Cincinnati 2018: Best Available

25 Sep
Gio

Giovanni Santiago

Yesterday, TDP profiled the top available prospects from the 2018 class in the state of Ohio. Since that article’s release, we’ve seen Versailles SF Justin Ahrens become the 14th Ohio senior to commit to a NCAA D1 school, as Ahrens chose Ohio State on Saturday afternoon.

Today we’ll be narrowing our focus a little bit to look at the top available prospects in the city we reside, Cincinnati. It’s already been a busy fall in Greater Cincinnati, as three prospects have committed to high-major NCAA D1 schools in Princeton’s Darius Bazley (Syracuse) as well as the Covington Catholic (KY) duo of CJ Fredrick (Iowa) and Jake Walter (Xavier). Additionally, Burlington Cooper (KY) guard Adam Kunkel (Belmont) and Simon Kenton (KY) post Zach Kelch (Navy) have also committed to NCAA D1 schools, while Lakota East wing Jarrett Cox (Fairmont State) and Cincinnati Moeller PG Isaiah Payton (Indiana Wesleyan) have made verbal pledges as well.

Now, with all of that dust settled, here’s a look at which players in the Queen City area are still on college coaches recruiting boards heading into the fall signing period….

 Jaxson Hayes – ’18 PF/C Cincinnati Moeller: Hayes was near the top of the list of top available prospects statewide yesterday, as the 6’10 (and growing) post with tremendous athleticism and upside has narrowed his list of schools to Xavier, Butler, Kentucky, Texas and Georgetown. The most heavily recruited player in Ohio who has yet to make a decision, we expect Hayes to choose a school by the end of the fall signing period.

 Jeremiah Davenport – ’18 SF Cincinnati Moeller: Hayes’ teammate at Moeller, and one of the best all-around wings in the state, Davenport has seen his recruiting stock skyrocket in the last year thanks to a strong junior season at Moeller and a solid spring and summer on the circuit. An athletic and versatile forward who can defend multiple positions and score in different ways off of the dribble, Davenport is a long 6’5 forward with great upside. Currently with offers from Tennessee-Tech and Presbyterian, several other D1’s are actively recruiting Davenport, who could be Moeller’s second leading scorer this season.

Kameron Gibson – ’18 PG/SG Cincinnati Walnut Hills: A smooth and skilled guard with length at 6’3 and the versatility to play either guard position, Gibson excels off of the dribble as a scorer from the mid-range, but is just as capable at making his teammates better with the drive and kick game. Already with an offer from Maryland Eastern Shore, plus other NCAA D1 interest from Miami (OH) and Northern Kentucky, Gibson is a potential breakout recruit to follow this winter, as he should lead a talented Walnut Hills team in scoring.

Omari Peek – ’18 SG/SF Strongsville: While Peek technically lives in the Cleveland area, he’s included on this list since he lived in Cincinnati until the end of his sophomore season at Walnut Hills HS. A big wing forward who can score from three levels and has NCAA D1 size and athleticism, Peek certainly looks the part of a big time player. Peek, like Gibson, has one D1 offer from Maryland Eastern Shore, but should see his recruitment continue to develop, as NEO Spotlight ranks him as the top senior small forward in the Cleveland area. 

Bryce Hunt – ’18 PF Reading: A raw but extremely talented 6’6 power forward with a mature frame and excellent athleticism, Hunt will be debuting at Reading this season after spending his first three seasons at Cincinnati Purcell Marian. Hunt has all the tools that college coaches want to see, including a motor, a knack for playing with physicality and the ability to face up in the mid-range game; all the reason why several NCAA D1’s have inquired about the under the radar senior this fall for workouts; also a candidate for prep school due to his age, there’s a possibility that Hunt ends up as a 2019 prospect. Don’t be surprised if Hunt finishes among Cincinnati’s top scorers this season, especially at the D3 HS level.

Giovanni Santiago – ’18 PG Cincinnati Hughes: One of the most exciting offensive players in all of Ohio, Santiago is a flashy playmaking point guard who makes his teammates better with pinpoint passes off the dribble; however, he’s also a proven scorer who shoots it well from deep and is adept at using his crossover to create space to shoot the ball. While Santiago still needs to add strength to his frame, he’s proven time and time again that he’s among Ohio’s elite floor generals, part of the reason why D1 Maryland Eastern Shore has extended a scholarship offer Santiago’s way, and several other D1 and D2 programs have inquired about him. Expect his recruitment to likely go past the high school season, but we believe that Santiago is another prospect who will end up signing with a D1 program.

