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’19-’20 Cincy HS Preview

23 Oct
Williams

D1 Pre-Season POY: Alex Williams

Another high school basketball season is closing in fast, and, as always, Triple Double Prospects is here to bring readers a preview of what to expect in the Greater Cincinnati area throughout the 2019-2020 season. Perennial powers Moeller and Taft headline our divisional power rankings, while the pre-season all-city teams have plenty of new faces for fans to get familiar with. When it comes to top teams, as well as top individual performers, here’s how we see the early parts of the season playing out in the Queen City….

Cincinnati D1 Preview

1. Moeller: Surprise, surprise, another year and Moeller checks in atop our pre-season D1 power rankings. The back-to-back defending Ohio D1 State Champions again graduated several key pieces from last year’s undefeated team; however, as per usual, Big Moe has reloaded with several class of 2021 prospects ready for bigger roles this season. Returning from last year, Coach Kremer will be led by junior forward Alex Williams, a double-double machine and our pick for pre-season player of the year in Cincinnati in D1, along with senior wing Max Land and junior post Logan Duncomb (who holds several high-major NCAA D1 offers). Land should provide scoring from the wing as well as defensive versatility, while Duncomb can control the paint on both ends, as this duo both played starting roles for the Crusaders a year ago. Junior wing Will McCracken also saw plenty of minutes a year ago, and should step into a larger role as a transition scorer, athlete and capable shooter this year; while Moeller fans are excited to see the varsity debut of junior wing Aidan Noyes, a 6’5 hyper-athletic forward who can also shoot the ball with range. Rounding out the Moeller rotation will be sophomore forward Evan Mahaffey (a transfer from Northwest HS), as well as junior point guards Elijah Jackson and Aidan Turner, as well as senior guard Michael Curran. Overall, this isn’t the most experienced team Coach Kremer has had at Moeller, but the depth, raw talent, size and athleticism that the Crusaders have makes them the best team on paper in Cincinnati, and maybe even Ohio.

2. Princeton: The Vikings might not have the size of Moeller, but they can match the Crusaders in terms of quality perimeter play, depth and athleticism, while also returning basically their entire varsity team from a year ago. The three-headed class of 2020 monster returns in the backcourt for Princeton, as senior guards Deairius Barker-Randle, Kahlil Davis and Kaleb Crawford are back for their final go-round, while junior guard Greg Johnson and sophomore guard Bowen Hardman also return from key roles last season. Barker-Randle was the breakout player in the GMC last year, establishing himself as a dangerous scorer, while Davis and Crawford bring athleticism, defense and playmaking to the table. Johnson and Hardman will find plenty of minutes in their own right, as Hardman has already earned several NCAA D1 offers, and Johnson’s athleticism and passing ability make him a shoe-in for a major role. In the frontcourt Princeton continues to show depth, as 6’5 senior Jaheim Thomas returns, alongside senior forward Micah Thomas and 6’5 senior Sterling Berkhalter. Besides the fact that this team is ultra-talented on paper, one other thing is a certainty; this is going to be a fun Vikings team to watch, as they will likely lead the GMC in scoring and pace.

3. Lakota East: It’s basically a coin flip between East and Princeton for the pre-season favorite in the GMC. We’re giving the slight edge to Princeton due to depth, but don’t be surprised if the Thunderhawks come away as ultimate winners, as Coach Adkins team is also blessed with top tier talent. Despite having two very good seniors, the talk at East is going to be all about junior combo guard Nate Johnson, an elite athlete and one of Ohio’s premiere junior prospects, who came into his own late last season and received a plethora of NCAA D1 scholarships this summer. Johnson will be counted on to take major steps forward this season, but he’ll get plenty of help from 6’7 senior post Alex Mangold (who missed most of last season with injury) and 6’3 senior wing Kaden Fuhrmann, a bouncy athlete who can shoot it from three. If Johnson isn’t the pre-season favorite for GMC Player of the Year then Mangold might be, as the powerful 6’7 power forward can rebound, score in traffic and step out and knock down shots. East will have to prove that they have the role players to match the depth of teams like Princeton and Moeller, but we expect this team to be very, very good.

4. Walnut Hills: There will be some who are surprised to see the Eagles ranked this high pre-season, but we’re high on the upside of Coach Ricardo Hill’s team this year. First of all, Walnut Hills returns 6’6 Mr. Everything on the interior in senior center Nic Smith, who averaged a double-double last year. Smith’s presence as a scorer and paint eater alone makes the Eagles formidable, but we’re not even sure if Smith will lead this team in scoring with the recent emergence of senior guard Ed Abernathy. After missing all of last season with a torn ACL, Abernathy has been dominant in our open gyms this fall, as the 6’2 senior can make shots and create his own look at will. While Smith and Abernathy will put up the big numbers, don’t forget about senior wing Michael Grant, one of the city’s most reliable role players who can distribute, defend multiple positions and who finds ways to quietly put up points of his own. The rest of the varsity roster is younger and less experienced, but with three talented seniors and some promising underclassmen, look for Walnut Hills to lead the pack in the ECC this winter.

5. Mason: We’re not going to make our usual mistake of forgetting to include Coach Richards’ Comets team in our pre-season rankings, as, even though Mason again doesn’t have any well known superstars, they have a balanced, disciplined and experienced roster capable of competing at or near the top of the GMC. Seniors Mitchell Greer, a 6’4 wing with shooting range, and Jack Cooper, a 6’7 face-up power forward, both return after each averaging around 7 PPG last season, with Greer in particular coming on strong during last season’s playoff run. The only other major contributor returning is 6’4 junior Matthew Smith, one of the few players to crack Coach Richards’ rotation as an underclassmen last season; Smith won’t score as much as Greer and Cooper, but he brings athleticism and defensive upside to a team that will likely be among the GMC’s best on that end of the floor. The Comets aren’t as good on paper as Lakota East or Princeton, but their system produces wins every season, and this winter is unlikely to be any different in the league.

