New Ohio Rankings

28 May

Zach Loveday

With this year’s changes to the NCAA D1 Recruiting Calendar, college coaches were forced to see less of their top targets on the travel circuit during the spring, but will get the chance to evaluate in camp dynamics this summer both in individual and high school settings. Heading into this June period, we at Triple Double Prospects felt it was time to update our 2020 and 2021 player rankings for Ohio prospects, as well as unveil our first true rankings for the class of 2022.

With the class of 2020, our top two ranked prospects in PG Zeb Jackson and PF/C Zach Loveday both will be attending out of state prep schools for their senior seasons, with Jackson announcing last week that he’ll be enrolling at powerhouse Montverde Academy in Florida and Loveday staying for another go-around at Huntington Prep in West Virginia. With those two one our list, but not living in the state, the title for top Ohio rising senior belongs to Cleveland Brush C John Hugley, who had an impressive spring on the Nike travel circuit.

In 2021 there were some minor shakeups, but the biggest story is the development of Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s wing Malaki Branham, whom comes in as the top-ranked shooting guard in his class. The top spot in that class still belongs to Convoy Crestview PF Kalen Etzler, who just this month made a verbal commitment to Ohio State.

The 2022 rankings are going to be the biggest conversation piece, with the first edition of our list naming Chris Livingston (Akron Buchtel), Paul McMillan IV (Cincinnati Woodward) and Shawn Phillips (Dayton Belmont) as the top prospects in their respective position groups. As with all rising sophomore rankings, this list is certain to see major changes in the next few years, but, for now, we’re confident in the list we’ve produced.

Finally, we’d like to remind readers that these prospect rankings lists are comprised of Ohio based prospects and do not include post-grad prospects nor non-Ohio native prep school kids from places like Spire Academy and ISA Academy (Andrews Osborne).

All our rankings can be viewed by clicking on the tab at the top of this page, or by clicking on the link down below:


Spiece Run-N-Slam

5 May
Malaki Branham

Malaki Branham

At the end of every circuit season we always look back at our evaluations and recognize the Spiece Run-N-Slam as one of the best indicators of the long-term upside of Ohio prospects. Playing against the best competition – regardless of shoe affiliation – from around the entire region, Ohio teams have historically performed very well in Fort Wayne at the Spiece Fieldhouse. This year was no different, as Ohio teams made splashes at 17u, 16u and 15u; looking back at the weekend, here is a rundown of the top individual performances from games we evaluated…

Garvin Clarke – ’20 PG Euclid: A highly anticipated addition to the All-Ohio Red 17u team, Clarke is a pass-first point guard ranked among the best players (regardless of position) in Ohio’s 2020 class. Now that he’s on the shoe circuit his reputation is only going to grow, as Clarke is a quick and strong guard who can create offense for his teammates in the pick and roll or in transition. A high IQ guard who makes the right pass but is just as good on the defensive end, if Clarke makes open jumpers in the Nike EYBL he’s going to see more NCAA D1 offers come his way soon.

DaSean Nelson – ’20 PF Toledo Rogers: Another sleeper in Ohio’s 2020 class, Nelson looks more like a rising senior in college than in high school with his strong and athletic build. A mature and rugged 6’7 forward with big time leaping ability, Nelson brought energy to the floor for his All-Ohio Gold team, a group comprised of some intriguing under-the-radar prospects out of the Toledo area. Nelson’s skill-set is still a work in progress, but he can attack the rim off the transition dribble from a defensive rebound or in the half-court, and is so strong that he also can get work done in the post with his 6’7 frame.

Hunter Shedenhelm – ’20 SG Pickerington North: A sniper who first came onto our radar a year ago in this same event, Shedenhelm was the driving force, along with unsigned Pickerington Central guard Jay Rodgers, in leading Nova Village’s top 17u team to the Platinum Bracket title game, as Shedenhelm made shot after shot in knocking off heavy hitters such as Nike’s Meanstreets and All-Ohio Red before falling in the title game to Indiana Elite. Shedenhelm first gained his reputation based on his ability to shoot the ball from range and make shots in bunches, but he’s not just a specialist as he’s also a solid athlete who can guard on the wing and attack off of a shot fake. Heading into next high school season, Shedenhelm will be arguably the top true shooting guard in the Columbus area in his class.

