Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Best of the Midwest Class of 2022

Chris Livingston, Emoni Bates, Reggie Bass, Paul McMillan IV, Sincere Harris & Javaughn Hannah
A good friend asked us to compile a list of the top 8th graders (2022) in the Midwest for a national list he was putting together.  Having seen guys like Chris Livingston, Emoni Bates, Reggie Bass, Paul McMillan IV and a number of other elite 8th graders on several occasions we felt pretty good about our ability to putt together a list that was credible. Since we took the time to compile the list we thought we would share it with our readers.  Below is a list of the top 15 players in the Midwest based on what we’ve seen over the past couple of years.  Please note that the names are listed in alphabetical order.  Let the debate begin!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Crim Brothers Burst onto the Statewide Scene

Daviawne Crim 2024 PG Cincinnati & Deshawne Crim 2023 WF Cincinnati
Part of the mission of the Buckeye Prep Report and our elite showcases and tournaments is to discover and feature young up and coming basketball players.  This past September at our elite showcase, Daviawne Crim (5’0/CG/2024/Fairfield Township) and Deshawne Crim (5’11/CG/2023/Fairfield Township)  attended their first Buckeye Prep Showcase as virtual unknowns, but by the time they headed back to Cincinnati the Crim brothers he had established themselves as one of the top 5th and 7th graders in Ohio.

What caught the eye of our evaluators was the younger Crim’s ability to handle and to score the rock.  Not only did Crim play his way into the 2024 all-star game, he lit up his opponents and was his team's second leading scorer (13 points) on his way to Top 5 Award honors. Crim is aggressive to the cup, a proficient 3-point shooter, and is a great on-ball defender. As part of a local Cincy Fire team coached by his father, Cornell, Crim flew under the radar most of last season.  We certainly had not heard of him prior to his standout performance in September.

According to Durand Barnes, who has coached both Crim brothers on multiple occasions, the younger Crim has a big upside. “For a guard, he [Daviawne Crim] has exceptional speed and quickness. He also can play both guard positions and has a high basketball IQ,” said Barnes.  Barnes attributes Crim’s IQ to the fact he plays up on 6th and 7th grade teams throughout the year. 
In Barnes’ opinion, Crim needs to improve in one area. “Once Daviawne learns to focus and to control his emotions on the court his potential is unlimited,” continued Barnes. 

It should also be noted that Crim’s older brother, Deshawne Crim, is an outstanding player by his own rights. The elder Crim is a 7th grader who played with both Cincy Fire and the Miller Factory last season.  Like his younger brother, Deshawn attended the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase for the first time in September and excelled!  In fact, the elder Crim played his way into the Top 20 all-star game as well.  According to Coach Barnes, Deshawne has great ball skills, can play and defend multiple positions and is known for attacking the cup. “I think he’s top 10 player in the state,” proclaimed Barnes.  Needless to say, we expect to keep an eye out for both of the Crim brothers going forward.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Pryor has Emerged as Elite

Rammer Pryor 61 WF 2022 Canton, OH
With a little over 2 years of competitive basketball experience under his belt, Raymar Pryor (6’1/WF/2022/Canton, OH) is still a bit of an unknown in the state of Ohio, let alone nationally.  However, over the course of the 2017 travel season, the super athletic Pryor has emerged as one of the top players in Ohio in the class of 2022.  Pryor only started playing basketball in the 6th grade on a rec team, and due to an ankle injury, he was forced to miss his entire 7th grade middle school basketball season. Playing with Ed Heben’s TNBA Shooting Stars the last 2 seasons, Pryor’s game has improved significantly. "He bought into what we were telling him and now he's a really good player," said Heban. 

In addition to his quickness and explosiveness, Pryor’s developing skill set has boosted his stock, and he’s now clearly a D-1 prospect.  Pryor does most of his damage on the wing slashing to the basket, but he has recently developed his ball skills and 3-point accuracy.  Consequently, Pryor is more versatile and can now slide over and play both guard positions.  In addition, Pryor was almost unstoppable in transition this past season. According to Ed Heben, Pryor’s AAU coach, Pryor has a chance to play the point at the next level with continued development.

