AAU Update: Ohio teams in action across the Country, Who did what?


Akron SVSM’s VJ King had 14 points in a semifinal win over Vincent Warren. (Gary Housteau)

It was a busy weekend in the world of AAU basketball with several Ohio
teams partaking in action around the country. From California to
Pittsburgh, the Buckeye state was involved in some of the best
tournaments across the nation.

It was a busy weekend in the world of AAU basketball with several Ohio teams partaking in action around the country. From California to Pittsburgh, the Buckeye state was involved in some of the best tournaments across the nation.

Rough Start

All-Ohio Red’s 17-and-under club got off to a (1-3) start during the initial stop on the prestigious Nike EYBL circuit. Red will have a chance at redemption this weekend in Hampton, Virginia at the Boo Williams Sportsplex, which is the second stop on the EYBL tour.

Marcus Gill’s squad started off the weekend with a, 62-61, defeat to the Alabama Challenge. Pickerington Central’s Jae’Sean Tate (Ohio State) paced Red with 18 points, Middletown’s Vince Edwards added 11, and Mansfield Senior’s Donovyn Benson chipped in 10.

In Saturday’s opener, AOR defeated the New Jersey Playaz by the count of 79-59. Tate once again led Red with 20 points. Edwards followed with 16, and Massillon Jackson’s Evan Bailey netted 11. Benson added nine markers.

Saturday’s nightcap was a heartbreaker for AOR losing to the New York Lightning, 68-66. Gahanna Lincoln’s Javon Bess led the team in defeat with 12 points. Tate, Bailey, and Edwards each tallied 11 points.

AOR closed out its weekend with a 66-56 setback to Boo Williams. Tate scored 18 points and Bess chipped in with 16.

The good thing for All-Ohio Red is CIA Bounce finished the best in its division (Division D) with a (3-1) mark and only four teams were (2-2), while Red sits at (1-3). Therefore, the hole isn’t too deep.

• Two Ohio players are playing with Travelers Basketball out of Kentucky, which finished play in Garden Grove, California at (2-2). Norwalk’s Jeff Thomas averaged nearly 14 points per game in the four contests, while Cincinnati Turpin’s Zach McCormick averaged just over seven points a game.
• Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s Jalen Hudson performed well for the The Family out of Michigan, though, his team went just (1-3). He averaged 10.5 points per game.
• The above information was compiled from the official Nike EYBL website.


The King James Shooting Stars talented 16-and-under team had just two chances to qualify for the Peach Jam in July, but the Northeast Ohio-based outfit needed just one tournament to do so. The Shooting Stars made their way to New Jersey this past weekend for the Spring Fling Session 3 Peach Jam qualifier, and made good on the trip by defeating Team Fast (Oregon), 93-77, to win the championship and a birth to the prestigious Peach Jam.

The Shooting Stars had to get by Canada’s CIA Bounce in the semifinals, which it did with a 72-63 victory. Franklin’s Luke Kennard scored 28 points to lead the way. SVSM’s Vincent “VJ” King (2016) followed with 14 points, Versailles’ Kyle Ahrens tallied 12, and Dayton Dunbar’s Amos “AJ” Harris chipped in with 11.

In the championship, Lakewood St. Edward’s Kipper Nichols paced the winners with 21 points and Kennard added 15. Team Fast got 20 points from Anthony Mathis and 18 by Payton Pritchard, which were two talented players we were able to see at the John Lucas Camp back in October.

• The above information was compiled from the New Jersey Hoops Journal.

Nike Showdown

All-Ohio Red’s 16U and All-Ohio Black’s 16U both performed this past weekend at the Nike Showdown in Chicago, Illinois. The event consisted only of round robin play with no bracket format.

Both teams finished the weekend (4-0). According AOB’s head coach, Shaun O’Connell, Columbus Africentric’s Jaquan Harrison had a “great” weekend, and the others were solid, especially St. Henry’s Ryan Mikesell.

AOB defeated the SYF Players out of Indiana at the buzzer, while the others were rather easy victories.

Pittsburgh JamFest

A plethora of Buckeye state teams made the journey east to play in the Under Armour Pittsburgh JamFest presented by the Hoop Group. The Ohio boys experienced some success, but overall, it wasn’t a real successful weekend.

It was a tough weekend in the Platinum Bracket 17-and-under age bracket with no team making it past the round of 32. Team Work and the Ohio Basketball Club each won a pair of games before losing in the round of 32. Team Work fell to a talented Team Charlotte squd and OBC lost to Baltimore’s Finest. Team Charlotte eventually made the Final 4.

Both Team Work and OBC lost its 3rd Round Loser’s Bracket contests as well.

