3CH Showcase Recap

17 Aug

Anthony Christian

Anthony Christian

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)

Dartis, Hughes Staying Home

11 Aug
Jordan Dartis

Jordan Dartis

Two more Ohio class of 2015 prospects joined the list of committed players in the past twenty-four hours, as a pair of scoring guards committed to D1 college programs located within the borders of the Buckeye state.

First, on Sunday night, Youngstown Ursline combo guard Mark Hughes committed to Wright State and their head coach Billy Donlon. Then, Newark shooting guard Jordan Dartis made a verbal pledge to new Ohio University head coach Saul Phillips, the first in-state commitment for Phillips since he took over for Jimmy Christian this past spring.

In finishing up their recruiting journey, Hughes and Dartis couldn’t have taken too more different paths.

Both prospects were highly sought after by mid-major schools, as Dartis has been consistently ranked by Triple Double Prospects as the second best shooting guard in Ohio’s 2015 class, while Hughes skyrocketed up the rankings after a strong summer with his DB Hoops AAU team, and is now ranked among the top point guards in the class.

First with Hughes, the WSU Raiders are getting a scoring point guard who can really shoot the ball with range. Hughes is a gifted offensive player with a deliberate style to his game, and he has shown the ability to be a real playmaker in pick and roll situations. With a pretty good frame for a high school guard, the Youngstown product should be able to contribute on both ends in the competitive Horizon League.

Dartis, who hails from the outskirts of the greater Columbus area, is a strong combo guard who has spent most of his career playing off of the ball. He’s a streaky scorer who has shown the ability to knock down long-range shots, but is even better in creating shot attempts off of the bounce. Having proven himself time and time again over the course of three summers with his All-Ohio Red AAU team, the Newark product is definitely one of Ohio’s top rising senior prospects.

While Wright State and Ohio University get to celebrate the fact that they landed a quality in-state guard, many regional programs are disappointed to have missed out. Before making his decision, Dartis was also weighing either interest or offers from several MAC and Horizon league teams, as well as Minnesota and Kennesaw State. Hughes chose WSU over a couple of other D1 offers, including one from local program Youngstown State.

Wagner Headed to Iowa

10 Aug
Ahmad Wagner

Ahmad Wagner

Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery hit a home run the last time he reached into Ohio to sign a player, securing a commitment from class of 2011 forward Aaron White, a player that many of the top Big Ten programs didn’t want. White has gone on to have three very good years for the Hawkeyes and now, McCaffery will try to do it again, this time with a much more prominent program intact, as his team got a verbal pledge from an Ohio rising senior on Sunday afternoon.

Huber Heights Wayne power forward Ahmad Wagner became the fourth class of 2015 prospect from the Buckeye State to commit to a Big Ten program when he chose the Hawkeyes.

After a tremendous junior season at Wayne, located in suburban Dayton, Wagner also was effective for his All-Ohio Red club team in the Nike EYBL, helping him earn even more interest from both mid and high major schools alike.

In the end, Wagner chose the Hawkeyes, one of the Big Ten’s up and coming programs, over other offers from Minnesota, Texas Tech and several MAC and other mid-major offers. Additionally, Wagner did not have offers, but had received varying levels of interest from schools like West Virginia, Butler and Stanford.

A hard-nosed forward who stands around 6’7 but plays much bigger, Wagner is a high-effort guy who really competes on the glass. As a prospect who also starred on the football field, Wagner has a college ready body with good strength and athleticism, which helps negate his lack of height inside at the high major level.

More skilled than he often gets credit for, Wagner is a good mid-range shooter, a strong finisher inside and has continued to improve his skill-set every year he’s been at Wayne under head coach Travis Trice.

Starting with Wagner and Dayton commit Xeyrius Williams, Huber Heights Wayne will be one of the favorites to win the D1 State Championship in Ohio, on a team that also features ’15 PG D’Mitrik Trice, ’16 PG Roderick Caldwell and ’16 wing Trey Landers.

With Williams and Wagner both off the board, attention in Huber Heights will shift to the 2016 kids, as well as Trice, who has several low and mid major offers.

