Month: June 2019

Lakota West Shootout: Top Performers

WEST CHESTER, Ohio — This past Friday and Saturday featured plenty of action for the 275 Hoops crew to take in on the hardwood at the home of the Firebirds. Let’s take a look at some of the standouts from the first two days at Lakota West High School, who put on a great event.

Carter Combs (6’1 WG / Lakota West / 2020): Last season, Combs finished as one of the best scorers in the Greater Miami Conference and it isn’t hard to see why. Combs was getting it done especially off of misses as he just simply beat the defense back for easy buckets on many occasions. In the halfcourt, he has shown the ability to make you pay from distance but he also likes to put the ball on the deck after ball fakes and finish at the rim. In the contest against Deer Park, Combs showed out with a 25-point outing. He impacted games in every way and his passing ability was one thing that specifically stood out. He was willing to find his teammates in open spots and he did it often through the two days we watched.

Julian Mackey (6’1 CG / Lakota West / 2021): Another standout this past weekend was another piece of the Lakota West backcourt. Mackey, who was in Georgia last year, has came over to the area and quickly made a statement. He is taking on a role of being a primary ball-handler in the Firebirds offense and has lit it up from everywhere on the floor in both events that we watched him. Another impressive thing that Mackey displays is his effort level on the defensive end. He will make life as tough as he possibly can for any one he has the task of covering. From what we have seen, it’s hard not to expect a big year for the newest Firebird.

Kollin Tolbert (6’0 PG / Mount Healthy / 2022): We were aware of Tolbert prior to our launch day and we got our first look at him at a Deer Park shootout a couple of weekends ago in which he played well. However, he turned it up a notch at Lakota West. Tolbert is at his best when he is going downhill and getting to the cup. He shows off a nice spin move when driving and can finish with layups in traffic or drop in a floater if he needs. The rising sophomore is also effective in the mid-range area with a reliable 15-foot jumper. The Fighting Owls point guard even knocked in a few three-pointers in the games we watched. One thing that stood out to me about Tolbert was his willingness to help his teammates on the glass. In the games against Badin, Indian Hill, and Woodward, Tolbert grabbed six rebounds in all three contests.

Aaron Ward (6’6 PF / Winton Woods / 2020): As far as big men, no one looked better than Ward through the two days we were able to attend. Make no mistake, he’s the main scorer for Winton Woods and he did not disappoint. In the first game we watched against Lakota West, Ward casually dropped 23 points and was a tough cover when in close for the Firebirds. He followed that up with 20 points in an overtime win against Northwest — a game that he even showed off his ability to knock down shots from distance as he hit two from long-range. Ward, even at 6-foot-6, is one of the main ball-handlers for the Warriors and he has no problem with taking on that role. The rising senior is definitely one of the more entertaining players to watch in the area due to his ability to handle the ball and how he finishes at the rim. In the final game on Saturday, Ward put a cap on his performance with a posterizing dunk against Deer Park.

Montev Ware (5’10 CG / Woodward / 2021): The former Mustang of Western Hills has made his decision to play for Coach Redden and Woodward this upcoming season and he has wasted no time getting acclimated with his new teammates. Ware played well when we seen him at the Ohio State and NKU team camps earlier this month but his performance on Saturday was special. Against Mount Healthy, Ware gave the Fighting Owls 17 points in the first half that came from a variety of ways. The Bulldogs guard showed his ability to finish inside, knock down pull-up jumpers in the mid-range area, and he seems to thrive on three-pointers from the corner. Ware would finish the contest with a team-high 26-points and 4 rebounds.

Honorable Mentions

Iyashu Adams (6’1 CG / Mount Healthy / 2021), Brandon Baltimore (5’11 CG / Northwest / 2021 ), Will Burns (6’6 PF / Woodward / 2020), Will Cluxton (5’8 PG / Elder / 2020) Aaron Davis (6’0 CG / Woodward / 2021), Mateo Lopez ( 6’0 CG / Indian Hill / 2021), Kendal Phillips ( 5’8 PG / Winton Woods / 2020), Zach Switzer (6’5 PF / Badin / 2020), Ty Thornton (6’4 PF / Indian Hill / 2022).

Games watched

Winton Woods vs Lakota West. Badin vs Mt. Healthy. Winton Woods vs Northwest. Indian Hill vs Mt. Healthy. Lakota West vs Northwest. Woodward vs Mt. Healthy. Deer Park vs Lakota West. Woodward vs Winton Woods. Mt. Healthy vs Lakota West. Elder vs Badin. Deer Park vs Winton Woods.

