The second of the three NCAA live evaluation periods saw college coaches descend on Southwest Ohio, as close to one-hundred Division I & II coaches headed to Cincinnati for the Adidas All-In Classic. Teams from Ohio, West Virginia, Michigan and even Canada participated in the event, which was headlined by Ohio program Ohio Basketball Club, the event’s host. With Triple Double Prospects checking out all three days of the action, here are some of the prospects who stood out….
- Jalen Avery – ’15 Cincinnati Shroder PG: The Ohio Cougars point guard continued his rapid ascension up recruiting boards over this past weekend, going head to head with some of the better guards at the event and getting the better of the matchup. Avery’s command of the offensive game off the pick and roll is as good as any prospect in Ohio, as he is able to pull-up for the jumper or dish it off to a teammate. Also a great passer and a passionate competitor, Avery is quickly becoming a favorite prospect of several mid-major coaches in the region. Toledo, Kent State, Wright State, Miami (OH), Western Illinois and others all tracked Avery and his Ohio Cougars team over the weekend.
- Carlton Bragg – ’15 Cleveland VASJ PF: Bragg attracted the biggest college coaching names to Cincinnati this past weekend, as Ohio State, UCLA, Illinois, West Virginia and even Kansas head coach Bill Self all attended some of the Cleveland star’s games with Ohio Basketball Club. Bragg was particularly impressive with his effort on the defensive end, blocking shot after shot in transition. On the offensive end, Bragg was able to score around the rim and from deep, as he continues to try and show the basketball community that he has the makings of a wing skill-set.
- Seth Towns – ’16 Columbus Northland SF/PF: Towns was one of the most impressive prospects at the event, regardless of class, as the 6’7 forward from the VCC Ohio Warriors was able to consistently score twenty-plus points. Towns shot the ball well from the perimeter, but also showed the ability to put it on the deck and create a tough shot, where is skilled at making shots over smaller opponents. As he gets more confidence and continues to add strength, Towns is one of the more intriguing prospects in Ohio’s loaded 2016 class, as his skill-set makes him the ideal stretch forward at the high-major level. After one of his games, Towns told TDP that Iowa, UCLA and Michigan are the three schools recruiting him the hardest right now. Of those three schools, all but UCLA have already offered Towns a scholarship.
- Jason Carter – ’16 Johnstown SF/PF: One of Ohio’s most talented prospects who no one talks about, Carter is going to be a 2016 kid who absolutely blows up once he continues to get the right exposure. The 6’7 combo forward is a very capable shooter from deep, but is even better at using his athleticism to attack off the dribble or make plays in transition. A skilled player who is willing to get physical in the post, expect for mid-majors to make Carter one of their top priorities in the 2016 class as soon as they get a couple of viewings of this rising Central Ohio star.
- Jarron Cumberland – ’16 Wilmington SG: After accumulating his first high-major offer last week, Cumberland’s confidence might have just been at an all-time high when he rejoined his Ohio Basketball Club 16u team for the All-In Classic. The rising junior from Wilmington shot the lights out from the perimeter all weekend long, as he was arguably the most deadly scorer in the entire event. Cumberland’s strength alone intimidates opponents, but it is his aggressive scoring mindset that makes him so tough for defenses to contain one-on-one. As more and more high majors realize that this 2016 wing has plenty of athleticism to play at the highest level, look for Cumberland’s recruitment to continue to ascend.
Other Top Prospects: Devon Andrews (’15 Cleveland Lorain), Reece Dupler (’15 Lakewood), Anthony Carmon (’15 Cleveland East Tech), Lamont West (’15 Cincinnati Withrow), Thomas Bolte (’15 Chillicothe), Andrew Emerick (’16 Lakota East), Ashon Riggins (’16 Hamilton), Matt Moyer (’16 Gahanna Lincoln), Malik Harrison (’16 Columbus Walnut Ridge), Darrius Harper (’16 Dayton Springfield), Armond Perry (’16 Cleveland Bedford), Lamont Rhodes (’16 Cleveland PF), Bryce Butler (’16 Cincinnati Finneytown)
With the talent in Ohio’s 2015 and 2016 classes coming under a national spotlight for both quantity and quality of prospects, college coaches flocked to gyms all over the country to check on young players from the Buckeye State in the first July evaluation period. Shortly after that period ended last Sunday evening, coaches then took to the phone lines, offering scholarships to some of the top available kids. Here’s a quick rundown of who offered who in the days between evaluation period. Admittedly, this isn’t a list of every Division I scholarship offer handed down to an Ohio kid, but please enjoy nonetheless…
- Jaevin Cumberland – ’15 Wilmington PG: After a huge weekend on the circuit, Cumberland earned an offer from Kent State. This offer from the Golden Flashes, makes a third school involved with Cumberland at the Division I level, as Army and Kennesaw State also are on the list.