6. LaSalle: The Lancers were just a year away when we saw them last season, as a trio of juniors, now seniors, showed promise and a willingness to buyin to what Coach Goedde was preaching. All three are back for their final campaigns, with point guard Jaylen Lemons and wing Derek Eddings getting the bulk of the attention. Lemons is a small but quick point guard who can shoot the ball, while Eddings is a smooth and talented wing whom Lancer fans are hoping will break out of his shell this season. The third scorer will likely be senior Jeff Queen, who showed strong slashing skills when we saw LaSalle last year; however, coaches have also been whispering about junior guard Justin Lovette, who could be a potential breakout name in the GCL as well.

7. West High: While the coaching carousel continues at West High, the good news is that the kids in the program will be led by a familiar face this season, with former assistant Bryce Stokes taking over the head seat. Fortunately for Coach Stokes, the cupboard is far from bare, as the Mustangs return three major contributors from last season. Senior guard Demetrius Watkins put up around 14 PPG last season and is one of the most proven scorers in the CMAC, while we expect junior wing Zion Reynolds to produce a major jump in scoring this year with his shot-making ability and combination of finesse and size. The key to this team, however, will be 6’4 forward Aboucar Cisse, a powerfully built wing who can drive the ball to the rim and draw contact, as the sophomore averaged around 12 PPG in a starting role last year as a freshman. The Mustangs have to fill some plugs in the other spots in their lineup, but don’t sleep on their chances to compete in the CMAC, and to represent the city league proudly in the D1 rankings.

8. Turpin: The Spartans deserve a place on this list after being overlooked by us last pre-season, before going on to post an 18-6 record. Point guard is a question after graduating their emotional leader; however, Coach Slonim returns two of his three leading scorers from last season, including junior Jackson Holt, who averaged north of 15 PPG last season in his sophomore campaign. Holt is a 6’3 wing with elite shooting ability who should average over 20 PPG this season; where he’ll hopefully be balanced out by late blooming senior center Owen Spencer, a 6’8 stretch shooter who has come into his own of late. Outside of Holt and Spencer the Spartans will have to find the right role players to help put points on the board, but they’re a dangerous shooting team, have a dynamic one-two combination and are one of Cincinnati’s best teams.

Honorable Mention: Winton Woods, Hamilton, Oak Hills, Saint Xavier, West Clermont, Elder

McMillan

D2-D4 Pre-Season POY: Paul McMillan IV

Cincinnati D2-D4 Preview

1. Taft: There were several big storylines to follow this summer over at Taft. First, the Senators have moved down to D3 (from D2) and will be among the favorites to contend for a state title. Second, former Senators coach Mark Mitchell has returned to the sidelines; and, third and perhaps most notably, Taft has reloaded with some talented new players. There is still some argument as to who the pre-season favorite is in the CMAC; however, the size, experience and depth of Taft make them our top ranked team for now. Before we talk about the new faces, the Senators return an all-league force in double-double machine Nekhi Smith, a 2020 forward, along with two solid senior guards in Roemello Carleon and Muhammad Metz. Smith is a potential CMAC Player of the Year candidate, while Carleon brings production on both ends as a guard, and Metz is one of the city’s premiere shooters. The new faces for Taft consist of senior combo guard Mark Wise (Deer Park transfer), senior wing Leroy Walker (Winton Woods transfer) and freshman wing Rayvon Griffith. Wise will bring big game experience to the lead guard role at Taft, while Walker and Griffith’s athleticism could make this team a very entertaining one to follow. With Woodward and Aiken also expected to be very good, don’t pencil in Taft for a CMAC title, but mark the Senators as favorites.

2. Woodward: If Taft isn’t the team that ultimately takes the CMAC, then expect Woodward to be next in line, as the Bulldogs picked up the biggest offseason acquisition in Cincinnati in sophomore point guard Paul McMillan IV. After averaging over 25 PPG last season, and being named TDP Player of the Year for Cincinnati D2-D4, McMillan heads over to Woodward to lead a team with some sleeper talent on the roster. Of course, McMillan will be the primary scorer at Woodward, but expect two others to score plenty themselves in senior post Davion Mace, a high level athlete with a strong physique, and junior point guard Montev Ware, a competitive guard who was the second leading scorer for West High last season. Junior guard Aaron Davis and senior post Will Burns will also be key contributors for Coach Redden’s team, as we’ll be interested to see who steps up to make perimeter shots when teams inevitably throw double-teams at McMillan.

3. Aiken: Last year Taft and Hughes were the talk of the CMAC, while Aiken quietly ended up finishing tied for first place in the league with their two rivals, and was the last CMAC team standing in the playoffs, where the Falcons advanced to the regional semifinals. This year’s team has just as much upside, as we’re trying to remind ourselves not to count the Swoop out in the CMAC race. Junior point guard Jakada Stone is back for his third year at the helm for Aiken, and is also a no-brainer selection for our first-team all-city pre-season honors in D2-D4. Alongside Stone, one of the city’s elite point guards, Aiken will have additional offensive fire power in sophomore guard Robbie Cass, a big time shooter, and under the radar senior wing Greg Stewart, a potential 20 PPG player who missed most of last season due to OHSAA transfer rules. The Falcons won’t lead the league in dunks on a guard oriented roster, but Stone, Cass and Stewart combine to form an impressive big three, and, if sophomore wing LeBraun Berry and sophomore forward Chance Davis are ready to make impacts, this team could be deceptively good in D2.