Malaki Branham – ’21 SG/SF Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s: We usually don’t repeat prospects from week to week on these recaps; however, when a player continues to play at an elite level they deserve the corresponding recognition, and that’s exactly why Branham makes the list again. The 6’5 wing from the Akron area was dynamic for his NEO Tru Game 16u team again this weekend, leading his squad to the Platinum Bracket title game, including a heated win over in-state rival OBC on Saturday in pool play. Branham has shown that he can be consistent from weekend to weekend with his aggressiveness, which was our only question mark on him, as he clearly has the skill-set, athleticism and raw ability to be a high level prospect. Heading into the spring Branham was arguably a top-five prospect in Ohio’s 2021 class; however, after the last two week’s he not only un-debatably top-five, but trending towards potentially overtaking the #1 spot in Ohio’s rising junior class.

EJ Farmer – ’21 SG Cleveland Lutheran East: After struggling to shoot the ball from range in Atlanta last weekend, Farmer was able to find his shot in Fort Wayne, as the 6’4 shooting guard out of Cleveland was the most impressive performer on his All-Ohio Red 16u team in a high level matchup with Chicago based Mac Irvin Fire on Saturday afternoon. A long and fluid wing who can also score in transition, Farmer did a better job of juggling his three-point shot and aggressiveness at the rim, which can make him very difficult to defend, especially in a transition oriented game. Like we’ve mentioned in the past with kids like Malaki Branham, the key for Farmer’s continued success is going to be if he can consistently turn in top performances; if he repeats this type of effort next week in the Nike EYBL in Indianapolis then his stock is really going to skyrocket.

Jalin Billingsley – ’21 PF Cleveland Lutheran East: Another Lutheran East product (evidence as to why they finished as Ohio D3 State Runners-Up), Billingsley wowed scouts in Saturday’s matchup with NEO Tru Game, and, even though his OBC 16u squad came up a little short in that contest, Billingsley turned heads as he continues to show off tremendous long-term upside. Blessed with great physical tools as a mobile and fluid 6’8 forward who can put the ball on the ground and is both strong and nimble, Billingsley can score in a bunch of different ways and shows flashes of a very good offensive feel with some of his plays at times. Like most big men his age, Billingsley still needs time to put all of the pieces together, and to focus on keeping that motor running strong at all times, but his potential is through the roof and he has as much talent as any 2021 prospect in the state of Ohio.

Shawn Phillips – ’22 C Dayton Belmont: Your first question upon reading this should be, what took Triple Double Prospect so long to get an evaluation of this kid on the website? Simply put, Phillips has elite upside as a post player. He’s big, he’s long, he’s mobile and he’s an above average athlete for a young big who already shows signs of being an advanced shot-blocker on the defensive end. Despite those defensive tools, Phillips is surprisingly far along in his offensive development, as he finished around the rim and at the foul line, and looked comfortable with the ball in his hands. Due to his raw size alone at 6’8-6’9, Phillips likely projects as one of the top-five prospects in Ohio’s 2022 class, as he was the primary standout on a Team Flyght team full of some really promising young players from the Dayton area.

Josh Whiteside – ’22 PF Gahanna Lincoln: The second rising sophomore to make this list, Whiteside has been on our radar since the 270 Hoops – Battle for the City, but improved his stock in our eyes on Sunday with his Nova Village team, as the 6’5 forward showed advanced athleticism, power and scoring ability around the rim in a heavyweight matchup with OBC. Whiteside plays with some attitude around the rim and was physical on both ends of the floor, while also showing skill and touch as a scorer. We’ll be very excited to follow his production next year, as he appears to be one of the premiere young big men in the Columbus area.

Honorable Mention: Jay Rodgers (’19 Pickerington Central), John Hugley (’20 Cleveland Brush), Marcus Johnson (’20 Columbus South), Julian Binford (’20 Columbus Eastmoor), Anthony McComb (’21 Dayton Thurgood Marshall), Amarion Dickerson (’21 Cleveland Rhodes), Kobe Johnson (’21 Canton McKinley), Dior Conners (’22 Pickerington North), Jacob Conner (’22 Kettering Alter), Mekhi Elmore (’22 Dayton Thurgood Marshall), Reico Colter (’22 Dayton Meadowdale), Sonny Johnson Jr (’22 Garfield Heights), Tavian Tatum (’22 Garfield Heights), Jared Frey (’22 Columbus St. Charles), Bowen Hardman (’22 All-Ohio Red), Josiah Harris (’22 Canton GlenOak), AJ Clayton (’22 Philo), Logan Woods (’22 Cincinnati Christian)

Nike EYBL Atlanta

29 Apr
John Hugley

John Hugley

With only one live evaluation weekend this April, NCAA D1 coaches were limited in being able to evaluate their top targets this spring. So, with that in mind, the pressure on players this weekend was at an all-time high. We at Triple Double Prospects spent our weekend alongside many of the biggest names in college basketball coaching at the Nike EYBL in Atlanta, where several Ohio natives played inspired basketball. Here’s look at some of the top individual performers who boosted their recruiting stock….

