Open Gym Week #2

25 Aug

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….

Highlights Part I

Highlights Part II

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.

Open Gym Season Underway

17 Aug

It’s been a quiet few days in terms of recruiting news, as only one other Ohio senior has made a decision regarding his basketball future. ’16 Pickerington Central wing Jalen Tate became the second Buckeye State prospect to decide to cross the Ohio river to attend Northern Kentucky University, as new NKU head coach John Brannen is clearly focused on building recruiting relationships in his bordering state. Tate is the third member of NKU’s 2016 class to make an early commitment, joining a familiar face in Lima Central Catholic forward Dantez Walton.

Outside of the Tate commitment, however, this weekend was less about recruiting and more about getting back on the hardwood as players have finally recovered from a rigorous July. Triple Double Prospects has returned to hosting weekly open gyms in Cincinnati on Saturday’s for top high school talent, as our first invite only session at Walnut Hills High School drew over forty players. Below you’ll see some highlights from session one, with more to follow each week.

Additionally, TDP headed over to another Cincinnati open gym on Sunday, when we checked out a session led by Jamar Mosley, creator and lead trainer of Second Half Athletes. For highlights from that open gym, which featured both high school and college players, click here.

Interested in attending the next TDP Elite Open Gym? Email Corey Albertson at tdpcorey@gmail.com, or message us on Twitter @Corey_Albertson to request an invite to this exclusive run.

Latest Ohio Recruiting Updates

12 Aug
Derek Culver

Derek Culver

It’s been six days since our last recruiting news post, and, not surprisingly, a lot has changed in the recruiting landscape around the state of Ohio. As predicted, another Ohio senior has made a commitment to a Division I school, while several rising juniors have seen spikes in their recruitment with new visits, offers and interest coming out daily. Here’s the latest recruiting news from around the Buckeye State….

Carlik Jones – ’16 Cincinnati Aiken PG: Jones became the latest Ohio senior to commit to a NCAA D1 school this past weekend when the 6’0 point guard committed to Radford. A Big South conference school out of Virginia, Radford was one of the first schools to offer Jones in July, after the point guard opened the evaluation period with a bang at the Adidas Gauntlet Finals in Atlanta. A smooth point guard who fits the past-first mold, Jones chose Radford over Bowling Green, Northern Kentucky and some other low to mid-major interest.

Quinton Dove – ’16 Euclid PF: Dove burst onto the scene as a 2016 to watch after a strong spring with TNBA on the circuit; however, this was met by confusion, as no one had seen him play the past three years at Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joe’s. Well, Dove is now enrolled at Euclid, and promises to be a key piece for new head coach John Harris when the season starts this winter. A 6’7 forward with excellent athleticism, length and upside, Dove should be one of the top prep players in the Northeastern part of the state this coming year, should he be able to continue to improve his academic standing. While his grades will greatly impact his recruitment, Dove did get his first NCAA D1 offer this past weekend, as Buffalo reached out and extended a scholarship.

Xavier Simpson – ’16 Lima Senior PG: Last week we wrote about the influx of offers for Ohio’s top 2016 point guard, while this week it’s all about visits for the Lima Senior product. Simpson took the first of his official visits (NCAA allows up to five) this past weekend, when he and his father traveled to the campus of Iowa State. The Cyclones have been recruiting Simpson for some time now, and even though former head coach Fred Hoidberg is now coaching the NBA’s Chicago Bulls, the new ISU staff still views Simpson as their top point guard target in the 2016 class.

Willie Jackson – ’16 Garfield Heights SF/PF: This athletic forward ended his summer in style by attracting interest from several high-major programs; and now it is time for Jackson to decide which schools interest him the most, as the 6’6 athlete begins to set visit dates. As of now, Jackson has plans to officially visit both Boston College and Missouri in September, according to Garfield Heights head coach Sonny Johnson, but schools like SMU and Temple also could receive visits before a final decision is announced.

Derek Funderburk – ’16 Cleveland St. Edward PF: After months of speculation, word became official yesterday that former Cleveland St. Edward power forward Derek Funderburk, an Ohio State commit, will leave the Buckeye State for his senior year and attend a prep school. The most likely landing spot for Funderburk is probably Montverde Academy in Florida, where fellow Ohio native and 2016 OSU commit Micah Potter (originally from Mentor) will prep as well. Regardless of where he ends up, we can confirm that Funderburk is no longer enrolled at St. Edward, and will definitely pursue an out of state option.

