Ohio sends five to prestigious John Lucas Midwest Invitational

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Dunbar PG A.J. Harris

We were in the Bluegrass state this past weekend to check out the John
Lucas Midwest Invitational, which featured 125 of the best players in
the United States. Kids in the 8th-11th grades came from nearly every
state across the US to comprise a loaded line up in Louisville. Five of the Buckeye state’s finest took part in the two-day event, and did not disappoint.


LOUISVILLE – We were in the Bluegrass state this past weekend to check out the John Lucas Midwest Invitational, which featured 125 of the best players in the United States. Kids in the 8th-11th grades came from nearly every state across the US to comprise a loaded line up in Louisville.

Five of the Buckeye state’s finest took part in the two-day event, and did not disappoint. Guards Amos “AJ” Harris, Isaiah Jones, and Brian Parker joined Javon Bess and Carlton Bragg to participate in the prestigious extravaganza. Victor Dorsey (6’8/2014) of Akron Springfield HS was unable to attend.

The camp itself was by far the most well-oiled basketball event we have been to in years. The organization was second to none, zero down time, beautiful facility, and the staff was on top of things from the word go. The kids competed in stations, full court drills, and four games made up of eight, four-minute quarters.

Here is a look at the Ohio representation.

AJ Harris (5’9/2015)- Dayton Dunbar HS:
Harris is a competitor, which most people saw last season when he started at point guard for the undefeated Dunbar Wolverines. Harris was outstanding at the Lucas Camp with his point guard play. He competed like it was the state championship in almost every drill opportunity. Harris is a sub 6-foot point guard, but he plays much bigger with his understanding of the game and leaping ability. Offensively, he slashed the lane and got to the basket whenever he wanted with his superior quickness and signature crossover. Harris is nearly impossible to contain off the drive, and this past weekend was no different. His pull up game continues to improve, and overall, his shot release looks improved. Harris loves to go to the floater in the lane and he makes a high percentage of those shots, but this weekend he was able to get all the way to the cup on many occasions. Defensively, he is a nightmare for other guards. His quickness allows him to put serious pressure on the ball. We saw him create several steals. One of the best things Harris does is make it extremely hard for guards to enter the ball into the post, which doesn’t allow the other team to get any inside/outside going.  He hounded opposing guards in the post entry station, which we loved to see. Harris is a kid some question due to his size, but we wouldn’t be afraid to take a chance on him at a high major school.  Most likely better suited to stand out at a mid-plus school, but could end up higher.

Carlton Bragg (6’9/2015)- Cleveland VASJ:
Bragg continues to raise his stock each passing week. He has attended several elite camps this fall, and just like the cream always rises to the top, so it goes for Bragg at each stop along the way. The big man is not just a statewide name; he has now captured the attention of almost every national talent evaluator.  Bragg wasn’t overly impressive in the station work, but he delivered during games. Bragg ran the floor like a gazelle, and disrupted plays at the defensive end with his length, quickness, and athleticism. We watched him run full speed from end-to-end, catch the ball in traffic, and finish with a two-handed dunk. Not an easy thing to do for a kid 6-foot-9. Bragg was active on both ends of the floor, and kept several plays alive around the basket. He shows a smooth stroke from 15-17 feet with the quickness to go by other fours on the perimeter. Bragg is just scratching the surface of his potential, which is scary.  Unless a drastic change occurs, Bragg is surefire high-major prospect.

Javon Bess (6’4/2014)- Gahanna Lincoln HS:
It was another good showing for Bess. He continues to become more active and involved in each possession. It’s still hard to pinpoint his position at this point, so we will call him a versatile combo forward with ball skills. Bess started his opening game with a pull-up trey without hesitation, which was nice to see. Bess has shown hesitation in the past to take shots. He was very aggressive attacking the basket using his strength, frame, and length to convert in the paint. Bess was also terrific on the offensive boards. One possession he grabbed four consecutive offensive rebounds before being fouled. He has wide shoulders, which allows him to create space and rebound with bigger guys in the paint. Defensively, he was very disruptive using his length and athleticism. Very few players in Ohio have improved as much as Bess in the last 365 days. Would be a nice get for a mid-major, but mid-plus will likely show interest.

Brian Parker (6’2/2015)- Cleveland VASJ:
Parker is a strong guard, who plays bigger than his vertical size. Parker is built like a big time football player, but he excels on the basketball court with his strength and athleticism. He showed the ability to be very crafty around the basket and used his strength to bully other guards in the lane. Parker is very good at finishing when he is sweeping hard to his left. He is very left-hand dominant, but it doesn’t seem to hurt him. He even showed the ability to step out and knock down triples. Parker has a very good first step on his basket drives and his frame makes it hard for defenders to get back in front of him. He is also very sound at the defensive end.  Solid mid-major kid at this point.

Isaiah Jones (5’11/2015)- Cincinnati Woodward:
Jones is one of the more unheralded players in the 2015 class, but don’t sleep on the Woodward HS sophomore. Jones loves to compete and it’s hard to find a kid who tries harder.  He competed very well in his stations and showed the ability to play lock up defense. On Sunday, Jones attacked the basket and even cashed in on a corner triple. He struggled with his shot from the perimeter, but continued to try and work through it. Jones may not have shot the ball very well, but his passion to compete and give max effort is never in question.

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