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Cincy Play-by-Play

7 Dec
Nekhi Smith

Nekhi Smith

Usually the annual Play-by-Play Classic, a staple of Ohio winter basketball events, don’t come to the Southwestern part of the Buckeye State until after the New Year. This weekend, however, fans in Cincinnati were given an early Christmas present; as Princeton HS hosted a Play-by-Play Classic doubleheader. In the first game, Cincinnati Moeller, arguably the team to beat in Ohio in D1, handily defeated Cincinnati Hughes by a score of 89-45; while the second game was much closer, with Cincinnati Taft holding off Deer Park by a final margin of 78-67. Here is a look at some of the standout individual performers from tonight’s double-header….

Deuce McBride – ’19 PG Cincinnati Moeller: Everyone says it, and we certainly believe it, a healthy McBride instantly becomes Ohio’s premiere wing defender, which is exactly what the West Virginia signee showed tonight, scoring 15 points with 5 rebounds and 2 assists, but making an even bigger impact on the other end of the floor. Finally looking fully healthy after missing all but two games last year with an injury, McBride looked even more mobile then when we saw him last week at the Ohio Valley Hoops Classic, as his foot speed is critical to upholding his reputation as a high-motor player who can get to loose balls. Offensively he’s getting a new experience in playing on the ball the entire game, and we were impressed tonight as he did a good job blending setting up his teammates with creating looks for himself off the dribble. As McBride continues to prove to defenders that he can make perimeter shots, especially off of a quick rhythm dribble, he’ll become even more difficult to guard; as he will clearly be the catalyst on this Moeller’s team, as they attempt to repeat as Ohio D1 State Champions, before heading to play for Coach Huggins next season.

Alec Pfriem – ’19 SG/SF Cincinnati Moeller: We’ve long said that Pfriem’s offensive game is the perfect fit for Moeller’s system, and that reflected again tonight, as Pfriem scored, cut, passed and led his team with a game high 20 points on 9/12 shooting, to go along with 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals. A high-IQ wing who can really pass and cut, Pfriem has a great feel for the offensive end of the floor, and he’s good at using his body to create contact at the rim or by knocking down the short shot with touch. A signee with NCAA D2 powerhouse Bellarmine out of Kentucky, Pfriem’s advanced feel for the game is going to make him a productive player at the college level who is ahead of the learning curve of your average college freshman.

Ibrahima Athie – ’19 SF Deer Park: An athletic 6’6 forward with a great motor, Athie is known more as a versatile defender and role player for Deer Park; however, tonight he provided the most offense on his team, as the senior wing finished with 20 points and 6 rebounds. Athie has the athleticism and length to be a factor on the defensive end, and it was his ability to get deflections, as well as run in transition, that led to many of his baskets; while he also showed more of a handle then we’ve seen in the past in attacking the rim off of the bounce. With versatility to play either forward spot in smaller lineups at the next level, Athie has the looking’s of a late bloomer forward who will attract more college attention as the year goes on.

Nekhi Smith – ’20 SF Cincinnati Taft: Smith had what can be considered a decent first half in Taft’s win over Deer Park, before exploding in the second half to finish with a game high 21 points. In the final two quarters we saw Smith attack the rim off the dribble, showing a skill-set where he can spin back and finish or use his power to bully defenders, as well as make mid-range jumpers and finish two athletic dunks as Taft made their final run to win the game. While Smith can make some jumpers from deep, he’s best when attacking the rim going to his left hand, and his ability to be consistently productive, with his talent as a 6’5 athletic, strong and versatile forward, will be key to Taft’s success this winter. Already with an NCAA D1 offer from Detroit, college coaches are going to love Smith’s versatility, skill-set and strong 6’5 frame; so, again, if his production is consistent, expect to hear more of his name.

Alex Williams – ’21 SF Cincinnati Moeller: After seeing Williams turn in a really solid outing last weekend in Hillsboro at the Ohio Valley Hoops Classic, we were wondering if he could replicate that performance tonight against Hughes; the answer was a resounding yes, as Williams finished with 11 points off the bench for Moeller, as he looks like he’ll be a key role player this year for the Crusaders. Williams has a rare blend of mobility and size as a powerfully built 6’4 forward, who has the versatility to go inside or outside on both ends of the floor. While Williams’ best offense is using his power to attack the rim, he’s also a capable outside shooter, and a high motor player who can get involved in ways other than scoring. Moeller traditionally doesn’t play many sophomores major minutes, but if Williams keeps up this level of play he’s going to see a lot of time this season.

Paul McMillan IV – ’22 PG Cincinnati Hughes: Playing only his second varsity basketball game, and first against an opponent as strong as Moeller, McMillan was able to prove that he more than belonged on the court, tallying a team high 19 points on 7/19 shooting from the floor. McMillan gained valuable experience playing against Moeller’s defense, as the young point guard showed an ability to get into the lane and get the ball on the rim with a variety of floaters. His outside jumper didn’t fall today, but McMillan’s handle allows him to get shots off whenever he wants, while he also shows the point guard play and elusiveness in transition that go with being a really good player at the high school level. More then anything, McMillan’s composure and competitiveness were still in sync tonight, even when the margin got out of hand for Hughes.

Other Top Performers: Chris’Seon Stringer (’19 SG Taft), DeMarco Bradley Jr (’19 PG Taft), Joe Hocker (’19 C Deer Park), Muhammad Metz (’20 SG Taft), Romelo Carleon (’20 PG Taft), Max Land (’20 SF Moeller), Mark Wise (’20 SG Deer Park), Steve Gentry Jr (’20 PG Deer Park), Logan Duncomb (’21 C Moeller), Will McCracken (’21 SF Moeller), Camron McKenzie (’21 SG Hughes)

Cincy HS Preview

22 Oct

Basketball practice is about to get underway in Ohio, as the beginning of the high school season is approaching. Who will the top teams in the Greater Cincinnati area be this year? As we do every fall, Triple Double Prospects is here to answer that question to the best of our abilities. With our D1 and D2-D4 previews, here’s a look at who we believe the top teams and players in Southwest Ohio are.