The commitment of Wagner to Iowa gives Ohio a dozen prospects who have made early commitments to D1 colleges from the 2015 class, in a class that ultimately will see thirty-plus prospects sign at that level.

Moyer Commits to ‘Cuse

8 Aug
Matt Moyer

Matt Moyer

Another one of Ohio’s top 2016 prospects came off the board on Friday afternoon when Matt Moyer surprised recruiting analysts with his commitment to Syracuse.

Just when it seemed that Moyer’s name was as hot it could get, as the 6’8 forward out of Columbus Gahanna Lincoln was racking up high major offers at a crazy rate, the rising junior ended the process when he committed to the Orange.

This commitment might come as a surprise in terms of the timing, however, Moyer did give the ‘Cuse rave reviews after visiting their upstate New York campus this week for the Orange’s Elite Camp, where Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim offered the Columbus area forward a scholarship.

In making an early commitment to Syracuse, Moyer chose the Orange over other offers from Ohio State, Iowa, USC, Xavier, Virginia Tech, Wisconsin, Butler, Wake Forest, Florida, Tennessee and several others.

An athletic forward with great upside, Moyer was heavily hyped following some strong performances a year ago at Coach Vic’s Open Gym in Columbus. However, the Gahanna Lincoln forward did not have a particularly memorable sophomore season, as Michigan State signee Javon Bess commanded most of the attention. Moyer turned his game around 180-degrees in the AAU season, however, dominating in the spring and summer with his VCC Ohio Warriors team along with close friend, and Columbus Northland star forward, Seth Towns.

Moyer’s skill-set really intrigues college coaches as he projects as a true hybrid forward who can attack the rim, Moyer has the athleticism to really influence the game around the rim, and is still learning how to use his tools to control a game. As we said earlier in the week, Moyer will seriously contend for the top spot in Ohio’s 2016 rankings, with today’s commitment to Syracuse adding to his resume.

The style of play that Moyer likes to play is ideal for the Syracuse Orange, as the forward should fit in nicely in Jim Boeheim’s famous zone defense. Syracuse has a long history under Boeheim in developing elite forwards, and in two years when he arrives on campus, Moyer should have all of the opportunities that an ACC school like Syracuse offers to become a great player.

Moyer joins Medina center Jon Teske, who committed to Michigan on Thursday night, as the first Ohio prospects out of a loaded 2016 class to make a commitment to a high-major program.

Teske Chooses Michigan

7 Aug
Jon Teske

Jon Teske

For almost two years now Triple Double Prospects have been ranting and raving about the talent in Ohio’s class of 2016. That class, who is made up of prospects who will be high school juniors this coming season, is not only loaded in terms of quality at the top, but also in quantity of mid and high major division one prospects. Thursday night marked a special day for this class, as the first Ohio prospect came off the recruiting board.

Medina center Jon Teske was that player, as the Cleveland area junior committed to the Michigan Wolverines, announcing his decision publicly via his Twitter account around 8 PM.

After starring at Medina as a sophomore, Teske impressed college coaches this spring and summer with his Team Work AAU team, prompting Michigan head coach John Beilein to extend a scholarship offer, as well as the in-state school, the Ohio State Buckeyes.

In the end, Teske chose to play his college basketball in Ann Arbor, Michigan, choosing the Wolverines over rivals Ohio State, Purdue, Indiana and Notre Dame.

A skilled 6-foot-10 post with considerable offensive upside, Teske is a very good passer and finisher with his back to the basket who can step out and shoot the ball with range comfortably. He is still in need of adding considerable weight before he is ready to battle in the rigorous Big Ten every game, but the height and offensive feel for the game that Teske has is not something that coaches can teach. Also a hardworking player who is known as an above-average shot-blocker and good floor-runner, the Medina product has shown consistently that he has the athleticism for his size to be a threat in the Big Ten.

This skill-set makes him a hand-in-glove fit for Michigan, who has built a top-tier program around fundamentally sound players who will buy into playing an unselfish offensive style. Additionally, Michigan has also made their southern neighbors priorities in the recruiting game, as Beilein has signed stars like Trey Burke and Caris Levert out of the Buckeye State since taking over for the Big Blue.

