All-Ohio Super 16 Recap

22 May
Malek Green

Malek Green

This year’s All-Ohio Super Sixteen again attracted some of the top talent from Ohio, as well as surrounding states like Michigan, Indiana and Kentucky, to Columbus for a weekend of competitive play. Particularly in the 16u division, action was competitive, as top teams like King James, All-Ohio Red, Kentucky Travelers, Team Harris (IN), Greenwood Elite, CIA Bounce and Ohio Nova paced a strong field; while the 17u field was rounded out by many of those programs plus teams like OBC White, Shining Stars, Ohio Unity, Michigan Mustangs and more. After spending much of the spring watching All-Ohio Red and King James, we spent much of our weekend checking out some other top talent which we hadn’t viewed as much this spring. Here’s a look at some of the top performances we saw in Columbus… 

Note: If you haven’t done so already, don’t forget to check out our updated prospect rankings and new player profiles here – LINK 

Malek Green – ’17 SF/PF Cincinnati Taft: The top performer among Ohio prospects who we watched this weekend, Green displayed his usual great effort level to match consistent scoring and rebounding; particularly in an intense quarterfinal matchup with the Michigan Mustangs, which saw Green’s OBC White team fall by one point. At 6’6, Green showed versatility in attacking the rim off the dribble from the wing or in transition, but it was his ability to finish inside, often on offensive rebounds, that was most impressive. Add in the fact that Green is a tough defender with length and athleticism, and you have part of the reason why we’ve been billing him as the biggest sleeper in Ohio’s 2017 class.

Tyler Mitchell – ’17 PG Kings: Another sleeper out of Southwestern Ohio, Mitchell was also impressive for OBC White in two viewings by TDP. Known as a quick, playmaking point guard, Mitchell made good decisions in the pick and roll, managed the tempo of the game, made pull-up jumpers and proved that he can physically handle the rigors of 17u ball now that he’s added some weight to his frame. While he doesn’t have great size, Mitchell has the quickness, skill-set and vision that college coaches covet; making us believe that his NCAA D1 interest list is only going to continue to grow heading into July.

Devon Baker – ’18 SG Dayton Dunbar: Baker missed the entire circuit season up until this weekend, which had to be frustrating as his 16u Ohio Nova-Tillman team has earned some high praise for their performances at Spiece and during the first live period in Columbus. However, Baker showed that his game was rust-proof on Saturday, as we watched him come out with vengeance against a solid Another Level squad, as the strong-bodied 6’1 guard made shot after shot, attacked the rim with force and played his normal intense style of defense. One of the strongest and toughest kids in Ohio in 2018, if Baker can continue to hit shots heading into July, you’re really going to see his stocky skyrocket.

JJ Reed – ’18 SF/PF Paducah Tilghman/KY: Playing on a 16u Kentucky Travelers team that has a true post in 6’10 Middletown center EJ Williams, Reed is finally able to play his true position as a face-up forward; and the results of that project were quite successful in Columbus. The western Kentucky forward was impressive with his effort level as well as his skill-set, making mid-range jumpers, handling the ball in transition and rebounding from both the block and the wing. Consistency has always been the name of the game for Reed, but, if he can play like he did in Columbus on a consistent basis, he could challenge for the title of the top prospect in Kentucky in the 2018 class

Tre Baumgartner – ’18 PG Columbus Africentric: Playing for the rebranded VCC Warriors, now known as the Pro Bound Warriors, Baumgartner proved that he isn’t just a small guard who can shoot the ball; he’s an excellent point guard prospect. Showcasing more of a handle and more competitiveness then we knew he possessed, Baumgartner was aggressive in attacking the paint, made three-point shots (like always) and genuinely seemed comfortable playing the role of alpha dog on his team. If Baumgartner can replicate his level of play from this weekend next year at Africentric, he could become a candidate for Columbus City League player of the year.

Antwon Hampton – ’18 SG Grove City Central Crossing: A name that our friends at 270-Hoops have been talking about for a few months now, Hampton is a high-riser with an equally high ceiling as a prospect as he continues to develop his skill-set. Playing for the Ohio Hoopsters, Hampton did show that he’s capable of making some jumpers, but it’s his frame, athleticism and aggression as a slasher that excites us the most at this point. Once he really adds consistency to that shot and learns to be an active defender at all times, Hampton could be one of the top juniors in Columbus by the time the next high school season rolls around.

Honorable Mention: Dominic Lavarie (’17 Kettering Alter), Nick Pluta (’17 Springboro), Lonnie Francis (’17 Groveport-Madison), Keegan Saben (’17 Centerville), Tyjuan Childers (’18 Whitehall Yearling), Jerome Hunter (’18 Pickerington North), Dondre Palmer (’18 Pickerington North), Zach Kelch (’18 Simon Kenton/KY), Dyshawn Jackson (’18 Cleveland Central Catholic), TC Price (’18 Lexington Catholic/KY), Josh Corbin (’19 Gahanna Lincoln), Na’elle Simmons (’19 Columbus Beechcroft), William Mfum (’19 Columbus Northland)

Spiece Recap

2 May
Andre Gordon

Andre Gordon

Aside from the NCAA Live Evaluation Period in late April, there is never a better time to evaluate top prospects in the spring on the grassroots circuit then at the Spiece Run-N-Slam event held annually in Fort Wayne. Yet again this year, Spiece provided us with opportunities to see the best players from Ohio, as well as Kentucky with the Louisville Magic making the trip, compete against teams from Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and other states. With TDP utilizing the entire three days of tourney play to evaluate prospects, here is a rundown of who stood out the most at the Spiece Fieldhouse….

