Ballin’ Under 1 Roof

12 Jul

Meechie Johnson

We’ve seen live basketball return via open gyms in the last few weeks; however, this weekend gave us something we haven’t had a chance to enjoy since mid-March, that being team basketball. The first true event of the travel season for us at Triple Double Prospects kicked off in Fort Wayne this weekend, as teams from Ohio and surrounding states participated in Ballin’ Under 1 Roof hosted by OH Hoops. With several top Ohio prospects in attendance, here are a few of the standouts…

Meechie Johnson – ’21 PG Garfield Heights: If memory serves us correctly, we had not had a chance to watch Meechie Johnson play a live basketball game since January of 2019 at Flyin’ to the Hoop, as the nationally ranked guard tore his ACL shortly after causing him to miss the entirety of his junior season. Despite playing some of his first true basketball in 18-months, Johnson looked superb for his Indy Heat EYBL team, as the 6’1 playmaker showcased his athleticism, passing ability, perimeter shooting and shiftiness with the ball which allows him to get into the paint. Having recently transferred back to Garfield Heights after spending his junior season at ISA Academy, Johnson should be considered a candidate for Ohio’s Mr. Basketball award as a senior; and, he’ll have the added bonus of not having to worry about the recruiting process, as Johnson has committed to Ohio State.

Ben Knostman – ’21 PG Tippecanoe: Scouts and college coaches have buzzed about Knostman as arguably Ohio’s top passer in the 2021 class for some time now; however, due to the location of his high school, he has stayed somewhat under the radar statewide. That has started to change this month though, as Knostman has picked up NCAA D1 offers, including one from Winthrop after Friday’s nights game, as he was the chief offensive catalyst for his Midwest Basketball Club team in both games we were able to view. A bigger point guard with a pass-first mentality and some flair to his game, Knostman shows a terrific feel for the offensive end, while also motivating teammates to run the floor extra hard due to his proclivity for finding the open man in transition. As his recruitment picks up, Knostman will be one of the most anticipated prospects to participate in Wednesday’s Dayton Elite Open Gym hosted by TDP and our partners, Miami Valley Hoop Vault.

Keyshawn Hall – ’21 SF Cleveland Rhodes: Since we first saw him in January at the Play-by-Play Classic we dubbed Hall as “Baby Melo” due to his big frame, shifty handle and hairstyle that reminds us of a Denver Nuggets version of Carmelo Anthony. In Fort Wayne there was no one more aggressive or intense then Hall, who battled from buzzer to buzzer in a hard fought loss to the Illinois Stars and five-star prospect Michael Foster. Hall is a big bodied 6’6 wing who can handle the ball on the perimeter and who has a knack for finishing inside, making him a certified scoring machine at the travel ball level. He’ll have to keep improving his conditioning and the consistency of his perimeter shot, but Hall really turned heads for his Team Cleveland squad with his scoring capabilities.

George Mangas – ’21 SF Lima Shawnee: Another potential Mr. Basketball candidate for next season, Mangas averaged over 30 PPG and led his team to an undefeated record in the shortened season this winter, making him one of our top priorities to get eyes on during travel circuit play. On his Northwest Ohio Basketball Club team, which is perennially filled with sleepers, Mangas was the most talented prospect, as the 6’4 wing showcased a quick release jumper from three, some flashy passing ability and a smooth feel for scoring around the basket with or without his back to the basket. Mangas has a mature and crafty offensive game and moves well without the ball, where, even though he often played a semi-post position, he can score in different ways and has the quick release to be a deadly shooter at the next level. Currently getting attention at the NCAA D1 and D2 levels, look for Mangas to be one of Ohio’s leading scorers again next season.

Omari Effiong – ’21 PG/SG Thomas Worthington: Another member of the loaded 2021 class at Thomas Worthington in the Columbus area, Effiong was not the leading scorer for his Ohio Hoopsters team in either game we evaluated; however, he was the prospect with the best motor. An athletic and strongly built combo guard with a great attitude to his game, Effiong was effective defensively, attacked the basket offensively and showed a lot of heart in battling against Indy Heat EYBL, a team which features five players committed to high-major NCAA D1’s already. Effiong’s athleticism and motor should compliment each other nicely next season, as we expect him to not only be Thomas Worthington’s top perimeter defender, but also a complimentary offensive piece alongside prospects such as Tyrese Hughey and Jalen Sullinger.

Honorable Mention: Tyrese Hughey (’21 Thomas Worthington), Josiah Mobley (’21 Whitehall), Tabari Howard (’21 Westerville South), Kalen Etzler (’21 Convoy Crestview), Nate Johnson (’21 Lakota East), Malcolm Curry (’21 Huber Heights Wayne), Trent Koning (’21 Cedarville), Jamal Sumlin (’22 Cleveland Rhodes), Kebba Njie (’22 Centerville), Dylan Hughes (’22 Rockford Parkway), Gabe Cupps (’23 Centerville)

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