COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Taking place all over the east side of Columbus, the All-Ohio Nike Super 16 gave us a chance to take another look at the top prospects in the area. Let's take a look at our best performers from this past weekend's action.
Trevell Adams (5'11 PG / South / Hidden Gems Black / 2020): A breakout player from the state tournament, Adams helped Hidden Gems Black wrap up a big-time weekend with wins of All-Ohio Red, All-Ohio Cleveland and Indy Heat. Adams is a true two-way guard with plus-level athleticism that can really put pressure on a defense when his jump shot is falling. That was the case in the win over All-Ohio Red, as Adams converted on a few tough pull up jumpers. A tough downhill driver who gets to the rim and finishes with distinct athleticism, Adams is arguably the top breakout point guard in Central Ohio over the course of the last six months.
Brandon Noel (6'7 PF / Chillicothe / Mid Ohio Pumas / 2020): The top breakout big man in the 2020 class, this past weekend Noel showed why Wright State and several top Division II programs have offered him recently. A versatile big with a reliable outside shot, the ability to handle in transition, quality footwork in the post and strong passing ability, Noel has emerged as a high priority recruit. When Noel's motor is running, he is highly productive, which was the case in our viewing of him on Saturday. In a class that doesn't have a whole lot of post prospects, Noel is the best of them all and should continue to add to an already impressive offer list. We love Noel's versatility, as he can score it in multiple ways and has the size and athleticism to impact the game defensively.
CJ Anthony (6'0 PG / Harvest Prep / All-Ohio Red / 2020): The crowned state champion is playing with All-Ohio Red this spring and took full advantage of being the only lead guard on the roster available this weekend. Anthony had a strong all around showing against UTS Elite on Saturday.
The 6-foot lead guard consistently boasted his maturity and intelligence as a ball screen handler throughout this game. The ball screen game fits Anthony perfectly, as it allows him to get downhill in a hurry where he can take advantage of his broad frame to finish through larger defenders or rub off the screen and finish over rim protection with a floater. The Harvest Prep guard also did a fantastic job passing out of the ball screen game proving that his vision within those situations extends past the roll man.
Defensively, Anthony is an irritating on ball defender, but made his impact off the ball as well. Stepping in from the strong side of the floor to take a charge and shooting the gap on a driving lane in order to come up with a steal which lead to an easy transition opportunity for his team.
Anthony continues to pump out one strong performance after another every time we have the opportunity to see him. The high IQ guard can play both on and off the ball defensively and already has collegiate level strength. He’s the type of prospect that can fit into any offense and any role you can ask a guard to play. With already a few mid major offers, do not be surprised for more to start rolling in. Also do not be surprised if CJ Anthony soon becomes the consensus top senior guard in Central Ohio.
Marcus Johnson (6'4 W / South / All-Ohio Red / 2020): The South wing is back playing with All Ohio Red for another season. Johnson picked up his first offer Division I offer in the spring last season and is looking for more with his most recent coming from Akron.
Watching the 6-foot-4 wing in high school, I’ve always been impressed with Johnson’s tools to become an elite defensive prospect. However, it looks like he is finally starting to put it together. Johnson continued to show his elite lateral speed on the ball with multiple possessions in space against lead guards. He also showed some simple rotations off the ball, with one creating a turnover. Johnson can continue to develop into a strong off ball defender as well with fantastic recover speed, leaping ability, and length to contest shots, cause deflections, and force turnovers.
A majority of Johnson’s offense at this point in his career comes out in transition since he is a player that feeds off his defensive prowess and motor. He does not play much on the ball and I was hoping to see an improved handle from the high school season. His biggest improvement that needs to be made is his outside shooting consistency. Since Johnson could develop into such a plus on the defensive end of the floor with proper coaching, he really only needs to be able to hit spot up 3’s at an reasonable clip in order to become a 3 and D wing at the collegiate level.
Kal Jayaraman (6'5 WF / Olentangy Liberty / Mid Ohio Pumas / 2020): The 6-foot-5 wing had an impressive showing this weekend, as he was able to showcase a newfound confidence playing for the Mid Ohio Pumas that we did not see at Olentangy Liberty.
Jayaraman has elite height and length for the wing position. He’s a capable ball handler that can attack a closeout or grab and go in the open court. The rising senior knocked down a pair of threes off the spot up and has range on his jumpshot that extends past the collegiate line. While he did not knock down his one shot attempt coming off a stagger downscreen, he did look very comfortable shooting off movement with his body perfectly balanced and squared.
