Thursday, March 22, 2018

VanSlooten Continues to Shine

Grace VanSlooten 6'0"WF Ottawa Hill, Ohio
We recently saw her for the first time at the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase 2 weeks ago as she logged in a MVP performance.  This past weekend, Grace VanSlooten (6’0”/WF/2022/Ottowa Hills) continued her elite level play as she took home MVP honors at Eddie Norrills’ B.E.E.S. Spotlight 8th Grade All-Star event in Toledo.

Here’s what we said about VanSlooten in our post-event report: “Talk about long-term prospects, add Grace VanSlooten’s name to the list.  At 6’0” and fluid, Vanslooten’s skill set and length scream potential! According to her showcase coach, VansSlooten, “… can do it all, has a great motor and is a shot blocker with a great basketball IQ.”  From what we’ve seen, there is little doubt Vanslooten will matriculate to the final all-star game at the end of the day.  VanSlooten is a great looking prospect.” We intend to continue to follow VanSlooten progress over the next couple of months.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Ohio Phenom Poised for #1 Spot

5th Grade All-Ohio Phenom
With their Platinum Bracket win at the Magic City Showcase last week, Darryl Peterson’s 2025 All-Ohio Phenom squad is poised to ascend to the #1 spot in the Midwest Top 10 Class of 2025 rankings. On their trek to the championship, All-Ohio Phenom knocked off some of the top teams in the country including, DCA, North Coast Blue Chips, Baltimore’s Team Thrill, Grind Academy and the Georgia Stars. Phenom was led in scoring by Daren Peterson, who dropped a game-high 25 points and Russell Young who added 17 points and 9 assists.

Not to be out done, Peterson’s 8th grade team recently won the Gold Bracket of the Midwest Hoopfest after a 60-39 rematch over top 10 ranked SMAC Premier.  Although Peterson’s program is only a few years old, his teams have enjoyed a great deal of early success.  You can catch both teams in action at the Buckeye Prep Invitational Tournament April 13th-15th.  Congratulations to Peterson, his coaches, players and parents for their early season success!

While we’re handing out congratulations, we have to give a big shout out to Malcolm Walters’ 6th grade Marshal Warriors team who already has 1 tournament championship and a runner-up finish so far in the 2018 AAU season.  The Warriors will also be attending the Buckeye Prep Invitational next month.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Hill Leads Princeton to Championship

This past week, Lasonja Hill (5'3"/PG/2023/Cincinnati) led her 7th grade Princeton Middle School team to a perfect 19-0 overall record and a GMC League championship. We’re are well aware of Hill’s talent, as she recently participated in the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase, where she played in the prestigious 2023 Ohio North vs South all-star game, then proceeded to play her way into the final all-star game at the end of the event.  Finally, have ranked among the best 7th graders in the state in our 2023 Player Watch List.  Congratulations to Coach Brian Miller and the Princeton Tigers on a fantastic season!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Buckeye Prep Invitational Filling up Fast

In a little over 3 weeks, the Buckeye Prep Invitational Tournament is set to tip off at Otterbein University and several other venues around Central Ohio.   As has been the case for about 19 years, the competition will be fierce and the exposure opportunities will be second to none!  Registration is a requirement to attend this event and must be completed prior to the deadline.  Like last year, there will be a 3-game guarantee, with all teams advancing to bracket play.   The cost is $395 with discounted rates given for multiple teams.  Below are links to the event Information Page as well as a registration link.  If you plan to send your team(s) to the event, you should register ASAP, but no later than April 6th.  You don’t want to get closed out of this event!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase #1 ranked Players

Tayshun Mayfield, Evan Unrah, Mason Docks, Kamorea Arnold, Mari Bickley & Margo Abrams
As part of the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase, each player is evaluated and ranked by their showcase coaches.  These ranking are used to select players for the post event all-star games.  Below is a list of players who were ranked as the #1 ranked player on their respective showcase team.  Because each team (21) was absolutely loaded with talent, being ranked #1 is really something special.

7th/8th Grade Boys: Chris Livingston, Ashton Atwater, Alex Watters, Evan Unrah, Elmore James IV, Tayshun Mayfield, Mason Docks & Reico Colter.

7th/8th Grade Girls: Kamorea Arnold, Zyaria Miller, Jada Ward, K.K. Bransford, Grace Vanslooten, Amaya Asher, Margo Abrams and Mari Bickley.