Cincinnati D1 Preview

1. Moeller: One common theme with these TDP Cincinnati Previews, Moeller is our top ranked pre-season team. Nothing changes for the 2018-2019 season, as the Crusaders, the reigning Ohio D1 State Champions from 2017-2018 (and runners-up in 2016-2017) will be heavy favorites again locally. After battling their rival across the river, Covington Catholic (who finished last season as Kentucky State Champions) for Greater Cincinnati bragging rights as top area team last year, this year’s Crusaders team appears to have the most talent of anyone in the Queen City. It all starts with senior guard Deuce McBride, a West Virginia commit and our pick as the city’s pre-season Player of the Year; McBride should be the most dominant high school player in Cincinnati and will give Moeller a perimeter option they lacked last year when McBride missed all but the final two games with a foot injury. Joining McBride in the projected starting lineup, senior wing Alec Pfriem (Bellarmine commit) will be counted on to play a key part in the offense, after starting a year ago, as will junior wing Max Land, a big time athlete, and sophomore post Logan Duncomb, a potential breakout player locally. Rounding out the Moeller rotation, senior wing Michael Shipp and junior guard Jake Younkin both provide shooting, as this year’s Crusaders team will have more deep threats than last year’s group. Finally, don’t count out sophomore wing Will McCracken, who has the athletic ability to make an impact in the Big Moe rotation by season’s end. With talent, size, experience and depth, there was never a doubt who our pre-season number team would be.

2. Princeton: While this year’s Princeton team will look much different then last year’s on paper, there is still a considerable amount of talent at the Vikings disposal. GMC fans are going to become quite familiar with versatile and strong forward Tahj Harding, a senior who transferred in from Newport (KY), as Harding could contend for league player of the year honors due to his ability to score in traffic and rebound the basketball. On the perimeter Princeton has a stable of talented guards in juniors Kahlil Davis, Kaleb Crawford, Deairius Barker, sophomore Greg Johnson and senior Mario Freeman. Combine those guards with football talents Darrion Henry and Jaheim Thomas in the front-court, and this Vikings group is full of athleticism, strength, and versatility. Look for this junior class to breakout and establish themselves as some of the region’s top players, but also keep an eye on freshman wing Bowen Hardman, who could easily end up being one of Princeton’s most consistent scoring options by season’s end.

3. Winton Woods: Armed with the city’s most explosive scoring guard in senior Greg Tribble, Winton Woods will have a chance to finish their rebuilding process this season, starting the season near the top of our poll for the first time since the 2013-2014 season. Tribble should average 20 PPG in his final go-around with Winton Woods, while the Warriors have some improved talent to surround him with in junior forward Aaron Ward, junior wing Leroy Walker and sophomore wing Demari Martin. New Warriors’ coach Andre Tate will have weapons to work with, as his team has both the athleticism to apply full-court pressure and the skill to score in a fast-paced game. As Ward and Martin develop, this team could be very dangerous come March.

4. Lakota East: Another staple of our pre-season rankings, Lakota East is expected to contend for the GMC title again this season, as the Thunderhawks are again among the most talented and biggest teams in the league. 6’5 senior wing Bash Wieland (Bellarmine commit) and 6’6 junior post Alex Mangold will be the go-to guys, as both have the ability to knock down a long-range shot or create a shot for themselves; however, don’t miss the boat on talented sophomore guard Nate Johnson, who will be a well-known GMC player by March. Can East challenge Princeton in the GMC? Answer is yes.

5. Withrow: As with Winton Woods, Cincinnati basketball is better when Withrow has a good team; and that is just the case this year, as the Tiger’s rebuild mode might also reach completion. Coach O’Connell has size and athleticism in 6’11 senior Abba Lawal and versatile 6’5 senior wing Mike Hill Jr, as those two constitute two of the five the most talented players in the ECC. However, this team also has some perimeter talent, as we expect 6’5 junior wing Ivan Mason to breakout this year, while the coaching staff is high on junior guard Niles Whatley. ECC beware, Death Row is back!

6. Hamilton: Despite a coaching regime change, the Big Blue roster has a lot of returning talent, including senior guards Jaylen Robinson (Northern State commit) and D’Marco Howard, both of whom averaged over 17 PPG a season ago. Additionally, Robinson’s younger brother, 6’5 junior wing Trey Robinson, has also gathered college interest and could breakout as one of the GMC’s best. While we’re not too sure about the rest of the Hamilton roster, the Big Blue have three of the league’s most prolific scoring threats, and new Coach Kevin Higgins has plenty of GMC experience.

7. Walnut Hills: This won’t be the most talented Eagles team we’ve seen in recent history; however, you can never count Walnut Hills out in the ECC, as Coach Hill still has plenty of horses in the stable. The key piece to the team this year will be junior post Nick Smith, a back to the basket scorer who averaged double-figures a year ago. Joining Smith, Coach Hill will have some relative unknowns in some positions, but expect junior Michael Grant to be a solid scoring contributor, while the freshman class might have a couple of players who will see early minutes.

Also Considered: Mason, Oak Hills, LaSalle, St. Xavier, Middletown, West Clermont

Cincinnati D2-D4 Preview

1. Deer Park: Last year the Wildcats surprised the entire state to win the D3 State Championship and finish with an undefeated record. This year, Deer Park will not have the element of surprise; however, Coach Gentry does return enough talent to make another run to Columbus. Look for Deer Park to be Ohio’s top ranked D3 team early in the season, as Mark Wise, our D2-D4 Pre-Season Player of the Year, leads a group of four key returnees. Wise, a 6’2 junior combo guard who averaged 17 PPG last season will be the leading scorer, with senior forward Ibrahima Athie, senior post Joe Hocker and dynamic junior point guard Steve Gentry Jr all being potential all-CHL candidates. This year’s Deer Park team might not have the depth of last year’s; but expect Coach Gentry to again push the pace with a pressing style, and let Wise loose on another high scoring team. Deer Park will have a serious challenger in D3 in Purcell Marian, but, for now, they’re our pre-season favorite.

