It was a big weekend for 2016 prospects as it was the first time they were able to receive direct phone calls from Division 1 coaches. Here is a follow up of the craziness.
The University of Dayton was a happening place on Saturday with 40-plus teams making their way to SW Ohio to partake in UD Men’s Basketball High School Team Camp. The staff did an excellent job of assembling a star-studded line up.
Here is a look at some of the top teams, games, and performers.
Game of the Day
This was an easy to pick. Massillon Jackson against Westerville South, two teams that could easily be regional participants, was exactly what we expected. The game was fast-faced with guys making plays all over the floor.
Jackson was able to secure a (63-60) victory, but both teams played very well at times. Andre Wesson, a junior-to-be, of Westerville South did everything he could in the 2nd half to give the Wildcats an opportunity to win the game down the stretch. Wesson relentlessly attacked the basket and fought for offensive rebounds. However, it wasn’t enough, as Jackson’s ability to drive-and-pitch and knock down shots was essentially the difference. The Polar Bears knocked down freebies at the end to seal the deal.
The Polar Bears have been outstanding the past two weekends at Ohio State and Dayton. Jackson owns wins over Dublin Coffman, Pickerington Central, Garfield Heights, and Westerville South over the course of eight days.
Despite losing five seniors off a regional semifinals team from a year ago, Jackson has reloaded with a new cast of characters along with a couple familiar faces. The Polar Bears were playing as well as any team in Ohio last year before dropping an overtime decision to rival Lake in the regionals.
Jackson is getting major production from Tyler Dunn (2015/PG). He has really played well this summer, and will definitely be the leader of this team. Dunn is really strong with the basketball in his hands and has proven it by driving the lane and scoring in traffic. He is also an above average shooter behind the arc. Jake Pallotta (2016) is another kid that returns from last winter. Pallotta is a terrific athlete, who is a rare three-sport athlete at a Division I school. Pallotta started at shortstop as a sophomore for Jackson’s state championship baseball team and will be the quarterback this fall after starting at free safety a season ago. He is a kid that can get buckets in a variety of ways and will compete to the bitter end. Pallotta is a throwback player. Ben Seaman (2016) is another guard that saw plenty of action as a sophomore. Seaman was hampered by an injury on Saturday, so his time was limited.
The frontcourt will be young in sophomores Kyle Young (6’6/2017) and Logan Hill (6’5/2017), but uber-talend. In 2010, Jackson had a pair of twin towers on the inside in Josh Egner and Mark Henniger, and won a state title. Young and Hill are a bit different in terms of style of play, but could end up having the same impact at Jackson before their careers are over. Young would be on our short list of top prospects in Ohio’s C/O 2017. With injuries and playing on a little known travel team, Young is a bit of unknown to most. That will change, real soon! Young can score with both hands, put the ball on the deck, attack the basket with in-lane floaters, but his best attribute is his ability to knock down shots behind the arc. Easily put, Young is a sniper behind the three-point line with a pretty stroke. On Saturday, we probably saw him take 8-to-10 triples only missing one or two. Hill, on the other hand, is a totally different player. He competes on both ends of the floor with his elite vertical leaping ability. Hill is very active on defense blocking shots especially from the help side. He was able to score with both hands on the inside, and seems to be more effective on the move. Also, keep an eye on freshman Jaret Pallotta (6’1/2018), who is Jake’s younger brother. He is one of the better perimeter shooters we’ve seen in that class. The younger Pallotta has some savvy and should be a key contributor by the time the season starts. He is too good not to be in the rotation.
The Golden Lions have looked terrific the last two weekends. The majority of the line up was in Dayton on Saturday as GL scored wins over Cleveland Central Catholic, Kalamazoo Central (MI), Bishop Luers (IN), and Mingo Central (WV).