We’ve seen Pryor play several times the past 2 seasons and each time we’ve seen him he’s gotten better. Moreover, his dominance at our recent Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase, followed by a MVP performance at the Nike City Series last week, finally convinced us that we needed to feature Pryor and alert our colleagues that Pryor deserves more national recognition.  To the college coachers who regularly follow this website, we suggest you start tracking Pryor early and get him on your recruiting boards.  He’s going to be a good one!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Northeast Ohio Dominates Nike City Series

Northeast Ohio-2023 City Series Champions
The boys from northeast Ohio drove south down Interstate 71 with a mission to win the 2017 City Series. Over the course of this past weekend Northeast Ohio played team basketball and displayed very good defense. The team went 7-0, defeating the following teams: Cincinnati (57-19); Toledo (51-16); Dayton (48-23); Akron (64-14); Columbus (36-35); Akron (43-19) (20 minutes running clock); and Columbus (21-19) (20 minutes running clock).

The roster consisted of veterans: LA Hayes, Jayvion Moore, and Kellon Smith. First time Battle of the Cities players included: Justin Wypasek, Lamar Sperling, Xavier Peterson, Hunter Smith, Collin Dixon, Brandon Rose, and Darius Stratford. Justin Wypasek, Brandon Rose and Darius Stratford earned team MVP Honors, while Justin Wypasek, Collin Dixon, and Kellon Smith earned All Tournament Team Honors. Darius Stratford was All-Tournament MVP! The big fella stands 6'4" tall and he is getting better. Watch out for these names in the future. Many of them are headed for big things. Congratulations to all the boys on their hard work and excellent play this weekend.

Raymar Pryor & Cameron Walker
In addition to Northeast Ohio's 2023 team, Ed Heban's 2022 team took home the championship as well, with a win over Columbus in the final game.  In the semi-finals, Heban's squad got by Akron 53-41. Standouts for the 2022 team included Raymar Pryor, who was named MVP, and Markim McKinnie, Desmond Copeland and Cameron Walker who were named to the All-Tournament Team. Congratulations to both teams.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Nike City Series-Cincinnati Players

This past weekend various cities around the state held tryouts for the upcoming Nike City Series which is set to tip off in Columbus this weekend.  Toledo, Columbus, Cleveland, Akron, Dayton and Columbus will all field teams to participate in this annual event.  According to Paul McMillan, the organizer of the Cincinnati event, several of the younger age groups should be competitive this weekend. "I think the younger kids should be pretty competitive. I like the 5th grade group, and the 8th graders should be pretty good," said McMillan. McMillan also had some very nice things to say about James Burnett (PG/2025/Cincinnati), who he describes as "special." From what we hear about Burnett, he has the ball on a string, changes speed and direction like an older kid and can hit the trey consistently.  In fact, according to McMillan, some are comparing Burnett's game with his son's. "They calling him Baby Paul," McMillan said.  Burnett will be running with Carlos Davis' R4L squad this coming travel season. We certainly intend to keep an eye on this young man! Below are a list of players who made the Cincinnati rosters.

3rd Grade-Kameron Mercer, Braeden Myrick, Braylon Settelmayer, Brady Bowman, Gavin (LNU), Le'Shawn Hill, Kaden Baldwin, Joshua Tyson, Maximus Hays.

4th Grade-Jaylen Mercer, Brycen Johnson, Dylan Muchmore, Jordan Johnson, Avery Jordan, Grady Barber, Anthony Thompson, Duane Grigsby Jr., Austin Paige & Antonio White II.

5th Grade-Andy Johnson, Tyler Owens, Trey Perry, Roman Mason, Brayden Robinette, Michael Maldonado, Nathaniel Riep, James Burnett & Jordan Ruben (Davis Steel made it but is Hurt).

6th Grade-Gunner Mills, Tyler McKinley, JR Hays, Roman Mason, Deon Coulter, Isaiah Tyson, Michael Johnson, Jallen Morris, Tre Slater, Jerome White & Jeremiah Hughes. 

7th Grade-Craig Mercer, Jacob Bock, Thomas Williams, Christopher Walker, Alex Harris, Damarion Hughes, Jaylen Jenkins, Taylor Bacon, Mekhi Jewel, Ray Coney, Malakai Jones & Chalfontea Mims.