2. Purcell Marian: Another D3 team who will start the season as a top-five ranked team in the state, Purcell Marian returns almost their entire roster from a season ago, which ended in a double-overtime loss in the Regionals to Deer Park. The time is now for the Cavaliers, as a senior laden lineup of power forward AJ Garrett, versatile guard Alex Dotson, bruising wing Javonta Lyons and utility senior Bryan Warah are joined by a cast of supporting players who give Coach Kerr a lot of lineup versatility. The unquestioned favorite in the always competitive GCL Co-Ed division, we’re confident in Purcell’s ability to challenge Deer Park for a Regional and State Championship in 2018-2019, provided the Cavs shoot the ball consistently enough from the outside. Junior guard Jared Baldock will be counted on to help this department, on a Purcell roster that has some depth to it.

3. Taft: Our top ranked team in D2, this year’s Taft team is just that, a Taft team; as Coach Bradley’s crew is full of pesky guards who will play fast on both ends of the floor. Senior do-it-all forward Chris’seon “Grown Man” Stringer is the go-to guy (and CMAC pre-season player of the year) while senior point guard DeMarco Bradley Jr and junior forward Nekhi Smith will also be counted on to supply plenty of offense. Outside of those three, keep an eye on senior forward Dontae Mosley, as well as several inexperienced guards, who, year after year, always seem to fill the “next man in” role with the Senators. It’s close, but for now we’re giving Taft the slightest of edges over Hughes and Aiken in the city league.

4. Wyoming: Usually regarded as the team to beat in the CHL, we’ve got Wyoming ranked second in their league this year, and second, behind Taft, among D2 teams. The Cowboys have plenty of experience to work with in fourth year starting point guard Joey Edmonds (a Findlay commit and last season’s CHL player of the year) as well as third year starting forward Evan Prater, one of Ohio’s most talented juniors. Edmonds and Prater will no doubt put up monster numbers this year; however, we expect them to be joined by high-upside sophomore wing guard Isaiah Walker, who made great strides late last season. Can the rest of the Cowboys roster give them enough production to challenge Deer Park? We’re not sure, but if the answer is yes then this could be a fun season in the CHL.

5. Hughes: By far the most difficult team to project in the city, the Big Red graduated their entire starting lineup from a year ago, but also, on paper, have enough talent to contend for the CMAC crown again in 2018-2019. All eyes will likely be on freshman guard Paul McMillan IV, as he enters his first season as one of Cincinnati’s most talked about prospects; however, the Big Red also feature other talented guards to surround him with in veteran senior AB Harouna, underrated junior Kionte Thomas and sophomore to watch Camron McKenzie. They key to Hughes’ success this year could end up being the development of 6’8 bruiser Kenny Jackson, who showed significant strides in the right direction at our camp in September. If Hughes frontcourt can match their talent at the guard position, Coach Wyant might be in position to capture another city league title.

6. Aiken: The third CMAC team to make our list, The Swoop has the perimeter talent to finish higher in the league, as we love the upside of sophomore PG Jakada Stone to go with the proven scoring ability to senior guard D’arris Dean. Is this the year that 6’8 senior forward Tremaine Smith establishes himself as one of Cincinnati’s top players? If it is, expect the Falcons to be for real, as we’re also high on 6’4 wing guard Greg Stewart, a junior transfer from Saint Bernard. After surprising the city in last year’s Sectional Tournament, Aiken will enter this season as a known commodity in the city league.

Also Considered: Woodward, Middletown Bishop Fenwick, Gamble Montessori, Indian Hill, Madeira, North College Hill, McNicholas, Summit Country Day, Seven Hills

D1 Pre-Season All-City Team
Deuce McBride – 6’1 Senior PG/SG Moeller ***
Greg Tribble – 6’1 Senior PG/SG Winton Woods
Bash Wieland – 6’5 Senior SF Lakota East
Tahj Harding – 6’3 Senior SF/PF Princeton
Alec Pfriem – 6’4 Senior SF Moeller
Abba Lawal – 6’11 Senior C Withrow
Alex Mangold – 6’6 Junior PF Lakota East
Nick Smith – 6’6 Junior PF/C Walnut Hills

***Pre-Season Player of the Year***

Honorable Mention: Jaylen Robinson (’19 PG Hamilton), D’Marco Howard (’19 PG/SG Hamilton), Nick Haddad (’19 PG/SG Turpin), Jay Tiemeyer (’19 SG West Clermont), DeAndre Hayes (’19 PG Oak Hills), Landen Long (’19 SG Mason), Mike Hill (’19 SF Withrow), Kahlil Davis (’20 PG Princeton), Kaleb Crawford (’20 PG/SG Princeton), Max Land (’20 SF Moeller), Aaron Ward (’20 SF/PF Winton Woods), Jackson Ames (’20 C West Clermont), Demari Martin (’21 SF Winton Woods), Logan Duncomb (’21 C Moeller)

D2-D4 Pre-Season All-City Team
Mark Wise – 6’2 Junior SG Deer Park ***
Joey Edmonds – 5’10 Senior PG Wyoming
Evan Prater – 6’5 Junior SF Wyoming
Alex Dotson – 6’4 Senior PG/SG Purcell Marian
Javonta Lyons – 6’1 Senior SG Purcell Marian
Chris’seon Stringer – 6’3 Senior SG/SF Taft
Ethan Conley – 6’4 Senior SF Franklin Monroe
CJ Napier – 6’5 Senior SF/PF Bishop Fenwick
Brice Hill – 6’5 Senior SF Seven Hills

***Pre-Season Player of the Year***

Honorable Mention: DeMarco Bradley (’19 PG Taft), D’arris Dean (’19 SG Aiken), Ibrahima Athie (’19 SF Deer Park), AJ Garrett (’19 PF Purcell Marian), Deionte McBride (’19 SG Woodward), Tremaine Smith (’19 PF Aiken), Cameron Harris (’19 SF/PF North College Hill), Noah Pack (’19 C Georgetown), Steve Gentry Jr (’20 PG Deer Park), Nekhi Smith (’20 SF/PF Taft), Grant Whisman (’20 SF Middletown Madison), Curtis Harrison (’20 PF Seven Hills), Brandon Lanier (’20 PF Mt. Healthy), Jakada Stone (’21 PG Aiken), Isaiah Walker (’21 SG Wyoming), Kaden Warner (’21 PG Gamble Montessori), Brayden Sipple (’21 SF Blanchester), Skyler Schmidt (’21 PF Clermont Northeastern), AJ Braun (’21 PF Bishop Fenwick), Paul McMillan IV (’22 PG Hughes)

