Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Malik Thomas Earns UA Next Experience MVP

Malik Thomas-6'3 CG 2021 Alta Loma, CA
On Saturday August 19th, Under Armour Basketball hosted their 3rd Annual UA Next Experience game showcasing twenty of the top rising freshmen (Class of 2021) in the country in front of a nice crowd at the beautiful Georgetown Preparatory School in Bethesda, MD.  Players represented twelve different states, but when the dust settled Malik Thomas 6’3 Combo Guard from Alta Loma, CA was clearly the best player in the game and took home MVP honors.  Thomas did it all, willing his Team Select to an exciting 108-106 victory.  Thomas is a big strong scoring guard that is at his best when attacking the basket.  Very good in transition, Malik has the ability to finish through contact and he has a nice pull up jumper with nice elevation and a high release.  He has range out to the 3pt line and can really lock down on defense and he’s able to guard all three perimeter positions.  What we liked about Malik is that when the going got tough and his team was down we saw him take over the game on both ends of the court.  He refused to lose and this is a testament to Thomas’ character.  He finished the game with 32 points shooting 11 for 15 from the field and 10 for 10 from the line, 5 rebounds and 2 assists.  Going into his freshman season at Damien High School he could be considered as one of the top 2021 on the West Coast and one the best freshmen in country.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Basketball Spotlight Future Phenom Camp Day Two Report

Tarik Watson, Warren Keel, Germany Clark, Stephon Ashley & Marcus Johnson
On day two of the Basketball Spotlight Future Phenom Camp we tried to focus on the younger kids in attendance. One of the best young players we saw early on Sunday was Mikkel Tyne (5’7”/CG/2024/Toronto, CN), who has a game beyond his years.  Tyne is a big, physical combo guard who is at his best bulling his way to the basket.  However, Tyne is more than just big, he’s highly skilled, has a high basketball IQ and a great motor.  In addition, Tyne’s game is mature and his ability to score the rock is elite.  Tyne is another Canadian kid who has a chance to be good going forward.  Oh yea, Tyne was selected as Camp MVP for his class.

In terms of skill, IQ and poise, we were very impressed with Warren Keel (PG/2025/Boston, MA).  Keel plays the game at a high level and he has a good feel for the game   He has great ball skills, can shoot it from deep and drive and dish. He finishes drives at a high rate and seems to always make the right play.  This kid has a chance to be special. Tarik Watson (6’1"/C/2024/Middletown, NY) was one of the biggest kids in the division and he used his size and strength to dominate his smaller opponets. Watson rebounded the ball at a high rate, ran the floor and fisted in transition points.  Blessed with great size for a 6th grader, Watson projects well going forward.

Because he’s an Ohio kid, we were well aware of Marcus Johnson’s  (PG/2026/Cleveland, OH) talent before we arrived in DC.  With his size and skill set, Johnson was almost unstoppable to the cup.  Although he was playing up against 5th graders, Johnson got buckets.  For his efforts, and despite the fact he was playing up a grade division, Johnson took home Camp MVP honors for the 5th grade division.  We almost forgot to mention, there’s a video out showing Johnson in action breaking ankles! There were a number of very good 5th grade guards at the event, one of which was Geremy Clark (PG/2025/White Plains, MD).  Clark is super skilled, with quickness, a tight handle and the ability to stop and pop the mid-range jumper.  He also has great court vision and the ability to deliver passes on target and on time.

Isaac Gonzalez, Jamaal McKnight, Tai Turnage, Noah Perry-Lewis & Jebron Harriss
Any discussion about elite guards has to include: Stephon Ashley (4’8”/PG/2025/Wilmington, DE); Tai Turnage (PG/2025/New York, NY); Mason Douglas (PG/2025/Gambrels, MD); Tamarr Washington (CG/2025/Boston, MA); and Jamaal McKnight (PG/2025/Upper Marlboro, MD).  All of these guys can really go.  They are all quick as heck, stay in the paint and can score the ball.  Also, they are all crafty, smart, defend well, play hard and can find open teammates.  Anyone of the 5 could run my team! We also liked the shooting stroke of Noah Perry-Lewis (PG/2025/Brockton, MA).  In the game we watched Perry-Lewis drained multiple treys and looked comfortable doing it.  Perry Lewis was just another quality guard in that guard-rich 5th grade division.