While Teske is the first 2016 prospect out of Ohio to commit to a high major, he definitely won’t be the last, as he is part of a class that will likely send several prospects to the Big Ten or similar conferences. Currently ranked as Triple Double Prospects top ranked center in his class, look for Teske to emerge even further into the spotlight in his junior season, especially after the departure of former Medina star guard Craig Randall, who moved with his family to Arizona for his senior season.

Click the following link for some highlights showcasing some of Teske’s potential as an interior scorer and shot-blocker: VIDEO

Moyer Continues Ascension

7 Aug
RJ Jones

RJ Jones

School is going to start back up soon, meaning that the summer recruiting period is starting to come to a close. As the period wraps up, more and more Ohio prospects are taking visits to college campuses, as they attempt to find the right fit for the next level. With those visits come offers, and several Buckeye State prospects have attracted those offers this past week. Here’s the latest recruiting news from around the state…..

  • Matt Moyer – ’16 Columbus Gahanna Lincoln PF: The rising junior continued his meteoric rise to stardom this past week, picking up two elite high major offers in the process. Both the Ohio State Buckeyes and Syracuse Orange extended offers Moyer’s way, putting the Columbus area forward back on the national spotlight. The 2016 forward received his Syracuse offer after performing well in front of head coach Jim Boeheim at the Orange’s Elite Camp this week; while the Buckeyes offered a couple of days before, as they try and keep the local prospect in his home-state for his college years. Heading into the fall, Moyer is getting strong consideration for the top spot in our power forward rankings for the class of 2016, as it is currently pretty much neck-and-neck between him and Cleveland St. Edward product Derek Funderburk.
  • Jalen Avery – ’15 Cincinnati Shroder PG: The MAC recruiting picture cleared up a little bit this week when the Toledo Rockets added commitments from Indiana guards Jaelan Sanford and Chandler White, and for now it appears that Avery is the top priority of some of the in-state mid-majors. Avery picked up another offer on Thursday, earning a scholarship opportunity from new Ohio University head coach Saul Phillips while on an unofficial visit to the school’s Athens campus. The Bobcats join Kent State and Miami (OH) at the top of Avery’s list, while the Cincinnati city league guard is also considering Horizon League rival Wright State as well. One MAC coach told TDP this week that Avery, “would step into our league and be the best passer for four years, no questions asked,” adding to our report that the rising senior point guard is a commodity among mid-major recruiters.
  • David Dennis – ’15 Columbus Harvest Prep PG: The somewhat under the radar point guard from Columbus was the only Ohio player to actually accept a scholarship offer this past week, committing to Division II powerhouse West Liberty out of West Virginia. Dennis weighed several high profile Division II offers that he received in July, before eventually landing on West Liberty, who finished as runners-up last year after making it to the National Championship game. Dennis is a talented point guard with good size who is capable as a scorer or passer, and his ability to light up the scoreboard won’t go to waste at West Liberty, who is always among the highest scoring teams in the county.
  • Craig Randall – ’15 Phoenix Shadow Mountain (AZ) PG: While he no longer resides in Ohio, TDP still considers Randall, who starred for three years in Northeast Ohio (most recently at Medina) to be a Buckeye for life. This past weekend, the Phoenix area combo guard added his first Big Ten offer, receiving a scholarship from the Minnesota Gophers and their head coach Richard Pitino. A pure shooting lefty with a lot of offensive ability, Randall has accumulated mid and high major interest and offers these past few months, and could end up signing on either level. Always rated as one of Ohio’s top guards in a good 2015 class, expect for Randall to play both guard spots at the college level.
  • RJ Jones – ’15 Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s PG: Jones made headlines on Thursday, as he made his return to Ohio, transferring from Huntington Prep (WV) to Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s, one of Ohio’s most storied programs. Before spending the second half of his junior season at Huntington Prep, Jones previously spent his first two and a half seasons at Cleveland Benedictine. Returning to Ohio, Jones immediately makes Akron SVSM one of the favorites again at the D2 level in Ohio, as he’ll join fellow point guard, and University of Akron commit, Josh Williams in the Irish backcourt.

