Ohio players shine, excel at West Virginia Jam Fest


Strongsville’s Aaron White

The 2010 Hoop Group West Virginia Jam Fest wrapped up this past Friday
on the campus of West Virginia University with several Ohio teams and players
impressing. Here’s who did what…

MORGANTOWN, WV – The 2010 Hoop Group West Virginia Jam Fest wrapped up this past Friday on the campus of West Virginia University with several Ohio teams impressing.


Coming into the event many thought the Ohio Basketball Club 17-and-under unit could defend its title, but very few considered Friends 4 Life a legitimate threat to the gold.

OBC came to Morgantown without star player Chane Behanan (6’7/2011) of Bowling Green (KY) and Nick Harney (6’7/2010) of Cleveland Benedictine, though, the Cleveland-based squad was still able to make the Elite Eight led by rising senior Aaron White (6’8/2011) of Strongsville.

As OBC exited on Thursday night, Friends for Life was still standing after defeating Team Takeover Canada 17U.

Friends 4 Life:
Another Cleveland-based squad, F4L, was able to use its grit and toughness along with a few new additions to make Friday’s Final Four with Thursday wins over Team NJABC, Expressions Elite, and Team Takeover.

The win over Expressions was very impressive, and F4L can thank new pick up Trey Lewis (6’2/2011) of Garfield Heights. Lewis, who usually plays with Donyell Marshall’s team, joined with some of his Cleveland-area buddies and produced in a big way.

F4L and Expressions played to a 29-all score at intermission when Lewis decided to take over with Expressions being concerned about Anton Grady (6’8/2011) of Cleveland Central Catholic. Lewis knocked down three-straight bonus balls in the second half and then followed with two more to help pull off a stunning 66-59 upset in front of a jam- packed coaches section.

Lewis was a huge boost to F4L when Grady didn’t have his best game as he struggled to score against the size and length of Expressions’ interior players.

Lewis is being courted by the Big 10, Big East, Atlantic 10, Ivy League, Horizon League, MAC, and Patriot League.

Expressions have two of the best 2012 prospects in the country in Ricardo Ledo (6’5) of South Kent School (RI) and Khem Birch (6’9) of Winchendon School (MA). Birch is a better than terrific shot blocker. He blocked or got a piece of virtually every shot in his vicinity. He runs the floor extremely well covering large amounts of ground in a short period of time. His offensive game is improving, which is a good sign.

On Friday, F4L got a 25-foot banked three-point shot by “Silk” Grady as time expired to defeat a loaded Team Philly 2012 squad, 68-67.

Rising juniors Amile Jefferson (6’7/2012) and Savon Goodman (6’5/2012) scored 21 and 19 points respectively to lead Team Philly in defeat.

In the championship game, F4L jumped out to a 17-14 lead over the No. 1 seed (New England Playaz), but that quickly changed as the Playaz claimed a 37-24 half time advantage.

The Playaz extended its lead to 45-28 before F4L went on an 11-1 run to cut the lead to 46-39. Though, Friends never got any closer and eventually lost, 67-57.

Grady led Friends with 24 points while Delbert Love (6’0/2011) of Lakewood St. Edward’s added 13.

New England was led by high-major recruit Alex Murphy (6’9/2012) of St. Mark’s School (MA) with 19 points. Naadir Tharp (6’0/2011) of Brewster Academy (NH) was next with 14 followed by Markus Kennedy (6’9/2010) adding 10.

Though, Max Hooper (6’7/2011) of Brewster Academy (NH) only had five points in the finals, his 27-point/seven three-pointer effort in the semis was a big reason the Playaz advanced past the Jersey Shore Warriors. Hooper was lights out behind the arc the entire week. He ran the baseline very well coming off several off-the-ball screens to get him open for corner triples.

Ohio Basketball Club:
OBC didn’t finish with a title, but it was still a successful week all things considered.

Despite struggling in the opening half against the Basketball Stars of America, OBC was able to pull away in the second stanza cruising to victory. Next up was the York Ballers, which OBC put away quickly behind Aaron White.

OBC would fall to Team Philly 2012 in the Elite Eight, but not without White making a big splash.

