OSU Lands Pair of 2018’s

27 Aug

CommitOhio State added to their 2018 recruiting class on Saturday, thanks to the surprise commitments of two talented in-state prospects in Darius Bazley and Justin Ahrens.

Bazley, a 6’8 forward out of Cincinnati Princeton, and Ahrens, a 6’5 wing from Versailles, both ended their recruitments in Buckeyes head coach Thad Matta’s office, as the attached photo hit Twitter and quickly went viral shortly after 1:00 PM.

The pair, who had both been quoted by various recruiting sites in the past as saying they’d like to play college ball together, will join fellow in-state prospect Dane Goodwin (Upper Arlington) as 2018 Buckeye commits, giving Coach Matta a talented trio of skilled wing guards and wing forwards to build his team around.

Currently ranked by this site as the top 2018 prospect in Ohio, and a consensus top-50 prospect nationally, Bazley is an early steal for the Buckeyes staff, as they were able to hold off schools like Florida, Cincinnati, Xavier and Michigan to get a commit from the lanky 6’8 forward. With a wing oriented game and exceptional skill for his size, Bazley’s talent is obvious, as he will have a chance to be an immediate impact player at OSU should he continue to put all the pieces of his game together.

Ahrens, while ranked as a top ten prospect in the state by this site (and we admit that he’s probably a little lower on the list then he should be), had not received a ton of high-major interest until the Buckeyes offered him on an unofficial visit last week. The 6’5 shooter with a smooth all-around game wasted little time in weighing his options, as one week later he committed to stay in-state for college. Coincidentally, Ahrens commitment is to one of the arch rivals of his brother, 2015 Versailles graduate Kyle Ahrens, who is just beginning his sophomore year at Michigan State; setting up some potential family bragging rights games in Kyle’s senior year.

The trio now gives Ohio State their first three-man in-state recruiting class since 2010, and that list could only continue to grow, as the Buckeyes also have offers out to Cleveland Holy Name guard Dwayne Cohill as well as Pickerington North forward Jerome Hunter.

End of Summer MS Showcase

31 Jul
Darien Henry

Darien Henry

While Triple Double Prospects always focuses our attention on the top high school talent in Ohio and Kentucky, once it gets to be summer it’s never too early to start identifying the top incoming freshmen that will be making their debut on the high school scene. This year’s group of rising freshmen from the Cincinnati area, the class of 2020, looks to be a strong group, as TDP got our first chance to evaluate some prospects from that class at Sunday’s All-Ohio End of Summer Middle School AAU Showcase at Cincinnati Woodward HS. Here’s a look at some top performers, whom we believe will be names that you’ll see in varsity box-scores in the near future….

Darrion Henry – ’20 PF Cincinnati Princeton: There are few things in basketball more difficult to defend then a dominating big man; and that’s exactly what Henry proved to be on Sunday at Woodward. We’ve heard for months now about the upside of this 6’5 post player, but we might have been under sold, as Henry clearly possesses the strength of a center with the nimble feet of a wing forward. With the athleticism to run the floor and finish with a dunk and the strength to rebound through contact, Henry showed a knack for finishing plays on the offensive side, as he should have all of the physical tools to be an instant impact at the varsity level. Right now, at 6’5, Henry is a very intriguing basketball player, if he grows to be in the 6’8 range, watch out!

Isaiah Kennedy – ’20 PG Huber Heights Wayne: Having earned the reputation among junior high AAU coaches as one of the best point guards in Ohio’s 2020 class, Kennedy was very impressive with his R4L Davis team, showcasing excellent vision as a passer, making pull-up jumpers after creating space with crossovers and having enough strength and athleticism to be a finisher as well. What also stood out about Kennedy was his knack for creating turnovers with his length as an on-ball defender as well. If he continues to hone his craft, Kennedy could be the next dominant guard on the long list of top prospects to have come out of the Huber Heights Wayne program this decade.

