The Clark Kellogg Tip-Off featured several of the Buckeye state’s top prospects. Here is a closer look at some of the standouts.
The Clark Kellogg Tip-Off featured several of the Buckeye state’s top prospects. Here is a closer look at some of the standouts:
Carlton Bragg (6’9/2015)- Cleveland VASJ
Bragg showed very well on Saturday in his first game of his sophomore year after a very productive fall. Bragg, a long, tall, and athletic big man, continues to show an improved offensive game. He stepped out and knocked down a 15-footer with confidence, scored around the rim with dunks, and even showed a nifty slide through euro step finishing on the left side with his right hand. He posted up hard, was active, and ran the floor like a gazelle to get easy buckets. Bragg handles the ball pretty well for a young kid at 6-foo-9. His skill set improves every time we see him. Bragg still needs some refining to his low post game and on defense he needs to work on standing his ground. He opened up and let the offensive player by him several times, so he could try to block the shot rather than holding his ground and making the player shoot over his length. Regardless, Bragg is the top prospect in Ohio’s 2015 class.
Bragg scored 17 points and ripped down five rebounds
“We played alright, we could have did better than that though,” Bragg said. “I played pretty well. I missed a couple close outs. We need to work on defense and our free-throws.”
The sophomore summed up what he needs to improve on in one word.
“Everything,” Bragg relayed.
Longtime Cleveland high school basketball coach, Tedd Kwasniak, who is now an assistant for his son (Babe) at Cleveland VASJ, had high praise for Bragg considering he coached Clark Kellogg and countless others.
“I have never seen a big kid improve like that from April to November,” noted Tedd Kwasniak, who won four state championships in a five-year period at VASJ.
Bragg is being recruited by nearly every high major in the Midwest, but a pair of schools stand out to him.
“I would have to say Ohio State or West Virginia,” Bragg mentioned.
And who talks to you the most?
“Ohio State,” stated the Viking sophomore.
Bragg noted Illinois and Cincinnati as two schools to recently offer.
Cleveland VASJ is loaded with talent and a run at the Division IV title is a top goal for Bragg and his teammates, but not the only reason for the season.
“State championship and keep winning,” Bragg admitted. “We are also going to dedicate the season to someone we lost in our family (Bill Gutbrod, who ranks 6th all-time in Ohio high school history with 310 career wins as a football coach, passed away at 87 on November 29th).”
Brian Parker (6’2/2015)- Cleveland VASJ
Parker is built and possesses all the attributes of a Division 1 football player, but he is a basketball player with a chance to reach that level as well. Parker continues to impress with his strength and athleticism. He used his strength and quickness to slash to the basket. He was able to score 20 points and showed the ability to distribute as well. Parker had a wide-open lay up, but choose to give the ball up to Bragg for crowd-pleasing dunk. The lefty plays angles very well in the lane and offensive rebounds exceptionally well for a guard. We would like to see a little more perimeter shooting, which we witnessed him do in some fall showcases. VASJ is a totally different team without his presence on the floor.
Marquiez Lawrence (6’7.5/2013)- Marion-Franklin
Lawrence continues to improve his overall game. He is long and athletic with an improving face up game. He is active around the rim with his athleticism and length. Lawrence scored 19 points on Saturday, which was great to see production rather than just potential. He was able to put the ball on the deck, on the baseline, from about 17-feet out, get by two defenders, and finish with a two-hand dunk. Obviously, strength is an area of an improvement and continuing to refine his offensive arsenal. Lawrence is a mid-major deluxe.
Mikey Wells (5’7/2013)- Delaware Hayes
Wells is a small, but compact guard with lightning quickness. He gets into the lane whenever he wants by attacking the defender with his strength and low center of gravity. Wells was able score in the lane, create for others, or draw contact and create foul situations. He finished the contest with 29 points including 17-of-26 free throw shooting, which was the follow up to a 37-point performance on Friday night. Wells has the ability to be a big time performer at the Division 2 level, though Division 1 isn’t out of the question. It just depends on his desired level of play. He will have options at both levels.
Seth Towns (6’6/2016)- Columbus Northland
Towns is a fast rising prospect in the 2016 class. He has an elite offensive skill set for a kid his age. The 6-foot-6 frosh has a smooth stroke to 20-feet along with a turn around jumper and a smooth midrange game. Towns is long and has nice size for 3-man, which will make him a match up nightmare for years to come. His aggressiveness on the floor has improved immensely ever since the Buckeye Prep Elite Fall Showcase. Towns seemed to take his match up with nationally ranked Josh Jackson (Michigan) personally, and has been a different player ever since. If he continues to improve like he has in the past few months, Towns has a chance to be a Top 50 type kid.
Other Top Prospects from the Event:
Khalil Iverson (6’4/2015)- Delaware Hayes
*Terrific athlete with length, who likes to rebound and block shots.
Derek McKeiten (6’5/2014)- Columbus Northland
*Slasher with length and athleticism. He is a quickly emerging prospect with plenty of confidence.
Jaylen Tucker (6’6/2014)- Columbus Northland
*Improving offensive skill set with a nice midrange game. Has terrific length and added assertiveness to his game. Needs to work on his hands.
Connor Kern (6’3/2014)- Pickerington Central
*Committed to Wheeling Jesuit, but continued improvement would have many to believe Kern could play his way into some Division 1 offers. A lefty with streaky tendencies, but deadly when he gets his feet set. Has improved his athleticism and overall aggressiveness on the court. Deceiving length.
Angelo Cugini (6’7/2014)- Cuyahoga Falls
*Cugini has length and a pretty good skill set. Can step out and shoot up to 20-feet, and also showed the ability to play with his back to the basket. Not a tremendous athlete, but very versatile.
Derek Pardon (6’7/2015)- Cleveland VASJ
*Solid lefty post player with fundamentals and length. Nice little jump hook over his right shoulder.
Kenny Robinson (6’0/2013)- Columbus Africentric
*Strong guard that likes to attack and use his athleticism.
Keey an eye on these kids:
Ulmer Manzie (6’7/2015)- Columbus Africentric
Josh Ricker (6’2/2014)- Cuyahoga Falls
Malik Harrison (6’4/2016)- Walnut Ridge
Houston Smith (6’3/2016)- Columbus Africentric
John Draper (5’10/2013)- Columbus Eastmoor
Jaquan Harrison (6’3/2015)- Columbus Africentric
Trevon Saunders (5’10/2013)- Columbus Africentric
Shemar Waugh (5’9/2014)- Columbus Northland
Omari Hicks (6’2/2014)- Toledo Rogers
Lepear Toles (6’3/2016)- Canton Timken