Defensively, the wing has the length to guard multiple positions, but likely does not extend past both wing spots and a lower usage guard until he develops physically enough to potentially guard bigs. His initial reaction to his opponents first step was a tad slow at times but Jayaraman has the length to contest.
Jayaraman did not get much run this season at Olentangy Liberty, but should be a breakout prospect in the Central Ohio area this upcoming season. A fluid 6-foot-5 wing that can do a little bit of everything, look for him to make a big impact for the Patriots, as they have big shoes to fill with reigning district player of the year and all-time program leading scorer Ben Roderick playing at Ohio University next season.
Conner Maciag (6'2 CG / Pickerington Central / APEX / 2020): The 6-foot-2 combo guard burst onto the Central Ohio scene this season thriving in a bench role a Pickerington Central. While he did not make a huge impact scoring the ball in his game against All-Ohio Respect, the IQ flashes that were displayed were equally as impressive.
Offensively, Maciag plays within a fitting secondary handling role. With a solid handle the guard can effectively attack closeouts and is capable of reading the rim protection on those drives to execute dump offs. Along with showcasing some great movement to create open looks within a zone and knowing how when to properly lift as the weakside spot up man in ball screen situations. On the ball, Maciag had a nice drive and finish at the rim through contact attacking off the dribble and flashed some stationary weakside passing vision against the opposing teams zone defense.
Defensively, Maciag flashed some solid off ball defensive prowess. Making a pair of excellent rotations from the weakside of the floor, one coming in the halfcourt at the rim where he contested a layup attempt from a big, but did not have the physical tools necessary to contest the shot. The other came on the fly in transition where he was able to alter the shot a shot attempt from a wing filling a lane in transition.
Maciag’s lack of scoring should not be an issue just from this one outing. His off ball value is legitimate as a proven shooter that will continue to generate hard closeouts that he can take advantage of. With Pickerington Central losing a plethora of backcourt talent, this high school season will be a good evaluation period to see how the incoming senior develops on the ball. I’d like to see how the guard can hold up against quicker guards defensively as well. He should be a name that every D3 coach in Ohio knows.
Derrick Hardin (6'2 WG / Worthington Christian / Hidden Gems Black / 2020): Running with Hidden Gems this past weekend, Hardin made an instant impact for the group, as he was super efficient in our viewing of him against All-Ohio Cleveland. While Hardin emerged onto the scene with his outside shooting ability this past high school season, we were impressed with his ability to attack off the bounce and finish through contact on Saturday. Hardin gave HG Black great minutes in the second half of its win, converting multiple three-point plays that helped his team overcome an early deficit. The 6-foot-2 guard is already one of the area's best shooters, as he is deadly on catch and shoot opportunities with his quick release. If Hardin can continue to show the ability to score off the bounce, it will make him that much more difficult to contain. Look for Hardin to get plenty of high percentage scoring opportunities next season with Worthington Christian returning a talented backcourt highlighted by rising sophomore sensation DJ Moore.
Kaveon Ross (6’5 PF / Walnut Ridge / Hidden Gems Black / 2020): We had multiple viewings of Ross this past weekend and the Walnut Ridge rising senior did not disappoint. He was still a man among boys on the glass as usual, finished well above the rim and had a stellar defensive weekend, taking on guards, wings and bigs at his size. Above all else, most impressive was his ability to knock down shots from 15-17 feet. After serving as a low post presence this past season, we would love to see him continue to shoot it more consistently from that range. Ross will be the X factor for a Walnut Ridge team with high hopes for the 2019-2020 season, as he provides the Scots with another reliable scorer who is a tough cover due to his size, athleticism and motor. It's hard to find teams with one legitimate defender for Ross, however, when you throw in Von Cameron Davis, who may very well be the best player in the area, Walnut Ridge more often than not has a personnel advantage in its front court. The 6-foot-5 forward should be a priority recruit for Division II programs looking for bigs who can move, play hard and compete.
Jalen Sullinger (5’9 PG / Thomas Worthington / All-Ohio Red / 2021): Sullinger was looking like his normal self over the weekend, getting into the lane at ease and hitting tough shots consistently. Jalen showed off his great feel for the game, constantly playing within the offense and making the right reads. He used his tight handle and excellent dribble combo moves to keep defenders on their heels on the perimeter before using an explosive burst to blow by them. Sullinger is extremely quick with the ball in his hands and does an excellent job of breaking down defenders before attacking off the dribble. When in the lane, he is an excellent finisher and we saw him do a great job of finishing through contact on the weekend with a pair of impressive and-ones. He also consistently makes the right pass/shoot reads in the lane and creates open looks for his teammates. Jalen showed off his perimeter shooting ability by hitting a pair of triples off of the catch and shoot. On defense, he played in the back end of a 1-3-1 and showed good awareness through quick rotations and came up with a few steals. After a big time sophomore season, we are expecting Jalen to light it up next season in the OCC-Cardinal.
