Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Player’s who’s Stock is on the Rise

Although the recent Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase attracted a majority of the state’s top ranked players, we were very pleased to discover a number of kids who had been flying under our radar.  In addition, we were fortunate to be a able evaluate players who were making their Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase debut.  Some of them we had either heard of from our network coaches and parents or seen at other elite events around the region.  For the players listed below, we believe their basketball stock is on the rise.

Simply put, Seth Wilson (6'1"/PG/2021/Akron) was a monster on day one of the showcase and was virtually unguardable! Using a combination of strength and skill, Wilson put up gaudy numbers in both of the elite all-star games on Saturday.  Just when some people thought his stock might have plateaued, Wilson proved he is as good as any player in the state, and that his upside is significant.  We’ve seen him a couple of times at other showcase events, so we were very happy to have Enavell Lighty (WF/2021/Cleveland) make his debut at our event.  Needless to say, Lighty was dominate at times and made a significant impact in the Saturday morning all-star games.  That’s not all; Lighty also excelled in the showcase games and earned a spot in the final all-star game on Sunday.  From what we saw of his game, Lighty is a definite D-I prospect who deserves some attention!

We’ve seen him a lot over the past several years and his development has been consistent, but his breakout performance on both days of the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase has put Paul McMillan IV (PG/2022/Cincinnati) on another level.  Never one to hide from the other top players in the state or to avoid key match-ups, which may be perceived as potentially hurting his “ranking” or status, McMillan is willing to take on all comers, put his reputation on the line; we respect that about him! As far as we’re concerned, you have to compete against the best to be the best!  In terms of upside potential, Raymar Pryor (WF/2022/Clevland) has as much as any player in the state. He's a fluid athlete who is at his best in transition and slashing to the basket.  He's been a little under the radar in the state and has no real reputation nationally, but's he's good and getting better everyday! I would suggest college coaches get him on their boards early!

In terms of guard play, Khalil Luster (PG/2022/Lima) and Sellers Littles III (PG/2022/Dayton) are 2 of the best in the state.  They’re not the biggest or the strongest, but they’re skilled and tough as nails!  Agonist the best in the state and Michigan, both took turns controlling the game, making plays and scoring when their team needed them to.  We fully expect both of these elite floor generals to be playing D-I college ball in a few years, and only size and continued develop will determine the level (i.e., low. mid or high major).  Michael Bova (PG/2022/Clevland) is right there with Luster and Littles in terms of skill set and toughness.  The more we've watched him play this year the more we have appreciated his game.  His stock is on the rise, and college basketball at some level is in his future. He did not make a huge splash at the showcase, but we still really like Jalen Wenger (WF/2022/Dalton).  An elite scorer, Wenger has good length, is skilled and can score on multiple levels. Now that he's playing with more talent, he can sometimes get lost in the mix, but make no mistake, this kid can play.  Wenger also projects as a D-I prospect in our opinion!

Not only was he new to our showcase, but Cameron Walker (SG/2022/Cleveland) is new to the state of Ohio. In fact, prior to moving into the Buckeye state this year, Walker was a resident of Georgia, where his talent garnered him a top 100 national ranking.  Based on his reputation alone, we placed Walker into the 2022 Ohio North vs South all-star game, where his team-high 14 points led to a MVP selection.  Walker’s play in that elite game suggests he deserves a spot near the top of our state rankings.  We plan to get a closer look at Walker as soon as we get a chance. Elmore James IV (PF/2022/South Euclid) continues to get better every time we see him. James is big and strong and represents a problem in the paint.  He rebounds at a high level and can put up big numbers around the basket.  He also handles the ball well for his size which could make him more versitile should fill to grow into his current position. In addition, James' position in a loaded class of 2022 continues to rise, and if he continues to grow, James could be legitimate low post prospect going forward.

We also got our first look at Gabriel Iruh (WF/2022/Cleveland).  Iruh is athletic and explosive, and he rode those physical gifts to a Top 20 All-Star Game appearance. A virtual unknown to most people in the state prior to our showcase, Iruh’s impressive play at the event has his stock on a steep incline!  Andre Simmons (5’4”/PG/2023/Cincinnati) was also new to the event and his team-high 12 points in the Top 20 All-Star Game caught our attention.  On top of making the final game on Sunday, Simmons grabbed a Top 5 Award as well! Expect Simmons to break our Top Player list.

There were several Dayton area kids who made their first trip to our annual event and ended up maximizing their opportunity. That would include Anthony Mosley (SG/2023/Dayton) who led all scorers in the Ohio North vs South game on his way to a MVP nod, then he balled out in the Top 20 all-star game on Sunday, where he grabbed a coveted Top 5 Award. With his outstanding debut at our event, it’s safe to say Mosley deserves a spot among our top 10! Big Sam Walker (PF/2023/Dayton) was part of the Dayton crew who made all that noise.  Walker dominated the boards and used his big body to score in the lost post at will.  As his team’s leading scorer (11 points) in the Top 40 all-star game, Walker took home MVP honors.  We will be adding Walker’s name to our 2023 Top Player list very soon!

