SW 2022’s on the Rise

30 Dec

Bowen Hardman

Two weeks ago, in our last two articles, we at Triple Double Prospects profiled the unsigned seniors and top juniors from Southwest Ohio who are off to hot starts in the 2019-2020 season. While we remain excited about the talent on that list, we might be even more excited about the young talent in the area. With several players from the sophomore class (the class of 2022) beginning to make a name for themselves – or in a few cases solidifying themselves after making a name as freshmen – it’s time for TDP to profile the sophomores who’ve started their season with a bang during the month of December…

Paul McMillan IV – 6’1 PG Cincinnati Woodward: One of the few players on this list who not only was on the community’s radar as a freshman, but who has been on the radar since his junior high days, McMillan can’t play in a game in the Cincinnati city league without immense pressure to turn in a near perfect performance. So far this season, and, as he was last season, McMillan has been able to meet even the loftiest expectations, as he’s currently averaging over 30 PPG for a Woodward team who has already played several high level opponents. A pure bucket-getter with a scorer’s mentality and killer competitiveness, McMillan is a polished guard who is at his best attacking off the dribble, where he can really score with tough floaters, runners, layups and pull-up jumpers. Already with scholarship offers from Xavier, Cincinnati, Dayton and Ole Miss, McMillan is at or near the top of the wish list for some of college basketball’s top programs.

Kollin Tolbert – 6’1 PG Mount Healthy: Tolbert had a productive freshmen year at Mount Healthy, averaging just over 8 PPG; however, as a sophomore he’s come into his own, scoring at a clip of 23 PPG, which as of today leads the Southwest Ohio Conference. Another skilled guard with good size and a smooth game, Tolbert is a capable shooter who is knocking down the three at 45%, while also averaging 10 rebounds and 4 assists per game. Like McMillan, Tolbert is a high-IQ guard, something his Owls team will count on with games against Hamilton, Walnut Hills, Aiken, Wyoming and West High all looming.

Bowen Hardman – 6’4 SG Cincinnati Princeton: With all of the hype that is often directed at the talent laden senior class of 2020 at Princeton, you’d be foolish to overlook the presence of Hardman, a sophomore who already holds NCAA D1 offers from Cincinnati, Ohio State and Xavier. Through their first seven games, Hardman is currently second in scoring for Princeton at 13 PPG, even more impressive considering he’s averaging just eight field goal attempts per game. An efficient scorer who can shoot it from three or use his dribble to create a shot, Hardman is knocking down the three at 45% and shooting well over 50% from the field on the year, as he’s been Princeton’s go-to shooting threat coming off of screens.

Aboubacar Cisse – 6’4 SF Cincinnati West High: Cisse was a fixture on the varsity last season, starting most games and averaging double-figures, but, like many of the others on this list, he’s taken things up a notch as a sophomore. Through the first month of the season the powerfully built sophomore wing forward is averaging 19 PPG and just under 7 rebounds per game, shooting an impressive 51% from the field. Cisse has added a more reliable shooting stroke to his game this year, but he’s also great at getting into the lane and using his strong frame to finish through contact. If he continues at his current progression, Cisse could easily be the next player on this list to earn an NCAA D1 scholarship offer.

Andrew Harp – 6’5 SF Cincinnati Elder: While he was a key wide receiver on Elder’s state runners-up football team this fall, Harp is no slouch on the hardwood either. The top prospect in an Elder sophomore class that has the Greater Catholic League buzzing, Harp is averaging 12 PPG so far this season for the Panthers, and is shooting over 41% from three-point range on a team that is deceptively dangerous on the offensive end with a lot of young shooters. Harp is a big wing with a mature skill-set who thrives in Elder’s half-court style of play, as he fits the mold of a typical high-end GCL wing scorer; as he continues to get into basketball shape after a long football season, look for Harp to continue to put up numbers.

Shawn Phillips – 6’10 C Dayton Belmont: Phillips has dealt with injuries to start this season, and his Belmont team does not get the same love that some of the teams of the other prospects on this list; but, it would be highly negligent of us to ignore Phillips on this list, as he is arguably the most talented prospect who appears. A physically gifted big who can defend the rim but who also shows rare offensive talent, Phillips has spent the last few months in the recruiting cycle, with offers from Ohio State, Xavier, Auburn, DePaul and Ohio, while the 6’10 sophomore has also visited or been visited by Kentucky, Indiana, Cincinnati and West Virginia.

