GRANVILLE, Ohio -- Tipping off for the third-straight year, albeit a few months late due to COVID-19, The 270 Hoops Intro returned to TAD Sports on Saturday. Hosting 87 different freshmen across Ohio in two separate sessions, we got a great look at the next crop of rising talent.
Let’s take a look at some of the players who really stood out to us in Session 2.
Addison Bailey (5’9 PG / New Albany) - clear cut MVP of the second session. Crafty, smart, gritty, experienced and confident lead guard with an advanced feel. Ran his team like they had been playing for years together. Can score it when he needs to but is an exceptional passer that sees the floor and has special anticipation ability that helps him see plays before they happen. The type of guard that you simply cannot leave off the floor as his impact on winning is so high. Gave it his all on the defensive end, bothering ball handlers, communicating at an elite level and helping to force the offense into tough shots. Teams in New Albany’s conference will hate playing against this dude for four years.
Caleb Ransom (6’0 PG / Grove City Christian) - Grove City Christian has to be counting their lucky stars that Ransom came to the Eagles program from New Hope Christian. The 6-foot guard is an absolute problem at the lead guard spot. With great size and physicality already, Ransom matches that with natural ability, swagger and confidence. Ransom got downhill to the rim whenever he wanted, was able to stop on a dime and hit pull up jumpers and was a willing and talented passer that found open cutters and shooters all day. With young guys like Ransom in the program, Grove City Christian could be a threat to challenge at the top of Division IV in the next few years.
Reid Luffler (5’10 G / St. Charles) - it pays to have an elite skill in this era of basketball. When that elite skill is shooting the three ball, it doesn’t matter what other deficiencies you may have in your game, there will be a spot for you on the floor with what floor spacing can do for an offense. Luffler was the best shooter in the gym on Saturday, blazing the nets with a barrage of catch and shoot three balls from crisp pocket passes from Bailey. An elite shooter can hide a lot of weaknesses in a team’s offense and St. Charles is fortunate to have Luffler in the program, as he will have a chance to become a unique offensive weapon over the next few years.
Isaiah Brown (6’1 G / Olentangy Berlin) - there wasn’t a better athlete in the gym than Brown. The bouncy wing guard popped off the radar with a chasedown block off the glass early on in the skills and drills portion. Brown has enough perimeter skill to get by at this point, but if he continues to develop in that area, he will be one of the later blooming guys to keep an eye on with his impressive athleticism.
Alex Bobb (6’1 G / Maysville) - Bobb wins tough man of the day award. Why? Well, let’s see. He played outside linebacker in a varsity football game on Friday. Woke up early and played quarterback in a junior varsity football game on Saturday morning and then made the hour or so drive east to play in a three-hour basketball event later in the day. Bobb was a perfect complimentary player for the Red 1 title team, getting to the rim and scoring through contact while showing to be a reliable outside shooter. Look for Bobb to be one of the better players in the freshman class in eastern Ohio.
Toby Gage (5’11 G / Olentangy Liberty) - don’t let the rec specs fool you. Gage is an absolute bucket. The 5-foot-11 guard was very impressive both in skills and drills and in the 5 on 5 game action. Gage is a knockdown shooter who is one of few guys where every shoot feels like it’s going in. In addition to that, Gage can create his own shot off the bounce and plays with physicality and toughness that will serve him well as he gets stronger and grows.
Dante Varrasso (5’11 G / Granville) - nobody had more swagger to their game than Varrasso. The Granville guard defended his home turf at TAD Sports excellently, helping lead his Red 2 team to a title. Varrasso is a talented ball handler who has a knack for scoring. The high IQ guard makes winning plays and will be one of the toughest guards for years to come in the Licking County League.
Devin Martin (5’9 PG / Westerville Central) - any time you’re the son of a high school coach, there’s a certain expectation for how you play the game - especially when you’re a point guard. Devin Martin, son of Westerville Central head coach Kevin Martin, meets that expectation, as he is a high IQ, tough guard that competes at a high level and will do anything to win. Martin is one of those guards that understands when he needs and can score at a high level, but has no problem facilitating and getting everyone involved if that’s what’s needed for him and his team to be most effective. Central is loaded with upperclassman talent right now but Martin will be a guy to keep an eye on in a few years.
