is able to lead the break.  Ellerbe can get buckets if needed either by attacking the basket or knocking down his jumper with range out to the 3 point line.  He plays the right way and loves to make plays for others as we saw him drive and kick to the three point shooter. 

Darrius Tilghman (6’3 WF Baltimore, MD) is a high energy wing that is always in attack mode.  Darrius is an athlete that attacks the rim with reckless abandon.  He can knock down the mid-range jumper and has the ability to be a lock down defender.  One of the better scorers in the event, we can see Tilghman as a household name for years to come.  Nnanna Njoku (6’9 PF Newark, DE) was the top big in the event.  He is a big body that understands how to get position on the low block and go to work.  A lost art, Nnanna has back to the basket post moves that he can finish at a high percentage with either hand.  Rebounding at a high rate and having good passing ability out of double teams Njoku is a big man that is very effective and plays to his strengths.  One thing that really impressed us is that he runs the floor hard and was the beneficiary of a lot of rebound put backs. 

Mohmmed Aminu (6’5 WF Temple Hills, MD) is a scoring machine with a high motor.  He is a mismatch problem at 6’5 with guard skills he can beat you off the dribble and get to the basket anytime he wants and he is also an under rated passer.  Aminu rebounds at a high level both offensively where he gets a lot of put backs or defensively where he can push and lead the break either going coast to coast or dropping off an assist to a teammate.  Defensively he has good hands to play the passing lanes and comes up with steals and we also saw him knock down a 3 ball.

Jai Smith (6’9 PF Middletown, NY) is a long active big man that plays both sides of the ball.  He plays extremely hard and runs the floor which is not a given in today’s game.  Jai seems to always be around the ball grabbing all the rebounds and defensively he is a shot blocking machine.  He is developing his handle where he can situationally handle the rock and he finishes strong through contact trying to dunk everything.  Smith is also knocking down the mid to short range jumper and he converts at a good percentage from the FT line. 

Jakai Robinson (6’4 WF Fort Washington, MD) is a big strong wing with a college ready body.  He is very patient and takes what the defense gives him.  This lefty attacks off the dribble and makes the right reads either shooting or setting up his teammates.  Robinson can play the point forward as he has a good feel for the game and a high basketball IQ.  As a bonus he has a nice stroke from the FT line as we believe he could live at the line with his skill set and ability to get to the rim.  Defensively he can guard 1 through 4 which shows his versatility. 

Victory Naboya (6’8 PF Upper Marlboro, MD) might have had the most upside and is a long way from his ceiling.  Victory is just scratching the surface offensively but he is ultra-athletic playing above the rim.  We saw him make a sweeping baby hook attacking the basket off the dribble so he shows the potential as an emerging offensive player but right now he is a game changer on defense blocking shots and cleaning the glass with offensive and defensive rebounds. 

Adam Walden (6’9 C Columbia, MD) could end up being the top prospect in the building when these players are all seniors in 2021.  He looks like he has a few more inches in him so 7 foot is not out of the question.  Walden has a good frame with a soft touch as he can knock down the elbow jump shot or the short corner jumper.  He converts from the FT line and he rebounds at a high level.
Shane Dezonie (6’4 WF Tobyhanna, PA) is a strong wing that is well thought of on the national stage.  He runs with the top travel team in the country and he has played against the best.  Offensively Shane is at his best attacking the rim in the half court or in transition.  He takes what the defense gives him and he had his 3ball working in the game we watched as he knocked down a few catch and shoot 3 pointers.  If his jumper is clicking he is pretty much unstoppable.

Isaiah Cornish (6’5 WF Baltimore, MD) is a silky smooth wing that has a deadly jump shot.  Cornish game is one of those that projects long term for his position.  On the wing he was one of the better long range shooters at the event, he also finished well in transition and made the right basketball plays not trying to force something that was there.  As his body develops and he gets stronger it looks like sky is the limit for this youngster. 

Javonte Brown (6’9 C Toronto, CN) is all arms and legs right now which means he is still growing.  Brown is very raw but poses a problem defensively protecting the rim blocking shots.  Although developing offensively we saw him finish with both hands around the basket and knock down his FT’s with a soft touch.  As Javonte gets stronger and keeps working on his offensive package he will be a name to remember north of the border. Tristian Jeffries (6’4 WF Belle Mead, NJ) is a study built wing that can do a little bit of everything.  He runs with Dezonie on the same club team so they are tough to stop as your two wing scorers.  Jeffries has a smooth stroke from behind the 3 point line and can get to the rack off the dribble when he catches on the wing.  Also a good rebounder for his position and can guard multiple positions on the floor.

Zaakir Williamson (6’6 WF Philadelphia, PA) is a big body combo forward that feels comfortable catching the ball in space and either shooting the three or taking his man off the dribble.  Right now a mismatch problem either taking a smaller defender down to the post or a bigger defender out in space Williamson puts you in the mindset of a Boris Diaw or maybe even Draymond Green.