John Hugley – ’20 C Cleveland Brush: With the majority of college coaches in attendance focusing on the 17u action, no Ohioan had a bigger recruiting swing this weekend then Hugley. A true low-post presence with a power build at 6’8, Hugley was tracked by high-major coaches who followed his All-Ohio Red team through all four games. When his teammates were able to get him the ball, Hugley was effective as a scorer around the rim, but it was his improved conditioning that stood out to us, as the Cleveland big played major minutes without wearing down physically. Since the end of play, Hugley has already added an offer from Georgia Tech, to go along with pre-existing offers from Pittsburgh, Nebraska, Penn State, Xavier, Dayton and more.

Malaki Branham – ’21 SF Akron STVSM: Not only did Branham have himself a breakout weekend, but his team also captured the championship, as NEO Tru Game finished the weekend 5-0 to lockdown a berth into the exclusive Nike Peach Jam in July. A big part of that championship effort is thanks to Branham, as the athletic 6’5 wing forward from St. Vincent-St. Mary’s scored the ball off the dribble all weekend long. Playing with more aggression, confidence and energy then we’ve seen in the past, Branham was especially locked in during his team’s win over All-Ohio Red, as Branham showed some true competitive fire. The key for his future is all consistency; if Branham continues to be a scoring threat, especially one who has a knack for drawing fouls, then his recruitment will skyrocket as much as any Ohio prospect from the 2021 class.

Jamiya Neal – ’21 SF Toledo St. Francis: His best basketball is still a ways in front of him, as Neal is a raw but promising combo forward; however, he showed us some major strides from when we saw him last (all the way back in the summer of 2018), as Neal provided offense for his All-Ohio Red team. A long and smooth athlete who can finish in transition, drive it to the rim or mix it up in the paint, Neal has the ability to effect games with his energy and mobility as a 6’6 forward. As he fills out his frame, look for Neal’s name to be mentioned in recruiting news, as very few kids in Ohio’s 2021 class have as much upside.

Chris Livingston – ’22 SG Akron Buchtel: Just days removed from being named the #3 player in the entire country in his 2022 class by ESPN, the pressure was on Livingston from the jump to make an impact. That pressure only compounded on Saturday, when coaches from Louisville, Michigan State, Ohio State and Kentucky sat down to watch a high level matchup between Livingston’s We All Can Go squad against Team Why Not out of Los Angeles. Livingston proved ready for the challenge, as he scored his team’s first 7 points, knocking down multiple perimeter jumpers, attacking off the dribble and finishing with his elite athleticism in transition. At a legit 6’5 (or taller) as a freshman, and with next level fluidity, Livingston has all of the physical tools you can ask for; if he can consistently make jump shots the way he did on Saturday, then expect other high-major programs to join Ohio State on his offer sheet.

Bowen Hardman – ’22 SG Cincinnati Princeton: Even though he played a major role on a solid Princeton HS team this past winter, Hardman’s name hasn’t been mentioned around the state enough as one of the top freshmen. Based on his play with his All-Ohio Red team this weekend, that is going to change, as Hardman was a dominant scorer in the game we watched against Bates Fundamental. Hardman eclipsed the twenty-point mark, making three after three, using his length to shoot it over defenders at 6’3, and was crafty off the dribble in finishing at the rim, drawing fouls or making the right pass. One of the more skilled perimeter prospects in Ohio’s 2022 class, Hardman is also a good athlete and has an excellent feel for the game on the offensive end of the floor.

Honorable Mention: Jahvon Garcia (’19 Pickerington Central), Dominiq Penn (’20 Dublin Coffman), Trey Woodyard (’21 London), Skyler Schmidt (’21 Clermont Northeastern), Anthony McComb (’21 Dayton Thurgood Marshall), Kobe Johnson (’21 Canton McKinley), Sencire Harris (’22 North Canton Hoover)

Adidas Regional

15 Apr

Seth Wilson

The opening weekend of the Adidas Gauntlet (Gold Division) was comprised of regional play, as the top Midwestern teams descended on Minneapolis for league play. This spring we’ve already seen a few different Adidas teams attract top Ohio prospects, as Ohio Basketball Club, APEX, Wildcats Select, Indiana Elite, EG10 and Manimal Elite all have players from the state of Ohio on their rosters. We at Triple Double Prospects had a chance to evaluate each of these teams, at least at the 17u level, this weekend; here’s the rundown of the top individual performances we saw…

Zach Loveday – ’20 PF/C Huntington Prep (WV): Our top ranked prospect out of Ohio in the 2020 class, the 6’11 Loveday has improved steadily since making the move from his home in Gallipolis to Huntington Prep for his junior season. Playing with West Virginia/Pittsburgh based Wildcats Select, alongside several other high-major NCAA D1 prospects, Loveday thrived this weekend, finish around the rim with more power, making perimeter shots and using his combination of skill and coordination at 6’11 to make plays on both ends. Already considered a top-100 prospect nationally, Loveday currently lists offers from Indiana, Xavier, Ohio State Purdue, Florida and Stanford.