DJ Brewton – ’18 SG Cincinnati Hughes: An under the radar wing guard whose praises we’ve been singing for some time now, Brewton is still raw but has as much upside as any guard in Ohio who has yet to commit to a college program. A natural scorer with excellent athleticism and an explosive first-step, Brewton can get anywhere he wants off of the dribble, and while his jumper is streaky, he has the ability to score in bunches when he’s in attack mode. Transferring from Mount Healthy to Cincinnati Hughes for his senior year should only enhance Brewton’s exposure, as alongside Santiago he’ll make up half of one of Ohio’s most exciting backcourts. Brewton has yet to earn a scholarship offer; however, we expect that to change by the end of the winter.

Terry Durham – ’18 SF/PF Cincinnati Woodward: A week ago we would have led this paragraph by talking about Durham’s toughness, elite strength and elite athleticism; however, things can change quickly in a week in recruiting, and that’s exactly what’s happened with Durham. Playing his first season of high school football, Durham has recently received an offer from Cincinnati, and per his high school coaches has had many of the nation’s top programs call about him in the last week. A double-double machine on the basketball court who demands more than one body to defend him on the block, look for Durham to have options in both sports this spring.

Damani McEntire – ’18 SG Deer Park: A name that is more than likely not familiar to readers, McEntire is a new addition to Deer Park via transfer, as the Indianapolis product spent last season at the famed Oak Hill Academy (VA). A tough and strong-bodied scoring guard who can really create off of the dribble, McEntire is deceptively explosive in transition and constantly plays in attack mode as a crafty, aggressive and consistent scorer. Not much is known about his recruitment at this point, but McEntire should generate some buzz on a loaded Deer Park team this winter.

EJ Williams – ’18 C Hargrave Military Academy (VA): The big fella from Middletown who has spent his last two years at the prestigious Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia hasn’t been seen around Cincinnati much lately, but his name has popped up on the circuit, as Williams spent his final year of AAU with Chicago based Mac Irvin Fire. A massive post prospect at 6’11 and in the neighborhood of 300-lbs, Williams has size that cannot be taught. Williams only offer at the D1 level right now, to our knowledge, is from Samford, but that could change at Hargrave, where Williams will face the nation’s best on a nightly basis this winter.

Dylan Beaugard – ’18 PG Wilmington: One of the toughest guards you’ll ever see, Beaugard is undersized but a flat out winner as a pass-first point guard with strength and quickness in a small frame. After a great first three years at Wilmington, and a standout 17u AAU season this past spring with Ohio Unity, NCAA D2 coaches are enamored with Beaugard ability to distribute, defend and manage the game from the point guard position. His lack of size and consistent jumper will likely mean he’ll end up at the D2 level, but this kid is a winner who will be highly, highly recruited during his senior season as both a basketball and football prospect.

Me’Kell Burries – ’18 PG/SG Newport (KY): With most of Northern Kentucky’s senior talent having already made verbal commitments, Burries becomes the most talented available prospect, as the 6’0 scoring point guard from Newport broke out in his junior season, and should average north of 20 PPG this season. A score-first slashing guard who can lull you to sleep with the dribble, make shots with range and is explosive off the floor, Burries has big time playmaking ability. He’ll have to continue to refine his all-around point guard play, but both NCAA D1 and D2 programs have been checking out this scoring combo guard, who will contend to lead the entire region in scoring this winter.

Honorable Mention: Xavier Johnson (PG Cincinnati Summit), Stevie Stewart (PG Cincinnati Taft), Noah Pedelty (SG Mason), AJ Smith (SG Cincinnati Hughes), Darweshi Hunter (SG Princeton), Dean White (SF/PF Cincinnati Moeller), Dominic Pierce (SF/PF Princeton), Shawn Hawkins (SF Cincinnati Hughes), Jalen Rose (SF Deer Park)

Advertisements

2018: Best Available

24 Sep
Ahrens 200

Justin Ahrens

Heading into the last week of September we’ve already seen 13 players from the Ohio senior class of 2018 commit to NCAA D1 school, as well as nearly the same number having pledged to NCAA D2 or NAIA schools. However, even with that many prospects having already made their decision, this senior class is still full of future college players who have yet to make a commitment to a program. In fact, five of the top ten ranked 2018 prospects on our TDP Player Rankings are still available, meaning that fans can expect a lively fall recruiting period as we approach the early signing period. Here’s a rundown of Ohio’s top available prospects….