Des Watson (6’4 WF / DeSales / All-Ohio Red / 2021): We were pleased to see Watson get on the perimeter this weekend and show off his handling ability and potential to score off the bounce. Des was in attack mode with the ball in his hands in a good matchup against BTC Prophets, constantly looking to get downhill and into the lane off the dribble. He has an excellent frame with a good combination of athleticism, strength and size, allowing him to get where he wants to often. We saw him show off his improved handle with a lot of good moves to help him get into the lane, but it was most evident after he grabbed a rebound and went coast to coast for a tough finish falling to his right. He also made a lot of good passing reads inside of the lane leading to fouls for his teammates. Des had his way in the post several times as well, using his strength to create space and get easy looks. With excellent potential on the wing, we will hope to see Des attacking more next season and looking to be a top scoring threat for DeSales in the CCL.
Mario Davis (5’10 PG / Harvest Prep / Ohio Bulldogs / 2021): In a very tough matchup against All-Ohio Red, Davis did a great job of allowing his team to hang around by creating a lot of offense for his guys. He displays a tight handle and uses good hesitation moves to help himself get into the lane. He made several very good drive and kick reads leading to baskets for his teammates as he was blowing by defenders on an extremely athletic All-Ohio Red roster. Davis is slightly undersized, especially when in the paint, but he did a good job of going right into contact and drawing fouls. We also saw him finish a tough scooping floater off of the glass. On the defensive end, Davis was competing hard throughout the half that we watched him and he showed to have quick feet and the ability to defend on the perimeter. We will be looking for Mario to step up big time in the Harvest Prep backcourt next season alongside CJ Anthony as they lose Brandon Beavers and Avonti Duncan both to graduation.
Riley Gibson (6’0 PG / Circleville / Mid-Ohio Pumas / 2021): Gibson was excellent in creating offense for the Pumas on Saturday. A smooth lefty who keeps the ball on a string, Riley is constantly looking to create a shot but makes a lot of good choices with the ball in his hands. He does an excellent job in the pick and roll and takes advantage when slower defenders are switched off onto him. We saw Riley show off a good array of finishing moves as well, using a very nice euro step to lead to a foul on one occasion and a basket on another. He absorbs contact well is fearless going into the lane. He generated a ton of easy looks for his teammates under the basket as well after blowing by his man and drawing a help defender from the defense. Gibson is a solid perimeter defender as well and we saw him come up with several steals for the Pumas on Saturday. He helped start the break on multiple occasions and got easy looks due to his defensive efforts. Gibson should have a huge junior year in the MSL for Circleville as he is looked upon to be the main source of offense for his squad.
Carter Jones (6’4 WF / Centerburg / Mid-Ohio Pumas / 2021): Jones’ stock continued to rise over the weekend as he produced for his guys consistently on the offensive end. A true three-level scorer, Carter can knock down the three-pointer with consistency, can hit the mid-range and can score from the post. We saw him excel a lot with the ball in his hands over the weekend. Carter scored with a tough post hook, a catch and shoot three, a tough and-one and an impressive transition finish where he soared up to get his shot off in the final game we watched him play Saturday. Similar to Watson, he has a good build with a combination of strength and athletic ability. This constantly plays in his favor as his defenders are forced to guard him both in the post and on the perimeter. He also proved to be an excellent break starter, throwing several impressive outlet passes in the open floor. Jones impressed on the defensive end by coming up with steals by way of jumping lanes and also just ripping his man. Carter is emerging as an excellent scorer this AAU season and should put up huge numbers next season in the KMAC.
Jason Sailor (5’10 PG / Logan Elm / Mid-Ohio Pumas / 2021): Sailor was his normal self on Saturday, competing as hard as he can on every possession and bringing his team loads of energy. Sailor is extremely strong for a guard and uses this along with his quickness to get into the lane at ease. He has a very quick first step and he put it on display several times, such as when he beat his man for a baseline and-one. He also uses great hesitation moves to keep his defender honest and we saw him score off of them with a floater and a jumper in the lane.He also showed his ability as a perimeter threat by hitting a triple off of the catch and shoot. Defensively, he has the potential to be a lockdown perimeter defender every night with his athletic ability, strength and play style. Sailor’s style of play was most evident when we saw him sprint back for a tough steal and then come back down to the other end and hit a floater. A name to keep an eye on in the MSL-Buckeye, Sailor could be in for a breakout season next year for Logan Elm.