Raheim Moss – ’20 SF Spire Institute: After recently announcing that he’ll be attending Spire Institute in NE Ohio for a postgrad year after graduating from Springfield High School in June, Moss improved his stock in a major way this weekend, as he was Ohio Basketball Club’s most consistent player on their 17u roster. With elite athleticism and strength in a 6’4 frame, Moss has great versatility on the defensive end, and his effort and toughness really go a long way to separate him from his competition. As Moss becomes a more consistent shooter, his recruitment is only going to continue to pick up.

Trey Robinson – ’20 SF Hamilton: The most highly touted prospect heading into the weekend on the APEX 17u roster, Robinson was impressive as a scorer, leading his team to a 2-2 record. A long and mobile 6’6 wing forward with versatility, Robinson scored around the rim, in transition and off slashes, as his size and skill-set make him a mismatch threat on the wing. Having played as the third option on his high school team behind two seniors, look for Robinson to continue to be more and more aggressive as the spring unfolds, which could be the key to accelerating his recruitment.

Seth Wilson – ’21 PG Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s: Our top overall Ohio performer from the weekend, it’s not surprising that Wilson was the leading scorer for Ohio Basketball Club’s 16u team; however, it was surprising to an extent as to just how dominant Wilson was. Picking up where he left off in the Ohio high school state title game, Wilson looked the part of a big-time shot-maker in Indy; as the powerfully built 6’1 scoring point guard hit pull-up after pull-up. When he’s on a roll offensively the rim starts to look extra wide for Wilson, as he hit some crazy shots as the weekend went on, leading his team to a 2-2 record and continuing to solidify his name as one of Ohio’s premiere 2021 guards.

Paul McMillan IV – ’22 PG Cincinnati Hughes: McMillan has appeared on this site several times already this school year as a player who is mature beyond his years on the court; however, the 6’1 point guard took it to a new level this past weekend, scoring over 20 points in three of his 17u Manimal Elite team’s four games. Playing up two age groups at the 17u level, McMillan was still able to create offense at will, scoring in transition at the rim, off pick-and-roll in the half-court and off jumpers, while also leading his team in assists. Arguably the top 2022 point guard prospect in Ohio, McMillan is going to generate a lot of early recruiting buzz if he continues to put up numbers of anywhere near this caliber at the 17u level.

Evan Mahaffey – ’22 SG Cincinnati Northwest: One of the few highly heralded Cincinnati freshmen whom we didn’t get a chance to evaluate during high school ball, this weekend was our first look at Mahaffey, a 6’4 wing from APEX’s 15u squad. A long and athletic player who plays with energy, Mahaffey is an extremely versatile wing, who, when he fills out, projects as one of the more talented players in Ohio’s 2022 class. Mahaffey has the ability to score at the rim, but also gives his team production in other areas, as his length and skill-set make him a strong playmaker as well as defender.

Honorable Mention: Jayson Woodrich (’19 SF Cleveland Beachwood), Jackson Ames (’20 C West Clermont), Luke Frazier (’20 SG Mentor Lake Catholic), Montorie Foster (’20 PG Cleveland St. Edward), Nehemiah Benson (’20 PF Cleveland Lutheran East), Aaron Ward (’20 PF Cincinnati Winton Woods), Conner Maciag (’20 PG Pickerington Central), Jalin Billingsley (’21 PF Cleveland Lutheran East), Corey Tripp (’21 PG/SG Medina), Tae Perie (’21 PG Akron Buchtel), Robbie Cass (’22 PG Cincinnati Aiken)

270 Hoops Recap

26 Mar

Jalen Sullinger

The top underclassmen prospects from Columbus as well as other parts of Central Ohio all gathered together on the campus of Olentangy Orange HS on Tuesday evening for the annual 270 Hoops “Battle for the City” showcase event. With the 270 Hoops staff breaking the teams down into OCC (suburban league), City League and Central Ohio (private schools plus outskirts schools), squads consisting of current freshmen, sophomores and juniors battled for individual notoriety, as well as bragging rights. Triple Double Prospects spent the evening focusing on the 2021 and 2022 talent; here’s a look at some of the top performers we evaluated….

