All-Ohio Slam-N-Jam Preview doesn’t disappoint


Cincinnati Taft sophomore Adolphus Washington

As the Thanksgiving Day dinners were wearing off, the new Nikes and
Adidas were squeaking the floors, and basketball season is getting
ready to turn up the heat as we approach another winter. Friday, at Pickerington Central High School, some of the state’s top
talent was performing in front of some sizeable early season crowds
despite some still being in football mode.

As the Thanksgiving Day dinners were wearing off, the new Nikes and Adidas were squeaking the floors, and basketball season is getting ready to turn up the heat as we approach another winter.

Friday, at Pickerington Central High School, some of the state’s top talent was performing in front of some sizeable early season crowds despite some still being in football mode.

Here are the results from the All-Ohio Slam-N-Jam Preview.

Findlay Liberty Benton defeated Dayton Jefferson
(L-B)- Jordan Benson (15) and Aaron Craft (13)
(DJ)- Adreian Payne (13)

Dayton Stivers 32 Columbus Independence 24
(DS)- Regis Motley (12) and Brett Strange (9)
(CI)- Brandon Tyler (9)

Harvest Prep 40 Cincinnati Western Hills 30
(HP)- Geron Tate (11), Shakir Dunning (10), and Grant Harris (7)

Columbus Eastmoor 33 Bowling Green 31
(CE)- Matt Ryan (13) and Doug Thorpe (10)
(BG)- Chauncey Orr (10)

Columbus Walnut Ridge 32 Reynoldsburg 23
(WR)- Austin Traylor (13)
(R)- Brandon Rushton (8)

Westerville Central 33 Cincinnati Woodward 33
(WC)- Max Van Meter (12)
(CW)- Mervin Taylor (19)

Pickerington Central 30 Toledo Libbey 20
(PC)- Anthony McGarrah (10)
(TL)- Maurice Birdsong (7)

Cincinnati Taft 35 Westerville North 29
(CT)- Kevin Mitchell (9), Cameron Mitchell (8), and Adolphus Washington (8)
(WN)- Kenny DeBoer (8) and Ralph Hill (8)

Dublin Coffman 35 Toledo Start 25
(DC)- Christian Heine (10) and Michael Green (10)
(TS)- Anthony Henderson (11)

Columbus Brookhaven defeated Trotwood-Madison
(CB)- Craig Sealy (9)
(T-M)- Darnell Tubbs (13)

Akron SVSM 28 Wilmington 28
(SVSM)- Ricky Johnson Jr. (10)
(W)- Quinten Rollins (12)

Columbus Northland 35 Cincinnati Aiken 30
(CN)- Jared Sullinger (13) and Trey Burke (9)
(CA)- Aaron Thomas (10)

We arrived a little late for Game 1 driving over from the scrimmage at Reynoldsburg finding out we had missed most of the Findlay Liberty-Benton/Dayton Jefferson game, which was supposed to be Game 2.

All-Ohio had to flip-flop the Columbus Independence/Dayton Stivers game with L-B/Jefferson, which had something to do with L-B needing its time slot changed.

In the time we were there, Aaron Craft (6’2/2010) of L-B was his usual self leading his team from the point and making all the right plays. Craft elevates all of his teammates play. 5-foot-9 junior Jordan Benson shot the ball well for L-B off the drive and kick scoring a game-high 15 points.

Cody Latimer (6’3/2011) of Dayton Jefferson was absent from Friday afternoon’s game, but was said to have played Saturday morning in a scrimmage at the USA Sports Academy.

In Game 3, Harvest Prep was outstanding especially with its defensive intensity. 6-foot-5 junior Westerville South transfer Geron Tate played liked a man on a mission. We have been waiting for that kind of performance from Tate. 6-foot-1 junior Shakir Dunning played well on both sides of the floor. Dunning scored in the paint and showed off his athleticism with a few crowd-pleasing blocked shots. 6-foot sophomore Grant Harris got into the paint and scored on several occassions. He does a nice job of drawing contact. Prep created a ton of turnovers with its sticky on-the-ball defense.