- Winthrop offered two Ohio rising seniors in MaCio Teague (Cincinnati Walnut Hills) and Khalil Iverson (Delaware Hayes). Teague is one of TDP’s top ranked wing guards in the class, while Iverson is an athletic combo forward.
- Jalen Avery – ’15 Cincinnati Shroder PG: Avery added another MAC offer to his list, this time from Kent State. Another point guard the Golden Flashes have shown interest in, Avery also has an offer from Miami (OH), as well as strong interest from Wright State.
- Elijah Pughsley – ’15 Lima Senior PG: The Queen City Prophets sharpshooter had some big games in Indianapolis, and earned his first Division I offer from Tennessee State on Monday.
- Noah Bramlage – ’15 Ottawa Glandorf PF: Playing for All-Ohio Red minus Esa Ahmad, Bramlage stepped up into a primary scoring role, and was impressive enough that Ohio University became the latest school to offer Bramlage, who holds near twenty scholarship offers.
- Esa Ahmad – ’15 Cleveland Shaker Heights PF: While playing at the LeBron James Skills Academy in Las Vegas, Ahmad earned praise from many scouts for his scrappy play. Providence must’ve been one of the schools who was impressed by Ahmad’s play, as they offered a scholarship on Sunday night.
- Mark Hughes – ’15 Youngstown Ursline PG: Hughes earned his second Division I offer, this time from Wright State, after helping lead DB Hoops to a deep run at the Adidas Invitational. Wright State joins conference foe Youngstown State as D1’s who have offered Hughes.
- Doug Taylor – ’15 Columbus Northland PF/C: Taylor earned his third offer from a MAC school on Monday, this time from Bowling Green. The big man from Columbus is seeing his stock skyrocket, as he now holds offers from Miami (OH), Ohio University and BGSU.
- Jarron Cumberland – ’16 Wilmington SG: Jaevin Cumberland’s younger cousin also secured a big offer on Monday when the Purdue Boilermakers called and extended a scholarship. This offer comes after Cumberland was named to the all-star team at the Adidas Unrivaled camp in Chicago.
- Matt Moyer – ’16 Gahanna Lincoln PF: No Ohio prospect had his phone ring more than Moyer these last couple days. The Columbus area rising junior received new offers from Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, Arizona State, Kansas State and Penn State; giving him five new high-major offers to add to his ever growing sheet.
- Seth Towns – ’16 Columbus Northland SF/PF: Towns earned yet another Big Ten offer after some strong play at the Reebok Breakout Camp in Philadelphia. This time it was the Iowa Hawkeyes who called to offer, giving Towns another offer from one of the league’s better programs.
- VJ King – ’16 Fairfax Paul VI (VA) SG: The former Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s prospect announced that he will be transferring to the famed Paul VI in Virginia for his next two season, as Ohio is losing yet another elite 2016 prospect to out of state transfer. Also in King news, the talented small forward added an offer from UCLA to his impressive list of offers.
- Nick Ward – ’16 Gahanna Lincoln PF/C: Like his high school teammate, Moyer, Ward also got some good news this week. In-state program Dayton offered the powerful post prospect, who has seen his stock skyrocket in the last few months. Ward now has multiple Division I offers both at the mid- and high-major levels.
- Willie Jackson – ’16 Cleveland Garfield Heights SF: After a busy spring and summer playing with both All-Ohio Red and multiple age groups for King James, Jackson continues to attract the interest of some of the nation’s best. The rising junior from Cleveland received a scholarship offer from Iowa State on Wednesday; the most impressive offer to date for the athletic forward.
