GROVEPORT, Ohio -- Season 2 of the 270 Hoops Fall League Open Division tipped off on Sunday at the immaculate basketball facility at Groveport Madison High School.
Expanding to 20 teams in both the east and west divisions, let's take a look at the top performers from Sunday's action.
Omari Effiong (6’2 WG / Thomas Worthington / 2021): Effiong started the fall league off with a bang in the opening game, going for 20 points to lead the Bulls over a talented Heat squad. The 6-foot-2 wing Effiong works hard on both ends, cleaning up the glass, finishing strong around the rim and showing key defensive versatility. The junior is a guy who makes his impact with his motor, as he had a nose for the ball all afternoon, which led to a high level of productivity. Effiong will be a big part to Thomas Worthington’s core this season.
Ethan Smith (5’10 PG / Olentangy / 2022): A pure shooter, Smith shot the lights out of the gym on Saturday, leading all scorers after Week 1. Smith makes tough shot after tough shot and also has a great handle. The sophomore guard can get any shot he wants, as he plays with good pace and can knock down pull up jumpers off the dribble with no hesitation. Smith dominated in his second game, garnering player of the game honors with 23 points, four rebounds and six assists.
Kevin Brown (5’10 PG / Centennial / 2023): Brown was perhaps the top defensive player in the entire event, Open or Invite, as he dominated on the perimeter for the Clippers. In its second win of the day, Brown was all over the perimeter, coming up with six steals, as he lived in the passing lanes and even had a few on-ball takeaways. The 5-foot-10 freshman is a tough, hard-nosed guard who is not afraid to play physical. It makes sense that he’s a running back on Friday nights, as he is a fearless floor general who looks to get out and make opposing ball handlers uncomfortable.
Devin Royal (6’4 WF / Pickerington Central / 2023): Started off right where he left off from The Intro. Royal is a monster for a freshman, as his broad shoulders and strong frame are tough to stop for most defenders his age. Royal was a force to be reckoned with on Sunday, scoring through contact and showing his ability to put the ball on the deck and get to the rim. When his motor is running, there aren’t many matchups for him. Royal even filled in on the Invite Only Division and did a great job against defenders two and three years older than him.
Logan Mesaros (5’11 PG / Dublin Jerome / 2022): Mesaros made a huge splash in our first viewing of him, exploding for 24 points on six triples in a 63-48 loss for his Grizzlies squad against the Thunder. The leading scorer of all games on Court 2, he was highly efficient both from the perimeter and around the rim, where he was reliable to finish with either hand. Mesaros is a high IQ guard with good hands on the defensive end and the ability to create off the bounce. With the opportunity to learn under Jerome senior Dan Lee this season, Mesaros development should turn him into a really, really talented guard in the future.
Matt Butler (6’3 C / Dublin Jerome / 2022): The big bodied physical post dominated the paint finishing at the rim. He showed the ability to finish through contact with three and-1 baskets. He flashed rim protecting abilities as well altering a number of shots and coming up with a block. Butler also attacked the offensive glass relentlessly, finishing with 15 points and six rebounds in the first game of the afternoon.
Owen Gawel (5’10 PG/ Upper Arlington /2022): Gawel was very impressive in our first ever viewing of him, as he commanded the offense and was setting guys up for easy baskets. He’s an aggressive point of attack defender with a great feel for when to reach. The sophomore guard caused havoc for whoever he was guarding and his team fed off his energy. Gawel finished with 10 points, six rebounds, four assists, and three steals.
Duane Davis (5’5 PG/ Groveport Madison / 2022): Davis has an elusive handle that frees up space for his jumper. He showed the ability to knock down the three off the dribble when given any space. We like the confidence he plays with, as he doesn’t let his lack of size deter him from going up against any type of guard.
Will Keller (6’1 WG / Olentangy / 2022): Keller showed knockdown catch and shoot ability from beyond the arc knocking down two threes. He got after it on the boards as well, finishing with seven rebounds.
Anthony Millner (6’0 PG / Canal Winchester / 2021): Millner was able to get it going from three knocking down two catch and shoot opportunities. He showed the ability to get the rim as well finishing with a game high 12 points.
Gabe Oduro (6’5 PF / Eastmoor / 2021): Long and athletic 6’5 forward. Where Oduro lacks in skill, he makes up two times in effort. He was all over the place finishing with six points, 10 rebounds, and two blocks.
Mason Stuck (6’6 PF / Ridgemont / 2022): With great size at 6-foot-6, Stuck may be a sleeper in the 2022 class. The mobile big man has a strong build, broad shoulders and is a good athlete, while also impressing with his ability to stretch the floor and knock down perimeter shots. At a tiny Division IV program in Northwest Ohio, Stuck is a rising sophomore to keep an eye on.