Mark Wise – ’20 SG Cincinnati Deer Park: Wise has been the talk of the Cincinnati middle school city league coaches for over a year now thanks to his athleticism and ability to score the ball at the basket, which is exactly what he showcase for R4L Davis, as the 6’2 guard showed exceptional length and a nose for getting to the rim and scoring in traffic. Wise’s coaches say that his jumper has already improved considerably in the last few months, making him a potential varsity starter as a freshman next season. With the frame to play the one through the three, look for Wise to make an immediate defensive impact, and continue to tighten his offensive skill-package in the next year.

Jaheim Thomas – ’20 PF Cincinnati Princeton: Another promising forward out of Princeton, Thomas, like Henry, has an excellent build, as he looks much more like a high school senior than a freshman. Another very good athlete at 6’4 who can play in transition or around the basket, Thomas might not have the polished offensive game of Henry, but his ability to block shots, run the floor and defend will be helpful to a young Princeton team in search of players with a strong motor like Thomas has.

Aaron Ward – ’20 PF Cincinnati Princeton: That’s right, a third freshman from Princeton with big time potential; and another one with some size, as the 6’5 Ward was equally as impressive as his teammate Thomas. Ward is a little bit more polished with his face-up jumper, and unlike Thomas and Henry is built a little more slender, making us believe that he’s the most likely of the three to add a few more inches to his frame. Ward showed a good motor getting up and down the floor, was active around the rim as a young big who is athletic enough to finish with a dunk with ease and also showed solid instincts as a shot-blocker. As you’d expect with any high-upside young big man, Ward is raw, but his talent is unquestioned.

Paul McMillan – ’22 PG/SG Cincinnati Woodward: We tried to focus our attention on the rising ninth graders, but TDP did stop over and watch highly publicized Paul McMillan of the All-Ohio Red 2022 team (rising seventh graders) for one game. McMillan, the son of Cincinnati Woodward head coach Paul McMillan and a player who has garnered national recognition from sites like Buckeye Prep and City League Hoops TV, did not disappoint in the slightest, as he showed off a true combo guard game and advanced skill-set, while also having more size at the guard position than any of his competition. With an intensity to his game that you don’t often see in young players, McMillan competed on both ends of the court, and appears to be a top prospect to watch as he ascends the middle school ranks at Woodward JR HS.

Recruiting Notes

Jaden Sayles – ’17 PF/C Cincinnati Sycamore: An athletic 6’9 post who had a very strong July with OBC White, Sayles made his verbal commitment on Saturday afternoon to the Akron Zips. Choosing the MAC program over mid-major rivals such as Bowling Green, Toledo, Tennessee-Martin and Niagara; Sayles became the eighth member of Ohio’s 2017 class to commit to an NCAA D1 school, and the first in-state prospect from that class to commit to Akron. With length, the ability to run the floor and a frame that can pickup weight, Sayles could be the ideal rim defender at the mid-major level for the Zips, especially as the 6’9 rising senior showed tremendous strides during the final three live evaluation periods.

Adidas All-In Recap

17 Jul
Naz Bohannon

Naz Bohannon

The Adidas All-In Classic returned to Cincinnati for another year this past weekend, as the event drew a ton of college coaches from all levels for the middle of the three summer NCAA Live Evaluation Periods. While the NCAA D2 and low and mid-major D1’s had the most coaches in attendance, several top-25 programs were also represent in the event, which was headlined by Ohio Basketball Club. However, as you’ll see below, there was more talent than just the OBC teams; here’s a rundown of the top performances that we were able to catch….

Naz Bohannon – ’17 SF/PF Lorain: Bohannon was dominant from start to finish during the tournament, particularly in a rivalry matchup in which his Ohio Basketball Club team defeated OBC White, 66-62. A master of the intangibles, Bohannon brought effort, toughness and leadership to the floor for OBC, and along with Findlay commit Tommy Schmock (Cleveland St. Edward) and Salem Northwestern PF Derek Koch, the Lorain product also helped handle a lot of the scoring load. While Bohannon isn’t the most skilled player, his effort and strength allow him to score on the interior, while he’s also athletic enough to get out and make plays in transition as well. With mid-major and Ivy League schools tracking him the hardest right now, Bohannon is set to have plenty of NCAA D1 options by the fall.

