DUBLIN, Ohio -- The 270 Hoops Proving Grounds returned on Sunday at Elevate Basketball Academy in Dublin. Hosting 24 rising sophomores in a must-watch event, the talent in the gym did not disappoint.
With all four teams losing at least four games, the teams were balanced the games were competitive all afternoon long, allowing the talent in the gym to really flourish.
Let's take a look at the top performers, but first, we'd like to congratulate Team 1 for winning the title. This group consisted of Dublin Jerome duo Ryan Nutter and Luke Kuhlman, Pickerington Central forward Devin Royal, Olentangy Orange guard Elias Lewis, Hilliard Davidson forward Peyton Frey and Patriot Prep guard Christopher Towns.
As we promised the players before the event, winning is the only thing that matters at the Proving Grounds, so all six players of this team will be mentioned in this article.
Ryan Nutter (6’3 PG / Dublin Jerome): Ultimate leader and winner at the PG spot. Nutter communicates at an elite level, is one of the most gifted passers in the area and just does things on the floor that contribute to winning. Has great size at the lead guard spot and is improving as a shot maker. Nutter competes at a high level and is wired a little differently, as he literally only cares about winning and will make things uncomfortable for his opponent. Great upside here as a big lead guard with scholarship potential.
Dailyn Swain (6’6 PG / Africentric): The best prospect in the class and it might not be close. Swain played with the most passion that we’ve seen out of him by far, realizing his talents and carrying his team to the championship game. Swain really took his defensive matchups personally, shutting down driving lanes and contesting every jumper. With his lockdown defense on the wing and quick first step that allows him to drive by defenders where he’s a strong finisher at the rim, Swain has natural two-way ability that’s hard to come by. Swain is also an intelligent and willing passer who plays the right way, as it seems the game has slowed down for him. Only turned 15 about a month ago, so there’s plenty of upside here still.
Gavin Headings (6’7 PF / Pickerington Central): Headings was the second key cog of a big-time one-two punch of he and Swain. Headings has a gangly frame at 6-foot-7 and is a very talented offensive player. Hit a barrage of mid-range turnarounds, made a couple impressive passes in transition and did an outstanding job fronting and defending the post against the massive Chase Walker. Headings has a lot of natural ability and is at his best when he’s playing hard, giving great effort and playing within the flow of the offense. Stretched the floor to the three-point line and was one of the most reliable offensive weapons in the event.
Devin Royal (6’5 WF / Pickerington Central): Physically imposing wing with a lot of natural talent. Royal’s toughness and physicality helped him earn minutes as a freshman at Central and will guide him as one of the top prospects in the class. Royal rebounded like a grown man, was in the right place at the right time for scores around the rim and even showed off his passing ability with an elite behind the back assist off a live dribble in transition.
Caleb Miller (6’1 WG / Thomas Worthington): Toughest dude in the event. Devastating three-point shooter who craves the big shot. Can change a game with his shooting. Busted his chin open diving for a loose ball, got it bandaged up, returned to the game and led his team to four-straight wins. He’s a different dude. Should really help Thomas Worthington this year off the ball as an elite catch and shoot threat.
Joey Zalewski (6’3 WG / Thomas Worthington): Most productive player on a team that only won three out of eight games. Zalewski is a physical freak on the wing who bullies opposing guards. Went to his spin move early and often and nobody stopped it. Finishes at the rim at a high level, knows how to create space and bump guys off their spots and will give maximum effort. Earned minutes off the bench last year as a freshman and will have the potential to start for a loaded Thomas team littered with seniors.
Elias Lewis (6’2 WG / Olentangy Orange): Talented catch and shoot threat who plays with a chip on his shoulder. Lewis got hot as the day went on and helped lead his team to a title. Outside of being a gifted scorer, Lewis is a talented passer who brings a different edge to the game than what Orange is used to.
Peyton Frey (6’6 PF / Hilliard Davidson): Reliable post with the ability to stretch the floor. Frey handles pressure well, finishes through contact over either shoulder and is a consistent shooter from mid-range and beyond. Frey has scholarship talent but the humility and toughness to fill whatever role needed out of him.
Bede Lori (6’3 WG / Caldwell): Big guard from a small town who puts up points. The length and athleticism of the event forced Lori to have to change his game a bit, but was still productive. Can play on or off the ball. Another mature ball handler who makes great decisions.
Nyelle Shaheed (6’5 PF / Harvest Prep): High motor forward who attacked the glass and made several hustle plays on defense. Has some developing to do on the offensive end but has the effort and toughness part figured out already.
Donovan Hunter (6’7 PF / Westerville Central): Struggled to get into a rhythm but started to become more productive when he took his game inside to take advantage of his long, physical frame. Looks the part as he has a D1 football bloodline. Hit a couple threes and showed the ability to get to the rim.
AJ Taylor (6’6 PF / Wellington): Long forward who showed the ability to stretch the floor. Improving finisher inside who plays with more physicality than in our last viewing. Taylor looks like he will keep stretching out. Potential late bloomer to remember.
Luke Kuhlman (6’4 WG / Dublin Jerome): Exceptional high school role player who did his job, running the floor hard in transition and hitting open threes. Kuhlman offers intriguing length and is the perfect running mate for a guy like Nutter who always finds open shooters.
Maurice Charlton III (6’5 WF / Gahanna): Another exceptional role player who does his job and has a great attitude. Charlton cleaned up the glass, was a reliable screen and role finisher and gave maximum effort on defense. You need glue guys like Charlton to win games.
Christopher Towns (5’6 PG / Patriot Prep): High effort, high motor. Defended hard every possession and showed off some flair as a passer.