Tony Jackson – ’17 North Hardin/KY SF: One of the toughest players not only in the field, but in the country, the 6’5 Jackson was terrific for the Louisville Magic in leading his squad into the championship game at the 17u division. Always known as a bully on the wing with strength and athleticism, Jackson has also become known as a high level shooter from the perimeter. Now that he’s able to balance his scoring in different ways, Jackson has the whole package, as his abilities to defend and rebound are second to none. With offers from a handful of mid-majors already, expect Jackson to be among the hottest commodities in a solid 2017 class out of Kentucky heading into the July live period.

Chris Vogt – ’17 Graves County/KY C: What a difference a year can make with big men, and that is exactly the case with the 6’11 slender-built Vogt. Always seen as a big project with size, length and relatively soft touch, Vogt has taken his game to the next level by adding confidence and assertiveness on both ends of the floor. Fueled by high intensity AAU coach Ellis Myles of the Louisville Magic, Vogt was very productive this weekend; as the lanky post player scorer with his back to the basket, made free throws, blocked shots and played with more fire than we’ve seen out of him in the past. With offers from five D1 programs, including two Conference USA teams, look for Vogt to be well followed this July as well with the Magic.

BJ Duling – ’17 Newark SF: Everyone thought that with Ohio State commit Kaleb Wesson sidelined with an injury that All-Ohio Red would not be a factor this year at Spiece; well, those people forgot about BJ Duling. The hyper-athletic 6’7 wing played some of his best basketball in Fort Wayne, as he attacked relentlessly off of the dribble, finished above the rim through contact and used his frame to get to the foul line when he got the ball inside. Also a capable shooter, Duling, a Kent State commit, was able to show more all-around offensive skill then we’ve seen from in the past, as well as a motor that could make him one of the top seniors in Ohio if he can continue to play at that pace.

Steven Fitzgerald – ’17 Somerset Southwestern/KY SG: Another standout from the Louisville Magic, Fitzgerald saw time with the 17u team, but did the most damage at the 16u level, where he was among the most dynamic scorers in the event. An athlete with a strong build who is aggressive off of the dribble, Fitzgerald can score at the rim or in transition with the best of them; however, it is the consistency and confidence of his three-point ball that makes him such a tough matchup. Arguably the best prospect in the entire state of Kentucky in 2018, and certainly the best shooting guard, Fitzgerald holds offers from Tennessee Tech and Samford, but it’s safe to say that his recruitment has even begun yet.

Justin Ahrens – ’18 Versailles SF: One of the most well-rounded and versatile 2018’s at the event, Ahrens had a huge Friday night and Saturday with the King James 16u team, as the 6’5 wing shot the lights out from three-point range. As the younger brother of former King James star and current Michigan State wing Kyle Ahrens, Justin’s family was already known at the Fieldhouse, but took a step towards legendary status with his play over the weekend. Aside from just shooting the ball, Ahrens showed his ability to setup teammates with the pass, handle it against pressure, rebound and even get above the rim for the occasional finish. Ahrens also earned his first offer, from Stony Brook, over the weekend, but it’s safe to say that they will not be the last school to offer the rising junior standout.

Dane Goodwin – ’18 Upper Arlington SG: We usually don’t write about the same prospect two weeks in a row, but Goodwin played well enough to earn the honor, as scored at a high level against elite competition for the second straight weekend. The Ohio State commit was versatile by making three-point shots and attacking the rim, all while showing a little extra emotion as a competitor; leading his team into championship Sunday despite the loss of star point guard Foster Loyer to an ankle injury. While Goodwin might not be the high-wire act athlete that usually stands out at top grassroots events, his grit and skill level have ensured that he’s received everyone’s respect this spring.

Amari Davis – ’19 Trotwood Madison SG: It’s always fun to watch the top 16u and 17u kids go at it at Spiece, but the main reason that we go is to check out the younger guys. That’s exactly what you’ll find with these next five guys, including Davis, who were among the talk of the town this weekend. Davis, an athletic 6’3 wing who is starting to come into his own as a scorer, was electric in leading All-Ohio Red’s 15u team to the final four on Sunday, as the lefty created shots at will, showed a competitive spirit and used his athleticism to rebound and defend. While Davis can still be a little raw in his decision making at times, he has top-five talent in Ohio’s 2019 class and will be an absolute star at Trotwood Madison in the coming years.