Gahanna, after losing Michigan State freshman Javon Bess along with guards Manny Powell and Corey Howard, and solid big man Keith Scowden, look ready for another big season. The Golden Lions are large in the frontcourt with juniors Nick Ward (6’7/2016) and Matt Moyer (6’8/2016) along with senior Alonzo Campbell (6’11). Ward is becoming a force in the paint by really asserting himself on the low block. He does a nice job of pinning/sealing the defender and scoring over his right shoulder. He is becoming more mobile and active, which is going be a big problem for his opponents. Moyer continues to develop as a forward with some wing skills. He is becoming more comfortable putting the ball on floor, but still plays too high at times with the ball in his hands. Moyer did a nice job of creating for his teammates by attacking the lane. He is capable of playing well above the rim and even showed off a nifty little floater. Campbell has an opportunity to be a force as a rim protector and even showed the ability to step out and knock down a 17-footer.
The backcourt is very underrated, and one we like a lot. Senior Jenisys Battle and Junior Arrey (6’0/2016) will be as tough as any backcourt in Central Ohio. Juniors Braden Foulke, Kameron Miller, and Kevin Smith are all solid options at guard, and classmate Chad Barrick at the forward spot, who wasn’t there on Saturday, is talented as well. Gahanna along with Westerville South has two of the more talented and deep 2016 classes.
The Patriots are one of our favorites to win the Division IV state championship this winter after nearly knocking off Convoy Crestview in last year’s state semis. T-V didn’t do anything to change our opinion on Saturday scoring lopsided wins over Troy, Little Miami, and Loveland and overcoming a sluggish start to beat Tipp City Tippecanoe by double figures.
T-V has a terrific inside-outside combination from seniors Colton Linkous and Damion Cook, both heavy contributors on last year’s team. Linkous averaged nearly 20 points per game and Cook was good for nearly 17 points and 12 rebounds a night. Linkous is an excellent catch-and-shoot player with a great basketball frame at 6-foot-4. He is a really smooth player that has the ability to post up smaller guards and does a nice job of finding open shooters. Cook, who is listed at a generous 6-foot-5, is probably more like 6-foot-3. With that being said, he plays much bigger than his size. He can play with both hands in the paint, attacks the basket with straight line drives finishing through contact, holds position very well on the block, competes for rebounds, and can step out and knock down perimeter shots.
Mason McCabe (6’3/2015) is going to be another major contributor for the Patriots. This kid is a sleeper with his length, athleticism, and ability to hang in the air. He was the sixth man a year ago, but played starter minutes. McCabe can impact the game in a variety of ways with his length. Taylor Van Winkle (5’9/2016) was the starting point guard as a sophomore and should be even better this season. Van Winkle is a good lead guard who can run an offense and showed the ability to make shots. He has excellent form on his shot. Sophomore Gavin Richards (2017) saw plenty of action as a freshman, and the lefty could slide into the starting line up this winter. Richards can make perimeter shots and attack the lane. We also like what we saw from juniors Knox Morris and Brett Boyer. Both kids are good catch-and-shoot players, and Boyer is an excellent on-the-ball defender.
Tri-Village uses the bounce pass in transition as well as any team we’ve seen, which is a total lost art. We also liked the way it moved the ball on offense with drive-and-kicks for three-pointers, which the Patriots made at an above average clip. This should be a very fun team to watch this winter, and one that will make a lot of long night for its opponents.
Huber Heights Wayne
The Warriors were playing without starters D’Mitrik Trice (2015) and Trey Landers (2016), but still managed to finish the weekend unbeaten. Coach Travis Trice told us the goal for June was to not lose a game, and Wayne has done just that. Down two starters, Wayne was able to overtake a very good Northland team in a sudden death overtime. Senior Xeyrius Williams cashed in a freebie to give the Warriors the win. Right now, we would have a hard time finding a team ranked above Wayne in our preseason poll.
Williams and junior guard Rodrick Caldwell were Wayne’s top performers with senior Ahmad Wagner struggling a bit. Williams was very aggressive on the offensive end and really competed on the glass, which is something he doesn’t always do. There is no denying his potential, and when he plays like he did against Northland there is no doubt the University of Dayton is getting a steal. With his length and skill level, Williams is going to be a matchup nightmare for years to come. Caldwell is a tough guard that could be the missing piece that finally gets Wayne to Columbus. He is under control with the ball in his hands and hard to bump off the dribble with his strength. He is an excellent defender as well.
