SW Preview

’16-’17 Cincinnati High School Preview

Division I Power Rankings

1. Moeller: Here we are again; another year, and Moeller is again ranked as the top team in Cincinnati in the pre-season poll. This year’s Crusaders team should be up for the challenge, as Coach Kremer has assembled a roster full of skill, size, experience and young talent. Senior forwards Keegan McDowell (Liberty commit) and Riley Voss (Cornell commit) both return as starters, as McDowell will be counted on to make perimeter shots while Voss could be the team’s most valuable player on both ends thanks to his toughness, basketball IQ and skill-set. The emergence of junior point man Isaiah “Sleepy” Payton could be what separates Moeller from the pack this season, as Payton has big time playmaking ability and great quickness to boot. Look for senior forward Caleb Canter, junior wing Jeremiah Davenport, sophomore guard Myles “Deuce” McBride and junior post Jaxson Hayes to also make impacts, as that quartet might be among the most talented group of role players in the entire state of Ohio. Moeller’s size and depth are what gives them a slight edge over LaSalle in this poll, but the Crusaders will be heavily tested in the GCL South, despite being favorites to win the region. If Payton and the other guards can become the playmakers we think they can, then Moeller just might have a chance at a state title.

2. LaSalle: Instead of being ranked second, we should probably list the Lancers as team 1B, as Coach Fleming returns several multi-year starters from a team that won 21 games and tied both Moeller and Elder for the GCL South crown a year ago. Senior CJ Fleming (Bellarmine commit), the son of Coach Fleming, is the top guard in Cincinnati high school basketball, and returns for one more go-around, after averaging a GCL best 19 PPG last season. No one plays with more passion and effort than Fleming, as his attitude is contagious for a Lancers team known for swarming defense and playing with a lot of emotion. Complimenting Fleming will be seniors Tre Crigler, a sharp-shooting guard who will likely be the second scoring option, as well as 6’6 post Joe Hartmann, a do-it-all big known as a defender and rebounder; however Coach Fleming’s system could see the Lancers sub in and out a lot of bodies with the rest of the minutes. Expect seniors Da’Meak Brandon, a defensive minded guard, and 6’4 forward Tre’sean Smith, a strong bodied defender, to be among those role players, as Coach Fleming will turn up the heat for one more run with a core that has been a part of a lot of Lancer wins and is desperate to make noise not just in the GCL South, but also in both the region and the state.

3. Oak Hills: This is the year that Highlanders fans have been waiting for, as the West Side boys, led by Coach Price, will be favorites in the GMC thanks to a talented, deep and experienced roster that was able to win 16 games a year ago. Senior forward Ryan Batte (Ashland commit) is a do-it-all type of player who will likely be the favorite for GMC Player of the Year, after averaging 16 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists a year ago. However, it’s not just Batte’s star power at Oak Hills, as senior sharp-shooter Luke Rudy, senior point guard Cam Naber and strong junior guard Nick Deifel all return as well. Rudy is another double-figure scoring threat, after averaging 12.5 PPG last year while shooting 47% from three-point range, while Naber and Deifel are the tough-minded defensive guards that Price covets. They won’t play the prettiest style, but Oak Hills is without a doubt the team to beat in the GMC.

4. Walnut Hills: Just when everyone though the Eagles run was over, and after losing two key players to transfer, Coach Hill has reloaded the roster at Walnut Hills for another season in which they’ll be the most talented team in the ECC. First of all, the Eagles boast the area’s most promising post player in 6’11 sophomore Abba Lawal, who was effective in his freshman year after emigrating from Nigeria. Add in junior guard Kameron Gibson, who we believe will become a star this season, and Walnut Hills has a deadly pick and roll offense with a smooth guard in Gibson and a capable finisher in Lawal. Joining those two will be returning playmaker DiShon Daniels, a big time athlete and junior forward, along with transfers Kenny Thompson and Rob Brown, both seniors. Brown in particular should be a force in the ECC, as he brings strength and toughness to the interior, while Thompson is another big time athlete, but can also score the ball from the outside. With a deep bench and enough star power to challenge anyone, Walnut Hills could end the season ranked even higher on this list.