8th Grade-Joshua Kirby, Robbie Cass, Lebraun Berry, Bowen Hardman, Danny Trice, Andre Simmons, Gregory Kemp, Justin Williams, Jourden Hale & Preston Baggett.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Lawson Could be Another Star

Arness Lawson 2025 PG Columbus
The Buckeye Prep Report has a long and rich history of profiling young up and coming basketball players, and we believe Arness Lawson (5’2/PG/2025/Columbus) has a chance to be a star.  All ready blessed with quickness and an advanced skill set for his age, Lawson has a chance to be elite!  From what we’ve seen so far, Lawson is super aggressive, and although he can get his own shot, he’s most comfortable as a playmaker and getting his teammates shot opportunities.

We first caught a glimpse of him late this summer ballin with Coach Jason Bates’ All-Ohio Red squad, and we could not have been more impressed with the young floor general. Although he’s surrounded with a load of talent, including Jason Bates Jr. (4’8/PG/Pickerington), Jahmeel Wakeel (5’2/SG/Columbus) and Mikell Murphy (5’5/PF/Columbus), Lawson sticks out from the pack. When he excelled out our elite Showcase last month, where he made the all-star game then proceed to grab Top 5 honors, our initial thoughts about his talent were confirmed.  Right now, and it’s still very early, we have Lawson ranked among the top 10 in Ohio’s class of 2025.  That’s not all, as we found Lawson’s name on a respected national list as well.

Based on our conversation with Coach Jason Bates, it’s clear he loves Lawson’s contribution to his team.  “He’s explosive, is a do it all type of player and can score with the best of them,” said Bates. “Arness’ IQ is sky high and he really makes his teammates better,” continued Bates. Bates is also really impressed with Lawson’s defense.  “He’s a one-man press; we put him out front on our press and on the other team’s best player,” Bates said. “He’s also humble and affects every aspect of the game,” offered Bates.

The fact Lawson often plays up a grade with All-Ohio Black’s 2024 team would explain the mature feel to his game.  This winter, you can catch Lawson in action either in the COBBA League (Central Ohio Boys Basketball) with Probound or at the very competitive Barnett Recreation Center.  In addition to basketball, Lawson also runs track and plays flag football.  As we have done for over 18 years, we will track Lawson’s career over the next several years, and we fully expect to continue feature his progress and development.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Buckeye Prep 2017 All-Ohio Teams

Seth Wilson, Meechie Johnson, Chris Livingston, Paul McMillan IV, Marlon Barnes Jr. Jerry Easter Jr. & John Mobley Jr.
For only the second time, we have selected 50 players in each of 4 classes (2024-2021) for placement onto 1 of 10 “Buckeye Prep All-Ohio Teams.” Selection to these teams was very competitive and should be considered an honor. Our selection criteria basically included how players performed in elite events that we were present.  If there was any question between 2 players, we went with what we saw with our own eyes.  Simply put, the more we saw a player the greater chance they had of making one of our teams.

We did not select “Player of the Year” (POY) this season because, quite frankly, it was too close to call for a couple of the classes, and there were some players we simply did not see play enough in relation to the other potential POYs.  As is always the case, our primary goal for compiling these lists is to give these young players recognition for their hard work and success, and to serve as further motivation for them to work hard and to continue to develop. In addition, the motivation should work both ways.  If a player was not listed on any of the teams, or was listed on a team lower that they believe they deserve, then they should get back in the gym and continue to work and develop.

It should go without saying that we never intend to slight/disrespect any player, but inevitably, we know that we will miss some players who we did not get a chance to see very often, if at all.  If you are a player, parent or coach who cares about this type of early recognition, then we would suggest that you take advantage of the exposure opportunities that attendance at elite tournaments; camps and showcases have to offer.  If your son/player isn’t attending these types of events and consistently excelling, then you really can’t expect much exposure or recognition.  Finally, there may be a slight change or two to the lists short term as we get feedback an address obvious mistakes and/or omissions. As always, feedback, both positive or negative is appreciated (taylorobe@aol.com). Below is a list of the 2017 Buckeye Prep All-Ohio Teams.  Let the debates begin!