- Other 2016 prospects to receive mid-major offers in the last few days include Yavari Hall (Cleveland Warrensville Heights), Luke Vargo (Dublin Coffman), Micah Potter (Mentor) and Frankie Hughes (Cleveland Garfield Heights)
The NCAA’s live summer evaluation period began this past week, with the first of three sessions running from Wednesday evening through Sunday evening all around the country. One of the tournaments that attracted some of the Midwest’s top talent was the Adidas Invitational, an annual event hosted by the Indiana Elite AAU program in Indianapolis. Hundreds of college coaches made their way to North Central HS and other sites, as teams from Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and other states battled it out for tournament wins, and scholarship offers. Triple Double Prospects was on hand from start to finish over the course of the five days, and we saw plenty of great performances from Ohio and Kentucky prospects. Here’s a look at some of the players who stood out….
- Ray Spalding – ’15 Louisville Trinity PF: Spalding, a 6’9 power forward out of Louisville, was not only the top Ohio or Kentucky prospect who played in the Adidas Invitational, he might’ve been the top overall prospect at the event. The athletic and promising forward was sensational during stretches of play, leading his scrappy team, The Ville, to a semifinal appearance before falling to Indiana Elite. Spalding was once considered to be more about promise than production, but the Kentucky product showed that he might be the best of both worlds with his scoring, passing and versatility over the last five days. Also armed with great length and a non-stop motor, Spalding is a consensus top-100 prospect who is seeing his stock rise by the minute. Coaches from Indiana, Xavier and Louisville tracked him the closest over the weekend, with the head coach of each school watching The Ville multiple times.
- Jaevin Cumberland – ’15 Wilmington PG: He’s not really a point guard, not really a shooting guard. But, Jaevin Cumberland does do two things. He makes shots, and he wins games. The Wilmington guard, who plays with the King James Runnin’ Rebels, was the most impressive 2015 prospect out of the Buckeye State throughout the tournament, racking up multiple games of twenty-plus points. A deadly long-range shooter who also has the strength to finish drives around the rim through contact, Cumberland was able to get his points from all three levels in the half-court, while showing a level of confidence that you don’t often see from young guards. He’s not the quickest guy, but Cumberland’s strength, shooting ability, toughness and basketball IQ make him a prospect who it is really looking like will end up getting multiple Division I scholarship offers by the end of the month.
- DeMajeo Wiggins – ’15 Toledo Springfield C: We’ve mostly looked at Wiggins as a kid who will be good down the line, but is still very raw. That sure changed this past week, as the 6’8 post out of the Toledo area showed a whole new mentality in his games with Ohio Basketball Club. Wiggins rebounded at a high level, caught and finished around the rim and looked more fluid than he ever has running the floor, taking over inside for OBC while they were without star power forward Carlton Bragg. This level of play explained why some in-state mid-majors have offered Wiggins a scholarship, as he might be one of the top sleeper big men in the Buckeye State. Add in the fact that there is a strong chance that Wiggins, who is very young for his grade, ends up reclassifying to the class of 2016, and this kid is going to have a chance to be a very good player.
- Lamont West – ’15 Cincinnati Withrow PF: West is a prospect known to have days where he struggles and days where he is great. Over the entire past week, he’s been great. The long and athletic 6’7 forward from the Queen City Prophets was highly impressive in Indianapolis, showing the ability to score in different ways, while also influencing the game with his physical tools. West still has to continue to hone his ball-skills, but he has the high ceiling and natural ability that college coaches love; part of the reason why so many Division I coaches tracked his every move throughout the week. Another potential prep school candidate, West is quietly becoming a Southwest Ohio prospect that a lot of coaches want to keep getting more looks at.
- Yavari Hall – ’16 Warrensville Heights SG: With OBC 16u being without leading scorer Jarron Cumberland, who like Carlton Bragg was at Adidas Unrivaled Camp in Chicago, someone had to step up offensively for the team to win. That player, for OBC, was Hall. The athletic 6’3 wing showed off his vast potential to college coaches all week long; making long-range shots, finishing above the rim in transition and making plays off the bounce. Hall still has some deficiencies in his half-court game, but he’s one of Ohio’s most talented 2016 kids, and is starting to learn how to really play hard every game. Now with offers from Northern Kentucky, Miami (OH), Eastern Carolina and Kent State, coaches are really starting to understand what this kid is capable of.
- Carlik Jones – ’16 Cincinnati Aiken PG: As vital as Hall was to OBC this past weekend, it was the play of their point guard, 6’0 Cincinnati lead guard Carlik Jones, that propelled the team to the finals, and especially in their semifinal win against Team Work. Jones was sensational for OBC in bracket play, using his changes of pace to get in the lane whenever he wanted off the pick and roll, and consistently making the right play to finish, whether that was a shot or an assist. Also a very capable on-ball defender, Jones bothered opposing guards in the full-court, and using his leadership skills he pushed his team forward against some very good competition not only from Team Work, but also from the Iowa Barnstormers. While Jones does not have an offer quite yet, expect several to potentially pop up in the next month for one of Ohio’s top rising-junior point guards.
