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Adidas 3SSB Birmingham

11 Jul

NI-f4gBwAfter an almost 24-month break, travel basketball is back to being played in front of college coaches, as the first of three July live periods was played this Thursday-Sunday. The Adidas 3SSB circuit was the most noted event around the country, with all of the Adidas sponsored programs traveling to Birmingham for a session of six games. Ohio represented well in the event, with Midwest Basketball Club’s 17u team compiling an undefeated record of 6-0, while the other Ohio based team, Wildcats Select struggled in part due to some injuries and unexpected roster turnover. Triple Double Prospects was on site for games in Birmingham on Friday and Saturday, as we watched Ohio based teams and other prospects from around the region. Here are our top Ohio and Kentucky based performers….

Chris Livingston – ’22 SG/SF Akron Buchtel: Despite his national top-ten status and the fact that he’s had every national scout in the country watch his travel team play, we personally haven’t had a chance to watch Chris Livingston in over a year. Playing on the Tennessee based We All Can Go team alongside some other highly regarded prospects (and social media stars), Livingston had all the bright lights shining on his face in Birmingham this weekend. While his team posted some up and down results, Livingston showed flashes of his extreme talent in two games we evaluated. Even at the highest level of high school basketball there simply just aren’t other guys who have Livingston’s combination of size (6’7), power, quickness and ELITE leaping ability. When Livingston gets the ball with a head of steam he’s literally unstoppable in getting into the lane to score and draw contact. While at times Livingston was sloppy with the ball in his decision making, his physical tools have made even the strongest blue-blood programs extend offers his way, as the Akron based wing holds scholarship offers from schools like Kentucky, Kansas and Memphis, and is also reportedly considering pro options for after his senior season.

Roderick Coffee – ’22 SG Spire Institute: Of all the Ohio and Kentucky based players in attendance, we were most excited to see Coffee this weekend. We enjoyed evaluating him last summer in Fort Wayne, but didn’t see him either this winter or spring (he was injured the one event we saw his team in May). Fortunately for all parties, Coffee was back healthy this weekend as he suited up with his Wildcats Select team. Despite the team being undermanned for a couple of reasons, Coffee was a standout performer, including a dominant performance on Saturday afternoon against California based Dream Vision in a game viewed by north of 50 NCAA D1 schools. A big and physical combo guard who plays with a good pace to his game and who can defend on or off the ball, Coffee is a solid guard who has improved his body since transferring into Spire from Cleveland area school Painesville Harvey. The big addition to Coffee’s game in Birmingham was not only a better looking shooting stroke, but the ability to get to good spots off the dribble to create those shots, as Coffee took on more of a heavy scoring role then we’ve seen from him in the past. We love Coffee’s versatility as a playmaker or scorer who can also defend and, like several players on this report, if he continues to shoot the ball well he’ll see his offer list (which currently includes schools like Cleveland State, Toledo and Akron) continue to lengthen.

Rich Rolf – ’22 PF Centerville: On any given day Midwest Basketball Club can beat you with any of their eight players leading the team in scoring, so it’s difficult to call any of their players “under-the-radar”. However, with so many schools focused on Reed Sheppard and Gabe Cupps, it was Rich Rolf who stole the show in the first game we saw on Friday morning. Rolf scored 15 of his team’s first 21 points, including going 3/3 from three during that stretch and opening the floodgates as Midwest jumped all over Washington DC based New World. College coaches were already very familiar with Rolf due to his versatility on both ends and effectiveness as a rebounder (maybe the top rebounder in Ohio’s 2022 class). But, after shooting the ball so well on Friday, Rolf greatly enhanced his recruiting stock, as he’s come a long way over the last couple years from being a skilled post player to a true face-up forward who can hurt the defense in different ways. Rolf currently holds NCAA D1 offers from Kent State and Radford, but if his three-ball continues to go in we wouldn’t be surprised at all to see that list grow.