Jordan Mitchell – ’19 Gahanna Lincoln SF: A freshman with a ton of hype surrounding him already, like Amari Davis, Mitchell was phenomenal for King James 15u this weekend, dominating on the offensive end with his mature floor game. When you start looking at traits that you want in a basketball prospect, there simply isn’t any box that Mitchell’s game leaves unchecked; as the 6’6 pure wing can shoot it, handle it, pass it, has solid athleticism, is long and has an unmatched feel for the game. As Mitchell continues to get more aggressive and takes on a mindset where he wants to dominate the game, there’s no reason why he cannot become one of the premiere 2019 prospects not only in Ohio, but in the country.

Jeremiah Francis – ’19 Pickerington Central PG: Running with All-Ohio Red alongside Davis, Francis used his mature frame and feel for the game to help AOR make that final four run; however, it was his toughness and leadership that we most appreciated in key matchups with Mac Irvin Fire and Spiece Indy Heat. As he gets deeper into the spring, Francis is developing more confidence in his perimeter shot, but we love his ability to defend the ball as well as get in the lane with crafty dribble moves. If he can continue to add inches to his strong frame, watch out, Francis will be one of Ohio’s best in 2019.

Andre Gordon – ’19 Sidney PG/SG: Last year we saw Gordon breakout at the 14u level as an elite athlete. However, this year we’re even more impressed with the 6’0 combo guard, as he’s become a true basketball player with a skill-set of a point or shooting guard. Gordon showed the ability to control the pace as a point guard, made open shots from the three-point line and played with effort defensively; but it was his elite ability to get into the lane and create a shot at will with the ball in his hands that really wowed us. Also a football standout, there might not be a more talented athlete in the state of Ohio than Gordon in any class, and as he continues to add to his basketball skill-set, the sky is the limit for this King James 15u guard.

Honorable Mention: Jaylen Sebree (’17 Christian County/KY), Dalonte Brown (’17 Toledo Bowsher), Ethan Linder (’17 Wayne Trace), Terry Durham (’18 Cincinnati Winton Woods), Deshon Parker (’18 Huber Heights Wayne), Jerome Hunter (’18 Pickerington North), Dylan Swingle (’18 Paint Valley), Darius Bazley (’18 Cincinnati Finneytown), Yahel Hill (’18 Cleveland Heights), Houston King (’18 Toledo St. John’s), DeMarco Bradley Jr (’19 Cincinnati Taft), Samari Curtis (’19 Xenia), Javin Etzler (’19 Convoy Crestview), Alonzo Gaffney (’19 Cleveland VASJ)

Nike EYBL Recap

25 Apr
Vince Williams

Vince Williams

The second, and final, week of the 2016 spring NCAA Live Evaluation Period has come and gone, as for the second straight weekend, college coaches flocked to all corners of the country to view prospects at grassroots circuit events. Triple Double Prospects spent our weekend in Indianapolis, as the biggest city in Indiana was absolutely abuzz with both Nike and Under Armour hosting their circuit events in town. With Ohio and Kentucky prospects competing in the Nike EYBL at 17u and the Nike Midwest Takeover 16u, we got another look at some of the Buckeye and Bluegrass State’s top players; here’s who stood out in front of the hundreds of college coaches who made the trip….

Note: Check out our new Ohio Prospect Rankings – HERE

Markell Johnson – ’17 PG Cleveland East Tech: The hyper athletic combo guard from King James was electric in two full games, and part of another, that we watching him in Indianapolis; as Johnson found ways to score both in transition and the half-court. Able to create whatever he wants in isolation situations with his handle, speed and a newly improved jab-step arsenal, Johnson was able to get his feet in the paint to finish or draw contact, while also making enough pull-up jumpers to keep the defense honest. With his athletic ability, and the fact that he is currently a high school senior (as ruled by the OHSAA) who will either go to prep school or maybe even college next year, Johnson attracted Ohio State, Xavier, Cincinnati, West Virginia and Florida to his games; while Louisville is also reportedly pushing hard for his services as a 2016 prospect. Regardless of where he ends up next year, Johnson’s play has led TDP to elevate him to the #1 ranking in our new 2017 rankings.

Nelly Cummings – ’17 PG Pittsburgh Lincoln Park/PA: In his second year as the starting point guard for All-Ohio Red, Cummings looked more comfortable shooting the jumper, as well as running the show, as the 5’11 athletic point guard was the catalyst for AOR in leading his team to a rivalry win over King James on Saturday morning. Cummings is an emotional point guard with a strong frame and speed, despite limited size, and showed an improved ability to manage the pace of the game in the half-court. Cummings is one of the top prospects in the Pittsburgh area regardless of class, and currently has offers from Bowling Green, Robert Morris, High Point and others.

Dalonte Brown – ’17 SF/PF Toledo Bowsher: After generating a lot of a lot of buzz in week one of the Nike EYBL, Brown was solid in Indianapolis as well. The 6’7 combo forward showed an ability to finish around the rim with touch and above average athleticism, made shots from the perimeter when open and generally played with some edge to his game on both ends. Consistency is the name of the game now for Brown, as he clearly is able to demonstrate all of the physical tools to excite mid and even some high-major college coaches with his abilities. Currently with offers from Toledo and Dayton, the in-state mid-major schools are beginning to make Brown a top priority for 2017.