Three prospects in Game 4 we were keeping an eye on were Eastmoor’s Doug Thorpe and Bowling Green’s junior Chauncey Orr (6’4) and freshman Vitto Brown (6’6).

Thorpe is a solid guard that can score with good strength. Orr is not a great athlete, but uses his body well and has good fundamentals. Orr is more of an old-school player. Brown started but his play was limited. This kids looks as if he may grow two or three more inches.

In Game 5, Walnut Ridge looked very good. Junior Austin Traylor (6’4) scored 13 points for the ‘Ridge using his strength and physcicallity to score in the paint. Traylor knocked down some outside shots as well.

We love the potential of 6-foot-8 W-R freshman/sophomore Alssane Kah. This kid has upside galore. Kah is very aggressive for a youngster that is long and lean. He will really attack and go after the basketball on rebounds. D1s need to keep a close eye on Kah.

Reynoldsburg’s Brandon Rushton (6’2/2010) played well doing what he does and that is score the basketball. Ruston will be a steal for a good D2 program.

In Game 6, Westerville Central’s Max Van Meter (6’6/2010) continues to shine. Van Meter can slash to the basket, run the floor, and shoot off the catch and has showed he can score off the move. Van Meter is a real sleeper for a D2 program. His phone should be ringing off the hook in the coming weeks.

Cincinnati Woodward two-guard Mervin Taylor (6’1/2010) scored in bunches on Saturday scoring a day-high 19 points in the two quarters. Taylor slashed to the bucket with ease and scored near the rim using his athleticism. Taylor makes a lot of shots inside with a high-degree of difficulty. He was also able to knock down shots from the outside as well.

Two highly touted freshmen for Woodward, Eric Trent Donald (6’3) and Austin Grimes (6’4), both played quite a bit but struggled to get a feel for the game. Give these two a few games, and we should see some production from both.

Game 7 featured the host school, Pickerington Central, versus D2 power Toledo Libbey.

Central was very impressive after being taken behind the wood shed this past Tuesday against Dayton Dunbar. Libbey was the surprise team of the night for all the wrong reasons. After a productive morning at Reynoldsburg, Libbey looked uninspired Friday night.

Pickerington Central’s Anthony McGarrah (5’9/2010) shot the ball real well from the outside. The little lefty has very good range.

None of Libbey’s junior big three (Maurice Taylor, Lonacy Utley, Milan Mabry) did anything noteworthy in this contest. Junior Maurice Birdsong brought his lunch pale and was able to scrap and score inside.

Game 8 showcased many basketball aficionados preseason favorite in D3 (Cincinnati Taft) against D1 heavy weight Westerville North.

The final score (35-29) with Taft winning was no indication of how well the Senators played. After finishing up with Northland in the morning, Taft brought that same intensity over to Pickerington. The Senators were smothering on defense making it extremely hard for North star and Dayton-bound Ralph Hill to catch the basketball. Taft was able to put a lot of pressure on the ball and create turnovers.

Adolphus Washington (6’6/2012) made quite a few high level plays on the inside including a call for the ball in the post followed by a quick spin move and lay-in.

The Mitchell brothers (Cameron and Kevin) were scoring the basketball and playing very aggressive on both ends of the floor. Cameron Mitchell played well all day.

North had trouble getting things going on offense often times being forced to have its four-man dribble around on the perimeter with nothing happening.

Game 9 had Dublin Coffman entertaining late addition Toledo Start.

Coffman’s Christian Heine continues to impress us. He was able to do a little bit of everything on Friday. The 6-foot-1 junior just knows how to play. Teammate Michael Green (6’6/2010) picked up where he left off in the fall continuing to shoot the basketball from 19-feet-in with high efficiency.

