COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Week 2 of the 270 Hoops Fall League has come and gone. After rolling out our first Hard Work Report last week, we saw a noticeable uptick in the energy level and motor of players in both the Open and Invite divisions. Let’s take a look at some of the guys who stood out thanks to their effort and commitment to both ends of the floor.
Paul Burris (6’6 PF / Delaware Hayes / 2020): Burris did an excellent job in a tough matchup with Von Cameron Davis and Indiana, coming up with three blocks in the contest by using his length to his advantage on the interior. Though Von Cam got his fair share of buckets (he’s the most productive player in the area), we were impressed with Burris’ effort and rebounding ability as he also pulled down five boards in the contest. Paul has played his role very well so far this fall, defending on the perimeter and inside while doing a solid job of stretching the floor and knocking down shots like he does best. In an era where length and shooting are as valued as they are, Burris should attract some Division II interest this winter as he offers just that.
Micah Slater (6’0 G / Reynoldsburg / 2020): Slater refused to be outworked on Sunday, expending all available energy on both ends of the floor. He sprinted on every fast break and it paid dividends as he finished with 11 points and three rebounds in the Celtics’ win over the Knicks. Slater set the tone with his energy and effort, as his Celtics team bounced back with a big week.
Fred Wilkes (5’10 PG / Upper Arlington / 2020): In his first week on the Invite Only circuit, Wilkes established himself as one of the elite on-ball defenders in the event. While he didn’t get many scoring opportunities, Wilkes made his presence as a physical ball stopper that frustrated opposing guards. We love guys who make their opponents work and Wilkes is one of those players. As he continues to develop, we think he has a chance to flourish this season in a Pat Beverly type role for Upper Arlington.
Vic Searls (6’8 C / St Charles / 2020): Vic had a good showing as he cleaned the glass and finished well inside on his way to a six points and six rebounds. One of the more improved players in the area, Searls has a chance to put up some quality numbers for a St. Charles team that has district title potential.
Hunter Shedenhelm (6’5 WG / Pickerington North / 2020): Even though his shot wasn’t falling, Shedenhelm continued to play hard on both ends. He crashed the board and ended up with nine points and eight rebounds. Elite Division II programs continue to flock to the event to get their eyes on Shedenhelm.
Taquan Simington (6’2 WG/ South / 2020): Simington was active on defense in the passing lanes. He came up with two steals and chipped in eight points for Indiana. With his rare explosiveness, strength and toughness, Simington is a problematic matchup for most high school defenders.
Conner Maciag (6’1 G / Pickerington Central / 2020): Maciag had really active hands finishing the game with a game high three steals and added four points. We love how hard Maciag defends and how he has evolved into an all-around player over the last two years.
Cole Metzler (6’5 PF/ Canal Winchester / 2020): Metzler hit the glass hard and protected the rim, finishing with five rebounds and a block. Never afraid to throw his body around, Metzler is one of the more physical bigs anywhere in the area. Division III programs should give him a strong look.
Dan Lee (6’0 PG / Dublin Jerome / 2020): Playing more off the ball on his Michigan State team than what he is used to at Jerome, Lee has not let that affect his game, as he has continued to play ‘the right way’ and provide winning effort. The 6-foot guard has a great feel, is a talented passer, works hard on defense and can punish a defense with his spot up shooting. Lee is going to be a great get for a high academic program.
Tabari Howard (6’2 G / Westerville South / 2021): It doesn’t always show up on the stat book, but after our second viewing we’re convinced that Howard is a top five, if not the best on ball defender in the open league. He possesses elite lateral quickness and is a pest on the ball. He has rarely been scored on, as he put that to use against the Celtics, finishing with two steals in another phenomenal defensive effort.
Darius Parham (6’3 WG / Bishop Ready / 2021): Parham is the poster child for consistent productivity, as he had exactly nine points, three rebounds and two assists in each game on Sunday to help Ohio State remain unbeaten. The 6-foot-3 wing guard is one of our favorites in the class, as he is solid in every area. Parham rebounds like a grown man, is strong as an ox on defense, can handle it like a smaller guard and has become a knockdown perimeter shooter. With everything he does well and the consistent motor that he plays with, Parham is on a great path to becoming a successful college player.