Christian Guess – ’18 SG/SF Shaker Heights: Claiming offers from DePaul, Kent State and Toledo, the recruiting wire has been surprisingly quiet for Guess, the #5 ranked prospect in the senior class on this site. A 6’5 wing with elite physical tools in terms of size and athleticism, Guess is a passionate player who really came into his own as a scorer during our viewings of him in the July evaluation period with Ohio Basketball Club. While he still has some developing to do, Guess has high-major D1 upside and could very well end up landing on that level with a big senior year.

Justin Ahrens – ’18 SF Versailles: The former Ohio State commit checks in at #7 in our senior rankings and announced a few weeks ago that he was unofficially down to a final three of Ohio State, Michigan and Xavier. Having already visited each school multiple times, including an official visit to Ohio State this weekend, we expect a decision out of Ahrens sooner than later. A sharpshooting wing with size and a developed, diverse skill-set, Ahrens shooting ability, versatility and basketball IQ could earn him a role early in his career at the high-major level.

Editor Note: An hour after posting this article, Ahrens committed to Ohio State. 

Jaxson Hayes – ’18 PF/C Cincinnati Moeller: Possibly underrated at #8 on our senior rankings, Hayes has seen his recruitment sky-rocket, even adding an offer from Kentucky’s John Calipari this past week. Per the Moeller coaching staff, Hayes is down to five in Texas, Kentucky, Xavier, Butler and Georgetown; with Hayes having taken at least an unofficial to all of the schools listed except possibly Georgetown. A hyper athletic 6’10 post with unlimited upside, some doctors have gone as far as to project that Hayes could end up 7’3 before all is said and done. While he has yet to start a game for last year’s State Runners-Up at Moeller, expect a big senior season from Hayes, a late bloomer who will only get better with time.

Caleb McConnell – ’18 PG/SG Spire Academy: Ranked #9 in our senior rankings, McConnell is a long and versatile combo guard with a smooth feel for the game and a confident attitude who moved to the Cleveland area to attend Spire Academy after three seasons at Dayton Dunbar. McConnell presently boasts a lengthy offer list including West Virginia, Wichita State, Kent State, Toledo, Rhode Island, Buffalo, Ohio University and Wright State, although the leaders in his recruitment have yet to emerge publicly. A prototypical big guard, McConnell’s length and IQ make him a candidate to be a really good college player, especially as he adds weight to his frame. While we probably won’t see much of him this year on the prep school scene, McConnell will get every opportunity to showcase his game to colleges on the prep school circuit.

Vince Williams – ’18 SF/PF Toledo St. John’s: Closing out our top ten at the #10 spot, Williams is a hard-nosed and versatile forward with a strong frame and a winning mentality. Although his size at 6’5-6’6 has slowed his recruitment down a tad, there’s a lot to like about the productivity that Williams showcased in the Nike EYBL with All-Ohio Red. Since the summer the two schools that have been constantly mentioned with Williams are Wichita State and VCU; however, the combo forward also lists offers from Duquesne, Richmond, Akron and his hometown team, Toledo.

Honorable Mention: Taevion Kinsey (#13 SG/SF Columbus Eastmoor), Jeremiah Davenport (#14 SF Cincinnati Moeller), Cameron Brooks-Harris (#16 Zanesville), Yahel Hill (#19 PG Cleveland Heights), Elijah McNamara (#20 PF Pickerington North), Kameron Gibson (#21 PG/SG Cincinnati Walnut Hills)

Updated Ohio Rankings

31 Jul
Jaxson Hayes

Jaxson Hayes

It’s been a while since our last post on this site, as both the April and July 2017 evaluation periods of come and passed. While our basketball duties have limited our chance to update the site, Triple Double Prospects was able to spend the spring and summer checking out Ohio’s top talent from the 2018, 2019 and 2020 classes on the AAU circuit.

The 2018 class has continued to prove that Ohio’s top tier talent can match up with anyone, as four players have already committed to high-major NCAA D1 programs, with up to another six rising seniors having a chance to end up at that level before all is said and done. While known players such as Darius Bazley, Jerome Hunter, Dane Goodwin and Dwayne Cohill made headlines on the circuit yet again, none of them were the biggest stock boosters from the NCAA live periods.

Instead, it was Cincinnati Moeller’s Jaxson Hayes (pictured) and Shaker Heights’ Christian Guess who both saw major changes in their recruitment at the mid and high-major level, thanks to their strong play in the Adidas Gauntlet. Another player who came on strong in July was Pickerington Central forward Adrian Nelson, as the Columbus area athlete established himself as one of the state’s premiere mid-major prospects.

