Nike Super Sixteen – Recap

20 May

The Nike Super Sixteen, hosted by the All-Ohio red program in Columbus, over the past weekend gave Triple Double Prospects a chance to watch something that never disappoints; AAU rivalry games. Teams from all over Ohio traveled to the event, and with matchups between the host team All-Ohio Red and the King James Shooting Stars highlighting the action, several prospects stood out. But first, let’s take a look at the champions……

A.J. Harris

A.J. Harris

15u – King James defeated All-Ohio Red in the finals.

16u – King James defeated All-Ohio Red in the finals.

17u – All-Ohio Red defeated Millennium Fire in the finals.

Now, here are this weekend’s top performers:

  • It basically goes without saying at this point that the All-Ohio Red 17u duo of Jae’sean Tate (Columbus Pickerington Central) and Javon Bess (Columbus Gahanna Lincoln) had another big weekend. But we’ll mention it anyways. Tate and Bess controlled the action at the seniors to be division by using their athleticism, motors and length to force turnovers, track down rebounds and turn defense into high-flying offense. Also for AOR on the weekend, volume scoring wing Eric James (Columbus Westerville Central) stepped up his play; making some key shots and leading Red on a big run as they blew open what had been a close game against the Ohio Phenoms on Sunday afternoon in the quarterfinals.
  • Jeff Larkin – ’14 PG Cincinnati LaSalle: The Ohio Phenoms guard had a big weekend in front of the scouts in attendance, showing that his name belongs on any list of Ohio’s top point guards. Larkin is a tough minded player who excels on the defensive end and is also one of the better shooting point guards in the class. As the AAU season continues to unfold you’ll likely see his name creep up in rankings sheets, while Division II colleges will surely love his combination of leadership, skill and toughness.
  • Roderick Mills – ’14 PF Cincinnati St. Xavier: The versatile 6-7 inside-outside forward from the Queen City Prophets was aggressive as a scorer all weekend long, leading his team into the quarterfinals in our first viewing of QCP this spring. Mills has a great skill-set for his size and his ability to handle the ball in the open court can be valuable for his coaches when he’s playing aggressively. Mills is being recruited heavily at the mid-major level, and already holds several scholarship offers. Additionally for the prophets, guards Ronnie Rousseau (Cincinnati Winton Woods) and Kevin Daniels (Cincinnati Hughes) had big weekends in the scoring department, as they looked like two of the more impressive perimeter players at the event when it comes to attacking defenders with dribble moves.
  • Jordan Dartis – ’15 PG/SG Newark: Dartis continued his big spring with the All-Ohio Red 16u team as he shot the lights out all weekend long. A strong bodied guard who can play either position, Dartis is becoming a consistently dangerous scoring threat this season as his jumper continues to fall more often than not. Also a very good defender, Dartis has proved time and time again in the last few weeks that he is worthy of the significant interest he is getting out of college coaches.
  • Esa Ahmad – ’15 PF Cleveland Shaker Heights: Ahmad returned to the court for the AOR 16’s after missing the past couple of events due to an injury. The 6’7 forward was excellent in the pool play game against King James as he passed well out of double-teams, knocked down mid-range jumpers and was aggressive around the basket both as a rebounder and an interior scorer. It’s tough for opponents at the 16u level to match Ahmad’s great strength at this point, and he came out with an improved mindset over the weekend; choosing to score inside first then establishing his skilled wing game.
  • Luke Kennard – ’15 SG Franklin: The 6’5 sophomore superstar from the King James 16u team always gets the most attention, but he usually deserves it. Over the weekend, Kennard was on a scoring rampage for King James, knocking down his signature quick-release jumper from all over the court. With his size at his advantage, Kennard is also very efficient off the dribble both as a scorer from different levels and as a proficient passer. With the possibility to going 0-2 against All-Ohio Red on the weekend in the second half of the title game, Kennard turned it up to another level, accounting for several of the key plays down the stretch in an emotional win.
  • A.J. Harris – ’15 PG Dayton Dunbar: We’ve said for years that the 5’9 point guard from King James 16u is a big game player, again on the weekend he proved us right. After struggling mightily in the pool play matchup against All-Ohio Red, Harris came out like a man possessed in the title game; knocking down long jumpers, scoring at the rim through contact and firing in some of his bullet passes that have made him such a popular name among followers of high school hoops in Ohio. He might be undersized, but AJ has big heart when it matters, and it was his effort and leadership that ultimately helped King James fight of All-Ohio as they almost came back from a major deficit before falling 54-50.
  • V.J. King – ’16 SG Akron STVSM: The 6’7 freshman phenom, who plays up an age group with the King James 16u team, was flat out special in spurts over the weekend; proving why national experts are calling him one of the ten best 2016 prospects in the entire nation. King continues to grow and has now become one of the better vertical athletes in his class in Ohio, leading to some major highlights above the rim. However, it’s not the athleticism of King that sets him apart from his competition; it’s his skill-set.  With his size, King can play the one, two or three spots interchangeably and is equally comfortable being a slashing scorer as he is a ballhandling distributor. His jump-shot is coming along, and he’s learning the importance of valuing every possession. King had a monster first half for King James in the 16u title game, before playing the facilitator role in the second half; simply put, when he plays to his potential, this kid is going to be one of the best in recent memory to come through Ohio.
  • The 15u title game was the best basketball game that we watched all weekend long, with King James and All-Ohio Red fighting from start to finish before LeBron’s boys eventually gutted out a close win. In the win, guards Xavier Simpson (Lima Central Catholic), Anthony Christian (Akron Hoban) and the super athletic Henry Baddley (Akron STVSM) impressed the most for the victors. AOR came up a little short in the title game, but their two stars, small forward Tervell Beck (Cleveland Central Catholic) and combo forward Willie Jackson (Cleveland Garfield Heights) both had big games.
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