- Micah Potter – ’16 Mentor PF/C: Listing Potter last is somewhat like saving the best for last. That’s how good the class of 2016 big man out of the Cleveland area was over the last week. A powerfully built 6’9 post, with deceptive athleticism, Potter has transformed his game into a physical style of offensive play. Also a skilled guy capable of finishing around the rim, making the extra pass or knocking down the mid-range shot, Potter impressed in many different was for Team Work, leading his squad to a semifinal appearance along the way. Potter has an offer from Davidson already, as well as interest from Xavier, Purdue, West Virginia, Toledo, Akron, Miami (OH) and several others.
Other Standout Players: John Miller (’15 New Albany/KJ Running Rebels), Jalen Avery (’15 Cincinnati Shroder/Ohio Cougars), Cameron Reed (’15 Louisville Eastern/The Ville), Jax Levitch (’15 Louisville Trinity/The Ville), Alan Vest (’15 Dayton Chaminade Julienne/Shining Stars), Alex White (’15 Lakota East/Team Work), Jahmere Howze (’15 Warrensville Heights/TNBA), Dante McCoy (’15 Dayton Ponitz/Team One), David Dunnigan (’15 Padua/DB Hoops), Dylan Lowry (’15 Lakota East/Cincinnati Lakers), D’Angelo Hunter (’15 Pleasure Ridge Park/Louisville Magic), Evan Hall (Knott County Central/The Ville), Devon Andrews (’15 Lorain/OBC), Malik Miller (Farrell PA/OBC), Evan Clayborne (’16 Dayton Dunbar/OBC), Mason Baich (’16 Dublin Jerome/Team Work), Jon Teske (’16 Medina/Team Work), BJ Duling (’17 New Albany/OBC), Tommy Schmock (’17 Cleveland St. Edward/OBC), Derek Koch (’17 Salem Northwestern/Team Work), Griffin Lutz (’17 Athens/Team Work)
Ohio’s Best Basketball League was a success in year one, and then built on that success in year two with an even larger pool of teams, and talent. That second season came to an end on Sunday afternoon, when the third session of 2014 came to a close at Thomas Worthington High School in suburban Columbus. Three champions were crowned, with Ohio Basketball Club again sweeping all the divisions.
During the games that we watched, Triple Double Prospects focused on the 17u and 16u action at the OBBL. In the 17u (rising seniors) division, OBC defeated a resilient Ohio Varsity team, while it was Cincinnati based Team One who finished as runners-up to OBC in the 16u age bracket.
Here’s a look at the top performers who TDP evaluated at the OBBL Grand Finale…..
- Carlton Bragg – ’15 Cleveland VASJ PF: The OBC product had all the pressure fall on his shoulders to make sure that his club was not upset in the OBBL finals, and Bragg made sure to deliver. The 6’9 forward scored 32 points in the title game, after dominating the league for two straight seasons. Sure, it’s what should be expected from Bragg, but nevertheless the Cleveland product stepped up on the biggest state, giving himself some additional momentum heading into the Adidas Unrivaled camp in Chicago next week.
- Devon Andrews – ’15 Cleveland Lorain SF: You could easily make an argument that besides Bragg, Andrews is the next most talented prospect in the entire OBBL. The 6’6 small forward looked the part in a game TDP viewed on Saturday. Andrews is head and shoulders superior to his competition from an athletic standpoint, and also has the skill-set to do some different things that you don’t usually see out of guys his size. Already committed to Kent State, Andrews has absolute super-star potential in the MAC, if he can consistently play with the focus that he displayed over the weekend.
- Corey Saddler – ’15 Clinton-Massie SF: One of the surprise players of the spring, Saddler started off his summer in style, leading his Ohio Varsity team to an appearance in the finals. The 6’5 wing is a very good three-point shooter who is constantly becoming more confident as he gains AAU experience. However, it is the athleticism of Saddler that makes him such an intriguing prospect. Playing next to two of the state’s top ranked guys in Delaware Hayes forward Khalil Iverson and Pickerington Central wing Rodney Culver, expect for this year’s Ohio Varsity team to attract flocks of college coaches to their games this month.
