By John O’Malley
|Over Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend, high school hoops was the center of attention in Dayton, Ohio. College coaches and fans from all over the nation came to check out the talent at the 11th annual Flyin’ To The Hoop basketball tournament. The tournament featured 5 of the Top 25 teams in the nation alongside other notable schools. Here were some of the following top recruits, as well as standouts during the tournament:|
Beavercreek (Beavercreek, OH)
Jalen Camper (G, 6’4, 2013): A well-rounder guard that understands his importance to his team. Camper is the leading scorer this season for the Beavers and was named co-Greater Western Ohio Conference Player of the Year last season. Picking up where he left off, he is aggressive and always looking to score when get he gets the chance. He is flashy where he can beat defenders to the outside with his dribble or he can drain shots from 3-point range. Decision-making, especially under pressure, has the ability to improve.
Airius Moore (G, 6’0, 2014): Moore mostly runs the point guard position, particularly due to his great ball distribution. Nevertheless, give Moore room and he can create a shot for himself off his dribble. Loves his right-handed floater, which is effective once he breaks down the defense and infiltrates the lane. Effective shooter as he steps into his shot. What stands out the most about Moore is his excellent, loud communication. On both ends of the court, Moore echoes calls, directs teammates, and makes sure everyone is on the same page. Moore is a D1 football prospect.
Dunbar (Dayton, OH)
Amos “AJ” Harris (G, 5’9, 2015): Unbelievably quick guard in various aspects of his game. Harris is an outstanding dribbler with both hands, using it to run the floor in transition and break down the defense when he penetrates from the perimeter. He also corrupts the defense by zipping passes on ball reversals and swinging it to other teammates. Harris steps in and gets a high elevation on his jump shot with a smooth stroke. He has tremendous court vision and defensive awareness. Steps onto the court with an abundance of energy and confidence which motors his teammates and fast style of play. AJ has an offer from Dayton.
Franklin (Franklin, OH)
Luke Kennard (G/F, 6’5, 2015): Greatest attribute about Kennard is that he’s a true scorer. Already as a sophomore, he is able to make shots from downtown, drive baseline to the rim, score off screens and pick-and-rolls, and score in transition. Just when defenders think Kennard won’t score, Kennard gives a little hesitation then pulls up and scorches defenders with his quick trigger. An offensive minded player, but plays solid defense as well.
Travis Larkins (G, 6’0, 2013): Talk about a shooter! Alongside teammate Kennard, Larkins is a lethal punch to opposing defenses. He confidently snipes from deep 3-point range, sometimes even three feet back from the line. His jumper is a soft, beautiful motion from release to follow-thru. Larkins is also a stellar point guard. Cross-overs and pump fakes allow him to navigate, distribute or score anywhere on the floor.
Garfield Heights (Garfield Heights, OH)
Willie Jackson (G/F, 6’5, 2016): There is great potential for Jackson to further his basketball talent and become a notable collegiate prospect. His great athleticism and strong frame allows him to effectively crash the boards. He is smooth to rim, slicing and dicing his way through the teeth of the defense. Solid defender, keeping a low stance and communicating. He has the ability to improve his decision-making, whether that’s making the extra pass to an open teammate or taking it to the hoop himself.
David Bell (F/C, 6’10, 2014): Named to this year’s All-Invitational team, Bell showcased his versatility on the court. His long arms snatched rebounds on both ends. He’s a terrific shot blocker, reading the release of a shot and lifting from the floor on time. His elevation allows him to not only block shots, but to also determinedly finish at the rim for dunks. Bell scores from post touches, favoring his inside spin move.
Al Burge (G, 6’3, 2014): Impacts the game with his great defense. He slides his feet and gives his defender no space to work with. His pressure forces steals and he blocks shots from help defense. Not afraid to compete with the big boys in the paint as he soars to grabs rebounds. Burge competes on the offense end, able to drain 3-pointers and score in transition.
Richard Parker (G, 6’1, 2013): The right-handed scorer puts points on the board from anywhere. The 3-point line is his home where he made all his field goals from. But don’t doubt his athleticism to drive the paint and get to the charity stripe. His assurance of hitting big shots allowed the Bulldogs to stay in the game and hold leads.