Kyle Young – ’17 SF Massillon Jackson: After leading the entire Nike EYBL in scoring at the Brooklyn session with King James, Young was unfortunately slowed down by a nagging back injury for much of Saturday and Sunday. The 6’7 wing forward was, however, able to give it a go on Friday night, as he put on a solid performance. Young knocked down shots from three-point land with a smooth stroke, finished at the rim with a stronger and more developed post-up game and showed more competitive fire than he sometimes does as a high school player with a somewhat quiet style. With size and athleticism, Young projects as the ideal combo forward at the high-major level, part of the reason why North Carolina State, West Virginia, Michigan State and others have made him a priority this month. In addition to those schools, Young also holds offers from Butler, Purdue, Xavier, Clemson, Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan.

Jon Williams – ’17 PG Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s: While Markell Johnson handled the high octane offense for King James, Williams was the calming force, and did so in an impressive fashion. One of Ohio’s most pure outside shooters, especially as a pass first point guard, Williams showed pace, a high IQ and shiftiness at the position in all of King James’ games. Able to change gears to get by defenders with his deceptive length, Williams is a capable playmaker and a very good floor general who might be one of the most highly regarded mid-major guys in the 2017 class in Ohio.

Dane Goodwin – ’18 SG Upper Arlington: Always known as a shooter and skilled player, Goodwin showed that he is ready to take the next step in Indianapolis, as the Ohio State commit led All-Ohio Red’s 16u team to the event championship and a berth in the Nike Peach Jam in July. Yes, he still makes a lot of threes, but Goodwin’s ability to get into the lane and finish with creativity around the rim has been very impressive, as he is quickly becoming the master of the reverse layup in traffic. A more confident competitor and better athlete than a year ago, Goodwin looks the part of a Big Ten commit, and should see his stock rise high on the national scene as he continues his play with AOR on a team full of high-IQ perimeter players that fit Goodwin’s style.

Vince Williams – ’18 SF Toledo St. John’s: Like many of his teammates with All-Ohio Red 16u, Williams is a player with a solid IQ; however, the 6’5 combo forward prefers the role of bully with this team, as he uses his strong frame and athletic build to push around and intimidate the competition on the inside for AOR. Williams was the enforcer for Red all weekend long; whether it was finishing in traffic, grabbing rebounds or guarding both wing and power forwards. Already with a scholarship offer from Toledo, Williams is quickly accumulating high-major interest, as he mentioned schools like Wisconsin, Purdue and Wisconsin as schools who’ve reached out to TDP.

Foster Loyer – ’18 PG Clarkston/MI: Another standout from AOR 16u, Michigan based point guard Foster Loyer showed that size does not matter, as the 5’9 lead guard controlled the pace of the semifinal and championship games, as Red defeated two much more athletic clubs in Southern Stampede (GA) and Team CP3 (NC). Loyer is a competitive, smart and exceptionally skilled guard; capable of shooting the jumper, making a crafty pass or just running the show as the primary ballhandler against pressure. While he’s always going to be critiqued due to his small stature, Loyer has shown that he can hold his own against the best; part of the reason why he already holds offers from DePaul and Michigan State.

Darius Bazley – ’18 SF Cincinnati Finneytown: No one from Ohio in the Nike events showed more upside that Bazley, as the 6’8 pure small forward from King James 16u team finished two-handed alley-oop dunks, finished tip in shots around the rim, handled the ball, made three-pointers and showed that he is starting to learn how to compete every possession. With elite length and athleticism for his position, Bazley has the skill-set to do whatever he wants on the court as he adds consistency to his mental approach. Schools like Xavier, West Virginia, Ohio State, Michigan and several other high-major programs tracked Bazley from start to finish this past weekend, as he led King James to the 16u Silver Title.

Darius Quisenberry – ’18 PG Tecumseh: A tough-minded scoring point guard from western Ohio, “Quizz” proved to be up to the challenge of playing against bigger athletes, as the crafty guard was able to score in the lane with his strong frame, make jumpers (as he always has) and prove to be both a competitor and a leader. While he is slightly undersized, look for Quisenberry to become one of Ohio’s most sought after guards by college coaches for the 2018 class, as point men who can really shoot the three-ball are all the rage right now.

EJ Williams – ’18 C Middletown: Crossing the Ohio river for AAU to run with the Kentucky Travelers 16u squad, the lone Buckeye State prospect on the team made a solid impression in a Saturday morning win. Williams, a widely built 6’10 center, was able to finish with his strong left hand, made passes out of double-teams and showed his usual soft touch as a rebounder at the basket. While the pace of the game is much faster in AAU than in high school, we were pleased with the energy that the big fella played with, as we tweeted that Williams played with more of an edge than we saw with what was an underwhelming Middletown team this past year. Williams still owns an offer from Xavier, and as he continues to trim his big frame will only continue to gather more mid and high major interest.