4. Wyoming: The first non-CMAC team to appear on this list, the Cowboys made a coaching change this year, with Coach Tim Edmonds handing the reigns over to Matt Rooks (back for his second stint as Wyoming head coach). Even with the change in leadership, we still think the Cowboys are favorites yet again in the CHL. There is some roster turnover to deal with, including the graduation of a four-year starter at point guard; but Wyoming boasts the most talent in the CHL on paper with the combo of senior wing Evan Prater and junior wing Isaiah Walker. Prater might be committed to play football at Cincinnati next fall, but the versatile senior will be on the court this winter, where he is arguably the best senior in the metro area; while Walker, a 6’5 smooth wing player, should improve on his 13 PPG average last season as a sophomore. We don’t know a ton about the rest of the Cowboys roster, but between the size, athleticism and skill of the Prater-Walker duo alone, teams will have their hands full with this Wyoming team.

5. Deer Park: Despite a lot of turnover in the personnel department, one starter still remains from the 2018 State Championship team, and additional talent has transferred in to Deer Park, making the Wildcats a more then formidable opponent this season. Senior point guard Steve Gentry Jr, the lone holdover from 2018, will be the face of the team this season, as the small but speedy guard will likely take on more of a scoring role this winter. Joining Gentry will be senior wing Deshaun McEntire, a role player on both the 2018 and 2019 teams, as well as trio of new additions in junior guard Tre Munson (Roger Bacon transfer), senior wing G’Marrion Jones (Taylor transfer) and athletic 6’5 junior power forward Ani Elliott (Springfield transfer). With more raw athleticism and depth of talent then anyone in the CHL, don’t be surprised if Deer Park gives their rivals Wyoming a run for their money in the league.

6. Gamble Montessori: Moving up from D4 to D3 for the first time in school history, expect Coach Allen’s team to make some noise this winter, as his Gators team is loaded with both talent and athleticism. Yes, junior point guard Kaden Warner might have transferred out-of-state, but Gamble still has plenty of horses, most notably senior power forward Michael McCants, a man-child on the interior with a great motor. Joining McCants in the front-court is junior wing forward Xavier Smith, one of the most talented players in Cincinnati that you probably haven’t heard of. Smith and McCants will likely lead the scoring effort, but junior point guard Dre Kindell and senior post TJ Grove are two transfers to keep an eye on who will be mainstays in the Gamble lineup.

7. Cincinnati Christian: Not only did the Cougars make a surprise run to last season’s D4 District Finals, but they did so with a young nucleus, giving CCS fans plenty to be excited about this season. Returning for Cincy Christian will be a young starting backcourt in sophomore guard Logan Woods (the son of head coach Carl Woods) as well as junior point guard KJ Swain. Woods has earned early college offers with his ability to score the ball in different ways, while Swain is a speedy guard who can distribute or make shots. Joining the team this year is 6’6 forward Kai Vance, a former member of the homeschool based Cincinnati Trailblazers; a junior this season, Vance will bring athleticism and versatility to the table for CCS. Traditionally, the small town teams control the SW Region in D4, but we believe CCS is the best D4 team in Cincinnati.

Honorable Mention: Roger Bacon, Hughes, CHCA, Bishop Fenwick, McNicholas

Bonus Preview: Northern Kentucky

Covington Catholic: With the purpose of this preview being to cover the Greater Cincinnati area, we feel it’s only right to give some coverage to the top team in the Northern Kentucky section of Greater Cincinnati, the Covington Catholic Colonels. Having won two KYHSAA State Championships since 2014, CovCath will be among the top ranked teams in the state of Kentucky again this season. While the roster is full of new faces, senior point guard Grant Disken returns to lead the show, as he’s already proven to be among the best players in Greater Cincinnati. Alongside Disken, look for two wings in sophomore Collin McHale (one of the top young prospects in the city) and transfer sophomore Walker Horn (the son of new NKU head coach Darin Horn) to make immediate impacts on the perimeter. The frontcourt will be inexperienced, but there’s plenty of talent there, as freshman post Chandler Starks enters CovCath with a lot of hype behind his name. Alongside Starks, look for the Colonels to also rely on 7’1 transfer Noah Hupmann (Evansville, IN) as well as junior Donovan Stocks. If the young players can find a rhythm together, expect this team to be as good as any in Ohio or Kentucky.

D1 Pre-Season All-City 1st Team
Alex Williams – 6’4 Junior SF/PF Moeller ***
Logan Duncomb – 6’9 Junior C Moeller
Trey Robinson – 6’7 Senior SF Hamilton
Nate Johnson – 6’3 Junior PG/SG Lakota East
Deairius Barker-Randle – 6’0 Senior PG Princeton

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

D1 Pre-Season All-City 2nd Team
Max Land – 6’4 Senior SG/SF Moeller
Kaden Fuhrmann – 6’3 Senior SG Lakota East
Alex Mangold – 6’7 Senior PF/C Lakota East
Jackson Ames – 6’10 Senior C West Clermont
Kaleb Crawford – 6’2 Senior PG/SG Princeton
Ed Abernathy – 6’2 Senior SG Walnut Hills
Aidan Noyes – 6’5 Junior SF Moeller
Will McCracken – 6’5 Junior SF Moeller
Jackson Holt – 6’3 Junior SG Turpin
Bowen Hardman – 6’4 Sophomore SG Princeton

Honorable Mention: Will Cluxton (’20 PG Elder), Carter Combs (’20 SG Lakota West), Jack Cooper (’20 PF Mason), Kahlil Davis (’20 PG Princeton), Kelen Dietrich (’20 SG Oak Hills), Derek Eddings (’20 SF LaSalle), Michael Grant (’20 SG Walnut Hills), Mitchell Greer (’20 SG Mason), Danny Greive (’20 SF St. Xavier), Brandon Lanier (’20 PF Mount Healthy), Jaylen Lemons (’20 PG LaSalle), Ivan Mason (’20 SF Withrow), Zavian Ricks (’20 PG Fairfield), Nic Smith (’20 C Walnut Hills), Owen Spencer (’20 C Turpin), Hank Thomas (’20 PF St. Xavier), Jaheim Thomas (’20 PF Princeton), Aaron Ward (’20 PF Winton Woods), Demetrius Watkins (’20 SG West High), Greg Johnson (’21 PG Princeton), Julian Mackey (’21 SG Lakota West), Demari Martin (’21 SF Winton Woods), Zion Reynolds (’21 SF West High), Rob Thompson (’21 SG Middletown), Aboucar Cisse (’22 SF West High), Evan Mahaffey (’22 SF Moeller), Deshawne Crim (’23 SG Fairfield)

