All-Ohio City Series Recap

27 Oct

The finals of the fourth annual All-Ohio City Series brought the majority of Ohio’s finest to the gym at Columbus Reynoldsburg HS on Saturday and Sunday, as teams battled for in-state bragging rights. As it has been in the past, the competition was intense, giving Triple Double Prospects the opportunity to evaluate the participating players not only against top competition but also in a pressure situation with much at stake.

Tervell Beck

Tervell Beck

With most of the top players in the senior division (class of 2014) already off the board to Division I colleges, TDP spent the majority of our time watching the junior and sophomore divisions, better known as the classes of 2015 and 2016. By the time the day ended on Saturday, the following players are the ones who stood out to us….

  • Jordan Dartis – ’15 Newark SG: One of Ohio’s top juniors, Dartis had a good showing on Saturday with the Columbus junior team. At a powerfully built 6’2 the combo guard is able to attack off of the dribble, shoot the ball from deep and can play the point in spells when his team needs him to. Dartis is also a strong defender and team player who plays with a certain control to his game on the offensive end. The junior listed Cleveland State, Dayton, Virginia Tech, Wisconsin and West Virginia as colleges that have come by Newark to watch him workout so far this fall. As one of Ohio’s top shooting guards, and someone who also has some versatility, look for Dartis’ recruiting stock to continue to improve.
  • Alex White – ’15 Cincinnati Lakota East PF: Before an injury held him out of the AAU circuit, White was poised to be one of the breakout players of last spring and summer. However, the 6’7 post was able to make his mark in Columbus over the weekend, scoring the ball in different ways in leading the Cincinnati junior team. White is a very good jump shooter out to the three-point line, although his strength is in the mid-range, can score with his back to the basket and also in transition. He might not be the physically strongest, but White is also both an excellent rebounder and athlete who uses that explosiveness to impact the game in different ways. White is currently being recruited by Wright State (offer), Ohio University, Miami (OH) and other mid-majors.
  • Esa Ahmad – ’15 Cleveland Shaker Heights PF: As the most highly regarded junior in attendance at the event Ahmad was supposed to be special on Saturday. As he always does, the 6’7 versatile power forward delivered. Ahmad scored at will in games against Cincinnati and Dayton, using his strength to score over smaller forwards or his mobility to go around bigger players. He’s a skilled forward that pass, handle and shoot the basketball, and can really operate efficiently from the wing, mid-post or low block. Before Saturday’s games, Ahmad took a visit to Xavier’s midnight madness event on Friday night. Xavier has offered the Cleveland junior, as have Rutgers, Virginia Tech, Clemson, West Virginia, Dayton and Miami (FL).
  • Devon Andrews – ’15 Cleveland Lorain SF: One of three Ohio juniors who have already chosen a college, the Kent State commit was productive on Saturday, using his superior athleticism to control the game. At 6’6 and with absolutely elite athleticism Andrews is tough to stop in transition based games, such as showcases. He’s skilled enough to handle the ball on the break, sees the floor as a passer and when he plays with passion has as much ability as almost any prospect in the 2015 class in Ohio. Andrews still needs to add consistency and a jumper to his game, but when his motor runs he’s certainly a fun prospect to watch.
  • Ulmer Manzie – ’15 Columbus Africentric PF: The super athletic 6’7 junior from Columbus is an intriguing, but raw, prospect with good upside. Manzie is a high-energy guy with a terrific basketball frame that allows him to be both strong and explosive at his size. He likes contact, takes pride in defending the post and has proven to be a good area rebounder. While the junior still has work to do on his offensive game, he is comfortable around the rim with his right hand and can get a lot of effort baskets from floor-running or tip-ins. Manzie’s high school coach told us that they recently took visits to both Indiana State and Cleveland State.
  • Luke Knapke – ’15 Marion Local C: Knapke is one of Ohio’s top junior big men who has gotten very little publicity anywhere, including this site. At a long 6’9 the center showed good agility in running the floor for the Dayton junior team, while also showing a comfort level with the basketball on the offensive end. Knapke has an above average skill-set for a low post player his age, and although he is thin he uses his length well to get shots up.  Akron and Toledo have offered Knapke, while other mid-majors such as Miami (OH), Kent State and Wright State are showing interest in him.
  • Tervell Beck – ’16 Cleveland Central Catholic SG/SF:
    Jordan Dartis

    Jordan Dartis

    This fall has been all about Cleveland area sophomores. First it was Wille Jackson and Frankie Hughes, then it was Derek Funderburke and Omari Spellman. This time it was Tervell Beck. In our second viewing of Beck this fall (the first being an open gym at his school) the 6’6 wing exceptional in the wide-open style of game. Beck scored from all over, mostly off of the dribble at the basket, but also showed more consistency and touch on his jumper then we’ve ever seen from him in the past. If he can shoot the ball like that all season then he’ll quickly become one of the Midwest’s most highly recruited players, as the rest of his game is already exceptional. Beck is an elite athlete even from a national perspective, and combines a solid handle and good court vision with that explosiveness to make for a very promising prospect. Beck holds offers from Kent State, Toledo, Ball State, Cleveland State and Xavier, while Ohio State, Wisconsin, Virginia Tech, Clemson, Florida State and Penn State are showing interest as well.