White, who is known by many for his shooting ability, proved he is more than just a better than average shooter. The Strongsville prospect is a better athlete than many believe possessing quick bounce off the deck. White finished well above the rim with a two-handed tomahawk jam in transition. It was quite impressive how quickly he got off the floor. White is starting to catch some attention of the bigger schools, and rightfully so. He was a sleeper, but may not be for much longer as he is proving to be a complete offensive weapon. Look for White’s stock to soar over the second half of July.

He has offers from Duquesne, Ohio University, Akron, James Madison, Toledo, Wright State, George Washington, St. Bonaventure, Northeastern, Bowling Green, Mount St. Mary’s, and Miami (OH) with Ohio State, Penn State, St. Joseph’s, Butler, Kansas State, Texas Tech, Xavier, Texas, and USC showing strong interest.

Team CBIZ:
CBIZ was the only other Ohio team to make Gold Bracket play, but unfortunately they were paired with the New England Playaz in round one. Head Coach Brian Bishop’s club fell to the Playaz, 67-47.

We were able to see CBIZ take apart God’s Glory behind nine three-point goals from Alex Lalonde (6’5/2011) of Wooster (OH). Lalonde is sneaky athlete who can also be a streaky shooter.

Several D2 schools love Lalonde, but they are also afraid he is days away from being out of their reach. If Lalonde’s play remains consistent throughout the rest of July, look for him to spark more D1 attention. He has interest from Eastern Kentucky, New Hampshire, Ashland, Air Force, and Columbia.

Buckeye Ballers:
In the Silver Bracket, the Buckeye Ballers came away with the championship. Led by Kenny Kaminski (6’7/2012) of Medina the Ballers were able to knock off Crusader Nation in the finals. Kaminski finished with 23 points followed by Larry Nance Jr. (6’7/2011) of Revere with 17.

The Ballers are much underrated club making the Final Four in last week’s Buckeye Hoop Fest nearly taking out All-Ohio Red.

Kaminski joined the club for the week, which is the second time he has done so this year. His usual outfit is Indiana Elite. Kaminski is expected to make a decision soon over his offers from Michigan State, Ohio State, and Indiana.