Trevon Fulkner – ’18 Mercer County/KY: An up and coming guard from about forty miles southwest of Lexington, Fulkner is a talented scoring combo guard with a big and athletic frame and a lot of upside. Also armed with a smooth handle and lefty pull-up jumper, Fulkner showed that while he might not quite have figured it all out yet, he has big play ability on the wing for the Kentucky Travelers 16u team. Fluid enough to get by defenders and strong enough to finish, Fulkner has a lot of scoring talent; however, with those same physical traits he also can be a really good defender as well. If Fulkner can start to show that he has the point guard skills to match his scoring game, there’s no reason why he can’t establish himself as a top five prospect in the state of Kentucky in 2018.

Others: Reece Strohm (’17 Reynoldsburg), Kaleb Wesson (’17 Westerville South), Torrey Patton (’17 Trotwood Madison), Logan Hill (’17 Massillon Jackson), David Collins (’17 First Love Christian/PA), Jaylen Harris (’17 Cleveland Heights), Miryne Thomas (’17 Cleveland Central Catholic), Jayvon Graves (’17 Akron STVSM), Yahel Hill (’18 Cleveland Heights), Justin Ahrens (’18 Versailles), Dylan Swingle (’18 Paint Valley), Braden Norris (’18 Hilliard Bradley), Ahmad Price (’18 Louisville Fern Creek/KY), Adam Kunkel (’18 Burlington Cooper/KY)

Recap: MW College Showcase

17 Apr
Caleb McConnell

Caleb McConnell

The April live evaluation period, where NCAA D1 schools can hit the road and watch recruitable prospects from all over the nation play, has officially hit; as this weekend was the first of two consecutive weekends where top players from Ohio would be viewed on the travel circuit by college coaches. While the shoe-sponsored programs headed to Brooklyn (Nike EYBL) or Dallas (Adidas Gauntlet), the rest of the Ohio clubs were spread out throughout smaller tournaments all across the Midwest. Triple Double Prospects spent Friday and Saturday at the Midwest Elite College Showcase in Columbus, as the event hosted by the Ohio Hoopsters and All-Ohio Red, showcased some of the Buckeye State’s top 2018 and 2019 talent. With the eyes of coaches on them, here are some of the standout performers…. 

Jerome Hunter – ’18 Pickerington North SF/PF: One of the top talents in Ohio regardless of class, Hunter has nearly unlimited potential as an athletic and skilled inside-outside forward; as college coaches have gone on the record saying that when he consistently plays with a competitive fire that he can be the best player in the class potentially. On Friday night, Hunter dominated the game based on talent, as his 6’7 frame and shooting ability were too much for the competition; but on Saturday, the sophomore forward was special as he played with a lot of defensive energy in leading his talented 16u Ohio Nova-Tillman team to a win over All-Ohio Stewart. Capable of moving his feet and guarding perimeter players or using his athleticism to influence shots around the rim, Hunter’s athletic upside is tremendous on the defensive end, while he’ll likely always be a matchup problem on the offensive end. Look for high-major college coaches to track Hunter next weekend, and especially in July, with Ohio Nova, while in-state schools like Ohio State and Xavier have already begun to show significant interest.

Caleb McConnell – ’18 Dayton Dunbar PG/SG: Another standout from the Ohio Nova-Tillman 16u team, McConnell got off to a slow start in their Friday night win but was very impressive in Saturday’s rivalry win over All-Ohio Stewart. McConnell is a smooth and slippery combo guard with a solid handle, outside shooting ability and a knack for creating passing lanes with the dribble. An emotional player when he’s playing with his competitive edge, as he was on Saturday, McConnell has proven again that he is without question one of Ohio’s premiere guard prospects in the 2018 class, as his length, ability to change directions and feel for the game on both ends make him elite. McConnell told TDP that he does not have any offers yet, but has received light interest from Dayton, Wright State, Xavier and Ohio State.

Xavier Johnson – ’18 Cincinnati Summit PG: Playing for the All-Ohio Stewart 16u team, Johnson might not have been able to get a win against Ohio Nova-Tillman; however, the strong bodied 6’2 combo guard showed that he belonged on the court with them, as he led his team as a defender, ball-handler and scorer. Also a very good football prospect, Johnson patrols the defensive end like a ball-hawking safety and is very adept at turning defense into offense by using his strength and athleticism to finish in transition. A very good ballhandler and underrated passer, Johnson has the tools to be one of Ohio’s most dynamic guards on the offensive end as he improves his shooting touch.

Taylor Currie – ’19 Worthington Christian PF/C: For a young 6’8 post player, Currie is exceptional at running the floor and playing with a motor, which is exactly what he did on Friday and Saturday in helping lead All-Ohio Red’s 15u team to easy win after easy win. Due to his size alone, Currie is arguably the best prospect on a really good AOR group, as he is able to mix athleticism and size with a solid skill-set and a lot of effort. Like all young big men, Currie will need to focus on getting stronger, but with his instincts for the game and overall talent level he looks like a surefire top-ten prospect in Ohio’s 2019 class right now.