Heading into August, six 2018’s from the Buckeye State have already committed to NCAA D1 schools, but expect that number to rise above twenty by the time the fall signing period rolls around.

In the younger classes we saw enough talent to have us excited about the future, as Garfield Heights’ Alonzo Gaffney and Pickerington Central’s Jeremiah Francis also both thrived on the Adidas circuit; while prospects like Cincinnati Moeller’s Deuce McBride, Winton Woods’ Greg Tribble and Gahanna Lincoln’s Josh Corbin all saw their stock rise in the eyes of college coaches, as each accumulated multiple NCAA D1 offers.

While it’s always hard to rank rising sophomores, 6’11 center Zach Loveday debuts in the top spot on our list, as we love his combination of size, fluidity, skill and energy.

For our complete rankings for Ohio’s 2018-2020 classes you can click on the icon at the top of the page or on the following link: CLICK HERE

Ohio Prospect Rankings

6 Apr
Pete Nance

Pete Nance

With the high school season over, and the AAU live evaluation period set to begin in just two weeks, it’s time for us at Triple Double Prospects to unveil our latest Ohio prospect rankings. Heading into the April recruiting period, here is a look at the top juniors and sophomores (plus our annual freshman watch list) from the Buckeye State that college coaches will have their eyes on. Click on the link below (or at the top of the page in the menu) for access to our latest rankings: LINK

So, who were the biggest stock risers in the latest rankings? Well, 2018 continues to be one of the most difficult classes we’ve ever had to project; as you could make an argument for forwards Darius Bazley, Jerome Hunter or Pete Nance as the class’ top player, while guards Dane Goodwin and Dwayne Cohill are certainly in consideration as well. However, of those players, Nance is the biggest stock riser in the group; as the 6’8 versatile forward from the Akron area has gone from almost completely unknown a year ago to a bonafide high-major recruit being tracked by some of the nation’s top college programs. Given that Nance is both the son and younger brother of NBA players, this shouldn’t be a surprise; however, Nance’s name has still floated under the radar to some extent, as he does play at a small town high school and for the most part does not participate on the major AAU circuit, instead choosing to stay local with the Akron Bobcats program.

Other names to watch for in 2018 include guards Taveion Kinsey and DJ Brewton, as well as massive post Austin Rotroff, all three of whom had huge junior seasons, and should see an increase in their recruitment heading into the spring and summer.

In the 2019 class we rewarded guards like Greg Tribble and Max Martz for their stellar play this past season, while athletic forward Brison Waller also made a huge leap in the rankings; going from unranked to a top-three power forward in his class.

Finally, the 2020 rankings are simply a watch list sorted alphabetically by position. This list contains only prospects that we at TDP have evaluated ourselves, and we expect this list to grow and change significantly as the 15u AAU season kicks off into full gear.

Have someone that is not in the rankings that should be? Email us at tripledoubleprospects@gmail.com to give us the scoop.

State Tournament

26 Mar

This year’s Ohio State Basketball Tournament ended in a sweep for the Northeastern part of the state, as NEO captured all four State Championships at the Jerome Schottenstein Center on the campus of Ohio State this weekend. Massillon Jackson defeated Cincinnati Moeller in a D1 thriller, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s topped Wauseon at the D2 level, Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joe’s beat Cincinnati Roger Bacon for the D3 crown and Cleveland Lutheran East finished off Columbus Wellington School in D4; meaning that the Cleveland-Akron region has bragging rights until the start of next season. Here’s look at the top individual performances from this year’s State Tournament….Kyle Young

Kyle Young – ’17 SF Massillon Jackson: One of the highest ranked prospects in Ohio’s 2017 class since his senior season, Young capped his career in fashion, hitting the game winning free throw to defeat Cincinnati Moeller as Young’s Polar Bears won the D1 State Championship. A versatile 6’7 scoring forward, Young was spectacular against Cleveland St. Edward in the semifinals, and while he struggled from the field against Moeller, the Butler signee was able to secure the win with his final basket. Skilled both as an interior scorer or long-range shooter, Young’s combination of skill-set, size and athleticism should make him an early rotation player at Butler next season.

