The first ever 3rd Coast Hoops Fall Showcase in Cleveland this past weekend, with around 75 of Northeast Ohio’s finest heading to Euclid High School for a full day of competition. There’s no arguing that the Cleveland area is home to the most athletic basketball prospects in the state of Ohio right now, and that was proven again at Euclid, as several high-flyers showed a great deal of promise in Saturday’s games. Here are some of the top performers that TDP watched at the 3rd Coast Hoops Fall Showcase….
- Antwon Lillard – ’15 SG Cleveland Central Catholic: Lillard is a 6’5 wing who is always fun to watch because he simply plays so hard. The rising senior from Cleveland had a solid all-around day, scoring off the dribble at the rim, finishing in transition and making enough jumpers to keep the defense honest. Lillard is a jack-of-all-trades who has the length and athleticism to also be a pesky defender with his aggressive mindset. Lillard is being recruited by several D1 college programs, including St. Peter’s (NJ), Manhattan, Kent State and Cleveland State.
- Tanner Castora – ’15 SG Strongsville: A hidden gem in NE Ohio, 3rd Coast Hoops’ Steve Newton promised that Castora would make a name for himself at their showcase; and he was absolutely right. The 6’1 combo guard from Strongsville put on an offensive show, whether it was making highlight passes through traffic, pulling up for jumpers off of the dribble or making the deep shot, Castora proved to be on of the most difficult players to guard at the event. He isn’t a name that is known by many outside of the Strongsville area, but that all could change for the rising senior, as he established himself as one of the best offensive guards in the Cleveland area with an excellent showing at Euclid.
- Anthony Carmon – ’15 PG Cleveland East Tech: An exciting guard with a lot of explosiveness to his game, Carmon is a scoring guard who can play either position in the backcourt. Athletic enough to finish with a two-handed power dunk and skilled enough to make the three-point shot, Carmon is difficult to guard off the dribble, and returns as half of East Tech’s two-headed guard monster after leading his team to the State Semifinals a season ago. Carmon has quietly put his name on the map as one of Cleveland’s top senior guards, and his scoring numbers should easily reflect that this coming season in the city’s fast-paced city league competition.
- Frankie Hughes – ’16 SG Cleveland Garfield Heights: Hughes picked up at Euclid right where he left off at the end of the AAU season; he dominated. The 6’5 wing guard out of Garfield Heights is well on his way to becoming one of the elite prospects in Ohio’s loaded 2016 class, as Hughes just gets better and better each viewing. He’s a pure scorer who can create off the dribble, finishes above the rim, really can shoot it from deep and most impressively, is a gifted passer as well. With his size, length and athleticism, Hughes has some physical tools that cannot be taught, and has developed the skill-set to match. The rising junior guard still needs to continue to add strength, but schools like Dayton, Cleveland State, Akron and Kent State have already made him a priority by offering scholarships.
- Anthony Christian – ’16 SG Akron Hoban: After getting a little bit lost in the shuffle offensively at the end of the AAU season, Christian responded in a major way to any criticism that had been thrown his way, finishing the day as the second most efficient 2016 perimeter prospect in attendance behind Hughes. The rising junior from Akron looked focused in from start to finish and used his strength and athleticism to bully his way to the rim for layups. Christian also made enough jumpers to keep the defense honest, a part of his game that with consistency would make him almost impossible to guard. With a lot of natural scoring ability, Christian looks primed to take the next step as a junior, and add a consistent scoring approach to his game. Needless to say, college coaches have already taken an interest in him as well, with Kent State, Cleveland State and Tennessee-Martin having offered already.
- Derek Funderburk – ’16 PF Cleveland St. Edward: As the biggest name in attendance, and the second tallest player at the event, the pressure was on Funderburk to put together a good showing at the 3rd Coast Hoops Showcase. When the day had ended, no one at the camp had shown close to as much promise as Funderburk, who played with great energy from the beginning of the day to the end. The 6’9 power forward rebounded in traffic, finished above the rim, made perimeter jumpers and most impressively handled the ball extremely well in the full-court. Of course, showcase basketball is very different from high school and the grind it out style that it takes to win a State Championship, like Funderburk did with St. Edward last year, but the rising junior forward still proved on Saturday that his potential is nearly unlimited as a skilled, athletic and very active forward; part of the reason why schools like Ohio State, Indiana, Xavier, Iowa and Penn State have already offered him scholarships.
- Markell Johnson – ’17 PG Cleveland East Tech: There’s very little debate as to which prospect was most easily able to get to the rim on Saturday, it was the rising sophomore Johnson, who did so at will. Faced with other guards eager to prove that they’re better than the young Cleveland city league star, Johnson emphatically responded in a pair of games that we watched on Saturday evening, blowing by defenders for bucket after bucket inside. Johnson also looked active on the defensive end, where he was able to turn steals into some high-flying transition dunks on the other end. Johnson still has to continue to improve his decision making, but he’s by far Ohio’s most talented guard in the 2017 class, and is continuing to improve his all-around floor game.
- Freshmen To Follow – A trio of freshmen from the Cleveland area also impressed on Saturday. Fans of Northeast Ohio basketball will probably one day become very familiar with Holy Name wing Dwayne Cohill Jr, and point guards Jordan Burge (Shaker Heights) and Yahel Hill (Cleveland Heights). Cohill is a talented wing scorer who looks to be a very versatile prospect, while Burge and Hill are pure point guards who can distribute or score. Look for all three to be potential impact guys on their varsity teams, and the trio will surely make TDP’s list of class of 2018 prospects to watch when we continue trying to identify the top freshmen in the Buckeye State.
Other Top Performers: JaQuan Harrison (’15 SF Columbus Africentric), Kyle Nader (’15 SF Vermillon), Nolan Gerrity (’15 C Berea Midpark), Jahmere Howze (’15 PF Warrensville Heights), Brook Simms (’15 PG Cleveland John Adams), Montell McRae (’15 C Cleveland Central Catholic), Devon Andrews (’15 SF Cleveland Lorain), Yavari Hall (’16 SG Warrensville Heights), Malik Smith (’16 PF Cleveland Heights), Maurico Tate (’17 PG Cleveland Westlake)