Pre-Summer AAU Rankings

30 Jun

After getting a lot of feedback from our pre-spring AAU team rankings of Ohio teams, TDP has taken everything that we saw in the spring and put it together to update the list of top travel teams in the Buckeye State. Most of these decisions were very difficult, but we eventually had to slot teams in the order that we saw fit. While some will always disagree with our order, this is our best shot at how teams would finish in a tournament consisting of every team in the state. Finally, after so many requests, here are our rankings:

17u

  1. All-Ohio Red – Playing in the Nike EYBL against the nation’s top competition, AOR had a very memorable spring. Red won their division in the EYBL, and will be one of the top seeded teams heading into the Peach Jam/EYBL Finals in Augusta in mid-July. Forward Esa Ahmad (Shaker Heights) had a breakout month, earning several high-major offers in the process, during April; while Indianapolis native Jalen Coleman handled most of the perimeter scoring. AOR also got strong play from a cohesive unit of role players, including MaCio Teague (Cincinnati Walnut Hills), Josh Williams (Akron SVSM), Ahmad Wagner (Huber Heights Wayne), Noah Bramlage (Ottawa Glandorf) and Doug Taylor (Columbus Northland). If scoring guard Jordan Dartis (Newark) can get healthy for the Peach Jam and AAU Nationals, AOR will have a chance to bring some hardware back to Ohio.
  1. King James Shooting Stars – After starting the year off as one of the favorites in the Nike EYBL, King James limped their way through the spring, failing to qualify for the Nike Peach Jam/EYBL Finals. Injuries and cold shooting cost King James on the big stage, as they failed to produce a winning record in the brutally tough league. Despite some failures, this is still a very good AAU team, and college coaches took notice in a big way. With Luke Kennard (Franklin/Duke), AJ Harris (Dayton Dunbar/Ohio State), Derek Pardon (Cleveland VASJ/Northwestern), Kyle Ahrens (Versailles/Michigan State) and Nate Fowler (Cincinnati Moeller/Butler) all already off the board, only Kipper Nichols (Cleveland St. Edward) and a couple of role players are left to choose a school from the KJ 17u team.
  1. Ohio Basketball Club – Playing in the first ever Adidas Gauntlet, the three stripes company’s version of the EYBL, OBC had a solid all-around spring, finishing in the middle of the pack among Adidas teams. Carlton Bragg (Cleveland VASJ) became one of the nation’s most sought after prospects, after earning rave reviews at circuit stops in Orlando and Indianapolis; while Craig Randall (formerly of Medina) and West Virginia product Dikembe Dixson also had strong springs. OBC also got notable play from their role players, including Isaiah Jones (Cincinnati Woodward), Devon Andrews (Lorain) and especially top-100 rising junior, and Pittsburgh product, Maverick Rowan. OBC will be heavily tested throughout the month of July in Adidas sponsored events, with a microscope-like level of scrutiny sure to follow Bragg especially.
  1. All-Ohio Black – Like King James, AOB also struggled with some injuries during the months of April and May, but the Dayton based squad produced a solid all-around spring, including winning the King James Classic in April in Akron. Xeyrius Williams (Huber Heights Wayne) became a Dayton commit, after helping secure an offer from the Flyers with his strong play, while wing forward Ryan Mikesell (St. Henry) also became one of the state’s hottest names. In addition to those two, point guard Grant Zawadski had a great spring season for All-Ohio, putting himself squarely on the Division I radar heading into July. If they can get everyone healthy, look for AOB to be a factor at AAU nationals due to their depth of talent and team oriented style.
  1. Team Work – While this isn’t the most talented group that this program has ever put together, the size and skill level of this year’s Team Work 17u squad has kept them squarely in the top five rankings. Frontline players Mitch Loomis (Malvern), Nolan Gerrity (Berea Midpark) and Alex White (Lakota East) all enjoyed some success in the spring, while wings Austin Adams (Toledo Cardinal Stitch) and Nick Bapst (Grove City) continue to intrigue coaches with their athleticism on the perimeter. If guards Isaac White (Ashland) and Beau Justice (Peebles) can get hot with their shooting in July, this Team Work group will be more than relevant at AAU Nationals.