Jalen Sullinger – ’21 PG Thomas Worthington: Ever since his sophomore season started, folks in Columbus have been praising the development of Jalen Sullinger (nephew of the famous Jared Sullinger), as the 5’10 sophomore point guard has established himself as one of the top pure scoring guards in the 2021 class. At “Battle for the City” Sullinger didn’t disappoint, as he showcased a refined skill-set with long-range jumpers, floaters and acrobatic finishes with his left hand, all using a smooth handle to create separation. He doesn’t have great size at this point, but Sullinger is one of the guards who we expect to have a breakout season on the travel circuit.

Chance Groce – ’21 SG Columbus Linden-McKinley: We’ve hyped Groce on this site for almost a year now as one of the elite talents in the 2021 class in Ohio, with a combination of basketball skill, size and excellent athleticism. While he still needs to focus on putting those pieces together with consistent effort, Groce proved again that he is a step ahead of the other sophomores in Central Ohio in terms of raw talent, as he finished big dunks, made timely three pointers and created whatever he wanted in transition with the dribble. If that motor keeps improving, Groce could end up being a top-5 prospect statewide in 2021.

Trey Woodyard – ’21 SF London: Another player like Sullinger who has generated serious buzz this winter, Woodyard is a 6’5 sharpshooting wing with a good skill-set and size for the small forward position. Not only is Woodyard a big shooter who can fill it up, but he also displayed a good basketball IQ as a passer, and has added weight, which will give him some versatility on both ends of the floor. Playing on the Nike circuit with NEO Tru Game, Woodyard is another one who is primed for a breakout spring.

Tyrese Hughey – ’21 PF Licking Heights: When we saw Hughey last, way back in July, he was a bruising back to the basket big who could score around the rim. While that is still in his repertoire, we were impressed tonight with the physical progress of Hughey, who is slimmer and lighter on his feet as a result. Capable of facing up and attacking from the high-post, scoring down low or hitting the open jumper, Hughey is one of the more offensively skilled and physically imposing young bigs in Ohio in 2021.

AJ Clayton – ’22 PF Philo: Of the roughly 60 players we evaluated tonight none were more dominant then Clayton, a 6’6 power forward out of a small town southeast of Zanesville. With size, strength, advanced athleticism for his age as well as a great motor, Clayton was a monster on the interior all evening long. Unlike most big men his age, Clayton was willing to stick to what he does well (rare for an all-star event), as he posted up, finished offensive rebounds and out-ran his competition in transition for dunks. Even though he’s a small-town kid, Clayton is going to be a big name in Ohio high school basketball for the next three years, with this event being his breakout night onto center stage.

Sean Jones – ’22 PG Gahanna Lincoln: While we only got to watch Jones for a few brief moments, there’s no denying his ability as an advanced point guard, not surprising considering the numbers he put up as a freshman at Lincoln. Jones is a quick guard who can get up and down the court and is slippery with his handle to create space as a finisher at the rim or as a passer, where he showed a flair and creativity tonight. He is on the smaller side at just 5’9, but look for Jones to continue to be one of the most talked about guards in Ohio’s 2022 class heading into the travel circuit season.

Jared Frey – ’22 SG Columbus St. Charles: Big, skilled guards are all the rage right now in college basketball, and, even though he’s just a freshman in high school, Frey fits that mold perfectly, as the 6’3 shooting guard was efficient as both a scorer and primary ballhandler today. A lefty who can shoot it effortlessly from three-point range, Frey shoots a pure jumper but also can handle and pass the ball as well, proving why he averaged double-figures in the Columbus Catholic league this year; he’s not the most athletic guard, but his skill-set and IQ are so strong that he’ll be near the top of our rankings list.

Honorable Mention: AJ Mirgon (’21 PG Hilliard Bradley), Isaac Settles (’21 SF Thomas Worthington), Elhadji Thiam (’21 PF Pickerington Central), Eli Burke (’21 PG Columbus Africentric), Jerry Saunders (’22 PG Pickerington North), Josh Whiteside (’22 PF Gahanna Lincoln), Jaylen Simmons (’22 PG Columbus Beechcroft), Jared Rose (’22 PG Lancaster Fairfield Christian), Troy Scowden (’22 PF Buckeye Valley)

’19 State Tourney Recap

24 Mar

Amari Davis

The 2018-2019 Ohio high school basketball season ended on Saturday evening with a bang, as not only were four State Champions crowned, but fans were treated to thrillers in both the D1 and D2 games. In D1, Cincinnati Moeller came from behind to closeout Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s, for the Crusaders second-straight State Title, as Big Moe finished the season 29-0. Next, in D2, Trotwood Madison won the first title in school history, defeating Columbus South in one of the most memorable, and fast-paced, games in recent history. In the small school divisions, Columbus Harvest Prep defeated Cleveland Lutheran East for the D3 title, while Convoy Crestview handled Berlin Hiland in the D4 finale. As always, the State Tournament was filled with many great individual performances; here’s a look at the key standouts in our eyes from this past weekend…