’19 Best Available

1 Oct
Gordon

Andre Gordon

This year’s fall signing period, where prospects can sign National Letters of Intent with NCAA D1 programs is scheduled for November 14-21; and, as of October 1st, we’ve already seen 18 prospects from Ohio’s senior class of 2019 make verbal commitments to NCAA D1 programs (with around the same number also having committed to NCAA D2 programs). Excluding those committed prospects, who are the best players from the Buckeye State whom college coaches are targeting as the fall signing period approaches? Below is our list of the ten prospects being most heavily recruited right now, plus some sleepers to watch for. Note that in this article we are listing prospects that are true 2019 high school seniors, meaning we are not including reclassified prep prospects who were 2018 seniors.

Andre Gordon – PG/SG Huntington Prep (WV): The name being mentioned most frequently to us by NCAA D1 schools, both at the mid and high-major levels, Gordon left Sidney (OH) to head to Huntington Prep for his final high school go-around, and so far that, along with a strong circuit season with C2K Elite, has paid dividends in his recruiting stock. An elite level athlete (perhaps the most bouncy prospect in Ohio’s 2019 class), Gordon has evolved as both a scorer and a true lead guard, causing college coaches to like him more as an all-around basketball player and not just an elite athlete. Having given up football to focus on hoops, we’re excited to see how many minutes Gordon can earn at Huntington Prep, and the potential offers that could come with excelling in those minutes. Gordon’s current offer list includes Boston College, SMU, DePaul, Loyola-Chicago, Dayton; and, per Huntington Prep coach Arkell Bruce, more and more high-major schools are jumping into the mix almost daily.

Ben Roderick – SG/SF Olentangy Liberty: Roderick was putting together a huge junior season before an injury derailed not only the remainder of the season, but also his entire AAU season. Due to that injury, Roderick’s recruitment is very tough to project. On one hand, high-major NCAA D1 schools were raving about him pre-injury, and have had good things to say about him in fall workouts; however, on the other hand, missing those months allowed for some other prospects to get more exposure and thus could mean that Roderick ends up being the top signee on a quality mid-major team. Regardless of where he ends up, Roderick has a college ready body with a mature and skilled floor game that should allow for him to be an impact player. Potentially a top-five prospect in Ohio’s 2019 class, we expect for Roderick to wait out the process, put up big scoring numbers this winter, and have multiple scholarship offers to choose from heading into the spring signing period. As of today, Roderick’s known offer list consists of Ohio, Akron, UT-Martin and Stony Brook.

Jordan Mitchell – SF Montverde Academy (FL): An honoree member of Ohio’s 2019 class, even though he decided to spend his last two years of high school hoops at the prestigious Montverde program in Florida, there are few players anywhere in the country as talented as Mitchell. A 6’7 do-it-all wing with unlimited offensive potential and fluid athleticism for his size, Mitchell didn’t stand out in limited minutes at Montverde this year; but, if he gets on the floor more this year, his deft combination of skill and size will quickly catch the eye of high-major college coaches. With all of Mitchell’s high-major offers having come a full two years ago, we’re not really sure where his recruitment stands at the moment, but his talent level definitely warrants one of the top spots on this list.

Greg Tribble – PG/SG Cincinnati Winton Woods: Having taken a similar trajectory to Gordon as a hyper-athletic scoring point guard, Tribble’s future is somewhat of an enigma. Both mid and high-major NCAA D1 schools tracked him in April and July, with Stony Brook, NKU, Ball State, Kent State, Toledo, Youngstown State and Morehead State being among those who have offered. As he is very young for his graduating class, don’t be surprised if Tribble considers the prep school route for another year of development; however, if he remains in the 2019 class then we expect these in-region mid-majors schools to turn up the heat on his recruitment.

Tanner Holden – SF Wheelersburg: A two sport athlete also putting up impressive stats on the football field, Holden is easy to forget about among Ohio’s top hoopers due to the remoteness of his high school. However, we’d hate to sleep on the 6’5 wing from Southeastern Ohio, as Holden is one of the most versatile role players you’ll find on the circuit. The prototypical “glue guy” Holden is coveted by multiple mid-major programs, including Wright State, Marshall, Akron, Toledo, Cleveland State and Winthrop, all of whom have offered scholarships.

Devon Grant – PG/SG Lorain: Tough and skilled floor generals such as Grant are hard to come by, and, while he isn’t the flashiest athlete on this list, Grant is near the top of the recruiting board for every mid-major school in the region still searching for a point guard. Already with offers from Bowling Green and Kent State, we’re expecting to see Grant end up in the MAC, although his list of schools could grow with the exposure that will come to Lorain this season, as Grant will lead one of Ohio’s most talented high school basketball teams. An injury limited him some in AAU, but, when healthy, Grant has the toughness and offensive playmaking ability to continue to impress college coaches.

Abba Lawal – C Cincinnati Withrow: Standing at 6’11, Lawal, a Nigerian native entering his fifth year in the USA, has true collegiate size in the lane, but, also has the ability to run the open floor like a deer (rare for someone with his size). While Lawal still lacks bulk, and his basketball game is somewhat raw considering his late introduction to the sport, several mid-major schools have extended scholarship offers. Cincinnati Withrow HS has been a busy spot this fall with college coaches, and will continue to be heading into the winter, as Cleveland State, Akron, Stony Brook, Miami (OH) and Toledo have offered scholarships.

Brison Waller – PF Cleveland Garfield Heights: While Waller still has a ways to go with his development, there are few players more physically talented then the Garfield Heights power forward, as Waller possesses elite athleticism at 6’8. While his name was hot within recruiting circles earlier in his career, some schools are still waiting for Waller to put all the pieces together on the basketball court. Being recruited primarily at the mid-major level, Waller will end up signing with an NCAA D1 school; as he might be the Ohio senior who is most closely watched this winter by college coaches.