Other top 17u teams in Ohio: King James Runnin’ Rebels, Queen City Prophets, TNBA, Cincinnati Lakers, Ohio Varsity and All-Ohio White

16u

  1. King James Shooting Stars – This is a tough call at the top. Yes, the team listed directly below them beat them, but TDP believes that King James is the most dangerous Ohio team in the 16u division heading into July. After strong performances at the Nike Memorial Day Classic, a Nike event in Dallas and a championship at the King James Classic in April, the 16u KJ squad has a great all-around resume. Derek Funderburk (Cleveland St. Edward) and Xavier Simpson (Lima Senior) had the biggest impact on the team during the spring, but this squad is deep with talent, and got strong play from several other players. If Tervell Beck (Cleveland Central Catholic) can get it going in July, this team will have every chance to win the 16u Nike Peach Jam and/or the AAU National Championship.
  1. Ohio Basketball Club – We understand that the OBC squad is not going to be happy being ranked number two, and they very well could prove us wrong in July by winning the Adidas events in Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Las Vegas. From top to bottom, OBC had a terrific spring, winning the prestigious Spiece Run-N-Slam over King James, and finishing strong in Adidas events in Indianapolis and Orlando. Wings Jarron Cumberland (Wilmington) and Yavari Hall (Warrensville Heights) were dominant, while point guard Carlik Jones (Cincinnati Aiken) also had a breakout spring. Coach Corey Tucker tells TDP to be on the lookout for a couple of big roster moves in the next week, but TDP might be most excited to follow the progress of center Darrius Harper (Dayton Springfield), who showed signs of dominance late in the spring.
  1. All-Ohio Red – The coaches from AOR admit that they had a roller coaster spring with the 16u squad, however, they also believe that they’ve found the winning recipe with their current group of scrappy players. Center Nick Ward (Gahanna Lincoln) had as strong of a spring as any Ohio prospect regardless of class, while cousins Terrence Landers (Dayton Dunbar) and Trey Landers (Huber Heights Wayne) were very impressive on the wings. Look for Roderick Caldwell (Huber Heights Wayne) to also continue his consistently good play in July, as AOR looks to make a deep run at the 16u Nike Peach Jam.
  1. Team Work – Another injury riddled team that had moments were they were good and moments were they were really impressive, Team Work had a strong spring behind the play of their two big men, Jon Teske (Medina) and Micah Potter (Mentor). At the forward spot, Luke Vargo (Dublin Coffman) was banged up but showed signs of coming on strong, while Deven Stover (Cleveland St. Ignatius), Mason Baich (Dublin Jerome), Seth Fuller (Dublin Coffman) and other role players all carried the offensive load for Team Work at times. Fully healthy for July, this team will be in strong contention to make a deep run at the Adidas Invitational and AAU Nationals, with their size and skill level being highlighted by their emphasis on team basketball.
  1. The fifth spot could go to several teams at the 16u level, so we’re not going to specify just one. At different times in the spring, Team One, VCC Ohio Warriors, TNBA, Nova Village and Ohio Prep all impressed TDP, so we’re going to leave all of them listed as being about a tie for the fifth spot; depending on who is playing best that day.

15u

  1. Team Work – This is a close call between all three teams that TDP is going to discuss here, but we believe that Team Work belongs at the top right now, thanks to their overall body of work. Several players on this team went from almost unknown to top 2017 prospects in Ohio; no one more than Derek Koch (Salem Northwestern). In addition to the powerful forward, Griffin Lutz (Athens), Trey Pugh (Jonathan Alder) and AJ Gareri (Akron Ellet) all made names for themselves in the spring. Team Work’s 15u squad will try and make a similar July run to the one that their 15u team made last year, with some high profile wins at the Adidas Invitational being the first of many goals.
  1. King James Shooting Stars – Some roster moves made the stock for the 15u King James team rise and fall at times, but the overall group that they have put on the floor is a talented and athletic squad of passionate players who TDP really likes. Markell Johnson (Cleveland East Tech) has been the most exciting perimeter player in 2017 in Ohio to follow, while Jaylen Harris (Cleveland Heights), Parker Stewart (Pickerington Central), Jayvon Graves (Akron SVSM) and Jarious Ward (Reynoldsburg) are all players who showed good upside at times, as the Shooting Stars made deep runs at the Nike Super Sixteen and the King James Classic. With their athleticism and length on the defensive end, King James will always be a tough matchup at the 15 level, and is a dangerous team for opponents at AAU Nationals.
  1. All-Ohio Red – Another team that made several roster changes throughout the spring, AOR hit the jackpot in May with the addition of center Kaleb Wesson (Westerville South). The big fella emerged in April as arguably Ohio’s top 2017 prospect, and picked up his play even further once he joined Red. Frontcourt players Logan Hill (Massillon Jackson) and Chase Munro (Lexington) showed promise down the road, while perimeter guys like Lonnie Berry Jr (Cincinnati Colerain), Correy Long (Cincinnati Hughes) and Storm Cook (Piqua) all had nice offensive stretches in games that TDP viewed. This team still has to improve their chemistry, but they have the talent to be a force in the month of July.

We admittedly haven’t seen all of the top teams in the 15u division enough to rank them at this point. So at this point we’re just going to list other top teams. Keep an eye on the following teams for July: Cincinnati Lakers, DB Hoops, Ohio Basketball Club, OBC Adidas Elite and All-Ohio White.

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