Jayvon Graves – ’17 SG Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s: Graves wasn’t good in STVSM’s semifinal win over Trotwood Madison and title game win over Wauseon, he was GREAT. Besides hitting a buzzer beater to win the semifinal game, the freakishly athletic 6’2 wing guard scored at will in the lane, using his strength, explosiveness and toughness to create opportunities to baskets, many of which came after defensive rebounds or steals that he created. The Buffalo signee isn’t just one of Ohio’s premiere athletes in 2017, Graves is also one of the best all-around players and competitors in the class, evidenced by his ability to create turnovers defensively, handle the ball in the open court and knock down enough perimeter jumpers that defenses have to respect him enough that he can open up his own driving lanes.

Torrey Patton – ’17 SG Trotwood Madison: Patton’s Rams might not have come up with the win that they so desperately wanted in the semifinals against STVSM, but the 6’3 senior guard was still able to put on a show for the crowd, torching the nets for a game-high 34 points. Patton knocked down jumper after jumper from deep, showing lethal range when he has his feet set, but also was able to take defenders off of the dribble and use his strong build and patient style to score at the basket. What makes Patton’s scoring that much more impressive is that the unsigned senior did all of this while having to assume point guard duties for his team, and dragging in double-figure rebounds as well. Looking at his body of work in big games this year, it’s clear that Patton’s name belongs in the conversation of best 2017 high school scoring guards in Ohio.

Austin Rotroff – ’18 C Wauseon: An under-the-radar prospect heading into the season, Rotroff created a buzz with strong play all season, and then cemented his name in the next edition of our prospect rankings with his two performances in Columbus. Both in a semifinal win over Columbus Eastmoor Academy and a finals defeat at the hands of Akron STVSM, Rotroff was extremely efficient; showing an active motor, legit size at 6’9 and physical promise as a big who can move his feet. Rotroff isn’t just a big shot-blocker either, as the junior showed the ability to score over his left shoulder with the hook-shot, make free throws and generally carve out space on the interior. As he enters the travel circuit for the first time this spring, look for Rotroff’s name to be one that is mentioned often in NCAA D1 recruiting chatter.

Miles McBride – ’19 PG/SG Cincinnati Moeller: The first of three seniors who stepped up to the plate at OSU, McBride was aggressive and efficient for Moeller in both of their games, a semifinal win over Pickerington Central and a title game loss to Massillon Jackson, as the 6’1 combo guard proved that he is without any question one of the elite 2019 guards in the state of Ohio. With a great build and plenty of athleticism, McBride is a versatile defender as a combo guard who can defend any perimeter position, and who uses steals and rebounding to create offensive opportunities. An off the dribble scorer who can make shots in rhythm or finish with either power or finesse at the rim, expect to hear plenty more about “Deuce” in the coming years, both in a Moeller uniform and on the travel circuit.

Alonzo Gaffney – ’19 PF Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joe’s: One of Ohio’s most talented prospects regardless of class, Gaffney proved what a difference a year can make, as he stood out in both VASJ wins on the weekend. A walking double-double machine with legit size at 6’8, top-notch athleticism and the ability to run the floor better than most guards, Gaffney was electric in playing above the rim on both ends of the floor as a shot-blocker and alley-oop finisher. His motor is running at a higher rate, he’s getting stronger and his production is improving quickly; all of which is making us continue to believe that Gaffney is a no-brainer for a top-five spot in our 2019 state rankings.

Jeremiah Francis – ’19 PG Pickerington Central: As far as first halves go you can’t ask for much more than what Francis produced in his Tiger’s semifinal loss to Moeller; as the 6’0 sophomore knocked down shots, dominated with physicality and showed poise as a floor general in controlling the tempo. Always known as a savvy and tough lead guard with a great frame, Francis has continued to show more and more confidence as a perimeter shooter this season, making him without a doubt Ohio’s top 2019 guard now that he has a consistent tool to score from outside of the paint. With his ability to defend the ball as well as make teammates better with his passing, Francis is just about as good as it gets as a sophomore point guard; a big part of the reason why he already holds multiple high-major offers, including Ohio State, Purdue and West Virginia.