According to Team Work director Brian Bishop, Westlake’s Gavin Skelly, Leavittsburg LaBrae’s Peyton Aldridge, and Upper Arlington’s Kevin Vannatta had solid weekends. According to several reports, Skelly really turned some heads.

Dayton Metro lost its opening round game to Team Melo (MD), but bounced back with a pair of wins in the 1st Round Loser’s Bracket.

In the Steel City Bracket (17U), Ohio Varsity captured the championship by defeating Team Sizzle (MD). The Columbus-based team also won the Buckeye Prep Invitational just two weeks ago.

The Northwest Ohio Basketball Club – a team featuring Elida’s Dakota Mathis – made the Elite 8 before dropping a decision to Team Sizzle. NW Ohio also defeated the Ohio Hoopsters in the second round.

Hidden Gems defeated Advanced Hoops (PA) in its opener, but lost to Team Toronto the next game.

In the Open Division, Hidden Gems defeated the New Jersey Roadrunners, but lost to the Waterloo Wildhawks (Canada) in the second round. Waterloo finished as runners-up. Hidden Gems lost its consolation game to Grassroots Canada.

In the Platinum Bracket 16-and-under division, the Ohio Basketball Club defeated JCBC (NJ) before falling to the Southern Kings in the second round. OBC finished the weekend (3-1) winning its two 2nd Round Loser’s Bracket games against PK Flash (PA) and Team Thad (TN). OBC’s 16U squad is led by the highly touted Carlton Bragg of Cleveland VASJ.

Team Work lost its opener to East Coast Fusion (VA), but rebounded with wins over Crusader Nation (MD) and Team Loaded 757 (VA). Bishop noted Austin Adams (Cardinal Stritch), Alex White (Lakota East), and Beau Justice (Peebles) as top performers for the weekend.

Ohio Varsity made a solid run in the Steel City 16-and-under sector advancing to the Final 4 before dropping a nod to Philly Triple Threat (PA). Club Ohio also had a solid march before losing to Maryland 3D in the Elite 8.

In the Platinum Bracket 15-and-under division, Team Work made its presence felt advancing all the way to the Final 4. Coach Adam Vincenzo’s squad eventually fell to DC Assault in the semis. DC Assault went on to defeat New Heights in the championship game.

Team Work roughed up the Louisville Magic and Team Philly, but needed a buzzer-beater by Preston Boswell (Magnolia HS, WV) to defeat a very good Team Loaded (VA) in the Sweet 16.

Bishop listed Ibi Watson (Athens), Mason Baich (Dublin Jerome), Jon Teske (Medina), Luke Vargo (Dublin Coffman), and Seth Fuller (Dublin Coffman) as top performers, but stressed that every player on the team made a positive contribution over the course of the weekend. Vincenzo agreed that it was a total team effort.

The Ohio Basketball Club also made a strong run before being knocked off by DC Assault in the Elite. OBC is led by Wilmington guard Jarron Cumberland. OBC defeated another good Ohio team, Nova Village, in the Sweet 16.

The Cincinnati Lakers always seem to make noise in the young age groups, and this past weekend was no different. The Lakers advanced to the Elite 8 with impressive wins over Baltimore Supreme and Team Takeover before losing to New Heights (NY).

The VCC Warriors – a team featuring Columbus Northland’s Seth Towns – won its opening round game, but fell to YAAACE (Canada) in the second round. VCC finished the weekend (3-1) winning its two 2nd Round Loser’s Bracket games.

Ohio Prep also enjoyed a nice weekend winning its opening game before losing to Garner Road (NC). Ohio Prep finished with a (3-1) record winning its two consolation games.

The Ohio Hoopsters advanced to the Sweet 16 before dropping a decision to Team Philly.

The Queen City Prophets lost its opening round game, but bounced back with two victories in the 1st Round Loser’s Bracket.

The Platinum Bracket in the 14-and-under age group had 32 teams with the Ohio Basketball Club’s West squad making it the furthest. OBC’s West team made the Final 4 eventually losing to DC Assault, who went on to win the tournament. OBC East, Murphy AC, and Hidden Gems Black all made the second round before losing. Murphy AC lost to the Detroit Stars Red, who finished second overall.

OBC East ended up winning the Sweet 16 Loser’s Bracket.

• Information was compiled from the Pittsburgh JamFest official site.

Storm Classic

In Grand Rapids, Michigan, the Ohio Gators (17U) performed really well making the Final 4. The Gators feature one of Ohio’s fastest rising players in Aundre Kizer (Toledo Bowsher).

The King James Shooting Stars (15U) finished runner-up to the Michigan Mustangs in the 16-and-under division. Coach Quincy Simpson’s crew played up an age group.

The Shooting Stars 14-and-under team also made the Final 4, and is arguably the best team in that age group in Ohio.

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