Rankings Update

5 Mar
Livingston

Akron Buchtel’s Chris Livingston is one of the headliners of our 2022 Watch List.

With District Finals week underway in the state of Ohio, the majority of high school basketball teams have already been eliminated from this year’s State Tournament. With that in mind, it’s time for the latest update to our Triple Double Prospect player rankings.

Today we’ll be looking at all four high school classes, with in-depth rankings by position for the current seniors, current juniors and current sophomores, as well as our introductory watch list for the current freshman (which, as always, will be sorted alphabetically).

These lists are sure to evolve as the circuit season in April rapidly approaches; however, for now, we’re comfortable that our lists contain the best of the best of current college basketball prospects playing in the state of Ohio.

For those wondering about prospects from Spire Academy and/or ISA Osborne Academy (a pair of prep schools out of the Cleveland are), please note that we limited our rankings to players who have or are currently participating with OHSAA member schools.

The classes of 2019 and 2020 have already been pretty well defined with the prospect ranking pecking order before this update; but we’ve still seen movement nonetheless. Players like Cleveland Brush’s Andre Harris have taken big steps in their final season’s of high school ball; while North Carolina transfer Jaelyn Withers of Cleveland Heights makes his rankings debut near the top of the 2019 class. In 2020, Wyoming’s Evan Prater and Mentor Lake Catholic’s duo of Luke Frazier and Luka Eller all made big jumps, rising to the top of their perspective position groups.

As for who made the list among underclassmen, there was movement within every position group in each class; however, the biggest shakeup would have to be the 2021 class, where several new names debut on this site. Prospects such as London’s Trey Woodyard have burst onto the scene this year; while previously ranked prospects such as Cincinnati Aiken’s Jakada Stone and Lakota East’s Nate Johnson are ascending rapidly up our lists.

With our 2022 watch list, almost every name is new; as only a select few freshmen have been mentioned in our event recaps throughout the high school season. Prospects such as Akron Buchtel’s Chris Livingston, North Canton Hoover’s Sencere Harris and Cincinnati Hughes’ Paul McMillan IV have gained statewide recognition as top 2022’s; but that list should only continue to grow, as we see 2022 as a class with several high-end talents.

For a look at our complete rankings lists, click on the link below:

OHIO RANKINGS

’19 All-Cincinnati Teams

16 Feb
McMillan

D2-D4 Player of the Year: ’22 Hughes PG Paul McMillan IV

With the regular season officially over, it’s tournament time in the state of Ohio. This winter was a special season in Greater Cincinnati, with multiple teams showing that they have the talent to make a deep run towards the state tournament next month in Columbus. As we try and do every winter, it’s time to take a look at the top individual performers from this winter. Here are Triple Double Prospects nominations for our annual All-Cincinnati Teams, where, for the first time in our history, a freshman captured one of the two Player of the Year awards….

D1 All-Cincinnati 1st Team
Deuce McBride – ’19 PG Moeller ***
Alec Pfriem – ’19 SG/SF Moeller
Bash Wieland – ’19 SF Lakota East
Landen Long – ’19 PG Mason
Deairius Barker-Randle – ’20 PG Princeton

***Player of the Year***

D1 All-Cincinnati 2nd Team
Nick Haddad – ’19 PG Turpin
Jackson Holt – ’21 SG Turpin
D’Marco Howard – ’19 SG Hamilton
Greg Phelia III – ’19 SG Walnut Hills
Jaylen Robinson – ’19 PG Hamilton
Alex Williams – ’21 SF Moeller

D1 Honorable Mention: John Aicholtz (’19 West Clermont), Jackson Ames (’20 West Clermont), Jacob Berkemeir (’19 Oak Hills), Keyshawn Bourrage (’19 Northwest), Rashaun Brown (’19 Winton Woods), Will Cluxton (’20 Elder), Kaleb Crawford (’20 Princeton), Kahlil Davis (’20 Princeton), Kelen Dietrich (’20 Oak Hills), Logan Duncomb (’21 Moeller), Kaden Fuhrmann (’20 Lakota East), Jalen Greiser (’19 Loveland), Steven Huxell (’19 Milford), Will Johnston (’19 Lakota East), Aaron Jones (’19 Middletown), Max Land (’20 Moeller), Brandon Lanier (’20 Mount Healthy), Jaylen Lemons (’20 LaSalle), Ivan Mason (’20 Withrow), Matt Minick (’19 Mason), Zach Moeller (’19 Oak Hills), Trey Robinson (’20 Hamilton), Nick Smith (’20 Walnut Hills), Nate Stockman (’19 St. Xavier), Hank Thomas (’20 St. Xavier), Jaheim Thomas (’20 Princeton), Matt Toigo (’19 Loveland), Nathan Vogelphol (’19 LaSalle), Leroy Walker (’20 Winton Woods), Montev Ware (’21 West High), Aaron Ward (’20 Winton Woods), Demetrious Watkins (’20 West High), Rodney Wiley (’19 Colerain)

D2-D4 All-Cincinnati 1st Team
Paul McMillan IV – ’22 PG Hughes ***
Evan Prater – ’20 SF Wyoming
Nekhi Smith – ’20 SF/PF Taft
AJ Garrett – ’19 PF Purcell Marian
Jakada Stone – ’21 PG Aiken
Kaden Warner – ’21 PG Gamble Montessori