D2-D4 Pre-Season All-City 1st Team
Paul McMillan IV – 6’1 Sophomore PG Woodward ***
Evan Prater – 6’5 Senior SF Wyoming
Mark Wise – 6’3 Senior PG/SG Taft
Nekhi Smith – 6’6 Senior PF Taft
Jakada Stone – 6’0 Junior PG Aiken

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

D2-D4 Pre-Season All-City 2nd Team
Steve Gentry Jr – 5’11 Senior PG Deer Park
Grant Whisman – 6’7 Senior SF/PF Middletown Madison
Michael McCants – 6’5 Senior PF Gamble Montessori
AJ Braun – 6’8 Junior PF/C Bishop Fenwick
Isaiah Walker – 6’5 Junior SG/SF Wyoming
Skyler Schmidt – 6’7 Junior C Clermont Northeastern
Camron McKenzie – 6’0 Junior SG Hughes
Brayden Sipple – 6’4 Junior SG Blanchester
Logan Woods – 6’3 Sophomore SG Cincinnati Christian
Rayvon Griffith – 6’5 Freshman SF Taft

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

Honorable Mention: Matthew Adkins (’20 SG Country Day), Jared Baldock (’20 SG Purcell Marian), Evan Brunot (’20 SF McNicholas), Kyle Cardenas (’20 PF Shroder), Sean Ealy (’20 SG Clark Montessori), Anthony Felder (’20 PF Hughes), Curtis Harrison (’20 PF Seven Hills), Davion Mace (’20 C Woodward), Josiah McGee (’20 SF Roger Bacon), Greg Stewart (’20 SG Aiken), Kionte Thomas (’20 PG Hughes), Leroy Walker (’20 SF Taft), Deanza Duncan (’21 PG New Miami), Gates Flynn (’21 SG Summit), Kodee Holloway (’21 PG/SG Finneytown), Tre Munson (’21 PG/SG Deer Park), Jordan Robinette (’21 PG New Miami), Xavier Smith (’21 SF Gamble Montessori), KJ Swain (’21 PG Cincinnati Christian), Marjoni Tate (’21 PG Roger Bacon), Montev Ware (’21 PG Woodward), Robbie Cass (’22 PG Aiken)

270 Hoops Fall League

29 Sep
Woodyard

Trey Woodyard

After finishing our Cincinnati based series of fall open gym on Saturday, Triple Double Prospects decided to take our show back on the road for the first time since late July, to get a look at how some of the top prospects from other parts of the state are improving. Today’s stop was at Groveport Madison HS in suburban Columbus to check out the 270 Hoops Fall League. With the best of the best from the Greater Columbus and Central Ohio region on site, we got a chance to see a lot of talent from the classes of 2020-2023. Here’s a look at five prospects who really stood out in games we evaluated….

Trey Woodyard – ’21 SF London: One of several prospects at the event from a smaller town outside of Columbus, players like Woodyard are able to use these showcases to maximize exposure which might not always come their way in the winter. Even with Woodyard being experienced with two years on the Nike EYBL summer circuit, these opportunities are still important, and the 6’5 wing from south of Columbus proved up to the task on Sunday. A deadly shooter who plays with a motor and can make plays off the dribble, Woodyard is an extremely versatile offensive player who can play the role of primary scorer or secondary scorer. Despite being from a smaller school where he is going to be forced to be ball dominant, Woodyard played in flow in both games on Sunday afternoon, but still led his team in scoring with efficient shooting outings. With his size and frame at 6’5 he’s a clear cut NCAA D1 prospect, as Woodyard has already earned offers from Miami (OH), Toledo, Cleveland State and Robert Morris over the last few weeks.

Desmond Watson – ’21 SF Columbus DeSales: If the 270 Hoops Fall League comes out with some sort of hustle based award at the end of the year then you can pretty much pencil Watson’s name in to win it, as the 6’4 junior wing was a madman on both ends of the court on Sunday. Even though he might not have ideal forward height at 6’4, Watson is so physical and plays with so much effort that he can rebound misses to score at the rim, finish in transition and draw fouls pretty much at will. More of a power player then a finesse finisher, Watson rebounded the ball on the defensive end and pushed it end-to-end for multiple scores, while also converting from the foul line with regularity. Even though he was called upon to be more of a scorer today, we’ve always been high on Watson’s willingness to buy in to a complimentary role on the Nike EYBL, as he’s a basketball prospect focused on winning.

TJ Pugh – ’21 SF Shelby: Like Woodyard, Pugh is another small town kid with the talent to stand out against the best from Greater Columbus on a day-to-day basis. At 6’4 Pugh is an above average athlete who can finish around the rim, but also showcased a skilled perimeter game with the ability to create shots for himself and score from the mid-range. Besides being a pure scorer with some physical tools to build on, Pugh also impressed with his motor, as he was aggressive to attack both the lane and the glass for physical plays. Even though we had never had a chance to evaluate him live before today, Pugh’s name is one being mentioned more in more in recruiting circles in the state of Ohio, and we expect that to continue as he is expected to put up monster scoring numbers in the Mansfield area this season as a junior.

Elijah Hinton – ’21 PF Newark: We weren’t familiar with Hinton heading into Sunday, and, even though 270 Hoops’ Zach Fleer mentioned his upside to us upon our arrival, we would’ve been unlikely to overlook Hinton once the action got underway. A powerfully built 6’6 power forward with a lot of physical upside, Hinton played hard on both ends and showed promise running the floor, finishing in traffic and scoring in the mid-post with his face-up jumper. While he has some skill facing the rim, Hinton’s best basketball at this point in his career is played by using his physical tools and strong motor to rebound and finish, as an early sequence where he corralled a defensive board, ran the floor, grabbed an entry pass and finished it highlighted the breakout performance from a junior forward who could see a significant boost in his recruiting stock very soon.

