LEWIS CENTER, Ohio -- The second annual The Intro tipped off on Saturday at Olentangy Orange, as we had a unique chance to watch 98 rising freshmen in Central Ohio compete under one roof. As we wrap up our recap series, we will take a look at some of the standout bigs from the event. We covered standout guards on Sunday and standout wings on Monday.
While The Intro featured dozens of quality guards and wings, there were several standout bigs who made an impression during the six hours of hoops at Olentangy Orange. Let’s take a look at each of them here.
Kaleb Schaffer (PF / Bishop Ready / 2023): By far the biggest stock riser, Bishop Ready’s Schaffer was extremely impressive in all facets of the event. Schaffer, who stands at about 6-foot-4, initially caught our eye in drill work. We were impressed with his offensive skill set, as he knocked down back-to-back pull up jumpers from the free-throw line extended area. Then when it came to offense in the post, Schaffer was equipped there as well, showing soft touch and the strength to finish through contact. The production from the young big continued into the 5-on-5 games where he earned Most Impressive Big honors. Schaffer even knocked down four threes and scored 16 points in a 20-minute game on Court 3 later in the afternoon. In a Ready program loaded with talent in the 2021 class, it may take a year or two for Schaffer to make an impact for the Silver Knights, however, don’t be surprised if he turns into one of the best talents in the Central Catholic League. Schaffer even checks out in the toughness category, as he began his morning at football practice before racing 45 minutes north to dominate The Intro for five and a half hours.
AJ Taylor (Stretch Big / Wellington / 2023): Son of Wellington head coach Artie Taylor, AJ is an intriguing young prospect with really good length. He’s a three level scorer on the offensive end with the ability to hit shots off the catch and off the dribble. Taylor’s length and ability to handle the ball at this age gave him an advantage over most defenders on Saturday. He knows how to use that part of his game and that allows him to create plenty of clean looks around the rim. He scored out of the post and off the dribble, flashing a quick first step and some deceptive quickness. He is best fit defending other wings on the perimeter right now, but will have the ability to defend more fours as he adds weight and strength. As he continues to develop, Taylor’s length, feel for the game, and natural ability could allow him to form into a very good scorer.
Peyton Frey (PF / St. Charles / 2023): Younger brother of St. Charles standout sophomore Jared Frey, Peyton has an excellent frame just like his brother. The lefty is very long with good size for a freshman. He does an excellent job of using his size to get to his spots in the paint and create good looks around the rim. Frey also put a good package of post moves on display during the event and had his way with a lot of smaller defenders in the gym. If he can improve his finishing ability around the rim and outside shot, Peyton will be a viable scoring threat as he continues to fill into his frame. Defensively, Frey is probably best fit guarding fours at this point and has the potential to become a solid wing defender with improved lateral quickness in the future. His length with continue to give him an advantage and we are excited to see what he can become as the young prospect continues to fill out his frame.
David Heath (PF / Hilliard Bradley / 2023): Hilliard Bradley has come to be known for their gritty, lockdown pack line defense in recent years and it looks like Heath is bound to be the perfect fit to step in as the next big bodied forward to control the paint for the Jaguars. With a meaty, strong football build very similar to former Bradley standout Zach Hummel, Heath uses his size and strength to get where he wants inside and is a very efficient finisher around the rim. He had one of the best motors in the entire gym on Saturday and did an excellent job of running the floor, creating a handful of easy buckets for his team. Heath crashes the glass hard and was the best rebounder on Court 4 during the 5-on-5 games. His strength and pure will to get the basketball give him a big advantage inside, as he is also a very tough interior defender who can alter shots and bang guys around. Heath plays the game the right way and this should lead him to a promising career in a program that really values that.
Jason Inbody (PF / Olentangy Berlin / 2023): After a tough first season in existence this past winter, Olentangy Berlin has a lot to look forward to in the future and Inbody is a big reason for that. The 6-foot-4 post was one of the top performers on a loaded Red 1 squad, showing strength and toughness on the block. Inbody has a soft touch around the rim, rebounds with purpose and showed an ability to rim run. Versatile bigs are currently in high demand which should bode well for Inbody’s future. We look forward to watching Inbody develop over the next four years in a Berlin program where he will have a chance to earn playing time as an underclassman.
Steven Bline (C / St. Charles / 2023): While The Intro was stock full of mostly guards and wings, the big man crop of talent was intriguing. One of those intriguing bigs was the St. Charles freshman Bline. With broad shoulders and a gangly frame that Bline should be able to add weight to, Bline did an outstanding job of doing his work early, fighting for inside post position. We were impressed with his ability to run the floor and protect the rim, as he was not afraid of contact and hard work. For a lot of young bigs, physicality and effort can be a roadblock, but that is clearly not the case with Bline. St. Charles is loaded with young talent and will have more on the way (just wait), which will give Bline plenty of chances to stand out on a big stage over the next three years.
Grant Burke (PF / Pickerington North / 2023): Serving as the second hand of a 1-2 front court punch with Schaffer for Red 2, Burke had a productive afternoon in earning Top 20 all-star honors. Burke is a big body with soft hands, as he scored efficiently around the basket at a consistent level for most of the afternoon. The duo of Schaffer and Burke was tough to stop for opponents on Saturday, as both young bigs showed the ability to stretch the floor while still remaining a force inside. Burke showed the ability to put the ball on the floor and get to the rim and finish. His soft touch from the mid-range was impressive, while he also showed the ability to knock down shots from behind the three-point line. Already possessing a nice frame with good zie, the next step for Burke will be to continue to improve his conditioning and impose his will more often, things that will help him move up in a loaded North program.