Midwest Future Stars Showdown and Shootout: Who did what?

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King James Shooting Stars U-15 Champions

The Midwest Future Stars Showdown and Shootout had a healthy dose of
Ohio teams mixed with some out-of-state foes this past weekend in
Central Ohio. All-Ohio controlled the older divisions, while the King James Shooting
Stars handled two of the younger age groups.


COLUMBUS – The Midwest Future Stars Showdown and Shootout had a healthy dose of Ohio teams mixed with some out-of-state foes this past weekend in Central Ohio.

All-Ohio controlled the older divisions, while the King James Shooting Stars handled two of the younger age groups. All-Ohio Purple won its third tournament of the spring in the U-17 division, while All-Ohio Red captured its third straight Gold in the U-16 ranks. King James brought home both the U-14/15 championships in a great showing.

17U Recap:

All-Ohio Purple has been dominant on the local scene winning the Buckeye Prep Invitational and the All-Ohio Nike Cup in April and now adds the Midwest Future Stars trophy heading into this weekend’s state tournament. Purple continues to win despite the services of Adolphus Washington, Dwayne Stanford, and Orlando Berry Jr.

The Cincinnati-based squad was able to run through the 17-and-under division with Sunday wins over the Shining Star Sports, Team CBIZ, and the Columbus Hawks. The Hawks were an unlikely championship game participant heading into the weekend, but Columbus Bishop Hartley’s Eric Siefert and Columbus Desales’ Charles Chandler helped prove the Hawks worthy. The Hawks defeated the West Virginia Wildcats- Elmore and All-Ohio Black to advance to Sunday’s championship game.

Cincinnati Summit Country Day’s Tommy Kreyenhagen was named MVP, while Jermaine Freeman (Taft), Geovonie McKnight (Middletown), and Jalen Lowe (Taft) were named to the All-Tourney team for Purple. Siefert and Chandler earned the honor for the runners-up.

16U Recap:

Two things are becoming quite regular in 16-and-under events with All-Ohio Red and All-Ohio Varsity involved, which is Red and OV are going to meet late in Gold Bracket play and Red is going to win.

All-Ohio Red defeated OV for the third time in four weeks running its record to 3-0 against its bitter rival this spring. Red made it consecutive championship game triumphs over OV also taking last week’s All-Ohio Super 16.

OV plays neck-and-neck with its rival for almost 85-90 percent of the contest, but eventually Red pulls away at the end. Red seems to have a more productive bench, and OV lacks a legitimate post presence to combat Nigel Hayes. Let it be known, Jack Gibbs (Westerville North) for OV was the best player on the floor for much of the game, but didn’t receive much scoring help from his any of his teammates on this day.

Red’s 70-59 victory furthers the point of it being the best U-16 team in Ohio heading into this weekend’s state tournament.

Marc Loving (Toledo St. John’s) was named MVP and Hayes (Toledo Whitmer), Jaaron Simmons (Kettering Alter), and Keon Johnson (Mansfield Sr.) were awarded All-Tournament for the victors. Randal Clarkson (Brookhaven) and Wendell Davis (Reynoldsburg) earned the honor for OV.

Loving was as energized as we have seen him this spring on Sunday. The Ohio State commit was knocking down shots and creating off the dribble doing to his left. When Loving is inspired, he is hard to handle.

All-Ohio Red got by the King James Shooting Stars in the semis, while OV outlasted a scrappy Playermakerz squad. Since the two semis were at different gyms, we were only able to witness OV/Playmakerz.

The Playmakerz were led by Jaylen Benton (Northland), JJ Smith (Westland), and Brandon Bapst (Grove City). Bapst, who normally plays with Hidden Gems, decided to run with his old squad this past weekend.

Bapst is 6-4 or maybe even a little taller and has very good bounce, but showed us on Sunday he is more than just an athlete. The Grove City junior-to-be consistently knocked down perimeter shots in an upset of CBIZ in the quarters and the semifinal loss to OV. Bapst has a terrific body and his dad is a shade over 6-6, which is good news. This is definitely a kid to keep an eye on.

Benton (6-1) is a good looking prospect at point guard. He isn’t a great shooter at this point, but he does get to the basket on the regular. At times, he takes the dribble too deep, which can get him in trouble. However, more often than not he is able to finish in the lane. Benton glides through the air, which is pretty to watch.

CBIZ once again got high-level play from Evan Bradds (6-6/Jamestown Greeneview). Bradds is absolutely fearless taking the ball to the tin. There is just so much to love about this kid. He plays hard all the time and the results usually equal the effort.

Isaac McGlone (6-1/Bloom-Carroll) is a crafty, old-school guard. McGlone is a competitor and can play with anyone in the state. He won’t wow you with athleticism or above-the-rim capabilities, but he will get the job done.

Jett Speelman (6-7/Newark Catholic) is another intriguing prospect for CBIZ. Speelman is highly skilled, and does some things which make you want to watch him even more. He needs to stay plugged in for the entire game, and his production will certainly go up.

15U Recap:

The King James Shooting Stars enjoyed its full roster this weekend, and the results showed true. Trey Grundy (6-6), Jordan Green (6-5), and Christian Cunningham (5-10) returned after playing last weekend with the Louisville Magic alongside All-Ohio Red’s D’Angelo Russell.

With Grundy, Green, and Cunningham reuniting with Jae’sean Tate, Javon Bess, DeShone Kizer, and Juan Ford, King James was able to win its first title of the year. King James picked up Ford for last weekend’s All-Ohio Super 16, and remained with the team this past weekend. Ford told us he will be with King James for the rest of the year after starting off with SYF.