Morgan Safford – SG Columbus Bishop Hartley: A skilled and polished scoring wing at 6’3, Safford holds NCAA D2 offers and is being evaluated by NCAA D1 schools as well, primarily due to his ability to score the ball from the perimeter. After a strong July with Nova Village-James, Safford is without a doubt one of the best wing guards in Ohio available, especially with similar scorers like Josh Corbin (Gahanna Lincoln) and Samari Curtis (Xenia) already committed. If he continues to put up big high school scoring numbers, expect for Safford’s list of offers to grow.

Ben Fort – SG/SF Reynoldsburg: A long and intriguing wing athlete with the ability to score the ball, Fort’s size, athleticism and versatility have caught the eye of a lot of colleges, after his play on the Adidas circuit with EG10. While IUPUI is the only NCAA D1 school to have offered a scholarship to Fort, several others are considering following suit, as Fort has late-bloomer potential which could make him a steal in this class looking back a few years down the road.

Honorable Mention: Jeremiah Keene (PG Westerville North), Milton Gage (PG Dayton Chaminade Julienne), Alex Dotson (PG Cincinnati Purcell Marian), DJ Dial (PG Cleveland Brush), Bash Wieland (SF Lakota East), Taevon Pierre-Louis (SF Lorain), Ibrahima Athie (SF Cincinnati Deer Park), Derek Van Lerah (SF Dublin Coffman), Mike Hill (SF Cincinnati Withrow), Brice Hill (SF Cincinnati Seven Hills), Alec Pfriem (SF Cincinnati Moeller), Sam Towns (SF Pickerington Central), AJ Garrett (PF Cincinnati Purcell Marian), Na’elle Simmons (C Columbus Beechcroft), Noah Pack (C Georgetown), Keshawn Heard (C Newark), Coleton Landis (C Pickerington Central)

TDP/Friar’s Showcase

22 Sep
Mark

Mark Wise

The first ever Triple Double Prospects/Cincinnati Friar’s Club joint showcase was a success this weekend in Cincinnati, as forty of the area’s top prospects showed up to the Friar’s Club for some exposure, skill work and some seriously competitive games of basketball. The top performer’s list is a mix of some talented prospects whom we had previously evaluated, and some new faces, with many of the players in attendance showing that they have spent their time this fall working on their skill-sets. Here’s a breakdown of some of the top standouts from the event….

DJ Brewton – ’19 SG Cincinnati Dohn Prep: A post-grad prospect originally from Cincinnati Hughes, Brewton was one of the top scoring guards in the 2018 class, and will bring that same smooth offensive game into the 2019 class this winter. A 6’2 athletic and long guard who can create whatever he wants with the bounce, Brewton is a scoring machine who can fill it up from deep as well. Look for Brewton to put up some big offensive numbers this winter on a Dohn Prep team full of talented scorers.

MeKell Burries – ’19 PG Cincinnati Dohn Prep: Another post-grad prospect, with Burries having spent his high school career in Greater Cincinnati at Newport (KY) HS, Burries has drawn attention from several NCAA D1 schools this fall with his ability to score and play the point guard position. Burries is a lefty slashing guard who can hit the floater, has deceptive explosiveness around the rim, but is best as a jump shooter with limitless range from deep. At the showcase Burries also impressed with his improved desire to make teammates better, consistently find the right man in pick-and-roll situations.

Elijah Bishop – ’19 SF Cincinnati Dohn Prep: Potentially the most talented prospect in attendance, and on the Dohn Prep roster, Bishop, a 6’7 combo forward and native of Columbus, was dynamic as a versatile wing forward who can attack off the dribble. Capable of making perimeter shots or playing the hybrid four-man role, Bishop is best as a wing athlete who can handle the ball well for his size and who competes defensively with his length. As the pieces all start to come together for Bishop, expect to hear his name a lot in NCAA D1 recruiting circles once Dohn’s season begins.

Matthew Lee – ’19 PG Cincinnati Dohn Prep: If you follow us on Twitter then you already know that we declared Lee, a native of Puerto Rico, the MVP of our two TDP Elite Open Gym sessions this fall, as the small but quick and strong point guard was tremendous on both ends of the floor. Nothing changed today, as Lee dominated the point guard position with passing, shot making, creating off the dribble and particularly with his on-ball defense. While he’s small for a college guard, Lee has the chops to match the production of the last two Puerto Rican point guards to come through Cincinnati in Giovanni Santiago and Angel Rivera.

Cameron Harris – ’19 PF North College Hill: The most physically intriguing prospect in attendance, Harris, a recent transfer from Finneytown to North College Hill, has great size as a 6’7 forward who is a mix between a hybrid four man and a pure small forward. Capable of ripping and running off the defensive rebound, Harris is a smooth and nimble athlete at 6’7 who has the skill-set to handle and finish at the basket. Yes, the pieces are still coming together for this late blooming forward; however, we expect him to have a huge senior campaign at North College Hill, as Harris easily could end up becoming a scholarship college player in due time.

Kenny Jackson – ’19 C Cincinnati Hughes: Entering just his second year of organized basketball, this wide-bodied 6’8 bruiser showed that he has improved by leaps and bounds since last winter, as Jackson looked much more agile running the floor, was more consistent finishing around the rim, and generally dominated the paint on both ends today, as the most efficient pure post prospect in attendance. You can’t teach Jackson’s size, and, while he’s still learning the nuances of organized basketball, he has considerable upside as a space eater inside who will compete physically.

D’Marco Howard – ’19 SG Hamilton: One of the top returning players in Cincinnati’s largest suburban league, the GMC, Howard is a versatile guard who really excels on the defensive end. His full talents were on display on Saturday, as the 6’2 combo guard shot the ball with more consistency then we’ve seen in the past, while attacking the rim with controlled takes and finishes. On a Hamilton team that has some fire-power, look for Howard to be the one who consistently puts pressure on the rim with driving scores, while he’ll also undoubtedly be the teams top defensive player. When the dust settles, we’d be surprised if more NCAA D2 and NAIA schools don’t jump in on Howard’s recruitment.