Derek Culver – ’17 Warren Harding PF: Ohio’s top 2017 prospect, in our eyes, had a big recruiting week as the 6’9 forward visited one prestigious Big Ten program and received a new scholarship offer from another. Culver took an unofficial visit to West Lafayette, Indiana, over the weekend to visit Purdue’s campus, while shortly after he received a scholarship offer from the Boilermaker’s in-state rival, Indiana. Head coach Tom Crean has certainly shown more interest in Ohio, offering 2016’s Ibi Watson (who has since committed to Michigan) and Xavier Simpson, and the Hoosiers head coach must have his eye set on continuing that trend into the 2017 class. Schools like Purdue, Ohio State, Xavier, West Virginia and Illinois were among those that were most visible at Culver’s games this July, as the rising junior forward is likely to have an extremely busy recruitment over the next two years.

Derek Koch – ’17 Salem Northwestern PF/C: Koch added his second NCAA D1 offer this past week, as Oakland University joined Toledo as the latest mid-major school to offer the powerful 6’7 post player. Schools at both the mid and high-major levels are also showing interest in Koch, as West Virginia, Iowa and Akron are among those who tracked him heavily in July with DB Hoops.

AJ Gareri – ’17 Akron Ellet PF: Another DB Hoops player who has seen his recruitment pick up, Gareri added an offer from Toledo this past weekend. The Rockets offer is the third NCAA D1 scholarship option for Gareri, who also lists Kent State and Ohio University as school who have extended offers. Like Koch, Gareri is being recruited some at the mid and high-major levels, as his versatility offensively as a skilled 6’8 forward is certainly intriguing enough to make him one of Ohio’s elite rising juniors.

Correy Long – ’17 Cincinnati Hughes PG/SG: Since receiving an offer from NCAA D1 school Bethune-Cookman during the first July evaluation period, Long’s name has steadily received more and more buzz this summer. Reporting interest from almost a dozen NCAA D1 schools, Long has the eye of almost all of the regional mid-major programs, and is now in the process of setting up some unofficial visits. According to his high school program, the 6’3 combo guard will visit Ohio University and Evansville in the near future, with Evansville being reportedly on the verge of offering after Long performed well at their team camp back in June.

Ohio Recruiting News

6 Aug

The end of the summer and early fall is usually the most action-packed part of the year when it comes to college basketball recruiting, as rising seniors fresh off of their final season of AAU ball begin to make their decisions for college, while rising juniors begin to get more visits from coaches and try to earn scholarship offers. This past week has been exceptionally busy, as we’ve seen five prospects from Ohio’s 2016 class make verbal commitments, while another has actually de-committed from a school. Here’s the full rundown of the last few days in Ohio recruiting news…

Henry Baddley – ’16 Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s SF: Baddley committed to the Butler Bulldogs out of the Big East Conference on Thursday afternoon, less than twenty-four hours after receiving an offer from the well-known Indianapolis based program. A high-flying athlete who earned a lot of praise from college coaches after his April and July performances on the circuit with King James, Baddley has long been considered a mid-major priority as well as a high-major sleeper; but all of that came to an end on Thursday when Baddley spurned offers from several top MAC schools to commit to Butler. With his athleticism and size on the wing at 6’5, Baddley should bring a lot of versatility to the court for the Bulldogs beginning in ’16-’17.

Dantez Walton – ’16 Lima Central Catholic SF/PF: Walton committed to Northern Kentucky this week, ending a mid-major recruiting battle as the 6’6 forward became the first Ohio prospect to commit to new NKU head coach John Brannen. Walton considered multiple NCAA D1 offers from both MAC and Horizon League schools before choosing the Norsemen, as Walton should fit in nicely on a roster that already contains some forwards who can step out and shoot the ball. With the toughness and versatility to play inside or outside, look for Walton to eventually turn into a very solid player for Brannen at NKU.