We caught glimpses of him on day one, but on Sunday, we really came to appreciate the scoring ability of Isaac Gonzalez (CG/2022/NY).  Every time we saw him he was getting to the rim and finishing.  Gonzales plays with a lot of passion and determination.  He may be small, but pound for pound, Dominique Wyatt (PG/2022/DE) was as productive as anybody in the gym.  Wyatt is quick as lighting, can both create for teammates and knock down deep threes.

Some of the other day two standouts included: Jebron Harris (C/2025/NJ); Christian Ware 2025/MD); Tobe Nwobu (2025/MD; Karon Baailey (2025/MD); and Prince Samuels (2022).  Congratulations to Mike Melton and Drew Brelsford for putting together a great event!  Next up is the September 9th and 10th Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Basketball Spotlight Future Phenoms Camp-Day One Report

Jaden Bradley, Elijah Fisher, Malik Bowman, Alex Karaban & David Solomon
For the forth year, Mike Melton held his annual Basketball Spotlight Future Phenoms Camp and once again, there was a ton of talent in the gym. This year’s event was held at Discovery Sports Complex in Boyds, MD., an 8-court facility located in southern Maryland.

One of the best kids we saw all day was Jaden Bradley (6’1”/PG/2022/Concord, NC). Bradley started slow, but about midway through the 1st half he turned it on and started giving the opposing team buckets!  Super smooth, Bradley is a high volume scorer who makes it look easy.  He does it all; rebounds, defends, shoots it and gets to the rack.  There is little doubt why so many people see him as one of the top kids in his class.  Speaking of tops in their class, Canada’s Elijah Fischer  (6’3”/WF/2023/Toronto, CN) retuned to the spotlight and left off where he finished at the D-Rich TV Camp last week. In the game we saw (before he suffered an ankle injury), Fisher proved he could impact a game without a scoring barrage.  Oh he scored with drives to the cup, but he also defended the rim, rebounded, found open teammate with pin point passes and got out in transition.

We got our first look at Malik Bowman (6’4”/C/2023/Washington, DC) and we liked what we saw.  Although he did not seem super motivated (playing with the smaller kids in his 2023 class), Bowman demonstrated solid post play and a soft touch around the rim.  He’s long, strong, with great vision and passing ability for his size.  Bowman was moved up to the 8th grade division in game two, where he flashed a face up game and ability to hit from the short corner.  Bowman could be a good looking prospect going forward.  Alex Karaban (6’5”/PF/2022/Boston, MA) caught our late in the day with his combination of size, athleticism and skill. Karaban rebounds at a high level, but is skilled enough to push the rock in transition, pass to open teammates and euro step and finish near the rim.  He also runs the floor well and has a nifty little spin move in the paint.  In a word, Karaban is productive.

Mason Docks, Jaquan Harris, Raja Coleman, Rory Stewart & Christian Bliss
David Solomon (6’5”/C/2022/Berke, VA) made some noise on the opening day.  He’s big, strong, smart and rebounds at an high rate.  His camp coach was big fan of Solomon’s as he described how he opens up the court for his teammates.  We saw some really good things out of Akil Watson (5’11”/WF/2023/Middleton, NY). We liked his motor, his ability to get into the paint as well as knock down catch and shoot treys.  He also excels in transitions and defends with a purpose.  He’s still a little raw right now, but Jalen Duren (6’8”/C/2022/New Castle, DE) has a chance to be good with added skill work.  He’s long, elevates well, dunks with ease and defends the rim.  In another year or two Duren could be a problem.

We saw several quality guards on day including: Chris White (5’0"/PG/2023/Fort Lee, NJ), Julian Brown (5’8”/CG/2022/Middletown, NY), Malik Olafioye (5’6”/CG/2023/Detroit, MI), Christian Bliss (5’6”/PG/2023/NYC), Toby Ojukwn (5’1”/PG/2023/Voorhees, NJ), Raja Coleman (2023/NJ), Antonio Hamlin (6’0”/PG/2022/Baltimore, MD), and Mason Docks (5’8”/PG/2022/Lansing MI).  Docks is  the type  pass-first floor general who can easily go unnoticed in a camp environment.  Howevere, spend a few minutes watching him play and you’ll come to realize his talent and the fact he does all the little things you need in a PG.  Hamlin is a multi-talented athlete who can play all 5 positions on the court.  Although he’s undersized, he was productive banging in to post.