Omari Peek – ’19 SF Cincinnati Dohn Prep: Another Dohn Prep prospect, originally from Cincinnati (Walnut Hills) but most recently from Cleveland (Strongsville), Peek is a 6’5 wing guard or small forward who can score it in bunches. Very strong with the ball in his hands and able to create a shot off of one or two dribbles, Peek is a mid-range scorer who can draw contact and finish through defenders with his physical gifts. Due to his size and athletic ability as a mature 6’5 forward, look for Peek to play a variety of roles defensively for Dohn Prep, while his best offensive quality is without a doubt his ability to put the ball in the bucket.

Ibrahima Athie – ’19 SF Cincinnati Deer Park: A 6’5 wing defender and athlete with length, Athie is the quintessential third option offensively, as he knows how to position himself for buckets off assists when the defense closes in on the primary scorer. An improving offensive player who can finish around the rim and who is very good on the offensive boards, Athie will try and also prove that he can be a consistent outside shooter this winter. A late bloomer physically who now has a college ready body, Athie’s physical tools are intriguing enough that college coaches will be checking him out again this high school season.

Alex Dotson – ’19 PG/SG Cincinnati Purcell Marian: It’s hard to come by smooth playmaking guards, especially ones like Dotson, as this senior stands near 6’4 and has both the length and athleticism to give opposing point guards fits at the high school level. A slashing guard who can create for himself or make the pass around the basket, Dotson is a gifted offensive player who, as he continues to improve his jumper, can keep the defense guessing with his array of weapons. His size also gives him great tools to work with defensively, as Dotson has as much upside as any available 2019 guard in Ohio.

Mark Wise – ’20 SG Cincinnati Deer Park: The first of two underclassmen to make this list, Wise was a dynamic scorer on Saturday; and, while he still is capable of playing both guard positions, we continue to value him more off the ball where he can fill it up from all three levels. A more consistent shooter then he gets credit for, Wise is a shot maker off the bounce who can use his strong frame and tight handle to create what he wants, or draw contact at the rim. One of the toughest guards in the state in the 2020 class, Wise already has mid-major NCAA D1 offers and continues to attract more attention daily.

Steve Gentry Jr – ’20 PG Cincinnati Deer Park: The only other underclassmen to make this list, Gentry is a speedy point guard who can really play in transition; whether it’s with his full-court defense or ability to push the ball to the rim, Gentry is one of the most athletic point guards in the state, and does a nice job of managing the game for other scorers. Yes, his size is always going to be mentioned by some, but Gentry is a winning guard who started last year on Deer Park’s undefeated State Title team.

Honorable Mention: Benez Woodard (’19 Cincinnati Dohn Prep), Dayshawn Blair (’19 Cincinnati Dohn Prep), Marcus Hutchinson (’19 Cincinnati Oyler), Louis Frazier (’19 Cincinnati Dohn Prep), Greg Phelia (’19 Cincinnati Walnut Hills), Micah Thomas (’20 Cincinnati Princeton), Brenton Foust (’20 Loveland), Will Burns (’20 Cincinnati Deer Park), Wendell Hughes (’21 Cincinnati Hughes), Jayden Bennett (’22 Middletown), Jae’sean Martin (’22 Cincinnati Hughes)

Rankings Update

12 Aug
Meechie

Is Meechie Johnson the top 2021 prospect in Ohio?

With the July Evaluation Period squarely behind us, for the last time as we currently know it due to changes in NCAA recruiting calendar rules, it’s time to look at the prospects who made the biggest strides this summer in our eyes.

Every August we at Triple Double Prospects do our best to update our prospect rankings for rising seniors, juniors and sophomores, as we try and judge performance, production, long-term potential, physical gifts and intangibles in creating a list of the players we believe are at the top of their respective class’ in the state of Ohio.

For the class of 2019, we haven’t seen much movement at the top, as the players already identified as top targets did nothing to lose their star status; however, as is common in the summer before a prospect’s senior season, we did see a lot of movement towards the bottom of the rankings, with some late-blooming players making their way onto the list. Many of these players are being targeted by school at the NCAA D2 level, as the class of 2019 has proved to have more top-to-bottom depth of future college prospects then we thought it had a year ago. With 10 players committed to NCAA D1’s and another 7 committed to NCAA D2’s, look for the list of commitments to at least double by the end of September.

Like 2019, there weren’t a ton of big shakeups in 2020, with Mentor Lake Catholic’s Luke Frazier making probably the biggest jump up the list of any one player. Again, the top talent from the spring for the most part had a productive summer in games we viewed, but there were several new additions to the rankings, with Chillicothe’s Jayvon Maughmer being one player whom we are very excited to track.

The biggest change in the rankings came in the 2021 class, as TDP released our first positional breakdown of players. While it is still early in this class’ development, we’d have to say that, as of August 2018, Convoy Crestview forward Kalen Etzler and Cleveland Garfield Heights guard Meechie Johnson look like the players to keep the closest eye on. Like 2020, this class is full of talented point guards, but we’ve also been intrigued by some of the bigger wings and forwards, with kids like Enavell Lighty, EJ Farmer, Chance Groce and Malaki Branham, who all will have a chance to contend for the number one spot in due time.

Our latest 2019, 2020 and 2021 rankings can be viewed below, or in the site header….

RANKINGS LISTS

Louisville Jamfest

29 Jul
Miles

Dieonte Miles

The final of the three July live evaluations periods, where NCAA D1 coaches can watch prospects play on the travel circuit, has come and ended; with many of the top players from Ohio choosing to end the period with a bang instead of a fizzle. For the final weekend, we at Triple Double Prospects spent our time in Louisville for the Hoop Group’s Louisville Jamfest, an event which attracted top teams from Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania and some even further away states. Here’s a rundown of some of the top individual performances from games that we evaluated in the Derby City….