Sean Jones – ’22 PG Gahanna Lincoln: While he’s only a sophomore, Jones is one of the more well known prospects in the Columbus area based upon his play last season as a freshman and in the Nike EYBL this past travel season. In fact, Jones already holds a pair of NCAA D1 offers in Ohio University and Grambling State. But, when you’re only 5’8 and playing the game of basketball, there’s always something to prove; which is exactly the chip that Jones played with when we watched him in his opening game on Sunday. A blur with the ball in transition, Jones is a fearless smaller guard who can get in the paint and find ways to either put the ball in the rim or distribute to open teammates. What has scouts buzzing, however, is the consistency and form in which Jones is now shooting the ball, as he quickly becomes very, very difficult to guard with his combination of explosiveness and shooting. We’ve always said that small guards have to have big heart, the ability to distribute and either great speed or shooting ability; if Jones can continue to prove that he can check all four of those boxes then he’s going to be one of the most highly recruited prospects in Columbus in his 2022 class.

’19 Open Gym #4

28 Sep
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Ed Abernathy

As it gets later into the fall, and the high school season approaches, it becomes harder and harder to attract top talent to our open gym sessions. Having said that, we’re pleased to announce that our fall 2019 season came to a strong ending, as some of the top local talent from the Cincinnati/Dayton area attended Session #4 at Walnut Hills HS. As we look back at the events we held this fall, we’d like to thank all those who participated, with special thanks to 275Hoops for their partnership, and to Ricardo Hill of Walnut Hills HS for his hospitality. With that in mind, here are the standouts from Session #4….

Ed Abernathy – ’20 SG Cincinnati Walnut Hills: Abernathy made the standouts list last session and carried that momentum over to today’s final session, where the 6’2 shooting guard was electric as a scorer over the course of several consecutive wins on our winner’s court. After missing his junior season with a knee injury, Abernathy has finally returned to near 100%, and the results are showing as he’s fluid attacking the basket, smooth with the ball in his hand, and, above all else, a deadly shooter off the dribble from three-point land. On a Walnut Hills team loaded with senior talent, expect Abernathy to not only be the team’s leading scorer, but for him to attract major college interest by winters end.

Mark Wise – ’20 PG/SG Cincinnati Taft: After playing a scoring role for three years at Deer Park, Wise is focused on playing a distributing role at Taft this season as the team’s point guard. Wise gave attendees a preview of this playing style on Saturday, as the 6’3 combo guard spread the wealth in transition and worked the pick-and-roll for many assists. With his strong frame and touch around the rim, we still think Wise will score consistently for Taft this year, but his ability to move the ball on a team full of scorers could potentially turn a really talented Taft team into possible state title contenders.

Nic Smith – ’20 C Cincinnati Walnut Hills: Big men don’t always shine in up-and-down open gym settings, so Smith stacked the deck in his favor, selecting a team of mostly post-oriented players to allow Smith to step out on the wing some offensively. The results were overwhelmingly positive, as Smith made jumpers, showed good footwork in attacking the rim as well as instincts as a passer. Smith isn’t an above-the-rim highlight film, but he’s a really solid all-around basketball player who puts up consistent stats and helps in wins, which we believe will lead to scholarship offers before graduation.

Kahlil Davis – ’20 PG Cincinnati Princeton: A guard who has received plenty of hype on this site over the years, we love Davis’ combination of athleticism and shooting at the combo guard spot. Davis was able to both score and distribute today, playing primarily on the ball as opposed to at Princeton where they often play multiple point guards at the same time based on all of their perimeter talent. When Davis uses his athletic tools to be a sound defender there are few more equipped to shutdown opponents then he is, part of the reason why Davis has picked up multiple NAIA offers this fall.

Zion Reynolds – ’21 SG Cincinnati West High: One of the potential sleepers in Cincinnati in the 2021 class, Reynolds hasn’t received all the pub as some of his classmates have; however, he might have just as much long-term upside, as the 6’4 West High wing guard can make shots from the perimeter, is getting better at playing off of the dribble and is a solid athlete with length on the wing. West High’s trio of Reynolds, Demetrius Watkins and Aboucar Cisse showed chemistry in all four of our sessions, as we expect each member of this trio to have a big winter statistically.

Rich Rolf – ’22 PF Centerville: After missing his freshman season with an injury, we saw a somewhat hobbled version of the 6’7 post in July and came away intrigued. However, after playing multiple sessions this fall, including today where he had by far his best session yet, we’re convinced that Rolf (at or near 100% health) is one of the premiere 2022 front-court players in Ohio. With improved mobility to go along with a refined skill-set, touch and offensive feel, Rolf showed the ability to score in different ways from fifteen-feet and in; and, even though he’s still on the thinner side, a fearlessness in attacking contact at the rim. Making his true debut on the high school scene this winter, look for Rolf to make noise on a loaded Centerville front-court alongside Mo Njie.

Honorable Mention: Steve Gentry Jr. (’20 Deer Park), Demetrius Watkins (’20 West High), Mike Grant (’20 Walnut Hills), Kionte Thomas (’20 Hughes), Greg Stewart (’20 Aiken), Owen Spencer (’20 Turpin), Kelvin Turner (’21 Princeton), Kodee Holloway (’21 Finneytown), Greg Johnson (’21 Princeton), Trey Johnson (’21 Centerville)

’19 Open Gym #3

8 Sep
Holloway

Kodee Holloway

Returning to the old format of keeping the winning teams on the court, session #3 of the Triple Double Prospects/275 Hoops Open Gym returned with some intense play on Saturday at Walnut Hills HS. With some of the area’s top players in attendance, including the majority of the roster from Cincinnati based postgrad program Dohn Prep Academy, there was plenty of talent on display. Here’s the rundown of some of the top performers from this session….