5. Mason: After going undefeated in GMC play and winning 22 games a season ago, the Comets again will be highly touted heading into this season, as they return two key pieces from a season ago. Seniors Matt King and Eddie Puisis are proven winners; as King provides an all-around effort on both ends of the court, while thriving as a passer, to compliment the sharp-shooting ability of Puisis, who averaged 14 points a year ago. The rest of the cast might change, but Coach Richards’ system always drives opposing coaches crazy, as Mason’s deliberate offensive and disciplined defensive style is well documented. Two names to remember for the Comets are juniors Noah Pedeltry, an athletic wing who can make shots, and Cory Davis, a transfer from Walnut Hills with varsity experience and a knack for rebounding the ball. The Comets always seem to find role players, and we expect them to nip at Oak Hills’ heels all season long in a competitive GMC race.

6. Princeton: A change at the coaching position also led to an influx of talent for the Vikings, as Coach Ellison will bring lofty expectations only months after leading Aiken to a D2 State Final Four appearance. While he’ll have to sit out the first 11 games per transfer rules, junior forward Darius Bazley (Ohio State commit) will be the most talented player to wear a Princeton jersey since Jordan Sibert. Bazley’s impact on the offensive end will be apparent early; however, Princeton returns some talent as well, with junior forward Dominic Pierce, junior guard Darweshi Hunter and transfer senior forward DJ Harris all more than capable of scoring the ball. Keep an eye out for a loaded freshman class in Viking country, as 6’5 forward Darrion Henry might even earn early varsity minutes. It will take a minute for this team to gel, but expect them to be a threat late in the season thanks to Bazley’s playmaking ability and the toughness of Pierce.

7. Withrow: Coaches in Cincinnati are talking, and the word is that the Tigers are back! Coach O’Connell’s second year at the helm should lead to some wins, as he returns a roster full of senior talent and experience. The backcourt of Elijah Willis and Davon Jordan is capable of going for 40 points on any given night, while forwards Albert Kalala and Brandon Powell bring athleticism and energy. Don’t forget about senior guard Frank Robinson either, as he’ll lead the defensive charge, on a team that could challenge Walnut Hills in the ECC. Finally, senior guard Aaron Herring should be a factor in the lineup, after transferring over from Hughes, where he scored in double-figures a season ago. There’s no denying the talent at Withrow, and with the experience on the roster, the Tigers could return to being one of the most feared in the region.

8. Lakota East: Last year’s district championship team graduated several key pieces, but Coach Adkins’ cupboard is far from bare, as the Thunderhawks will be relevant in the GMC again. Senior forward Evan Kuhlman (Evansville commit) is one of the region’s premiere offensive forwards, and a pick and pop specialist at 6’7; while junior forward Jarett Cox brings athleticism and toughness. East will have to break in some new pieces in the backcourt, however, expect this to be another gritty defensive team that has enough offensive talent, with Kuhlman, to compete on any given night in the GMC.

9. Wilmington: Last year’s Hurricane team took the state by storm in earning a State Final Four berth, but gone is star wing Jarron Cumberland, as Coach Noszka’s team will have to rebuild. Expect Wilmington to be more than competitive, however, as junior point Dylan Beaugard returns, after contributing as a scorer, passer and high-level defender a year ago. Also returning for the Hurricane is 6’6 senior post Chris Wolary, who should increase his scoring significantly this year. While Wilmington lacks the star power of a year ago, expect this team to be tough, and competitive.

10. Kings: The Knights might have gone through a coaching change this past off-season, but there is no change in their on-court leader, as senior point guard Tyler Mitchell (Wright State commit) returns as one of the premiere lead guards in the state of Ohio. Mitchell will be relied upon to create offense for Kings, alongside fellow senior guard Clay Spivey. One of the keys for Kings will be if senior post Matt Sichterman, a highly sought football recruit, decides to put on a basketball uniform one more time, as his interior strength could help Kings contend with Walnut Hills and Withrow in the ECC.

Also Considered: St. Xavier, Elder, Middletown, Lakota West, Milford, Winton Woods

Divisions II-IV Power Rankings

1. Roger Bacon: The early favorites to win the D3 State Championship and a group who, on paper, can compete with anyone in Cincinnati regardless of division, Coach Brian Neal has a team that has a chance to be special this year, as he returns many of last year’s key contributors from a team that advanced to the State Semifinals. The Spartans have size and athleticism with senior forwards James Johnson, a 6’6 pick and pop big with defensive toughness, and Justin Johnson, a tremendous athlete and energetic slasher, as well as a proven wing scorer in sophomore Alec Pfriem and a leader in senior point guard Craig McGee. The two Johnson’s and McGee are well known in the city, but we expect Pfriem to take a huge step forward in his second season as one of Cincinnati’s premiere scoring wings, due to his combination of size and shooting ability. Throw in a handful of talented role players, and Roger Bacon could end up right back on top of the city again in ’16-’17, as this team is sure to match the defensive intensity and mentally tough attitude of previous Spartan teams. With size, athleticism, shooting, experience, depth and leadership, there’s really nothing that this Roger Bacon team lacks on paper, and there’s no reason to even consider anyone else for the #1 spot on this list.

