All-Ohio AAU program known as nation’s best


AAU Basketball

The AAU boy’s basketball season has come a close, but the legacy left by All Ohio will not be forgotten anytime soon. All
Ohio Red captured the 17-and-under and 16-and-under national titles,
while All Ohio Purple earned the U-15 national championship. All Ohio
Elite U-11 brought home the gold as well. It’s an understatement to say All Ohio has something good going on…

The AAU boy’s basketball season has come a close, but the legacy left by All Ohio will not soon be forgotten.

All Ohio Red captured the 17-and-under and 16-and-under national titles, while All Ohio Purple earned the U-15 national championship. In addition, All Ohio Red 15’s added a seventh place finish. All Ohio Elite U-11 brought home the gold as well.

Behind every successful organization is good management and ownership. All Ohio is no different, led by Jerry Watson. The man behind the scenes runs All Ohio, sets up all the schedules and does his best to lure in some of the best talent the state has to offer. However, it goes without saying, the program speaks for itself at this point.

Watson has been the tireless leader for All Ohio since its beginning in 1986. Over the past 23 years, All Ohio has produced well over 200 Division I players and six NBA players.

All Ohio earned quite a bit of ink over the past three years thanks in large part to the group that just finished a run of three consecutive national championships. It doesn’t hurt when one of the top three players in America is on that particular team in speaking of Columbus Northland’s Jared Sullinger.

However, according to Watson All Ohio has been producing for years.

“In my twenty-three years we have had a lot of good teams and players come through the program, but I’m not sure any were as good as this team,” Watson noted. “This team has possibly two or three professionals.”

Some of those past players Watson is referring to are names like: Greg Simpson, Esteban Weaver, Samaki Walker, Jon Diebler, Michael Redd, Chris Quinn, Drew Lavender, Brandon Foust, Eric Snow, Kenny Gregory, Jamelle Cornley, Travis Walton, Ben “BJ” Raymond and Evan Eschmeyer.

However, at this point in the game, none have been better than Sullinger, tabbed “Big Smooth.”

“We have had a lot of good players come through this program, but Jared (Sullinger) is the best player we have had up to this point in his career,” Watson explained. “He is the most celebrated and best player at his position. He is humble, grounded, and talented which for the little kids that know him that gives them something to try and shoot for and become. He is the type of kid that keeps this thing going and develops future players.”

How does this all work and how do so many talented players assemble and co-exist as one unstoppable machine?

“Initially, you just want to get some kids with AAU experience,” Watson stated. “We scout out the talent and then try to turn them into prospects and head them down the road to success. We have great kids with high basketball IQ’s combined with great coaching. Quentin Rogers who coached our seventeen-and-under team is like the Phil Jackson of AAU. He just knows how to mold the kids together and produce successful and unselfish teams.”

The above statement couldn’t be truer. Rogers got the likes of Sullinger, Adreian Payne, Aaron Craft, Juwan Staten, J.D. Weatherspoon and Jordan Sibert together on the 17s team and made them a tight knit bunch. All six are high major players with star qualities, but All Ohio finds a way take away the “I” and make it “Us.”

All Ohio consists of All Ohio Red, Purple, White and Force in the 14’s, 15’s, 16’s and 17’s.

And although All Ohio’s most prized team has graduated don’t look for a drop off anytime soon.

“We are certainly not finished, and we are ready to make another run,” Watson said. “We have good players up and down our system. We have kids that know how to play and want to win.”

All Ohio Red’s 15-and-under team is the home of a player that Watson thinks could be the next big thing in Ohio.

“Elijah Macon is one of the most intriguing young talents in the state,” Watson said. “We have only played a few freshmen in my twenty-three years up on the seventeen’s team, and he was one of them. I just think he has amazing potential.”

Macon wasn’t able to play with AOR in the 15-and-under national tournament, but he did play a huge role in the 16’s bringing home the championship. The 6-foot-8 Macon is committed to West Virginia.

All Ohio Red 15’s are coached by Victor Dandridge.

Macon plays with three very good guards on AOR in Northland’s Jordan Potts, Dublin Jerome’s Cam Wilson and Westerville South’s Isiah “Zeke” Rogers.

The reigning U-15 national champion will also be back for more in 2010. All Ohio Purple beat an Indiana Elite team on its way to the title with two seven-footers and a six-foot-nine kid.

“Purple has great team chemistry, and Orlando Berry Sr. does a great job of coaching this bunch,” Watson noted.