Dontaie Allen – ’19 SF Pendleton County/KY: While we went to Louisville to primarily track Ohio talent, it was Allen’s travel team, MATTS Mustangs out of Kentucky, who stole the show. As was the case when we saw this team in April in Indianapolis, the focal point of the Mustangs’ offense was Allen, a 6’7 wing guard from just south of the Greater Cincinnati region of Northern Kentucky. One of the most skilled wings in the country, Allen made jumpers in bunches this weekend, proving that he is a three level scorer who, despite limited athleticism, can create a shot at will with his handle, feel for the game and size at 6’7. With his offensive versatility at that size, Allen is an ideal fit for an offense that likes to feature big wings as ballhandlers, as well as somewhere where he will be able to load up on three point attempts. Kentucky head coach John Calipari was among the potential suitors tracking Allen, who holds offers from schools like Louisville, Xavier, Auburn, Florida, Illinois, Purdue and many other high-majors.

Deionte Miles – ’19 C Walton Verona/KY: This 6’10 mystery man from the Greater Cincinnati region of Northern Kentucky was without question the most talked about prospect in Louisville this weekend, as it was the first event where Miles, who has dealt with injuries this summer, has played with a major AAU outfit such as the MATTS Mustangs. An elite athlete at 6’10, Miles was an active and long rim protector who ran the floor, finished above the rim and even showed an ability to step outside and knock down the three-point shot with some consistency. While he still lacks the refinement and repetitions of most of his competition, Miles is an incredibly intriguing prospect who is beginning to receive considerable interest from a multitude of high-major programs who were in attendance in Louisville.

Evan Bainbridge – ’19 PF Stow-Munroe Falls: With size at 6’8 and a legit college ready skill as a pick-and-pop three point shooter, Bainbridge is a mid-major recruiting special who has seen his recruiting stock sky-rocket over the last few months. Currently reporting offers from Furman and Kent State, Bainbridge scored the ball with consistency for his Ohio Basketball Club team this weekend, mainly knocking down three point shots, but also showing the ability to put the ball on the floor once or twice as a prototypical new-age power forward with a skilled game. Bainbridge will have to add strength to make an impact around the basket at the next level, but his size and shooting ability have D1 coaches excited.

Devon Grant – ’19 PG Lorain: After a great showing at the Ohio HS State Tournament and then subsequently missing the April recruiting periods with an injury, we were excited to get another look at Grant with his Ohio Basketball Club outfit. A scoring point guard who isn’t a flashy athlete but who can create shots with separation dribbles, Grant was consistent as a shooter and scorer from mid and long range for OBC. Grant doesn’t have great size for a scoring guard at the next level, but he plays with a lot of heart, and his combination of skill-set and IQ are the ideal fit for what coaches seek in the modern scoring point guard. Currently, Grant has offers from Kent State and Bowling Green.

Max Land – ‘20 SF Cincinnati Moeller: Land, a 6’4 wing athlete, has bounced around some on the travel circuit this spring and summer, but looked at home in Louisville while playing with the Mid-Ohio Pumas. Playing the role of primary scorer on an amended Pumas’ roster, Land showed his ability to get to the rim and use his athleticism and frame to draw contact or finish. With that length and athleticism, Land has the ideal physical tools to be an impact defender at the next level, and, as he becomes a more consistent perimeter shooter, Land should only see his stock continue to ascend up the list of Ohio’s top 2020 prospects.

Luke Frazier – ’20 PG Mentor Lake Catholic: In just a period of two months we’ve seen Frazier, a 6’4 lanky combo guard, go from a kid who was thought of as a role player for Ohio Basketball Club to one of the team’s marquee talents, as Frazier has picked up offers from Northern Kentucky, Wright State and Youngstown State. A smooth and skilled combo guard with some burst to his game off the dribble, Frazier is a long combo guard who can do it all offensively; and, as his confidence grows, Frazier has shown he can be a big time playmaker off the bounce as a scorer or facilitator. College coaches are going to want to see Frazier continue to add muscle to his game, but, his versatility, size and skill-set make him the ideal D1 guard who can contribute in different offensive roles.

Jayvon Maughmer – ’20 SG Chillicothe: This was our first time seeing Maughmer, a 6’4 combo guard playing his first event with the elite team from the Mid-Ohio Pumas organization, and we were in no way disappointed, as Maughmer handled the primary point guard role with a lot of success. Another big and slippery guard who can handle and create, Maughmer was effective as a set-up man or as a scorer, where he has the length and frame to be a finisher around the basket. Maughmer’s frame is still very much in the development phases; however, in the two games we watched we’re ready to give him our stamp of approval as one of the most promising 2020 prospects in the state of Ohio.

Walt Mattingly – ’21 PF Deerfield/IL: While he now resides a little bit out of our normal range of coverage, Mattingly, who is originally from Greater Cincinnati, then Batesville (IN) and now Deerfield (IL), played well enough with the Cincinnati Royals 15u team that it wouldn’t be right if we didn’t show him some love. A 6’7 versatile and skilled forward with some real competitiveness to his game, Mattingly showcased a ton of upside on Saturday night, as he battled physically with his long and mobile frame against stronger interior players, and also stepped out on the wing where he showed the ability to handle against pressure and create shots. Now that Mattingly is in the Greater Chicago area, one of prep basketball’s most historically talent-rich metropolitans, look for his stock to continue to rise.

Honorable Mention: Isaiah Cozart (’19 PF Madison Central/KY), Ben Fort (’19 SG Reynoldsburg), Greg Tribble (’19 PG Cincinnati Winton Woods), Sam Towns (’19 SF Springfield), Milton Gage (’19 PG Dayton Chaminade Julienne), AJ Garrett (’19 PF Cincinnati Purcell Marian), Coleton Landis (’19 PF Pickerington Central), Grant Huffman (’20 SG Cleveland St. Edward), Andy Barba (’20 SG Cleveland Benedictine), Evan Prater (’20 SF Wyoming), Quentin Richardson (’20 PG Cleveland Holy Name), Greg Johnson (’21 PG Cincinnati St. Xavier), Isaiah Walker (’21 SG Wyoming), AJ Braun (’21 PF Middletown Bishop Fenwick), Alex Williams (’21 PF Cincinnati Moeller), Aiden Turner (’21 PG Cincinnati Moeller)

All-In Hoopfest

22 Jul

LogoThe All-In Hoopfest has become a staple of the July recruiting period for NCAA D1 coaches, as Ohio teams have always attended this event, and performed well, since it’s inception a few years ago. For the second straight July, the event was held in Louisville, but the Ohio teams still made their presence felt, as 17u squads such as Mid-Ohio Pumas, Nova Village (Russell), SMAC Runnin’ Rebels, APEX and others all made their presence felt. As far as individual performances are concerned, we at Triple Double Prospects were in the gym for all three days of action and saw several prospects boost their recruiting stock with quality showings. Here’s a look at some of the top performers from games we evaluated….

