Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Shaker Heights MS Raps up Impressive Season

Shaker Heights Middle School Team
Shaker Middle School completed their season last Thursday, and while they did not achieve their goal of finishing 33-0, they did play one of the best middle school games of the season against Garfield Middle School (15-3). Garfield edged them out by one point 47-48. 

Shaker Middle School dominated the likes of other GCC Conference foes over the course of two seasons beating Garfield Middle, Euclid Blue, Euclid Gold, and Mentor Memorial four times. In addition, they defeated Mentor Shore and Solon six times over the two-year span. There were also several other teams who feel prey to Raiders over the two years. 

Shaker Middle was lead by a solid duo of players who have been together since 3rd grade. Cody Head and Kellon Smith were the stabilizers. Raliegh Guice III, Imanu Lewis, Nolan James, Carmelis Proctor, Adam Sopenski, Jayse Thomas, Randy Morrison, Derrick Smith, Daniel Thompson, Adrien Cooper, and Xavier Peterson were all members of the Travel Program. Edward Robinson, Kylan Marshall and Ricardo Johnson were also on the squad this season. Coach Ryan Hines stated, “This group was fun to coach. I look for them to do big things at the next level.”  Shaker Varsity Coach, Danny Young, is excited to receive such an accomplished group. “They know how to win and they really know how to compete” said Young.


Sunday, January 13, 2019

COBBA League Standouts

Lawson, Murphy, Ivery, Cornett, Tucker & Youngblood
On Sunday, we spent a few hours at the Douglas Recreation Center in Columbus checking out several Central Ohio Boys Basketball (COBBA) games.  In addition to some players we had seen previously, we found several other players who deserve some recognition.  

The 3 games we watched involved the teams Renaissance University programs in grades 3rd-6th. Game #1 pitted the 3rdgrade Reynoldsburg Raiders against Renaissance.  For the second time in as many weeks, we had the opportunity to watch Reynoldsburg’s Gabriel Tucker (4’7”/PG/2028/Reynoldsburg) put in work.  As was the case the last time we saw him play, Tucker proved to be the best player on the court.  Highly skilled, Tucker again demonstrated the ability to score on all 3 levels.  He may be able to get his team buckets, but Tucker is also an elite on ball defender who can also get find teammates for easy buckets.  We really like this kid!  

Tucker’s teammate, Evan Allgood (4’8”/WF/2028/Hamilton Twp) is a big time scorer as well. We liked Allgood’s aggression to the cup and his ability to use his size and strength to put points on the board.  In fact, when we release our 2028 Player Watch List next week, All-good’s name will be listed among the top 40 players in the state. We also saw some good things out of Isaiah Giavana (SG/2028/Grandview heights), who showed a nice skill set, which included a nice handle, ability to knock down treys and an attacking attitude toward the cup.

For Renaissance, we were also really impressed with the play of Brandon Youngblood (4’4”/PG/2028/Columbus), who was quick, crafty, and had the rock on a string.  He’s smaller, but he got everywhere he wanted to get to, and either scored with layups or found open teammates for easy shots. Youngblood is gritty, is the clear leader on his team, and was the primary scoring option for his squad. With continued growth and development, Youngblood has a chance to be really good! 

We’ve heard some good things about Winfield Garnett IV (5’1”/PF/2028/New Albany), and his play on Sunday confirmed his place among the best players in the class in Ohio. He’s big, rebounds well, and cannot only initiate the fast break, but he can dribble the rock coast to coast and finish.  Based on his father’s size, Garnett has a good chance of being a long-term post prospect going forward.

We’re going to put it out there right now; keep an eye out for Tyson Cornett (SG/2029/Westerville).  Although he’s only a second grader, you could not tell it from his play.  Great size and length for his age, Cornett impacted the game in a positive way.  From what we saw, Cornett has a chance to be special.  Finally, we saw his parents, and they both have good size!

Cornett, Hodges, Turner, Brooks, Giavana & Peterson
The second game of the day featured a matchup between the 4thgrade Renaissance and Newark, and although the game got out of hand right from the tip, there were several players who caught our eye. The best of them all was Caden Ivery (SG/WF/2027/Columbus), who is very skilled, athletic, with solid ball skills and the ability to score. In the game we watched, Ivery put up big numbers and made it look easy!  Clearly, Ivery is a potential top ten talent in the state, and we look forward seeing him participate in the Buckeye Prep Ohio North vs South All-Star Game on March 9th!