Other day one standouts included: Rodney Rice (2022/MD), Dre Cole (2022/CN), Devon Johnson (2023/NJ), Anthony Seoage (2023/NJ), Vaughn Shannonhouse (2022/CT), Chauncy Presley (2023/PA), Marvin Bromage Jr. (2023/Washington DC), Travis Roberts (6’3”/WF/2022/White Plains, MD), Marcus Johnson (CG/2026, Garfield Heights, OH), Jaquan Harris (6’2”/SG/2022/North Brunswick, NJ), Aiden Holloway (5’5”/PG/2023/NC), Sabastian Robinson (2023/NJ) and Rory Stewart (2022/CN).

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Hard Work Raps Up Productive Season

2023 Hard Work 
Hard Work Basketball 6th grade team had a great year going 42-12. The season was capped off with an AAU National Championship at the 2017 West Coast National Championship in Las Vegas, NV. The team went 6-0 in the tourney beating Michael Copper’s Two One Elite team in the final (46-40). The year saw 4 tourney championships and 3 runner-up showings. Some key wins came against (#14) TNBA East, (#16) JSBA 6th and JSBA 7th grade teams, and (#10) Miller Factory at the Dry Joyce Shooting Stars Classic. The team also had a tough 6-point loss to (#3) MVP Dynasty in the Championship game of the Keystone Hoops tourney in Erie, PA in June.

The team showed continued growth throughout the season. Adam Williams, Jyles Brandon, Sam Brown, and Patrick Williams all had great offensive seasons. While Tyrell Thompson and Tommie Benn set the tone defensively. Sam Brown’s significant growth had a huge impact late in the year growing from 5’7” last year to standing at 6’0” at the end of the season. The addition of Xavier Peterson late in the season also gave a tremendous boost to the team.

The team is primed and looking forward to a great 2018 season which will see them looking to travel more to face additional top-level competition. Key wins for Hard Work include: Miller Factory (53-49); TNBA East (41-33); JSBA 6th (48-38); JSBA 7th (57-55); Two One Elite - Nationals (46-40) Championship and Pool Play (53-35); Las Vegas Warriors – Nationals; and Golden City SF – Nationals.  Congratulations to Coach Antown Williams and his team for a great season!

Monday, August 21, 2017

D Rich TV Camp Day One Standouts-Part 3

Simon Wheeler, Omar Abuhandeh, Jeremiah Dargon, Samartine Bogues & John Mobley, Jr.
Below is Part 3 of our recap of the D Rich TV Camp that was held in Akron, Ohio this past weekend. As we previously stated, we were only there for half a day so we were unable to see many of the other standout performers for the event. Any discussion about elite level guards has to include John Mobley Jr. (5’0”/PG/2024/Columbus, OH). Mobley is widely recognized as one of the best players in the nation in his class, and his play on Saturday was consistent with the hype.  Because of his elite skill level, Mobley is offensively gifted; however, on Saturday, he was more of a playmaker and showed excellent court vision and passing ability.  We also really liked Amire Robinson (6’0”/WF/2023/Naperville, IL), who’s a fierce competitor. Robinson’s toughness and will to win was on full display when he led his team to a big win over an Elijah Fisher led team.  Robinson has great size and strength for his age and used both gifts to bully his way to the basket with regularity.

We saw some good things from Jaden Langley-Thomas (5’11”/PG/2021/Toronto, CN) who was not only explosive to the cup and finished with contact, but was also proficient at knocking down 3-pointers.  Langley also was a willing and able passer.  We were impressed with the play of Jacoi Hutchinson (5’9”/SG/2022/Silver Springs, MD), who showed good pace of play, a solid handle and the ability to finish near the basket on a consistent basis.  We didn’t really get to see him, but everything we’ve heard about Colin Porter (CG/2024/KY) suggests he has a bright future.  He may be a bit flashy, but Collins is highly skilled, plays on both ends of the ball and always seems to make the right play.  We hope to get a look at Porter soon!