Honorable Mention: Logan Hill (’17 Massillon Jackson), Jaret Pallotta (’18 Massillon Jackson), Kyle Nicolas (’17 Massillon Jackson), Keegan McDowell (’17 Cincinnati Moeller), Jeremiah Davenport (’18 Cincinnati Moeller), Sterling Manley (’17 Pickerington Central), Tommy Schmock (’17 Cleveland St. Edward), Jon Williams (’17 Akron STVSM), Kollin Van Horn (’18 Proctorville Fairland), Justin Johnson (’17 Cincinnati Roger Bacon), Alec Pfriem (’19 Cincinnati Roger Bacon), Gene Higgins (’18 Cleveland VASJ), William Butler (’17 Cleveland VASJ), Dustin Harder (’17 Columbus Wellington), Jordan Burge (’18 Cleveland Lutheran East)

Flyin’ to the Hoop

17 Jan
torrey-patton

Torrey Patton

The 15th annual showing of Flyin’ to the Hoop at Kettering Trent Arena was another success, as top teams from Ohio and other states as far away as California made their way to the Dayton area for four days of action packed basketball. Yet again, the Ohio teams measured up well against out of state prep schools, with Pickerington Central giving Marietta Wheeler (GA) all they can handle, Huber Heights Wayne playing a loaded Huntington Prep (WV) team close for a half and Massillon Jackson putting a beat down on Our Savior New American (NY). Here’s a look at the top in-state performers from our seventh trip up to Flyin’ to the Hoop….

Torrey Patton – ’17 SG Trotwood Madison: The unsigned 6’2 senior guard had a scoring outburst against nationally renowned Prolific Prep (CA) on Monday, scoring 36 points in a game that Trotwood-Madison (arguably Ohio’s top team regardless of class) competed in for more than a half before foul trouble doomed the Rams. Patton is a strong-bodied guard with a polished skill-set who plays some point guard for TM, but is even better off the ball as a strong slasher who can make shots from distance as well. One of Ohio’s top unsigned guards, expect to see Patton’s name near the top of the GWOC in scoring for the remainder of the season.

Kyle Young – ’17 SF Massillon Jackson: Already a legit Mr. Basketball candidate heading into this weekend’s showdown with New York City powerhouse Our Savior New American, Young was sensational on Sunday, scoring 26 points in a win. Young, a Butler signee, is a knockdown shooter at 6’7 from deep with great size on the wing; however, he’s also a solid athlete who can finish in traffic or use his body to create open looks. Capable of spending time at other forward spot at the next level, Young should make an impact for the Bulldogs with his shooting stroke and raw size.

Jayvon Graves – ’17 SG Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s: You always expect big things from the Akron STVSM boys at these events, and Graves was more than ready for the challenge, as the 6’2 senior wing guard tallied 27 points in a win over Pickerington North. A high wire act with both explosiveness and power, Graves was dominant on both ends of the floor, as he is nearly impossible to match up with at the high school level. The Buffalo signee can guard multiple positions, handle the ball and plays with a good motor; all the more reason why he was the target of top mid-major programs.

Keegan Saben – ’17 PG/SG Centerville: Another skilled and versatile guard like Patton, Saben was terrific for his disciplined Elks team this weekend, scoring 23 points and dishing out 5 assists in a win over a talented Cleveland Heights team. Saben has the ability to play either guard spot at 6’3, and is both capable of creating shots for himself or others off the dribble, as he relentlessly attacked the Cleveland Heights defense with strong drives to the rim and pull-up jumpers. One of Dayton’s top senior guards, Saben is committed to play at West Liberty (WV), one of the nation’s elite NCAA D2 programs.

Dane Goodwin – ’18 SG Upper Arlington: Everyone who had done their homework on Goodwin knew that the 6’4 Ohio State commit could make perimeter shots in bunches; however, before his game this weekend not everyone knew how skilled Goodwin’s overall floor game is, as the junior put on a clinic against Garfield Heights in posting 34 points and 13 rebounds. Goodwin’s point total matched the entire team total of his opponent, as the junior showed a fiery competitiveness on the bright state. A shooter who can also handle the ball, and is deceptively athletic, Goodwin will bring instant offense to Ohio State when he steps foot on the Buckeye campus for the ’18-’19 season.

Jerome Hunter – ’18 SF Pickerington North: Another Columbus junior capable of scoring in bunches, Hunter continued to make a case for the top spot in our Ohio Class of 2018 Rankings over the weekend, as he dominated the game with 27 points and 15 rebounds in a loss to Akron STVSM. Formerly a raw talent who we were waiting to put it all together, Hunter has now begun to play like a man on a mission; showcasing elite physical tools to go along with a refined skill-set for a 6’7 forward. With his athleticism, shooting stroke and ability to create off the bounce with power, Hunter has become one of the best scorers in Ohio HS basketball; part of the reason why schools like West Virginia, Purdue, Xavier, Florida and other high-major programs are aggressively recruiting the junior.