Derek Koch – ’17 PF Salem Northwestern: As we mentioned before, Koch handled a lot of the scoring responsibilities for OBC, as the 6’8 showcased his signature combination of power and explosiveness around the rim. While Koch is skilled enough to hit some mid-range jumpers, we believe that his best work is done around the rim; where he is strong enough to finish through contact, rebounds at a high level and just generally bullies opponents. With some of the top in-state mid-major programs tracking him all weekend long, Koch is one of the most highly recruiting rising seniors in Ohio at the moment.

Lonnie Grayson – ’17 SG Cincinnati Wyoming: A name that has been on the radar of the NCAA D2’s, and some D1’s, for a long time now, Grayson improved his stock over the weekend by playing some terrific on the ball defense, as well as making shots. Always known as a scorer who can make long-range shots off the bounce, Grayson was excellent in transition and on the defensive end, as he used a combination of quickness and effort to make plays on both ends of the court. While he might not have ideal height for a shooting guard at 6’0, Grayson is a pure scorer and a heck of a prospect.

Tavon Brown – ’17 PF Columbus St. Charles: Brown turned heads more than anyone else in the event at the 17u level with his VCC-Nova team, as the 6’8 forward proved to be a very intriguing athlete who plays with a motor and has a lot of physical talent that is still untapped. Offensively, Brown is still figuring it all out, but he does show some feel for how to create space around the rim; however, it was his ability to get up and down the floor and alter shots that impressed college coaches the most. After catching our eye in the spring, Brown has gotten better and better, and will be heavily recruited at the NCAA D1 and D2 level if he continues to play with such great energy heading into the winter.

Dwayne Cohill – ’18 PG/SG Cleveland Holy Name: Cohill has been our top-ranked 2018 prospect for sometime now thanks to his ability to attack the rim and score with great athleticism. However, two improvements to his game really had us excited this past weekend, as Cohill proved that he has improved his point guard game and has really focused in on going from a good defender to a great defender. Handling a lot of point guard duties for his OBC 16u team, Cohill made the right pass at the right time, and did a nice job balancing scoring with distributing in transition; but it was his defense that stood out the most, as the 6’3 guard used his length, quickness and explosiveness to turn opponents turnovers into dunks on the other end. With many high-major coaches stopping through Cincinnati specifically to see Cohill and his OBC teammate Robby Carmody (Mars Area/PA), the Cleveland product did nothing but improve his recruiting stock with his latest performances.

Christian Guess – ’18 SG Shaker Heights: While Carmody and Cohill get much of the praise on the OBC 16u team, Guess is truly not that far behind them when it comes to natural ability. After transitioning from Glenville to Shaker Heights for his junior year, Guess is eager to get his name back on the map, after jumping around on the AAU circuit a bit a year ago. In Cincinnati, Guess showed tremendous playmaking ability, as he’s a long 6’5 wing that can score from the perimeter, has great athleticism at the rim and plays with a competitive passion. As Guess continues to use his emotional mindset as a positive, and area where’s he already come a LONG way, there’s no reason why he can’t become a top five to ten prospect in Ohio’s 2018 class, as many in-state mid-majors already have their eyes set on securing his services.

Isaiah Speelman – ’18 SF/PF Hilliard Bradley: Yet another standout performer for OBC 16u, Speelman provided the biggest scoring burst for the rising junior team, as he continues to become the consummate inside-outside threat as a 6’6 combo forward. Speelman shot the ball with great consistency out to the three-point line, drove strong to the rim off of one dribble and even showed the ability to make the correct play as a ballhandler in transition. While his offensive style can be unorthodox at times, very few prospects in the 2018 class have as much natural scoring ability as Speelman, who also plays with enough effort and athleticism to be an above-average rebounder as well. Given his inside-outside style, expect Speelman to actually become the most heavily recruited mid-major prospect on an OBC team that is deep with future college players.

