WESTERVILLE, Ohio -- Otterbein held their annual team camp on Friday and we saw lots of area talent on display from the City League, OCC and CCL, with both pleasant surprises and some of the typical dominant guys doing their thing.
Let's take a look at some of the top performers.
Sean Jones (5’10 G / Gahanna / 2022): Another season, same old Sean Jones. The sophomore point guard looks more poised than ever on the court and looks significantly stronger both in his lower and upper body.
Standing at 5-foot-10, Jones is the best ball handler you will find in the area. He changes speed with deadly burst allowing him to get into the lane and changes directions with ease. In his game against Bishop Watterson, the sophomore lead guard got into the lane at will and regularly found open spot up shooters on the weakside of the floor. He also made a beautiful no look dump in transition to his big. Jones had a much more efficient shooting outing than I anticipated. Like most freshman, his jumpshot consistency has been a concern, but he appears to be working on it in the gym everyday. He knocked down several pull up mid range jump shots, and more impressively a three point shot off movement and a pair pulling up. The range on Jones’ three point jumper will be a key factor to watch in the future, especially if he does not continue to grow. He can create space for it, but will need to keep defenders on their toes with his pull up three in order to maximize his value as a primary ball handler. Look for Jones to dominate on both ends of the floor again for the Lions this season.
Bilal Sow (6’5 PF / Canal Winchester / 2020): Sow will look to anchor the Indians this season after the graduation of Brady Snyder last year. We saw flashes of offensive productions in bursts tonight, proving why he is appealing as a prospect.
Standing at 6-foot-4, the long armed forward is a knockdown shooter that thrives on catch and shoot jumpers in either corner. That reputation did not disappoint as the senior hit three in a row against Dublin Jerome. That corner three point marksmanship is unique from a stretch four and makes him a more effective floor spacer rather than just a pick and pop big. He was allowed to attack off the dribble a lot more than he was last season too, which will not translate to high usage actions, but will allow him to attack closeouts utilizing his strength to finish at the rim the same way he does down low. A monster on the boards, Bilal is capable of protecting the rim unlike most undersized rim protectors because of his wildly long arms. Sow needs to continue to improve his switchability on guards in space along with his overall weakside feel on the offensive end of the floor. Nevertheless, Sow is still one of the better big man prospects that you will find in the area, and definitely should be on every Division III schools radar this season along with some Division II programs if you’re looking for a stretch four to pair with a rim runner.
Maceo Williams (6’5 PF / Gahanna / 2021): Williams will look to continue to build on another solid season with the Lions after getting good minutes as a sophomore. The only big playing on his team today, Williams thrived in a play finishing role and really benefited playing long minutes with a guard like Jones.
Standing at 6-foot-5, Williams has a good frame with broad shoulders. He’s a below the rim finisher that likes to use his strength advantage in order to finish through contact at the rim. He’s a capable back to the basket big as well and showcases great touch with either hand to pair with his growing variety of post moves. Defensively, Williams does an excellent job contesting shots at the rim even though he does not always come up with blocks. His strength throws guards off their position and usually is looking to wall up when challenging shots at the rim. There’s a chance Williams could be the only big on the roster for the Lions, and if that’s the case, look for the junior to have a breakout season playing alongside an elite lead guard.
LA Walker (6’3 WG / Linden / 2022): After an outstanding performance at the Battle For The City freshman game, Walker looks to have taken his game to the next level. He arguably staked the claim as the best long term prospect at this event not named Sean Jones.
Standing at 6-foot-3, Walker has continued to grow since his freshman season at Linden-McKinley. The sophomore was the lead ball handler for Linden today and used his ball handling ability to get into the lane whenever he pleased. He made great reads to the weakside corners, strong side drive and kicks, and finished at the rim through contact. Walker thrived as a transition handler as well. A great rebounder for his position, he is an instant grab and go threat that is always looking to push ahead off the dribble in transition. He also knocked down several spot up jumpers from beyond the arc in his game against Canal Winchester. Defensively, Walker has the length and tools to guard almost any position at the high school level. Mostly sitting in a zone, he did have a spotty performance with some missed rotations, but was solid for the most part. I’d like to see him continue to improve his shooting consistency in order to boost his off ball value on the offensive end. Walker has the talent to explode on the scene as a 2022 prospect and be the most dominant player for the Panthers this season.