Darius Bazley – ’18 SF Cincinnati Princeton: A 6’8 forward with incredible upside, we were impressed with Bazley’s effort level, as the junior Ohio State commit really competed in his first outing with Princeton (after sitting 11 games per OHSAA transfer rules) in their loss to national powerhouse Marietta Wheeler (GA). While his Princeton team is very young, the Vikings showed long-term upside, particularly in Bazley who has legitimate guard skills at 6’8 and is fun to watch every time he catches the ball. Bazley is still figuring things out in terms of efficiency, but you just don’t see kids who have his combination of size, agility and skill, part of the reason why this future Buckeye is a top-50 prospect per all the major national recruiting publications.

Justin Ahrens – ’18 SF Versailles: A third Ohio State commit from the 2018 class, Ahrens was ready to play on Monday morning at FTTH, finishing with 26 points as his Versailles team defeated Tri-Village in the annual small school showdown game at Trent Arena. While we’ve seen Ahrens play plenty of times as a second or third scoring option on the AAU circuit, this was our first time really seeing him as a go-to scorer at the high school level; and the versatility of the 6’6 forward really showed, as Ahrens got buckets in the post, as a jump-shooter and by creating off of the dribble as his team’s primary ballhandler. A true jack-of-all-trades, we envision Ahrens as a key role piece down the road at Ohio State alongside guys like Goodwin and Bazley.

Jake Walter – ’18 C Covington Catholic/KY: While his school is technically located about 1.5 miles outside of the state of Ohio, we thought that we’d include this massive 2018 post prospect from the Greater Cincinnati area in our recap, as the 6’11 Walter produced a solid outing in Cov Cath’s win over Dayton Dunbar. It’s hard to beat Dunbar in Dayton, and that’s exactly what Walter’s squad did, even playing without star junior wing CJ Fredrick; as Walter produced double-figure rebounds and altered shots at the rim with his ability to clog space in the paint with his giant frame. Playing his first true season of high school hoops after being injured the last two years, Walter is in shape and ready to make an impact for the Colonels (arguably Kentucky’s top team), as he showed great hands, a lot of hustle and ability to rebound in traffic. Already with one mid-major offer to his name, Walter’s name is being mentioned by several mid-major programs of late, and he should see a steady rise in his recruitment in the spring.

Jeremiah Francis – ’19 PG Pickerington Central: The lone sophomore to make our top performer list, Francis’ competitive drive kept his Pickerington Central team going on Saturday, as the Tigers stayed in the game until the final minutes with an experienced and talented Marietta Wheeler (GA) team. By far Ohio’s most talented 2019 point guard, Francis was dynamic as a ballhandler and passer who has the strength to get in the lane and create for himself or others. Additionally, Francis continues to look more and more confident with his three-point shot, which gives yet another weapon on the offensive end of the floor. A legit floor general with a mature feel for the game and a sense of composure to his play, Francis already has high-major offers from West Virginia, Purdue and Nebraska on a list that we expect to continue to grow.

Honorable Mention: Danny Davis (’17 Springfield), Michael McKay (’17 Springfield), Braden Norris (’18 Hilliard Bradley), Isaiah Speelman (’18 Hilliard Bradley), Adrian Nelson (’18 Pickerington Central), L’Christian Smith (’18 Huber Heights Wayne), Darius Quisenberry (’18 Huber Heights Wayne), Jordan Mitchell (’19 Gahanna Lincoln), Jaylen Harris (’17 Cleveland Heights), Yahel Hill (’18 Cleveland Heights), Caleb McConnell (’18 Dayton Dunbar), Myles Belyeu (’18 Trotwood Madison), Amari Davis (’19 Trotwood Madison), Andre Gordon (’19 Sidney)

Cincinnati HS Preview

26 Nov
td

Terry Durham

Just two days after a Thanksgiving feast, Cincinnati high school hoops fans were treated to a basketball feast at Woodward High School, as Bulldogs head coach Paul McMillan hosted another edition of The Cincinnati HS Preview. TDP was in attendance for the final five games of the evening, although, unfortunately, the final game scheduled between Cincinnati Taft and Cincinnati Purcell Marian was unable to be played. In the four games where we were able to take in the action, here are the standout performers that caught our eye….