Ivery was not the only stud for Renaissance, as Tony Cornett III (4’8”/PG/2027/Westerville) showed great upside potential as well.  Like his younger brother, Cornett has good size for his position and excels at scoring the ball.  He’s athletic, aggressive and should also show well in the North vs South game in March.

Newark may have been a bit over matched as a team, but Ty Brooks ( 4’2”/PG/2027/Newark) and Kolton Peterson ( 4’5”/WF/2027/Newark) were able to compete.  Peterson is a skilled floor general with a tight handle, while Peterson is a bigger guard who can handle the rock, and he uses his size to power his way to the cup. Both players were extended invitations to the Buckeye Prep Elite showcase based on what we saw on Sunday.

The final game of the day featured a matchup between the 6thgrade New Birth Warriors and Renaissance.  To be honest, there was little doubt the undefeated Warriors would get the win, however, we were excited to get a look at the individual players. As expected, Arness Lawson (5’2”/CG/Columbus/2025) was simply dominant! We’ve seen him on several occasions at our elite showcases, and from what we saw on Sunday, Lawson has continued to grow and develop.  We did not catch the final scoring numbers, but we have to believe Lawson was the leading scorer in the game.  Lawson appeared powerful to the cup and he feasted on transition buckets. He’s not only an elite scorer, but he has great vision and is a willing and able passer.  Finally, we were very impressed with Lawson‘s game, and he should be an early contributor to a varsity squad in a few years if he continues to work hard!

We were also really impressed with Mykell Murphy (6’0”/C/2025/Columbus), who is an athletic big who rebounds well, runs the floor like a dear, blocks shots and finishes at a high rate around the rim. We love his length, motor and soft touch! If he continues to grow, Murphy could represent a long-term post prospect down the road.  When new Birth went with their second waive of players, Amari Hodges (5’3”/WF/Columbus/2025) provided the scoring.  We intend to keep an eye on Hodges going forward. Other players to watch include Nasir Turner (5’6”/CG/2025)/Columbus), Jaden Calloway (5’2”/CG/2025/Columbus), Antwon Pollard (PG/Columbus/2027), Trey Thorpe (WF/2027/Columbus).  Look for many of the above players to be participating in the March 9thBuckeye Prep Elite Showcase.

Standout Players

Arness Lawson (6th Grade)
Mykel Murphy (6thGrade)
Nasir Turner (6thGrade) 
Caden Ivery (4thGrade)
Tony Cornett III (4thGrade)
Gabriel Tucker (3rdGrade)
Winfield Garrett IV (3rd Grade)
Evan Allgood (3rdGrade)
Isaih Giovana (3rtd Grade)
Brandon Youngblood (3rd Grade)
Tyson Cornett (2ndGrade)
Ty Brooks (4thGrade)
Kolton Peterson (4th Grade)
Amir Hodges (6thGrade)
Antown Pollard (4thGrade)



Saturday, January 5, 2019

Intact Basketball Preview Standouts

Schroder, Thomas, Daniels, Tucker, Fields & Wilson
On Saturday, we had the opportunity to checkout some of the action at the Intact Basketball Preview at Whitehall HS near Columbus. In addition to the slate of Intact games in grades 2nd-4th grade, there were also several Central Ohio Boys Basketball (COBBA) games held in the same facility.  In terms of the preview format, each game consisted of one 20-minute half.

One of the best players we saw all day was Trayton Schroder (4’8”/SG/2026/Olentangy). We’ve seen Schroder on several occasions, as he has been a consistent all-star out our Buckeye Prep Elite Showcases. Schroder’s play with his community-based team was very impressive, and it’s clear he is continuing to develop.  He’s a true floor general who excels at running his team with poise, communicating and making plays for his teammates. Schroder is also highly skilled and he has a high basketball IQ.  At this rate, Schroder should be a star when he reaches middle school, and he should play varsity ball early in his high school career.

Possibly the best player in the gym was the youngest player in the gym.  Gabriel Tucker (4’7”/PG/2028/Reynoldsburg) is only a 3rd grader, but his skill set, savvy, and poise are that of a much older and mature player. Tucker handled the rock with precision, changed direction and speed at an elite level, and unlike most 3rd graders, Tucker displayed a strong crossover, in and out dribble, euro-step and step back shot. From what we saw, there can’t be very many 3rd graders in this state more talented than Tucker. No wonder he’s running with the Akron-based Ohio Phenom Academy in the spring and summer.  We intend to keep a close eye on this kid’s development! 

