DUBLIN, Ohio -- For the fifth-straight Sunday, Elevate Basketball Academy in Dublin was host to the 270 Hoops Proving Grounds. Week 5 featured an event the first of its kind, as the "Country Roads Challenge" was the theme. Inviting 24 of the best rural, small school players from around the state, we saw Team 3 go 6-2 on the day and capture the event title.
Team 3 was a very balanced team full of big-time players. Co-MVPs of the event were Eastern Brown junior forward Trent Hundley and Western Reserve senior guard Luke Rowlinson. While Hundley and Rowlinson took home the MVP honors, Team 3 featured a handful of talented players including River Valley senior guard Ethan Bell, Big Walnut senior forward Jared Kreager, Marysville senior forward Garrett Taylor and National Trail senior guard Cameron Harrison.
Let's take a look at the top performers from the event.
Trent Hundley (6'5 WF / Eastern Brown / 2022): A player that caught our eye at the Route 33 Challenge last month, Hundley proved that performance was not a fluke, as he was once again an impactful player on Sunday. The explosive 6-foot-5 Hundley can absolutely score it, as he is an powerful finisher at the rim, showed the ability to stop on a dime and hit jumpers off the dribble while showing to be a reliable perimeter shooter. Hundley has a great motor, plays physical defense and is one of the best rebounding wings that we've seen this fall. Keep an eye on Hundley as a small town sleeper in the junior class.
Luke Rowlinson (6'3 WG / Western Reserve / 2021): The sharp-shooting Rowlinson showed why some regard him as one of the state's elite shooters. The 6-foot-3 wing from Northeast Ohio came in and made a big impact in Team 3's run to the title. Rowlinson is a great floor spacer, does not need much time to get his shot off and showed us that he could score it off the bounce at the rim as well. In an era where pace and space is so important, Rowlinson is a guy that will give you great size and shooting ability on the wing.
Cameron Harrison (5'11 PG / National Trail / 2021): Harrison is an absolute ball player. The 5-foot-11 guard came off the bench and was terrific all afternoon long for Team 3. The senior can shoot the leather off the ball, is very good at creating his own looks, is a high level passer with great vision and has the type of feel and pace to his game which leads to winning basketball. After a junior season where he was one of the best players in rural western Ohio, Harrison has been a top performer in two different 270 Hoops events this summer and fall.
Garrett Taylor (6'7 PF / Marysville / 2021): Sunday was by far Taylor's best showing of the summer and fall. The 6-foot-7 big man was highly impactful on both ends of the floor, as his active hands, long wingspan and high motor helped his team take home the title. Taylor went to his patented right shoulder hook shot early and often, showing improved skill work around the basket. Defensively, however, Taylor's hands, anticipation and willingness to do the dirty work made the biggest difference. Watch the tape and see how engaged and active Taylor was. Those things may not show up on the stat sheet, but they certainly win games.
Ethan Bell (5'10 PG / River Valley / 2021): Bell is now a veteran of 270 Hoops livestream events, as Sunday his third appearance in an event since July. A constant for Bell has been the fact that his teams have always done well and much of that has to do with the way he plays the game at the point guard spot. A high IQ, but flashy lead guard who has great vision and can make every pass, Bell is equally good as a shooter, both off the dribble and off the catch. The senior guard is one of the more underrated players at his position in the area, as Bell will come out, compete hard and make others better each time on the floor.
Jared Kreager (6'4 WG / Big Walnut / 2021): Getting our first look at Kreager since the summer, it was nice to see the Big Walnut senior on the floor again. Kreager offers great size on the wing at 6-foot-4, as he filled a vital role for his team on Sunday, playing great defense, moving the ball and scoring it when he needed to. The senior wing is a talented shooter and skilled offensive player who should be a breakout player this winter for a Big Walnut program that could be one of the sleeper teams in the OCC.
Trey Robertson (5'9 PG / Waverly / 2022): Robertson is a tough SOB. The 5-foot-9 junior guard from Waverly is one of the most underrated lead guards in the state and he proved it once again on Sunday. While Robertson may be known for his scoring at this point, we are most impressed with his passing, as he constantly made the correct reads and completed a couple really difficult passes in the ball screen game and in transition that were very impressive. Robertson plays with a lot of intensity and urgency, as he treats every game like his last, while not being afraid to take the big shot late in the game. Every year there a few out of area guys that are worth the hour-plus drive to watch and Robertson is one of those guys.
Gavin Foe (6'3 WG / Johnstown / 2021): Foe has been a top breakout player over the last year and that continued on Sunday. The Johnstown senior is one of the best athletes anywhere in the area, as he scored it well off the bounce and showcased the explosiveness that makes him such an intriguing prospect. Foe makes winning plays, is always in the right place at the right time, competes hard on both ends and can be counted on to score it at the basket. The senior wing currently holds offers from Fairmont State, Rio Grande and Mount Vernon Nazarene, as Foe is one of the highest priority recruits among small town prospects.
Zach Vernon (6'7 PF / North Union / 2022): Vernon was one of our favorite rising big prospects last season and he showed even more progression in his game on Sunday. One of the widest bodied posts in the class, Vernon uses that size and strength to his advantage around the rim where he's very good at sealing defenders on his hip to score. Showcasing soft touch and the ability to finish over either shoulder, Vernon is also a confident shooter that has shown the ability to be a respectable threat out on the perimeter. In better shape and looking to be taller than he was at the end of last season, Vernon is a small school big to keep an eye on, as his post savvy helped North Union roll unbeaten until the district finals last year.
Jack Christian (5'10 PG / Marysville / 2021): One of few OCC players in the event, Christian showed why he was a big piece of Marysville's league title last season. The 5-foot-10 guard is an absolute bucket, as he can fill it up from anywhere on the floor. Christian is a deadly shooter who doesn't need much space to get his shot off, while showing to be a much better ball handler and creator than what we previously thought before a few viewings this summer. Christian can get places off the dribble, while showing to have great vision and IQ with his reads. While he doesn't have great size, Christian has a stock, strong frame that helps him finish through contact and handle tight ball pressure.
Ryan Magill (6'4 WG / Fairfield Union / 2021): Magill was one of the top stock rising players in the event, shooting the leather off the ball and defending on the wing at a high level. The Fairfield Union wing has great size on the perimeter, is a very talented scorer and can really step up and guard the ball. Magill hit two game-winning shots, scoring it at the rim and from beyond the arc where the senior is especially deadly. Magill provides length, shooting ability and versatility, all things that are highly coveted in this era of basketball. Keep an eye on the Fairfield Union senior to be one of the top breakout players in the Mid-State League this winter.
Dominic Cork (6'6 PF / Cambridge / 2021): Coming all the way from eastern Ohio, Cork had a good showing on Sunday. The 6-foot-6 forward has one of the strongest finishers around the basket, as his strength and physicality inside are impressive. Cork showed the ability to knock down mid-range jumpers and even hit a three-pointer, however, it was his toughness on the interior that stood out of the most to us. Cork would be a good look for any small college looking for size and physicality on the block.
Jared Rose (6'1 WG / Bloom Carroll / 2022), Cody Lantz (6'3 WG / Shelby / 2021), Preston Crabtree (6'3 WG / North Union / 2021), Carver Myers (6'4 WF / Morgan / 2021), Luke Merritt (6'1 WG / Union Local / 2021)