Elijah Hinton (6’6 PF / Newark / 2021): Hinton caught the eyes of several of our writers on Sunday, combining for 20 points and 11 rebounds in two wins for his North Carolina squad. Hinton is a strong 6-foot-6 four who uses his size inside, blocks out consistently and has the athleticism to help him dominate the glass. With Sunday being his first week of play this fall, we loved the way that Elijah accepted his role and dominated it. He stretched the floor to the three-point line, scored in the post and filled lanes in transition excellently. Hinton has the motor and tools to become a very intriguing prospect as he has some of the best upside in the entire league.
Eli Burke (6’0 G / Africentric / 2021): Burke mixed it up with the big guys, rebounding well and got the break started with multiple grab and go boards. Burke finished with five points and five rebounds and had another strong defensive outing, where he has been one of the more physical on-ball defenders in the league.
Nash Hostetler (6’2 WG / Dublin Coffman / 2021): Also debuting for the first time on Sunday, Hostetler caught the eye of one of our scouts in attendance with his effort and IQ. The 6-foot-2 guard competes on both ends, always makes the right basketball play and can really score it on the wing. Look for Hostetler to break out this season in a much expanded role for the Rocks who will need him to step up in order to remain atop the OCC-Central.
Carter Jones (6’5 WF / Centerburg / 2021): One of several players who entered last fall in the Open Division unknown and unheralded, Jones has put in work over the last year and has established himself as one of the most promising wing prospects in his class. Jones is an old school player that prefers substance over flash, as he can play just about every position and is a matchup nightmare for most teams. With great size and solid athletic tools, Jones can play and defend in the post, is a talented mid-range shooter and can handle the ball in transition. We think he is going to develop into a guy that elite Division II programs will covet a year from now, if not already.
Elhadji Thiam (6’7 PF / Pickerington Central / 2021): As the lone big man for Ohio State on Sunday, Thiam made his presence felt as a rim deterrent that can switch out onto guards and wings on the perimeter. While he didn’t score a ton of points, Thiam worked within the offense, cleaned up the defensive glass and proved to be a difficult matchup on the defensive end of the floor. Thiam has really high upside as he continues to get stronger, which will only make him more effective since he’s not afraid of contact and physicality.
Jarius Jones (6’5 WG / Gahanna / 2021): Jones impressed in a different facet each game on Sunday, as he grabbed seven boards in a win over Kentucky and scored eight points by knocking down two triples in a win over Indiana. The 6-foot-5 wing offers defensive versatility, a good motor, strength and shooting touch. As he’s thrived playing with Gahanna sophomore Sean Jones this fall, we expect to see the same from the Jones’ duo for the Lions this winter.
Zaveon Croff (6’1 WG / Reynoldsburg / 2021): One of our favorite players in the area, we have never seen Croff’s energy level at anything less than 110 percent. He provided that same energy in a Bulls win where he finished with five points, six rebounds, two assists and a steal. Look out for Zaveon to provide Reynoldsburg with a spark this year as the Raiders could use his energy, toughness and productivity with guys like Ben Fort and Sahmi Willoughby moving on to the next level.
Josh Potter (6’0 G / Johnstown / 2021): Potter found a way to get involved in a little bit of everything and was silent key factor in the Heat win. He finished with six points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals. Look for Potter to have a chance to crack the varsity rotation for a Johnnies team that will be in rebuild mode this season.
Ryan Utt (6’4 F / St Charles / 2021): Utt was a man on the glass snagging eight rebounds and adding four points. With solid length and a motor to match, Utt should figure into the rotation for a loaded St. Charles squad.
Nick Heath (6’3 WF / Upper Arlington / 2022): Though we already highlighted Heath as a top performer, he’s getting a mention here due to the fact that he grabbed 13 rebounds in one game on Sunday, the most we’ve seen in a single game so far in the fall league. An athletic 6-foot-3 forward who bullies guys around with his strength, Heath dominated the glass and paint all day, contesting opposing shots, using his length to snatch boards and outworking every matchup he received. We hope to see Heath add to his offensive arsenal this season as he already has the work ethic and motor to be very successful.