Deer Park Shootout: Top Performers

CINCINNATI, Ohio — The latest stop for 275 Hoops came on Saturday when we headed to Deer Park High School to check out a loaded event put on by Head Coach Steve Gentry and the Wildcats. Let’s take a look at the kids that stood out as some of the best performers in the building.

Mark Wise (6’3 CG/Deer Park/2020): It was more of the same this weekend for the Wildcats all-time leading scorer. Wise, a rising senior, put on a show with his ability to find high percentage looks in close and used his frame to absorb contact when inside. He showed off his unselfishness as a player by setting up the other Deer Park talent on the court. It’s really simple, Wise is a Division 1 talent on the hardwood and that’s not hard to see but it’s the little things about him that stood out on Saturday. Wise is the type of guy that wants to see his teammates make plays and when they do, he cheers on his guys unlike anyone I have seen. Perhaps the biggest thing that I personally took from the entire event is seeing how badly Wise wanted to be victorious in their final scrimmage against St. Xavier. He gave everything he had until the clock hit triple zeros. When I went to chat with him after the final whistle, he was visibly upset with the outcome and it showed me just how much he cares about winning — a quality trait. College coaches that want a ball player, leader, great teammate, and winner on their team should look no further than Wise.

Nekhi Smith (6’6 PF/Taft/2020): It was our first time getting a look at Smith in person and the first thing that stood out was that he has a college ready body right now. He looks like he could be a starting small forward at the Division 1 level and you can just just tell it would be hard to stay in front of him if having the task to defend him — and he was. Smith got to the rim at will by out-muscling defenders or blowing by them off of the dribble and he made the most of his opportunities in the paint including a few monster throw downs and some nice finishes through contact. Smith will let it fly from the perimeter and does not lack the confidence when doing so. Against Badin, the rising senior that shot 36% from distance last season, had a stretch in which he knocked down three triples in a row from the corner. For now, Smith holds a low major offer to his name but I would expect that to change — especially with his final season with the Senators on deck.

Steve Gentry Jr. (5’11 PG/Deer Park/2020): Gentry was a tough guard all night for the opposition. His composure, quickness and ability to handle the ball allowed him to beat pressure and get into the interior of the defense seemingly whenever he wanted to. When he got there, Gentry converted some successful drives whether that meant having to elevate over defenders for layups or using his floater. His aggressiveness was rewarded as the Wildcat point guard got to the line with consistency. One of the best passers in the Cincinnati Hills League, averaging over five per night, also dropped of some nice dimes to open teammates when help arrived. On another note, Gentry can get it done on the defensive end as well as his active hands turned into several steals and deflections for Deer Park.

Greg Stewart (6’4 WG/Aiken/2020): The only game we were able to take in for Aiken this weekend was against Deer Park. However, Stewart looked really good when driving inside against the Wildcats. Through two viewings of the upcoming senior for the Falcons, he’s been one of best at getting to and finishing at the bucket. The lefty is very athletic and he just glides through the air. He offers some finesse with a euro-step that he likes to use at times but don’t get it twisted, he will put you on a poster if the opportunity arises. Stewart is mostly looked at as a slasher but he dialed in some three’s against the Wildcats as well. We are definitely excited to see how Stewart progresses as the season gets inches closer.

Kodee Holloway (6’1 CG/Finneytown/2021): A new name for us as we continue to discover the talent in the area. Holloway stood out to me when pushing the pace and getting out in transition. Despite delivering on two shots from beyond the arc, his contest against the Firebirds was littered with successful drives off of turnovers and/or missed shots. He’s an intriguing kid and definitely one to keep your eye on. After what we saw, last years 10.8 point average seems like a sure fire bet to see a bump for his junior campaign.

Julian Mackey (6’1 CG/Lakota West/2021): Much like Holloway, here is another kid that we weren’t aware of prior to Saturday. He got our attention in that same game that Holloway got our attention and it was immediate. Mackey is a right-handed rising junior that has no problem using his left hand. He can shoot it from distance and had it working in the mid-range area as he drained a couple of the pull-up variety against the Wildcats of Finneytown. Mackey also likes to equip his euro-step when he gets down by the trees. For my money, he was the most impressive player in the early slate of games.

Demetrius Watkins (6’0 CG/Western Hills/2020): For Coach Stokes, Watkins provided a ton of energy and effort on the defensive side of the ball. The Mustangs rising senior guard put pressure on opposing ball handlers in both the half court and when chasing them down the length of the floor. In doing so, he was able to force a few turnovers for the undefeated Mustangs on the day. Lastly, Watkins excelled in the open court on Saturday while using both hands and didn’t allow contact to phase him at the tin.

