COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Tipping off every year for the last two and a half decades at the Jewish Community Center, the JCC William A. Barkan High School Memorial Shootout offered yet another chance for some of the top basketball players in the area to put on a show.
We attended all four sessions of games on Tuesday, watching seven different teams from all over the area. While we have already detailed players from Briggs, Bishop Hartley and South in the last week, we will take a look at the top performers from Centennial, Eastmoor, Groveport and West.
Julian Binford (5'8 PG / Eastmoor / 2020): As experienced as any senior guard in the City League, Binford put on a show as Eastmoor held on to a tight win against Groveport. The 5-foot-8 guard is as fast as they come, using his shifty handle and strong athleticism to punish defenders off the dribble. Binford got to the rim at will, finishing at a high level through traffic, as he is one of the very best below the rim finishers anywhere in the area. We love the toughness of Binford, as he plays both ends and makes winning plays, no matter the setting. Binford has a small, but strong and compact frame that he uses to shed contact and power through defenders around the basket. The senior has a shifty handle, can blow by defenders off the dribble and has shown the capability of being a reliable mid-range pull up shooter. Despite not having great size, Binford is a big-time competitor with a ton of ability that we think Division III and NAIA programs in the region should prioritize.
Scotty Lomax (6'2 WG / Groveport / 2021): At 6-foot-2 Lomax is an incredibly mesmerizing scoring guard. The junior is already a polished shooter off movement and is capable of attacking deliberately working off screens and getting to his pull up jumpshot, like we saw on Tuesday, burning Eastmoor thrice off a stagger down screen. He also thrives out in the open court where Lomax is already one of the better leapers that you will find in Central Ohio and can blossom into a consistent above the rim finisher with some added strength. A capable change of pace handler, Lomax has the ability to work off of higher usage actions and flashed a simple read as a ball screen handler. Defensively, Lomax made several quality rotations as well speaking volumes to his feel and IQ at his age. He does need to continue to develop as a passer off the bounce especially as a decision maker. The talent within Groveport Madison’s junior guard is undeniable. Anticipate him to become the Cruisers top option and for Division II and III coaches to have him on their radar for next season.
Tyreek Gunnell (5'7 PG / Centennial / 2021): The 5-foot-7 Gunnell was the most impressive player on the floor in Centennial's win over West. Knocking down several perimeter jumpers and using his burst to edge past defenders to the rim, Gunnell was really productive on the offensive end. On defense, Gunnell has great lateral quickness and good hands, forcing a handful of turnovers and defending the ball at a high level. The rising junior has a strong build, as he was able to absorb contact on his drives which led to a few tough finishes. If Gunnell can keep playing like he did on Tuesday, Centennial should greatly benefit as the Stars will look to replace the major production lost from the departures of Myles Martinez and Jaylen Gilbert.
Daylen Patterson (5'8 PG / Eastmoor / 2020): If you didn't know Patterson, you might confuse him with Binford. While the two Eastmoor senior guards could pass as twins, Patterson has a game of his own. In a win over Groveport, Patterson had a strong second half, making plays for himself and others with the ball and helping Eastmoor get out into transition. The 5-foot-8 senior has a good handle, is a talented pull up shooter and seems to take pride on the defensive end of the floor. Patterson has waited his turn in the Warrior program, as this could be the year that the senior breaks out. Eastmoor's guard duo may be small, but Patterson and Binford both are as tough as they come and talented enough to help the Warriors compete in Division II.
Elijah Monroe (6'0 PG / Groveport / 2020): Monroe was one of the pleasant surprises off the day. He appears to be blossoming into a primary handling role with Nakhi Taylor graduating. The 6-foot guard has an outstanding frame at his size and allows him to finish at the rim with ease, while his change of pace handling and excellent burst off the dribble allow him to get into the lane. The senior also knocked down a spot up three, but does need to continue to develop into a more consistent threat from the outside. Monroe was equally, if not more impressive on the defensive end of the floor. Showing the potential to become a formidable point of attack defender with elite lateral speed and quick hips. He also made his presence felt off the ball and in transition as well. Executing quality rotations to come up with steals and deflections along with a wildly impressive block in transition on a 2 on 1 fast break. Look for Monroe to man the backcourt with Lomax for the Cruisers next season, and if both play up to their potential look for Groveport to finish with a better record than last season, even after losing two standout seniors.
Kelvin Gilliam (6'4 PF / Centennial / 2020): The big bodied 6-foot-4 forward was a workhorse in the paint in Centennial's win over West. Gilliam is very strong underneath and showed a great ability to rebound and score in traffic. The senior post has a good motor, really competes on the interior and should have a chance to produce at a high level for a Centennial team that will need everything he can provide them. After a junior season in which he had a few breakout moments, Gilliam will transition from a secondary option to a featured part of Centennial's offense. With what we saw on Tuesday, we feel Gilliam is capable of succeeding in that role, as he has the size, strength and finishing ability to contribute as a top option for the Stars.
Abdi Gelle (6'4 WF / West / 2020): Standing at a lengthy 6-foot-4 Gelle is an above average athlete at the wing position. Which was showcased mainly in the open court on the offensive end of the floor where he had several impressive finishes at the rim through contact utilizing his length along with his athletic tools. The senior knocked down a pair of shots from the outside in the halfcourt, and effectively attacked closeouts, but will need to continue to improve his very high handle. Defensively, Gelle has the tools to be a multipostional defender on the ball, but will need to continue to make strides off the ball and improve his IQ on both ends of the floor. This was a strong showing from the senior and with West losing their top three senior scorers from last season, look for Gelle and talented junior guard Sidi Aden to be the Cowboys' 1-2 punch.
Mauricio Diaz (5'10 WG / Briggs / 2021): While the primary focus on this article was to feature teams and players we have yet to cover this month, Diaz deserves a much-needed mention after a dazzling shooting display he put on against Bishop Hartley and South. Diaz is the hardest worker in the Briggs program, greatly developing from a kid who got cut in seventh grade to a guaranteed starter for the Bruins as a junior. Diaz is best served as a spot up shooter, as his quick trigger release is helpful when defenses collapse on junior standout Javion Williams on the block. On a Briggs team that loves the corner three, Diaz is their best shooter and could be capable of breaking out this season as the Bruins will need a guy like him to step up in a secondary scoring role alongside Williams and senior Domenic Farley. The next step for Diaz will be to develop into a more capable ball handler and defender, as his outside shooting, work ethic and toughness will be desirable for small colleges who end up recruiting him next year.
Trevell Adams (5'10 PG / South / 2020), Tierre Harris (6'3 PF / South / 2020), Will Miller (6'3 WG / Bishop Hartley / 2021), Amari Gaston (6'2 WG / Bishop Hartley / 2022), Javan Simmons (6'4 PF / Bishop Hartley / 2022), Javion Williams (6'4 WF / Briggs / 2021), Domenic Farley (6'1 PG / Briggs / 2020)