Reed Sheppard – ’23 SG North Laurel/KY: While Rolf was the somewhat under-the-radar performer for Midwest Basketball Club’s 17u team, every college coach, scout and media member came into the event wanting to get eyes on Reed Sheppard to see his progress as a prospect. Sheppard had some games where all his shots fell and some where it didn’t, but he, along with 2023 backcourt running mate Gabe Cupps, was dialed in all weekend in leading his team to their 6-0 record. Sheppard gets most of his praise as a shot-maker who can use his athletic ability to create a mid-range shot for himself or attack the rim and finish; however, it’s his ability to defend either guard spot and his active presence as a help-side defender creating steals which college coaches talk about the most. At 6’2, Sheppard is one of the premiere athletes on the travel circuit at the guard position, and, combined with his scoring prowess and defensive acumen he’s going to continue to see his name mentioned by national recruiting sites on their top-100 ranking boards. Sheppard’s recruitment also took the next step forward this weekend, as he added offers from Kentucky and Indiana to a list that already included schools like Louisville and Arizona State.

Colin Porter – ’23 PG Ashland Blazer/KY: Small guards have to have a lot of heart, which is exactly what Porter brings to the table. He might only stand 5’9 or 5’10, but Porter found success in Birmingham, playing up a grade level on the EAB Tennessee 17u level. With good foot speed and a feel for the game as a passer, Porter is a playmaking guard who can also make shots from behind the three-point line. Coaches obviously aren’t too worried about Porter’s size, as he was heavily tracked at the event, and entered the weekend holding early offers from 6 NCAA D1 schools, including a recent offer from Marshall. Porter’s game reminds us a lot of another 2023 Kentucky guard whom we’ve covered a lot on this site in Covington Catholic’s Evan Ipsaro; heading into next winter we expect those two to both continue to be heavily evaluated by college coaches, and likely compared to each other by Kentucky high school basketball fans.

Amire Robinson – ’23 SG/SF Akron Copley: Team records are sometimes overlooked on the travel circuit, but there’s no denying the success of Indiana Elite’s 16u team, as they’ve gone undefeated so far this travel season. Robinson, the lone Ohio based prospect on the team, was a big part of his team’s success this weekend, as the 6’3 wing was a defensive catalyst and gave great energy and leadership to his team during their continued winning streak. After seeing Robinson in Fort Wayne earlier this travel season, we knew he was a versatile defender with a good motor; but, what we didn’t know was that Robinson was also capable of stretching the floor with his long-range shooting. The Northeast Ohio based wing made several timely shots in a competitive matchup we watched against EAB Tennessee, giving us more reason to be excited about his potential as a prospect.

Dellquan Warren – ’24 PG Spire Institute: A speedster with elite leaping ability, Warren is a big-time playmaker for his Wildcats Select 16u team. A native of Erie (PA) who transferred into Spire this past season, Warren is already a well-known name on the circuit, holding early offers from Maryland and Youngstown State. The 6’0 point guard was at his best on Saturday afternoon against California based Dream Vision, making plays in transition and on the defensive end by using his previously mentioned speed and athleticism. An aggressive guard who plays a pass first role in the half-court but who also likes to get to the rim, Warren is a fiery guard who also likes to talk some trash on the court.

Honorable Mention: Mike Sharavjamts (’22 Centerville), Ben Southerland (’22 Sycamore), Jacob Conner (’22 Kettering Alter), Gabe Cupps (’23 Centerville), Evan Ipsaro (’23 Covington Catholic/KY), Chandler Starks (’23 Covington Catholic/KY), Jacob Meyer (’23 Covington Holy Cross/KY), Nate Dudukovich (’23 Lakota West)

Cincy Elite Open Run

1 Jul

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OHSBCA Showcase Recap

27 Jun

Javan SimmonsThe Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Association showcase on Saturday on the campus of Mount Vernon Nazarene University was the only opportunity for NCAA D1 college coaches to evaluate in the state of Ohio (off of their own individual college campuses), as roughly 100 prospects, each nominated by their respective high school coach, attended the event. Based on information from the OHSBCA twitter account, a total of 28 NCAA D1 schools attended the event, plus plenty of non-NCAA D1 programs. TDP was there for the camp to evaluate prospects as well, with several standing out individually…

Javan Simmons – ’22 Gahanna Lincoln C: Simmons is what he is, and shouldn’t be too hard for college coaches to evaluate. He’s a 6’6 bruising big man who brings physicality and motor to the floor, making him appear bigger then he is with his presence on the floor. What Simmons does best is to be aggressive around the rim as a rebounder and finisher, but he’s able to make a go-to move, especially to his left-hand out of the mid-post and has worked on his ability to hit the mid-range face-up shot. Currently holding NCAA D1 offers from Toledo, Miami (OH) and Liberty, we think Simmons is one of the better post prospects in Ohio’s 2022 class, as you know what you’re going to get from him from a toughness standpoint and he has the physical strength to play early if called upon.