Other Top 17U Performers We Saw:
Mitch Locher (6’4/2011)- Avonworth (PA)- BSA
Josh Valentic (6’3/2011)- Trinity HS (PA)- BSA
Steve Limberiou (6’6/2011)- Upper St.Clair (PA)- BSA
Jesse Reed (6’4/2011)- Greensburg Central (PA)- BSA
Alonzo Murphy (6’8/2011)- Schenley (PA)- BSA
Durand Johnson (6’7/2011)- Notre Dame Prep (MA)- Cecil Kirk
Jeff Fields (6’4/2011)- Notre Dame Prep (MA)- Cecil Kirk
Antoine Myers (6’2/2010)- Notre Dame Prep (MA)- Cecil Kirk
Karee Wilson (6’8/2010)- Lake Clifton (MD)- Cecil Kirk
Mikeal Andres (6’9/2011)- St.Ignatius of Loyola- EBA Elite Canada
Ricardo Ledo (6’5/2012)- South Kent School- Expressions Elite
Khem Birch (6’9/2012)- Winchendon School (MA)- Expressions Elite
Chaz Rollins (6’6/2011)- Cleveland John Hay (OH)- Friends 4 Life
Tyree Gaiter (5’7/2012)- Cleveland Heights (OH)- Friends 4 Life
Desmond Rorie (6’9/2011)- Canton Timken (OH)- Friends 4 Life
Leavon Head (5’10/2010)- Mundelein High (IL)- Illinois Heat
George Edwards (6’6/2011)- Proviso West (IL)- Illinois Heat
Anthony Pierce (6’2/2011)- Niles West (IL)- Illinois Heat
Bubby Goodwin (6’0/2011)- Wheeling Park (WV)- Nelson Jordan Center
Marqez O’Neal (6’4/2011)- Wheeling Park (WV)- Nelson Jordan Center
Kaleb Tarczewski (7’0/2012)- St.Mark’s School (MA)- New England Playaz
Evan Cummings (6’9/2012)- Northfield Mount (MA)- New England Playaz
John Papale (6’3/2011)- Choate (CT)- New England Playaz
Roy Mabrey (6’1/2011)- St.Thomar More (CT)- New Jersey Demons
Nehimias Moriollo (2011)- St.Benedict’s Prep (NJ)- New Jersey Demons
Jamir Hanner (6’7/2010)- NIA Prep (NJ)- New Jersey Demons
Kristian Taylor (6’3/2011)- Akron SVSM (OH)- Ohio Basketball Club
Jehvon Clarke (6’1/2011)- Canton Timken (OH)- Ohio Basketball Club
PJ Boutte (5’7/2011)- Howe (IN)- Ohio Basketball Club
Jordan Manual (6’8/2010)- Howe (IN)- Ohio Basketball Club
Brandon Taylor (6’7/2012)- Trenton Catholic (NJ)- Team Philly 2012
Jayson Johnson (6’0/2011)- St.Anthony (NJ)- Team NJABC
Luke Piotrowski (6’9/2011)- Atlantic Christian (NJ)- Team NJABC
Ryan McCoy (6’6/2011)- Montgomery (NJ)- Team NJABC
Khalid Lewis El (6’3/2011)- Trenton Catholic (NJ)- Team NJABC
Kazembe Abif (6’6/2011)- Lawrenceville School (NJ)- Team NJABC
Chris Martin (6’0/2011)- St.John’s Catholic HS (DC)- Westchester Hawks
Jabarie Hinds (6’0/2011)- Mount Vernon HS (NY)- Westchester Hawks
Robert Garbade (6’10/2011)- Seton Catholic Central (NJ)- Westchester Hawks
Matt Townsend (6’6/2011)- Horace Greeley HS (NY)- Westchester Hawks
Chris Ortiz (6’7/2011)- Christ the King (NY)- Westchester Hawks
Yilret Yiljep (6’7/2013)- Westtown HS (PA)- Westtown
Daniel Ochefu (6’10/2012)- Westttown HS (PA)- Westtown
Nanribet Yiljep (6’3/2011)- Westtown HS (PA)- Westtown
Stephen Zack (6’9/2011)- Red Land HS (PA)- York Ballers


Several teams of local interest did well in the 16-and-under division. The Ohio Basketball Club finished best making it to the Final 4 before losing to the eventual champion, Team Takeover Canada.

Ohio Basketball Club:
We were able to catch OBC on Thursday night in the Elite 8 against a talented PA Playaz squad.

Following an opening round bye, OBC escaped with a 60-58 win over NPBC Cavemen to advance to the round of eight.

OBC jumped out to a sizeable lead against the Playaz in the opening half as super-scorer Ryan Arcidiacano (6’3/2012) of Neshaminy (PA) struggled to find his mark.

After just four points in the opening half, Arcidiacano heated up scoring on drives, one dribble pull ups, and three-point goals five to six feet behind the arc. It was quite a display to say the least. Several ACC schools were on hand to watch the 2012 prospect including North Carolina, Virginia, Boston College, and Georgia Tech.

Despite Arcidiacano’s best effort it wasn’t enough to overcome an inspired OBC club playing with tons of fire and energy.

Lorenzo Cugini (6’7/2012) of Akron SVSM shot the ball well in the first half, but it was Curtis Oakley (6’4) of Lyndhurst Brush, Devin Thomas (6’7/2012) of Central Dauphin (PA), and Desmond Ridenour (6’1/2012) of Cleveland Benedictine doing the work in the second half. All three made huge plays to halt any chance of a legit run by the PA Playaz.

Oakley has been really impressive in workouts we were able to see and his play Thursday night was even better. The nephew of former NBA rebounding machine, Charles Oakley, shows he is a chip off the old block. Oakley plays with fire and passion and really brings up his teammates level of play by showing his positive emotion and energy. He showed the ability to knock down shots behind the arc, and was able to score on the interior up and through the opponent. Oakley was too strong for whoever was guarding him and uses his body really well to shield off the defender to get off his left- handed jump hook.  Keep an eye on this kid.