Terry Durham – ’18 SF Cincinnati Woodward: There’s no secret that expectations are high for Durham in his first year at Woodward, after transferring from Winton Woods over the summer. Known as a superb athlete with a grown man’s strength at the basket, Durham has been labeled as a tough kid who has let his emotions slow him down at times in the past. We saw no signs of that at all on Saturday, however, as the 6’3 forward was flat out dominant on both ends of the floor for a Bulldogs team that appears to be one of the state’s top D2 squads heading into the regular season next weekend. Durham blocked shots on the defensive end, rebounded on both ends, ran the floor with great effort and, to the crowd’s delight, finished dunk after dunk on the offensive end, including a two-handed of the backboard alley-oop in transition from a Will Coker pass. While his perimeter set is improving, the ability to consistently make shots should be what will separate Durham from having a good high school season to a great season; as the Bulldogs coaching staff is excited to see what Durham, Coker and senior wing Lonnie Berry Jr. can accomplish this season.

DJ Brewton – ’18 SG Mount Healthy: After some inconsistent play a year ago, Brewton appears ready for a breakout junior season with the Owls, as the 6’2 combo guard was electric in his team’s loss to Cincy Shroder on Saturday. Whether it was making pull-up jumpers, throwing no-look passes or finishing two big dunks in transition (one of which was a poster play that brought the crowd at Woodward to their feet), Brewton looked every bit like a high-end prospect for Mount Healthy. On a team that might struggle to score consistently against top defenses, look for the Owls to get the ball into Brewton’s hands and ask him to make plays for himself and teammates, as one of the top junior guards in the area at creating shots on the offensive end.

Sam Martin – ’17 PG Cincinnati Summit Country Day: A tough-minded guard in a Cincinnati senior class full of tough-minded guards, Martin, fresh off a second straight state soccer championship, wasted little time readjusting to basketball on Saturday night; as he again proved that he is among the region’s most crafty playmaking guards. Dribbling less but getting in the lane more, using some quick cuts in a new look Summit offense, Martin found some opportunities to score around the rim, while also creating some nifty assists for his teammates with well timed passes. A competitor who loves to pester opposing guards in the full-court, Martin is one of our favorite unsigned point guards in the state of Ohio, and a kid who we believe NCAA D2 schools should be all over as they close out their 2017 recruiting classes.

Will Coker – ’17 PG Cincinnati Woodward: After another stellar year on the football field, where he’s known as the Reggie Bush of the Cincinnati city league, Coker made his return felt upon stepping on the hardwood again, as the senior looks to build on what were already video-game like numbers a year ago. While this year’s Woodward team features more scoring options, Coker is still the conductor of the train, as the speedy 5’8 point guard is the one who will look to push tempo in transition, apply pressure in driving at the rim as often as possible and apply pressure of his own with full-court defense. While at times his speed can be a gift and a curse, there is no one in the state of Ohio who can stay with Coker when he’s pushing the ball in transition, something that will again lead to many, many fast break points for the Bulldogs all season long.

Marcus Barton – ’17 SG Cincinnati Aiken: Many have wondered if Barton will be able to keep Aiken in their normal place near the top of the CMAC standings, after graduation and transfers hit the Falcons hard last summer. Well, if Saturday night was a preview for the whole season, the answer would be, yes! Barton was unconscious from beyond the arc, playing with his usual swag and emotion, as the 5’9 sharpshooter proved yet again that he is pound-for-pound as good of a high school guard as anyone, despite his slender frame. While this year’s Aiken’s team doesn’t have great size, or experience other than Barton, we do know that The Swoop has an emotional leader in Barton, who is capable of putting up big time shooting numbers from long-range with his quick release.

Darweshi Hunter – ’18 SG Princeton: Leading the charge for an inexperienced Vikings team that recently undertook a coaching change, Hunter was the scoring catalyst for Princeton in their narrow loss to Woodward. Playing without Ohio State commit Darius Bazley (sitting first 11 games per OHSAA transfer rules) and junior forward Dominic Pierce, Hunter was more than able to carry the scoring load for a team that had to rely on several freshmen to play key minutes. After averaging double-figure scoring numbers a year ago, Hunter is still an above-average, albeit streaky, shooter from long range; but the 6’3 guard does appear to have improved his ability to create for himself off of the dribble and get in the lane to draw contact. Also a high effort player on both ends, expect Hunter to continue to make a name for himself in his second go-around in the GMC at the varsity level.

Others: TJ Walker (’17 Cincy Summit), Derrick Heard (’18 Cincy Shroder), Tremaine Smith (’19 Cincy Aiken), Mark Wise (’20 Deer Park), Alex Dahling (’17 Cincy Summit), Xavier Johnson (’17 Cincy Summit), Nekhi Smith (’20 Cincy Shroder)