2. Summit Country Day: If the Spartans don’t hoist the D3 State Championship trophy then that might mean that Summit will, as the Silver Knights, like Roger Bacon, return an overwhelming majority of their production from a season ago, including some legit star power of their own right. Coach Cosgrove’s team made it to the regional final a year ago, but has their eyes on bigger goals this season, as senior point guard Sam Martin has established himself as one of the best passers, shooters and leaders in the city heading into his final campaign. Add in the offensive balance of senior Alex Dahling, a 6’4 sniper from three-point land and potential breakout player in Cincinnati, senior forward Tyrice Walker Jr, a power wing with double-double potential and junior guard Xavier Johnson, a powerful athlete and slashing threat, and Summit should be able to match up with any team that they face. Dahling and Martin could both lead the MVC in three-point shooting, while Johnson and Walker present a physical challenge for even the best teams; however, the Silver Knights will likely have to find some help for the bench if they’re going to get past Roger Bacon. Can this team finally get over the hump and defeat Roger Bacon? That remains to be seen, but SCD has as much talent as anyone.

3. Woodward: Likely the most athletic team in all of Cincinnati regardless of division, there’s a lot of talk going around right now about the talent on this year’s Bulldogs team. Coach McMillan is the fortunate recipient of multiple transfers, as he has enough firepower that we’re going out on a limb and saying that Woodward is actually the favorite over talented Taft, Hughes and Aiken teams in the CMAC. Speed demon point guard Will Coker returns for his senior season at Woodward after leading the CMAC in scoring at 25 PPG last season, as the small but athletic guard tortured opponents with his playmaking ability in the full-court a year ago. Running alongside Coker will be two talented wings in senior Lonnie Berry, an Aiken transfer who averaged 18 PPG last season, and bruising wing forward Terry Durham, a junior who attended Winton Woods last year but missed most of the season. With the big three of Coker, Berry and Durham, Coach McMillan has speed, shooting and power to mix and match, as Woodward will be a terror to matchup with for defenses. Rounding out the Bulldogs lineup will be sophomore Deonte McBride, who saw action at the guard spot in the post-season last year, as well as steady ballhandler Kane Cooper, a junior point guard and another Winton Woods transfer. Coach McMillan also seems confident in his bench play as well, so we’re expecting Woodward to play a fast, physical style of defense to wear teams down before Coker, Berry and Durham start to score.

4. Wyoming: Coach Edmonds’ Cowboys don’t return some of their firepower from a team that won 18 games and a share of the CHL last year, he returns all of his firepower from that team! Wyoming fans should be very excited this year, as their team is full of talented offensive guards, experienced winners and a team hungry to make up for last season’s post-season shortcomings. Leading the charge for Wyoming is back-to-back CHL Player of the Year winner Lonnie Grayson, a senior scoring machine who averaged 19 points per night at the guard position last season. Grayson likely will lead the league in scoring again this season, while sophomore point man Joey Edmonds is definitely the league’s most talented lead guard. Add in the play of versatile senior forward Garyn Prater, tough senior guard Jake Edmonds and highly touted freshman Evan Prater, and you have a team talented enough to compete with anyone in the city. Wyoming won’t be a big team, but Coach Edmonds’ group can flat out score, meaning they’ll be heavy favorites for an outright CHL championship this season.