***Player of the Year***

D2-D4 All-Cincinnati 2nd Team
Ibrahima Athie – ’19 SF Deer Park
D’arris Dean – ’19 SG Aiken
Alex Dotson – ’19 PG/SG Purcell Marian
Joey Edmonds – ’19 PG Wyoming
Camron McKenzie – ’21 SG Hughes
CJ Napier – ’19 SF/PF Bishop Fenwick
Noah Pack – ’19 C Georgetown
Chris’seon Stringer – ’20 SG/SF Taft
Mark Wise – ’20 SG Deer Park
Grant Whisman – ’20 SF Middletown Madison

D2-D4 Honorable Mention: Meechie Battle (’19 Shroder), DeMarco Bradley Jr (’19 Taft), AJ Braun (’21 Bishop Fenwick), Johnny Bultema (’19 Indian Hill), Josh Burkhardt (’19 McNicholas), Kyle Cardenas (’20 Shroder), Cole Fisher (’20 CHCA), Steve Gentry Jr (’20 Deer Park), Cameron Harris (’19 North College Hill), Curtis Harrison (’20 Seven Hills), AB Harouna (’19 Hughes), Brice Hill (’19 Seven Hills), Clark Jefferson (’19 Purcell Marian), Javonta Lyons (’19 Purcell Marian), Marlin Lyons (’19 Clark Montessori), Dionte McBride (’19 Woodward), Muhammad Metz (’20 Taft), Michael McCants (’20 Gamble Montessori), Steven Noung (’19 Madeira), Justin Pappas (’19 Badin), Jordan Robinette (’21 New Miami), Brandon Ross (’19 Reading), Skyler Schmidt (’21 Clermont Northeastern), Brayden Sipple (’21 Blanchester), Tremaine Smith (’19 Aiken), KJ Swain (’21 Cincinnati Christian), Isaiah Walker (’21 Wyoming), Bryan Warah (’19 Purcell Marian), Niarh Williams (’20 Oyler), Logan Woods (’22 Cincinnati Christian), Rylan Woods (’19 Summit)

Flyin’ to the Hoop

22 Jan
anthony

CJ Anthony

As readers of this site will surely know, Flyin’ to the Hoop is an annual staple of the Ohio high school basketball season. This year history stood tall, as neither snow nor the circus that surrounds LaVar Ball and Spire Academy could stop FTTH from going on in Kettering from Friday-Monday at Trent Arena. Highlights from the weekend included some high profile prep team battles, the host school Kettering Fairmont taking down a Canadian prep school, an epic ending to the Garfield Heights/Huber Heights Wayne game, and, of course, some top individual performances by Ohio’s top prospects. Here’s a look at some of the standout performers from Flyin’ to the Hoop….

Samari Curtis – ’19 SG Xenia: Some are going to argue that Curtis took too many shots, and that his team did not win their game (albeit against tough competition in First Love Christian Academy/PA), but scoring 44 points is impressive no matter what the circumstances are; and that’s exactly what Curtis did on Saturday morning, as fans who braved the elements go to watch Curtis erupt offensively. The Cincinnati signee got to the rim at will off the dribble, getting to the foul line or scoring at the rim with his combination of athleticism and strength as a 6’3 scoring combo guard. Curtis’ jumper can be streaky, but when he’s hitting that shot there isn’t much opponents can do, as he’s so quick with his dribble that he can create a shot for himself whenever he wants. One of Ohio’s most dynamic guards and personalities, Curtis’ career will be interesting to follow next year with the Bearcats.

Javohn Garcia – ’19 PG Pickerington Central: The top unsigned point guard in all of Ohio, Garcia led his loaded Pickerington Central team into a statement win by a large margin over Trotwood-Madison in the FTTH finale, as Garcia showed that he has a combination of tools at his disposal. A big time athlete as a 6’3 guard, Garcia looked a step faster then everyone else (impressive as Trotwood’s kids aren’t exactly athletic slouches), as he got to the rim in transition, blew by defenders and finished plays off with assists, and made a defensive impact with blocks and rebounds. Garcia’s 32-point game was enough to earn a new scholarship offer, as the Toledo Rockets extended an offer Garcia’s way on Tuesday morning. If Garcia continues to play at this level, don’t be surprised if Pickerington Central makes a push at a third straight State Tournament appearance.

Javin Etzler – ’19 PF Convoy Crestview: Coming out Northwest Ohio, Etzler is a 6’7 forward who has signed with Miami (OH) known for his ability to shoot the basketball. Shooting the ball is exactly what Etzler did in a win over Minster, as the senior forward knocked down shot after shot, showing fans that he could put the ball on the floor after a shot-fake, find a spot-up shot or come off a screen, making a case for himself as Ohio’s top shooter in the 2019 class. With Etzler and his brother, 2021 Kalen Etzler (arguably Ohio’s top sophomore prospect), combining for 43 points it’s hard not to like Crestview’s chances as the State Tournament approaches.

Ryan Hall – ’19 SG Kettering Fairmont: A bouncy 6’4 wing with some swag to his game, Hall started the event off in style on Friday night, going for 28 points, including a 22 point first half, against heavily favored Crestwood Prep (CAN), leading Fairmont in the upset win. Hall is known most as a lefty slasher, but he made a couple of jumpers once he got into rhythm, and his ability to drive the ball at his size, and with his great leaping ability, was very intriguing to some of the college coaches in attendance. Hall’s league, the GWOC, is full of high scorers, but don’t forget about this unsigned senior wing guard.