Honorable Mention: Jackson Ames (6’11 C/West Clermont/2020), Dekarion Branch (6’2 CG/Western Hill/2021), Mickel Clay (6’4 C/Finneytown/2020), Carter Combs (6’1 WG/Lakota West/2020), Curtis Harrison (6’6 PF/Seven Hills/2020), Tre Munson (6’1 CG/Deer Park/2021), Isaiah Myers (WG/Colerain/2022), Julien Norman (6’1 CG/Western Hills/2021) Tony Russell Jr. (5’10 CG/Western Hills/2022), Jakada Stone (6’0 PG/Aiken/2021), Kollin Tolbert (6’0 PG/Mount Healthy/2022), Kelvin Turner II (5’10 CG/Lakota West/2021), LeRoy Walker Jr. (6’2 WG/Taft/2020) Aaron Ward (6’6 PF/Winton Woods/2020).

Ohio State Team Camp: Day 1 Top Performers

Columbus, Ohio — 275 Hoops was in attendance for Day one of Ohio State’s team camp. A solid collection of teams were in action on Thursday and we had the opportunity to get a good look at some Queen City prospects that rose to the occasion in the Schottenstein Center. Let’s take a look at our top performers.

Rising Seniors

Davion Mace (6’7 C/Woodward/2020): The Bulldogs got their first taste of competition on Thursday when they battled Columbus Northland. Immediately Mace would make his presence known as he cleaned up on the defensive boards and his length made things difficult in close for the Vikings. Mace did a fine job at altering shots all game including a massive block in the first half. Mace, widely considered one of the best big men in the city, showed off his ability to finish strong at the rim in both showings with quite a few dunks — two being off of lobs against London and he also offered up a powerful putback dunk to clean up a teammates miss in their opening game of the day. The senior will be vital to the Bulldogs success in the upcoming season and our initial viewing of Mace did not disappoint.

Rising Juniors

CamRon Mckenzie (6’1 CG/Hughes/2021): Despite only being able to catch Hughes in action one time on Thursday, Mckenzie put on a performance similar to his outing at the Hughes Summer Shoot-Out last weekend. Mckenzie got downhill and was able to finish at the rim. He also had continued success in the mid-range area and dropped in a few three’s from the right corner — which seems to be his favorite spot on the perimeter. He will likely be one of the best scorers in the Cincinnati Metro Athletic Conference again and quite frankly, through the two events that we’ve covered so far, I can’t say that I’ve seen a better pure scorer in the area than Mckenzie.

Aaron Davis (5’11 PG/Woodward/2021): The defensive intensity and non-stop motor showcased in the initial contest against Columbus Northland was what drew our eyes to Davis. He had active hands all throughout the day which helped the Bulldogs get a few run outs and easy buckets. Davis also had his own fair share of success by pushing the pace and scoring in transition including a nifty up and under layup in their last game. Davis is one of those players that every winning team needs. Energy and effort can take you a long way in basketball and those are two things that were written all over his performance at Ohio State.

Rising Sophomores

Paul McMillan IV (6’1 PG/Woodward/2022): It simply didn’t take long to see just how special the star in the Woodward backcourt is. There was a handful of times that McMillan blew by his defender and left him in the rear view with his first step, allowing one of Ohio’s best players regardless of class, to finish at the rim. However, he also showed the ability to throw the lob to the aforementioned Mace at times when the help would arrive. McMillan can get wherever he wants on the floor and is a tough guard when isolated thanks to some nice crossover moves. Furthermore, he can get a bucket from anywhere on the floor. He even drilled a shot from the mid-court logo to beat the halftime buzzer in an eventual victory. An impressive day for the Bulldogs leader was capped off by a brief conversation with Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann, who made his way down to the court after the victory over the Red Raiders — the Bulldogs final game of the night.

Rising Freshman

Rayvon Griffith (6’4 WF/Hughes/2023): Hughes got off to a slow start in the first handful of minutes against Canal Winchester. But it was Griffith who ignited the team, knocking down a three from the left corner and a dunk courtesy of a behind-the-back feed from Mckenzie on a fastbreak. He had 10 of the teams first 24 points and ultimately the Big Red would cruise leading by 17 at the end of the first half. The Indians would fight back in the second half and managed to cut the deficit to just 1. However, Griffith had a stretch late in the contest where he hit a pull-up three and sealed the contest with a steal in the open court that he would throw down to stretch the lead to 6. Through 3 games that we’ve seen from Griffith, we’ve seen his athleticism, pull-up jumper, and ability to knock down the corner three in both settings. Despite being the new guy for the Big Red, he will definitely be a big part of their offensive success. It was him and Mckenzie who poured it on in the win against Canal Winchester.