King James had to escape the semis against a very good Team CBIZ squad, which was playing without one of its better players in Tony Vuyancih. The Northeast Ohio-located Shooting Stars were down 27-12 in the first half before it started to make a run.

CBIZ’s Brandon Fritts (6-4/Mentor) had a monster first half with 23 points and 12 rebounds, but was held scoreless in the second half. He is a warrior in the paint.

King James got back into the game thanks in large part to point guard Christian Cunningham. The Scott County guard was able to create havoc by getting into the lane whenever he wanted. Cunningham was able to set up his teammates on draw-and-dishes for a plethora of easy buckets.

King James ended up winning the contest 70-61 behind 17 points from Juan Ford (Huber Heights Wayne), 15 by Jordan Green (Henry Clay, KY), and 12 from Jae’sean Tate (Pickerington Central).

CBIZ got 13 from Wheeling Park’s Luke Saseen, which was second to Fritts’ effort.

The championship bout saw King James meet All-Ohio Red in a battle of Ohio supremacy with all due respect to King of the Court, which beat Red back in April.

D’Angelo Russell put on a basketball clinic in the first half scoring 19 points on five three-point goals. When Russell is hitting from behind the arc, he is nearly impossible to guard. Russell is a lengthy 6-3 lefty with the ability to do everything on the offensive end. He is capable of being a distributer if need be and a scorer if the situation calls for it.  He told us he currently holds offers from Indiana and Xavier.

Russell’s effort helped Red to a 38-35 halftime lead, but King James’ balanced attack was too much in the second half eventually leading to a 68-57 triumph. Cunningham led the way with 15 points, followed by Tate with 12, Grundy with 11, and Bess and Green adding 10 apiece. Ford was good for seven.

Russell finished with 26 points.

All-Ohio Red defeated Shining Star Sports- Hill in the semis.

Green was named MVP, but the entire roster would have easily been a good choice as well. Cunningham, Grundy, and Tate along with Russell and Mario Davison (Mansfield Sr.) were named All-Tournament.
It would be interesting if King James had Victor Dorsey (6-7/Akron SVSM) full time. Dorsey plays mainly with the Shooting Stars’ U-16 team.

14U Recap:

King James made its presence felt this weekend in the U-14 division following a good showing at the Super 16 which included a win over tournament champion, Ferrari. This weekend King James came back with mainly the same roster, but with one addition in Lorain’s Devon Andrews. He turned out to be a rather large pick up for the Shooting Stars after playing last weekend with TNBA.

King James scored a nice win over All-Ohio Purple in pool play on Saturday night and then drubbed a very good Team Berea squad in Sunday’s semis before its showdown with All-Ohio Red in the finals.

In the championship game, Kipper Nichols (6-5/Orange) was the best player on the floor and Devon Andrews (6-2) was a close second. Nichols and Andrews led King James to a wire-to-wire 70-60 triumph.

Nichols scored 26 points in the title game and added well over 10 rebounds. He was playing with a chip on his shoulder like we haven’t seen to this point. He went hard the entire game and remained aggressive until the final buzzer. Nichols rebounded like a man amongst boys and scored from 15-feet-in with an array of scoring moves. When Nichols brings the intensity, he is hard to handle.

Andrews finished with 25 points and did it with one way in particular. He attacked the basket with a purpose from start-to-finish getting to the free throw line a number of times. Andrews plays with high energy, runs the floor very well, and attacks the basket at all cost.

All-Ohio Red got quality play from MaCio Teague (6-0/Cincinnati), VJ King (6-5/United Faith Christian), Lamonta Stone (Bowling Green), and Andre Foster (Trotwood).

Teague is relentless at the offensive end and his productivity was very high for much of the weekend. He has a nose for the ball and does a nice job of finding multiple ways to score. We knew he was a knockdown shooter, but now realize he definitely has a scorer’s mentality.

King, an 8th grader-to-be, was trying to get comfortable with his new teammates much of the weekend, but we liked how he turned to other facets of his game when his offensive game wasn’t coming. King was most aggressive in the championship game blocking more than a handful of shots and altering several others, while adding several rebounds as well. King is very smooth and looks like the game is too easy at times. We look forward to seeing how he progresses with this team in July.

Andrews was named MVP and Nichols, Will Andrews (Firestone), and Reggie Rogers were named All-Tourney for King James. Jaquan Harrison (Africentric) and Lamonta Stone were awarded honors for Red.

Other Top 14U Performers:
**Players we saw

Andy Elliot (6’3/Springfield)- All-Ohio White
Brogan Scott (6’2/Highland)- DB Hoops
David Dowell (5’9/North Ridgeville)- Team Berea
Eric Marshall (5’10/Pickerington)- All-Ohio White
Esa Ahmad (6’5/Shaker Heights)- Team Berea
Henry Alexander (5’10/Springfield)- All-Ohio White
Isaac Anderson (6’2/Columbus)- Buckeye Prep
Jalon Lewis (5’6/Eastmoor)- All-Ohio Red
Josh Williams (6’0/Barberton)- Stockman Basketball Club
Matt Zender (5’10/Hoover)- DB Hoops
Michael Peterson (6’1/Lake)- DB Hoops
Scott Peterson (6’1/Lake)- DB Hoops
Shawon Wilson (5’8/Africentric)- All-Ohio Red
Tanner Houska (5’9/Highland)- DB Hoops
Tony Anderson (6’6/Marion Franklin)- All-Ohio Red
Zach Neuenschwander (6’6/Fairless)- DB Hoops

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