Another Wheeling Shootout came to a close, with North Canton Hoover winning a third title but that was not the only storyline from the tournament.
Contributor Kurt Stubbs checks in with a final analysis of the event.
Another Wheeling Shootout came to a close, with North Canton Hoover winning a third title. Ohio's Federal League had a 75 percent chance of winning the title coming into Sunday with Hoover, Jackson, and GlenOak all reaching the semifinals. John Marshall (W.V.), maybe a bit of a surprise to some, was the other team in the final four.
The semifinals were rather interesting, especially in one gym in particular. The Hoover/Marshal game was not real competitive (64-41), while in a small gym on the Linsly campus two Federal League rivals were locked up in a game of high intensity. Jackson and GlenOak were involved in a game that was good for several technicals and three ejections. The game ended (52-46) with 52 seconds left on the clock and Jackson on top.
Quickly, for a game of this magnitude, a gym like that should have never been used. With Hoover and Marshall playing on Linsly's big floor, this game should have been played at Wheeling Park. Ridiculous! Nothing against the guys officiating the game, but you can't put that kind of crew on this type of game. Just doesn't make sense.
The game itself, despite all the extra curriculars, was very intense with some good play. C.J. McCollum and Storm Sanders got GlenOak off to a fast start with some aggressive play. McCollum hit a couple early perimeter shots, while Sanders hit a triple and was relentless at putting pressure on the tin. It was the first time all weekend Sanders was playing very aggressive. Although, I actually believe he is a better player when penetrating and creating rather than trying to score. McCollum didn't play one of his better games.
The two bigs for Jackson played very well as they did all weekend. Mark Henniger (6-foot-8/Jr.) and Josh Egner (6-foot-7/Jr.) were dominant on the interior with Brad Dupont playing very well on the perimeter.
The championship game, featuring two more Federal League foes, was as intense as a final that I've seen at the Shootout in quite some time. The play was very crisp with a team oriented Hoover squad coming up with the champhionship, 53-45.
Hoover, benefitting from Canton McKinley transfer Joe Gross, was dominant all weekend. Gross, a 6-foot-7 post, put his name on the map early and often in Wheeling. Gross is long, athletic and has a nice game from about 15-feet in and was a nightmare matchup for most everyone the Vikings played. The matchup with he and Henniger was very good and is a sign of things to come in Federal League play.
Nick Sommers of Hoover also raised his stock this weekend. The 6-foot-4 senior was very aggressive all weekend. Another kid, Cory Veldhuizen, was a menace on the boards and added some scoring throughout the shootout. Veldhuizen (6-foot-4, Jr.) was the leading rebounder in the tourney. Not too bad for a kid that played J.V. ball a year ago.
Sophomore-to-be Nyles Evans had his moments running the show for the Vikings. He is a little undersized at this point, but handles the ball very well.
To me, each weekend that passes, Jackson's Egner really continues to climb the ladder. Egner is a lot more physical than Henniger at this point with above average bounce. He single handidly brought Jackson back in the championship with several strong takes to the hole. Egner finished in traffic extremely well and really attacks the offensive and defensive boards. He also had a couple moster jams in the championship.
Obviously, Henniger's upside is very good. He is 6-foot-8 now, but looks to be in the 6-foot-10 to 6-foot-11 range. He is pretty skilled with a baby face and soft personality, which is the total opposite of his classmate. Henninger scored a lot off creation by the Jackson guards. His ceiling is very high. Probably a mid-major type player, perhaps Miami (Oh.) will offer soon.
The third place game went to GlenOak. The Golden Eagles defeated Marshall 71-62. McCollum led the way with 13 points, while Sanders dropped in 10 of his own. The Monarchs were led by Justin Eikleberry and Andrew Montes with 13 a piece. Montes, the 6-foot-1 guard, played well all weekend.
McCollum was a late arriver to the shootout due to taking the ACT. His services were not needed in a drubbing of local Martins Ferry. McCollum arrived in the middle of the second game against Wheeling Central and began to take over in another blowout. His presence was definitely felt in the nightcap on Saturday against a game Logan Elm squad. McCollum dropped 25 points mainly behind the arc. C.J. is deceiving with his release and good length. He is very good at facing up and freezing the defender to get his shot off. The All-Ohio guard (25 ppg) is listed at 5-foot-9 but he is probably more in the 5-foot-11 to 6-foot range at this point in time.
Sanders, a member of King James AAU squad along with McCollum, enjoyed a pretty good weekend. Like I mentioned before, he is a lot better when playing within himself and creating for others. I was able to talk with him at length on Saturday, and it was easy to tell he has good basketball knowledge.
A kid to keep an eye on is Jimmy Darnley. The GlenOak post is a little undersized at 6-foot-5, but is very fundamentally sound. The junior has a nice jump hook and is an excellent rebounder with good phyiscal skills.
Another team that played above expectations was Zanesville. The Blue Devils went 4-1 on the weekend only falling short to Jackson on Saturday evening. Coach Aronhalt's squad played incredible team defense as usual. For losing four starters and three college players, I would say Zanesville had the best weekend of any team at the shootout.
Joe Prati, the Blue Devils' 6-foot-7 post, was unstoppable. The senior-to-be showed up a little late on Saturday along with returning six man Brandon Mills as they were both taking the ACT. Prati showed why he is a high D-II to low level to possible mid-major D-I type player. Joe has great length, deceiving strength, and room to grow another two to three inches. The baby face Prati, always playing with a smile on his face, scored in traffic all weekend and showed good strength in doing so on many occassions. Prati was dunking in traffic, hitting his fall away 10 to 15 footer, and even showing off his three-point range. His hands are excellent as well. Prati has come miles in the past two years thanks to his work ethic and the Zanesville program.
