Cincinnati 2018: Best Available

25 Sep
Gio

Giovanni Santiago

Yesterday, TDP profiled the top available prospects from the 2018 class in the state of Ohio. Since that article’s release, we’ve seen Versailles SF Justin Ahrens become the 14th Ohio senior to commit to a NCAA D1 school, as Ahrens chose Ohio State on Saturday afternoon.

Today we’ll be narrowing our focus a little bit to look at the top available prospects in the city we reside, Cincinnati. It’s already been a busy fall in Greater Cincinnati, as three prospects have committed to high-major NCAA D1 schools in Princeton’s Darius Bazley (Syracuse) as well as the Covington Catholic (KY) duo of CJ Fredrick (Iowa) and Jake Walter (Xavier). Additionally, Burlington Cooper (KY) guard Adam Kunkel (Belmont) and Simon Kenton (KY) post Zach Kelch (Navy) have also committed to NCAA D1 schools, while Lakota East wing Jarrett Cox (Fairmont State) and Cincinnati Moeller PG Isaiah Payton (Indiana Wesleyan) have made verbal pledges as well.

Now, with all of that dust settled, here’s a look at which players in the Queen City area are still on college coaches recruiting boards heading into the fall signing period….

 Jaxson Hayes – ’18 PF/C Cincinnati Moeller: Hayes was near the top of the list of top available prospects statewide yesterday, as the 6’10 (and growing) post with tremendous athleticism and upside has narrowed his list of schools to Xavier, Butler, Kentucky, Texas and Georgetown. The most heavily recruited player in Ohio who has yet to make a decision, we expect Hayes to choose a school by the end of the fall signing period.

 Jeremiah Davenport – ’18 SF Cincinnati Moeller: Hayes’ teammate at Moeller, and one of the best all-around wings in the state, Davenport has seen his recruiting stock skyrocket in the last year thanks to a strong junior season at Moeller and a solid spring and summer on the circuit. An athletic and versatile forward who can defend multiple positions and score in different ways off of the dribble, Davenport is a long 6’5 forward with great upside. Currently with offers from Tennessee-Tech and Presbyterian, several other D1’s are actively recruiting Davenport, who could be Moeller’s second leading scorer this season.

Kameron Gibson – ’18 PG/SG Cincinnati Walnut Hills: A smooth and skilled guard with length at 6’3 and the versatility to play either guard position, Gibson excels off of the dribble as a scorer from the mid-range, but is just as capable at making his teammates better with the drive and kick game. Already with an offer from Maryland Eastern Shore, plus other NCAA D1 interest from Miami (OH) and Northern Kentucky, Gibson is a potential breakout recruit to follow this winter, as he should lead a talented Walnut Hills team in scoring.

Omari Peek – ’18 SG/SF Strongsville: While Peek technically lives in the Cleveland area, he’s included on this list since he lived in Cincinnati until the end of his sophomore season at Walnut Hills HS. A big wing forward who can score from three levels and has NCAA D1 size and athleticism, Peek certainly looks the part of a big time player. Peek, like Gibson, has one D1 offer from Maryland Eastern Shore, but should see his recruitment continue to develop, as NEO Spotlight ranks him as the top senior small forward in the Cleveland area. 

Bryce Hunt – ’18 PF Reading: A raw but extremely talented 6’6 power forward with a mature frame and excellent athleticism, Hunt will be debuting at Reading this season after spending his first three seasons at Cincinnati Purcell Marian. Hunt has all the tools that college coaches want to see, including a motor, a knack for playing with physicality and the ability to face up in the mid-range game; all the reason why several NCAA D1’s have inquired about the under the radar senior this fall for workouts; also a candidate for prep school due to his age, there’s a possibility that Hunt ends up as a 2019 prospect. Don’t be surprised if Hunt finishes among Cincinnati’s top scorers this season, especially at the D3 HS level.

