Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Future Phenom Camp-Day #2 Standouts

Z. Harmon, D. Harris, T. Patterson, S.Bouges, G. Large, K. Brantley, A Hoggard,  A. Sellers &  C. Alexander
Day two of the Basketball Spotlight Future Phenom Camp featured playoff and all-star games in each division.  I had the opportunity to checkout some of the younger kids and was pleasantly surprised at the amount of young talent.  One of the best players I saw all day was Zion Harmon (2021 PG Maryland).  Harmon dominated the NYBL this season and his performance at this event mirrored that success.  As an example, In one game, Harmon dropped a gaudy 29 points! Harmon can both score the ball, while setting up his teammates for easy buckets. The lead guard has a high basketball IQ and cannot be rattled. I was also really impressed with Darnell Harris (2021 6’1 C Miami, FL), a quality big with a lot of upside potential.  Already possessing good length for his age, Harris is long, athletic, and does a good job of finishing around the cup.

Kahlil Brantly (2021 4’11 PG Charlotte, NC) logged in another good camp, Brantley has the ball on the string and he uses his elite handle to break down defenders and get into the paint where he often makes good decisions with the rock.   He can get you buckets or wow you with his vision and the ability to find the open man. Trey Patterson (2021 6’1 WF Summerset, NJ) is another good-looking prospect.  Like Harris, Patterson has good size, runs the floor well and has good athleticism.  Keep an eye on Patterson; he has a bright future.

In terms of point guards, Carlos Alexander (2021 4’5 PG Baltimore, MD) was one of the best young floor generals at the event.  Trey Thomas (2021 5’2 PG Upper Marlboro, MD) is another quality floor general with a tight handle and ability to live in the paint. Super quick and always in attack mode best describes Alexander’s game.  Any discussion about young PGs has to include Saarmartine Bogues (2023 4’6 PG Baltimore, MD), a dynamic little floor general who is tough to stay in front of. Bogues has a mature game for his age and is fun to watch.

New to the class of 2020, AJ Hoggard (2020 5’10 PG Coatesville, PA) made his debut in the class this weekend, and as expected, he is going to be tough to handle.  A bigger and stronger guard in 2020, Hoggard can play multiple positions and can post up smaller guards.  He still has an elite handle and is still crafty enough to get in the paint on a regular basis. Marquise Walker (2019 5’8 PG Chicago, IL) had a good day on Sunday, including a clutch buzzer beating jumper to help his team advance.  Walker was solid on the opening day, but stepped up his play on the final day. When he makes good decision with the rock, Walker is among the elite floor generals in the country.

After their stellar play on day one, both Justin Moore (2019 6’0 SG DC) and Korbin Spencer (2019 6’0 SG Sandy Hook, KY) continued their excellent play on Sunday.  Paired in the same backcourt, Moore and Spencer led their team to the championship game.  Spencer was one of the best defenders at the camp, while Moore was one of the best scorers.  All in all, the first year event was solid, and should be judged by the amount of talent it was able to assemble and the intriguing match ups it was able to create.

Day Two Standouts:

Sarmartine Bogues (2023 4’6 PG Baltimore, MD)
Antonio Sellers (2022 5’3 C Jersey City, NJ)
Grant Ott-Large (2022 5’3 C Laporte, IN)
Keyon Webb (2022 5’3 WF Durham, NC)
Zion Harmon (2021 5’4 PG)
Darnell Harris (2021 6-1 C Miami, FL)
Trey Patterson (2021) 6’1 WF Summerset, NJ)
Trey Thomas (2021 5’2 PG Upper Marlboro, MD)
Khalil Brantley (2021 4’11 PG Charlotte, NC)
Carlos Alexander (2021 4’5 PG Baltimore, MD)
Trevor Keels (2021 5’8 WF Clinton, MD)
Jake Koverman (2021 5’9 W/PF) Severna Park, MD
AJ Hoggard (2020 5’10 PG Coatesville, PA)
Garrett Ott-Large (2020 6’0 WF Laporte, IN)
Ahmed Fair (2020 5’8 PG Philadelphia, PA)
Marquise Walker (2019 5’8 PG Chicago, IL)

Other Standouts:

John Mobley Jr. (2024)
Khoi Thurmond (2023)
Bryce McGowans (2021)
Travonne Jackson (2021)
Keon Henderson (2021)
Stalin Oaks (2021)
George Cutler (2021)
Jayden Pierre (2021)
Trevor Keels (2021)
Griffin Barouk (2021)
Michael Anderson (2021)
Khalal Farmer (2021)
Ty Wilson (2021)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Future Phenom Camp Load with Talent

M. Mitchell, J. Francis, C. Evans, J. Moore, T. Ingraham, C. Depollao & M. Mitchell
It may only be a first year event, but Mike Melton and Bill Francis exceeded expectations with the amount of talent they attracted to Washington DC for their inaugural Basketball Spotlight Future Phenom Camp.  Held at the New 24 facility, the first year event attracted about 260 campers in grades 3rd-8th. Day one of the event kicked off with a skills and drills sessions, followed by a series of games and skills contests.

I spent most of the day checking out the 8th grade action, and one of the best players I saw all day was Makhel Mitchell  (6’7 PF MD).  Mitchell has a great combination of size skill, and is already proficient on both ends of the court.  Mitchell is not an extreme athlete, but he protects the rim and can score consistently on the low block.  His twin brother Makhi Mitchell (6’6 PF MD) is no slouch, and is also productive offensively and defensively.  Both bothers are elite level talents and excellent long-term prospects.  Arguably the top 2019 guard at the event was Jeremiah Francis (5’11 PG Ohio). Francis solidified his status in the NYBL, and he upheld his rep at this event.  Much too strong for most guards, Francis is a stat stuffer, putting up big scoring, assist and rebounding numbers. Although he does most of his damage slashing to the cup, he can shoot it to if he gets any space.

The Mitchel twins weren’t the only quality bigs in the building, as Tariq Engrahm (6’6 PF/C DE) logged in an excellent first day performance. Engrahm has great hands, a soft touch, and unlike most kids with size theses days, he embraces low post post play rather than fading out to the wing for a jump shop.  Engrahm is another great prospect going forward. I had a chance to see Donte Scott (6’4 WF PA) and Che Evans (6’3 WF MD) for the first time and was impressed with both! Evans and Scott are blessed with size and athleticism, are skilled, and should be able to contribute early to a high school program in another year. Justin Moore (6’0 SG MD) was extremely productive on the opening day.  Like he did in the NYBL, Moore relentlessly attacked the cup and finished. Aggressive, strong and athletic best describes this elite shooting guard. 

Add Isaiah Mosely (5’10 SG CN) to the list ballers at the event.  Mosley made his name in the NYBL this year playing with Canada’s Northern Kings. He’s continuing to build on his rep with his performance this weekend.  What’s most impressive is his unselfish and team-oriented play.  Oh, he can get you buckets, but he always seems to make the right play, rather that’s scoring himself or making a play for a teammate.  I just like the kid’s game.

J. Springer, J. Toles, C. Beyers & RJ Davis
I did not get a chance to watch many of the younger kids, but I did catch a glimpse of a handful of outstanding performances.  Both Jaden Springer (5’9 WF NC) and Jordon Toles (6’0 SG MD) are extreme competitors who have the ability to put their teams on their backs in order to get a win.  Both players put up gaudy numbers on day one while solidifying their places among the best in their class. Cameron Beyers (6’4 PF MD) is new to the class of 2020, having run with the 2019  6th Man Warriors in the NYBL last season.  Beyers was good then, but he will be dominant in this class, as evidenced by his strong play yesterday. Also new to the class is Tyler Brelsford (5’8 PG MD), who ran with Team Takeover in the NYBL this past season. Brelsford put up big numbers in at least one of the games I watched and his high basketball IQ is already serving him well in the class of 2020. Finally, keep an eye out for RJ Davis (5’3 PG NY).  I only caught a glimpse of him, but what I did see, I liked. A smart PG with poise and skill is what caught my eye.

