Sunday, December 31, 2017

Cottingham has the Right Stuff

Mahogany Cottingham
As we prepare to add girls to the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase for the first time in March and begin our coverage of girls basketball in the state and region, we profile Mahogany Cottingham (5’8”/PG/2023/Parma).  We are very familiar with the Cottingham name, as Makail Cottingham, one of the top guards in the state in the class of 2022, has been one of our top players for several years.  Apparently, sister Mahogany is also a star in the making.

This past middle school season, Cottingham led her Shiloh Middle School team to an undefeated season and played with both the 7th and 8th grade teams. When she was in the 6th grade, Cottingham played 7th grade AAU for Lady James and dominated 7th grade ball this past spring.  In addition, while playing for Reality Sports last season, Cottingham was selected to the USJN All-Star team.  From what we understand, Cottingham is one of the top younr players in the Cleveland area.  We look forward to catching Cottingham in action at our elite showcase in March!

Jones has Gahanna Undefeated So Far

Sean Jones PG 2022 Gahanna
Word has it that Sean Jones (5’6”/PG/2022/Gahanna) has been putting together and phenomenal season so far for Gahanna Middle School South.  In fact, we caught Jones in action on Saturday as his 8-0 Lions faced off against New Albany. Needless to say, Jones took over the game and lead his team to a 51-37 victory on the strength of a season-high 33 points.  Jones made it look easy as he scored from beyond the ark, at the rim and in transition.  From what we saw, Jones is extremely skilled, handles and passes well and impacts the game in every facet. There’s no doubt he can score the rock, but Jones is also a big time defender and is one of his team’s leading rebounders.

We spoke to Brad Marzetz, Jones’ middle school coach and quickly determined that he “loves Sean Jones.” “Sean is the best player I’ve ever coached,” said Marzetz.  According to Marzetz, Jones is averaging 26 points, 5 rebounds and 4.5 steals per game.  In addition, Jones is shooting 53% from beyond the ark and 58% from the field.  In terms of Jones’ future potential, “Sean will be a varsity player as a freshman,” continued Marzetz. Coach Martzete also compares Jones to Stevie Taylor, Gahanna Lincoln’s all time leading scorer.  “I told Sean he has a chance to pass Stevie Taylor's scoring record if he wants to.”  Finally, Marzetz projects Jones as a D-I college player.

Jones has been on our radar for several years now based on his standout performances and MVP caliber play at our Buckeye Prep Elite Showcases.  In fact, most recently, we selected Jones to participate in the prestigious Ohio North vs South All-Star Game. In addition, we have Jones currently ranked among the top 20 players in the state and we selected him as Fourth Team All-State last season.

In terms of the state’s top floor generals, Jones is among the best.  We haven’t seen as much of Jones on the summer tournament circuit the last couple of years, so in all likelihood, we have him under represented in our rankings; however, he’s caught our eye at couple of elite camps and showcases recently where we’ve seen him putting in work.  From what we’ve seen of Jones over the years, he has all the skill necessary play college basketball, but as is the case with smaller guards, his continued growth will ultimately determine his level of play.  We look forward to following Jones’ growth and development over the next couple of years.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Blue Chips Take Holiday Tourney

2024 North Coast Blue Chips-Gym Rats Holiday Basketball Festival Champions
Two weekends ago, Coach Paul Soroka's 2024 North Coast Blue Chips squad finished 5-0 on their way to the championship of the 2017 Gym Rats Holiday Basketball Festival at Spiece Fieldhouse in Fort Wayne, IN.  Their trek to the championship was totally unimpeded as they mowed down their opponents by 20+ point margins the entire event.  The Blue Chips’ path to the title went through Club1-Coffman (71-33), Quest (61-18), Hoosier Select (67-25), Team Focus (55-26) and Quest (49-20). 