Other Standout performers included: Terrence Clark (6’6”/2021), Tae Perie (5’8”/CG/2021/Akron, OH) Aiden Mahaney (5’11”/PG/2022/Lafayette, CA), Josiah Johnson (5’5”/PG/2023/Sacramento, CA), Jeremiah Dargan (6’4”/WF/2022/Concord, CA), Michael Williams (6’0”/PG/2023/San Diego, CA), Jarace Walker (6’2/WF/2022/New Freedom, PA), Isaiah Williams (5’10”/CG/2023/Baltimore, MD), Michael Williams (5’10”/WF/2023/Baltimore, MD), Jayden Hardy (6’4”/CG/Detroit, MI), Elijah Jamison (6’1”/CG/2021/Lewisburg, NC), Josiah Johnson (5’5”/PG/Sacramento, CA), Amaree Pickens (PG/2024/Erie, PA), Jarrrett Taylor (5’4”/PF/Uniontown, OH), Kameryn Kennerly (4’9”/PG/Akron, OG), Dominic Scott (4’7”/PG/Painesville, OH), Sean Clark (2023/MD), Adam Duvall (2022), Jason Simpson (2021/FL), Dariq Whitehead (2022/NJ), Treymane Parker (2023/NC), Gavin Bullock (2023/NC), Tayshawn Corner (2022/IN), Josiah Mobley (PG/2021/Columbus, OH) and Darryn Peterson (2024/OH).

Because we only had a few hours to spend at the event we only had the opportunity to evaluate half of the players in attendance. The players listed above caught our attention while we were there, but we know there were a number of other standouts at the event we did not get a chance to see.  We would like to congratulate D Rich for putting together an excellent event.  Next up is the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase set for September 9th & 10th, where many of the players highlighted above will be in attendance.

D Rich TV Camp Day One Standouts-Part 2

Pierre Brooks Jr., Kyle Hicks, Jaden Langley-Thomas, Amire Robinson & Jonas Nichols
Below is Part 2 of our recap of the D Rich TV Camp that was held in Akron, Ohio this past weekend. As we previously stated, we were only there for half a day so we were unable to see many of the other standout performers for the event.

Omar Abuhamdeh (5’9”/PG/2021/North Royalton) demonstrated the skill, playing making ability and IQ required for early play at the high school varsity level.  He has always been able to use his ball skills to break down his defender and get into the paint, but Abuhamdeh is also deadly from beyond the arc. In fact, in one game we watched Abuhamdeh stepped into and hit multiple 3-pointers and made it look easy.  He’s also not going to turn it over and he’s going to defend 94 feet.  College ball at some level is likely with continued growth and development.

Kyle Hicks (6’1”/CG/2021/Boson, MA) is a physical specimen. The athletic combo guard enjoys a strong frame, long arms and enough explosiveness to finish consistently at rim level.  Hick’s a sold rebounder for his position and he excels at pushing the rock on the break and finishing off plays.  He’s also a good defender.  Hicks was not the only standout form Boston, as Alexis Reyes (6’5”/SG/2021/Boston, MA) was also a stud. Reyes has good size, length and does a good job of getting up and down in transition.  He’s also a solid rim protector and an unselfish passer.

In terms of hype, no one was more fun to watch than Simon Wheeler (5’7”/PG/2021/2021/Detroit, MI).  The eclectic PG whipped the crowd into a frenzy with his ability to beat his defender off the bounce, while driving and finishing difficult plays in extreme traffic.  His ability to spin the ball off the backboard going full speed against multiple defenders who were determined to beat up his shot was nothing short of amazing!  As proof that Wheeler was ballin, he was selected as Camp MVP based on a big time performance in the 2021 all-star game.  We can’t wait to see Wheeler in a few weeks when he will be suiting up of Team Michigan the prestigious Ohio vs Michigan All-Star Game as part of the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase. Wheeler just beat out Terrance Clark (6’6”/SG/2021/Boston, MA) for MVP.  Clark is an elite scorer from all three levels. In terms of long-term prospects, Clark may have had the most upside of any player at the event.

Jonas Nichols (5’11”/C/2024/Akron) is a man-child who is unstoppable in the paint, Towering over his smaller opponents, Nichols meets little resistance any where near the basket.  In addition, Nichols understands how to use his big body to set up on the block, move defenders into position and score.  He’s also a problem defensively, making it nearly impossible to get off a good shot in the lane.  Only time will tell of Nichols will grow into a position, but right now, he’s a monster! In terms of guard play, there was not many better than Sarmartine Bogues (5’2”/PG/2023/Baltimore, MA).  Bogues is super quick, possess a tight handle and is always probing the defense for a lane to the cup.  In addition, Bogues is an excellent on ball defender. 

