The second session of Triple Double Prospects Elite Open Gym took place this past weekend in Cincinnati, as prospects from Southwest Ohio were joined by some of Columbus and Lima’s finest players. Here are some of the highlights from the action, as well as the latest quick-hitter recruiting notes….
Xavier Simpson – ’16 Lima Senior PG: Simpson will officially visit Illinois this coming weekend, his second official visit of the fall following a previous trip to Iowa State. With schools like Iowa, Purdue, Indiana and Miami (FL) also pining to earn an official visit from Simpson in the coming months, the Lima based guard’s recruitment continues to be arguably the most intriguing in the state of Ohio in 2016.
Derek Culver – ’17 Warren Harding PF: Ohio’s top 2017 prospect received yet another high major offer, this one coming from Virginia Tech. Culver’s other offers include Indiana, Xavier, Iowa, Marquette, Purdue, West Virginia and Cincinnati. An athletic and skilled big with great upside, Culver is a legitimate top-50 prospect nationally in the junior class.
Derek Funderburk – ’16 Cleveland St. Edward PF: Funderburk, one of Ohio’s top prospects and an Ohio State commit, has left the Buckeye State for his senior year, ending heavy speculation that he was no longer enrolled at St. Edward HS in Cleveland. For his final season, Funderburk has chosen to enroll at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia, one of the nation’s most well respected prep programs. The loss of Funderburk could spell trouble for St. Ed’s, as the athletic 6’9 forward was an integral part in their back-to-back D1 State Final-Four appearances the last two years.
Malik Smith – ’16 Cleveland Heights PF: Not only did Air Force offer the senior from Cleveland Heights, but they’ve also sweetened the deal, as Air Force has become the first NCAA D1 program to offer Smith’s talented younger brother, 2018 power forward Tyreke Smith. The offer is the second NCAA D1 offer for the older Smith brother, joining Bryant University.
Eli Wright – ’16 IMG Academy (FL) SG: The former Owensboro Apollo (KY) star transferred down to IMG Academy in Florida for his senior year a few weeks ago, and now made headlines again as he ended his recruitment last week when he committed to Mississippi State. Wright will join 2015 Kentucky prospect Aric Holman with the Bulldogs when he gets to MSU, as the pipeline between Mississippi State and the western part of Kentucky is growing. Wright is the second 2015 prospect from Kentucky to commit to a high-major school, joining Taylor County guard Quentin Goodin, who is committed to Xavier. In other news, it’s been a rough couple of weeks for Owensboro Apollo, as they’ve lost Wright to IMG Academy, while star 2017 forward Trace Young announced last week that he is transferring to Huntington Prep (WV).
Mason Faulkner – ’16 Horse Cave Caverna (KY) SG: Faulkner became the first in-state prospect to commit to new Northern Kentucky University head coach John Brannen. Faulkner joins 2016 Ohio prospects Dantez Walton and Jalen Tate as Norse commitments, helping boost the NKU roster as they prepare to move into the Horizon League.