Tanner Holden – ’19 Wheelersburg SF/PF: Playing in a remote part of Ohio, near the Portsmouth area, Holden put up big numbers as a freshman but didn’t get a whole lot of publicity due to his location. However, Holden put himself on the map (at least in our eyes) in a big way over the weekend, dominating the competition for All-Ohio Red’s 15u team along with Currie. A long and lanky forward with a well above-average skill-set, a good motor and a feel for the game, Holden showed the ability to score or pass in transition, along with the size and athleticism to make us believe that this rising sophomore has a tremendous amount of upside.

Others: Drew Rackley (’16 New Concord John Glenn), Tavon Brown (’17 Columbus St. Charles), Antonio McQueen (’17 Warren JKF), Anthony Mills (’17 Westerville South), Miles Joiner (’17 Vandalia Butler), Mason Schneider (’18 Jamestown Greenview), Garrett Tipton (’18 Columbus Bishop Hartley), Elijah McNamara (’18 Pickerington North), Keaton Upshaw (’18 Lima Senior), John Alessandro (’18 Beavercreek), Antwon Hampton (’18 Grove City Central Crossing), Jeremiah Keene (’19 Westerville North), Samari Curtis (’19 Xenia)

2016 Class Winding Down

13 Apr
Trice

D’Mitrik Trice

With the NCAA April Evaluation Period set to begin throughout the country at 6 PM on Friday evening, college coaches are quickly turning their attention from the class of 2016 to the rising seniors, the class of 2017. However, just when we all thought the dust was settled with the 2016 class, new recruiting intel is hitting the wire; as the Buckeye State still has some quality prospects who have either just committed to colleges or are still available. Here’s the latest pulse from around Ohio regarding the 2016 class….

Andre Wesson – ’16 Westerville South SF: Wesson capped a terrific senior season that included the Ohio D1 State Championship by committing to Ohio State, the same school that his father played at, on Wednesday afternoon in a signing day ceremony at his school. Wesson will join his younger brother, 2017 center Kaleb Wesson, as an Ohio State commit, as Buckeyes coach Thad Matta was able to secure a valuable in-state commitment. In choosing OSU, Wesson had to say no to both Butler and Richmond, two of the schools that really recruited him with great intensity. With Ohio State having lost several players to transfer in the past few weeks, Wesson could bring the defensive capabilities from a physical standpoint that the Buckeyes will need to build on what was a disappointing ’15-’16 season.

Frankie Hughes – ’16 Garfield Heights SG: After decommitting from Louisville late in March, Hughes made a verbal commitment to Missouri a few days ago, as the talented 6’4 wing guard has finally found a home for next season. Hughes, the third Division I signee from the Garfield Heights senior class, will have a familiar face on hand next season at Missouri, as he is joining longtime teammate Willie Jackson, an athletic 6’5 forward, on the Tigers roster. Since re-opening his pledge to the Louisville Cardinals, Hughes had attracted various high-major interest from around the nation, but he told the media that the family atmosphere and the opportunity to continue his career with his friend Jackson was simply too much to pass on in choosing Mizzou.

D’Mitrik Trice – ’16 IMG Academy (FL) PG: The 2015 graduate of Huber Heights Wayne is still on the board after spending his postgrad year at one of the nation’s most prestigious academies. However, Trice has seen his options list extend to great lengths in the past two weeks, as the 6’0 lead guard has added offers from Ohio State and Wisconsin to his list. Known as a floor general who can defend, make open shots and make good decisions with the ball, look for Trice to end up at one of those Big Ten schools next year (as most Ohio prospects with offers from the league eventually do).

Justin Sylver – ’16 Cleveland Benedictine PF: A powerfully built 6’7 forward from the Cleveland area, Sylver committed to D2 Edinboro (PA) last week, as he became the latest NE Ohio prospect to cross the state-line and sign with Edinboro. Sylver considered several NCAA D2 offers before choosing Edinboro, a school that offered him based upon the potential they saw in his strong senior season at Bene.

BEST AVAILABLE

Now that those players are off the board (or in Trice’s case, almost off the board), who are the top remaining players from the Buckeye State who have not committed to a college yet?

Maishe Dailey – Cleveland Beachwood SF: Former Rutgers commit reopened things when the Scarlet Knights changed coaching staffs, and is reportedly juggling some high major offers as well as prep school opportunities.

LePear Toles – Canton Timken SG: An offensive force with versatility, the crafty lefty is still on the board.

Tervell Beck – Cleveland Central Catholic SF: Formerly a high-profile name in Ohio recruiting, it has been mysteriously quiet on the recruiting scene as the 6’7 Beck decides on his plan for next season.

Tre Cobbs – Lima Central Catholic PG: The two-time state champion is a great athlete who had an exceptional senior year with the T’birds.

Drew Rackley – New Concord John Glenn PG: A one-time signee with D1 Virginia Military Institute, Rackley asked for a release after winning the Ohio D2 State Title and is exploring other D1 options.

DJ Hoskins – Dayton Thurgood Marshall PG: A tough-minded defensive guard who can also shoot the ball, Hoskins is one of the better available point guards in the Midwest with grades.

Mason Baich – Dublin Jerome SG: Defender and athlete with a competitive streak, Baich has received D1 offers, and is seeking a high-academic fit for next season.