5th/6th Grade Girls: Darriana Alexander, Anna Rodgers, Taryn Morris, Kamryn Grant, Kendall Braden and Gwen Jenkins.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Kentucky Represents at Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase

Anna Rodgers, Taryn Morris, Audrey Potempa, Amaya Asher & Lacey Bradshaw
The Commonwealth of Kentucky has always had a reputation as a “Basketball State,” and from what we saw last Saturday at the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase, the reputation is well deserved and includes the girl’s side of the game.  Thanks to James Schuler and his Go Hard in the Paint organization, the showcase was able to host very competitive Ohio vs Kentucky all-star games to tip off the event.

Although Team Ohio’s 2022 squad would get the opening series win, Team Kentucky’s 2024 team would avenge the loss with a thrilling come from behind 39-38 win. The star of the game for Kentucky was Anna Rodgers (5’7”/SG/2024/Louisville, KY) who scored a game-high 10 points. According to her showcase coach, Rodgers has a high basketball IQ, is very aggressive and is an excellent defender.  For her efforts, Rodgers was selected as her team’s “Top Prospect.”

Other standouts for Kentucky included Taryn Morris (5’7”/PF/2024/Louisville, KY), who caught our eye with her combination of size and skill.  The lefty was big enough to dominate the boards, but skilled enough to push the ball in transition and finish at a high rate.  Morris also has the ability to knock down the 3-ball, and she has a great personality!  We also really liked the toughness of Audrey Potempa (5’2”/PG/2024/Louisville, KY).  Potempa also showed good court vision and the ability to find open teammates, and was very active both defensively and offensively. 

Jada Hughes (5’5”/SG/2024/KY) also showed good court vision and ball skills. Amaya Asher (5’6”/PG/2022/KY) was ranked as the #1 player on her showcase team and was selected as one of the team’s “Most Skilled” players. She has a high basketball IQ, and can either shoot it or drive to the bucket.  Lacey Bradshaw (5’8”/PG/2022/Kentucky) also had a great day and was ranked second by her showcase coach. She was also selected as her team’s “Ms. Hustle.” Bradshaw attacks the basket, is intense and is a great defender.  Hopefully at our September showcase we can get more of Kentucky’s top girls!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase All-Stars

7th/8th Grade Top 5 Award Winners
Once again, the talent level at the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase was significant, and for the first time ever, the storied event hosted the top middle school girls in both Ohio and Kentucky. Making an all-star game in any event is special, but if you make an all-star team at a Buckeye Prep event you've done something special!  Below is a link to a lists of all-star players who did just that. Even more special is making a coveted Top 5 Award, signifying they're the best of the best.

Any discussion of the best of the best has to include Chris Livingston, who came down to Columbus and blew it up!  As we pointed out earlier, there was nothing Livingston could not do. We also got our first real look at Cordell Livingston, Chris' brother, who also has game, and used it to secure a Top 5 Award.  Speaking of little brothers, we've written about 2020's Chris Mayfield on numerous occasion, but we now know Tayshun Mayfield, Chris' younger brother, is a baller as well. Michigan was in the house as well, and Alex Watters and Ashton Atwater both represented the state very well with their Top 5 Award selections.  We had some young guys running with the big boys and more than competing. Jabari Childs, Deondre Tillery, Mason King and Demarr Foster all made some noise on their way to MVP honors.

7th/8th Grade Top 5 Award Winners
On the girls side, K.K. Bransford was the best girl in the gym, but of course we expected that.  A big time player with a big time future! Grace Vanslooten announced herself to the world and she has high major college ball written all over her! Raevon Ray-Redmond, Bella Wars and Imarianah Russell all played their way into the all-star game, then proceed to play their way into a Top 5 Award selection.  In the 6th grade division, Taryn Morris, Berry Wallace, Kamryn Grant, Riley Bess (5th grader) and Jaden Tucker not only got the all-star game nod, they received Top 5 Award honers as well.    

5th/6th Grade Top 5 Award Winner
Obviously, every player who made an all-star team were "standouts," but there were also some other players who deserve special mentioned based on their body of work throughout the day. Below is a list of standout performers that caught our eye on Saturday:

Standout Performers: Chris Livingston, Evan Unruh, Cordell Livingston, Sam Walker, Jalil Schenck, Jahari Childs, Jamell Smith II, Cecil Benton Jr., Juwan Maxey, Tayshun Mayfield, Tyler Csintyan, Alex Watters, Quintell Wilson, Max Burton, Denarius Crowder, K.K. Bransford, Grace Vanslooten, Amaya Asher, Darriana Alexander, Becca Sanders, Taryn Morris, Paris Gilmore, Rayanna Howell, Jada Ward, Leah Riley, Addison Freeman, Audrey Potempa, Margo Mattes, Madison French, Anna Rodgers, Whitnel Lind, Shelby Humphrey, Kendall Braden, Heilei Henderson, Alley Haas, Raevon Raye-Redmond, Kamorea Arnold, Zaria Miller, Lasonja Hill, Bella Wars, Kylee Booker, Sole' Williams, Paige Kohler, Lacey Bradshaw, Sydney Orians, Autumn Taylor, Mari Bickley, Imatianah Russell, Jacob Wallave, Anthony Mosley, Jacob Denny, Tommy Macintosh, Lason Walker, Mason Docks, Reico Colter and Michael Williams II.