- Tyrell Edminson – ’15 Plymouth PF: Just like that last time we saw Edminson at Thomas Worthington HS, at the Hidden Gems Spring Showcase, the undersized but overly athletic forward looked like a beast on the court. Edminson is pound for pound as strong of a prospect as there is in the state, and the basketball player who moonlights as a football star was dominant around the rim on Saturday as a rebounder, finisher and scorer. He’s still undecided as to which sport he’ll be pursuing at the college level, but rest assured, this kid can really play.
- RJ Jones – ’15 Huntington Prep (WV) PG: The Cleveland native returned to his home-state in style, after spending the past semester at one of the nation’s elite prep programs. Jones scored at will in a game that TDP checked out against Hidden Gems, as the athletic point guard blew by defenders to score acrobatically at the rim. Also with the quickness to be really good on the defensive end, Jones will be highly recruited, especially by high-academic D1 programs, during July.
- Carlik Jones – ’16 Cincinnati Aiken PG: When it comes to the 2016 point guard rankings, no one is on the rise more right now than OBC’s floor general, Carlik Jones. The Cincinnati Aiken product had a good winter, a great spring and is now setting himself up for an even better July after leading his team to the 16u OBBL title. Jones isn’t the most physically imposing guard, but he is a good decision maker who makes his teammates better, is a strong competitor and also is able to mix scoring with passing depending on the situation. With D1 colleges just starting to take notice, Jones could be on of the 2016 prospects in Ohio who really sees his recruitment take off in July.
- The OBC 16u team is really good, and other than Jones, who starred over the weekend, it would be tough to signal out just one other guy as leading the charge. Wings Jarron Cumberland (Wilmington), Yavari Hall (Warrensville Heights) and Malik Miller (Farrell/PA) all shined offensively, especially in transition where they could finish above the rim, while new addition Markell Johnson, a 2017 prospect out of Cleveland East Tech, also stepped up on the perimeter, playing some of each guard position. On the interior, OBC boasts a quartet of powerful athletes in Darrius Harper (Dayton Springfield), Kameron Moore (Cincinnati Aiken), Evan Clayborne (Dayton Dunbar) and Justin Slyver (Cleveland Brush), all four of whom performed well over the weekend.
- Trey McBride – ’16 Cincinnati Moeller PG: An athletic defender who can really disrupt opposing point guards in full court man-to-man situations, McBride was very impressive on both ends over the weekend. The Roger Bacon transfer likes to play fast, and is capable of finishing above the rim for a dunk, with a smooth layup around a defender, or making the pass for an assist. McBride will need to continue to improve as a shooter, but the Team One 16u guard led his team to a finals appearance, and is making a name for himself as one of the best guards in all of Southwest Ohio.
- Trey Smith – ’16 Delphos Jefferson SF: An elite shooter with a good basketball frame, Smith just has the look of a college basketball player at 6’4. When his feet are set, Smith can knock in long-range shots effortlessly, and gets good elevation to get his shot up over bigger opponents. He looks better scoring off the dribble, especially in transition, than when we’ve seen him in the past; and after his great high school season, there’s no doubt he’s one of Ohio’s most consistently prolific scorers.
News and Notes
- The University of Dayton picked up a second local commitment for the 2015 class this past week, as they received a verbal commitment from St. Henry wing forward Ryan Mikesell. One of Ohio’s most skilled and versatile prospects, Mikesell excelled recently at UD’s team camp, after having a very strong spring on the AAU circuit with All-Ohio Black. The 6’6 small forward joins AAU teammate Xeyrius Williams of Huber Heights Wayne as Flyer commits in the 2015 class. Mikesell chose Dayton over multiple MAC offers, committing to coach Archie Miller just a week after receiving a scholarship offer.
- One of the hottest names on the circuit right now among 2015 post players is Toledo Springfield center DeMajeo Wiggins. The 6’8 post has recently received offers from Illinois State and Bowling Green, to go along with an existing offer from Bethune-Cookman. Finally, Wiggins also has received strong interest from Cleveland State, after recently taking an unofficial visit to their campus. A somewhat raw prospect with ideal size for the low post at the mid-major level, Wiggins will be heavily tracked this July by D1 college coaches while he plays with his OBC 17u team.
Heading into the July AAU period, we’ve received several requests to update our online prospect rankings. So, responding to these requests, Triple Double Prospects has re-created player rankings for Ohio prospects from the classes of 2015 (rising seniors), 2016 (rising juniors) and 2017 (rising sophomores).