Darweshi Hunter – ’18 SG Cincinnati Princeton: A recently graduated senior still looking for the right home for next school year, Hunter is still seeking a NCAA D1 offer (and is considering both prep school and junior college options); in Louisville, the 6’4 wing improved his recruiting stock, as he continued to show college coaches that he can flat out score the basketball. A deadly pull-up shooter who can find a rhythm with a couple of dribbles or a step-back, Hunter shot the ball with consistency, averaging over 20 PPG in six games on the weekend. Also a solid athlete with size for his position, Hunter looked the part of an NCAA D1 prospect, and while he’ll have to continue to develop his overall floor game, there are few who can put the ball in the bucket on the same level that he can.

Milton Gage Jr– ’19 PG Dayton Chaminade Julienne: One of the most under-rated guards in the 2019 class in Ohio, Gage is starting to show college programs what he has to offer, as the 5’10 floor general led the Cincinnati Lakers all weekend long. A classic pass-first point guard who can use his strong build to finish at the rim, Gage also shot the ball from three more efficiently then he has in the past; however, the thing that that Gage is most well known for at this stage is his defense, as he is arguably the most tenacious on-ball defender at the point guard position in Ohio’s rising senior class. Heading into the last live period, look for Gage to begin to accumulate scholarship offers very, very soon.

Bo Myers – ’19 SG/SF Logan: A sharpshooting wing at 6’5 with offers at both the NCAA D1 and D2 levels, Myers is a super skilled, competitive and efficient wing guard who can play any of the perimeter positions. Playing with the Ohio Hoopsters, Myers proved that he is more then just a shooter; even though he continued to shoot the ball at a high clip from deep. With a smooth feel as a passer and the length to guard wings and guards at the college level, Myers is a small town gem who we expect to see a rapid spike in recruiting circles as soon as this week.

Alex Dotson – ’19 PG/SG Cincinnati Purcell Marian: Our friends at NEO Spotlight called Dotson, “(the) most under-recruited kid in Ohio’s 2019 class”, after Dotson’s RGB Unity team put together a string of wins in front of a crowd of college coaches on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. Dotson did perhaps more for his recruiting stock then any other player in Ohio’s 2019 class over the weekend, as the 6’4 senior combo guard showed that he can play on the ball, off the ball, attack the rim with the dribble, set up teammates for assists and defend multiple positions. A solid athlete with a strong build, Dotson’s ability to consistently make perimeter jumpers is the last piece to the puzzle, as college coaches will continue to circle his name in their programs.

Tremaine Smith – ’19 PF Cincinnati Aiken: Dotson’s teammate with RGB Unity, the 6’8 post known as “Noodles” also had a great weekend on both ends of the floor; as the skinny but energetic big was active defensively and showed physicality despite his slender frame, as he altered shots and rebounded the ball. A raw but talented and emerging offensive threat, Smith plays best when facing the rim and can play off of a couple of dribbles from the high post. After being known as a player who shows spurts of potential, this could be the start of some consistent production from the 6’8 power forward.

Kyle Goessler – ’19 PG Brunswick: Goessler’s recruiting stock plummeted among NCAA D2 programs on Saturday; only because he committed, as the 6’0 point guard from the Cleveland area selected D2 power Hillsdale College out of Michigan. Playing with SMAC Runnin’ Rebels in Louisville, Goessler looked the part of the quintessential skilled offensive point guard, as he made perimeter shots, set up his teammates for assists and used crafty playmaking to create advantage situations for his team offensively. Capable of running and gunning or handling pressure in the half-court, Goessler is a cerebral point guard who should have a successful career at the college level.

Chance Groce – ’21 SG/SF Columbus Linden-McKinley: While we spent approximately 90% of our time this weekend at the 17u level, Groce was one of two 15u prospects who really caught our eye, as we got our first chance to view this rising sophomore wing with his Columbus 101 team on Saturday night. The 6’4 wing guard was dominant in scoring 29 points, as Groce connected from deep on several occasions, while showcasing a solid all-around skill-set to go with a big and fluid frame that should see him develop into a very good athlete. Without question one of Ohio’s premiere talents in the 2021 class, we will be very interested to follow Groce’s career over the next three years.

Tyrese Hughey – ’21 PF Licking Heights: With Groce being a young prospect who oozes future potential, Hughey is an already refined young prospect, as the 6’6 power forward from Ohio Hoopsters-Tillman, is a skilled post who can score with his back to the goal, face-up and make a shot and has a good feel for how to use his body around the rim. With a strong base and legit size already, Hughey is another one of the top 2021 prospects in Ohio.

Honorable Mention: Elijah Bishop (’18 Columbus Beechcroft), DJ Brewton (’18 Cincinnati Hughes), Me’Kell Burries (’18 Newport/KY), Bryce Hunt (’18 Cincinnati Reading), CJ Napier (’19 Middletown Bishop Fenwick), Brice Hill (’19 Cincinnati Seven Hills), Sean Marks (’19 Olentangy), Max Martz (’19 Upper Arlington), AJ Garrett (’19 Cincinnati Purcell Marian), Will Mfum (’19 Quality Education Academy), Javonta Lyons (’19 Cincinnati Purcell Marian), Noah Pack (’19 Georgetown), Garrett Powell (’19 Springboro), Jacob Drees (’19 Hilliard Davidson), Garrett Denbow (’19 Ashland), D’Marco Howard (’19 Hamilton), Curtis Harrison (’20Cincinnati Seven Hills), Quentin Richardson (’20 Cleveland Holy Name), Kristopher McClure (’21 Cincinnati St. Xavier), Isaac Settles (’21 Columbus Thomas Worthington), Paul McMillan IV (’22 Cincinnati Woodward)