OVHC Recap

1 Dec

Nate Johnson

With an 11-game slate over the course of two days, the Ohio Valley Hoops Classic drew some of the top talent from Southwest Ohio, as well as other parts of the Buckeye State and Indiana, to Mason Arena on Friday and Saturday. As the event was the season opener for almost all of the participating teams, we got a chance to get an early look at the rosters of some of the area’s top programs. As always with showcase events, there were plenty of great individual performances; here’s a recap of some of the most memorable….

Tre Coleman – ’20 SF/PF Jeffersonville (IN): It’s rare for Triple Double Prospects to mention a non-Ohio prospect in these reports, but, Coleman was so dominant that our report would lose a lot of credibility if we didn’t lead off by talking about his performance. Leading an extremely impressive Jeffersonville team (considered a top-5 team in Indiana by most) to a 57-53 win over a very good Cincinnati Woodward square, Coleman scored 20 points, grabbed 7 rebounds, blocked 3 shots and recorded 4 steals, good enough to earn MVP honors. The Nevada signee was a load on the low-block, as very few in high school basketball can match his combination of raw power at a chiseled 6’5 and athleticism as a nimble face-up forward. When Coleman’s motor is running at the pace that he played with on Saturday he’s going to be one of the elite high school players in his home state, and could make Nevada coach Steve Alford a very happy man next year.

Matt Allocco – ’20 PG/SG Hilliard Bradley: One of Ohio’s most pure winners, playing on a team known for winning a lot of games, Allocco was the catalyst for his Bradley team in the second half, fueling his squad en route to a 53-45 win over Hamilton Southeastern (IN). Allocco poured in a game high 23 points, with many of those buckets coming off strong takes to the basket through contact. In the last year Allocco has become more explosive in changing gears to the rim, and at 6’3 he’s able to score over most high school defenders in the paint. The Princeton signee is both a capable scorer and ballhandler, as he excels at making reads as a playmaker in Bradley’s offensive continuity, and also showed great effort as a defender as well. With Allocco at the helm, expect to continue to hear big things from his Bradley team as the season progresses.

Max Land – ’20 SG/SF Cincinnati Moeller: As a starter on Moeller’s State Championship team last year Land played more of a complimentary role; that is going to change this season, as the senior wing opened up the season in style, exploding for 25 points on 9/11 shooting to go along with 6 rebound and 3 assists in a win over Cleveland Lutheran East, 79-56. The lone senior who played significant minutes a year ago, we expected Land to be called upon to be the leader of this team, but his offensive outburst was certainly a pleasant surprise; as Land has the raw athleticism, power and finishing ability to be a devastating slasher for Moeller this season. Already signed at the NCAA D1 level with St. Francis (PA), Land’s two-end impact with his elite athleticism has Moeller positioned to be very early favorites for another State Title.

Kionte Thomas – ’20 PG Cincinnati Hughes: Like Land at Moeller, Thomas was a key role player and starter on a very good team last year, but not necessarily a scorer. However, on Saturday the unsigned senior proved that he’s going to be a scoring force to be reckoned with this season, as he tallied 23 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals in a 67-53 win over London. Thomas was knocking down shots from behind the three point line, creating dribble pull-up jumpers, finishing in transition and threw down one big driving dunk, as the 6’0 point guard seemingly got whatever offensive looks he desired as the night wore down. On a new-look Hughes team this season look for Thomas, along with junior Camron McKenzie, to put up big offensive numbers as City League play begins.

Aaron Ward – ’20 PF Cincinnati Winton Woods: While Ward’s Winton Woods team did suffer a 62-57 overtime loss to Cincinnati Roger Bacon on Friday, you can’t say it was due to a lack of effort on Ward’s behalf, as the senior forward posted a ridiculous stat line of 21 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block and 2 steals. On a team down a key body from a scoring perspective, and low on guards to begin with, Ward had to play the Superman role for Winton Woods, often securing the defensive rebound, running the show as de-facto point guard and then scoring the ball himself. At 6’6 and with great athletic tools, Ward is a versatile face-up forward who can attack the rim and finish with length and bounce; however, he also showed improvement from a year ago with his motor, free throw stroke (8/13 on the game) and overall offensive IQ. Winton Woods will improve as they get healthier, but we still expect Ward to be the man for the Warriors this season.

Nate Johnson – ’21 PG/SG Lakota East: One of the two completely dominant forces in the event (along with Tre Coleman), Johnson was fantastic on Friday evening, leading his team to a 75-65 win over Cincinnati Taft behind a 28 points on 10/13 shooting, to go along with 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steal performance. As Johnson continues to become more confident, he has a chance to prove that he’s a top-ten talent in Ohio’s 2021 class, as the 6’3 combo guard is an elite athlete with a college ready frame, who can handle the ball, makes instinctive passes, defends and can finish at the rim. Lakota East is considered one of Ohio’s top teams heading into the season, and the progression of Johnson will go a long way towards their eventual win total. With his overall athletic talent combined with an improving basketball acumen, Johnson’s offer list should also grow; as it currently includes Kent State, Miami (OH), Youngstown State and Ohio University.

Mekhi Elmore – ’22 PG/SG Dayton Thurgood Marshall: Elmore isn’t Ohio’s most physically gifted guard, but he’s a skilled and savvy hooper who knows how to put the ball in the basket. The sophomore combo guard shot the lights out on Saturday, tallying 21 points including shooting 4/7 from behind the arc, as he helped lead his team to a 74-60 win over Worthington Christian. Elmore excels in half-court offense where he is threat to shoot it from deep, but he’s also a slippery handler in transition who can finish in traffic as well. A competitive guard who keeps his emotions on an even-keel, Elmore will be one of the top scorers in the Dayton City League yet again for a Thurgood Marshall team with State Tournament aspirations.

Honorable Mention: Alex Mangold (’20 Lakota East), Nekhi Smith (’20 Cincinnati Taft), Jack Cooper (’20 Mason), Markeece Brown (’20 Licking Heights), Derrick Hardin (’20 Worthington Christian), Cole Metzler (’20 Canal Winchester), Mabor Majak (’20 Hamilton Southeastern/IN), Josiah McGee (’20 Cincinnati Roger Bacon), Anthony McComb (’21 Dayton Thurgood Marshall), Trey Woodyard (’21 London), Camron McKenzie (’21 Cincinnati Hughes), Chanze Amerson (’21 Dayton Thurgood Marshall), Logan Duncomb (’21 Cincinnati Moeller), Alex Williams (’21 Cincinnati Moeller), Marjoni Tate (’21 Cincinnati Roger Bacon), Matt Butcher (’21 Wilmington), Jackson Holt (’21 Turpin), Keaton Norris (’21 Hilliard Bradley), AJ Mirgon (’21 Hilliard Bradley), Clayton Thomas (’21 Proctorville Fairland), Sirr Hughes (’21 Cleveland Lutheran East), Jalin Billingsley (’21 Cleveland Lutheran East), Paul McMillan IV (’22 Cincinnati Woodward), Peter Suder (’22 Carmel/IN), Will Loving-Watts (’22 Jeffersonville/IN)

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