Rich Rolf – 6’7 PF Centerville: Rolf was expected to be a key part of the varsity team last season at Centerville, but unfortunately missed the entire season with injury. Through the early part of this season, Rolf has hit the floor running, averaging 10 PPG and 5 rebounds on a very talented young Centerville squad. A skilled and savvy forward with a long, thin frame who likes to operate from 15-feet and in, Rolf has a good offensive feel for scoring the ball, and is skilled and patient with shot-fakes, while not being afraid to play a physical style. This year the Centerville frontline is still most notably anchored by 2020 Mo Njie, but rest assured, Rolf’s time is coming.

Logan Woods – 6’3 SG Cincinnati Christian: When you’re the son of the school’s varsity coach you’re going to be expected to be a big part of the team, which is precisely what Woods has accomplished in his brief career at Cincinnati Christian (a school who plays in Ohio’s smallest division in D4). Woods first entered our radar last year when he averaged double-figures and led his team to the District Finals; but, the lanky sophomore guard has seemingly improved this season, averaging 15 PPG to go with 5 rebounds and 5 assists through the early part of this season. Capable of playing as a big distributing guard or a wing scorer who can make shots or attack with the dribble, college coaches aren’t sleeping on this small school gem, as Miami (OH) has already offered, with other NCAA D1’s like Belmont expressing heavy interest.

Adam Duvall – 6’6 PF Beavercreek: Duvall has been one of the top-five scorers in the GWOC throughout the month of December, averaging 15 PPG as well as 7 rebounds for Beavercreek, but what is even more notable is that, after winning just 8 games a season ago, his Beavercreek squad has already won 5 contests this month. A big and strong power forward who can knock down long-range shots, Duvall might be overlooked by some folks statewide, as he did travel the circuit with an out-of-state team last summer, but he’s clearly one of Ohio’s top young power forwards, and we expect his point totals to continue to grow.

Evan Mahaffey – 6’5 SF Cincinnati Moeller: The last two players on this list are exceptionally talented young prospects who might not be averaging major numbers, but who are playing roles on two of Ohio’s most talented teams. Mahaffey is first up, as he’s averaging 2 PPG off the bench for Moeller, as the long and mobile 6’5 wing adjusts to life with the Crusaders since transferring over from Cincinnati Northwest. The son of well known former high school coach Jamie Mahaffey, Evan is a slashing guard who can really pass the ball and who has the physical upside to be a very good player. We expect a big jump next season from Mahaffey, who already holds an offer from Miami (OH) and who likely will hold significantly more offers at or above that level before all is said and done.

Kebba Njie – 6’7 PF Centerville: The younger brother of 2020 Mo Njie, Kebba is averaging just over 3 PPG off the bench for Centerville through their first seven games, as the young power forward is getting his first taste of varsity action. Slow walking his older brother onto the varsity scene ended up paying major dividends for Centerville, so we expect the same for Kebba, as he plays significant minutes but, like Rich Rolf, gets to learn from Mo Njie on a day-to-day basis. More nimble and skilled then his big brother, Njie is a high energy forward who can score around the rim and who is also athletic with a great frame. Time will tell if Kebba will be the great shot-blocker that Mo has become, but fortunately for Kebba, time is on his side.

Honorable Mention: Mekhi Elmore (’22 PG Dayton Thurgood Marshall), Robbie Cass (’22 PG Cincinnati Aiken), Sellers Little (’22 PG Trotwood-Madison), Andre Simmons (’22 PG Cincinnati Purcell Marian), Kobe Peck (’22 PG Lakota East), Sean Keller (’22 PG Cincinnati Elder), Cameron Smith (’22 SG Centerville), Owen Murray (’22 SG Cincinnati Walnut Hills), Elijah Brown (’22 PF Huber Heights Wayne), Ty Thornton (’22 PF Indian Hill), Chance Davis (’22 PF Cincinnati Aiken), Jacob Conner (’22 PF Kettering Alter), Ben Southerland (’22 PF CHCA)

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