This past week was the Denison Team Camp, which brought around 40 teams to Granville, OH to participate in two great days of basketball on the beautiful Division 3 campus.
The field was filled with solid programs such as Brunswick, Upper Arlington, Mentor, Gahanna Lincoln, New Albany, Centerville, Huber Heights Wayne, Dayton Ponitz, Ottawa-Glandorf, Dayton Dunbar, Dayton Thurgood Marshall, Columbus DeSales, Lakota East, Toledo St. John’s, and Westerville Central.
Here is a look at some of the top teams and performers.
Huber Heights Wayne
Huber Heights Wayne continues to solidify itself as Ohio’s top team. The Warriors once again didn’t possess all its pieces, but still managed to dominate. Wayne got senior guard D’Mitrik Trice back, but lost junior Rodrick Caldwell to a thumb injury. Junior Trey Landers, who was a starter as a sophomore, missed the entire month of June while being out of town. Springfield transfer Guy Victoria was also unable to attend the event along with Michigan football commit Tyree Kinnel. The two bring added toughness and a defensive presence.
At any rate, the Warriors were still dominant. Wayne used its size, length, athleticism, pressure, and depth to suffocate its opponents, which included Ponitz, Dunbar, Gahanna Lincoln, Newark, New Albany, and Mentor.
Trice, and classmates Devin Reed and Hadith Tiggs controlled the backcourt, while Dayton commit Xeyrius Williams, Ahmad Wagner, and freshman L’Christian Smith owned the paint. Junior Demond Parker really shot the ball well off the bench, has a high IQ for the game, and plays very good defense.
Reed and Tiggs are high energy guys that can really change the momentum of a game. Reed, who missed all of last year with a head injury, is really scoring the ball well and should start sparking some recruiting interest. Both kids are versatile defensive stoppers with their size, length, and athleticism that like to create turnovers allowing for easy buckets. Reed is also very springy around the rim. Trice shot the ball exceptionally well especially against a very good New Albany team as the Warriors jumped out to a (20-0) lead. Trice appears to have added more burst in the open floor allowing him to get by guys much easier. He knows plenty of guys on the team are capable to scoring, so Trice did a nice job of making the extra pass when necessary.
Williams continues makes his mark on the offensive end in a variety of ways. He is continuing to show the want to offensive rebound, which has allowed to get six to eight more points a game. Wagner and Smith really scored the ball well on the interior through a lot of contact. Both had several and-one situations.
Wayne is playing on a level right now that very few teams are able to approach. It’s scary to think what this team will look like in the winter with everyone healthy and in the lineup. The Warriors finished June without a loss.
Other Top Teams
The Wolverines were a little short-handed on Friday with juniors Terrance Landers (6’3/2016), Evan Clayborne (6’7/2016), and DeVaughn Alexander (6’3/2016) all at football with those being the three biggest guys on the team. Landers and Clayborne were there on Thursday when we saw the Wolverines play Centerville, and they were a totally different team. On Friday, Dunbar was overmatched against a much bigger Wayne squad.
Ohio State commit Amos “AJ” Harris, who just returned from the Nike Point Guard Academy, showed very well. Harris is nearly impossible for one player to defend off the dribble, and when trapped, he is so low to the ground and explosive that he usually splits the double team with relative ease. Over the last four years, he has really improved his outside shot. Harris really can make defenders look foolish when he uses the crossover into a pull up. The thing we love about Harris is his competitiveness and toughness. He only stands 5-foot-9, but he doesn’t know it. With his strength, speed, athleticism, and vertical leaping ability, Harris makes his size a virtual non-issue. He fights for rebounds extremely well in traffic for a kid his size. Harris plays with a chip on his shoulder, which is usually bad news for the opponent.
Dunbar’s backcourt is talented and experienced with Harris and three-year starter Doriane Dawson (5’11/2015). The emergence of senior Josh Bryant (6’2/2015), who is the brother of former Dunbar standout Geron Johnson, has really helped. Bryant is a tough defender that is capable of scoring eight to 10 points.
The future of Dunbar basketball also lies in the backcourt with sophomore Chris Jackson and freshmen Devon Baker and Caleb McConnell. All three saw action, but Jackson missed Friday. Baker appears ready to go now, while McConnell may need a little more seasoning but his upside is undeniable. We won’t be surprised if they are both in the rotation by December.
The Thunderhawks are primed for a big year with all but one kid returning from last year’s 16-win squad. Clint Adkins takes over the head coaching reigns after veteran Wally Vickers decided to retire. Adkins has been an assistant for 10 years at Lakota East, so he certainly knows the personnel. In all, the Thunderhawks return their top six scorers.
We haven’t seen a team with more size and length from top-to-bottom than Lakota East. This is going to create a lot of problems for the opposing teams. The guards and bigs are all rangy. Senior Mitchell Mays (6’5) and Dylan Lowry (6’2) continued to score the ball from the perimeter, and classmates Alex White (6’7) and Adam Dieball (6’7) along with junior Andrew Emrick (6’7) controlled the lane. Senior guard Chris Bates (5’9) was steady at the lead guard spot, and senior Chris Blount (6’4) provided some solid minutes off the bench.
East should be one of the top 10 teams in Ohio.
This is a team that is really going to surprise people. Despite the loss of four-year starter Ryan Badowski and outstanding shooter Zach Parker, the Blue Devils have enough solid pieces to be a sleeper team in NE Ohio.
Nate Armagost (6’7/2015) really showed well against Upper Arlington scoring the ball at will in the paint. He was able to score over either shoulder. Classmate Eric Bulic (6’6/2015) is more of a face up player on offense with the ability to step out and make shots, and he gives the Blue Devils a solid combo on the defensive end.