Cooper Davis – ’22 Olentangy Liberty SG: Currently holding two NCAA D2 scholarship offers, we’re caught scratching our heads a little bit that Davis doesn’t have more going on in his recruitment. We’ve been high on the 6’4-6’5 rising senior since the fall of his sophomore year at the 270 Hoops Fall League, as Davis is an exceptional shooter with size who is light on his feet and who brings great energy on both ends of the floor. A tough customer who can also pass and defend, Davis’ shooting alone with his size and mobility should attract more college interest by the end of the summer, especially playing on a really good travel team with Nova Village alongside guys like Javan Simmons and Drey Carter.

Drey Carter – ’22 Westerville South SF/PF: A long, skinny and versatile shot-maker with a ton of upside out of the Columbus area, Carter’s name has been on the tip of the tongue for college coaches and scouts since the early parts of the travel season in April. At 6’7 Carter can handle the ball, create his own shot with a couple of dribbles, make open shots or score out of the post, and, as he’s added some weight to his skinny frame he’s become a more reliable athlete as well. The thing that’s going to get Carter recruited right now isn’t just his current ability, but the fact that he’s taken such huge strides and still has more considerable upside, as his combination of skills can’t be taught to most players who are legit 6’7.

Jaiden Cox-Holloway – ’22 Richmond Heights PF: The MVP of the skill-sessions we watched Saturday morning, Cox-Holloway was simply unguardable in the 3v3 station. The 6’5 forward might not have missed a shot the entire station, as he used his size and mobility to free himself up for mid and long-range jumpers. Cox-Holloway gets great balance on his shot, and is skilled at using his jab-step to create more space, as the rising senior scored on four consecutive possessions at one point late in the segment. He’s a little bit of a tweener forward at 6’5, but we like Cox-Holloway more as a small-ball four-man, where his frame and mobility allow him to guard bigger players and his skill-set allows him to stretch bigger players away from the rim offensively.

Braylon Wenger – ’23 Dalton SG: The breakout name on our list, Wenger caught fire in his team’s game on the main court and didn’t stop until the final buzzer, making tough shot after tough shot. A mobile 6’4 wing guard with a good frame already, Wenger can really create his mid-range shot and is smooth in using hesitation or a ball-fake to get his shot off. When you mix in size and shooting ability, especially as a rising junior, in today’s game you’re going to get the attention of college coaches, which is exactly what Wenger did Saturday at Mount Vernon.

Will Maxwell – ’23 Dayton Oakwood SG/SF: We’ve been high on Maxwell’s game since his freshman season, only wanting to see him be more consistently aggressive in matchups where he has a physical advantage. The rising junior from Dayton did just that on Saturday, attacking closeouts and in reversals to get to the rim, where the 6’5 wing loves to drive the baseline to try and finish with a two-hand dunk. A well above average three-point shooter, Maxwell’s size makes him a matchup problem when he can attack off the dribble, and his athleticism to finish above the rim gives him highlight potential as well. Maxwell already holds NCAA D1 offers and could see his recruitment skyrocket this July playing with All-Ohio Red 16u EYBL.

Terrance Pankey – ’23 Youngstown Ursline PG: The Youngstown Speedster is what we’re going to call Pankey moving forward, as this rising junior is a great athlete in the open court. When Pankey has the ball you know he’s going to push the tempo, and he’s going to be aggressive, putting pressure on the defense with drives to the rim. Having that speed isn’t enough, so Pankey plays to his own strength by bringing really good energy on the defensive end, leading to steals which will allow him to use his athletic tools to score around the rim. The Youngstown/Warren area has been a little quiet on the basketball recruiting front over the last few years, with the breakthrough of Pankey potentially putting the area back on the map of regional college coaches.

Colin White – ’24 Ottawa Glandorf SG: The player we were most excited to evaluate heading into the event, White is a 6’3 rising sophomore wing from Northwest Ohio whom we had not seen live yet. He did no disappoint, as White was relentless in 3v3 drills, attacking the rim with a smooth skill-set and a combination of both excellent size and athleticism from a young wing. With the size and athleticism to play college basketball, as well as shooting and scoring skills, White certainly projects as one of the top 2024 prospects in the state of Ohio, and should be primed for a big year as a sophomore at OG.