5. Taft: The Senators won 22 games last season, and were just one basket away from a berth in the D2 State Semifinals; but Coach Bradley is looking to the future, not the past, in preparing his team for this season. The Senators will be young after graduating some key pieces, but they return the league’s top all-around forward from a season ago in senior Malek Green, as well as several other key contributors from last season. Green could lead the city league in scoring or rebounding, while another high energy, athletic forward in Chris’Seon “Grown Man” Stringer should also put up big numbers in both categories for the Senators. The guard spots will be manned by sophomore DeMarco Bradley Jr and junior Dashawn Lawrence, both of whom were effective last season. The Senators also have plenty of wildcards at their disposal, such as 6’2 senior guard Justin Newman, a Princeton transfer, talented 6’7 senior forward Virgil Lackey and a plethora of speedy guards who’ve grown up in a Taft system that preaches pressure, pressure, pressure. This season’s Taft team might not have the offensive talent as last year, but with the depth, speed and athleticism that Coach Bradley has at his disposal, opponents are not going to enjoy playing against the Senators again this season. Separating Taft and Hughes was the most difficult obstacle in compiling these rankings; however, given Taft’s interior presences in Green and Stringer, we’ll give the boys in gold and green the slightest of advantages over their rivals.

6. Hughes: Senior guard Correy Long (Stony Brook commit) missed last season for the Big Red due to injury, and is eager to make up for lost time, as we expect Hughes to rally from two subpar seasons to make a run this year. Coach Wyant’s stable of guards has a lot of talent, as Long will be favored along with Taft’s Malek Green for CMAC Player of the Year, while returning sharp-shooter AJ Smith, a junior, and transfers Giovanni Santiago and Dwayne Rosado are expected to put up scoring numbers as well. Smith filled in nicely for Long while he was injured last year, while both Santiago and Rosado are Puerto Rican imports who have flair to their game. The Big Red will not be one of the bigger teams in the city, but they have the guard play, talent and athleticism to spread teams out and apply pressure, leading us to believe that they easily could end up topping the CMAC at season’s end.

7. Aiken: The reigning State Semifinalists from Division II have their work cut out for them this season, as graduation and transfer hit the Falcons hard this off-season; but first year head Coach Ty Cass is confident that he has the talent to compete for a CMAC title this season. One of The Swoop’s top scorers a year ago, look for senior guard Marcus Barton to light up the scoreboards this year, as he is undoubtedly one of the city league’s top players and shooters. The rest of the Aiken lineup should be occupied by role players, many of whom played sparingly on last year’s team. Look for senior forward CJ Smith to make his presence felt on the interior for Aiken, while we’re sure that some new faces will emerge as talented players as well. Can Aiken compete with Woodward, Taft and Hughes? That remains to be seen, but history tells us that the Falcons will always have talent.

8. Indian Hill: Last season’s Braves team won 21 games and lost just one league game; so, will this year’s squad be better? We’re not sure, but Indian Hill does return their top scorer, as junior guard Colin Shaw, who averaged 17 PPG last season, will be at it again this season as one of the CHL’s top all-around offensive players and perimeter shooters. Point guards Marco and Matteo Fiore both return for Indian Hill as well, as the two ranked third and fourth a season ago in scoring for IH, while Marco led the team in assists as well. Expect the Braves to have another skilled shooting team who will compete with Wyoming, and possibly Madeira, down the stretch in the CHL.

9. Purcell Marian: A year ago the Cavaliers won 22 games, went undefeated in the GCL-Co Ed and were ranked in the state; however, Coach Kerr graduated his top six scorers after the season ended, meaning there will be some fresh faces in the lineup this year. Nevertheless, we’re confident that Kerr will field another gritty defensive team full of athleticism and enough offense to keep pace. Junior point guard Anthony Clark saw the most varsity action last year of the returnees; however, we’re excited to watch the progress of a talented sophomore class that starred on the Junior Varsity level last season. They’ll take some time to adjust to the varsity level, but 6’4 combo guard Alex Dotson, 6’2 wing Javonta Lyons and 6’5 athletic forward AJ Garrett are talented players who we will enjoy following. Keep an eye on 6’6 junior power forward Bryce Hunt, as he has breakout ability on both ends if he is able to learn to be effective in Kerr’s system.

10. Madeira: The Mustangs record last season was a modest 14-11, but the CHL program has reason to be excited this year, as they return their top two players, and as much size as anyone in the league. 6’5 junior post Jack Cravaack is a double-double machine as an interior scorer and athletic rebounder, while fellow junior Sam Wirsing, a 6’6 power forward, provides soft touch around the basket as well. We’re not too familiar with who Madeira will play at guard, but they’ll compete in D3 in our opinion.