D Rich TV Camp Day One Standouts-Part 1

Reggie Bass, Sincere Harris, Chris Livingston, Emoni Bates & Elijah Fisher
On Saturday, we had the opportunity to attend the D Rich TV Camp in Akron, Ohio for a few hours, and as expected, there was loads of talent in multiple grade divisions.  One the best players we saw all day was Reggie Bass (6’2”/PG/2022/Muncie, IN).  Bass displayed nonstop energy as he scored and defended at an elite level.  Bass was also proficient at powering his way to the cup and knocking down deep treys.  Bass is a great looking D-I lead guard going forward.  

In terms of dominate performances, Elijah Fisher (6’5”/WF/2023/Toronto, CN), gets our nod.  We saw Fisher dominate at Mike Melton’s camp last year and it’s clear from what was saw on Saturday he has continued to develop.  Fisher is virtually unstoppable at getting to the rim and then finishing with defenders draped all over him. Fisher pretty much does everything himself, as he rebounds, pushes the rock, breaksdown his defenders and finishes near the rim.  We can’t imagine there is a better 7th grader in the class! 

Until Saturday, we had only seen glimpses of him, but from we saw of Sincere Harris (6’2”/CG/2022/Canton, OH) everything we had heard about him was conformed.  Because of his length, athleticism, ball skills and ability to shoot from deep, Harris is a problem!  He’s not just offensively gifted, but Harris is a great defender as well, both on ball and the passing lanes.  He has a great motor, rebounds well and runs the floor in transition with a purpose.  If that wasn’t enough, Harris also has good court vision and the ability to find open teammates. Based on what we saw, Harris deserves much more respect nationally.

We continue to be impressed with Pierre Brooks Jr. (6’4”/WF/2021/Detroit, MI).  On Saturday, Brooks got out of the gates quickly and displayed an elite skill set that included ball skills, three-level scoring and the ability to hit the deep ball from both catch and shoot and off the dribble situations.  In the game we watched, Brooks was matched up against Brent Walker (6’6”/C/2021/Huber Heights, OH), who has gotten bigger and stronger since we last saw him.  Walker does a good job of setting up in the post then using his strong frame to draw contact and finish.  Walker was also more aggressive and is now trying to dunk everything near the basket.  If Walker can grow another 3 inches he has a better chance of growing into a legitimate post prospect.

Emoni Bates (6’7”/WF/2022/Ypsilanti, MI) displayed the type of talent that is a must for anybody to be considered among the best in the class.  Bates’ length and skill set have drawn comparisons to KD, which is a tough standard to be judged by for a player so young; however, he’s almost impossible to defend.  At this point, Bates’ teammates recognize that all they have to do is just throw the rock near the rim and Bates will go get it for a highlight dunk. For his efforts, Bates was selected as camp MVP. Chris Livingston (6’3”/WF/2022/Akron, OH) was impressive on Saturday as well and did nothing to harm his already sizable national reputation.  Livingston’s combination of skill, defense and motor make him an excellent prospect going forward.  Livingston is a fluid athlete that turns defense into offense with easy transition buckets. Teamed up with Harris and Sean Jones (4’6”/PG/2022/Columbus, OH), Livingston was not called upon to take over the game..  We were also impressed with Jones who is the consummate floor general.  Although Jones can score the ball with drives to the cup and a solid stroke, he’s at his best using his elite court vision and passing ability to make plays.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Ohio North vs South Games on Tap

On September 9th, the Buckeye Prep Report will once again play host to the very popular Ohio North vs South All-Star Games in grades 6th-9th.  In fact, a number of invitations to this prestigious event have already been submitted to the top players in each of the above-mentioned classes. This event was developed as a platform to feature the top players in the state of Ohio based on their geographical residence and graduation class.  Participation in this event is an honor and will provide selected players with the unique opportunity to compete against the best players in the state in their respective classes, while also receiving exposure from local and national media outlets.  Past participation in this event as represented a springboard to middle school, high school and college success. 