Lloyd Kelley (5’10 G / Linden / 2023): Kelley caught my eye today in Linden’s matchup against Canal Winchester and was one of the pleasant surprises of the day. The freshman appears to be the next talented guard that the Panthers will post in a formidable and dynamic backourt along with LB Towns and LA Walker.
Standing at 5-foot-10, Kelley is a dynamic lead guard that can change directions with blazing speed in order to get into the lane. He consistently punished switches, wasting no time with his dribble, making one quick move and showing the ability to finish at the rim with either hand. This was along with showing value as a transition handle by making some simple reads to his wings, filling lanes, and the occasional trailer. Off the ball, Kelley knocked down a pair of spot up threes and made an instinctual backdoor cut finishing through contact. On the defensive end of the floor, Kelley mostly played in a zone and had some quality moments and some typical freshman mistakes. The freshman will likely be primed for major minutes in the City League from day one and we look forward to seeing him grow as a prospect over the next four years. It will be interesting to see how he works with another dynamic ball handler in LB Towns, but if he can learn to develop off the ball in a secondary handling role, that will only make him more appealing and versatile as a prospect.
Shamarion Rogers (6’2 WF / Linden / 2021): Rogers enters the season as the Panthers returning leading scorer that played the entire season last year. He set the tone today, leading by example by giving out maximum effort on both ends of the floor.
Standing at 6-foot-2 with great length, the wing is probably suited best as a four man and played a lot of five today for Linden. Offensively, Rogers did a good job operating the high post, making great decisions out of chest actions along with always looking to push in transition and thriving in both a transition handling and finishing role, taking advantage of his length and athletic ability around the rim. On the other end of the floor, Rogers was very effective and energetic in the bottom of Linden’s zone. This allowed him to come up with steals that turned into easy offensive opportunities for himself and his teammates. With a good amount of talent on the roster, the Panthers will desperately be looking for a leader and Rogers effort made you believe that he could be the one to step up and take this young talented team under his wing. His performance and motor on both ends was very enjoyable and we look forward to covering Rogers in his final season.
Dan Lee (6’1 G / Dublin Jerome / 2020): I was not planning on covering Lee tonight since I wrote about his impressive performance at Ohio Dominican, but he forced my hand. If you’re a young guard trying to learn the game, a basketball coach, or someone that just appreciates the game you will want to watch Lee play this season with the Celtics. His understanding of the game on both ends of the floor is on a whole different level compared to most kids his age.
The 6-foot-1 lead guard put on an absolute show in Jerome’s win over Canal Winchester. On the offensive end, Lee knocked down multiple pull ups working out of drag screens, got into the lane at will, and hit a three off movement coming off a downscreen. He continued to show his poise as a passer as well, always knowing where all five guys are on the court at all times and rarely making a bad decision with the ball in his hands. Defensively, Lee came up with multiple steals off the ball due to his anticipation skills, but also had a pair on the ball as well. He has quick hands and can poke the ball loose if the opposing guard tries to dance around and play with the ball in space. With outstanding grades and test scores, Lee could potentially be a high academic walk on, but if you’re a Division II/III coach that is not at least inquiring about Jerome’s senior lead guard, you are really dropping the ball. He makes every single player on a Celtics team that graduated 12 seniors better.
Michael Bruzzese (6’2 WG / Bishop Watterson / 2020): In a game against Gahanna where the Eagles struggled to create offense, Bruzzese was the lone bright spot. He picked his spots very effectively and put together an impressive performance.
Standing at 6-foot-2, the southpaw is a low usage wing. He has a knockdown spot up three point shot and uses that in order to attack closeouts and get to his mid range pull up jumper as well. His awkward release point makes it very hard for any defender to block or contest. Bruzzese plays at his own pace and even though he is not an elite handler, he does a great job of understanding driving angles in order to get into the lane. On the defensive end of the floor, Bruzzese can guard low usage players effectively, but will struggle to guard lead or secondary ball handlers. He is a high IQ player off the ball, but has very little room for error with little recovery speed which we saw by way of taking a bad angle when defending a drive off a flare. Bruzzese should be the leader for the Eagles this season without their dynamic former guard Zach Sawyer. If he continues to throw out effective and efficient performances like this, do not be surprised if he starts making waves as a potential prospect. His team situation is not ideal without a lead ball handler or creator, but if he continues to make the best out of it and follow up on these type of performances, I’d feel confident in the low usage wing.
