Cincy Elite Open Run

1 Jul

Shawn PhillipsLast year college coaches were forced to use live streams as their only means to evaluate high school prospects. This summer coaches are back on the roads, but live streams are still a bonus opportunity to get their eye on some guys who they can potentially recruit to their respective programs. Wednesday’s second annual Cincinnati Elite Open Run – Presented by Triple Double Prospects – gave over 100 different college programs that opportunity, as 56 of the top rising seniors and juniors (plus one sophomore) from the Greater Cincinnati and Dayton areas hit the floor at Cincinnati Walnut Hills HS. As with most showcases, the action was high scoring, with several players standing out on an individual basis….

Shawn Phillips – ’22 TBD Prep School C: After leaving Dayton Belmont following his sophomore season, and with last year COVID restricted travel season, we haven’t seen a lot of Phillips in the last year. Spending his junior season in Michigan at YPSI Prep Academy, Phillips solidified his name among national rankings services, and added to an offer sheet that now includes Illinois, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Virginia Tech, Florida, Ohio State, Dayton and others. While Phillips is currently undecided on which prep program he’ll attend next season as a senior, the 6’11 post brought his game to our showcase on Wednesday, and was unquestionably one of the top performers. Playing against smaller but physical players, who tested him with fouls to eliminate any easy buckets, Phillips was relentless in attacking the rim, often finishing with strong two-handed dunks at the rim. A true post player who knows he’s going to make his money with his feet in the paint, Phillips is a physical presence who has the length and athleticism (especially now that he’s lost sixty pounds) to alter shots and rebound the ball in and out of his area. His combination of size and athleticism is tough to come by, and, when you factor in that he’s very efficient as a scorer around the rim with a simple post game, Phillips should be heavily coveted by high-major coaches who will follow him this July with his Wildcats Select 3SSB squad.

Ben Southerland – ’22 Sycamore SF/PF: We alluded heavily to Southerland’s development on Twitter earlier in June after watching his high school team scrimmage. On Wednesday the 6’7 (maybe 6’8) rising senior forward put his entire skill-set on display, dominating several stretches for his team. Southerland has really come a long way as an athlete, as few forwards are able to move like he does with his size. This newfound mobility couples well with his refined skill-set, as Southerland has evolved from a catch and shoot guy to a player who can put it on the floor and create his own shot at the rim or in the pull-up game. It often takes young big men time to come out of their shell as they fill out their frame, and Southerland is the classic case of a promising young prospect who has turned into a genuine hooper, as we expect his recruitment to continue to blowup (he currently holds 6 NCAA D1 offers) this month playing with Midwest Basketball Club 3SSB.

Keliese Frye – ’22 Cincinnati Woodward SF/PF: The top workhorse of the event among class of 2022 prospects, Frye gave outstanding effort on the defensive end and the backboards on Wednesday. They say when you work hard good things happen, and that held true for Frye, as his defensive efforts led to plenty of success scoring the ball on the other end. A 6’5 former interior forward working to become more of a wing forward, Frye produced the highlight play of the night with a euro-step dunk in traffic off a drive, as well as made enough perimeter shots to keep the defense honest. Despite his scoring prowess, we’re still most intrigued by Frye as an energy big who plays the glue guy role for winning teams, and will always be in the mix to lead his league in rebounding as well. With Paul McMillan IV leading Woodward for the prep school ranks, expect Frye to make a huge leap statistically in his senior season with the Bulldogs.

Noah Rich – ’22 Franklin SF/PF: Rich has been known in the Cincinnati-Dayton area for the last year as one of the better shooters in high school hoops, and, at 6’5 and a mobile athlete, that makes him one of the top prospects to keep an eye on. In his team’s second game of the evening, the rising senior caught fire as a scorer, impressing us not just as a shot-maker but as a versatile scorer. In one stretch Rich had a transition dunk, a cutting layup, a fade away post jumper and two three-pointers, making him a threat to score the ball wherever he catches it from inside twenty-feet. While he has a skinny frame, Rich’s mobility and length should allow him to mix it up inside, especially with Franklin HS where he’s joined by fellow rising senior Nate Paarlberg (who also had a standout day on Wednesday as a shooter and rebounder). Should he continue to make shots in July, Rich’s name will be on the tips of college coaches tongues when they watch his Midwest Basketball Club-Gold team play.