The kid that opened my eyes the most was sophomore-to-be Tanner Gibson of Zanesville. This kid is going to be another great one at Zanesville. He is a Cedric Harris clone, but a little better at this point in his career. Tanner was hitting the pull up jumper and spot up three with ease on Sunday against Logan Elm. He and Prati totally dominated the second half against a very good Logan Elm squad. Gibson handles the ball very well and creates, and has potential to be up there with the Blue Devil greats before his career is over.
Logan Elm was a team I got to see a good bit of throughout the weekend, and I was highly impressed. The Braves added to solid players to go along with a pretty good returning nucleus.
Tim Congrove played well for Logan Elm for the most part. He shot the ball off the move extremely well in most of the games, and showed great body control in the lane. Congrove does a nice job of using what body he does have in traffic. He is also a 4.0 student, which helps.
The other top returnee, Adam Blake, ran the point very well. I love Blake's game. He doesn't try to do too much, and he is a real floor general. A very good basketball IQ.
The two newcomers added quite a bit, especially Teays Valley transfer Brandon Amann. The 6-foot-3 Amann averaged 18.8 points per game for Teays a year ago in only playing the first four games of the year. He dropped 35 points on his new squad Logan Elm and 19 against Canal Winchester.
Amann was Logan Elm's best performer throughout the weekend. Tyler Tucci of Malvern received the leading scorer award, but actually Amann should have been the recipient of that award (that is why the Shootout needs a committee and not just the guys running the show to keep tract of this kind of stuff). Amann scored 32 points on Sunday in a head-to-head match up with Tucci. Logan Elm won the game 68-61, and Tucci finished with 26. Amann had other games of 35 and 28. He displays above average bounce with the ability to shoot off the dribble over top of defenders, slash to the goal, and hit the spot up trey. This kid will be the x-factor for the Braves, which is a team I think can make a run at the state tournament in Division II.
The other transfer is Logan Hauserman of Frankfort Adena. The 6-foot-8 and 300-plus pound monster came off the bench and gave quality minutes. He needs a little work on his feet, but he has good hands and can finish on the interior. His sport is definitely football where he just got back from the University of Tennessee's team camp this past week.
Hauserman's mother is the great Cindy Noble-Hauserman of the University of Tennessee fame. She is a two-time Olympian in women's basketball (1980, 1984) winning gold in the 1984 games in Los Angeles. She scored 1,932 points and snared 966 boards in just three seasons of play and was a Kodak All-American in 1981.
Malvern had another productive weekend with Tyler Tucci leading the way once again. Tucci is a favorite of most of the local college coaches. He is a gutsy player that plays bigger than his 6-foot-2 frame. Tyler shot the ball better than he usually does from the perimeter on Saturday, but it's still a bit flat. Tucci is a solid mid level D-II player.
Another Ohio squad that played well was Coshocton. The Redskins went 4-1 on the weekend and beat a good Akron Green team in the consolation tourney finals. Junior-to-be David Brown shot the ball well, and his fellow classmate Dom McCluskey was solid as well. The latter was absent last weekend due to the state track meet. Brown may be the best shooter in the Eastern District when he gets the puppies set.
Although his team didn't do particulary well, Joe Rine of Buckeye Local had an outstanding weekend. This kid is probably the one potential college basketball player in the Ohio Valley. Joe's game continues to improve and he is a legit 6-foot-6. The lefty can handle the rock, shoot off the dribble, hit the spot up trey, and even has a little floater to his game. I've seen him play face up and with his back to the basket. His only downfall will be playing for a poor team and against low competition. Rine needs to get to more showcases and camps. I really believe he is solid D-II player.
Other solid players were North Allegheny's (Pa.) Jeff Haus (6-foot-5) and Nick Dvorsky (6-foot-2) both of whom are seniors. Haus impressed me in the games I saw him play with his good body control and ability to score in the paint.
Peter's Township's (Pa.) Nick Wilcox was also impressive. The 6-foot-3 guard has a college body and will make some team a nice college player. His backcourt mate, Craig Walcott, shot the ball really well throughout the shootout.
Top Players from the Wheeling Shootout:
C.J. McCollum- Canton GlenOak (5-foot-11/Sr.)
Storm Sanders- Canton GlenOak (6-foot-1/Jr.)
Jimmy Darnley- Canton GlenOak (6-foot-5/Jr.)
Joe Gross- North Canton Hoover (6-foot-7/Sr.)
Nick Sommers- North Canton Hoover (6-foot-4/Sr.)
Cory Veldhuizen- North Canton Hoover (6-foot-4/Jr.)
Tim Congrove- Logan Elm (5-foot-11/Sr.)
Brandon Amann- Logan Elm (6-foot-3/Sr.)
Tyler Tucci- Malvern (6-foot-2/Sr.)
Brad Dupont- Massillon Jackson (6-foot-0/Jr.)
Josh Egner- Massillon Jackson (6-foot-7/Sr.)
Mark Henniger- Massillon Jackson (6-foot-8/Jr.)
Jeff Haus- North Allegheny (6-foot-5/Sr.)
Nick Dvorsky- North Allegheny (6-foot-2/Sr.)
Nick Wilcox- Peters Twp (6-foot-3/Sr.)
Joe Prati- Zanesville (6-foot-6/Sr.)
Tanner Gibson- Zanesville (5-foot-11/Soph.)
Joe Rine- Buckeye Local (6-foot-6/Jr.)