Brandon Muntu – ’20 SG Dohn Prep Academy: The standout player of the day, Muntu scored at will from start to finish, as his team dominated the winner’s court for the majority of the day. A native of Canada playing his postgrad year at Dohn Prep, Muntu is a strong 6’4 combo guard who can shoot it from deep with ease. While a lot of his scoring came off of the three-point shot, Muntu also showed the ability to handle the ball, make the right pass and finish at the rim through contact with his strong frame. Per Dohn Prep head coach Sammy Villegas, Muntu has several NCAA D1 schools showing interest right now.

Ed Abernathy – ’20 SG Cincinnati Walnut Hills: After missing last season with a knee injury, Abernathy is a senior floating under the radar in the Greater Cincinnati area. That should change come winter time, however, as Abernathy is a scoring machine with a smooth perimeter game. Capable of making shots off the dribble with a fluid stroke and the ability to create off a couple of bounces, Abernathy brings size and above average athleticism to the table as well at a legit 6’2. With Walnut Hills having graduated their two starting guards from last year, we expect Abernathy to put up some big scoring numbers in the ECC, based on what we saw from him offensively on Saturday.

Robert Avery – ’21 PF Dohn Prep Academy: The only Dohn Prep prospect in attendance yesterday who was not a senior, Avery was the highlight reel player of the day, as the 6’7 super-athlete was a threat to bend the rims at Walnut Hills every trip down the floor. A native of Louisville, Avery finished above the rim with elite explosiveness, and also showed a great motor to get up and down the court, rebound in traffic and influence shots at the rim defensively. Avery’s skill-set is still in development; however, with athleticism and size like he has, there are going to be some interested college coaches.

Jakada Stone – ’21 PG Cincinnati Aiken: Having been one of the top ranked point guards statewide in his class since we first began posting 2021 rankings, our expectations of Stone are of course going to be high. On Saturday the junior point guard met those expectations, as he showed the ability to create offense at will, especially in transition where he is a blur getting to the rim. Stone continues to show progression as a shooter, and has always been a reliable passer, making him one of the top threats in the Cincinnati city league this winter. In session #1 we complained that 2021 Dayton Thurgood Marshall guard Anthony McComb has no NCAA D1 offers, in session #2 we said the same about 2021 Wyoming wing Isaiah Walker; this time it’s Stone, where are his offers? In our opinion, they’re coming soon.

Kodee Holloway – ’21 PG/SG Finneytown: In the last three sessions Holloway has sky-rocketed up the list of evaluations and extended rankings we send to college coaches, with this third session being an even bigger turning point for the junior combo guard. A slippery athlete who can make things happen at the rim, Holloway is a big guard who can finish, pass and draws contact around the rim with his size and fluidity. He still needs to prove that he’s a consistent shooter from behind the arc, but Holloway has made major strides since we saw him last winter, and we expect him to be one of the standouts in the CHL this year.

Deshawne Crim – ’23 SG Fairfield: Continuing with the trend of the fall, Crim becomes the latest freshman to make our recap, as the 6’1 guard out of Fairfield was a walking bucket on Saturday. Playing against postgrad kids four years olden then him, Crim was aggressive as a scorer attacking the basket, but also showed more pace and control then most guards his age. With a strong frame, Crim can create separation off the dribble, and proved to be a more than reliable shooter from three-point land as well. He hasn’t received quite the same social media attention as some of the other top local 2023 prospects, but we’re confident that Crim has as much long-term talent as just about any of them.

Honorable Mention: Curtis Harrison (’20 Cincinnati Seven Hills), Mamadou Diop (’20 Dohn Prep), Anthony Williams (’20 Dohn Prep), Diego Gonzalez (’20 Dohn Prep), Tahj Harding (’20 Dohn Prep), Steve Gentry Jr (’20 Deer Park), Greg Stewart (’20 Cincinnati Aiken), Ed Abernathy (’20 Cincinnati Walnut Hills), Isaiah Walker (’21 Wyoming), Marjoni Tate (’21 Cincinnati Roger Bacon), Julian Mackey (’21 Lakota West), Chance Davis (’22 Cincinnati Aiken), Robbie Cass (’22 Cincinnati Aiken), Aboucar Cisse (’22 Cincinnati West High), Kollin Tolbert (’22 Mount Healthy)

Rankings Update

3 Sep
Shawn Phillips

Shawn Phillips

The passing of Labor Day traditionally means a few things for high school basketball fans. First, the commitment cycle for high school seniors really starts to kick into full gear. Second, with schools across the state underway, any rumors regarding transfers are put to bed for once and for all. And, finally, new gossip starts to float through the airwaves regarding who might be the best players in the state for this coming season.

As always, we at Triple Double Prospects try to answer that final question with our list of prospect rankings, by position, for the classes of 2020, 2021 and 2022 (watch list for 2023 coming soon). While we compose our lists based more on long-term upside then current production, many of the names you’ll see on our rankings lists will be among the top statistical performers in the entire state of Ohio this season.

Looking at our class of 2020 rankings, we’ve already seen nine prospects commit to NCAA D1 schools, with Miami (OH) leading the charge this year among in-state schools with three early commitments. While Zeb Jackson remains the only prospect to commit to a high-major NCAA D1 program so far, we expect that to change soon with the decisions of Zach Loveday and John Hugley looming.

The 2021 class has taken an interesting turn, as four players have already made commitments to NCAA D1 programs, including three to high-major programs. Kalen Etzler committed to Ohio State back in the spring, and was joined recently by point guard Meechie Johnson on the list of future Buckeyes. Then, just this past weekend, the third decision was announced, as point guard Seth Wilson announced his pledge to West Virginia.