Take a look at the new rankings at the links below, or with the tab at the top of the page……
After getting a lot of feedback from our pre-spring AAU team rankings of Ohio teams, TDP has taken everything that we saw in the spring and put it together to update the list of top travel teams in the Buckeye State. Most of these decisions were very difficult, but we eventually had to slot teams in the order that we saw fit. While some will always disagree with our order, this is our best shot at how teams would finish in a tournament consisting of every team in the state. Finally, after so many requests, here are our rankings:
- All-Ohio Red – Playing in the Nike EYBL against the nation’s top competition, AOR had a very memorable spring. Red won their division in the EYBL, and will be one of the top seeded teams heading into the Peach Jam/EYBL Finals in Augusta in mid-July. Forward Esa Ahmad (Shaker Heights) had a breakout month, earning several high-major offers in the process, during April; while Indianapolis native Jalen Coleman handled most of the perimeter scoring. AOR also got strong play from a cohesive unit of role players, including MaCio Teague (Cincinnati Walnut Hills), Josh Williams (Akron SVSM), Ahmad Wagner (Huber Heights Wayne), Noah Bramlage (Ottawa Glandorf) and Doug Taylor (Columbus Northland). If scoring guard Jordan Dartis (Newark) can get healthy for the Peach Jam and AAU Nationals, AOR will have a chance to bring some hardware back to Ohio.
- King James Shooting Stars – After starting the year off as one of the favorites in the Nike EYBL, King James limped their way through the spring, failing to qualify for the Nike Peach Jam/EYBL Finals. Injuries and cold shooting cost King James on the big stage, as they failed to produce a winning record in the brutally tough league. Despite some failures, this is still a very good AAU team, and college coaches took notice in a big way. With Luke Kennard (Franklin/Duke), AJ Harris (Dayton Dunbar/Ohio State), Derek Pardon (Cleveland VASJ/Northwestern), Kyle Ahrens (Versailles/Michigan State) and Nate Fowler (Cincinnati Moeller/Butler) all already off the board, only Kipper Nichols (Cleveland St. Edward) and a couple of role players are left to choose a school from the KJ 17u team.
- Ohio Basketball Club – Playing in the first ever Adidas Gauntlet, the three stripes company’s version of the EYBL, OBC had a solid all-around spring, finishing in the middle of the pack among Adidas teams. Carlton Bragg (Cleveland VASJ) became one of the nation’s most sought after prospects, after earning rave reviews at circuit stops in Orlando and Indianapolis; while Craig Randall (formerly of Medina) and West Virginia product Dikembe Dixson also had strong springs. OBC also got notable play from their role players, including Isaiah Jones (Cincinnati Woodward), Devon Andrews (Lorain) and especially top-100 rising junior, and Pittsburgh product, Maverick Rowan. OBC will be heavily tested throughout the month of July in Adidas sponsored events, with a microscope-like level of scrutiny sure to follow Bragg especially.
- All-Ohio Black – Like King James, AOB also struggled with some injuries during the months of April and May, but the Dayton based squad produced a solid all-around spring, including winning the King James Classic in April in Akron. Xeyrius Williams (Huber Heights Wayne) became a Dayton commit, after helping secure an offer from the Flyers with his strong play, while wing forward Ryan Mikesell (St. Henry) also became one of the state’s hottest names. In addition to those two, point guard Grant Zawadski had a great spring season for All-Ohio, putting himself squarely on the Division I radar heading into July. If they can get everyone healthy, look for AOB to be a factor at AAU nationals due to their depth of talent and team oriented style.
- Team Work – While this isn’t the most talented group that this program has ever put together, the size and skill level of this year’s Team Work 17u squad has kept them squarely in the top five rankings. Frontline players Mitch Loomis (Malvern), Nolan Gerrity (Berea Midpark) and Alex White (Lakota East) all enjoyed some success in the spring, while wings Austin Adams (Toledo Cardinal Stitch) and Nick Bapst (Grove City) continue to intrigue coaches with their athleticism on the perimeter. If guards Isaac White (Ashland) and Beau Justice (Peebles) can get hot with their shooting in July, this Team Work group will be more than relevant at AAU Nationals.