  • Ibi Watson – ’16 Athens SG/SF: A skilled and above average athlete, the 6’4 wing from Athens was very solid for the Columbus sophomore team on Saturday. Watson is a capable shooter who can also attack off the dribble, but it’s his versatility and length as a defender that really has us excited. The sophomore will have to continue to add strength, but he has the shooting ability combined with athleticism and a polished all-around game to be heavily recruited at the Division I level sooner than later. Watson stood out last AAU season with Team Work 15u, and should see his reputation really develop in his second year of high school.
  • Seth Towns – ’16 Columbus Northland SF/PF: Another versatile forward, somewhat similar to Esa Ahmad, Towns is a scoring combo forward that can hurt you from all over the court. While he isn’t as strong as Ahmad, Towns has good length at 6’7, is an above average athlete and is more of a fluid ballhandler. He’s capable of pushing the ball on the break, can really shoot it with consistency all the way out to the three-point line, and is getting better at simply using his size to score over smaller players near the basket. Towns will have to prove that he is willing to play physically on a consistent basis, and continue to add strength, but he’s one of Ohio’s most promising sophomores. So far, Dayton, Xavier and Virginia Tech have offered Towns, while West Virginia, Ohio State and other high majors are showing interest.
  • Roderick Caldwell – ’16 Dayton Stivers PG: At this point in their careers, it would be unfair to say that any other point guard in the 2016 class can come close to matching Caldwell’s scoring ability from the one spot. The 5’10 sophomore is skilled both as a ballhandler and shooter, and loves to use dribble moves to create space to launch a jumper. Caldwell is a point guard who will distribute, but he seems to be at his best in playing with an aggressive, scoring mindset. He doesn’t have great size, but Caldwell is deceptively quick, and with the respect you have to give him from twenty-feet and in, he’s tough to stay in front of.
  • Xavier Simpson – ’16 Lima Central Catholic PG: While Caldwell is clearly 2016’s best scoring point guard, Northwest Ohio’s Xavier Simpson is by far the class’ best pure point guard. TDP was equally as impressed with Simpson in Columbus as we previously were at John Lucas Camp in Louisville earlier this month, where he showed both leadership and grit at the lead guard position. Simpson is slowly becoming a more consistent and confident jump-shooter, the only thing that you can really knock about the 5’10 guard’s game. The sophomore is a willing distributor, excellent defender and strong decision maker who keeps the game simple while also making his teammates better. Simpson is starting to generate interest from both mid and high major college programs, and his recruitment will likely skyrocket during his sophomore season.
  • Terrence Landers – ’16 Dayton Dunbar SG/SF: Last time we saw Landers was at the AAU State Tournament in June, where he hit the championship winning buzzer beater for the Cincinnati Lakers. Landers picked up where he last left off in Columbus, dominating the game for the Dayton sophomores. The 6’4 wing is a very good athlete with a strong build and above average length that starts his work on the defensive end. A tough and active rebounder, Landers likes to push the ball himself after a rebound and can get to the rim easily in transition. His half-court offensive game is still developing, but he’s a solid mid-range shooter who is difficult to keep out of the lane with his combination of size, strength and athleticism. After playing a supporting role on the Dunbar varsity last year, look for Landers to breakout in his sophomore campaign.
  • Andre Wesson – ’16 Columbus Westerville South PF: In our first viewing of Wesson, the Columbus sophomore was very impressive both in his energy level and versatility. The 6’6 forward is capable of playing the wing spot in spurts, has great strength for his size and is a dedicated rebounder on both ends of the floor. Wesson has all the tools to be a devastating low and mid-post scorer at the high school level, and has he continues to develop his all-around offensive skill-set could emerge as one of the more talented Columbus area 2016’s.

The All-Ohio City Series also featured some of the state’s most talented freshman prospects. TDP spent some time watching the 2017 division, as we continue to try and identify the most promising players in that class. Here are some prospects that stood out in games we saw on Saturday in the 9th grade bracket…. Markell Johnson (PG Cleveland East Tech), Correy Long (PG Cincinnati Hughes), Lonnie Berry Jr (SG/SF Cincinnati Colerain), Chase Munro (PF/C Lexington), Jarious Ward (SG Columbus Reynoldsburg), Kelvin Calhoun (PF Cleveland St. Edward’s).

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