Photo Gallery
Showcase All-Stars & Top 5 Award Winners

Annual All-Star Saturday Event Returns

For over 20 years, Richard Crockett and his Capital Transportation company has been sponsoring All-Star Saturday, a columbus-based Easter Egg Hunt and basketball Festival.  This event has continued to grow over the past 2 decades and has become a highly anticipated staple in the Columbus, OH community.  Once again, the Buckeye Prep Report has been asked to select the rosters for the boy's high school and middle school games.  We are currently selecting players for these 2 games.  Although the rosters for the games have traditionally been developed locally, we have previously drawn players from around the state. There are no costs for participation in the all-star games, and each player will receive a trophy and free food and drinks.  "City" from the local Power 106 Radio Station will be spinning records throughout the event.  Not only will the competition and exposure will be significant, the games will be fun! If you have been selected as a Buckeye Prep all-star at previous events, you will get the first crack at this fantastic opportunity.  After that, we will attempt to find the best players we can for this exclusive event. If you are interested in playing in these games, email us at ASAP!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase-Early Standouts

Chris Livingston, K.K.Bransford, Grace Vanslooten, Shelby Humphrey & Taryn Morris
We’re only halfway through the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase and there are already several players who are demanding attention.  No one has played any better than Chris Livingston (6’5/WF/202/Akron), who has the gym buzzing with his elite athleticism and above the rim theatrics. Livingston is doing anything he wants and solidifying his high-major potential!  His ability to handle the rock and finish at the rim is next level and exciting to watch.  Just as dominate on the girl’s side is K.K. Bransford (5’10”/PG/2022/Cincinnati), who already has an all-star game MVP under her belt.  Bransford has good size, athleticism and is a scoring machine.  She’s just playing at a different level than the other girls.  I see high-major potential in Bransford!

Talk about long-term prospects, add Grace Vanslooten’s name to the list.  At 6’0” and fluid, Vanslooten’s skill set and length scream potential! According to her showcase coach, Vanslooten, “… can do it all, has a great motor and is a shot blocker with a great basketball IQ.”  From what we’ve seen, there is little doubt Vanslooten will matriculate to the final all-star game at the end of the day.  Vanslooten is a great looking prospect. We also really liked Taryn Morris (5’6”/SG/2024/Louisville, KY), the sharp shooting lefty uses her size and strength to power her way to the cup. She rebounds well and her handle allows her to push the rock in transition. Oh yea, she appears to have a great personality!

We’ve seen Shelby Humphrey (5’10”/PF/2023/Cincinnati) compete against boys and more than hold her own.  Against girls, she’s a force! She’s more than just an adept post player, she can also step outside and do damage.  In the earlier all-star game, Humphrey proved she had 3-point range. She should make the final all-star game tonight.  Alex Watters (5’11”/SG/2022/East Lansing, MI) is playing well today and displaying deceptive athleticism and a high basketball IQ.  Word has it that Jalil Schenck and Evan Unruh are getting it done as well.  Unruh has displayed an ability to score at all three levels and plays with a great motor. Other early standouts include Becca Sanders, Darriana Alexander, Cecil Benton Jr., Jada Ward, Leah Riley, Rayanna Howell, Paris Gilmore, Audrey Potempa, Madison French, Juwan Maxey. Look for our full post event report coming within the next couple of days.

Team Kentucky ties Series with win over Ohio All-Stars at Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase

2024 Ohio vs Kentucky All-Star Game MVPs Anna Rodgers & Kendall Braden
Team Kentucky over came an early deficit to get a 39-38 win for Ohio at the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase, evening up the intra-state series at 1-1.  Ohio had a chance to win it, but a last second heave fell short.  Anna Rodgers (5'8"/SF.2024/Louisville, KY) led Kentucky with 10 points, while Kendall Braden (5'2"/PG/2024/Toledo) scored 8 points for Ohio.  Right behind Rodgers in scoring for Kentucky were Taryn Morris (5'6'SG/2024/Louisville, KY) (9 points) and Audry Potempa (5'2"/SG/2024/Louisville) (6 points). Rayanna Howell (5'3"/PG/2024/Columbus) was the second leading scorer with 8 points.  Now the the slate of all-star games are i the books, the showcase pages of the event will kick odds at 1:00pm.  Can't wait!