Other top 17u teams in Ohio: King James Runnin’ Rebels, Queen City Prophets, TNBA, Cincinnati Lakers, Ohio Varsity and All-Ohio White
- King James Shooting Stars – This is a tough call at the top. Yes, the team listed directly below them beat them, but TDP believes that King James is the most dangerous Ohio team in the 16u division heading into July. After strong performances at the Nike Memorial Day Classic, a Nike event in Dallas and a championship at the King James Classic in April, the 16u KJ squad has a great all-around resume. Derek Funderburk (Cleveland St. Edward) and Xavier Simpson (Lima Senior) had the biggest impact on the team during the spring, but this squad is deep with talent, and got strong play from several other players. If Tervell Beck (Cleveland Central Catholic) can get it going in July, this team will have every chance to win the 16u Nike Peach Jam and/or the AAU National Championship.
- Ohio Basketball Club – We understand that the OBC squad is not going to be happy being ranked number two, and they very well could prove us wrong in July by winning the Adidas events in Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Las Vegas. From top to bottom, OBC had a terrific spring, winning the prestigious Spiece Run-N-Slam over King James, and finishing strong in Adidas events in Indianapolis and Orlando. Wings Jarron Cumberland (Wilmington) and Yavari Hall (Warrensville Heights) were dominant, while point guard Carlik Jones (Cincinnati Aiken) also had a breakout spring. Coach Corey Tucker tells TDP to be on the lookout for a couple of big roster moves in the next week, but TDP might be most excited to follow the progress of center Darrius Harper (Dayton Springfield), who showed signs of dominance late in the spring.
- All-Ohio Red – The coaches from AOR admit that they had a roller coaster spring with the 16u squad, however, they also believe that they’ve found the winning recipe with their current group of scrappy players. Center Nick Ward (Gahanna Lincoln) had as strong of a spring as any Ohio prospect regardless of class, while cousins Terrence Landers (Dayton Dunbar) and Trey Landers (Huber Heights Wayne) were very impressive on the wings. Look for Roderick Caldwell (Huber Heights Wayne) to also continue his consistently good play in July, as AOR looks to make a deep run at the 16u Nike Peach Jam.
- Team Work – Another injury riddled team that had moments were they were good and moments were they were really impressive, Team Work had a strong spring behind the play of their two big men, Jon Teske (Medina) and Micah Potter (Mentor). At the forward spot, Luke Vargo (Dublin Coffman) was banged up but showed signs of coming on strong, while Deven Stover (Cleveland St. Ignatius), Mason Baich (Dublin Jerome), Seth Fuller (Dublin Coffman) and other role players all carried the offensive load for Team Work at times. Fully healthy for July, this team will be in strong contention to make a deep run at the Adidas Invitational and AAU Nationals, with their size and skill level being highlighted by their emphasis on team basketball.
- The fifth spot could go to several teams at the 16u level, so we’re not going to specify just one. At different times in the spring, Team One, VCC Ohio Warriors, TNBA, Nova Village and Ohio Prep all impressed TDP, so we’re going to leave all of them listed as being about a tie for the fifth spot; depending on who is playing best that day.
- Team Work – This is a close call between all three teams that TDP is going to discuss here, but we believe that Team Work belongs at the top right now, thanks to their overall body of work. Several players on this team went from almost unknown to top 2017 prospects in Ohio; no one more than Derek Koch (Salem Northwestern). In addition to the powerful forward, Griffin Lutz (Athens), Trey Pugh (Jonathan Alder) and AJ Gareri (Akron Ellet) all made names for themselves in the spring. Team Work’s 15u squad will try and make a similar July run to the one that their 15u team made last year, with some high profile wins at the Adidas Invitational being the first of many goals.
- King James Shooting Stars – Some roster moves made the stock for the 15u King James team rise and fall at times, but the overall group that they have put on the floor is a talented and athletic squad of passionate players who TDP really likes. Markell Johnson (Cleveland East Tech) has been the most exciting perimeter player in 2017 in Ohio to follow, while Jaylen Harris (Cleveland Heights), Parker Stewart (Pickerington Central), Jayvon Graves (Akron SVSM) and Jarious Ward (Reynoldsburg) are all players who showed good upside at times, as the Shooting Stars made deep runs at the Nike Super Sixteen and the King James Classic. With their athleticism and length on the defensive end, King James will always be a tough matchup at the 15 level, and is a dangerous team for opponents at AAU Nationals.