Darryn Peterson – ’25 SG: The lone rising freshman to get invited to the event, Peterson is a highly regarded prospect nationally from the Canton area who is yet to make an official decision on where he’ll play high school basketball. Whichever school lands him is going to be getting an impressive young prospect, as the 6’4 wing guard is skilled and mature beyond his years on the basketball court. Peterson is a mobile and physically mature wing who can handle the ball and make shots, but what he does best is use his dribble to create offense, whether at the rim or with his patented pull-up game. If he ends up in the Akron/Canton area next season, expect Peterson to be among Ohio’s top high school players.

Honorable Mention: Michael Bova (’22 Cleveland St. Edward), Justin Perry (’22 New Albany), Max Roth (’22 Findlay), Atticus Schuler (’22 Columbus DeSales), Tyler Ganley (’22 Brecksville-Broadview Heights), Owen Murray (’22 Cincinnati Walnut Hills), Donovan Hunter (’23 Westerville Central), Nelson Johnson (’23 Cleveland University School), Jesse Hayes (’23 Padua Franciscan), CJ Hornbeak (’22 Toledo St. John’s Jesuit), Samuel Johnson (’24 Worthington Christian)

Oak Hills Shootout

19 Jun

RayAfter an almost 18-month wait, NCAA D1 coaches are allowed back on the road to evaluate high school prospects all across the country. Almost all of Ohio’s top teams were out this weekend, spread across the Midwest, Kentucky and even Philadelphia to play in front of college coaches from various levels. We at TDP chose to attend the Oak Hills Shootout on the Westside of Cincinnati, and, even though NCAA D1’s are not permitted to watch games in the state of Ohio, there were plenty of non-D1 college coaches in attendance. In a talent-laden event filled with teams from Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus and Indianapolis, we certainly saw several standout individual performances. Here’s our latest breakdown from games we saw….

Louie Semona – ’22 PF Cincinnati St. Xavier: Semona burst onto the Cincinnati high school scene this past winter at Saint Xavier, playing alongside senior Kobe Rogers (Nova Southeastern) on a team that advanced to the Regional Tournament. After following that up with a solid spring on the circuit, the question as always going to be, “Is Semona ready to shoulder the load of a primary scorer?” The 6’7 rising senior forward answered the bell on that question at Oak Hills, showcasing a versatile skill-set. Semona is comfortable on the perimeter with the ball in his hands, and has mismatch potential, as he’s a combination of a dangerous shooter, skilled passer and capable slasher who can attack the rotating defense on reversals. With his size and good mobility, Semona can be an inside-outside forward at the next level, especially with college coaches continuing to put an emphasis on big men who can shoot the ball with range. Given the success that the Bombers had this weekend, and Semona’s offensive capabilities, we expect that, along with a rise in his recruitment, Semona will be in contention for GCL Player of the Year next season.

Logan Woods – ’22 PG/SG Fairfield: This was our second weekend this June seeing Fairfield, and again the team was very balanced with enough offensive weapons that an opposing defense has to pick their poison. That being said, this week we’re going to give the nod on our top performers list to Woods, who continued to show productivity as both a scorer and facilitator for an Indians team who might be the most deeply talented D1 program in Greater Cincinnati next winter. A long and slender 6’3 guard with versatility and an accomplished defensive resume, Woods was able to really make shots at Oak Hills; which he’s shown an ability to do in the past, but coaches have always wanted to see more continued consistency. Being a guard capable of playing the point, and showing good vision as a distributor, that ability to make open perimeter shots could be the final piece for Fairfield to make a run next year; as there is little doubting the Indians’ array of size, athleticism, toughness and depth. Woods currently holds NCAA D1 offers from Miami (OH) and UMKC; however, that list could easily grow in July when he suits back up for Midwest Basketball Club 3SSB.