Notes: The OBC 15u team also showcased some impressive young talent in our viewing of them on Friday night. Led by skilled and crafty wings in 6’4 Alec Pfriem (Cincinnati Roger Bacon) and 6’4 Jack Davin (Covington Catholic/KY), OBC has both size and skill on the perimeter. Pfriem is more of a natural scorer with shooting ability and touch on his floater, while Davin is a great complimentary piece with his vision as a passer and length to make plays defensively. Additionally, athletic 6’6 forward Nick Thelen (also from Covington Catholic) was impressive as well, as he showed a motor and great physical upside. As this team matures, those three should be among the top 2019’s in Ohio and Kentucky to follow.

Others: Tommy Schmock (’17 Cleveland St. Edward), Tyler Mitchell (’17 Kings), Malek Green (’17 Cincinnati Taft), Ryan Batte (’17 Oak Hills), Correy Long (’17 Cincinnati Hughes), James Johnson (’17 Cincinnati Roger Bacon), Matt Smith (’17 Bloom Carroll), Rob Brown (’17 Toledo Bowsher), Alex Dahling (’17 Cincinnati Summit), Solomon Pierre Louis (’18 Columbus Academy), Robby Carmody (’18 Mars Area/PA), JJ Ramey (’19 South Laurel/KY)

Commitment Watch

28 Jun
Logan Hill

Logan Hill

We’re only a few days away from the start of the July evaluation period, where college coaches will get their final look at Ohio’s top prospects before the start of the new school year. However, before that period starts, some schools are moving quickly to try and secure commitments from their biggest targets, to avoid having another school swoop in and change that player’s mind after a big series of performances in July. Two such prospects from the Buckeye State made decisions over this past weekend, while plenty of other recruiting rumors were circulating as well. Here’s the latest scoop….

Markell Johnson – ’16 PG Cleveland East Tech: After being ranked as Ohio’s top 2017 prospect by this publication and several others, Johnson officially (after months of speculation) reclassified to the class of 2016. Johnson will play next year at North Carolina State, choosing the Wolfpack over Texas A&M, Louisville, Ohio State and others. A big time athlete and scorer, Johnson had been putting up great numbers in the Nike EYBL with King James, after having a final season at East Tech where he contended for Ohio’s Mr. Basketball award. While the departure of Johnson will leave the state without a premiere guard in the 2017 class, we do expect to see Johnson make an impact with the Wolfpack as a backup point guard to likely one-and-done NBA caliber talent Dennis Smith Jr, a fellow freshman next season.

AJ Gareri – ’17 PF Akron Ellet: A long, skilled and talented offensive player, Gareri went from a good to great mid-major prospect thanks to his play as a junior at Ellet, where he scored at will. Using that scoring ability as leverage to earn scholarship offers from several mid-major schools, as well as some high-major interest, Gareri ended the recruiting process early on Sunday, as he committed to in-state power Ohio University. Giving the Bobcats an offensive weapon that can replace the pick-and-pop ability to current star Antonio Campbell after his graduation, Gareri’s skilled game could be an ideal fit in the MAC, where his size and agility make him a tough matchup for opposing power forwards. While many thought that Gareri was likely to end up at Kent State or Akron, the Bobcats staff did a good job securing an early commitment from the 6’8 forward, who will finish up the summer live period with Ohio Basketball Club.

Logan Hill – ’16 PF Massillon Jackson: Another highly recruited prospect by in-state mid-major programs, Hill also made a verbal commitment within the last few days; choosing the Toledo Rockets as his future home for college basketball. Hill was the target of almost the entire MAC due to his athleticism, motor and rebounding ability, as he has proven to be an effective role player at the Nike EYBL level with All-Ohio Red, despite not having natural power forward size for the mid-major level. With Hill expected to make up part of the one-two scoring punch, along with Kyle Young, next year at Massillon Jackson, the Rockets staff made sure to get their commitment from the 6’6 forward early, as they held off other programs such as Bowling Green, St. Francis (PA), High Point and Florida Atlantic.

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)


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