Team Ohio Claims win over Kentucky All-Stars at Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase

2022 Ohio vs Kentucky All-Star MVPs Triniti Ralston & KK Bransford
Ohio may be considered more of a “Football State” compared to Kentucky, but the 2022 Ohio All-Stars represented the Buckeye State with a 47-45 win over the Bluegrass State in the Ohio vs Kentucky All-Star Game.  All-World KK Bransford paced Ohio with a game-high 17 points, while Triniti Ralston matched her for Team Kentucky with 17 points of her own. Grace Vanslooten added another 12 points for Ohio, while Lacey Bradshaw finished with 9 points for Kentucky.  Next on the slate is the 2024 Ohio vs Kentucky game.

Ohio North Notches win at Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase

2023 North vs South MVPs Margo Mattes & Shelby Humphrey
The second slate of all-star games at 2018 Spring Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase pitted the 2023 North All-Stars against the South All-Stars.  This time around the North got on the series board with a 36-27 victory.  Gane MVPs included Margo Mattes (5’9”/SG/2023/Cincinnati), who finished with a team-high 7 points and Shelby Humphrey (5’10”/C/2023/Cincinnati), who went for a game-high 10 points.  Mahogany Cunningham (5’7”/PG/2023/Parma) poured in 6 points for the North and Keisha Francisco had 6 points for the South.  So far, the North vs South Series is tied at 1-1.  Next up is the Ohio  vs Kentucky all-star game.

Ohio South Downs Ohio North at Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase

MVPs Becca Sanders & Berry Wallace
The 2018 Spring Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase tipped off today at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio with the 2024 Ohio North vs South All-Star Game.  The game featured many of the top 6th graders Ohio has to offer and proved to be very competitive. One MVP were selected from each team and they went to Berry Wallace (5’7”/WF/2024/Columbus) for the North squad with a team- 11 points and Becca Sanders (5’7”/WF/2024/Cincinnati) for the South who dropped a game-high 12 points.  Just missing the MVP nod for the South was Hailei Henderson (5’3”/PG/2024/Fairfield) went for 11 points.  Next up are the 2023 Ohio North vs South game followed by the 2022 and 2024 Ohio vs Kentucky games.  Stay tuned!!

Friday, March 9, 2018

Griffith to Make Debut At Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase

Rayvon Griffith 6'4" CG 2023 Cincinnati
As most of our fans know, for almost 2 decades now, the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase has played host to the top players in Ohio, the Midwest and the nation. Simply put, we’ve seen all the great ones! When our elite showcase tips off on Saturday, we’ll get our first live look at Rayvon Griffith (6’4”/CG/2023/Cincinnati), who some are touting as the best 7th grader in the country.  We’ve seen most of the top players in the class of 2023 nationally, so we will be in a better position to judge his position in the class after the final horn sounds on Saturday.  According to Ozie Davis, a pioneer in Ohio basketball who knows how to evaluate talent, Griffith is the real deal.  "...I've seen a ton of Ray; he has the goods!!! The boy is relentless when it comes to effort..." 

What we know about Griffith is that he’s long, athletic, is almost unstoppable to the cup and is a threat to knock down the 3-ball if left unguarded.  He rebounds at a high rate and handles the rock well enough to push it on the break and finish with contact.  He’s quick off his feet and routinely gets his own missed shot and scores.  That’s not all; Griffith is a rim protector who makes it almost impossible to get a shot off near the rim.  In a game we watched (see highlight video below), Griffith propelled his Oyler Junior High School team to a close win on the strength of 27 points, 20 rebounds and 12 blocked shots.  For the season, Griffith led the Orangemen to an impressive 14-2 overall record.

According to Orangemen's Coach Tommie Blair, "Rayvon is a good student in the classroom and on the basketball court.  He understands that it takes a team to win championships.  Rayvon helps out in the community with the younger youth.  Rayvon lost a good friend to the violence in the streets and would like to be a better person the community.  Rayvon wants to bring a State Championship to the Oiler Learning Center and going 14-2 this past basketball season has made him want it more.  Rayvon understands that education is first if he wants to reach his goal of playing college basketball."

We can’t wait to see Griffith go head to head against Chris Livingston (6'4"/WF/2022/Akron), the consensus #1 player in the state, and arguably a top 5 player in the nation.  Stay tuned, as we plan to keep a close eye on Griffith this weekend and let country know what’s up.