Kanye Moreland (5’10 CG/Woodward/2023): We were aware of Moreland prior to Thursday but we weren’t sure how much he would be used for Woodward. After an admirable performance that included his ability to drive to the rim, knock down contested shots, and help control the rock when McMillan was off floor tells me that he could very well play a big role for Coach Redden and the Bulldogs. The eye-opening display put on by Moreland was topped off when he put together a pair of filthy moves against London. One was a smooth baseline reverse layup. The other came when he pushed the ball up the floor after a made shot from the opposition and pulled a filthy euro-step out of his bag that sent the defender to the floor. What I saw yesterday makes me think that Moreland has a chance to be exceptional on the hardwood and it won’t take long for others to know about this kid.

Other Notable Performances

Kaleb Crawford (6’2 PG/Princeton), Bowen Hardman (6’3 WG/Princeton/2022), Montev Ware (5’10 PG/Woodward/2021).

Summer Shoot-Out: Top Performers

CINCINNATI, Ohio — Launch Day for 275 Hoops will be remembered as nothing other than a success. The crew was down at Hughes High School and immediately hit the ground running. Head coach Bryan Wyant of the Big Red held his ninth-annual Summer Shoot-Out that featured nine teams and showcased a talented cast of hoopers from the Queen City and he gave us the opportunity to take in the action. Let’s dive in to some players that stood out Saturday:


Rising Seniors

Greg Stewart (6’3 SF/Aiken/2020): The highlight of the entire day was when the senior took flight and threw it down over a Toledo Start defender that drew quite a reaction from those watching. Stewart showed a constant ability to get to the rim for Aiken and delivered more often than not when he did so. I overheard others stating that Stewart definitely improved his game since the conclusion of last season. From what we saw, we are anticipating that Stewart will put a nice cap on his high school career with the Falcons and he will likely play a more extensive role for the Purple and Gold with last year’s leading scorer D’Arris Dean graduating.

Mark Wise (6’4 SG/Deer Park/2020): The senior guard for the Wildcats has the prowess to get to the rim and battle down in the box. For Wise, Saturday was more of the same for him as the city is already well aware of his expertise at putting the ball in the hoop seeing that he sits atop Deer Park’s All-Time scoring list but he showed off his unselfishness and willingness to get others around him involved and did a good job on the glass this weekend. From a leadership standpoint, Wise stood out by being vocal on the defensive end and uplifting his teammates when needed. Wise seemed to have the most college ready body in the gym yesterday.

Rising Juniors

CamRon Mckenzie (6’1 SG/Hughes/2021): I’m not sure there was a better pure scorer in the gym than Mckenzie. He does it in a variety of ways. He can get it done on the perimeter and he got to the rim with success, much like he did against Thurgood Marshall in the final contest of the event where he delivered an impressive spin move and floater in the lane. He additionally has the strength to finish through contact. Expect a bigger responsibility to be placed on Mckenzie with Paul McMillan IV off to Woodward and another big year for the junior who averaged 15.7 for the Big Red last season.

Kaden Warner (5’10 PG/Gamble Montessori/2021): The very first game that we saw at the event was the Gators squaring off against Colerain. Warner immediately flashed with his aggressiveness on the offensive end and his artistry when handling the ball. For my money, Warner had the best vision and even added some flair on his passes when it came to finding teammates. There may be some that have concerns with the size of the junior but nonetheless, he got it done and was big-time this weekend. Perhaps my personal favorite trait that the junior guard showed was his effort and hustle. There was several times that I saw Warner diving on the floor for loose balls. That is a tone-setter for the guys around you

Rising Freshmen

Rayvon Griffith (6’4 SF/Hughes/2023): Just like we’ve all already become accustomed to, the newest addition to Hughes has elite athleticism. He had a nice throw down in transition and elevated over a Columbus South defender that would have been his very first poster dunk had he finished it off. Athleticism aside, the freshman phenom also can be productive outside of the paint and often goes to a pull-up jumper when the time calls for it. The soon-to-be freshman was a key piece in all three of the games that he played on Saturday despite only having three open gym’s with his new team under his belt. Once they work out all of the kinks and the familiarity comes, this will be another stud for Coach Wyant and the Big Red.

275 Hoops wants to thank everyone involved on Saturday for making our launch day a success. We were able to meet some of the coaches, fans, and players throughout the city of Cincinnati and we look forward to building a relationship with everyone and providing you guys with the best content this city has ever seen.