Players who have received an invitation to the event must confirm participation ASAP in order to retain their spot. After August 28th, a new round of invitations will be extended and rosters will be finalized.  In addition to the Ohio North vs South games, Ohio vs Michigan games for rising freshmen and 8th graders is also scheduled. These games will include the top players from both Ohio and Michigan.  Past participants have gone on to play major college basketball and the NBA. This is an invitation you want!  As soon as rosters have been solidified they will be posted along with player profiles.  This is a unique, one-of-a-kind event that has a long linage of excellence. Look for additional details in the next few weeks.

Buckeye Elite Showcase Information Page

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Time Running out for Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase

Below is an email that went out to all of the names on our bulk email list.  If you did not receive the email and want to be on our list, contact us at


We are now just about 4 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 and 10th at Otterbein University located at 1 South Grove St. Westerville, Ohio 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 (2020) and Ohio vs Kentucky (2021) games this weekend.  If selected, payment and forms must be received ASAP to retain a player’s spot.

We are also happy to announce that Dick’s Sporting Goods will be sponsoring the event this year, and although the details are still being worked out, we know there will be merchandise give aways and discount coupons given out to players and parents!

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. I have extended the payment deadline until August 29th, which should be plenty of time for you to get everything submitted.

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 few 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 Roosters media/coaches lounge where they can relax and enjoy complimentary food and drink the entire 2 days. The media/coaches lounge will be sponsored by Roosters Restaurant. 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.

Showcase Information Page

Rob Taylor


Wilson to Lead Team Ohio Versus Team Michigan

Seth Wilson 2021 PG West Lake
When Team Ohio takes the floor against Team Michigan in a few weeks as part of the prestigious Ohio versus Michigan all-star game (2021) and the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase, Seth Wilson (6’1/PG/2021/West Lake) is expected to be one of the stars on that team.  Wilson has maintained a national reputation for many years and is widely considered to be the top rising freshman in Ohio my most observers.  Wilson has been a perianal all-star and Top 5 Award winner at our Buckeye Prep Elite Showcases for several years.  In addition, we selected Wilson as our “Player of the Year” last season and crowned him Tournament MVP at our invitational tournament in April.

As the top guy for Coach Danyelle Love’s Tru Game team, Wilson is coming off a big summer.  In fact, in number of events this season Wilson put up big numbers and was recognized by several media outlets. In addition, as we previously reported, Wilson will be taking his talent to the storied Akron St. Vincent St. Mary program this year.  Wilson will be surrounded by many of Ohio’s top freshmen including guys like Meechie Johnson, Skyler Schmidt, Noah Peeples and many of the state’s top players.  It should be a good one folks!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Livingston to Build Case for #1 Spot at Buckeye Prep Event

Chris Livingston-2022 WF Akron
With his outstanding play this season playing up 1 to 2 grade levels for We All Can Go, Chris Livingston (6’5/WF/2022/Akron) has been building a case for the #1 spot in the nation for the class of 2022. According to some [Coast to Coast Preps] the questions begs to be answered; “Is Chris Livingston the top 2022 in the nation?” In September, Livingston will get another opportunity to add to his resume and bolster his case as the nation’s top rising 8th grader when he suits up for Team Ohio in the prestigious Ohio vs Michigan All-Star game, which will be held in conjunction with the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase.  Livingston will join on a loaded roster of Ohio’s top 8th graders as they battle Team Michigan in the annual interstate grudge match.

Of course we’re no stranger to Livingston’s talents, as he has excelled at our Buckeye Prep events for several years now.  In fact, we selected Livingston as our “Player of the Year” last season based on what we saw during the course of the season.  Moreover, we extended him an invite to the UA Next Midwest Regional Combine earlier this year, an event designed for elite other graders, and as a 7th grader, he made a significant impact at the event. 