Marcus Johnson (PG/2026/Cleveland) only attended the 2nd day of the event, but he put in enough work to not only make the Top 20 all-star game in a combined division of 4th, 5th and 6th graders, he also was selected as a Top 5 Award recipient. As he did at Mike Melton’s event the week before, Johnson, only a 4th grader, dominated against older players. With his body of work over the past several weeks, it’s clear to see why some have him slotted as the #1 player in the class of 2026! There were several other younger players who really burst onto the scene during the event including: Daviawine Crim, Arness Lawson, JR Bates, Jonathon Powell, Dominigue Aekins, SirDonald Milton, Michael Smith, Jeremy Hughes, Christian Dunn, Isiah Tyson, Joseph Boddie, Chalfonte Mills and David Steel Jr..  Crim was not on our radar before the showcase, but his impressive play has vaulted him into our potential top 20 players list.  Jonathan Powell may have been the best young shooter in the event, as he knocked down at least 6 consecutive treys in a showcase game.  JR Bates, a high school coach's son, was very impressive at the event, and although he was plating up a couple of years, He more than competed.  Like many young players before him, Bates is likely to get a lot of attention form the Buckeye Prep Report. Arenas Lawson could be the next great guard coming out of the Capital City.  He's dynamic, highly skilled and already seems to know how to play the game. Dominique Aekins is another PG with a big time future. He's young, but his ball skills and IQ are elite.

Other players who’s basketball stock is on the rise include: Michael Bova (PG/2022/Cleveland), Sonny Johnson Jr. (PG/2022/Garfield Heights), Carmello Harris (2022/Michigan), Joseph Serre (2022), Artrell Saunders (2022), Mekhi Elmore (WF/2022/Dayton), DeMar Foster (PG/2024/Lima), Ken Hilbert (2021), Taevion Rushing (2021), Justin Wypasek (2023), Deshawn Crim (2023), Jyles Brandon (PG/2023/Cleveland), Mason Shrout (WF/2023/Dayton), Josiah Harris (PF/2022/Cleveland), Douglas "Trey" Dennis (WF/2022/Dayton), Kellon Smith (WF/2023/Cleveland), Nate Houston III (SG/2022/Toledo), Desh Molton (PG/2023/Cleveland), Najih Wright (4’10”/PG/2023/Lorain), LA Hayes (SG/2023/Cleveland), Danny Young Jr. (PG/2022/Cleveland), Bedi Lori (WF/2023/Caldwell), Chane Cerone (2023), Cody Head (WF/2023/Cleveland), Marlon Barnes (PF/2023/Cleveland), Mason Docks (PG/2022/Michigan), Keon Henderson (PG/2021/Michigan), Sean Jones (PG/2022/Columbus), Rico Colter (2022),  Robert Lee (2022), Adam Duvall (WF/2022/Centerville), Tyrin Sturdivant (WF/2023/Dayton), Brady Hardewig (SG/2023), Tyron Barnes (PG/2023/Dayton), Tyrell Thompson (2023), Juwan Turner (PG/Columbus), Delmarr Blanton (WF/2024/Dayton), Jayvion Moore (C/2023/Cleveland), Chandler Starks (PF/2023/Cincinnati), Xavier Peterson (2023), Gabe Cupps (SG/2023/Beavercreek), Nick Williams (2023), Jerry Saunders Jr. (PG/2022/Columbus), Julian Roper (WF/2021/Michigan), Keyon Minefield (PG/2021/Michigan), Pierre Brooks II (WF/2021/Michigan), Skyler Schmidt (PF/2021/Cincinnati), Jared Frey (SG/2022/Columbus), AJ Braun (PF/2021/Cincinnati), Dana Holmes Jr. (SG/2021/Michigan) Makiah Merritt (WF/2021), Jakada Stone (SG/2021/Cincinnati), Jaden Hameed (PG/2021/Cleveland), Greg Johnson Jr. (CG/2021/Cincinnati), Ashton Atwater (2022/Michigan), Collin Albert (CG/2021/Clevland), Jerry Easter Jr. (PG/2024/Toledo), John Mobley Jr. (PG/2024/Columbus), Samuel Johnson  and Tae Perie (PG/2021/Akron).