Conner Viers (5’10/2010) was in the line up after finishing up a very productive football campaign for the (12-1) Shamrocks. Viers adds a lot of toughness to the line up and will make all the right plays.

Sophomore point guard Kyle Molock (6’1) didn’t light up the scoreboard, but played consistent at point and can score when needed. The Purdue commit is one of the top rated point guards in the state.

Keep an eye on young 6-foot-10 sophomore Eric Weisenbach. He continues to improve every time out and is willing to work in the areas he lacks. Weisenbach is a year younger than his classmates.

Toledo Start’s Anthony Henderson does one thing very well and that is score the basketball. He has good speed end-to-end and can slash into the paint scoring near the rim. Henderson told us he will wait until after the season to make his decision listing Wright State, Eastern Kentucky, and Bowling Green as his top three.

Game 10 saw Columbus Brookhaven tangle with Trotwood-Madison.

Bowling Green-bound Columbus Brookhaven senior Craig Sealy continues his hot play scoring inside and hitting the pull-up jumper.

Trotwood was led by the athletic Darnell Tubbs (6’2/2010). Tubbs uses his athleticism to score in the paint. He made several “wow” plays for the Rams.

Game 11 featured two of Ohio’s best teams in D2 with Akron SVSM and Wilmington. However, neither team was at full strength. SVSM was playing without Jakarr Sampson (6’8/2011) and Wilmington was without Ashland signee Jordan Berlin (6’3) and Nyles Williams (6’2/2010).

Regardless, the game ended in a tie and was back-and-forth for most of the game. Ricky Johnson Jr. played well at the lead guard spot for SVSM and had got to the bucket as time was running and having a good look for the winner but it rattled out. Johnson loves to take the big shot.

Wilmington was led by point guard and Miami (OH) signee Quinten Rollins. The 6-foot senior can do it all. Rollins can shoot the outside shot, score off penetration, and get into the lane and share the wealth.

Game 12 saw Columbus Northland face off with Cincinnati Aiken in a heated contest.

The game, which tipped at 11:15 pm with the stands still filled, was entrenched with emotion and high-spirited play by several individuals.

Northland’s Jared Sullinger scored 13 points and violently blocked five Aiken shots. Sullinger, who was set off early in the contest, made it his business to erase every Aiken shot he was near. Most of the blocks were emphatic nearly throwing one in the hallway and another was smacked off the board near the top of the box.

The “Big Smooth” used his power and strength to score over Kent State signee Kenny Knight (6’7/2010) also slamming one home off a miss.

His best play of the night happened when catching the ball on the left wing and using a power dribble to the right followed by a vicious spin move leading to a left-handed lay-in. Not exactly a play a kid that size should be able to make.

Junior point guard Trey Burke (6’0) was up for the challenge as well handling the basketball under heavy pressure and getting the corner on his defender taking the ball all the way to the basket and finishing. The Penn State commit can score in a variety of ways with a bevy of different shots.

James “JD” Weatherspoon was dunking around the rim and erasing shots on the defensive end. Weatherspoon’s put-back dunk off a Trey Burke miss even got a “wow” reaction from Prep Spotlight’s John Stovall who has seen many great plays in his years covering prep hoops.

Northland’s defense was very good for most of the game. On one possession, three Aiken shot attempts were blocked by three different Viking players including Sullinger, Weatherspoon, and talented 6-foot-8 sophomore Jalen Robinson.

Aiken wasn’t without some top-notch play either. 6-foot-4 junior Aaron Thomas brought the fire from Cincinnati attacking the basket without any regard to the defense.

Thomas had a few shots blocked, but he kept attacking and was able to score around the rim and knock down the outside jumper.

Kenny Knight played very well for his first high school action in front of crowd in quite some time. Knight ran the floor well, scored on the interior, and even caught a lob for a two-handed jam off a nice inbound play.

Sophomore point guard Willie Moore (6’3) didn’t see much action, but the kid is certainly talented.

Northland won the two quarters (35-30), but not without a serious fight from the Falcons.

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