Alongside nationally ranked guys like Paul McMillan IV, Khalil Luster and Sonny Johnson Jr. as well as under the radar guys like Sincere Harris, Raymar Pryor and Trey Dennis, Team Ohio could be the favorite to get the win over Team Michigan in a few weeks!  With that said, Coach Ted Docks has assembled a quality Team Michigan squad that expects to do more than just compete.  Can’t wait to see that one!  On a final note, we will be releasing the full rosters of participants for both teams in the next couple of weeks.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

UA Next Experience All-Star Game Rosters Released

Just today, Under Armour released their official list of players who will be participating in the UA Next Experience rising freshman all-star game scheduled for August 19th at Georgetown Preparatory School in the Washington D.C. area.  A majority of the 20 players selected for the event excelled at 1 of 5 regional combines.  In addition, all of the players have been mentioned among the most elite players in the class of 2021 for several years.  In addition to the actual game, the 2-day slate of activities includes, practices, bowling, hanging in the exclusive player’s lounge and a tour of Under Armour’s headquarters. Below is a complete list of players who will be participating in the event.

All-Star Game Rosters: Amar’e Marshall, Brayon Freeman, Jalen Blackmon, Malik Thomas, William Jeffress, Jr., Julious Ellerbee, Duncan Powell, Mohammed Aminu, Nnanna Njoku, Victory Naboya, Meechie Johnson, Carter Whitt, Ryan Conway, Darius Tilgham, Langston Love, Trevor Keels, Trey Patterson, Javonte Brown, DeTwan Montague and Jai Smith.  Having watched theses player hoop for the past several years, we’re confident the level of play will be elite and the game will be very entertaining!  Congratulations to all of the players who made the cut.

Brooks to Attend Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase

Pierre Brooks II-2021 Detroit, MI
Coming off an impressive performance at a recent national event (see highlight video below), Pierre Brooks II (6’3/CG/2021/Detroit, MI) will be returning to the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase set for September 9th and 10th at Otterbein University. Brooks has been a consistent standout at previous Buckeye Prep events, but in September, he will try to lead his Team Michigan team to a victory over Team Ohio in the prestigious Ohio vs Michigan All-Star Game.  Last year, Team Michigan (2020) mounted a furious comeback to defeat Team Ohio in the same event to even the interstate series. Brooks will be joined on the Team Michigan squad by nationally ranked Keon Henderson and a host of other elite Michigan-based players. We can’t wait to see Brooks and his fellow Team Michigan teammates in action in a few weeks!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Power Hoops Proud of 2017 Season

2021 Power Hoops
Although they won 4 of the 8 tournaments they participated in during the 2017 season and finished 12th at the AAU Nationals, Walt Bonner’s 2021 Power Hoops squad is more proud of their community service record and their approach to the game. “We want kids to understand not just about basketball, but how basketball translates to life. Our main focus is getting them ready for high school [basketball],” said Bonner. While most travel programs focus most of their efforts on playing games and winning, the Cleveland-based Power Hoops has carved out time to complete community service projects.

As an example, this summer at the AAU Nationals in Orlando, FL., Bonner’s team was chosen from 110 teams to participate in the AAU Cares program. As part of the program, the team shared time and handed out lunches and keepsakes to the children in Oncology Ward and throughout Florida’s Children’s Hospital.  According to Coach Bonner, “We got the opportunity to see how truly blessed we are and how great it feels to be a blessing to others!  The kids got some of the most valuable gifts they could ever receive way beyond medals. They received original drawings, tremendous words of gratitude, ingratiated smiles and pride of knowing they contributed to easing the hospital stay if just for a moment for the children and parents of Florida.” We applaud Coach Bonner and his team's effort to develop kids and serve their community!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

All-Ohio Gold Makes Noise in Inaugural Season

U-15 All-Ohio Gold
In only their first year of existence, Eddie Norrils’ All-Ohio Gold (AOG) program has made a significant impact on the Ohio travel basketball scene.  In their first year, All-Ohio Gold fielded teams in 3 divisions including U-14, U-15 and U-16. The Toledo-based program is collaboration between Norrils’ former Team Toledo (2020) team, Tony Scruggs’ Toledo Ice (2019) team and Derek Kizer’s Toledo Wildcats (2021) team. It’s safe to say, AOG’s U-16 team was the most successful in year one based on their multiple tournament championships and #2 state ranking by Ohio Preps.  Although the U-15 squad only won 1 tournament, they made the championship game in at least 5 tournaments, including the Buckeye Prep Invitational in April when they finished second to C2K Elite.