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase Best Attitude

Joey Battista,  Tyron Barnes,  Envel Lighty, Jakada Stone & Carmello Harris
They don’t always get much attention, and they may not be the most talented on their teams, but players who exhibit a positive attitude and are coachable often make the difficult job of coaching much more enjoyable.  In addition, players with positive attitudes tend to be more successful off the court long-term.  Because we appreciate kids who are positive by nature, we want to recognize those players who were perceived as having the “Best Attitudes” on their respective showcase teams.  Below is a complete list of the Best Attitude Award winners at the showcase.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Johnson Receives First D-I Offer

Despite what many people believe, extreme competition for the best talent has led college programs to evaluate players at a much early age. As an example, according to his father, Sonny Johnson Jr., an 8th grade PG from Garfield Heights, OH., received his first division I college basketball scholarship offer from Youngstown State this week. 

Johnson has been a Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase standout since he started attending our events when he was in the 4th grade.  In addition, Johnson has built a substantial national reputation as one o the top points guards in the country in the class of 2022.  Congratulations to Sonny and his family for this significant accomplishment!

Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase Standouts Receive Under Armour Invitation

McMillan, Luster, Littles III, Pryor, Duvall, Elmore IV, Iruh, Young Jr. & Saunders

When year three of Under Armour’s UA Next Combine Series tips off next year, 15 standouts from the recent Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase will be attending.  As a scout for Under Armour’s new youth basketball initiative, we have the ability to select 15 players from our event to receive invitations for next year’s Midwest U.A. Next Combine. 

The criteria for our selection included: final all-star game appearance; all-star game performance; the player’s potential to compete at the combine; and D-I college potential.  As an example, all of the 2022 Top 5 Award winners made the list, as did many of the Top 20 All-Star Game participants.  We also looked at size, athleticism and skill level.  To be clear, there were other players at the event that could and will eventually be invited at a later date.

The UA Next Combine seeks to attract the top 40 eighth graders (2022) in each of 5 regions.  From those 5 regional combines, 24 players will be selected to participate in in the UA Next Experience rising freshman game in August.  Last year’s Midwest event was held in Chicago.

Participation in these events allows for players to experience elite competition and a high level of national exposure.  Although only 15 players from this past event will receive automatic invitations, we will be selecting additional players from our 2018 spring showcase and tournament events.  Congratulations to all of the players who have received invitations!  Below is a list of the invitees.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase Mr. Hustles

Sellers Littles III, Mason Shrout, Cyrus Burden, Bedi Lori & SirDonald Milton
They may or may not have been one of the top players on their respective teams, but every team needs hustle guys who will give everything they have to win the game.  At the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase we try to recognize all phases of the game as well as those players who standout in areas other than scoring or making highlight plays.  Below is a list of players selected as “Mr. Hustle” for their showcase teams.  These guys deserve recognition!

Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase Most Skilled

Sean Jones, LA Hayes, Artrell Saunders, Dominique Aekins & Joe Broddie
Everybody gets excited about big, explosive athletes who typically play above the rim.  However, skilled athletes are often key in winning games.  While size and athleticism are often God-given traits, skill requires many hours of gym work and trainers.  Below is our list of the most skilled players at the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase as seen by their showcase coaches.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase Top Defenders

Arness Lawsan, Jalen Wenger, Jayvion Moore, Tryin Sturdivamt @ Dear Foster
It’s rarely difficult to convince a basketball player to score the ball; however, getting a kid to play defense, particularly at an event like the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase, it can be extremely difficult.  With that said, this past weekend we saw a number of players who were more than willing to sit down and defend their opponents. Although we often celebrate offensive success, the list below highlights the players who were selected as their team’s "Top Defender."  At the end of the day, defense often wins championships!

Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase Top Prospects

Gabriel Iruh, Marlon Barnes, Andre Simmons, Shane Cercone & Jonathan Powell
It’s one thing to play well in an elite showcase, camp or tournament and make an all-star team, but it can be quite another thing to be seen as the “Top Prospect” on your team.  A standout performance at any event does not necessarily brand a player as a good college and/or professional prospect.  In fact, the best player on any given day may not represent the best long-term prospect.  Some kids will stop growing and/or developing andElite  some will become disinterested or choose another sport.  Although there were a number of standout performances at the recent Buckeye Prep Showcase, not every player was labeled as his team’s top prospect.  Below is a list of players who were seen by their camp coaches as the top prospect on their team.  Simply put, the kids making this list may have the most long-term potential and a good chance to play basketball at the next level.  Finally, only one player per team was chosen.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase Player Rankings

Enavel Lighty, Raymar Pryor, Trey Dennis, Anthony Mosley & Daviawine Crim
Below is a link for the player rankings from the Fall Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase.  In terms of the criteria, players must have competed on both days of the event and participated in the final all-star games if selected.  In addition, primary consideration was given for Top 5 Award winners, all-star game selection and performance, and how players were ranked on their respective teams.  As an example, Top 5 Award winners will be ranked in the top 5; Top 20 all-star participants will make the top 20 in most cases.