Spiece Run-N-Slam

5 May
Malaki Branham

Malaki Branham

At the end of every circuit season we always look back at our evaluations and recognize the Spiece Run-N-Slam as one of the best indicators of the long-term upside of Ohio prospects. Playing against the best competition – regardless of shoe affiliation – from around the entire region, Ohio teams have historically performed very well in Fort Wayne at the Spiece Fieldhouse. This year was no different, as Ohio teams made splashes at 17u, 16u and 15u; looking back at the weekend, here is a rundown of the top individual performances from games we evaluated…

Garvin Clarke – ’20 PG Euclid: A highly anticipated addition to the All-Ohio Red 17u team, Clarke is a pass-first point guard ranked among the best players (regardless of position) in Ohio’s 2020 class. Now that he’s on the shoe circuit his reputation is only going to grow, as Clarke is a quick and strong guard who can create offense for his teammates in the pick and roll or in transition. A high IQ guard who makes the right pass but is just as good on the defensive end, if Clarke makes open jumpers in the Nike EYBL he’s going to see more NCAA D1 offers come his way soon.

DaSean Nelson – ’20 PF Toledo Rogers: Another sleeper in Ohio’s 2020 class, Nelson looks more like a rising senior in college than in high school with his strong and athletic build. A mature and rugged 6’7 forward with big time leaping ability, Nelson brought energy to the floor for his All-Ohio Gold team, a group comprised of some intriguing under-the-radar prospects out of the Toledo area. Nelson’s skill-set is still a work in progress, but he can attack the rim off the transition dribble from a defensive rebound or in the half-court, and is so strong that he also can get work done in the post with his 6’7 frame.

Hunter Shedenhelm – ’20 SG Pickerington North: A sniper who first came onto our radar a year ago in this same event, Shedenhelm was the driving force, along with unsigned Pickerington Central guard Jay Rodgers, in leading Nova Village’s top 17u team to the Platinum Bracket title game, as Shedenhelm made shot after shot in knocking off heavy hitters such as Nike’s Meanstreets and All-Ohio Red before falling in the title game to Indiana Elite. Shedenhelm first gained his reputation based on his ability to shoot the ball from range and make shots in bunches, but he’s not just a specialist as he’s also a solid athlete who can guard on the wing and attack off of a shot fake. Heading into next high school season, Shedenhelm will be arguably the top true shooting guard in the Columbus area in his class.

Malaki Branham – ’21 SG/SF Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s: We usually don’t repeat prospects from week to week on these recaps; however, when a player continues to play at an elite level they deserve the corresponding recognition, and that’s exactly why Branham makes the list again. The 6’5 wing from the Akron area was dynamic for his NEO Tru Game 16u team again this weekend, leading his squad to the Platinum Bracket title game, including a heated win over in-state rival OBC on Saturday in pool play. Branham has shown that he can be consistent from weekend to weekend with his aggressiveness, which was our only question mark on him, as he clearly has the skill-set, athleticism and raw ability to be a high level prospect. Heading into the spring Branham was arguably a top-five prospect in Ohio’s 2021 class; however, after the last two week’s he not only un-debatably top-five, but trending towards potentially overtaking the #1 spot in Ohio’s rising junior class.

EJ Farmer – ’21 SG Cleveland Lutheran East: After struggling to shoot the ball from range in Atlanta last weekend, Farmer was able to find his shot in Fort Wayne, as the 6’4 shooting guard out of Cleveland was the most impressive performer on his All-Ohio Red 16u team in a high level matchup with Chicago based Mac Irvin Fire on Saturday afternoon. A long and fluid wing who can also score in transition, Farmer did a better job of juggling his three-point shot and aggressiveness at the rim, which can make him very difficult to defend, especially in a transition oriented game. Like we’ve mentioned in the past with kids like Malaki Branham, the key for Farmer’s continued success is going to be if he can consistently turn in top performances; if he repeats this type of effort next week in the Nike EYBL in Indianapolis then his stock is really going to skyrocket.

Jalin Billingsley – ’21 PF Cleveland Lutheran East: Another Lutheran East product (evidence as to why they finished as Ohio D3 State Runners-Up), Billingsley wowed scouts in Saturday’s matchup with NEO Tru Game, and, even though his OBC 16u squad came up a little short in that contest, Billingsley turned heads as he continues to show off tremendous long-term upside. Blessed with great physical tools as a mobile and fluid 6’8 forward who can put the ball on the ground and is both strong and nimble, Billingsley can score in a bunch of different ways and shows flashes of a very good offensive feel with some of his plays at times. Like most big men his age, Billingsley still needs time to put all of the pieces together, and to focus on keeping that motor running strong at all times, but his potential is through the roof and he has as much talent as any 2021 prospect in the state of Ohio.

Shawn Phillips – ’22 C Dayton Belmont: Your first question upon reading this should be, what took Triple Double Prospect so long to get an evaluation of this kid on the website? Simply put, Phillips has elite upside as a post player. He’s big, he’s long, he’s mobile and he’s an above average athlete for a young big who already shows signs of being an advanced shot-blocker on the defensive end. Despite those defensive tools, Phillips is surprisingly far along in his offensive development, as he finished around the rim and at the foul line, and looked comfortable with the ball in his hands. Due to his raw size alone at 6’8-6’9, Phillips likely projects as one of the top-five prospects in Ohio’s 2022 class, as he was the primary standout on a Team Flyght team full of some really promising young players from the Dayton area.

Josh Whiteside – ’22 PF Gahanna Lincoln: The second rising sophomore to make this list, Whiteside has been on our radar since the 270 Hoops – Battle for the City, but improved his stock in our eyes on Sunday with his Nova Village team, as the 6’5 forward showed advanced athleticism, power and scoring ability around the rim in a heavyweight matchup with OBC. Whiteside plays with some attitude around the rim and was physical on both ends of the floor, while also showing skill and touch as a scorer. We’ll be very excited to follow his production next year, as he appears to be one of the premiere young big men in the Columbus area.

Honorable Mention: Jay Rodgers (’19 Pickerington Central), John Hugley (’20 Cleveland Brush), Marcus Johnson (’20 Columbus South), Julian Binford (’20 Columbus Eastmoor), Anthony McComb (’21 Dayton Thurgood Marshall), Amarion Dickerson (’21 Cleveland Rhodes), Kobe Johnson (’21 Canton McKinley), Dior Conners (’22 Pickerington North), Jacob Conner (’22 Kettering Alter), Mekhi Elmore (’22 Dayton Thurgood Marshall), Reico Colter (’22 Dayton Meadowdale), Sonny Johnson Jr (’22 Garfield Heights), Tavian Tatum (’22 Garfield Heights), Jared Frey (’22 Columbus St. Charles), Bowen Hardman (’22 All-Ohio Red), Josiah Harris (’22 Canton GlenOak), AJ Clayton (’22 Philo), Logan Woods (’22 Cincinnati Christian)

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