DUBLIN, Ohio -- With more than 100 college programs watching on Tuesday, the 270 Hoops 2022 Challenge was the top source of basketball recruiting anywhere in the country. Let's take a look at the top performers from the event.
Sean Jones (5’10 PG / Gahanna / 2022) - Sean Jones was a big reason why many elite Division I programs tuned into Tuesday’s livestream and he didn’t disappoint one bit. The Gahanna Lincoln PG proved why he is worthy of all the hype. Jones showed off his impressive offensive arsenal all night long and really stood out in the final games as he was picking up full court on defense.
On offense, Jones was consistently making the extra pass to open teammates as well as finding them running the lane in transition. With the ball in his hands he showed off his extremely tight handle and agility, creating the space he needed and getting to the rim at will. The 5’10 PG put on display the athleticism he’s been working hard at during quarantine by finishing a few fast break layups at or above the rim. Jones is ELITE in the ball screen game, as his patience, decision making ability and propensity to create separation really stand out.
Defensively, Jones was causing a lot of problems for the other teams. Whether it was getting in the passing lanes or playing tight on the ball, he was applying pressure all evening. What was most impressive was in the final games when players would be the most tired, Jones continued defending hard and picked up for the full 94 feet.
Doogie James (5’9 PG / St. Charles / 2022) - All you need to know about Doogie James is that he arrived at this event an hour before it began. The St. Charles PG is one of the hardest working and toughest players in the area despite being just 5’9, and it shows every time he steps on the floor.
James didn’t back down from anyone tonight as he helped run the show for his squad. Making great passes, finishing in traffic, and knocking down the open jumpers were just a few things James did consistently tonight to make him stand out. The effort and energy are never a question out of this kid, as he was coming up with loose balls and long rebounds all evening.
Rob Dorsey (5’9 PG / Northland / 2022) - Another PG in the area that is tough as nails, Northland’s Rob Dorsey. Dorsey doesn’t stand very tall, but at just 5’9 he is very well built and you can easily tell by watching him on the hardwood. Tuesday he showed off his strength and toughness while both getting to the rim and guarding the ball.
Once he gets a step on his man and gets going downhill, very rarely will a defender be able to match his momentum and contest a shot. Dorsey showed that type of energy tonight on multiple occasions when he was able to turn the corner and power through defenders to finish around the rim. He is also a capable scorer from mid-range and the three, as he knocked down some pull up jumpers and catch and shoot threes.
What’s to love the most about Dorsey is his grit. He won’t ever back down from any matchup and if you combine that with his on ball defensive ability, you get a special player that coaches would love to have in their program.
Ajay Sheldon (6’1 PG / Dublin Coffman / 2022) - Ajay Sheldon is a very capable scorer from every spot on the floor. He struggled a little bit shooting the ball Tuesday, but still showed signs of a mature and developed offensive skill set as he hit a few very contested pull up jumpers and made tough finishes around the rim. Sheldon is a great passer, changes speeds at a very high level and is a great relocator for open looks off penetration. Simply put, Sheldon can play in any offense, anywhere.
Sheldon stood out because of his hustle and energy throughout every single game. There wasn’t a single loose ball he didn’t come up with and there were many possessions he extended for his team just because of his effort on the offensive glass. Despite not getting hot offensively, the 6’1 Dublin Coffman guard didn’t let that affect the way he played and found other ways to help his team win. Look for Sheldon to be a huge piece, if not the piece, to the puzzle for Coffman in this upcoming year.
Jerry Saunders (6’1 CG / Pickerington North / 2022) - Jerry Saunders had an all around solid performance at the 2022 Challenge as he scored in a variety of ways, got his teammates involved, rebounded, and defended well. The 6’1 Pickerington North guard was showing his athleticism getting out in transition effectively. Saunders was finishing aggressively through contact, knocking down mid-range jumpers, and making the right passes to his teammates. Saunders and Philo’s AJ Clayton were arguably the best duo of the event.
Saunders stood out because of his all around performance and the great level of energy he played with all night. One mistake didn’t derail his energy as he competed with toughness throughout the entire competition. The rising junior guard was the best player in the Elam Ending on Tuesday, as he helped power his team from two big deficits with big shot after big shot under pressure.
Jared Frey (6’5 WG / Hilliard Davidson / 2022) - If Sean Jones was the best player in the event, Jared Frey was No. 2 for us. The 6-5 wing guard shot the leather off the ball from the three-point line, showing his uncanny range from NBA distance. While Frey’s outside shooting is some of the best that we’ve seen from any prospect in the Midwest as of late, we were really impressed with what he was able to do off the bounce.
Offensively, Frey is a threat that you have to defend the moment he steps past half court. With that threat in mind, Frey is also able to penetrate off the bounce where he is an improved finisher and exceptional passer. The 6’5 wing showcases great court vision and a natural feel, as he has a skill set that reminds us a bit of Notre Dame guard Dane Goodwin.
Defensively, Frey competed at a high level and showed off the ability to cut off driving lanes with his length and lateral quickness. Frey has really focused on gaining weight and becoming a more physical presence on the floor, things that have helped him quickly evolve into one of the area’s elite players.