Standout Performers:

(2019): Makhel Mitchell (6’7 PF MD), Jeremiah Francis (5’11 PG Ohio), Che Evans (6’3 WF MD), Justin Moore (6’0 SG MD), Tariq Engrahm (6’6 PF/C DE), Donte Scott (6’4 WF PA), Makhi Mitchell (6’6 PF MD), Christian Depollao (6’4 WF MD), Isaiah Mosely (5’10 SG CN), Anthony Byrd (5’10 PG PA), Anthony Johnson (6’4 P/SG PA), Korbin Spencer (6’0 SG KY), James Bishop (6’0 PG MD), Liam Ball (6’4 WF PA), Rob Higgins (5’8 PG NJ). (2020): Jaden Springer (5’9 WF NC), Jordon Toles (6’0 SG MD), Cameron Beyers (6’4 PF MD), RJ Davis (5’3 PG NY) & Tyler Brelsford (5’8 PG MD).

Other Players to Watch:

Carston Kogelnk (2019MD), Marquise Walker (2019 IL), Matt Crowley (2019 NJ), Segfried Reid (2019 MD), Michael Etuaful (2019 MD), Dale Hewitt (2019 CN), Jaheim Tanksley (2019 NJ), Allen Powell (2019 PA), Christian Lngs (2019 PA), & Eric Dixon (2019 PA).

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Stovall's Final 2014 Travel Team Rankings

All-Ohio Red U-17
Our good friend John Stovall covers high school basketball extensively, and below he has put together his rankings of the top 5 teams in Ohio in each high school division.  Also listed is Stovall's list of the best travel programs in the state. Let the debate begin!

15 & Under

1.  Team Work
2.  All Ohio Red
3.  King James
4.  Team Unity
5.  OBC

16 & Under

1.  OBC
2. All Ohio Red
3. King James
4. Team Work
5. VCC Ohio Warriors

17 & Under

1.  All Ohio Red
2.  King James
3.  OBC
4.  All Ohio Black
5.  Team Work

Best Programs

1. All Ohio Red
2. King James
3. OBC
4. Team Work
5.  (tie) Hidden Gems

5.  (tie) Queen City

Monday, July 28, 2014

RNB Classic Brings Out the Stars

Like most large urban communities, Columbus has its fair share of charity basketball events.  On Saturday, Leon Rogers and his Rogers Neighborhood Organization (RNB) hosted the 8th Annual RNB Classic at East High School. Judging by the standing room only crowd that packed into the gym, Rogers’ event continues to grow from year after year. With major sponsors like the Columbus Dispatch, WBNS TV, Care Source, Radio One, Lifesaver, the Trey Burke Foundation and Team Sully, the event was able to deliver its powerful message of non violence and peace in the community, while bringing in quality entertainment like the Western Stars Drill Team to help entertain the crowd.

Although the celebrity basketball game is the main attraction, with notable NBA and European talent like Trey Burke, Jered Sullinger, John Diebler, Sconnie Penn, Terrence Dials and Estabon Weaver  returning to central Ohio to lend support for this very worthwhile event, the RNB Classic also includes a highly competitive 3-on-3 basketball tournament for middle school-aged players.  The 3-on-3 tournament annually attracts some of Columbus’ top young players in grades 4th-8th.  Some of the standout players we saw included: Sean Jones (Affiliated), Josiah Harris (Affiliated), Jalon Sullenger (Team Sully) Jayden Lipscome (Westport), Azaan Daniels (Buckeye Prep), Patrick Daniels (Buckeye Prep),  Jeremiah Francias (Westport), Jerome Hunter (J-Time), Bob Faller (Next Level), Gabe Towns (Next Level) and Tahleik Walker.  Not only did the RNB Classic provide the central Ohio community with a great day of basketball, the event raised  a lot of money for local charity. Congratulations to Leon Rogers, his family, staff and sponsors for organizing such a fantastic community event. Below are results for all 5 divisions.