Also Considered: Clark Montessori, Shroder, North College Hill, Mariemont, McNicholas

All-Cincinnati Teams

Division I All-City 1st Team
CJ Fleming – Senior PG LaSalle (Player of the Year)
Ryan Batte – Senior SF Oak Hills
Darius Bazley – Junior SF Princeton
Riley Voss – Senior PF Moeller
Matt King – Senior SF Mason

Division I All-City 2nd Team
Evan Kuhlman – Senior PF Lakota East
Tyler Mitchell – Senior PG Kings
Rob Brown – Senior PF Walnut Hills
Isaiah Payton – Junior PG Moeller
Keegan McDowell – Senior SF Moeller

Division I All-City 3rd Team
Abba Lawal – Sophomore C Walnut Hills
Kameron Gibson – Junior SG Walnut Hills
Jaden Sayles – Senior PF Sycamore
Dylan Beaugard – Junior PG Wilmington
Luke Rudy – Senior SG Oak Hills

Division I Honorable Mention: Greg Tribble (SO PG Winton Woods), Eddie Puisis (SR SG Mason), Joe Hartmann (SR PF LaSalle), Kenny Thompson (SR SG Walnut Hills), Jeremiah Davenport (JR SF Moeller), Dominic Pierce (JR PF Princeton), Tre Crigler (SR SG LaSalle), Davon Jordan (SR PG Withrow), Aaron Herring (SR SG Withrow), Elijah Willis (SR SG Withrow)

Division II-IV All-City 1st Team
Correy Long – Senior SG Hughes (Player of the Year)
Lonnie Grayson – Senior SG Wyoming
Will Coker – Senior PG Woodward
Malek Green – Senior SF Taft
Sam Martin – Senior PG Summit

Division II-IV All City 2nd Team
Justin Johnson – Senior SF Roger Bacon
Chris’Seon Stringer – Sophomore SF Taft
James Johnson – Senior PF Roger Bacon
Giovanni Santiago – Junior PG Hughes
Colin Shaw – Junior SG Indian Hill
Jack Cravaack – Junior PF Madeira

Division II-IV Honorable Mention: Joey Edmonds (SO PG Wyoming), Alex Dahling (SR SG Summit), Tyrice Walker Jr. (SR SF Summit), Alex Dotson (SO SG Purcell Marian), Terry Durham (JR SF Woodward), Craig McGee (SR PG Roger Bacon), Lonnie Berry Jr. (SR SG Woodward), Marcus Barton (SR SG Aiken), DeMarco Bradley Jr. (SO PG Taft), Xavier Johnson (JR PG Summit), Jacob McElfresh (SR SG Clark Montessori), Alec Pfriem (SO SF Roger Bacon), AJ Smith (JR SF Hughes), Stevie Stewart (JR PG Shroder), Justin Newman (SR SG Taft)

All-Dayton Teams Division I-IV

 First Team
Torrey Patton – ’17 SF Trotwood-Madison (PLAYER OF THE YEAR)
Caleb McConnell – ’18 PG/SG Dunbar
Justin Ahrens – ’18 SF Versailles
Darius Quisenberry – ’18 PG Huber Heights Wayne
Danny Davis – ’17 SG Springfield

Second Team
Devon Baker – ’18 SG Dunbar
Keegan Saben – ’17 SG Centerville
Isaiah Gable – ’17 SF Greenville
Amari Davis – ’19 SG Trotwood-Madison
Deshon Parker – ’18 PG Huber Heights Wayne

Third Team
Christian Montague – ’17 PG Chaminade Julienne
Dominic Laravie – ’17 PF Kettering Alter
Caleb South – ’18 PG Tipp City Bethel
Andre Gordon – ’19 PG/SG Sidney
Samari Curtis – ’19 SG Xenia
L’Christian Smith – ’18 PF Huber Heights Wayne

Honorable Mention
Jon Allesandro – ’18 SF Beavercreek
Myles Belyeu – ’18 SF Trotwood-Madison
Erik Boykin – ’18 PG Chaminade Julienne
Storm Cook – ’17 SG Dayton Dunbar
Chandler Fointno – ’17 PG Huber Heights Wayne
Alec Holtrey – ’17 PG Springboro
Chris Jackson – ’17 SG Dayton Dunbar
Ray James – ’17 SG Xenia
Miles Joiner – ’17 SF Vandalia Butler
Kort Justice – ’18 SG Miamisburg
Sam Lash – ’17 SG Centerville
Branden Lilley – ’17 PG Fairborn
Nick Pluta – ’17 SF/PF Springboro
TK Robinson – ’18 SG Carroll
Leonard Taylor – ’18 SF Springfield
P’Hairz Watkins – ’17 PG/SG Chaminade Julienne

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