Sean Keller – ’22 PG Cincinnati Elder: He’s not the biggest or most physically gifted guard you’ll see on the circuit, but there aren’t many young guards with more heart then Keller. A gritty 5’10 lead guard in the classic GCL mold, Keller was Elder’s playmaker last year on the perimeter, and will be counted on to do the same in ’21-’22. This weekend the rising senior was consistent with his jumper from three, as the lefty poured in several long-range shots, many of them after getting his balance via a rhythm dribble. Not only does Keller play with heart, which is epitomized but his on-ball defensive abilities, but he his intangibles are contagious, especially his confidence as a scorer. We think Elder’s team next year has the size, physicality and depth to be really good; if Keller can continue to create scoring opportunities for himself and their front-court players, the Panthers will absolutely be a team to reckon with.

Bowen Hardman – ’22 SG Cincinnati Princeton: It’s been a while since we’ve had a chance to see Hardman on the court, as he missed both a travel team event and the shootout earlier in June at Princeton HS; however, not much has changed for the longtime Ohio State commit. A 6’4 lights out shooter with a steady game, Hardman was electric as a scorer on Friday afternoon, including going toe to toe with a future Big Ten rival in Purdue commit Fletcher Loyer of Fort Wayne Homestead (IN). While there are plenty of guards who can compete with Hardman as standstill shooters, there are few who are as agile as he is in using screens or the dribble to create shots for himself, something Princeton will ask him to do quite often next year on a talented but very inexperienced varsity squad. With his recruitment having been settled now for almost two years, it can be easy to forget about Hardman in listing Ohio’s top 2022 talents, but he still ranks near the top of our list based on his shooting and scoring abilities alone.

Jacob Conner – ’22 PF Kettering Alter: We’ve had a chance to evaluate Kettering Alter a lot this June, and they’ve had moments where they’ve looked very promising and moments where they’ve looked closer to average. That being said, Saturday afternoon the Knights looked like a major threat in Ohio Division II, as the Dayton area team knocked off perennial power Covington Catholic (KY) behind the play of Connor and a slew of skilled guards. A versatile and athletic forward at 6’8, Connor is one of the most highly recruited rising seniors in the state, as he’s being courted by programs across all levels of NCAA D1 play and holds over a dozen scholarship offers. The big question mark around Connor has always been if he’s going to be aggressive on a consistent basis; and the rising senior began to answer that on Saturday, recovering from an early fall on a hard flagrant foul to lead his team with some key baskets. Capable as a shooter from deep but also able to handle and pass, Connor is going to be best served as a system player at the next level to be surrounded with other high-IQ offensive players; but it’s going to be his physical tools as a long and nimble 6’8 forward, and the defensive versatility that come with those tools, that might ultimately play the deciding factor in which colleges prioritize him the heaviest after the July evaluation period concludes.

Jayden Nervis – ’22 SF Hilliard Davidson: We weren’t super familiar with Nervis heading into the weekend, as he’s only been in Ohio one winter, where he averaged 15 PPG at Davidson. After Saturday’s two games it’s hard not to be excited about his upside, as he showed great versatility as a mobile 6’5 wing who can put the ball on the floor or make shots. A long and skinny wing forward who showed a ton of confidence as a scorer, Nervis was flat out in the zone on Saturday in a Davidson win over Cincinnati Walnut Hills, as he made shot after shot by using his length to hit jumpers over smaller Walnut Hills defenders. Playing alongside a great shooter in Ryan Paris (2022), a solid big in Peyton Frey (2023) and one of Ohio’s top rising seniors in scoring machine Jared Frey (2022), the addition of Nervis for a second year could make Davidson one of the sleeper teams in the Columbus area in ’21-’22.

Rayvon Griffith – ’23 SG/SF Cincinnati Taft: There are top performers and then there’s Griffith, who was the unquestioned talk of the event on Friday. Ohio’s most highly recruited 2023 prospect was sensational as a scorer for Taft in a blowout win over Mason and a close loss against Indianapolis Cathedral (a team which starts all NCAA D1 prospects), leading Taft to a 4-1 weekend. Known by most as a 6’6 long athlete with highlight reel finishing ability, Griffith showcased some improved shot-making skills on Friday, hitting several pull-up jumpers, open threes and even a couple of step-back jumpers in traffic. Capable of going into the post to score, attacking the glass above the rim and having the ability to switch onto most positions on the defensive end, Griffith does a nice job of using his God-given athletic abilities to give energy and influence the game in ways other then scoring; so, if he can continue to make shots he’s only going to see his national profile continue to expand. This past week was a busy one for Griffith, as his offer list now includes Kansas, Arizona State, Ohio State, Louisville, Alabama, UCLA, Penn State and more.