Ryan Custer – ’16 Cincinnati Elder PF: Playing behind several seniors on a talented Elder team last year, Custer’s name wasn’t one that got a lot of attention; however, all of that changed come AAU season as the Shining Stars starting power forward had a breakout spring and summer leading to several offers. This week, Custer jumped on the first NCAA D1 offer to come his way, verbally committing to Wright State and head coach Billy Donlon. A tough and energetic 6’6 forward who can step out and shoot the basketball, Custer is a pick-and-pop forward who should have a huge year in the Cincinnati Catholic league (GCL South) as a senior, as his combination of physicality and skill should be too much for the competition. The commitment by Custer to Wright State is certainly a blow to several NCAA D2 schools, as several of the top programs tracked Custer at every Shining Stars game this July.

Xavier Simpson – ’16 Lima Senior PG: After another standout season on the travel circuit with King James, Simpson’s reputation continues to grow as he’s consistently ranked among the top rising senior point guards in the nation. This week, Simpson’s recruitment has also picked up, as the 5’10 floor general added offers from Miami (FL) and Indiana on consecutive days. With schools like Iowa, Iowa State, VCU, Butler, Purdue, Xavier, Illinois and other high-majors also recruiting Simpson heavily, Lima Senior head coach Quincey Simpson told TDP that his son plans on taking the process slowly and hearing what all the schools have to offer before making a decision.

Frankie Hughes – ’16 Garfield Heights SG: Hughes announced his top ten schools on Thursday, putting his name in the news a second time this week after earning an offer from Wisconsin earlier. The 6’4 wing guard included Minnesota, Wisconsin, Penn State, Dayton, Florida State, St. Joe’s, Texas A&M, Wichita State, Tulane and San Francisco on his top ten list, while Garfield Heights head coach Sonny Johnson also announced that Hughes will take an official visit to Minnesota in September and will likely officially visit Wisconsin as well.

Evan Clayborne – ’16 Dayton Thurgood Marshall PF/C: The recent Dayton Dunbar transfer made headlines not by committing, but by re-opening his recruitment, as the 6’6 post is no longer committed to Buffalo. After playing with Ohio Basketball Club in Las Vegas to end the July period, Clayborne made the decision to reevaluate his recruitment, as the news was first reported early in the week by OBC head coach Corey Tucker.

Andrew Emrick – ’16 Lakota East SF/PF: Just days after accumulating offers from about every top NCAA D2 school in the region, Emrick, a 6’7 forward committed to Fairmont State this week. One of the top programs in the well-known Mountain East Conference in West Virginia, Emrick was a top target of FSU as they were able to beat out D2 powerhouse schools like Bellarmine, Findlay, West Liberty and Lincoln Memorial. After having a huge July with Shining Star, Emrick has climbed up the rankings among Ohio seniors, as his size and versatility make him an impressive prospect who is primed for a big statistical year after playing a role last year as a junior on a senior-laden Lakota East team.

Lamont Rhodes – ’16 Bedford PF: One of several players from a TNBA 17u team to attract some of the top NCAA D2 programs to every one of their games in July, the Northeast Ohio forward ended his recruitment on Thursday afternoon, committing to local program Lake Erie College. Rhodes has long been a target of LEC, as his athleticism and skill-set allow for him to show excellent potential as a scoring power forward once he learns to harness his talent and put all of his tools together.

TDP is Back in Action

3 Aug

As many of you know, Triple Double Prospects spent the past year under the umbrella of the Prep Hoops Network, operating as Prep Hoops Ohio. However, after an enjoyable year of working with some really strong basketball minds we have decided to go back on our own, reopening the Triple Double Prospects domain.

Beginning immediately, TDP will once again be the one-stop spot in Ohio for all of the latest scouting news, commitment updates, event recap reports, prospect rankings and everything else involving boys prep basketball in the Buckeye State. Also, as in the past, we will try to provide occasional coverage of Kentucky as well, with rankings from the Bluegrass State already being in the works.

For now, don’t miss our newest Ohio prospect rankings (see tab above), and check back on this site frequently as content will be updated regularly.

Thank you for reading, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and continue joining us at TDP as we try and provide exposure for the top amateur talent in Ohio and Kentucky.