Giovanni Santiago – ’18 PG Cincinnati Hughes: One of the most exciting offensive players in all of Ohio, Santiago is a flashy playmaking point guard who makes his teammates better with pinpoint passes off the dribble; however, he’s also a proven scorer who shoots it well from deep and is adept at using his crossover to create space to shoot the ball. While Santiago still needs to add strength to his frame, he’s proven time and time again that he’s among Ohio’s elite floor generals, part of the reason why D1 Maryland Eastern Shore has extended a scholarship offer Santiago’s way, and several other D1 and D2 programs have inquired about him. Expect his recruitment to likely go past the high school season, but we believe that Santiago is another prospect who will end up signing with a D1 program.

DJ Brewton – ’18 SG Cincinnati Hughes: An under the radar wing guard whose praises we’ve been singing for some time now, Brewton is still raw but has as much upside as any guard in Ohio who has yet to commit to a college program. A natural scorer with excellent athleticism and an explosive first-step, Brewton can get anywhere he wants off of the dribble, and while his jumper is streaky, he has the ability to score in bunches when he’s in attack mode. Transferring from Mount Healthy to Cincinnati Hughes for his senior year should only enhance Brewton’s exposure, as alongside Santiago he’ll make up half of one of Ohio’s most exciting backcourts. Brewton has yet to earn a scholarship offer; however, we expect that to change by the end of the winter.

Terry Durham – ’18 SF/PF Cincinnati Woodward: A week ago we would have led this paragraph by talking about Durham’s toughness, elite strength and elite athleticism; however, things can change quickly in a week in recruiting, and that’s exactly what’s happened with Durham. Playing his first season of high school football, Durham has recently received an offer from Cincinnati, and per his high school coaches has had many of the nation’s top programs call about him in the last week. A double-double machine on the basketball court who demands more than one body to defend him on the block, look for Durham to have options in both sports this spring.

Damani McEntire – ’18 SG Deer Park: A name that is more than likely not familiar to readers, McEntire is a new addition to Deer Park via transfer, as the Indianapolis product spent last season at the famed Oak Hill Academy (VA). A tough and strong-bodied scoring guard who can really create off of the dribble, McEntire is deceptively explosive in transition and constantly plays in attack mode as a crafty, aggressive and consistent scorer. Not much is known about his recruitment at this point, but McEntire should generate some buzz on a loaded Deer Park team this winter.

EJ Williams – ’18 C Hargrave Military Academy (VA): The big fella from Middletown who has spent his last two years at the prestigious Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia hasn’t been seen around Cincinnati much lately, but his name has popped up on the circuit, as Williams spent his final year of AAU with Chicago based Mac Irvin Fire. A massive post prospect at 6’11 and in the neighborhood of 300-lbs, Williams has size that cannot be taught. Williams only offer at the D1 level right now, to our knowledge, is from Samford, but that could change at Hargrave, where Williams will face the nation’s best on a nightly basis this winter.

Dylan Beaugard – ’18 PG Wilmington: One of the toughest guards you’ll ever see, Beaugard is undersized but a flat out winner as a pass-first point guard with strength and quickness in a small frame. After a great first three years at Wilmington, and a standout 17u AAU season this past spring with Ohio Unity, NCAA D2 coaches are enamored with Beaugard ability to distribute, defend and manage the game from the point guard position. His lack of size and consistent jumper will likely mean he’ll end up at the D2 level, but this kid is a winner who will be highly, highly recruited during his senior season as both a basketball and football prospect.

Me’Kell Burries – ’18 PG/SG Newport (KY): With most of Northern Kentucky’s senior talent having already made verbal commitments, Burries becomes the most talented available prospect, as the 6’0 scoring point guard from Newport broke out in his junior season, and should average north of 20 PPG this season. A score-first slashing guard who can lull you to sleep with the dribble, make shots with range and is explosive off the floor, Burries has big time playmaking ability. He’ll have to continue to refine his all-around point guard play, but both NCAA D1 and D2 programs have been checking out this scoring combo guard, who will contend to lead the entire region in scoring this winter.

Honorable Mention: Xavier Johnson (PG Cincinnati Summit), Stevie Stewart (PG Cincinnati Taft), Noah Pedelty (SG Mason), AJ Smith (SG Cincinnati Hughes), Darweshi Hunter (SG Princeton), Dean White (SF/PF Cincinnati Moeller), Dominic Pierce (SF/PF Princeton), Shawn Hawkins (SF Cincinnati Hughes), Jalen Rose (SF Deer Park)

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