Greg Tribble – ’19 PG Huntington Prep (WV): After leaving Cincinnati Winton Woods to attend Huntington Prep (WV) in the fall, Tribble made sure that SW Ohio fans still remembered who he was, totaling 16 points in Huntington Prep’s matchup with #2 nationally ranked IMG Academy (FL). Even though H-Prep came up short, Tribble, a 6’1 senior point guard, proved that he can match up with even the nation’s most athletic players, as Tribble possesses quickness and explosive leaping ability found by only a select few prospects in the Buckeye State. Playing on a team full of talented perimeter players, we were impressed with Tribble’s aggressive approach, as he also played major minutes in his team’s second game at FTTH, a win over Bella Vista Prep (AZ).

CJ Anthony – ’20 PG Columbus Harvest Prep: While some thought that maybe Harvest Prep’s game against Middletown Madison was going to be an afterthought, junior point guard CJ Anthony made sure a lasting impression was made, dominating the matchup en route to a 32 points performance. Simply put, Anthony did it all; whether it was knocking down shots, getting in the lane and making plays or locking up defensively. Anthony, a 5’11 strong and tough guard, also showed some athleticism we didn’t know he had, particularly when he finished a two-foot dunk in transition and then sprinted all the way back to take a charge on the other end. Anthony already holds a pair of NCAA D1 offers, and his progress will certainly be reflected in our next online rankings update.

Meechie Johnson – ’21 PG Garfield Heights: After his school had taken a few tough losses at this event over the previous couple of seasons, Johnson’s late game heroics sent his uncle, Coach Sonny Johnson back to Cleveland with a win (as well as a famous FTTH strawberry smoothie). Johnson scored 8 points in the final 90-seconds of the game, and had an assist to his cousin, 2022 Sonny Johnson Jr, to top it off. Over the last ten seconds of the game, Johnson used his great quickness and tight handle to create space to launch a game-tying three pointer, and then ended up getting a steal at the other end and taking it in for what became the game winning layup. Arguably Ohio’s top sophomore guard prospect, Johnson finished the evening with 26 points, created a memorable FTTH moment and, most importantly, booked a win for his team!

Ohio’s 2022 Class: A lot has been said about Ohio’s class of 2022, as this year’s crop of freshmen has already seen several prospects ascend to the ranks of team leaders. With a few of the Buckeye State’s elite youngsters taking the floor at Trent Arena, the class furthered their assertion that this group deserves the hype, with the following performances. Akron Buchtel 6’5 wing Chris Livingston finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds in a heartbreaking loss to Dayton Chaminade Julienne, Cincinnati Hughes 6’1 guard Paul McMillan IV scored 24 points in a win over Cleveland Heights, Garfield Heights point guard Sonny Johnson Jr scored 14 points in the previously mentioned win over Wayne, and, finally, Dayton Thurgood Marshall guard Mekhi Elmore totaled 16 points in his team’s victory against Pace Academy (GA)

Honorable Mention: Kellen Bochenek (’19 Kettering Fairmont), DJ Brewton (’19 Cincinnati Dohn Prep), Darweshi Hunter (’19 Cincinnati Dohn Prep), Jason Sneed (’19 Centerville), Bobby Cole (’19 Huber Heights Wayne), Amari Davis (’19 Trotwood Madison), Milton Gage (’19 Dayton Chaminade Julienne), Raheim Moss (’19 Springfield), Nathan Bruns (’19 Marion Local), Ronnie Hampton (’19 Huber Heights Wayne), Rayshawn Brown (’19 Cincinnati Winton Woods), Nigel Martin (’19 Cleveland Heights), Mo Njie (’20 Centerville), Zach Loveday (’20 Huntington Prep), Nekhi Smith (’20 Cincinnati Taft), Jalan Minney (’20 Springfield), Grant Whisman (’20 Middletown Madison), Trevon Ellis (’20 Dayton Stivers), Kalen Etzler (’21 Convoy Crestview), Anthony Macomb (’21 Dayton Thurgood Marshall), Camron McKenzie (’21 Cincinnati Hughes), Demari Martin (’21 Cincinnati Winton Woods), Garner Wallace (’21 Pickerington Central)

 

Cleveland PBP Recap

7 Jan
withers

Jaelyn Withers

Annually, the Play-by-Play Classic in Cleveland is a great place for scouts, college coaches and fans to watch and evaluate top talent from Northeast Ohio in showcase games between the best programs. This year’s event, held at Elyria Catholic, was no different, with 11 games between two days of play, featuring twenty teams from Northeast Ohio, as well as Pittsburgh based talent factories in Kennedy Catholic and First Love Christian Academy. Triple Double Prospects made the trip to watch 10/11 games over the two days; here’s a look at our top Ohio based performers from the Play-by-Play Classic….

Jaeylyn Withers – ’19 PF Cleveland Heights: This was our first chance to get a look at Withers, a 6’8 forward from North Carolina who transferred to Cleveland Heights for his senior year. Withers did not disappoint, as the Louisville signee – ranked by top services as one of the top-100 seniors in the country – finished with 27 points in ‘Heights blowout win over Canton McKinley. Arguably the most talented senior in the state of Ohio, Withers is a great athlete for his size who can handle and attack from the three-point line, and, even though he settles for them too much, can shoot the ball with ease from the three-point line. There have been questions from others regarding Withers’ motor, but he was physical and aggressive against McKinley, showing us that Louisville is getting a really promising prospect in Withers.