Deuce McBride – ’19 PG Cincinnati Moeller: McBride, a West Virginia signee, capped off a distinguished career with 16 points in the final and 13 points in the semi-final, as the senior ended his career with just one loss as a starter, as well as back-to-back D1 State Titles. One of the most dominant winners we’ve seen in Ohio in the nearly a decade we’ve been doing this, McBride continued to show throughout the final four that he can control a game while hardly ever taking a shot. Whether it’s his on-ball defense, rebounding, ability to create for others as a passer, or his consistent shooting stroke on mid-range pull-up jumpers, McBride had as good of a senior season as anyone in Ohio, and certainly cemented his legendary status in his final two games.

Ben Roderick – ’19 SF Olentangy Liberty: The only senior on this not presently committed to a school, Roderick had the most on the line individually on Friday night, and put together a valiant effort, scoring 25 points in a loss to Akron STVSM. A smooth slashing guard who can make shots, create with his strong body and finish around the rim with touch, Roderick has some pure scoring instincts that coaches cannot teach, and his will alone kept Liberty in the game, as his team featured limited scoring options outside of shots that Roderick personally created. Immediately following the game, Roderick received new scholarship offers from Saint Bonaventure and Ohio University’s new staff, as the 6’5 scoring wing will likely be the most highly recruited 2019 prospect in Ohio still on the board.

Amari Davis – ’19 SG Trotwood Madison: Playing in the State Tournament for the third year in a row, Davis was finally able to help his team break on through and capture a title in his senior campaign, as the athletic lefty slashing guard scored 33 points in a blowout win over Akron Buchtel on Thursday and then again led Trotwood in the final, scoring 24 points in that matchup. Davis, a Green Bay signee, is not only a dynamic athlete, but a prospect who also brings effort, defense and energy to the floor, as he’s a deadly transition player who thrives in Trotwood’s unbelievably fast tempo. Capable of scoring in bunches, especially slashing to his left-hand, this title might be enough to put Davis in consideration as to arguably the most accomplished high school player in Trotwood history (along with 2007 graduate Chris Wright).

Javin Etzler – ’19 SF/PF Convoy Crestview: With his team trailing at the half to Richmond Heights in the semifinal, the talk of the arena was that Etzler, a Miami (OH) signee, had not scored a single point yet. The talk after the game was regarding just how much Etzler had scored, as the 6’7 forward poured in 25 points to lead the come-from-behind victory, as Etzler made skilled play after skilled play around the rim, showcasing his ability to shoot the ball as well as to operate out of the mid-post. In the finals, Etzler came out locked in and ready to go, finishing with a double-double (10 & 11) in a blowout Crestview victory.

Alec Pfriem – ’19 SG/SF Cincinnati Moeller: While there’s no denying that Deuce McBride was Moeller’s best all-around player and team MVP, Pfriem was, both this weekend and all season long, the Crusaders leading scorer, as the Bellarmine signee finished his career off with 19 points in the finals and 20 points in the semi-finals. A pure scoring guard with a great feel for the game and a knack for finishing at the basket, the Pfriem-McBride tandem will be talked about for years to come not only at Moeller, but throughout Ohio basketball, as Big Moe finished undefeated this year, undefeated in the state of Ohio last year, and back-to-back State Champions in Pfriem’s two years at the school.

Lunden McDay – ’19 SF Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s: A defensive workhorse who effects the game in many different ways, we’ve always been high on what McDay brings to the table; however, it was his scoring prowess early in the semifinal win over Olentangy Liberty, and the finals loss against Moeller, that stood out to us; with the Ohio University signee showing that he’s a versatile scorer to follow on the next level. McDay is both strong and mobile attacking the rim, while also being one of Ohio’s most polished players, in that he knows his roles and plays to his strengths on the offensive end. A former state champion from the 2017-2018 season, McDay will bring a winning mentality to Athens next year.

CJ Anthony – ’20 PG Columbus Harvest Prep: The first non-senior on this list was also our top performer in January at Flyin’ to the Hoop, as well as the AP Poll’s Ohio D3 Player of the Year; so, there should be no surprise that Anthony’s name appears in bold in this recap. As hard-nosed of a guard as you’ll find anywhere, Anthony dominated both the semifinal win over Cincinnati Purcell Marian and finals win over Cleveland Lutheran East, to lead Harvest Prep to their first ever State Title. While Anthony’s numbers of 17 points in the semis and 21 in the finals aren’t eye-popping, it was his overall point guard play, leadership and toughness as a strong guard who can make shots, defend and control tempo that all stood out to make him our top performer from this weekend out of the junior class. Already holding an NCAA D1 scholarship offer, don’t be surprised to see Anthony’s name mentioned again by this publication by the end of the circuit season.