HCYA (Houston, TX)
Justin Jackson (G/F, 6’8, 2014): One of the top standouts from this tournament, Jackson scored a total of 73 points and 26 rebounds during the course of two games. His long, skinny wingspan wreaks havoc for opposing teams. Jackson creates his own shot. As he drives to the basket, he can adjust his shot midair, with the use of up-and-unders and floaters. He can post-up and sink shots from 3-point range as well. What impresses me the most is his passing ability. He doesn’t hesitate to give the ball to an open teammate and has excellent accuracy on his passes. Jackson can improve balancing his body during his jump shot and getting stronger, because his frame tends to get bullied around from defensive screeners. As one of the nation’s top juniors, he has narrowed his choices to Arizona, Washington, Texas A&M, Virginia, Ohio State and UNC.
Joshua Hughes (G/F, 6’3, 2014): Excellent, positive teammate. He congratulates teammates when they make good plays and encourages them to keep up competiveness. An athletic offensive player, he makes shots from the perimeter and slashes to the rim by drawing contact or finishing with a nice floater. Hughes has great defense awareness as he reads the eyes of the passer and keeps a low defensive stance.
Joshua “JJ” Decker (G, 6’0, 2015): Very respectful player. Mostly taking mid-range to 3-point field goals, Decker squares up his jumper and follows thru with a good stroke. Great defensive intensity as he strips balls and contests shots.
Huntington Prep (Huntington, WV)
Andrew Wiggins (F, 6’8, 2013): Obviously by now any basketball head knows of Wiggins’ talents and potential. One skill that makes him a valuable prospect is his penetration to the basket. Wiggins has a tremendous spin move to the paint. Or he drives the lane with a profound pro-hop. When Wiggins attacks the hoop, he draws the attention of the defense. His strong upper body allows him to absorb contact to finish or at least send him to the free throw line. As the defense collapses on him, Wiggins dishes passes to open teammates too. His strong body also allows him to easily slide through screens on defense.
Travon Landry (G, 6’1, 2013): Landry reminds me a lot of Peyton Siva. He has excellent ball handling abilities. His quick dribble, cross-overs, and pump fakes allow him to create space on the floor. This skill also gives him open shots. Landry is velocious in transition, easily able to take it coast to coast. He can improve his decision-making in not forcing passes that might not be there. Landry has committed to Tennessee.
Dominic Woodson (F, 6’10, 2013): Woodson is not fazed by any contact. His tough body gives him great advantage over scrawnier post defenders. His post touches consist of keeping low shoulders and brazing his defenders’ body for a weakspot. He has a nice move where he works on the block then turns inside for an easy floater. Woodson has committed to Baylor.
Lakota East (Liberty Township, OH)
Stedman Lowry (G, 6’3, 2013): Scoring the basketball is in this kid’s blood. From off the dribble to spot-ups, Lowry steps into his shot. Bigs rarely screen for Lowry, forcing him to create a shot on his own. He’s a solid dribbler that can navigate the court to find a shot he likes. Besides halfcourt, I don’t think there is any spot on the floor Lowry can’t make from. Lowry has committed to Hillsdale (Mich.) College.
Alex White (C, 6’6, 2015): White is a very fundamental player, but is very effective for the Thunderbirds’ success. This season he is shooting an outstanding 63 percent from the field. He rebounds and chins the ball assertively with two hands. Uses the glass effectively on lay-ups and to finish his post touches. He has great court vision and basketball IQ. Now that he has the basics down, I think there’s a potential of growth he can add to his game.
Sam Logwood (G/F, 6’6, 2014): Longwood has a non-stop motor and probably the most energy out of all the prospects I’d seen at the tournament. His length makes him so versatile on both ends. With a quick first step, Longwood beats defenders to the outside and infiltrates the paint with low shoulders and determination. His jumper consists of a squared body and range from behind the 3-point line. He’s quick off screens and curls to finish at the rim. He demonstrates emphatic hustle throughout the game, so much as diving for loose balls.
Johnathan Wilkins (F/C, 6’11, 2014): Personally one of my favorite players to watch this tournament. An absolute rebounding machine. His leap is ridiculously high. He soars over opponents grabbing defensive boards with two hands. Offensively, he cleans up misses off the glass with emphatic dunks. He is a great defender who crashes to his opponents’ body to deny passing lanes. On help defense, he quickly traps players or can come over and block shots. He has a variety of polished post moves on offensive and favors a left hook. He also runs very fast in transition for a big man. He is definitely a D1 prospect that should not be slept on.