Christian Jones (6’4 WG / Wellington / 2022): Defenders had trouble containing Jones, as he consistently scored the ball at the rim in transition. Jones has an intriguing frame at 6-foot-4 and has really improved his mobility and agility since our last viewing of him at Battle for the City in March.
Marquise Hawthorne (6’4 C / South / 2021): A big body and effective screen and roll man, Hawthorne didn’t play outside himself and finished opportunities at the rim. He finished with eight points, five rebounds and a block.
Evan Justice (6’0 PG / Circleville / 2021): Justice put on the best shooting performance of any Open Division game we saw, knocking down four threes on catch and shoot opportunities. On a Pacers team that moves the ball and plays as one, Justice is a tough rising junior to keep an eye on in southern Central Ohio.
Tj Pugh (6’5 WG / Shelby / 2021): A invite member as well, Pugh was a tough cover for everyone. He showed the ability to put the ball on the floor and create offense for himself whenever he wanted. He led all scorers with 18 points.
Nicholas Heath (6’3 WF / Upper Arlington / 2022): Heath received player of the game honors in the Warriors’ 43-41 nail-biting win over the Lakers. Heath made an impact in all areas of the game, finishing with 10 points, seven rebounds, four assists and a block. Look for Heath, whose older brother was Harrison Heath, a member of Upper Arlington’s 2014 state-runner up team, to have a chance to make an impact for the Golden Bears in the years to come.
Henry Guerrera (6’3 WF / Dublin Jerome / 2023): After taking home the shooting contest title at The Intro, Guerrera was back to his old tricks in leading the Jazz over the Warriors, 59-37. Guerrera knocked down a trio of triples, finishing with 15 points, six rebounds, an assist and a block. With solid length at 6-foot-3 and a knockdown shooting clip, Guerrera has a bright future in the Jerome program.
Andrew Wade (6’4 WF / Olentangy Liberty / 2021):Great length which helps him on the defensive end, disrupting the passing lanes. Also has great size and a nice left to right spin move in his bag of tricks. Wade’s size and skill will help him become one of the premier forwards in the Open Division this season.
Tegan Myers (6’0 PG / Logan / 2022): The backcourt mate to Ethan Smith, Myers had a great afternoon in helping the Cavaliers go undefeated. Scoring in double figures in both games, Myers showed off his offensive prowess, as he’s a talented ball handler who can get it going from all over the floor. We love Myers’ feel and playmaking ability, as he should help the Cavaliers form into one of the best teams in the Open Division. With Logan graduating a great deal of talent this year, look for Myers to step into a much larger role this winter for the Chiefs.
Tylar Foster (6’2 WG / Olentangy Liberty / 2021): Foster has a shifty crossover and really knows how to score, going for 14 points in the Raptors’ 30 point win over the Celtics. With a great handle and a strong ability to defend on the perimeter, Foster will be relied upon for Liberty this winter.
Maceo Williams (6’6 C / Gahanna / 2021): A beast at the center position, Williams dominated around the basket en route to a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. The way Williams can put a body on someone and grab a rebound is a work of art. Back to the basket bigs are not a thing of the past, as Williams thrived on Sunday.
Marlon Elliott (6’0 PG / Groveport / 2022): Elliott was very impressive in both of his showings Sunday and was the best player on his 2-0 Thunder squad for a majority of the afternoon, using his quickness and handle to create looks for his team off the dribble in the half court, where we also saw him knock down some spot up three-pointers. Elliott got after it on both ends and he used his above average athleticism to create mismatches throughout, whether it was by way of overpowering defenders or blowing by them. He finished at a high rate and got several easy looks in transition as he took advantage of lazy play on the defensive end.
Jayden Sun (6’3 WF / Dublin Jerome / 2022): At 6-foot-3 with room to grow, Sun used his long wingspan to hit the glass hard Sunday and knocked down several tough shots in the mid-range over top of defenders. He can also play on the wing however, as he was a solid perimeter defender throughout the day and came up with several nice steals. With good hands on both ends, a good frame and shotmaking ability, Sun could develop into a really promising faceup four.
Jadi Cunningham Jr. (5’3 PG / Westerville South / 2023): Cunningham is still very undersized, but his game is advanced for a guard at his age. He competes very hard on both ends and was the best defender all day for his Thunder squad as he even came up with four steals in a 63-48 win over the Grizzlies. Cunningham is quick, can hit shots from deep, can get by defenders and consistently made the right play, whether it was making a drive and kick read or pulling up for a floater in order to get his shot off.