3/25 Recruiting Update

25 Mar
7_4031143

Andre Wesson

With the high school season officially over, all-star games taking place and the grassroots circuit still a couple of weeks away, this week was an ideal set of days for college coaches (especially those of whom have seen their own season end this winter) to work on recruiting. Many of Ohio’s top seniors had already signed NCAA Letters of Intent in the fall, however, the plot thickened around the Buckeye State this week, as two players terminated their letters of intent, as the recruiting situation remains as fluid as ever in Ohio. Here are some of the most notable headlines….

Frankie Hughes – ’16 Garfield Heights SG: With Louisville facing NCAA penalties and the program under a microscope right now, both parties felt that it was right to release Hughes, who signed with the Cardinals in the fall, from his letter of intent. Before committing to Louisville, Hughes received offers from other programs such as Minnesota, Wisconsin, Wichita State and other notable high-majors; however, it is unclear the recruiting situations of those schools now that several months have passed by. In Hughes, coaches will be drawn to his scoring ability, shooting stroke and passionate style of play, as he’s a versatile guard with considerable upside. While the only potential landing place that has been included in rumors so far for Hughes is Missouri (where Hughes’ high school teammate Willie Jackson is signed), look for both high and mid-major schools to jump all over the Garfield Height star in the coming weeks.

Maishe Dailey – ’16 Cleveland Beachwood SF: The college coaching carousel often leads to commits changing their minds and re-opening their recruitment; which is exactly the case with Dailey, a 6’7 wing forward who was committed to Rutgers before the Scarlet Knights relieved Eddie Jordan of his coaching duties. Dailey released a statement saying that he is still interested in getting to know the new coaching staff and will consider Rutgers again, but this late in the recruiting game we can expect a slew of high majors to target Dailey, who also is reportedly considering the prep school route as well. A smooth offensive player with a pretty shooting stroke, great length and a developing dribble game, Dailey screams upside on the offensive end, and will be highly recruited heading into the spring.

Andre Wesson – ’16 Westerville South SF: The 6’7 forward from the newly crowned Ohio D1 State Champions has received a lot of press for his play in the final four last week; however, this blurb is focused on Wesson’s recruitment. After heavy speculation for almost two months now, Ohio State extended a scholarship offer Wesson’s way this week, as the Buckeyes try to lure the versatile athlete to join his brother, 6’9 C Kaleb Wesson (2017), at the school where their father once played his college basketball. With schools like Toledo, Richmond, George Mason and some other in-state mid-majors still recruiting Wesson actively, there is still no timetable on when Wesson will announce his decision; although the rumor mill certainly favors the Buckeyes as the eventual landing place.

Kobie Johnson – ’16 Middletown PG/SG: After silently committing to NCAA D2 Notre Dame College, a Northeastern Ohio school, a month ago, Johnson made his verbal pledge official this week, announcing to the public that he will be attending NDC. One of the state’s top available guards, Johnson is a superb athlete as a scoring combo guard who can heat it up in bunches when he’s feeling his perimeter shot, or attack off of the dribble. Consider Johnson to be a candidate for early playing time at NDC once he adds some weight, as his skill is undeniable.

Montrece Collins – ’16 Toledo Whitmer SF/PF: A power athlete who came on late in the AAU season and then built upon that reputation with a strong senior campaign at one of Toledo’s top high school programs, Collins verbally committed to NCAA D2 Lake Superior State out of Michigan this week. Due to his toughness, athletic ability and upside, Collins was the target of several in-state and regional NCAA D2 schools, many of whom will be disappointed to see an out-of-state school land the talented forward.

Sterling Manley – ’17 Pickerington Central PF/C: It’s hard to earn a high-major scholarship offer; it’s even harder when you haven’t even played basketball lately due to injury. But that’s exactly what Manley, a 6’9 junior post out of the Columbus suburbs, did this week when he got the call from Nebraska. While the offer from the Huskers is Manley’s first Big Ten offer, it is not his first high-major offer, as West Virginia extended a scholarship offer to Manley earlier this winter, as have many of the region’s top mid-major programs. Currently nursing a double-compound fracture in his leg suffered in a game last month, Manley will be out of action for a while, but this evidently is not slowing down his recruitment.

State Tournament Recap

20 Mar
Tre Cobbs

Tre Cobbs

Another high school season in the Buckeye State has come and gone, as the Ohio State Tournament took place this past weekend at the Jerome Schottenstein Center on the campus of OSU. Championship Saturday was dramatic as usual, with Westerville South defeating Lima Senior by two in the D1 Final, and New Concord John Glenn knocking off Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s in a fourth quarter slugfest in the D2 Final. In the small school divisions, Lima Central Catholic secured their second title in three years in D3 over Cleveland VASJ, while Cleveland Cornerstone Christian defeated Lynchburg Clay for the D4 crown. On a weekend full of memorable performances, here’s a look at who the standout players were in our eyes… 

Jordan Humphrey – ’16 SG Westerville South: Only one word can sum up the play of Humphrey in both the semifinal and final in leading his Wildcats team to their first D1 State Title. Wow. That’s how good the 6’3 wing, who is signed with NCAA D2 Lake Erie out of Cleveland, played those two games. Humphrey showed an unbelievable competitive fire, as he was determined to help his team win the title, including driving to the basket for a game winning floater to break a tie with just 1.8 seconds to play. In hitting that shot, Humphrey created a memory that will last forever with Ohio high school hoop fans, but everyone should also remember that it wasn’t just that shot, Humphrey was the best player on the floor in the state semifinal and final, and he’s got a chance to become a future NCAA D2 college star.