Devon Grant – ’19 PG Lorain: Even though his Lorain team came up short against Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s, Grant was sensational on Sunday afternoon, wearing his heart on his sleeve and finishing with 34 points (the high scorer on the day). Grant was electrifying in the first half for Lorain, hitting pull-up after pull-up from behind the three-point line, as the Miami (OH) signee was just simply in the zone. He’s not the biggest or most athletic guard, but Grant can make shots and he’s one of the absolute toughest, a big part of why Lorain is ranked among the top ten division one teams in Ohio right now.

John Hugley – ’20 C Cleveland Brush: When scouting big men the number one thing we want to see is progression from game-to-game, year-to-year; which is exactly what Hugley displayed on Sunday, showing more emotion and a better motor then we’ve seen in the past, as Brush secured a win over Garfield Heights. A big-bodied 6’8 post who is simply too strong for other high school players, Hugley controlled the paint on both ends, while also showing better conditioning in being able to keep up in a fairly fast-paced game. There aren’t a ton of true bigs in today’s game, but Hugley’s size and strength will allow him the opportunity to score over longer, more athletic bigs as he continues to become more and more skilled. One of the hottest names in Midwestern recruiting news right now, Hugley has offers from Pittsburgh, Nebraska, Xavier, Penn State and about a dozen mid-majors.

Luka Eller – ’20 PF Mentor Lake Catholic: The MVP for Lake Cath in their win over last year’s Ohio D1 State Runners-Up in Solon, the 6’8 junior forward finished with a game high 22 points on the night. Eller has great versatility as well above average athleticism for his size, as he showed the ability to face-up and attack, score around the basket and make shots from the perimeter. NCAA D1 mid-majors have already made it clear that Eller is a priority for them, as is fellow Lake Catholic junior Luke Frazier, as Eller has a rare case of size and skill that is exactly what college coaches look for in today’s game where big men stretch the floor with shooting and have to also be nimble enough to guard small-ball forwards. Already with 5 scholarship offers from NCAA D1’s, if Eller keeps making shots consistently, that list is only going to grow as Lake Catholic moves towards tournament play.

Devontae Blanton – ’20 SF/PF Cleveland St. Edward: As impressive as Akron STVSM was in their win over Lorain, no team did more to improve their stock in Northeast Ohio then St. Ed’s, who put together a total team effort in knocking off Pittsburgh powerhouse Kennedy Catholic. Although senior wing Demetrius Terry was also tremendous on Sunday, the junior forward Blanton was the heart and soul of Ed’s attack, using his strength, offensive IQ and improved ability to knock down perimeter shots to take advantage of Kennedy Catholic. Blanton even found some ways to score with what we call “old man moves” around the rim against West Virginia signee Oscar Tshiebwe, as Blanton’s pump-fakes, floaters and jab-steps were too much for the bigger athlete. With his versatility, as well as the overall team approach Ed’s plays with, we believe, based on yesterday’s game, that Coach Flannery’s team will yet again bet a major threat to make it to the State Tournament come March.

Meechie Johnson – ’21 PG Garfield Heights: Things might not be going Garfield Heights’ way this season on the court, as they lost handily to a very good Brush team; however, Meechie Johnson is still scoring the ball at will, as the sophomore finished with 21 points for the Bulldogs. A blur off the dribble, especially in transition, Johnson combines speed and skill to score at the rim with floaters or with pull-up three-pointers. He’s not a big guard, but Johnson’s speed and handle allow him to create separation, and he has a quick release jumper plus the confidence to score in bunches. One of the more competitive guards in Ohio’s 2021 class which is filled with scoring guards and wings, Johnson has serious playmaking ability on the offensive end.

EJ Farmer – ’21 SG Cleveland Lutheran East: Farmer certainly made the top play of the weekend, knocking down a buzzer-beater three-pointer in Lutheran East’s comeback win over Lakewood, but the sophomore was solid all game long, using his length, athleticism, handle and shot-making ability to create offense. One of Ohio’s most heralded sophomore wings, Farmer is a threat to score from anywhere in the half-court, as the lefty shoots a good ball from three but has the quickness and size at 6’4 to get to the rim and make plays. With Lutheran East being a threat to make it down to the Ohio State Tournament yet again, Farmer’s name will be heavily mentioned in the Cleveland area.

Seth Wilson – ’21 PG Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s: Sophomore who is a tough, physical scoring guard who can really operate efficiently in the pick-and-roll, Wilson had to be ready for battle against Lorain on Sunday, as the Akron STVSM guard is a native of the Lorain area. Wilson was up to the task, scoring 14 points and showing that he can make perimeter shots or use his strong frame to drive to the rim. Wilson, who was a starter on STVSM’s State Champion team a year ago, is no stranger to big games, and further established himself as one of Ohio’s top 2021 guard prospects with his performance Sunday.