Ward Adding Offers

1 Aug
Nick Ward

Nick Ward

In today’s ever-changing world of college basketball recruiting, you have to move pretty fast to keep up. Information that was fresh just a few hours ago can become outdated so fast, that it is like that information was several years old. This has been the case for several Ohio prospects in the last couple of days, as more players have received offers, while some of the top players have received additional offers. Adding on to where we left off a couple of days ago, here are some of the latest rumblings that we’ve heard from around the Buckeye State….

Nick Ward – ’16 Gahanna Lincoln C: Very few class of 2016 big men from anywhere in the Midwest had better a better July than Ward, who was often dominant for his All-Ohio Red team, especially in the final period in Louisville for the AAU Super Showcase. Not so coincidentally, college coaches have been blowing up Ward’s phone lines to offer him scholarships. This past week, the Columbus area rising junior post added offers from Iowa, Miami (FL) and Xavier, giving him three more high major schools to add to his list. Ward now has eight high major offers, to our knowledge, and is gaining interest from at least that many other similar programs.

Noah Bramlage – ’15 Ottawa Glandorf PF: Bramlage added another offer this week, this time from MAC power Akron. The Zips were previously one of the only schools from the MAC to have not extended an offer Bramlage’s way, but head coach Keith Dambrot remedied that on Thursday night when he called on the 6’7 power forward. Bramlage now has over fifteen D1 offers, including Wright State, Miami (OH), Ohio University, Lehigh and Harvard. The power forward talked to TDP on Thursday night, and said that he is in the process of shortening his list and determining which schools he will take official visits to.

Esa Ahmad – ’15 Cleveland Shaker Heights PF: One of the top available prospects in the entire Midwest, Ahmad has likely had his phone ring as much as anyone in the region over the last few days. While many programs are vying hard for his services, two programs have to like their chances a little more than before, as they’ve secured unofficial visits from the Cleveland area rising senior. Ahmad will unofficially visit both Ohio State and Cincinnati over the weekend, as the power forward tours the central and southern parts of his home-state. Like many others in his class, Ahmad is working on trimming his list and setting up visits from an offer sheet that includes schools like Wisconsin, Indiana, West Virginia, Maryland and more.

• The Kent State Golden Flashes have been particularly active in offering in-state prospects this summer, and head coach Rob Senderoff shows no signs of slowing down heading into August, after offering two in-state class of 2016 prospects in the last two days of July. Both Micah Potter, of Mentor, and Johnstown Monroe’s Jason Carter received offers from Kent State this week, with Senderoff prioritizing frontcourt talent in the class of 2016. The Cleveland area post, Potter, was a player who really blew up in July as he earned several mid-major offers, while Carter only received his first offer this week, with Kent State becoming the second school to offer him a scholarship. Potter also received an additional offer this week, as MAC rival Buffalo joined Kent State on the post player’s list.

• There is always a value placed on kids who can shoot the basketball, and that is exactly what is spear-heading the recruitments of class of 2015 combo guards Jaevin Cumberland and Elijah Pughsley. After three July events were both guards shot the lights out from the three-point line, both players are earning scholarship offers at a furious rate. Cumberland, a 6’0 guard out of Wilmington who played AAU with the King James Runnin’ Rebels, picked up offers from The Citadel and Northern Kentucky in the last two days, giving him a total of six D1 offers, as well as interest from Ohio University, Akron and Wright State. On the other side, Pughsley, formerly of Cincinnati Hughes but now enrolled back home at Lima Senior, received an offers from North Carolina Central and Maine. Those two offers mark the third and fourth D1 offers for Pughsley, who spent the AAU season with the Queen City Prophets.

Brian Parker – ’15 Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joe’s SG: One of Ohio’s toughest competitors and strongest guards, Parker finished off his AAU season in style with PK Flash out of Pennsylvania, as the 6’2 wing guard added a pair of D1 offers. Both Saint Francis (PA) and Loyola (MD) extended offers to the former state champion, who will be attempting to take Cleveland VASJ to a third straight Final Four this coming winter.

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