It’s not surprising to us that the Blue Chips ran through the competition, as their roster is loaded with talent including the top 3 players in Ohio’s class of 2024. With guys like Jonas Nichols, Jerry Easter Jr and John Mobley Jr., all of whom have big time national reputations, this team is tough to beat!  Both Easter and Mobley have been perianal all-stars at our Buckeye Prep Elite Showcases for several years and are near locks to play in the prestigious Ohio North vs South All-Star game in September of 2018.

Monday, December 18, 2017

DV45 Claims First Championship

2022 DV45 Gymrats Holiday Festival Champions
We all know them as the 2022 Lansing Prospectors, but based on their standout performances at major events last season like the Nike Made Hoops tournament, Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase and Summer Showdown, Coach Ted Docks’ squad has been rewarded with sponsorship. Denzel Valentine, a former standout with Michigan State, will sponsor Docks’ team for the 2018 season, which will run as “DV45,” a combination of Valentine’s initials and his current uniform number. Docks’ DV45 squad will be Nike sponsored and the only program sponsored by Valentine.  Depending on the team’s success, Valentine may use the team as a model for additional team sponsorship.

DV45 took their show on the road for the first time last weekend and competed in the Gymrats Holiday Festival at Spiece Fieldhouse in Fort Wayne, IN.  For the weekend, DV45 finished 5-0 on their way to the championship.  Their path to the title went through Antelope (65-15), Gymrats Ramer (62-40), Hoosier Premier Red (58-37), Gymrats LaGrange (60-19) and Indy Heat Black (57-42).

In the championship game, Mason Docks led the team with 17 points; Mike Williams added 11 points and 15 rebounds followed by Jacob Wallace with 10 points.  In addition, Ashton Atwater finished with 9 points and played with an intensity all weekend that was unmatched while adding critical baskets down the stretch.  Also, Alex Watters assisted with strong performances and guard play all weekend.  Juwan Maxey was huge leading up to the championship game with strong play in the semi-final game along with Max Burton and Carson Sanders. 

New comers to the team in 6’5” Ben Canty Jr. and 6’3” Tommy McIntosh were great additions to the squad and gave quality minutes throughout the weekend to help secure the team’s first championship.  Congratulations to coach Docks and his team for their early season success. Also, we look forward to catching DV45 in action at the April 13-15th Buckeye Prep Invitational Tournament.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase Welcomes Girls

For the first time in Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase history, when our March 10th event tips off in a few months, it will include girls! Based on our need to select 8th grade girls for a national shoe company sponsored event this summer, we need to identify elite level girls to invite this exclusive event.  Please help us pass the word to all of the top female players in the region so they have an opportunity to participate.  Also, look for additional information in January.  Also, we are looking for partners to help us idnetfy and recruit girls for this event.  Call us at 614-203-2929 if yu can help our efforts. We’re very excited to included girls at our event!

Shaker Heights Poised for Playoff Run

Danny Young Jr. 5'10 CG 2022 Shaker Heights
Sitting at 12-2 in Greater Cleveland Conference (GCC) play, Coach Kevin Foster’s Shaker Heights Middle School Raiders are well positioned to make a deep run in the playoffs and to capture back-to- back GCC championships.  Although the Raiders’ 2 losses came at the hands of both Euclid middle school teams, Coach Foster is confident his team can get it done this year.  “It’s not 100%, but I would say it’s 90% that we will win it all,” said Foster.

Having lost both of their big men from last season, Shaker Heights is riding the outstanding guard play of Danny Young Jr. (5’10/CG/2022) and Jalen Brown (5’6/PG/2022).  Young is averaging an impressive 28 points, 5 assists, 5 steals and 8 rebounds per game.  The Raiders are 38-2 over two seasons, were undefeated last year and are favorites to win the GCC when the tournament tips off the week of January 9th.  In addition, Shaker Height's 7th grade team is a perfect 14-0 in league play and is also favored to make a deep post season run.  Good luck to Coach Foster and Coach Jeremy Hill and the Raiders in their upcoming playoffs!