Chris Livingston – ’22 SG Akron Buchtel: Billed by some as one of the top-ten players in the entire country in the freshmen class, Livingston already has athletic abilities that surpass many top college players. A big wing guard at 6’5 who can jump out of the gym, has a strong frame and can run like a deer, Livingston is a physical specimen who is definitely the most talented player in Ohio’s 2022 class. Not just an athlete, Livingston was able to handle the ball against pressure in a loss to a very good First Love Christian Academy team, as well as knock down multiple three-pointers. With all the hype surrounding his name, Livingston has already received an early offer from Ohio State

Honorable Mention: Andre Harris (’19 Cleveland Brush), Demetrius Terry (’19 Cleveland St. Edward), CJ Charleston (’19 Cleveland Gilmour Academy), Curtis Houston (’19 Richmond Heights), Chris Painter (’19 Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s), Nigel Martin (’19 Cleveland Heights), Tommy Sala (’19 Lakewood), Luke Frazier (’20 Mentor Lake Catholic), Conner O’Toole (’20 Cleveland Gilmour Academy), Gblahan Adio (’20 Richmond Heights), Dayvon Adams (’20 Cleveland Lutheran East), Dakota Cochran (’20 Shaker Heights), Vernon Smith (’21 Akron Buchtel), Kobe Johnson (’21 Canton McKinley), Chris Drake (’21 Cleveland John Hay), Sonny Johnson Jr. (’22 Garfield Heights), Jonathon Effertz (’22 Cleveland St. Ignatius), Danny Young Jr. (’22 Shaker Heights), Elmore James (’22 Cleveland Brush)

’22 Sharavjamts is a Star

20 Dec

It’s not often tSharavjamtshat we at Triple Double Prospects get the urge to write an online report based on one high school basketball game; but sometimes we come across a prospect where we feel they deserve to have their name out there. That kid, in this case, is Mike Sharavjamts…. And he’s just a freshman.

We watched Sharavjamts with his Legacy Christian Academy team, out of Xenia, tonight against Middletown Christian, where Sharavjamts showcased some undeniable upside.

A 6’6 combo guard who can run the point, passes the ball as well as any kid in the state, shoots it from three with a good stroke and consistency and has the fluid athleticism to play purely on the wing at a legit 6’6, Sharavjamts has some serious long-term talent.

Unfortunately, the game tonight was out of hand, as Legacy Christian led by 50-points for the majority of the game, but we still got a chance to see what Sharavjamts can bring to the table, especially on the offensive end. Even with the score being lopsided Sharavjamts, with a great feel for the game at his disposal, brought a lot of versatility and showed a mentality of unselfishness in the process.

What’s even more interesting, however, is Sharavjamts story. The son of the Mongolian National Team coach, and a former professional player, Sharavjamts just recently came to the United States from Mongolia for this school year. Through connections made via Athletes in Action, a basketball based international charity program, Sharavjamts should be here to stay in the Xenia area; making him one of the top freshmen in Ohio’s talent rich 2022 class.

As he continues to get stronger and more acclimated to playing against American competition, Sharavjamts, who is averaging over 10 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals per game through six games, will be a name that folks in the Dayton area, and eventually the entire state, will have to learn to pronounce.

Cincy Play-by-Play

7 Dec
Nekhi Smith

Nekhi Smith

Usually the annual Play-by-Play Classic, a staple of Ohio winter basketball events, don’t come to the Southwestern part of the Buckeye State until after the New Year. This weekend, however, fans in Cincinnati were given an early Christmas present; as Princeton HS hosted a Play-by-Play Classic doubleheader. In the first game, Cincinnati Moeller, arguably the team to beat in Ohio in D1, handily defeated Cincinnati Hughes by a score of 89-45; while the second game was much closer, with Cincinnati Taft holding off Deer Park by a final margin of 78-67. Here is a look at some of the standout individual performers from tonight’s double-header….

Deuce McBride – ’19 PG Cincinnati Moeller: Everyone says it, and we certainly believe it, a healthy McBride instantly becomes Ohio’s premiere wing defender, which is exactly what the West Virginia signee showed tonight, scoring 15 points with 5 rebounds and 2 assists, but making an even bigger impact on the other end of the floor. Finally looking fully healthy after missing all but two games last year with an injury, McBride looked even more mobile then when we saw him last week at the Ohio Valley Hoops Classic, as his foot speed is critical to upholding his reputation as a high-motor player who can get to loose balls. Offensively he’s getting a new experience in playing on the ball the entire game, and we were impressed tonight as he did a good job blending setting up his teammates with creating looks for himself off the dribble. As McBride continues to prove to defenders that he can make perimeter shots, especially off of a quick rhythm dribble, he’ll become even more difficult to guard; as he will clearly be the catalyst on this Moeller’s team, as they attempt to repeat as Ohio D1 State Champions, before heading to play for Coach Huggins next season.

Alec Pfriem – ’19 SG/SF Cincinnati Moeller: We’ve long said that Pfriem’s offensive game is the perfect fit for Moeller’s system, and that reflected again tonight, as Pfriem scored, cut, passed and led his team with a game high 20 points on 9/12 shooting, to go along with 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals. A high-IQ wing who can really pass and cut, Pfriem has a great feel for the offensive end of the floor, and he’s good at using his body to create contact at the rim or by knocking down the short shot with touch. A signee with NCAA D2 powerhouse Bellarmine out of Kentucky, Pfriem’s advanced feel for the game is going to make him a productive player at the college level who is ahead of the learning curve of your average college freshman.