The elder Berry played for All Ohio in 1987 and won a Division I state championship at Cincinnati Woodward in 1988 under head coach Larry Miller.

Purple is led by 6-foot-6 man-child Adolphus Washington who recently transferred to Cincinnati Taft from Cincinnati Roger Bacon.

The aforementioned AOR 16’s are led by head coach Benji Burke. The 16’s will be back to defend its title in 2010 led by one of the best point guards in the Class of 2011 in Columbus Northland’s Trey Burke and rising star in 6-foot-9 Nate Anderson of Teays Valley.

“Trey (Burke) is as good as it gets at point in his class, and I can’t tell you how man calls I have got on Nate Anderson since the national tournament,” Watson explained.

Anderson burst on the scene at the national tournament and is reaping the benefits now.

Traevon Jackson of Westerville South is another kid AOR will rely on for its future.

“Traevon (Jackson) is a great talent and can play with anybody in the country,” Watson said with authority. “He needs to purify his outside shot, but he still has two more years of high school.”

Jackson is the son of Jimmy Jackson.

All Ohio White’s 16-and-under team also enjoyed a lot of success led by head man Ed Lysche.

All Ohio White benefitted from 2012 star-in-the-making Kenny Kaminski of Medina. The 6-foot-6 Kaminski’s arrival to All Ohio was a little delayed, due to some complications with another Nike sponsored organization.

However, Watson has no reason to believe Kaminski won’t be a huge part of All Ohio in 2010.

“Kenny will be with us next year, and what tremendous talent and potential this kid possesses,” the AOR chief declared.

All Ohio is also in good hands at the lower level with a great influx of talent entering next year for the 15’s.

“Our fourteen’s were very talented this year, and we are looking forward to them moving up next year,” Watson said.

Some of those kids are Cleveland Benedictines Mark Williams (6’7), Toledo Whitmer’s Nigel Hayes (6’6), Toledo St. John’s Marc Loving (6’4), Pickerington Central’s Taco Charlton (6’6), Westerville North’s Jack Gibbs (5’10), and Kettering Alter’s Jaaron Simmons (5’10).

The AAU season may be over, and All Ohio finished in the top four in the 15’s, 16’s, and 17’s, but the work is never done.

The Nike All Ohio Fall Superstars League starts September 19th and runs for six consecutive Saturdays.

October 4th will be the Nike All Ohio Slam-and-Jam where kids grades 8-12 will be at The Hoop. Watson expects between 300-400 kids at this event.

The big event for high school basketball junkies will take place on November 27th at Pickerington Central High School. The event is the All Ohio Slam-and-Jam Preview. Each game will be two quarters long involving some of the best teams in the state and a few out-of-state foes. Last year, Northland and Cincinnati Princeton were matched up in the night cap which was a preview of the Division I state final.

This year’s line up will consist of Northland, Princeton, Detroit Country Day, Gahanna Lincoln, Brookhaven, Ottawa-Glandorf, Bowling Green, Cincinnati Aiken, Cincinnati Woodward, Akron SVSM, Lakewood St. Edward’s, Huber Heights Wayne, Columbus Walnut Ridge, and Pickerington Central to name a few.

“This is just a great day of basketball for the fans combined with some great talent, Watson said. “Last year we had Northland and Princeton in the marquee game and this year I am thinking possibly Northland and St. Ed’s but that could change. Those are going to be two real good teams.”

The following day with be a 16-team scrimmage at The Hoop from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Watson left JJHuddle with these two names as kids from All Ohio who he believes will have break out seasons.

“Remember the names, Jalen Robinson of Columbus Northland and Malik London of Chillicothe,” Watson lamented.

Robinson is a 6-foot-7 power forward and London is a 6-foot-8 power forward. Both will be sophomores.

What is the legacy that All Ohio’s program left on the AAU circuit?

“I think we not only proved we are one of the premier programs in Ohio, but the entire country,” Watson said. “This is definitely something that will not soon be forgotten. What we did was something that hasn’t been done in all the years I have been involved. Now, can we continue it on and make it better that is the question we want to answer.”

All Ohio Red 17’s won three consecutive Spiece Tournaments and a like amount of consecutive national championships, which is unheard of in the world of AAU basketball.

They will find out quickly in 2010 how they will respond in elite tournaments such as Boo Williams, King James, and the Swish-and-Dish.

Said Watson: “We have a target on our back, but we certainly have the talent to defend our titles.”

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