Two More D1 Verbals

21 Sep
Jibri Blount

Jibri Blount

Two more Ohio seniors came off of the recruiting board over the weekend, as the state’s 2015 class added another duo of Division I commits to the ever growing list. With one of the two choosing an in-state school, and the other headed to the Southwestern Athletic Conference, Ohio’s class continues to see players choose a variety of different schools and coaches. Here’s more on the two commitments, and other recruiting news…..

  • Jibri Blount – ’15 Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s SF: After just one season at Akron SVSM, after transferring in from Morgantown, West Virginia, Blount was able to put his name on the map enough to earn a Division I offer, and make a commitment. The athletic senior forward chose Cleveland State on Sunday, committing to the Horizon League school just days after receiving the scholarship offer. Look for Blount to try and establish a hard-nosed reputation at Cleveland State, where his size and athleticism could make him a tough rebounder, defender and transition scorer. Relying on Blount, Akron commit Josh Williams, junior Henry Baddley and sophomore Jayvon Graves, Akron SVSM should be a fun team to watch in Blount’s senior year, as the Irish look to get back to the Final Four yet again.
  • Brandon Johnson – ’15 Cleveland Garfield Heights PF: An athletic 6’7 post who has flown somewhat under the radar after playing behind class of 2014 center, and Ohio State signee, Dave Bell, Johnson is a solid Division I prospect who also made a commitment this weekend. Johnson chose Alabama State out of the SWAC, a league that should cater to his up-tempo style of running the floor for dunks and trying to chase down shots to block. After a strong summer with All-Ohio White, Johnson was receiving regional D2 interest mostly, before finding the right fit for himself at the Division I level with Alabama State. Look for Johnson to have a very productive senior season at Garfield Heights, on another talented Bulldogs team led by juniors Frankie Hughes and Willie Jackson.
  • Ohio University hosted a pair of official visitors from their home-state this weekend, when the Bobcats played host to ’15 Columbus Pickerington Central wing guard Rodney Culver and ’15 Cincinnati Shroder point guard Jalen Avery. This was the first official visit (to TDP’s knowledge) for Culver, who is also receiving interest from other MAC programs like Bowling Green, as well as other Division I’s like Alcorn State. The visit was the second trip to Athens for Avery, who visited unofficially this summer, and his second official visit of the fall after previously visiting Kent State.
  • Seth Towns – ’16 Columbus Northland SF: Two more high majors got more heavily involved in the recruitment of Columbus Northland star forward Seth Towns this past week, when the school hosted coaches from Iowa and Stanford to watch their versatile junior. The Hawkeyes and Cardinal are the latest of a long list of elite programs to visit Towns this fall, with Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery personally making the trip. In-state power Ohio State has also been by Northland recently, checking out one of the top local players, and a prospect who can be compared somewhat to current Buckeyes sophomore forward Marc Loving, another former in-state high school star.
  • Jason Carter – ’16 Johnstown SF/PF: After having a terrific AAU season with Nova Village, the ascension of Johnstown star forward Jason Carter has continued this fall, with several schools stopping by to evaluate him at open gym. This past week, Carter played host to Akron, Miami (OH), Ohio University, Furman and Wright State, proving that if you can play college coaches will travel to small towns to come check you out. Carter is taking his recruitment on the road this weekend, as the 6’7 combo forward will head to Akron to unofficially visit with the Zips and their coach Keith Dambrot.
  • Another senior from a solid class of 2015 group out of Kentucky made his decision this week as well, as Knott County Central (KY) forward Evan Hall chose to stay close to home when he verbally committed to IUPUI. Hall had an excellent July with The Ville on the AAU scene, and chose IUPUI over a dozen other Division I offers. A versatile forward with great competitiveness and a deceptive skill-set, Hall should be considered a solid signing for the Jaguars out of the Horizon League.