Trevell Adams – ’20 PG Columbus South: While Anthony was already a known commodity state wide heading into this weekend, Adams was without question the pleasant surprise of the weekend out of the 2020 class, as the junior point guard showed heart, explosive athleticism, playmaking ability and some charisma, in leading Columbus South to the finals. Even though the Bulldogs came up just short in the title game, Adams was spectacular, scoring 16 points but also making impact defensive plays, finishing in transition and getting to every loose ball, as Adams’ ideal style of play coincides with the frantic pace that both South and Trotwood Madison love to play at. College coaches were already inquiring about Adams following the conclusion of his performance Saturday, as the 5’10 scoring point guard could become a big name in Ohio’s 2020 class on the recruiting scene.

Honorable Mention: Alex Williams (’21 PF Cincinnati Moeller), Max Land (’20 SF Cincinnati Moeller), Logan Duncomb (’21 C Cincinnati Moeller), Seth Wilson (’21 PG Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s), Chris Painter (’19 PG Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s), Malaki Branham (’21 SF Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s), Demetrius Terry (’19 SG Cleveland St. Edward), Grant Huffman (’20 SG Cleveland St. Edward), Devontae Blanton (’20 PF Cleveland St. Edward), Nick Nakasian (’19 SF Olentangy Liberty), Carl Blanton (’20 SG Trotwood Madison), Sammy Anderson (’20 PG Trotwood Madison), Treohn Watkins (’19 PG Columbus South), Marcus Johnson (’20 SF Columbus South), Chris Livingston (’22 SF Akron Buchtel), Ronnell Perie (’21 SG Akron Buchtel), Landen Russell (’21 SF Thornville Sheridan), Ethan Heller (’19 PG Thornville Sheridan), Javonta Lyons (’19 SG Cincinnati Purcell Marian), Bryan Warah (’19 PF Cincinnati Purcell Marian), Soul Hines (’19 SG Columbus Harvest Prep), Joey Holifield (’20 SG Toledo Cardinal Stritch), Little Anderson (’19 PF Toledo Cardinal Stritch), Nehemiah Benson (’20 PF Cleveland Lutheran East), EJ Farmer (’21 SG Cleveland Lutheran East), Andy Miller (’19 PG Berlin Hiland), Sam Habeger (’20 PF Berlin Hiland), Caden Niekamp (’19 C Saint Henry), Curtis Houston (’19 SG Richmond Heights), Gblahan Adio (’20 SG Richmond Heights), Wade Sheets (’19 SF Convoy Crestview), Kalen Etzler (’21 PF Convoy Crestview)

Top Available: 2019

18 Mar
Roderick copy

Ben Roderick

By our count, there are currently 21 seniors from the state of Ohio (OHSAA schools – not counting places like Spire Institute) who are committed to NCAA D1 colleges. While there is still time before the final signing deadline, and even more time before next school year begins, this number is well on the low end for what we historically see from Buckeye State prospects. That being said, there are still a few prospects on the board whom we believe will end up signing with NCAA D1 programs sooner than later, highlighted by some explosive perimeter scoring guards. Here’s the rundown of the best available prospects in Ohio’s senior class of 2019….

Ben Roderick – ’19 SG/SF Olentangy Liberty: As the only player on this list who will be playing in this weekend’s Ohio State Tournament, Roderick has the most fluid situation, as he could play his way into more offers within the next few days. As of now, Roderick has seen an explosion in his recruitment this winter, as both mid and high-major NCAA D1’s have tracked his progress, after he missed most of the high school season last year. Ohio’s Gatorade Player of the Year, Roderick is a big, physical scoring wing who led the city of Columbus in points this year as a senior. Heading into the State Tournament, Roderick lists Ohio State and Xavier among the high-major programs recruiting him the hardest, while Wisconsin and West Virginia have also been in touch; additionally, Roderick holds a slew of mid-major offers, including Ohio and Miami (OH).

Javohn Garcia – ’19 PG Pickerington Central: Garcia is the big enigma amongst all of the names on this list, as the big and athletic point guard from the Columbus area, coming off a strong summer in the Nike EYBL, committed to Miami (OH), and then de-committed, choosing to re-open his recruitment, right before the fall signing period. Since then, Garcia put up huge numbers in his senior campaign at Pickerington Central, leading his squad to a Regional Semifinal showing, while also adding new offers from Toledo, Akron and James Madison. Like many of the names on this list, prep school is a potential option for Garcia, who reportedly is looking to add to his offer list this spring by re-entering the travel circuit for one more go-around in April. A playmaker with size and length who can get to the rim and defend, Garcia should attract offers from most mid-majors looking to add a guard late in the recruiting cycle.