Joseph Boddie (5’6 PG / Gahanna Lincoln) - we absolutely LOVE small guards who play the game like Boddie did on Saturday. While one of the smallest players in the event, you would not have known it with Boddie’s impact on the defensive side of the ball. Picking guys up full court and causing havoc, Boddie was a nightmare for opposing ball handlers. Boddie’s defensive toughness and impact alone get him a spot on this list.
Jack Lamb (5’9 G / Big Walnut) - very smooth guard with a lot of ability. Lamb jumped off the radar in the skills and drills portion of the event with his ability to hit shots, create for himself and play within an offense. Big Walnut seems to have more talent than in recent memory right now and Lamb is yet another young Eagle to keep an eye on.
Canon Ailes (5’10 G / Lancaster) - standout of the skills and drills and 5 on 5 action. Ailes is a confident wing guard with plenty of scoring ability. Shoots a very good ball and has great touch. Keep an eye on this youngster out of Lancaster.
Joseph Saunders (5’10 G / Bloom-Carroll): Saunders received positive reviews from the coaches who saw him play, as the 5-foot-10 guard can really score it and create for others. Bloom-Carroll has a great deal of young guard talent and Saunders is yet another one to remember in the Bulldog pipeline.
Tanner Buso (6’0 G / Massillon Jackson) - skilled wing guard who can really shoot it. Buso was a great compliment on the wing to Ransom. The second of a Massillon Jackson duo that made the trip south on Saturday.
Parker Penrod (5’9 PG / Troy Christian) - one of the last guys to register but we are glad Penrod made the trip from the greater Dayton area because he can absolutely play. The 5-foot-9 lead guard has a high IQ, can score, pass and defend and makes winning plays.
Jonah Lewis (5’11 G / Worthington Christian) - talented offensive guard with plenty of skill. Worthington Christian has a very good 2024 class and Lewis looks to be a big part of it.
Jacob Soha (6’3 PF / Pickerington Central) - woah buddy, it was fun to watch Soha play the 5 position. Constantly screening, constantly sealing and making an impact around the rim, Soha was the most dominant post matchup in the event. While he may not have the height of the other bigs in the gym, his thick frame and post awareness helped him be very effective.Soha has a reliable mid-range jump shot and is very, very good in the ball screen game, as he knows when to slip, when to roll and when to pop out for an open shot.
Geremiah Thompson (6’3 WF / Independence) - talented and physical forward that was a matchup problem as he helped lead his Red 2 team to a title. Thompson has a great motor and intriguing frame. In an event without a ton of size, Thompson took advantage on the interior and went to work early and often. With the new staff at Independence really focused on skill and player development, Thompson is a player you will want to remember in the City League’s freshman class.
Zachary Imbody (6’6 C / Heath) - another year, another intriguing big man heads out to Heath. With the 6-foot-8 junior Brandon McLaughlin leading the Bulldogs to an undefeated regular season last year as a sophomore, Heath will get even more reinforcement in the post with the 6-foot-6 Imbody. Imbody has some qualities that remind us of McLaughlin at this stage, namely his sheer size and broad shoulders. Imbody looks to have the most upside of any big in the event, as he has enough skill to be respected on the perimeter, but it’s his effectiveness around the basket that we enjoyed the most. Imbody will be able to challenge against McLaughlin in practice for the next two years, something that will prepare him nicely for when it’s his time to shine as an upperclassman.
Papanar Gueye (6’4 PF / Africentric) - lengthy forward with broad shoulders and long arms. Gueye is still very early in his development but you can see the potential. He looks to have a frame that won’t hinder his athleticism as he adds weight and strength.
AJ Miller (6’1 WF / Pickerington North) - this physical wing forward drew rave reviews from coaches on the second set of courts. Miller is a skilled forward who plays with a lot of toughness. Fits the identity of the North program and could be a guy to keep an eye on in a few years.