Makhale Massey (6'3 WG / Northland / Hidden Gems Black / 2021): Playing up on the 17u circuit, Massey helped Hidden Gems pick up one of its biggest wins in program history in taking down All-Ohio Red on Sunday. The 6-foot-3 rising junior is a composed wing that plays within himself and consistently made good decisions over the course of the weekend. After an up and down sophomore campaign, Massey showed the high level upside that he possesses, as he made an impact on both ends of the floor, both as a spot up shooter, slasher and defensive stopper on the wing. The son of Kyrem Massey, who starred at Kent State just two decades back, Makhale Massey has the tools to carry the family legacy if he continues to play like he did this past weekend.
Sean Jones (5'10 PG / Gahanna / All-Ohio Red / 2022): There is not a player anywhere in the area that is faster with the ball than Jones. An elite-level ball handler with elite body control to match, Jones dazzled all weekend long with his handling coordination and ability to deliver pinpoint passes on the move. The Gahanna freshman has a bag full of tricks that he uses to create consistent separation. There may not be a better guard in Central Ohio when it comes to getting into the lane, as Jones made play after play in our viewings of him. Coming into the summer, jump shooting was the area Jones needed to improve and he has clearly committed time into doing just that, as his form and touch looks better from the high school season, while showing more balance on his pull up jumper. It's going to be a joy to watch Jones develop over the years, as he can impact the game on both ends with his cat-like quickness, speed and athleticism. If he played football, he could probably be a five-star defensive back.
Dan Wagner (5'10 PG / Africentric / All-Ohio Red / 2022): Getting plenty of burn as a freshman this past season at Africentric, Wagner had a solid afternoon in our viewing of him on Saturday. The 5-foot-10 guard is a quick ball handler who is a much better passer than what he's given credit for. Wagner showed great vision in making a few difficult passes to the weakside corner on the move. The rising sophomore has an aggressive mentality and loves to get downhill to the basket where he is able to finish more often than not. We love Wagner's toughness and overall aggressiveness on both ends of the floor, as he will only continue to improve as he matures as a playmaker and overall facilitator. In an Africentric program where head coach Mike Bates has done an incredible job developing guards over the years, Wagner is next in line in a rich history in the last decade. The Nubians have plenty of weapons returning next year with Wagner, Davis and Burke in the backcourt.
Matthew Sech (6'0 G / Hilliard Darby / Mid Ohio Pumas / 2022): Getting our first look at Sech, we were impressed with the playmaking guard from Darby. Sech plays at a good pace and has a natural smoothness to his game that is hard to come by with many young guards. Sech consistently broke down the defense off the dribble, getting into the lane and finishing through contact with strength. While we still haven't been able to see Sech really shoot it just yet, we were impressed with his effectiveness in both the half court and transition. Look for Sech to have a chance to break out as a sophomore for a Darby program that could use his contributions.
Ryan Paris (5'11 G / Hilliard Davidson / Mid Ohio Pumas / 2022): Growing several inches since the last time we saw him play in the fall, Paris was impressive in our viewing of the Pumas. The 5-foot-11 guard can REALLY shoot it from the perimeter, as he was a standout from The Intro last August, scorching the nets from beyond the arc. With greater size and an improved handle, look for Paris to have a chance to really break out onto the scene next winter for a Davidson program that graduates a ton of production.
Armani Lyles (6’4 WF / Beechcroft / Ohio Varsity / 2022): The lengthy forward made his presence felt early and often this past weekend. Lyles was dominant on the glass, coming up with some big time offensive rebounds. He showed the ability to handle the ball in transition and finished well at the rim all game. He was tasked with defending a taller player, giving up about three inches but didn’t budge one bit. Lyles' length really showed as he played stout defense. Look for him to be an impact player for the Cougars next year, as Beechcroft will be young, but will not suffer for lack of talent.
Marlon Elliot (6’0 G / Groveport / Ohio Hustle / 2022): When locked in defensively, Elliott is a top tier on ball defender in the class of 2022. He has great lateral quickness and really enjoys getting after his man. Offensively, his playmaking ability is his best asset, as he displayed that this weekend with some jaw dropping assists. Marlon has an explosive first step allowing him to get to the rim where he finishes really well. Would like to see him continue to shoot the outside shot with confidence. Look for Elliott to crack the varsity rotation in his sophomore campaign after serving as the lead guard for the Cruisers' junior varsity team last winter.