Jordan Graham (5’6 PG / Westerville South / 2023): Graham had a solid eight point showing for the Thunder in their 63-48 win over the Grizzlies and proved to be a solid secondary creator on a squad with a few talented guards. Graham got into the lane at ease and hit shots from the perimeter. We’re excited to see how he and Cunningham mesh together this fall and in the future for Westerville South.
Tavian James (6’2 WF / Olentangy / 2021): James was very impressive attacking the rim, as he got inside at will and finished at a high level. James is a long 6-foot-2 and uses it to impact the game in a variety of ways, as we saw him crash the glass hard, disrupt passing lanes on the defensive end and create easy looks in the open floor. He was impressive off the dribble as well, displaying an improved handle as opposed to our last viewing of him, which should allow him to become a more reliable option in the half court for the Braves this year.
Ryan Magill (6’3 WG / Fairfield Union / 2021): Magill has an eerily similar build to James and is reliable on the wing or as your lead guard. He was a nightmare for opposing ball handlers in the Pacers half court trap and scored from all three levels on the offensive end while making some high IQ passes as well. Magill will be relied upon as a main scoring option for the Falcons this winter.
Matt Kennedy (5’8 PG / Olentangy / 2021): Kennedy was an excellent lead guard for his Pacers squad, displaying great vision all day in the open floor and in the half court. Kennedy is always trying to find the open man but can be relied upon to do the scoring himself as well on the offensive end, as he can hit outside shots and get to the rim. A reliable perimeter defender as well, we hope to see Kennedy showcase his talents for the Braves this year as a key piece of their promising young backcourt.
Logan Rogers (6’8 PF / Miami Trace / 2021): Rogers was a tough matchup for the Bucks this afternoon as they didn’t have any true big men on their roster. He used his big bodied frame to create space around the rim and get positioning, creating several easy looks for himself off putbacks. Rogers disrupted shots on defensive end as well and ran the floor all day, showing the potential to become a reliable four for Miami Trace in the future.
Damian Davis (5’11 PG / Bexley / 2020): Davis was playing his best basketball on Sunday, as he was no matchup for anyone on the 76ers in the Raptors blowout win to end the day. He got by guys off the dribble with ease, made good reads consistently, and knocked down several shots from the perimeter. Davis will be heavily relied upon to score for Bexley this winter and the fall should prepare him for that very well.
Hervon Jacobs (6’4 PF / Africentric / 2020): A two-year alum of the Fall League, Jacobs made great use of his opening game, nearly notching a double-double with 16 points and nine boards. The Africentric senior has clearly been working to improve his game, as he looked to be more reliable as a shooter, while still bringing his toughness and motor on the interior. The Nubians need him to be productive this season if they want to win a district title and more in Division III.
Josh Harlan (6’0 PG / Pickerington Central / 2022): Harlan put together a solid 10 point, seven rebound, three assist showing as his Raptors took down the 76ers 70-44. He came ready to play from the jump, making several instinctive plays on both ends of the floor. Harlan can score from the perimeter as a wing and can create for an offense as a lead guard, as we saw him start several nice fast breaks after crashing the defensive glass.
Daniel Fetty (6’0 WG / Grove City / 2023): After getting our eyes on Fetty at The Intro, we were impressed with his shot making ability on Sunday. Fetty is a reliable catch and shoot threat who plays with great confidence. He is a solid ball handler who can make plays off the dribble and showed off good vision and passing ability when he wasn’t knocking down deep threes.
Elias Lewis (6’1 WG / Olentangy Orange / 2023): With the Clippers going 2-0 and having three of the league’s top four scorers through Week 1, Lewis deserves a mention for his consistent productivity. The scoring guard from Orange by way of Wilmington went for 12 points in both wins, getting to the rim and showing off his blend of smoothness and athleticism. Lewis will have a real shot to earn varsity minutes for the Pioneers this season, as he plays a different style than what we’ve come to expect from Orange kids over the years.
Brandon Ivery (6’2 WG / Wellington / 2023): A player that we think has as much upside as just about any wing in the 2023 class, Ivery was very productive for the Clippers on Sunday, placing among the league’s elite in points and rebounds. The lengthy 6-foot-2 wing makes his living around the basket where he is a very skilled finisher that does not lack for aggression. Ivery will be a big piece for the Wellington program going forward and should have a chance to have a similar career to that of his father who was an absolute stud at Walnut Ridge in the early 2000s.
Josh Wilhelm (6’2 WG/ Westerville Central / 2020): Wilhelm was determined to outwork everybody and he did just that sprinting the floor and crashing the boards. He finished with 12 points and eight rebounds.