Jayden Bradshaw – ’22 Fayetteville Perry SG/SF: We’d heard good things about Bradshaw heading into the event, but he was a prospect whom we had never gotten a chance to evaluate before. Bradshaw showed out in all three of his team’s games Wednesday, not only showcasing athleticism and shot-making ability, but bringing all-out energy and effort to the table. A long and bouncy 6’3 wing who can finish above the rim, Bradshaw’s physical talent became evident very quickly in warmups. However, it was his ability to make jumpers from three and in the mid-range that really solidified him as one of our top performers, as he balances his athleticism with some versatility in his scoring. Given his length, effort level and athleticism, Bradshaw also has a lot of tools to aid him on the defensive end, making him a sleeper in the area in 2022 and a prospect we hope coaches take a hard look at this July when he’s suiting up for Dayton Elite.

Kobe Peck – ’22 Lakota East PG: This 6’0 guard is a player we’ve enjoyed covering over the years, but he’s unfortunately been hobbled some when we’ve seen him with injuries. Now looking 100% healthy, Peck is coming into his own as a solid and tough playmaking guards who has a knack for making winning plays. Peck isn’t going to wow you as a scorer, but he makes timely shots and has a strong frame that allows him to score in contact, where he’s good at shifting speeds to get to the rim and finish with a floater or layup. Defensively he can use that power frame and some mental toughness to bother opposing ballhandlers, as the veteran high school guard is a crafty two-way point guard to follow. Lakota East is loaded with guard talent next season, on what should be more of a perimeter oriented team then in year’s past; look for Chew to be the main facilitator and one of the leading scorers, as he checks a lot of boxes in terms of what we expect out of top guards in the always competitive GMC.

Ryan Chew – ’22 PG Kettering Alter: A speedy 5’10 guard out of the Dayton area, Chew put together his second straight positive showing (as he probably should’ve been included in our recap of the OHSBCA Showcase last weekend). What he lacks in size Chew makes up for in droves with a combination of quickness, heart and skill; as he was efficient on both ends for his team. Defensively he was one of the top performers are the camp, as he heated up opposing guards with his quick feet and aggressive mindset, leading to some fast-break opportunities after steals. While he’ll be a point guard at the next level, Chew ran the wing some to knock down open threes, then with the ball in his hands he played more of a facilitating role as he’s a willing, and often fancy, passer of the basketball as well. Running alongside Bradshaw on the Dayton Elite team, Chew is a name to watch for college coaches who love speedy playmaking guards.

Chandler Starks – ’23 Covington Catholic/KY PF/C: The unquestioned MVP of the event among 2023 prospects, Starks and his high school teammate Evan Ipsaro were dominant in all three contests. A 6’6 bruising power player who was efficient as a scorer, rebounder and defender, Starks led the camp in energy and effort. With his power frame Starks was able to not only control the boards but also to score around the rim, as the rising junior has soft hands and good touch at the rim to finish plays through contact. While he is more of a power player then a run-and-jump athlete, Starks also consistently beat his man down the court for easy finishes in transition (a must for big men playing in showcases which are almost always going to favor perimeter players). Finally, for as much as he scored the ball, Starks defense was his calling card on Wednesday, as he switched onto guards in the pick and roll and defended the post physically with his 6’6 frame. College coaches are sure to track Starks in July playing with Indiana Elite 3SSB.

Nate Dudukovich – ’23 Lakota West SG: Early in the first contest we criticized Dudukovich’s teammates for not working to get him some looks, as the rising junior from Lakota West was unquestionably one of the best shooters in the event. When he did start to get the appropriate volume of shots Dudukovich did not disappoint as the 6’2 wing guard made it rain from behind the arc. Not only is Dudukovich an elite spot-up shooter, but he gets shots off so quickly, and has the footwork to knock shots down off of screens, making him a more complete scoring prospect. That being said, Dudukovich is far from a stand in the corner shooter, as he showcased the ability to put the ball on the floor and get to the elbow for quick pull-up jumpers, something he’ll have to focus on at the high school level as defenses will do anything to avoid him getting off an open three. With his scoring ability and a high basketball IQ, we expect good things to happen this month in his recruitment playing with Midwest Basketball Club 3SSB.

Honorable Mention: Paul McMillan IV (’22 Hillcrest Prep/AZ), Aboubacar Cisse (’22 Cincinnati West High), Louie Semona (’22 Cincinnati St. Xavier), Colin McHale (’22 Turpin), Keon Wright (’22 Dayton Oakwood), Robbie Cass (’22 Mount Healthy), Nate Paarlberg (’22 Franklin), Mekhi Wilson (’22 Covington Catholic/KY), Isaiah Ramey (’22 TBD Post-Grad), Jacob Meyer (’23 Covington Holy Cross/KY), Evan Ipsaro (’23 Covington Catholic/KY), Will Maxwell (’23 Dayton Oakwood), Jack Kronauge (’23 Lakota East), Carson Browne (’23 Cincinnati Elder), Michael Norton (’23 Cincinnati Gamble), Ben Menker (’24 Mason)

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