Ibrahima Athie – ’19 SF Deer Park: An athletic 6’6 forward with a great motor, Athie is known more as a versatile defender and role player for Deer Park; however, tonight he provided the most offense on his team, as the senior wing finished with 20 points and 6 rebounds. Athie has the athleticism and length to be a factor on the defensive end, and it was his ability to get deflections, as well as run in transition, that led to many of his baskets; while he also showed more of a handle then we’ve seen in the past in attacking the rim off of the bounce. With versatility to play either forward spot in smaller lineups at the next level, Athie has the looking’s of a late bloomer forward who will attract more college attention as the year goes on.

Nekhi Smith – ’20 SF Cincinnati Taft: Smith had what can be considered a decent first half in Taft’s win over Deer Park, before exploding in the second half to finish with a game high 21 points. In the final two quarters we saw Smith attack the rim off the dribble, showing a skill-set where he can spin back and finish or use his power to bully defenders, as well as make mid-range jumpers and finish two athletic dunks as Taft made their final run to win the game. While Smith can make some jumpers from deep, he’s best when attacking the rim going to his left hand, and his ability to be consistently productive, with his talent as a 6’5 athletic, strong and versatile forward, will be key to Taft’s success this winter. Already with an NCAA D1 offer from Detroit, college coaches are going to love Smith’s versatility, skill-set and strong 6’5 frame; so, again, if his production is consistent, expect to hear more of his name.

Alex Williams – ’21 SF Cincinnati Moeller: After seeing Williams turn in a really solid outing last weekend in Hillsboro at the Ohio Valley Hoops Classic, we were wondering if he could replicate that performance tonight against Hughes; the answer was a resounding yes, as Williams finished with 11 points off the bench for Moeller, as he looks like he’ll be a key role player this year for the Crusaders. Williams has a rare blend of mobility and size as a powerfully built 6’4 forward, who has the versatility to go inside or outside on both ends of the floor. While Williams’ best offense is using his power to attack the rim, he’s also a capable outside shooter, and a high motor player who can get involved in ways other than scoring. Moeller traditionally doesn’t play many sophomores major minutes, but if Williams keeps up this level of play he’s going to see a lot of time this season.

Paul McMillan IV – ’22 PG Cincinnati Hughes: Playing only his second varsity basketball game, and first against an opponent as strong as Moeller, McMillan was able to prove that he more than belonged on the court, tallying a team high 19 points on 7/19 shooting from the floor. McMillan gained valuable experience playing against Moeller’s defense, as the young point guard showed an ability to get into the lane and get the ball on the rim with a variety of floaters. His outside jumper didn’t fall today, but McMillan’s handle allows him to get shots off whenever he wants, while he also shows the point guard play and elusiveness in transition that go with being a really good player at the high school level. More then anything, McMillan’s composure and competitiveness were still in sync tonight, even when the margin got out of hand for Hughes.

Other Top Performers: Chris’Seon Stringer (’19 SG Taft), DeMarco Bradley Jr (’19 PG Taft), Joe Hocker (’19 C Deer Park), Muhammad Metz (’20 SG Taft), Romelo Carleon (’20 PG Taft), Max Land (’20 SF Moeller), Mark Wise (’20 SG Deer Park), Steve Gentry Jr (’20 PG Deer Park), Logan Duncomb (’21 C Moeller), Will McCracken (’21 SF Moeller), Camron McKenzie (’21 SG Hughes)

Cincy HS Preview

22 Oct

Basketball practice is about to get underway in Ohio, as the beginning of the high school season is approaching. Who will the top teams in the Greater Cincinnati area be this year? As we do every fall, Triple Double Prospects is here to answer that question to the best of our abilities. With our D1 and D2-D4 previews, here’s a look at who we believe the top teams and players in Southwest Ohio are.

Cincinnati D1 Preview

1. Moeller: One common theme with these TDP Cincinnati Previews, Moeller is our top ranked pre-season team. Nothing changes for the 2018-2019 season, as the Crusaders, the reigning Ohio D1 State Champions from 2017-2018 (and runners-up in 2016-2017) will be heavy favorites again locally. After battling their rival across the river, Covington Catholic (who finished last season as Kentucky State Champions) for Greater Cincinnati bragging rights as top area team last year, this year’s Crusaders team appears to have the most talent of anyone in the Queen City. It all starts with senior guard Deuce McBride, a West Virginia commit and our pick as the city’s pre-season Player of the Year; McBride should be the most dominant high school player in Cincinnati and will give Moeller a perimeter option they lacked last year when McBride missed all but the final two games with a foot injury. Joining McBride in the projected starting lineup, senior wing Alec Pfriem (Bellarmine commit) will be counted on to play a key part in the offense, after starting a year ago, as will junior wing Max Land, a big time athlete, and sophomore post Logan Duncomb, a potential breakout player locally. Rounding out the Moeller rotation, senior wing Michael Shipp and junior guard Jake Younkin both provide shooting, as this year’s Crusaders team will have more deep threats than last year’s group. Finally, don’t count out sophomore wing Will McCracken, who has the athletic ability to make an impact in the Big Moe rotation by season’s end. With talent, size, experience and depth, there was never a doubt who our pre-season number team would be.

2. Princeton: While this year’s Princeton team will look much different then last year’s on paper, there is still a considerable amount of talent at the Vikings disposal. GMC fans are going to become quite familiar with versatile and strong forward Tahj Harding, a senior who transferred in from Newport (KY), as Harding could contend for league player of the year honors due to his ability to score in traffic and rebound the basketball. On the perimeter Princeton has a stable of talented guards in juniors Kahlil Davis, Kaleb Crawford, Deairius Barker, sophomore Greg Johnson and senior Mario Freeman. Combine those guards with football talents Darrion Henry and Jaheim Thomas in the front-court, and this Vikings group is full of athleticism, strength, and versatility. Look for this junior class to breakout and establish themselves as some of the region’s top players, but also keep an eye on freshman wing Bowen Hardman, who could easily end up being one of Princeton’s most consistent scoring options by season’s end.

