With one last weekend to prepare for the NCAA Live Recruiting Period (April 25-27), several Southwestern Ohio AAU teams headed to Cincinnati Hughes HS to take place in the Triple Double Prospects Spring Tune-Up. Action at the 15u, 16u and 17u levels was intense all day long, with programs like All-Ohio Black, Team One and the Cincinnati Bulldogs 15u team impressing the field. Here’s a look at some of the top performers from the one-day shootout….
- Grant Zawadski – ’15 PG Troy Christian: The All-Ohio Black 17u team has gotten some high praise already from TDP this spring, making an appearance in our pre-season top-five rankings due to their talent, chemistry, experience and probably most importantly, their will to win. That whole mindset starts and stops with their point guard, Zawadski. The Troy Christian star led a three-headed monster of guards over the weekend, as Doriane Dawson (Dayton Dunbar) and DeShawn Jackson (Springfield) also had big moments, but in two games which TDP evaluated the compact lead guard he was simply the best player on the floor. Against a team of Cincinnati unsigned seniors, Zawadski exploded for thirty-plus points, hitting big shot after big shot, whether it was from the three-point line or a quick-release pull-up in the lane. One of the great competitors in the class, Zawadski plays whatever role he needs to help his team win, impressing TDP with his production and ability to make big plays in the clutch.
- Xeyrius Williams – ’15 PF Huber Heights Wayne: Williams was the prospect with the biggest reputation in the gym on Saturday, and he lived up to it by playing with very good effort and starting his production on the defensive end. The 6’8 power forward rejected several shots each game, using his length and athleticism to frustrate opponents, before running the floor in transition to finish power dunks. Capable of scoring in different ways, Williams hit enough jumpers to make the defense chase him outside, but probably was most efficient around the rim as he was simply bigger and stronger than most of his opponents this time out. Talking to college coaches in the MAC and comparable conferences, Williams is one of the guys they’re most excited to see in the live period next weekend, while several high-academic D1’s are also hoping they can sway Williams to join their team.
- Justin Johnson – ’15 PF Cincinnati Fairfield: Johnson followed up a solid performance at the OBBL with a strong showing in the first two games of the day at the Spring Tune-Up. He’s a versatile forward who can float on the perimeter and knock down shots, attack off of two dribbles or score some down low; however, Johnson’s best basketball is played when he is playing with great energy and getting his hands on a lot of tips and deflections around the rim defensively, and scoring second chance points offensively. He’s still sort of raw in his understanding of shot selection, but his athletic abilities make him a prized prospect to watch for in 2015.
- Trey McBride – ’16 PG Cincinnati Roger Bacon: We’ve always known that McBride is a special athlete in the 2016 class, however, this past weekend he really went a long way in proving himself as both a basketball player and a competitor. Shining the most in a game against a team of unsigned Cincinnati based seniors, McBride proved to be explosive in transition, including rising up for a two-handed dunk over the top of an opposing defender, then stealing the ball and finishing with another dunk the next trip. Known most as a speedy defender, McBride has some instincts as a scorer off the dribble, and once he learns to slow down a little more, he could become one of SW Ohio’s better point guard prospects in 2016.
- Isaiah Williams – ’16 PF Dayton Stivers: Playing his first tournament with the Team One 16u squad after switching over from All-Ohio Red, Williams had to battle a learning curve as he dealt with new teammates for the first time. However, as the day went on the 6’7 forward was very impressive, particularly in a game against All-Ohio Black 17u, where he attacked the rim with aggression, trying to take it right at Xeyrius Williams. Williams has the ability to become the prototypical inside-outside forward as he has athleticism and dexterity that is rare for his size, along with the strength to be effective inside. He’s still somewhat raw offensively, but he does some really good things with the ball in his hands, and has serious upside in the 2016 class.
- DJ Tyree – ’16 PG Pickerington Central: On loan for the weekend from his Louisville Magic 16u team, Tyree was impressive in Cincinnati with his mature point guard game and ability to get his team into an offense. Playing for the Cincinnati Bulldogs in an evening game, Tyree played more of a scoring role, using changes in pace to attack the rim and finish with his length. He’s a versatile guard who can score in different ways, but is more of a pass-first player, and is clearly one of Ohio’s better 2016 point guards at this stage.
- Craig McGee – ’17 PG Cincinnati Roger Bacon: Of the freshman talent that TDP evaluated at the Spring Tune-Up, no one impressed more than McGee, who stars for the Cincinnati Bulldogs 15u team. Leading his team to a 3-0 record on the day, McGee showed good pace in handling the ball, is a tough-minded guard, which makes him a perfect fit at Roger Bacon, and also showed that he can score off the dribble with his high-arcing jumper. With several guards graduating off of a Roger Bacon team that made the D-III State Final Four a month ago, look for McGee to be an important piece on the varsity team in ’14-’15.
News and Notes:
- Xavier Simpson – ’16 PG Lima Central Catholic: Simpson picked up his first two Division I offers late this week, within a period of just a few hours. Toledo was the first school to extend a scholarship to the sophomore point guard, with Cleveland State following suit later that afternoon. Ranked by TDP as Ohio’s top 2016 point guard, expect many more Division I offers to come Simpson’s way this spring and summer as he takes to the AAU circuit with a loaded King James 16u team.
- Satchel Pierce – ’14 C Kiski School (PA): The Akron native had originally signed to play at Marquette in the fall, but due to a coaching change at the school, Pierce is now headed elsewhere. During an official visit over this weekend, Pierce committed to Virginia Tech, following new head coach Buzz Williams from Marquette to VT. Pierce is the third Ohio based senior to sign with the Hokies, joining Akron SVSM guard Jalen Hudson and Dayton native Justin Bibbs.
- Esa Ahmad – ’15 PF Cleveland Shaker Heights: Ahmad continues to be one of the hottest prospects in the entire country in the 2015 class, as he picked up an offer from recruiting powerhouse UNLV over the weekend, to go along with increased interest from Ohio State. While West Virginia has been the school involved with Ahmad the hardest, schools like Cincinnati, Xavier, Iowa, Virginia Tech, Rutgers and Indiana are all trying to make a push. With next weekend’s NCAA live recruiting period set to take AAU events by storm, expect college coaches to flock to see Ahmad with All-Ohio Red.