- All-Ohio Red – Another team that made several roster changes throughout the spring, AOR hit the jackpot in May with the addition of center Kaleb Wesson (Westerville South). The big fella emerged in April as arguably Ohio’s top 2017 prospect, and picked up his play even further once he joined Red. Frontcourt players Logan Hill (Massillon Jackson) and Chase Munro (Lexington) showed promise down the road, while perimeter guys like Lonnie Berry Jr (Cincinnati Colerain), Correy Long (Cincinnati Hughes) and Storm Cook (Piqua) all had nice offensive stretches in games that TDP viewed. This team still has to improve their chemistry, but they have the talent to be a force in the month of July.
We admittedly haven’t seen all of the top teams in the 15u division enough to rank them at this point. So at this point we’re just going to list other top teams. Keep an eye on the following teams for July: Cincinnati Lakers, DB Hoops, Ohio Basketball Club, OBC Adidas Elite and All-Ohio White.
July is getting closer and closer. With that, schools are trying their hardest right now to cement their position with top targets heading into next month’s AAU Evaluation Period, where D1 colleges will be on the road watching players compete in tournaments. This past week has been particularly busy for some of Ohio’s top targets, as new offers have been extended, and players have taken visits. Here’s the latest from around the Buckeye State….
- Caleb Tregre – ’15 Cincinnati Walnut Hills PG: One of the great compliments for a point guard is being called “solid”. This means that you’re rarely going to see a turnover or a defensive error from this player, who usually plays a coach on the floor type of role. However, as much as coaches want a “solid” point guard, they covet a “really good” point guard even more. In the last year, Tregre has taken the steps to go from the former to the later, showing solid improvement since transferring into Walnut Hills. The small but passionate guard is a lockdown defender, handles the ball effectively against pressure and can score from long-range or with the mid-range pull-up. Tregre has become one of TDP’s favorite point guards to track because of his heart; but it’s also his head that has college coaches excited. The rising senior carries a near-perfect GPA, while also producing an ACT test score that qualifies him for the Ivy League. Columbia, Princeton and UNC Ashville are among the D1 schools showing Tregre interest at this point, to go along with D2 powerhouse Lincoln Memorial out of Tennessee. Playing on the circuit with the King James EYBL team, Tregre has showcased his game against the best, and will have one more summer and high school season to continue to prove to coaches that he belongs on the court.
- Ryan Mikesell – ’15 St. Henry SF: Just two days after securing a commitment from a local prospect in Huber Heights Wayne PF Xeyrius Williams, the Dayton Flyers extended a scholarship offer to another local prospect in Mikesell. An AAU teammate of Williams’ with All-Ohio Black 17u, Mikesell had a standout spring on the circuit, including a signature performance on championship Sunday at the King James Classic in Akron during the April evaluation period. While he had been attracting mostly just mid-major interest up until the Dayton offer, several scouts have been quietly thinking that Mikesell could end up at the mid-major plus level. With his skill-set, size and smooth feel for the game, Mikesell has an offensive game that could translate well to college basketball.
- Kipper Nichols – ’15 Cleveland St. Edward SF: As small forwards around the country begin to make commitments, high major schools are expanding their recruiting territory, looking for a hidden gem. Both Minnesota and Maryland must think that Nichols is one of those potential gems, as the two schools ventured into the state of Ohio to extend offers to the rising senior out of Cleveland. With his strength, versatility and toughness, Nichols should be one of the more closely tracked class of 2015 prospects in the state during the July AAU session.
- Nick Ward – ’16 Gahanna Lincoln C: Ward’s name continues to grow in recruiting circles, as the Columbus area post picked up another high major offer this week, this time coming from Kansas State head coach Bruce Webber. The Wildcats join the Missouri Tigers as big programs that have offered Ward, who had a terrific spring on the travel circuit with All-Ohio Red’s 16u team. Ward also took an unofficial visit down to Xavier this week, after missing his chance to see the Musketeer campus earlier this month when his team participated in team camp, but Ward was at Nike Elite 100 Camp in Saint Louis.
- Ohio State also had a busy recruiting week, as the Buckeyes hosted a pair of in-state class of 2016 stars on separate unofficial visits. First, Lima Senior point guard Xavier Simpson stopped by campus to visit the arena, which he just recently won the State Championship at as a sophomore at Lima Central Catholic. Then, local forward Matthew Moyer visited OSU as well. The visit was just one highlight in another hectic week for Moyer, as the 6’8 forward also received an offer from Butler and new interest from Connecticut.