We were also impressed with the size of Khani Thomas (5’10”/C/Columbus/2026). We’ve seen him excel at our elite showcases, so his talent was no surprise to us.  With his Probound Silverbacks winter team, Thomas towered over the other players on the court.  Consequently, he was a rebounding machine! we also liked how Thomas advance the ball on the break after the rebound. If Thomas continues to grow and to develop his skill set, he could eventually end up being a long-term post prospect.  Right now, he’s simply bigger than everybody else!  We got our first look at Brody Fields (5’2”/PG/2026/Ashville), but what little we saw suggests he could be a good one down the road.  Good length and skill is what we saw.  

No discussion of standout would be complete without mentioning Mike Daniels (4’7”/SG/Hilliard/2027).  Daniels is a dynamic player who is equally adept at scoring or making plays for teammates. He’s smart, plays hard and is a committed defender.  He also is talented enough to play up against 5thgraders and not miss a beat. It should also be mentioned that Daniels is currently ranked among the top 4thgraders in the state. We look forward to seeing him play at our March 9thBuckeye Prep Elite Showcase, where he will participate in the prestigious North vs South All-Star for the Central Ohio All-Stars. Below is a complete list of standouts we saw at the event. 
Standouts

Treyton Schorder
Gabriel Tucker
Mike Daniels
Khani Thomas
Brody Fields
Chavis Wilson
Jett Jerwers
Amare Spina
Landon Sears

Friday, January 4, 2019

Under Armour Sponsors New Middle School League

Three years after entering youth basketball in a big way with the UA Next Combine Series, Under Armour appears to be doubling down with youth basketball with the UA Future League, their new platform designed to enhance the shoe company’s footprint and exposure to youth basketball. Beginning in April, nine regional sessions from the North East to Northern California are set to tip off in the inaugural season of the Future League.  


Each of 2 regular season sessions guarantees 4 games at a cost of about $395 per team, depending on the number program teams that enter.  The 3rdsession is a championship session which will be held regionally. Under Armour hopes to attract the best sixteen, 4th-8th grade teams in each region, and are feverishly conducting research and gathering feedback on the top teams.  In terms of the Midwest Region, sessions are scheduled for Lynwood, IL on May 3rd-5th; Westfield, IN. June 7th-9th: with the championship session scheduled for June 28th-30th in Kansas City, Mo. 

Although there are no guarantees that participation in the new middle school league will one day lead to a coveted spot on Under Armour’s UAA Circuit, the exposure generated by the league could pave the way for future selection. League organizers hope that an exclusive, competitive, professionally run, and regional focused league will separate itself from other middle school leagues such as NYBL, Nike’s MADE League, and the Midwest Circuit.  It’s unclear what programs will ultimately enter the first-year league, but according to Zach Park, league director, they have filled almost half of the 16 spots in each region.  We will certainly try and keep an eye on this ambitious effort.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase Accepting Registrations


Now that 2019 is underway, the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase is starting to accept registrations.  This year’s event is scheduled for March 9th (1-day) at Otterbein University near Columbus, Ohio.  Both boys (3rd-12th) and girls (5th-9th) are welcome.  At a cost of $150.00, the event will consist of 4 league games (boys & girls) and a possible all-star game for standout players.  Awards will be presented to all all-star game participants and MVPs. Also, every player will receive a reversible jersey they can keep.  As always, this event will attract the top boys and girls from not only Ohio, but the Midwest and nationally. Moreover, the level of competition and exposure will be unmatched!

The event will also be hosting Ohio North vs South All-Star Games for 3rdand 4thgrade boys and 6th-8thgrade girls.  Rosters are currently being developed and invitations will be based on a player’s statewide ranking and success at prior Buckeye Prep and/or other elite events. Although participation in the all-star games is free, every player must register, pay and participate in the elite showcase portion of the event. Tentative roster s will be posted as soon as we have completed them.  Below are links to the event Information Page and registration.  For additional information about the event, please email us at Buckeyeprep@yahoo.com or call at 614-502-9359.