3. Winton Woods: Armed with the city’s most explosive scoring guard in senior Greg Tribble, Winton Woods will have a chance to finish their rebuilding process this season, starting the season near the top of our poll for the first time since the 2013-2014 season. Tribble should average 20 PPG in his final go-around with Winton Woods, while the Warriors have some improved talent to surround him with in junior forward Aaron Ward, junior wing Leroy Walker and sophomore wing Demari Martin. New Warriors’ coach Andre Tate will have weapons to work with, as his team has both the athleticism to apply full-court pressure and the skill to score in a fast-paced game. As Ward and Martin develop, this team could be very dangerous come March.

4. Lakota East: Another staple of our pre-season rankings, Lakota East is expected to contend for the GMC title again this season, as the Thunderhawks are again among the most talented and biggest teams in the league. 6’5 senior wing Bash Wieland (Bellarmine commit) and 6’6 junior post Alex Mangold will be the go-to guys, as both have the ability to knock down a long-range shot or create a shot for themselves; however, don’t miss the boat on talented sophomore guard Nate Johnson, who will be a well-known GMC player by March. Can East challenge Princeton in the GMC? Answer is yes.

5. Withrow: As with Winton Woods, Cincinnati basketball is better when Withrow has a good team; and that is just the case this year, as the Tiger’s rebuild mode might also reach completion. Coach O’Connell has size and athleticism in 6’11 senior Abba Lawal and versatile 6’5 senior wing Mike Hill Jr, as those two constitute two of the five the most talented players in the ECC. However, this team also has some perimeter talent, as we expect 6’5 junior wing Ivan Mason to breakout this year, while the coaching staff is high on junior guard Niles Whatley. ECC beware, Death Row is back!

6. Hamilton: Despite a coaching regime change, the Big Blue roster has a lot of returning talent, including senior guards Jaylen Robinson (Northern State commit) and D’Marco Howard, both of whom averaged over 17 PPG a season ago. Additionally, Robinson’s younger brother, 6’5 junior wing Trey Robinson, has also gathered college interest and could breakout as one of the GMC’s best. While we’re not too sure about the rest of the Hamilton roster, the Big Blue have three of the league’s most prolific scoring threats, and new Coach Kevin Higgins has plenty of GMC experience.

7. Walnut Hills: This won’t be the most talented Eagles team we’ve seen in recent history; however, you can never count Walnut Hills out in the ECC, as Coach Hill still has plenty of horses in the stable. The key piece to the team this year will be junior post Nick Smith, a back to the basket scorer who averaged double-figures a year ago. Joining Smith, Coach Hill will have some relative unknowns in some positions, but expect junior Michael Grant to be a solid scoring contributor, while the freshman class might have a couple of players who will see early minutes.

Also Considered: Mason, Oak Hills, LaSalle, St. Xavier, Middletown, West Clermont

Cincinnati D2-D4 Preview

1. Deer Park: Last year the Wildcats surprised the entire state to win the D3 State Championship and finish with an undefeated record. This year, Deer Park will not have the element of surprise; however, Coach Gentry does return enough talent to make another run to Columbus. Look for Deer Park to be Ohio’s top ranked D3 team early in the season, as Mark Wise, our D2-D4 Pre-Season Player of the Year, leads a group of four key returnees. Wise, a 6’2 junior combo guard who averaged 17 PPG last season will be the leading scorer, with senior forward Ibrahima Athie, senior post Joe Hocker and dynamic junior point guard Steve Gentry Jr all being potential all-CHL candidates. This year’s Deer Park team might not have the depth of last year’s; but expect Coach Gentry to again push the pace with a pressing style, and let Wise loose on another high scoring team. Deer Park will have a serious challenger in D3 in Purcell Marian, but, for now, they’re our pre-season favorite.

2. Purcell Marian: Another D3 team who will start the season as a top-five ranked team in the state, Purcell Marian returns almost their entire roster from a season ago, which ended in a double-overtime loss in the Regionals to Deer Park. The time is now for the Cavaliers, as a senior laden lineup of power forward AJ Garrett, versatile guard Alex Dotson, bruising wing Javonta Lyons and utility senior Bryan Warah are joined by a cast of supporting players who give Coach Kerr a lot of lineup versatility. The unquestioned favorite in the always competitive GCL Co-Ed division, we’re confident in Purcell’s ability to challenge Deer Park for a Regional and State Championship in 2018-2019, provided the Cavs shoot the ball consistently enough from the outside. Junior guard Jared Baldock will be counted on to help this department, on a Purcell roster that has some depth to it.

3. Taft: Our top ranked team in D2, this year’s Taft team is just that, a Taft team; as Coach Bradley’s crew is full of pesky guards who will play fast on both ends of the floor. Senior do-it-all forward Chris’seon “Grown Man” Stringer is the go-to guy (and CMAC pre-season player of the year) while senior point guard DeMarco Bradley Jr and junior forward Nekhi Smith will also be counted on to supply plenty of offense. Outside of those three, keep an eye on senior forward Dontae Mosley, as well as several inexperienced guards, who, year after year, always seem to fill the “next man in” role with the Senators. It’s close, but for now we’re giving Taft the slightest of edges over Hughes and Aiken in the city league.