Munis Tutu (G, 6’0, 2015): Hard-nosed, sturdy guard that won’t allow defenders to push him around. Skilled as a point guard, Tutu isn’t afraid to penetrate to the rim and absorb contact. Nice jumper with mid-range game. Can handle the ball under pressure and in transition. Brings good intensity on defense. His passing accuracy has the ability to improve.
OSNA School (Centereach, NY)
Cheick Diallo (F/C, 6’9, 2015): There is not much to be displeased about Diallo’s game. Impressive, long wingspan makes him flexible on the court. He’s very swift in the paint quickly following the movement of the ball. He looks to post-up or score on a mismatch every time. He attacks the rim and settles for nothing less outside the paint. If he ever is on the perimeter, Diallo goes strong and assertive to the rim for dunks. He also has the capability to knock down from 15 foot range. He’s effective in transition able to methodically run coast to coast. He glides in the air as he lifts off for dunks and rebounds. Lots of potential for Diallo to become one of the top prospects in his class.
Kassoum Yakwe (F, 6’7, 2016): An athletic lefty with a high release on his jumper. Great frame with a long wingspan as well as a bulky upper body. He gets great elevation on his shot and on defense for shot blocks. Offensively, he is beginning to polish good use of ball fakes for jump shots or slashing to the hoop. At his build, he shows the want to work on the post. Nonetheless, he struggles when he’s fed the ball on the block. Hopefully he’ll learn to calm down and develop some post moves over the course of practices and game experience.
Prime Prep (Dallas, TX)
Emmanuel Mudiay (G, 6’5, 2014): One of the top junior prospects, Mudiay doesn’t settle for contested shots. Playing mostly at point guard, he’s determined to use pump fakes and dribble actions to get to the rim. Don’t doubt his ability to jump either! He had multiple posturizing dunks throughout his two games. He’s a solid defender, on-ball pressuring his opponent and telegraphing passes for steals. Mudiay has offers from Kentucky, Arizona, Baylor, Kansas, Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma State, SMU and other schools.
Jordan Mickey (F, 6’8, 2013): Mickey’s defense is textbook material. Body-to-body defender who gives his opponents no space to breath. He deflects and strips passes for steals and reads jumpers for blocks. A total workhorse who aggressively snatches rebounds defensively and crashes the glass for putbacks. Mickey has committed to LSU.
Karvair Shepherd (G/C, 6’10, 2013): Versatile big man who affects the game in different ways. His outstanding, muscular frame takes up space on the block. He shoots high percentage shots in the paint. His post-up moves are executed a little slow, but the motions are a sure sign. Shepherd is competitive on defense, denying anything in the paint. His balance on his outside jump shot still has room to improve. Shepherd has committed to TCU.
Elijah Thomas (F, 6’8, 2015): Thomas is a very fascinating prospect for his time of production on the court. Strong upper body, willing to take any contact and finish. Get caught slipping on defending Thomas and he will slam it in the hoop. He hardly backs down on his post-ups. Thomas has offers from Illinois, NC State, Oklahoma and Texas A&M.
Roselle Catholic (Roselle, NJ)
Tyler Roberson (F, 6’8, 2013): Roberson is a fun player to watch. He has many tangibles that make him a great scorer. He rises above his defenders when he elevates on jump shots. He’s got a high release and solid follow-thru. His great athleticism allows him to explode off the court when he attacks the hoop. He hustles on each possession. A low defender, keeping his arms spread and closing out with high hands. I can see improvements in his consistency to keep a balanced jump shot, especially when he’s contested, and also rebound the ball with two hands. Very respectful and coachable player. Roberson has committed to Syracuse.
Malachi Richardson (G, 6’6, 2015): Richardson fascinates opposing defenses with his scorer ability. It’s difficult to guard him, since he’s so athletic and physical. His strong upper body allows him to absorb contact when he finishes at the basket. His legs lift his jumper and release over his defenders’ closeouts. He infiltrates pump fakes and cross-overs to create room for himself. He’s a great spot up jumper too. Runs great in transition and can knock it down from the 3-point line. Richardson has offers from Cincinnati, Indiana, Rutgers, Seton Hall, Miami (FL) and James Madison.