Final Results

John Faller,  Gabe Towns, Gary Elder & Bob Faller 
8th Grade

Next Level-Champions

Jeremiah Francis, Jayden Lipscome, Keshawn Heard & JaJuan Rogers
7th Grade

Only The Family-Runner-ups

Fred Wilks, Marquise Moore, Kyle Tolbert & Demeatric Crenshaw
6th Grade

Treymendus Ballers-Champions
Dem Boys-Runner-Ups

Jalen Sullenger, Jaiden Guice, & Ian Schupp Dougherty 
5th Grade

Team Sully-Champions

Kollin Tolbert,  John Mobley, Josiah Harris & Sean Jones
4th Grade

Team Extreme-Runner-Ups

Friday, July 18, 2014

Ohio Well Represented in DII & D-III Nationals

Shining Stars-AAU Nationals 5th Place Finish
Like the D-I AAU Nationals, the 8th grade D-II nationals were held at the same facilities in Orlando, Florida. Ohio was represented by 5 teams, including the Shinning Stars, Dayton Metro, Buckeye Prep, Ohio Freedom and SMAC Flash. By the final day, both the Shinning Stars and Dayton Metro had finished in the top 10. The Shinning Stars’ 71-43 over Kessell Heat garnered them a 5th place finish, while a 55-48 win over Premier Hoops propelled Dayton Metro to a 7th place finish.

Although Buckeye Prep was still playing on the final day, a 72-41 loss in the 1st round consolation bracket put an end to their medal hopes.  All-in-all it was a good run for Ohio teams in Orlando.  Congrats to the Shining Stars and Dayton Metro for repping the Buckeye State well.  Congrats also go out to All-Ohio Takeover for winning it all at the D-III AAU Nationals in Hampton, Virginia.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

SMAC U Places at D-I AAU Nationals

SMAC U-AAU Nationals 9th Place Finishers 
Five Ohio based teams made the trek to Orlando, Florida to participate in the D-I 8th grade AAU Nationals, and by the end of the tournament on Wednesday, only the Cleveland based SMAC U had placed among the top 14 finishers.  SMAC U finished 3-0 in pool play and was cruising through the championship bracket until Sports U Izod upended them (68-43) in the 3rd round. Once relegated to the 3rd round consolation bracket, SMAC U got hot and ran off 3 straight wins on their way to a 9th place finish. To get to the medal game, SMAC U took down Hughley Elite Blue (81-71), 916 Select (67-62) and the powerful Kentucky Gators (62-72).

SMAC U is no stranger to success as evidenced by their 50-5 overall record this season.  Also, their run at the nationals was accomplished with a short roster of only 8 players.  According to Head Coach Gene Ready; the team’s success can be attributed to overall team play. “We took 8 guys down who were all incredibly unselfish,” Ready said. “We had 4 different guys leading us in scoring over the 9 games,” Ready continued. Ready also was proud of the play of point guard Sincere Carry who held Damon Hodge, one of the top PGs in the country, to only 4 points. SMAC U will finish the 2014 season with a return trip to the Gym Rats Nationals in Fort Wayne, Indiana in a couple of weeks. The SMAC U roster includes: Sincere Carry, Garrett Houser, Phil Jurkovic, Gavin Blunt, Greyson Green, Jaret Pallotta, Luke Brand and Tadas Tataranus.

The only other Ohio team to make it out of pool play was the Queen City Prophets (QCP).  After finishing 2-1 in pool play and making it into the championship bracket, QCP dropped their first game to Team Texas Elite (72-51).  From there, QCP defeated Hoop Heaven Elite (63-55), but was dispatched from the tournament after a 63-45 loss to Hughley Elite Blue. In the next round

The Ohio Hoopsters (2-1), King James (1-2) and All-Ohio Red (1-2) all failed to make it out of pool play and were forced to continue their run in the Classic bracket.  Once there, the Hoopsters got by Shooting Stars NY (63-58) and Atlanta Blackout (66-50) before being edged out by instate rival King James (59-57).  King James advanced one game further before going down to Baltimore’s Finest (61-46).  All-Ohio Red won their opening round Classic game against the Georgia Stars (72-45), but headed home after a 48-45 loss to CFL Magic 2018.

For the record, Georgia United Elite defeated Sports U Izod (47-41) in the championship game to take home the title. We All Can Go, MB1, Texas Select, NC Running Rebels, San Antonio Hardwork and LA-ATR Xplosion rounded out the final eight. Ohio has a long history of success at national tournaments, so placing only 1 team in the medal count has to be a bit disappointing. However, congrats to SMAC U for insuring we had at least 1 team “in the money.”