Returning starter Jason Okulovich (6’0/2015) also played well. Okulovich is a strong and savvy guard that can score the basketball. Junior Zach Cebula (6’0/2016), who came off the bench a year ago, can really shoot it.
Senior Patrick Magalski (6’0) and junior Aaron Badowski (6’3) also logged quality minutes.
Coach Joe Mackey was without the services of point guard Michael Quiring (5’7/2016), who was on vacation, Steven Ficyk (6’4/2015), who is the quarterback of the football team, and Kevin Simmons (6’0/2016), who is just getting healthy from a torn ACL four games into last season. Mackey believes Simmons is going to turn some heads when he comes back.
Brunswick should battle for the league title with Shaker Heights, Garfield Heights, Medina, and Mentor.
The Stallions appear ready to ascend to the top of the Columbus Central Catholic League as Watterson, Ready, and Hartley all lost senior-laden teams. DeSales will have a roster filled with juniors and sophomores, so a two-to-three year run is definitely possible with this bunch.
The Stallions play extremely hard and were able to get a win over Westerville Central and played Lakota East to a very tight game.
The lead guard spot is in good hands with sophomore Ryan Peaks (5’10/2017), a kid that is a true point guard. Peaks can really run a team and thrives offensively in transition possessing excellent speed and creativity in the lane. Backcourt mate Shawn Snyder (6’1/2016) was very impressive. Snyder plays as hard as anyone we’ve seen, and gets things done by pure effort. Snyder is tough with the ability to score in the lane and hit shots on the perimeter.
Junior guard Josh Moyler (6’2/2016) also showed well. Moyler is an athletic lefty wing that can knock down shots. Rugged junior Eric Fitz (6’5/2016) likes contact. At times, he could tone it down a bit, but Fitz really gives the Stallions toughness in the lane. He will get effort buckets on the inside and can knock down 15-footers.
The centerpiece of the offense is 6-foot-7 sophomore Caden Sanchez (2017), who has a chance to be very good. When Sanchez gets touches, good things happen. He needs to add some strength, but this kid is going to be a problem for other CCL teams for years to come.
Junior guard Adrian Awuah (5’10/2016) was really solid at guard off the bench.
Coach Joe Bills and his team, who will be in 2nd year at DeSales, has a chance to be the best Division II team in the district. The Stallions were (7-16) a year ago, but looked nothing of the sort at Denison.
The Titans are a perennial power in Division III winning the 2008 and 2013 state championships along with their DII title in 2004. This team may not be as talented or big as those teams, but O-G is going to be right in the mix once again.
O-G struggled through much of last season hovering around the .500 mark, but still managed to find a way to place itself in contention for another trip to Columbus. The Titans were knocked off by the eventual champion (LCC) in the regional final.
O-G returns a huge piece in senior Noah Bramlage (6’7/2015). The stretch four-man, who has several D1 offers, had a solid couple days at Denison making shots and showing his ability to handle the basketball. Senior Zach Kuhlman (6’0/2015) also played very well. Senior Zac Unterbrink (5’11/2015) showed his ability to drop perimeter shots, and Jordan Verhoff (5’9/2016) is a heady guard.
Brad Recker (6’3/2015) can step out and make shots, and Jason Schnipke (6’1/2015) brings a physical presence to the lineup. Schnipke plays a lot bigger than his size. Senior guard Cole Osting (5’10/2015) did a real nice job in a backup point guard role. Senior Blake Blevins (6’2/2015), who has been riddled with injuries, is a kid Coach Tyson McGlaughlin expects to be a big part of the team this winter wasn’t able to attend.
O-G always finds strong, tough, quick, and sneaky athletic guards, and this year won’t be any different. With LCC losing Martyce Kimbrough to graduation and Xavier Simpson to Lima Senior, the T-Birds will come back to the pack a little bit meaning O-G should be battling once again for one of the four spots in Columbus.
Other Top Teams
Gahanna Lincoln, Dayton Ponitz, Newark, New Albany, Toledo St. John’s, and Dayton Thurgood Marshall.
Other Top Performers
Nick Livingston (6’0/2017)- Hilliard Davidson
Travis Moore (6’1/2017)- Hilliard Davidson
Jason Carter (6’6/2016)- Johnstown Monroe
Matt Moyer (6’8/2016)- Gahanna Lincoln
Nick Ward (6’7/2016)- Gahanna Lincoln
Alonzo Campbell (6’11/2015)- Gahanna Lincoln
Micah Potter (6’8/2016)- Mentor
Joey Zaugg (5’11/2015)- Mentor
BJ Dulling (6’4/2017)- New Albany
John Miller (6’8/2015)- New Albany
Edmund Parker (6’3/2015)- Dayton Ponitz
Troy Cantrell (6’5/2015)- Dayton Ponitz
Charles Henry (6’1/2015)- Dayton Ponitz
Erron James (6’1/2016)- Westerville Central
Braylen Thomas (5’11/2015)- Westerville Central
Tyler Cartee (6’2/2015)- Southeastern
Dylan Miles (5’9/2015)- Southeastern
Gabe Akins (6’3/2015)- Upper Arlington
Michael McGovern (6’4/2015)- Upper Arlington
Dane Goodwin (6’3/2018)- Upper Arlington
Brendan Snyder (6’1/2015)- Canal Winchester
Kamon Craine (6’3/2015)- Canal Winchester
Derrick Daniels (6’7/2016)- Dayton Thurgood Marshall
DJ Hoskins (6’1/2016)- Dayton Thurgood Marshall
Jordan Dartis (6’3/2015)- Newark