Even with all of the hype surrounding the 2021 class, the 2022 class might be even more exciting to follow, as blueblood programs have prioritized prospects such as Chris Livingston, Paul McMillan IV, Sencire Harris, Bowen Hardman and Shawn Phillips. While all of them are impressive prospects, look for Phillips name to gain the most traction this winter, as college coaches are quickly realizing how much talent the nimble 6’10 post player has.

As always, links to our prospect rankings can be found on the header of this page, or by clicking the link below; for comments regarding rankings, please email us at TDPcorey@gmail.com.

RANKINGS LINK

’19 Open Gym #2

25 Aug
Griffith

Rayvon Griffith

Building upon the success of Session #1, both in terms of the quality and quantity of top prospects in attendance, Session #2 of Triple Double Prospects/275 Hoops Elite Open Gym attracted the majority of the best young players from Southwest Ohio to Cincinnati Walnut Hills HS on Saturday. While the senior class produced some impressive performances, it was the depth of talent among the underclassmen in attendance that had folks buzzing as they left the gym following the final games. Here’s a rundown of some top individual showings among attendees….

Leroy Walker – ’20 SF Cincinnati Taft: Through three years of high school basketball Walker might have hidden just slightly under the radar; but don’t expect things to remain that way heading into his senior year, as the 6’3 senior wing made a major statement on Saturday, playing above the rim from start to finish. A ridiculously bouncy athlete, Walker can finish with crowd-pleasing dunks, but was also more effective then he’s been in the past at finishing through or around contact off of drives. While he’s not a pure shooter, Walker can make the three-point ball with his feet set, and will be counted on to provide a scoring punch for potential State Championship contenders Cincinnati Taft this winter, after transferring in this summer from Winton Woods.

Greg Stewart – ’20 SG Cincinnati Aiken: Despite missing most of his junior season at Aiken due to OHSAA transfer rules, Falcons coaches have raved about Stewart and the strides he’s made. The hype matched his play on Saturday, as the 6’3 scoring wing was aggressive in knocking down three-point shots, attacking off of the dribble for smooth finishes and finishing above the rim in transition with dunks. A pure scoring minded guard with length and athleticism, Stewart could be a breakout player in the Cincinnati City League this winter, playing alongside some other really talented perimeter prospects.

Alex Williams – ’21 SF/PF Cincinnati Moeller: While Williams is not a player who we would consider a “big”, open gym settings usually aren’t ideal for players of his build; as they often turn into guard-oriented up-tempo style games. All of that being said, Williams made sure his teammates got him touches early and often on Saturday, scoring the ball from all three levels and showcasing his elite strength to score around the rim through contact. An active defender and rebounder with a motor and toughness, Williams is a pure winner anytime he steps on the court, and his combination of strength and touch make him nearly unguardable at the high school level as a walking mismatch, part of the reason why the junior already holds NCAA D1 scholarship offers.

Isaiah Walker – ’21 SG/SF Wyoming: Always known in Cincinnati as a top young prospect, Walker looks like he’s ready to take the leap from promising young player to productive veteran this winter, as the 6’5 wing put together his second straight impressive performance at Walnut Hills. After just missing the cut for a write up in Session #1, Walker was a no-brainer for this list, as he showed a smooth and fluid game in the open court, with the ability to attack off the dribble, make plays for teammates and defend with his length and mobility. The big jump that Walker has made from last year to this year, in our eyes, is the form and consistency of his shooting, as Walker is not only making the three at a much better clip but also getting the shot off faster. As he makes up one half of one of Cincinnati’s most dynamic duos on the high school scene, look for Walker to garner more NCAA D1 interest as the winter progresses.

Walker Horn – ’22 SG Covington Catholic/KY: A new name to the scene since moving to Greater Cincinnati from Austin (TX), Horn, the son of new Northern Kentucky University men’s basketball coach Darrin Horn, is going to be a name basketball fans will hear a lot of over the next few years. A high IQ guard with a polished skill-set and smooth feel for the game, Horn makes the game fun to watch, as he’s an adept passer who also can craftily score around the rim or consistently step out and stroke the three point shot. With solid size and mobility at 6’2 to go along with a defensive motor and defined all-around offensive game, Horn is going to be an instant impact player at Covington Catholic; a team loaded with future NCAA D1 prospects, especially in the younger grades.

Rayvon Griffith – ’23 SG/SF Cincinnati Taft: For the second straight write-up at least one rising freshman makes this write-up, as Griffith, a 6’5 pogo-stick athlete out of Cincinnati Taft, lived up to the immense hype that followed him throughout his junior high career, with a couple of high scoring outings on Saturday at Walnut Hills. A big time finisher with size and length who plays above the rim, Griffith is a blur with the ball in transition and can score around contact, especially driving to his left hand. Already being billed by many as one of the top prospects in his class on a national scale, Griffith has every athletic tool that NCAA D1 programs covet, and, as his skill-set continues to improve, he’ll have a chance to be one of the most talked about and successful players to come through Greater Cincinnati in some time.

Chandler Starks – ’23 PF/C Covington Catholic/KY: Another rising freshman who has created a name for himself off the travel circuit, Starks stood out as well on Saturday. As we mentioned earlier, open gym is not always an ideal setting for young big men; however, Starks found ways to get involved in the offense at Walnut Hills, as the 6’5 forward stroked shots from three-point land, scored around the paint on rebounds and showed a willingness to both mix it up physically on the glass as well as defend on the perimeter against wings. With big men we usually see a slower progression, so, the fact that Starks can hold his own against older competition at this stage reflects favorably on his upside, as Starks shows a frame which could easily spurt another few inches over the next couple of years.