The additions of Michigan football commit Tyree Kinnel (6’0/2015), Devin Reed (6’2/2015), and L’Christian “Blue” Smith (6’5/2018) should pay huge dividends as well. Kinnel will add toughness to the defensive end as he showed on Saturday, Reed is another superb athlete that has the ability knock down shots following a season lost due to injury, and Smith is one of the more talented kids in his class.
The Wildcats are gearing up for a big run over the next two-to-three years after a 15-win season a year ago. South showed its depth and athleticism on Saturday playing 10 kids and one of them wasn’t 6-foot-8 sophomore Kaleb Wesson, who was nursing a foot injury.
South beat Kings and Tipp City before losing to Massillon Jackson. Guards Jelani Rogers (2016), Jordan Humphrey (2016), Daylan Hanie (2016), and Ennis Thomas (2016) are all ferocious on defense, and have the ability to attack on offense. Humphrey is an explosive athlete at the wing position and Thomas brings energy and athleticism off the bench.
Forwards Andre Wesson (6’5/2016), Antoine Smith (6’5/2017), D.J. Dingess (2015), and Chris Cook (2015) can all play head coach Ed Calo’s pressure full court defense. Wesson is very talented, and Smith comes over after a season at Dublin Coffman. Smith’s father played for Calo back in the early 90s. Dingess and Cook are both quality team guys that do a lot of the work that goes unnoticed.
South is going to be a headache for every team it lines up against. It has the talent to compete for a regional title for the next two or three years. Nobody is going to play harder than the Wildcats, but unlike year’s past, Calo now has the dominant big man in the lane.
Other Top Performers
Ulmer Manzie (6’8/2015)- Columbus Africentric
Frankie Hughes (6’3/2016)- Garfield Heights
Willie Jackson (6’4/2016)- Garfield Heights
Marreon Jackson (5’10/2017)- Garfield Heights
Raymel Franklin (6’4/2015)- Garfield Heights
Evan Davis (6’1/2015)- Cincinnati Summit CD
Seth Towns (6’7/2015)- Columbus Northland
Dez Wright (6’0/2015)- Gahanna Lincoln
Montel McRae (6’9/2015)- Cleveland Central Catholic
Jared Kieninger (6’6/2016)- Dayton Carroll
Carter Mann (6’6/2016)- Tippecanoe
Keegan Saben (6’3/2017)- Kettering Alter
Tre Hudson (5’10/2015)- Troy
Austin Funderburg (6’6/2016)- Troy
Teams We Didn’t Get to Evaluate (*We weren’t there on Sunday)
Centerville, Kings, Shaker Heights, and Pickerington Central
Ohio State Team Camp
OSU held its team camp on June 13th-14th. We were able to catch some of the action on Saturday, and here is a list of top performers.
Dalonte’ Brown (6’5/2017)- Toledo St. John’s
Kaleb Vaughn (6’3/2015)- Toledo St. John’s
Gabe Kynard (6’0/2016)- Toledo St. John’s
Joey Rowling (6’3/2016)- New Albany
B.J. Dulling (6’4/2017)- New Albany
Austin Schaub (6’0/2015)- New Albany
Alex Sparks (6’0/2015)- New Albany
Luke Vargo (6’6/2016)- Dublin Coffman
Shaun Rankin (5’10/2015)- Dublin Coffman
Ryan Bruns (6’7/2015)- Marion Local
Derrick Rayford (5’10/2017)- Pickerington Central
Jalen Tate (6’5/2016)- Pickerington Central
Ibi Watson (6’5/2016)- Pickerington Central
Luke Schaefer (6’2/2017)- Medina
Jon Teske (6’10/2016)- Medina
Dane Goodwin (6’3/2018)- Upper Arlington