Zach Miles (6’6 C / Canal Winchester / 2020): Miles did not get much run last season, but was a nice size option coming off of Canal Winchester’s bench. This season, however, he looks primed for quality minutes off the bench in order to form the most impressive big trio in the area when paired with Cole Metzler and Sow.
Standing at 6-foot-6, Miles possesses a quality skill that is valuable to any program and that is defending in space. Offense’s are gearing more and more towards gaining advantages and a lot of teams will try to create advantages at the expense of your big man on the
perimeter. While he does not look like the greatest athlete, Miles has outstanding feet. He consistently showed off his defense in space in a pair of games against Dublin Jerome and Linden, whether that was by switching on DHO’s and ball screens or just high quality drop possessions. He also flashed some great recovery speed and off ball defense by making a great low tag from the weakside on a ball screen possession. Offensively, the senior still has a budding perimeter game. Known to be a quality shooter, his release is a little questionable and could lead to some inconsistent outings like we saw today. He does have a quality handle for his size that will allow him to attack on the perimeter in straight line drives. I’d like to see Miles continue to improve his offensive game and get a little more aggressive and consistent. There’s a good chance he could be one of the more under the radar prospects this season.
Cole Metzler (6’5 PF / Canal Winchester / 2020): Rounding out the senior trio of bigs is Metzler, who is the one of two double digit scoring returners for the Indians. His varsity experience appears to have contributed to his newfound confidence and aggression on the floor.
Standing at a bulky 6-foot-5, Metzler is a thicked framed, quality athlete with a strong motor. Most of his game offensively is spent at or around the rim as a play finisher, where he uses that frame and athletic ability to finish through contact on putbacks, or his motor in order to run the floor to obtain easy looks at the rim in transition. Defensively, Metzler is another glass cleaner that is always looking to get involved at or around the rim, sometimes to a fault. With his movement ability at his size, he should be a good bet to defend in space, but really was not asked to do so frequently today. I’d like to see him continue to find ways to round out his offensive value since he is not a threat to score outside of 10 feet. If you’re an NAIA in a pinch for a big that will just give you consistent energy minutes off the bench, Metzler should be a target.
David Adolph (6’3 WF / Dublin Jerome / 2022): Adolph will look to play a major role for the Celtics this season with almost their entire team gone from last season. The sophomore flashed several great moments that made you feel comfortable about his potential to become a quality contributor and eventually a collegiate prospect.
Standing at a long and skinny 6-foot-3, the sophomore had a quiet but efficient offensive outing. He knocked down a spot up three, attacked a closeout allowing him to finish in the lane with a floater, flashed a feel for the weakside of the floor, and always looked to make the extra pass to open teammates. Defensively, Jerome mostly ran their halfcourt zone trap in order to diminish the value of Canal Winchester’s bigs in the halfcourt. Adolph’s length and IQ proved to be a huge factor making some solid rotations and using his length to make impact plays on the defensive end of the floor. I’d like to see him continue to improve as ball handler and develop a lot of consistency and little mistakes that you usually see from a player who is not used to varsity minutes. Jerome will need plenty of help this season and it will likely need to come by way of Lee’s backcourt running mate and Adolph. He will be a name to track throughout the next few years and should have no problem developing throughout the course of his highschool career with the Celtics outstanding staff.
Gilbert Oduro (6’4 WF / Bishop Watterson / 2022): Oduro was another pleasant surprise today as the sophomore has asserted himself into a valuable varsity rotation player after playing JV last season. Oduro is still very raw, but has all the tools to become a quality prospect.
Standing at 6-foot-4, Oduro is much more of a forward than a wing at this point in his career. While he moves like a wing and is an impressive athlete, he’s limited to more of a big role on the offensive end, with a growing handle that sometimes allows him to attack closeouts where he has an impressive first step off the dribble. Oduro mostly stood out on the defensive end of the floor, where he used his length and athletic ability to his advantage, coming up with three blocks and a pair of steals in their game against Gahanna. He also flashed an impressive down rotation which he was called for a foul on a block attempt, but it was still encouraging to see. He’s a capable defender in space with solid lateral quickness to go along with possessing the length and leaping explosion to guard up a position or two. The next step in Oduro’s game will be figuring out his identity on the offensive end of the floor. If he can continue to improve his IQ and become a quality spot up shooter, Oduro could become a wing prospect that could potentially be in high demand by his senior year.