All-Ohio Gold was formed with the intent of keeping the top northwest Ohio kids together and to get them more exposure and recognition. “We recognized that our team would get more exposure with All-Ohio on our chest,” said Norirls. In terms of expansion, Norrils would like to add a few younger teams from the area.  However, there are no current plans to expand statewide. We asked Norrils why he decided to partner with All-Ohio versus some of the state’s other shoe-company-sponsored programs and he pointed to long-term relationships with guys who were already affiliated with All-Ohio.  We can’t wait to see how All-Ohio Gold grows in year two.  Congrats to Coach Norrils for giving northwest Ohio kids more options for competition and exposure.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Loveday Receives Big 10 Offer

Zach Loveday-6'11 C Galia Academy
When you stand 6’9 as only a rising freshman, college coaches tend to take notice early.  Such was the case for Zach Loveday (6’11/C/2020), who recently secured his first scholarship offer from Purdue during a recent on-campus visit.  Although Purdue was the first program to offer, Loveday has been receiving interest for other Ohio-based programs. Loveday first burst onto the scene a few years ago and quickly became a hot commodity on the travel basketball circuit.  After several stints with multiple travel programs, Loveday settled on the Mid-Ohio Pumas last season. 

We’ve seen Loveday play on numerous occasions at our Buckeye Prep Elite Showcases and other elite events and it has always been clear to us that high-major basketball was in his future.  The fact that Loveday has continued to grow and to develop has obviously not been a secret. We fully expect more interest for Loveday’s services going forward.  Congrats to Zach and his family for this significant accomplishment!

Akron St. Vincent St. Mary Welcomes a Bumper Crop of Elite Freshmen

Seth Wilson, Malaki Branham, Tae Perie & Noah Peeples
When the 2017/2018 boys high school basketball season tips off in November, the freshman class at Drew Joyce’s Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary (ASVSM) high school program could be the talk of the state.  Having secured a 7th state championship last season, ASVSM is an attractive destination for elite players and continues to be poised for future success. The old adage, “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer” is certainly relevant to what’s about to go down at the storied program in Akron.  Seth Wilson, Malaki Branham, Noah Peeples and Tae Perie, all of whom are listed among Buckeye Preps’ list of the top 10 rising freshmen in the state, will be attending Drew Joyce’s program in the fall.

Although Wilson, Peeples and Perie all reside in northeast Ohio, Branham is a Columbus kid, whom many local high school programs have coveted for a couple of years. In addition, all 4 of these elite players have been perennial all-stars at our Buckeye Prep Elite Showcases, so we know all too well their level of talent.  Based on what we know, and with no disrespect to St. Ed’s 2020 class last year, it’s hard for us to imagine a better high school freshman class (2021) than what’s heading to ASVSM.

In terms of history, whenever multiple stars get together on one team the natural questions always seem center on whether or not there are "enough basketball balls" to go around.  We put that question to Donovan Wilson, Seth Wilson's father and were not surprised at his response. “I’m confident that each one of these players will share the ball. I feel the talent will mesh together, but we’re going to have to go out and work,” stated the elder Wilson.

The second question often centers on playing time and how soon players will make the varsity squad.  “We could have gone somewhere where it would have been a little easier to get on the court, but this program [ASVSM] will help Seth get to the next level,” continued Wilson.  Wilson also has lofty goals for this class over the next couple of years. “This class is tremendous.  They are going to put a lot of points on the board.  We should win a few state championships,” Wilson proclaimed.

We spoke to Coach Dre Joyce regarding his thoughts about the incoming freshmen class and he could not have been more excited with their arrival. “This is one of the most heralded classes in some time; we expect big things from them. It’s always good when you [ASVSM] can get talented players who have been very successful at the middle school and travel team level,” said Joyce.  In terms of their role early at ASVSM, “Where they fit in I don’t know, I have not seen them much, but I believe the transition will be smooth.  We are very talented and deep; it’s going to be a battle to see who plays at the varsity level,” continued Joyce.

Only time will tell how this class turns out at the next level, as success in middles school travel basketball does not always translate at the high school level.  Moreover, players come and go from programs these days, so who’s to say if all 4 players will remain in the program for their entire careers.  With that said, we look forward to following this class and the ASVSM program over the next couple of years.  By the way, you can catch 3 of the 4 players at the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase in September as they will all suit up for the North squad in the prestigious North vs South All-Star Game, then again as Team Ohio takes on Team Michigan in the ultra-competitive Ohio vs Michigan game.