Ridenour certainly doesn’t get the publicity of some of the other guards in the state, which is a shame. There aren’t many guards in Ohio we would choose over him. He has a very good handle with the ability to get in the paint with ease to create for others or knock down his signature floater.  The bigger the game the better he plays. Don’t believe that; see the state final four against Dayton Dunbar.

The West Virginia Wildcats were another squad which made a good run advancing to the Elite 8. The Wildcats defeated the Jersey Hot Shots and Team Melo (62-47) before falling to Team Takeover Canada.

The Cincinnati Knights also made the Elite before dropping a nod to the NY Falcons. The Knights knocked off another Ohio squad in the opening round, Ohio Shooting Stars (62-56) followed by a win over BSA (58-53).

The D1 Greyhounds were also defeated by the NY Falcons, 57-54 in the opening round.

Team CBIZ made Gold Bracket play as well, but fell to the Jersey Shore Warriors in the opening round, 63-51.

Team Takeover Canada handed the EC Panthers an 80-57 beat down in the 16U championship game led by Naz Long with 17 points.

Other Top 16U Performers We Saw:

Chad Nelson (6’1/2012)- Pickerington Central (OH)- Mustang Ballers
Isiah Rogers (5’9/2012)- Westerville South (OH)- Ohio Basketball Club
Evan Payne (6’1/2012)- Walsh Jesuit (OH)- Ohio Basketball Club
Malik London (6’9/2012)- Chillicothe (OH)- Ohio Basketball Club
Brendan Kilpatrick (6’4/2012)- Malvern Prep (PA)- PA Playaz
Arron Goodman (6’5/2012)- Council Rock North (PA)- PA Playaz
Mark Lieberman (6’1/2012)- Dayton Christian (OH)- Team CBIZ
Dylan Kaufman (6’4/2012)- Berlin Hiland (OH)- Team CBIZ
Seger Bonifant (6’6/2012)- Strasburg (OH)- Team CBIZ
Sim Bhullar (7’4/2012)- Kiski Prep (PA)- Team Takeover Canada
Anthony Bennett (6’7/2012)- Mountain State Academy (WV)- Team Takeover Canada
Naz Long (6’3/2012)- Montrose Christian (MD)- Team Takeover Canada
Ke’Chaun Lewis (6’4/2012)- Columbus Northland- West Virginia Wildcats
Devon Scott (6’8/2012)- Columbus Northland- West Virginia Wildcats


We were only able to see one 15-and-under game, but it was one of the best of the day featuring OBC and Expressions Elite.

It would be impossible to draw up a way for OBC to lose with minutes remaining in this contest, but in the end, Expressions found a way to force OT eventually pulling away for a 45-41 comeback victory.

After some sloppy play, OBC clung to a 38-36 lead, when Expressions guard Ramon Gibbons (6’0/2013) of Charlestown (MA) drove the lane and kissed one off the glass to send the game to OT.

Expressions moved on to the Final Four and eventually won the tournament with a 53-51 overtime victory over Boo Williams. It was its second title in a week coming off a victory at the Hall of Fame National Invitational.

OBC defeated PPY Elite before losing to a talented Expressions unit.

OBC got quality play from Demonte Flannigan (6’7/2013), Tony Farmer (6’7/2013) of Garfield Heights, Kevin Johnson (6’1/2013) of Cincinnati Summit Country Day, Elijah Brown (6’2/2013) of Lakewood St. Edward’s, and Kash Blackwell (6’4/2013) of Shaker Heights.

Expressions also got good play from talented Jared Terrell (6’2/2013) of Weymouth HS (MA), Nate Anderson (6’6/2013) of New Mission HS (MA, Jaylen Blakely (5’9/2013) of Brockton (MA), and Kaleb Joseph (5’10/2013) of Nashua South (NH).

Team Jordan was another Ohio team making the Gold Bracket, but lost to MD Finest (65-62) in the opening round of tournament play.

The Columus Aces had a good showing before losing to Team Final in the Silver Bracket tournament. Team Final eventually won the Silver Bracket. 

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