Andre Wesson – ’16 SF Westerville South: The top unsigned senior in the state made sure to end his career with his stock still rising, as Wesson was instrumental in South capturing their first state title. An often quiet but super competitive wing, Wesson hit two big shots in the fourth quarter, including a contested dribble pull-up three-pointer with just two minutes to go to extend the South lead to four. A versatile 6’7 defender with strength and athleticism, Wesson projects as a jack-of-all-trades at the next level who is starting to develop some offensive skills as well. With his younger brother, 2017 center Kaleb Wesson, already committed to Ohio State, Andre is looking at OSU, Richmond, several mid-major schools and is also hoping to accumulate some other late high-major interest as well.

Xavier Simpson – ’16 PG Lima Senior: This year’s Mr. Basketball winner in Ohio, Simpson proved worthy of that honor in Columbus, leading Lima Senior to an undefeated record heading into their devastating two-point loss to Westerville South. Simpson was dynamic in both games, showing his consummate point guard skills, while also proving that he can make shots when needed, especially mid-range pull-up jumpers. An elite ballhandler with a feel for passing it, leadership skills and the quickness to be a defensive nightmare, Simpson is the best Ohio point guard that we’ve seen since Trey Burke in 2012, and will be an impact player next year at Michigan.

Matt Weir – ’16 PG New Concord John Glenn: In leading his Muskies to their first ever D2 State Title, Weir, an Air Force signee, was memorable with his play, showcasing point guard skills, shooting ability and a little flair. A tough-minded guard and competitor, Weir displayed some speed that we didn’t know that he had, especially in using his crossover to create offense. Also a big time shooter, Weir hit clutch free throw after clutch free throw down the stretch, as he was the catalyst in John Glenn holding on to their narrow lead against Akron STVSM.

Drew Rackley – ’16 PG New Concord John Glenn: Playing off of the ball while Weir played point guard, Rackley used his size, swagger and scoring ability to play aggressively on the offensive end for John Glenn, as the VMI recruit capped off his career as one of the top players in school history. Rackley plays with a confidence that is unmatched, and has become much more physical with his play over the past year to compliment that mindset. One of the flashiest guards in Ohio in recent memory, Rackley will be taking his ballhandling skills to the NCAA D1 level next year.

Tre Cobbs – ’16 PG Lima Central Catholic: Even with Humphrey’s heroics, no one had a bigger weekend in Columbus than Cobbs. One of the top unsigned seniors in the state, Cobbs was scintillating with the ball in both LCC wins, leading the T’birds to another D3 State Title. Cobbs has always been a guy who can create off of the dribble, play in transition and defend with intensity; but in this tournament he showed that he can score from all three levels, as he made shots from deep with consistency and confidence in both games. A serious competitor and proven winner, look for many of the top colleges still in the point guard market to focus their attention to Cobbs this spring.

Gene Higgins – ’18 PG Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joe’s: Playing in his second D3 State Final as just a sophomore, Higgins showed tremendous heart on both ends of the floor for Cleveland VASJ. A small but fast guard who can really defend the ball, Higgins also showed some offensive ability, consistently finding his way into the lane to make plays in both Vikings’ games. When you talk about winners in high school basketball, Higgins name will be on the short list, as his final two years at VASJ occur.

Michael Bothwell – ’18 SG Cleveland Cornerstone Christian: Few players had a bigger tournament that Bothwell, a somewhat known guard out of Cleveland’s sophomore class who has now put himself on the map. In leading his school to the D4 State Title, Bothwell was electric as a do it all guard who handled the ball, finished at the rim, made lefty jumpers and created for teammates, all while using his length and size to dominate opponents. On a young CCC team, look for Bothwell to carry the scoring load again next year, as the Patriots could be back for another shot at the title.

Honorable Mention: Jarron Cumberland (’16 Wilmington), Henry Baddley (’16 Akron STVSM), Willie Jackson (’16 Garfield Heights), Carlik Jones (’16 Cincy Aiken), Dantez Walton (’16 Lima Cent. Cath.), Braun Hartfield (’16 Garfield Heights), Rico Stafford (’16 Lima Senior), John Koz (’16 Bay Village), Tanner Slack (’16 New Concord John Glenn), Devin Pierson (’16 Lynchburg Clay), Jayvon Graves (’17 Akron STVSM), Justin Johnson (’17 Cincy Roger Bacon), Dustin Harder (’17 Columbus Wellington), Brady Wildermuth (’17 Jackson Center), Jah Blevins (’18 New Concord John Glenn), Alonzo Gaffney (’19 Cleveland VASJ)

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