Asante Gist (G, 5’10, 2016): Gist is regarded as one of the top point guard in his class. As he gains more experience over the coming years, I can see a bright development from where his game’s at now. He’s a great passer, placing the ball exactly into each players shooting pocket. He knows when to use bounce passes, reverse the ball, and make other important decisions to flow the offense. He directs the floor and calls the plays for the Lions. Gist also creates his own shot and is willing to drive into the heart of the defense.
Chris Obame (F/C, 6’8, 2015): With a long body, he is a workhorse. He crashes the glass very well. However, he wastes lots of energy trying to do things that can easily be cleaned up. For example, he is excellent about competing for rebounds. But when a shot is up in the air, Obame should focus on planting a strong box out, going up and assertively grabbing that rebound with two hands. He has quick feet and agility. In his offensive system, he sets lots of screens; I would’ve liked to see more post-ups from him.
St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, OH)
Jalen Hudson (F, 6’6, 2014): I see a lot of allure when Hudson plays. He’s very fast and can outrun anyone in transition. His elevation is out of this world! He had several standout dunks, whether it came from transition or from attacking the rim. If he’s not slashing, he can settle with buckets from the 3-point line. Excellent defensive pressure, staying body to body with his man. Solid rebounder as well. Hudson has offers for Akron and Kent State.
VJ King (G, 6’7, 2016): Jab-steps and pump fakes work well in getting open shots from himself or distributing the rock to other teammates. King is a very swift player, able to navigate the court with his great agility. With great mechanics and squared shoulders, he knocks down mid-range to 3-point pull-ups. I would’ve liked to seen him penetrate the paint more often. He tends to work around the pack line at the beginning of games, then eventually becomes comfortable enough to explore the paint. He needs to turn up from tip-off to the final buzzer. King has offers from Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Illinois.
Springboro (Springboro, OH)
Maverick Morgan (C, 6’11, 2013): Morgan makes it look simple to play the center position. He has his mechanics down pat when he uses glass on offense for bankshots and finishes around the paint. He has a nifty spin move that catches defenses off-guard. Morgan can also back down from his post and hit a 13 foot jumper. Very unselfish player as he kicks passes out to open teammates on the perimeter. His passing is very quick and accurate. When he contests shots on defense, Morgan keeps a vertical position, not leaning or fouling. He boxes-out with urgency too. Morgan is committed to Illinois.
Trotwood-Madison (Trotwood, OH)
Jamar Hammonds (G, 6’4, 2013): He reminds me of former Tennessee guard Scotty Hopson. Very fast guard who loves to slash to the rim. His muscular frame slices through the thick of the defense. He’s great in the open-court and in transition, controlling the ball and using quick dribble actions to take it to the hoop. Glides in midair and able to adjust his shot mid-air once he elevates. Very efficient from the free throw line too.
Dezhontae Bennett (G, 6’2, 2014): Bennett and teammate Hammonds are the Bonnie & Clyde for the Rams. If one is struggling, the other will pick up and energize the team. They feed off each other’s momentum. As for Bennett, he’s a very well-rounded player. He steps into his jump shots with balance and stride. In addition to screens, he can free up space for himself to create his own shot. His legs are a springboard allowing him to throw down dunks. Great pressure defense, contesting for interceptions of passes and even blocks. Not afraid to crash boards either.
Walnut Hills (Cincinnati, OH)
Isaiah Johnson (C, 6’9, 2013): His big body provides brick wall defense. Johnson works hard defensively in the paint, laterally sliding his feet and positioning his body for denial of post-feeds. He is excellent at boxing-out and putting himself in position for rebounds. He walls-up defenders without leaning over or fouling them. Offensively, he keeps a low stance and settles for smart, high percentage shots. Loves his right-handed sweep hook and works toward the midline of the paint. One downside to his game is a low elevation from his jump. Johnson has committed to Akron.
Dontonio “DJ” Wingfield (G, 6’6, 2013): Smooth player in offensive transition. Keeps cool, calm, and collective when he drives to the hoop. His strong, broad shoulders provide a great finish in coast to coast transition. He has a squared, balanced jumper with a high arc. Distributes the ball with crisp, sharp passes. He crashes to offensive boards and has great stamina as well. Wingfield has committed to Ohio.