Drew Panning (6’4 WG / Westland / 2022): Growing probably six inches since this time last year, Panning still forces us to give a double take any time we see his gangly 6-foot-4 frame walk by. On Sunday, Panning put that newfound length and size to use, as he was more engaged than we’ve ever seen and his effort level showed. We would love to see Panning continue to play with the intensity that he brought as he finished with six points, eight rebounds, and two blocks.
Marlon Elliott (6’0 PG / Groveport Madison / 2022): Elliott was constantly talking to his teammates, both on the floor and on the bench, where he encouraged and gave advice to his teammates. It’s great to see a kid understand that simply talking goes a long way. The sophomore guard played well as he did a bit of everything finishing with six points, three rebounds and three assists. With some natural leadership qualities and talent to match, Elliott is the future of the Groveport backcourt.
Jevin Beard (6’1 G / Buckeye Valley / 2022): Beard stood out for his willingness to crash the glass and get guys involved. He finished with four points, four rebounds, three assists and a steal. The Buckeye Valley sophomore should be a valuable piece for the Barons rotation for years to come.
Duane Davis (5’5 G / Groveport Madison / 2022): Despite his height, you can always find Davis in the mix pulling down rebounds. That was the same this week as he pulled down four rebounds, scored nine points and had two steals. The sophomore is a kid who has learned how to play at his size, as he can get his shot off and finish uniquely at the rim against height.
Miles Poindexter (6’5 WF / Westerville Central / 2022): One of the more efficient offensive scorers in the event, Poindexter made the most of his opportunities on Sunday as the Knicks went 1-1. The 6-foot-5 sophomore is a talented shooter who has really poured a lot of time and effort into his game this offseason. We like the IQ and feel he plays with, as he set good screens on Sunday, defended on and off the ball at a high level and ran the floor hard as he showed the ability to grab and go off the glass. Poindexter has improved his skill level a considerable margin in the last year, but the biggest area of growth has been his mentality, as he is more confident and aggressive than ever.
Aamir Carter (5’10 G / Beechcroft / 2022): Carter played great on ball defense coming up with two steals, chipping in five points and had the hustle play of the day as he almost took us out at the scorers’ table going for a loose ball. The sophomore plays with a lot of energy and confidence, as he can be really effective when he uses that to impact the game on both sides of the ball.
Joshua Lim (6’3 WG / Marysville / 2022): Another alum of The Intro, Lim has stretched out in the 13 months since, as he used that length to his advantage on Sunday. Providing tremendous effort on both ends of the floor, Lim found himself in the mix all afternoon long, grabbing rebounds, securing loose balls and finishing opportunities at the rim. When you work hard, you’re more likely to ‘get lucky’ and that was the case for Lim on Sunday.
Dailyn Swain (6’3 WG / Africentric / 2023): For any young players reading this, pay attention. The freshman Swain didn’t score a single point but he still caught our eye, contributing in every other part of the game. On the offensive end, Swain made smart reads and extra passes to finish with three assists. He attacked the glass, using his length to clear space and grab boards. He was active defensively as well coming up with two steals. We love seeing the maturation of a player before our eyes and Swain has made great strides in two weeks by doing the dirty work as the youngest player in the entire Invite Only division.
Jacob Thomas (5’11 WF / Bishop Hartley / 2023): On a Jazz team that is as hot as anyone, Thomas has been a big reason why. His consistent energy level on the defensive end has been huge, helping set the tone for his team. Thomas plays within himself, doesn’t try to do too much and plays with great energy on both ends.
Malcolm Mason (6’0 PG / Groveport Madison / 2023): One of a seemingly endless amount of quality young Groveport guards, Mason jumped onto our radar on Sunday in the opening game of the day. The 6-foot freshman guard showed an ability to handle the ball and create for himself and others on the offensive end. We like the confidence and energy he plays with, as that will serve him well going forward in a program that will have plenty of competition in the backcourt.
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