Greg Tribble – ’19 PG Huntington Prep (WV): After leaving Cincinnati Winton Woods just days before the start of the season to play at prestigious prep program Huntington Prep (WV), Tribble was able to earn a starting role and play in some elite exposure events – including two high level games at Flyin’ to the Hoop. This added exposure has helped boost Tribble’s recruitment, as he has interest at both the mid and high-major NCAA D1 level heading into April. Currently Tribble lists high-major interest coming from both Iowa State, VCU and Purdue, as well as mid-major interest from Murray State, New Mexico and Chattanooga. Since he’ll be graduating high school at just 17-years old, prep school is still on the table for Tribble as well, who is likely to suit up on the travel circuit this spring. An explosive leaper with the quickness to make plays as a slasher at the rim or as a perimeter defender, Tribble is an athletic point guard who likely will generate more recruiting buzz as the process goes later and later.

Morgan Safford – ’19 SG Columbus Bishop Hartley: Safford capped a big tournament run and senior season in leading his team to the D2 Regional Semifinals, drawing interest from college coaches all season long, as he established himself as one of Ohio’s most efficient shooting guards. Capable as an athlete, a perimeter shooter and a two-way wing guard, Safford is a solid and versatile prospect who is effective in every aspect of the game; and, despite playing on a slower-paced high school team, Safford still showed he could score in bunches, including standout performances this fall at the 270 Hoops Fall League. Heading into this week, Safford does not hold any NCAA D1 offers, but we expect that to change, as Safford told TDP that Youngstown State, Ohio, Wofford and Presbyterian are all tracking him closely; before the end of the spring expect one (or more) of these schools to pull the trigger with an offer.

Raheim Moss – ’19 SF Springfield: One of the state’s most rugged and powerfully explosive athletes (in a class full of high-flyers), Moss put together a great senior season at Springfield, leading his team to the SW Regional Semifinals. With NCAA D1 interest in both football and basketball, the dynamic and versatile athlete is still unsure as to where he will enroll next year. Moss told TDP this week that he is still considering playing both scholarship football and walk-on basketball at Cincinnati or Toledo, as well as prep school options at Spire Institute. Due to his frame, athleticism and motor, Moss is seen by many as more of a football prospect; however, as his skill-set matures, Moss has become a more and more consistent basketball prospect who is capable of contributing in a role.

Abba Lawal – ’19 C Cincinnati Withrow: Since immigrating to the USA from Nigeria as a freshman, Lawal has always been seen as a project with long-term upside, as he had limited basketball experience before arriving in Cincinnati. Lawal made progress as a shot-blocker and rebounder, as well as a fluid floor-runner, during his high school career, but still has work to be done; so, Lawal will be attending a to be determined prep school next year to continue to add weight and develop his game. Prior to this decision, Lawal was weighing different mid-major offers from in-state schools.

Jordan Mitchell – ’19 SF Montverde Academy (FL): To be honest, we don’t know a whole lot about what has happened with Mitchell’s game or his recruitment since leaving Gahanna Lincoln and his Columbus home for prep powerhouse Montverde Academy in Florida two years ago. We do know that Mitchell, ranked as one of the elite prospects in Ohio’s 2019 class before his departure, has not received much playing time in his two seasons with Montverde Academy; and, as a result, we’re not quite sure where his recruitment stands. A long, mobile and skilled forward, rumors have surfaced that have linked Mitchell to playing a fifth year of prep ball somewhere; if he does, and the pieces of his game come together, he’s a very talented prospect to monitor.

Honorable Mention: Eddie Colbert (SF Toledo Whitmer), Milton Gage (PG Dayton Chaminade Julienne), Alex Dotson (PG Cincinnati Purcell Marian), DJ Dial (PG Cleveland Brush), Ben Fort (SG Reynoldsburg), Ryan Hall (SG Kettering Fairmont), Derek Van Lerah (SF Dublin Coffman), Jayson Woodrich (SF Cleveland Beachwood), Taevon Pierre-Louis (SF Lorain), AJ Garrett (PF Cincinnati Purcell Marian), Na’elle Simmons (C Columbus Beechcroft), Kevin Davet (C Cleveland St. Ignatius), Demetrius Terry (SG Cleveland St. Edward), Ibrahima Athie (SF Cincinnati Deer Park), Chris Painter (Akron STVSM), Sam Towns (PF Pickerington Central), D’Marco Howard (SG Hamilton)