Evan Ipsaro – ’23 PG Covington Catholic: Ipsaro finds his way onto our top performers list for the second time this month, as the rising junior put together another point guard clinic at Oak Hills. A smaller guard in a 5’10 frame but gifted with elite quickness with the ball in his hands, Ipsaro was Covington Catholic’s sparkplug, as he consistently found their bigs, Mitchell Rylee (2022) and Chandler Starks (2023), for scoring opportunities. The one question mark surrounding Ipsaro after his performances at team camps this June was how well he shoots the ball from three, and the rising junior did that at a high level Saturday, finally looking for his shot with a mix of using his usual playmaking skills. With a competitive mindset and that quickness, Ipsaro also projects as a very good on-ball defender; which could be the difference maker in his recruitment beginning to explode in July (which we think it will) with Indiana Elite 3SSB 16u.

Tyler McKinley – ’24 PF Cincinnati Walnut Hills: The first of three rising sophomores to make this report, McKinley has gone from being the young kid on the team and now showing he’s ready to play grown-man ball around the rim as a sophomore for Walnut Hills. A 6’8 forward with a great frame, McKinley is starting to finish with two-hand dunks, as he has a special combination of agility and power for a young big in a frame that might have a few inches left to grow. Not only does he have the physical tools to be an elite prospect, but McKinley is also highly skilled and capable as a passer, post-up scorer, ballhandler in transition and as a spot-up shooter. When McKinley can catch the ball in the mid-post he has a ton of options in his bag to go to, as Walnut Hills is a sleeper team to follow in Greater Cincinnati with shooters, size, experience and some athletes. Miami (OH) became the first NCAA D1 to extend an offer to McKinley this past week; however, even though the Redhawks were first, they’re going to have plenty of competition in recruiting McKinley’s services as the 2024 class becomes more of a priority for college coaches.

Cade Norris – ’24 SG Hilliard Bradley: Being the son of one of Ohio’s most respected coaches and having two older brothers currently playing NCAA D1 ball, we’re by no means shocked that Cade Norris is a good prospect. We are shocked, however, by how different he is then his brothers, as the rising sophomore is already significantly taller and thicker then his brothers were as high school seniors. A versatile 6’3 guard who can play on the ball or on the wing, we’re listing Norris as a shooting guard for now, but the labeling of his offensive position is basically a moot point with his all-around scoring mindset and skill-set. Similar to his brothers in these two regards, Norris appears to be a knockdown shooter and junkyard dog competitor, as the rising sophomore showed maturity beyond that of most players his age in a statement win for a very young Bradley team over Covington Catholic (KY). We certainly haven’t seen every guard prospect in Ohio yet in the 2024 class, but Norris’ combination of size, IQ, competitiveness and of course his shooting, undoubtedly make him a prospect we’re excited to track moving forward.

Ben Menker – ’24 SG Mason: Heading into this weekend we’d heard some good things about Menker from another scout who’d seen him, but we’d never personally been able to evaluate him. After this weekend’s play, we’re right on board the bandwagon, as Menker is a legit talent to watch over the next three years in the GMC. At 6’3 the rising sophomore fits the mold of several other wing guards Coach Richards’ has had at Mason as Menker has size, is a solid athlete, can make shots and makes good decisions with the ball in their half-court offense. As high school basketball fans in Cincinnati know, Mason is going to be methodical at times in their half-court offense, and Menker already has shown an understanding of how to balance that offense with finding his own spots to be aggressive in attacking the rim. Next year’s Mason team looks young, and while they might take their lumps early in the season, we expect Menker to be a major catalyst in the Comets making noise in the GMC in ’21-’22.

Honorable Mention: Mitchell Rylee (’22 Covington Catholic/KY), Mekhi Elmore (’22 Cincinnati Taft), Owen Murray (’22 Cincinnati Walnut Hills), Jared Frey (’22 Hilliard Davidson), Kobe Peck (’22 Lakota East), Chandler Starks (’23 Covington Catholic/KY), Carson Browne (’23 Cincinnati Elder), Deshawne Crim (’23 Fairfield), Jack Kronauge (’23 Lakota East), Dayjuan Anderson (’23 Dayton Ponitz), Eian Elmer (’23 Cincinnati Taft)