In an era of pace and space, Frey is an absolute no brainer for Division I programs looking for an elite shooter with size. Frey received offers from both Toledo and Miami (OH) on Wednesday following the event.
Cooper Davis (6’5 WG / Olentangy Liberty / 2022) - Cooper Davis showed why he is one of the best shooters in all of Central Ohio. The 6’5 Olentangy Liberty wing had all the shooting badges as he was knocking down threes at a very impressive rate. Davis has good length and athleticism that allows for him to create the space he needs and shoot over defenders at will. When left open with a catch and shoot three, it’s almost as sure as a layup for Davis.
Davis held his own on the glass and on the defensive end as well tonight matching up with the other very talented wings in this class.
Drey Carter (6’7 WF / Westerville South / 2022) - It took a little longer than he probably expected, but once Drey Carter got going in Tuesday’s event, he was a force to be reckoned with. The 6’7 Westerville South wing has grown into a great basketball player with a wide range of talents.
Carter demonstrated a wide range of offensive ability as he was getting to the rim, creating separation with skillful dribble moves, and knocking down shots from all around the floor. At his size, Carter’s ball skills are very impressive, as he has a chance to develop into a really intriguing prospect as he adds strength and fills into his long, gangly frame. As he continues to polish his already impressive game, look for Carter to be a real problem in the OCC-Buckeye in his final two years. With Westerville South returning a great trio of guards this season, Carter could be the key piece to get the Wildcats to a district title contending level.
Javan Simmons (6’6 PF / Gahanna / 2022) - When it comes to physicality, Simmons has it. The 6’6 post loves playing through contact, as he thrives on confrontation and conflict. Motor is never an issue for Simmons, as he approaches the game with something to prove each time out and that was the case once again on Tuesday. Mixing it on the interior, Simmons fought hard for rebounds in traffic, finished through contact and length and showed off an improved shooting touch from three where he shot it well.
Simmons’ body and skill set is very reminiscent of former Reynoldsburg and current Indiana State big man Tre Williams, as he may be a bit undersized in the post, but makes up for it with elite attitude and effort. Continued improvement for Simmons will lead to scholarship opportunities, as he certainly has the attitude, effort and work ethic for college basketball.
Amani Lyles (6’8 PF / Beechcroft / 2022) - Lyles immediately popped off the radar as a skilled big at 6’8 who has clearly improved over the course of the summer. While his length and rim-protecting ability really intrigued us last year, Lyles has begun to round out his game, as he started the opening matchup with a catch and shoot triple, showing solid shooting form and touch.
Lyles is effective in the screen and roll game, as he can read the defense, has good hands and can finish around the basket with either hand. The 6’8 big man can put the ball on the floor and get to the rim where he has really improved as a scorer. Lyles makes a lot of sense in an era of versatile big men, as he can score it in a variety of ways while remaining an equally strict enforcer around the rim. And if that wasn’t impressive enough, he also carries a 4.0 GPA.
Troy Scowden (6’8 PF / Buckeye Valley / 2022) - Scowden is an absolute bruiser that plays a very physical brand of basketball. His motor immediately stood out, as he saved a loose ball by diving on the floor in the opening possession of the game, then was rewarded a few trips later when he finished a tough interior score.
Scowden is a reliable finisher around the rim who can offer capable three-point shooting from the perimeter. The rising junior Scowden even showed the ability to grab and go, going the length of the floor for a finish at the rim.
While his shot is still a little flat and will need improvement, Scowden is a physical post with a strong, wide frame who will be able to contribute on both ends of the floor early on when he gets to college.
Brandon McLaughlin (6’8 PF / Heath / 2022) - While the start to the event was a bit slow for McLaughlin, the 6’8 big quickly heated up in the later stages of the event. While we’ve loved the all-around game that McLaughlin has shown over the last two years at Heath, he proved on Tuesday that he can do it against the best of the best. McLaughlin has great hands, strong finishing ability and has a serviceable handle on the perimeter.
McLaughlin has switchability potential on the perimeter while also being a rim protecting big on the interior. We loved the grit and toughness he showed in a difficult matchup against Simmons, not backing down and finishing through contact while defending with physicality on the interior. The best improvement to McLaughlin's status as a prospect is his athleticism and lateral movement, as he can really move for his size and is an exceptional passer.
AJ Clayton (6’9 PF / Philo / 2022) - Just two days after committing to Ohio, Clayton came into the gym on Tuesday and showed why the Bobcats were thrilled to get his commitment. The 6’9 big wowed the limited number of spectators in the gym when he came down the wing and postered a defender.
Clayton moves really well for his size, is really effective when he runs the floor hard and has the ability to step out and stretch a defense with his three-point shot. In an event complete with a handful of big post prospects, Clayton was the most intriguing of them all with his sheer size and strong finishing ability around the basket.
Honorable mention: Josh Whiteside (6’6 C / St. Charles / 2022), JJ Simmons (5'9 PG / Beechcroft / 2022), CC Ezirim (6’7 PF / Dublin Jerome / 2022)