Honorable Mention: Ed Abernathy (’20 Cincinnati Walnut Hills), Michael Grant (’20 Cincinnati Walnut Hills), Nic Smith (’20 Cincinnati Walnut Hills), Davion Mace (’20 Cincinnati Woodward), Michael McCants (’20 Cincinnati Gamble), Josiah McGee (’20 Cincinnati Roger Bacon), Aaron Ward (’20 Winton Woods), AJ Braun (’21 Middletown Bishop Fenwick), Greg Johnson (’21 Princeton), Skyler Schmidt (’21 Clermont Northeastern), Brayden Sipple (’21 Blanchester), Patrick Ivory (’21 Northmont), Chanze Amerson (’21 Dayton Thurgood Marshall), Montev Ware (’21 Cincinnati Woodward), Tom House (’22 Centerville), Max Poynter (’22 Cincinnati Walnut Hills), Chance Davis (’22 Cincinnati Aiken), Sellers Little (’22 Trotwood), Jacob Conner (’22 Kettering Alter), Aboucar Cisse (’22 Cincinnati West High), Kollin Tolbert (’22 Mount Healthy), Alexander Parks (’23 Covington Catholic/KY), Jack Kronauge (’23 Cincinnati St. Xavier), Gabe Cupps (’23 Centerville)

’19 Open Gym #1

11 Aug
Cupps

Gabe Cupps

Since 2011 we at Triple Double Prospects have tried to create the best fall open gym atmosphere possible in the Greater Cincinnati area. This year we plan on taking it to the next level, as we’ve teamed up with the newly formed 275 Hoops, to expand both the coverage of the event, and the amount of players who are able to attend. In our first session of the fall, played yesterday at Walnut Hills HS in Cincinnati, over 50 of the top high school players showed up to display their talents; here’s a quick rundown of some of the top performers from games we were able to catch….

Nekhi Smith – ’20 PF Cincinnati Taft: A physically gifted inside-outside forward who was knocking down jumpers all day with his lefty stroke, there’s not much you can do to stop Smith when he’s making shots. With the strength to finish around the rim and the skill-set to step out on the perimeter, Smith is a double-double machine at the high school level. His game looked polished today, and he did enough scoring on the inside to remind defenders how physically dominant he can be; part of the reason why folks are thinking Taft might be the team to beat in D3 this high school season. Smith currently holds one NCAA D1 offer from Detroit.

Deairius Barker-Randle – ’20 PG Cincinnati Princeton: A smooth operator at the point guard position, Barker-Randle made shot after shot from deep on Saturday, as he has become one of the top playmakers in all of the 2020 class in Ohio. With his shooting ability and his feel for navigating the pick-and-roll, Barker-Randle is a pure scoring guard who has become a more active defender in the past year as well. One of the top targets of the NAIA schools in attendance yesterday, Barker-Randle’s recruitment continues to build after a strong July with his APEX squad.

AJ Braun – ’21 C Middletown Bishop Fenwick: After recently earning his first NCAA D1 offer from Ohio University, Braun showed out on Saturday at Walnut Hills, as the 6’8 post looked more mobile and confident in the fast-paced setting that usually accompanies these type of events. Braun pushed the ball himself several times off rebounds but was most effective as a rim runner and finisher, who also showed the ability to stretch the floor with his shooting stroke in the half-court. As he continues to get stronger and more confident, Braun has the upside to be one of the elite prospects in Ohio’s 2021 class.

Anthony McComb – ’21 SG Dayton Thurgood Marshall: We have to ask all the in-state NCAA D1 coaches, where are this kid’s offers? McComb is near criminally undervalued around the state in our opinion, as he’s a smooth scoring guard with a big-time defensive motor and all the physical tools to play high-level college basketball. On Saturday, McComb was a shot-maker from beginning to end with his dribble pull-up, as he can get by defenders with a strong and athletic frame but also does not force the issue. Playing on what appears to be a loaded Dayton Thurgood Marshall team in D2, we’re thinking college coaches will come around soon on McComb, who is without question the most talented 2021 prospect in the city of Dayton.

Montev Ware – ’21 PG Cincinnati Woodward: Ware has made a couple of school changes where he could easily slip out of the minds of local basketball followers, but that’s all going to change very soon based upon his play on Saturday, as the powerful and intense point guard (now at Woodward) was sensational in all three games. Ware is a quick pass-first guard who can defend and make winning plays, but he also looked significantly more confident in shooting the ball from range and was an efficient scorer as well. Playing alongside 2022 PG Paul McMillan at Woodward, expect Ware to be a breakout name in the Cincinnati city league as winter approaches.

Gabe Cupps – ’23 PG Centerville: It’s not often that we have rising freshmen on our list of top performers from an event like this, but there’s no denying the success that Cupps, playing mostly against seniors and juniors, had yesterday at Walnut Hills. The 5’11 point guard shot the lights out from three, showed some serious confidence attacking off the dribble and displayed a feel for passing the ball that is advanced for his age. While he might be a somewhat nationally known name already thanks to his success on the travel circuit, and his viral social media shooting contest with LeBron James, Cupps is a new name to Southwest Ohio high school hoops fans, who can expect him to make an immediate splash on the varsity squad at Centerville this season, playing for his father’s Elks team.

Honorable Mention: Trey Robinson (’20 Hamilton), Mark Wise (’20 Deer Park), Max Land (’20 Cincinnati Moeller), Owen Spencer (’20 Turpin), Davion Mace (’20 Cincinnati Woodward), Kahlil Davis (’20 Princeton), Leroy Walker (’20 Cincinnati Taft), Mitchell Greer (’20 Mason), Nic Smith (’20 Cincinnati Walnut Hills), Greg Stewart (’20 Cincinnati Aiken), Zavian Ricks (’20 Fairfield), Jakada Stone (’21 Cincinnati Aiken), Isaiah Walker (’21 Wyoming), Julian Mackey (’21 Lakota West), Maro Egodotaye (’21 Dayton Carroll), Dre Kindell (’21 Cincinnati Gamble), Paul McMillan IV (’22 Cincinnati Woodward), Evan Mahaffey (’22 Cincinnati Moeller), Tom House (’22 Centerville), Robbie Cass (’22 Cincinnati Aiken), Rayvon Griffith (’23 Cincinnati Taft), Kanye Moreland (’23 Cincinnati Woodward)