4. Wyoming: Usually regarded as the team to beat in the CHL, we’ve got Wyoming ranked second in their league this year, and second, behind Taft, among D2 teams. The Cowboys have plenty of experience to work with in fourth year starting point guard Joey Edmonds (a Findlay commit and last season’s CHL player of the year) as well as third year starting forward Evan Prater, one of Ohio’s most talented juniors. Edmonds and Prater will no doubt put up monster numbers this year; however, we expect them to be joined by high-upside sophomore wing guard Isaiah Walker, who made great strides late last season. Can the rest of the Cowboys roster give them enough production to challenge Deer Park? We’re not sure, but if the answer is yes then this could be a fun season in the CHL.

5. Hughes: By far the most difficult team to project in the city, the Big Red graduated their entire starting lineup from a year ago, but also, on paper, have enough talent to contend for the CMAC crown again in 2018-2019. All eyes will likely be on freshman guard Paul McMillan IV, as he enters his first season as one of Cincinnati’s most talked about prospects; however, the Big Red also feature other talented guards to surround him with in veteran senior AB Harouna, underrated junior Kionte Thomas and sophomore to watch Camron McKenzie. They key to Hughes’ success this year could end up being the development of 6’8 bruiser Kenny Jackson, who showed significant strides in the right direction at our camp in September. If Hughes frontcourt can match their talent at the guard position, Coach Wyant might be in position to capture another city league title.

6. Aiken: The third CMAC team to make our list, The Swoop has the perimeter talent to finish higher in the league, as we love the upside of sophomore PG Jakada Stone to go with the proven scoring ability to senior guard D’arris Dean. Is this the year that 6’8 senior forward Tremaine Smith establishes himself as one of Cincinnati’s top players? If it is, expect the Falcons to be for real, as we’re also high on 6’4 wing guard Greg Stewart, a junior transfer from Saint Bernard. After surprising the city in last year’s Sectional Tournament, Aiken will enter this season as a known commodity in the city league.

Also Considered: Woodward, Middletown Bishop Fenwick, Gamble Montessori, Indian Hill, Madeira, North College Hill, McNicholas, Summit Country Day, Seven Hills

D1 Pre-Season All-City Team
Deuce McBride – 6’1 Senior PG/SG Moeller ***
Greg Tribble – 6’1 Senior PG/SG Winton Woods
Bash Wieland – 6’5 Senior SF Lakota East
Tahj Harding – 6’3 Senior SF/PF Princeton
Alec Pfriem – 6’4 Senior SF Moeller
Abba Lawal – 6’11 Senior C Withrow
Alex Mangold – 6’6 Junior PF Lakota East
Nick Smith – 6’6 Junior PF/C Walnut Hills

***Pre-Season Player of the Year***

Honorable Mention: Jaylen Robinson (’19 PG Hamilton), D’Marco Howard (’19 PG/SG Hamilton), Nick Haddad (’19 PG/SG Turpin), Jay Tiemeyer (’19 SG West Clermont), DeAndre Hayes (’19 PG Oak Hills), Landen Long (’19 SG Mason), Mike Hill (’19 SF Withrow), Kahlil Davis (’20 PG Princeton), Kaleb Crawford (’20 PG/SG Princeton), Max Land (’20 SF Moeller), Aaron Ward (’20 SF/PF Winton Woods), Jackson Ames (’20 C West Clermont), Demari Martin (’21 SF Winton Woods), Logan Duncomb (’21 C Moeller)

D2-D4 Pre-Season All-City Team
Mark Wise – 6’2 Junior SG Deer Park ***
Joey Edmonds – 5’10 Senior PG Wyoming
Evan Prater – 6’5 Junior SF Wyoming
Alex Dotson – 6’4 Senior PG/SG Purcell Marian
Javonta Lyons – 6’1 Senior SG Purcell Marian
Chris’seon Stringer – 6’3 Senior SG/SF Taft
Ethan Conley – 6’4 Senior SF Franklin Monroe
CJ Napier – 6’5 Senior SF/PF Bishop Fenwick
Brice Hill – 6’5 Senior SF Seven Hills

***Pre-Season Player of the Year***

Honorable Mention: DeMarco Bradley (’19 PG Taft), D’arris Dean (’19 SG Aiken), Ibrahima Athie (’19 SF Deer Park), AJ Garrett (’19 PF Purcell Marian), Deionte McBride (’19 SG Woodward), Tremaine Smith (’19 PF Aiken), Cameron Harris (’19 SF/PF North College Hill), Noah Pack (’19 C Georgetown), Steve Gentry Jr (’20 PG Deer Park), Nekhi Smith (’20 SF/PF Taft), Grant Whisman (’20 SF Middletown Madison), Curtis Harrison (’20 PF Seven Hills), Brandon Lanier (’20 PF Mt. Healthy), Jakada Stone (’21 PG Aiken), Isaiah Walker (’21 SG Wyoming), Kaden Warner (’21 PG Gamble Montessori), Brayden Sipple (’21 SF Blanchester), Skyler Schmidt (’21 PF Clermont Northeastern), AJ Braun (’21 PF Bishop Fenwick), Paul McMillan IV (’22 PG Hughes)