Vest to Wright State

18 Sep
Xavier Simpson

Xavier Simpson

The fall recruiting period has been in full swing for a while now, and college coaches are continuing to make visits to the Buckeye State to evaluate current recruiting targets or to try and identify new ones. Players from the classes of 2015, 2016 and 2017 have been receiving these visits in the last couple of weeks, while one the top shooting guards in the class of 2015 also decided to end his recruitment on Wednesday night. Here is the latest news and other rumblings from around Ohio……

  • Alan Vest – ’15 Dayton Chaminade Julienne SG: Vest committed to Wright State on Wednesday night, choosing to stay in his hometown of Dayton to play college basketball for the Raiders under head coach Billy Donlon. While Vest represents the latest commitment for Wright State as the Raiders continue to put a higher emphasis on keeping top in-state talent in their state at the upper-tier Horizon League program, Vest is a prospect who didn’t need too much swaying to make a commitment. The younger brother of former Raider wing Matt Vest, who was a senior under Donlon last year, the younger Vest had a serious family connection to the Wright State program. In the end, that connection was enough to keep Vest, a 6’3 shooting guard who really burst onto the scene in his junior year at Dayton CJ and then in the July AAU season with Shining Stars, at home. Vest will bring a diverse skill-set that includes a good feel for finding teammates with passes on drives and long-range shooting to Wright State when he enrolls next year. Vest is the second Ohio prospect to join Wright State’s 2015 class, joining Youngstown Ursline guard Mark Hughes.
  • Carlton Bragg – ’15 Cleveland VASJ PF: Bragg continues to draw national media attention in the recruiting world over the last couple of days, as his family has played host to some of the superstars of college coaching for in-home visits with his five finalists in Bragg’s home in Cleveland. In the past few days Bragg has hosted both Kansas head coach Bill Self and Kentucky head coach John Calipari to allow them to give their best recruiting pitch, with Illinois head coach John Groce scheduled to come in soon. Those three schools are considered the likely frontrunners for Bragg, who also lists Arizona and UCLA on his final list of five schools.
  • Xavier Simpson – ’16 Lima Senior PG: Ohio State, Northwestern, Purdue, Xavier, Butler and Michigan State are among the schools that have visited the Lima Senior point guard already this fall, and the period is far from over. After a standout AAU season with King James, following a State Championship run at Lima Central Catholic, Simpson has established himself as one of the elite point guards in the Midwest, and high-major coaches have certainly heard the news. It will be interesting to follow Lima Senior this coming year, as new head coach Quincey Simpson has a plethora of talented guards to surround his son with, including Western Carolina commit Elijah Pughsley.
  • Micah Potter – ’16 Mentor PF/C: After being labeled by this site as the breakout player in Ohio’s 2016 class during the July AAU period, the 6’9 post from the Cleveland area has seen his recruitment skyrocket. Most recently, Mentor high school has played host to schools like West Virginia, Xavier, Butler and Davidson, with Potter scheduled to unofficially visit the Mountaineers and head coach Bob Huggins later this month. College coaches always put an emphasize on skilled and tough big guys, and while Potter isn’t a high-flying post, he brings a tremendous amount of positives to the floor and still is showing signs that he will continue to improve.
  • James Manns – ’16 Columbus Walnut Ridge SF: It’s been a busy fall for Manns as the 6’6 (or taller) combo forward from Columbus made the transfer across town from Marion-Franklin to Walnut Ridge. Now, the junior has earned his first Division I scholarship offer, as Stony Brook pulled the trigger earlier this week on the skilled and athletic forward. Manns has received significant interest at the Division I level from MAC and low-major teams, but this represents the first offer, a list that could grow quickly if Manns can perform well in a Walnut Ridge uniform.
  • Don’t forget about Ohio’s 2017 class or current sophomores just because the 2016 class is so deep and talented. Several 2017 prospects have received new recruiting interest this September including the state’s top prospect, Columbus Westerville South center Kaleb Wesson, the top guard, Cleveland East Tech combo guard Markell Johnson and a promising forward in Warren Harding’s Derek Culver. First, Wesson has hosted Ohio State and Dayton, plus a few others at his school; while Johnson has received significant new interest from West Virginia, the top Big XII team in terms of recruiting Ohio prospects. Finally, Culver has really drawn the interest of coaches, as schools like Purdue, Xavier, Illinois, West Virginia and Dayton have all expressed interest already.
  • Players from all over Ohio, particularly the Central Ohio area, should make sure and get registered early for the annual Hidden Gems Fall Showcase, an exposure event that should draw over 40 college coaches to Columbus. More information can be found by going to this link: LINK
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