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Central Ohio Middle School Fall League

By Mark Francis, 09/23/22, 9:45PM EDT


COLUMBUS, Ohio -- - Week two of the Central Ohio Middle School Fall League, presented by
Nova Village was off and running this past Saturday morning at Reynoldsburg - Summit
Campus, with some of the most talented young men in the area coming together to compete
and get better before the basketball starts soon. More young men put their skill on display as
they continued to develop and enhance the chemistry they have with their teams. Check out
what players stood out on Saturday morning:

Rueben Holmes ( 2027 / Woodward Park / F): First seeing him at the 270 Hoops Prospect
Camp, Holmes continued to be the force he was. He has a high motor mixed with game-
changing athleticism and made plenty of highlight-worthy plays at the rim Saturday morning on
both ends of the court. Holmes blocked shots on the defensive end and altered even more,
forcing tough shots from offensive players. On offense, he was money around the rim with
different types of layups, floaters and even tried to rip the rim off the hinges with powerful dunks.
The Woodward Park product showed that he was capable of stretching the floor by knocking
down some wing three’s as well. Holmes was exciting to watch and had the gym in awe at
times, something City League crowds should look forward to this season.

Jackson Kirura ( 2027 / Grace Christian / F): A young man with really long arms and great
timing with rebounding the ball and going end-to-end several times, finishing at the rim with
ease. He flies past defenders in transition on his way to the basket, which helped his team stay
unbeaten in the league so far. Kirura scored on every level on the court, showing confidence in
his jumper and knocking down plenty of pull up mid-range shots. In the halfcourt, he attacked
the basket time and time again while showing nice touch at the basket when he finished at the
rim. A very high upside on this young man, all the potential you could ask for.

Eli Jessup ( 2027 / Watkins Memorial / G): Despite his team taking their first loss in the second
game of the morning, Jessup excelled in running the show for his team. He played fast and
smart the entire time, getting into the paint consistently and making plays off the bounce.
Jessup had a beautiful bounce pass in the lane to his big man that helped stretch the lead and
another one to an open teammate for a three after getting into the paint. The eighth grader also
has a burner from deep himself, knocking down jumpers with confidence and great shot
selection. Jessup is always getting better and is a leader on the court, he’s a kid to watch as a
lead guard.

Brooks Norman ( 2028 / Grace Christian / G): A small guard that played with passion and
energy, Norman displayed many different parts of his game on Saturday morning. He hit a
number of deep threes to not only increase his team’s lead but show that he was one of the best
shooters in the building. His handle of the ball was excellent, being able to shed defenders and
create space to drive to the bucket. Had a beautiful assist when he drove the lane and threw a
laser to the corner. Norman also showed some toughness as he rebounded the ball in the paint

surrounded by taller players. Combined with Jackson Kirura, Grace Christian has a dynamic
duo to look forward to this year.

Kyle Wofford ( 2027 / McCord Middle School / F): A rangy and impressive looking athlete with
long arms, Wofford did a little bit of everything Saturday morning while helping his team win as
well. He finished around the rim very well, with a soft touch around the rim and the ability to
stretch the floor and knock down jumpers as well. Wofford displayed a solid handle of the ball
and the ability to put his head down and get in the paint as well, slicing through the defense on
his way to the rim. Defensively, he blocked some shots and altered a couple more using his
length down in the paint. The potential is through the roof for this kid, once he puts it all together
he will be a special prospect.

Jevonn Taliaferro ( 2027 / Reynoldsburg - Hannah Ashton / F): Every time he stepped on the
court, the energy shifted, and he was the reason. His motor never stopped and every time the
ball came off the rim, it seemed like it ended up in his hands. He got the ball out of his hand
quickly after rebounds, spirited up court and because of that energy, was able to get countless
layups and putbacks. Outside of his energy and competitiveness, the most impressive thing was
the way he encouraged his teammates on and off the court. Uplifting his teammates after they
made shots and communicating even while not in the game is so important to a team game, and
seeing a young man having this in his bag already is important.

Reese Crosby ( 2027 / Ridgeview / F): This young man had really quick feet in the paint and on
the perimeter, defending very well inside and out along with good shiftiness in the lane. Crosby
was good in transition, getting past defenders as he flew up the court with or without the ball in
his hands. In the half court, the eighth grader was relentless in getting to the basket and stayed
in attack mode. He proved to be a good finisher at the rim, especially in the second game his
team played. Crosby caught defenders sleeping and cut right past them as well, showing his
knowledge of the game and his relentless moving. His handle of the ball was more than
capable, showing he could get past his man off the bounce.

Grant Miller ( 2027 / Olentangy Berkshire / F): One of the most polished inside-out players in the
building on Saturday morning, he quietly had two solid games and helped his team claim a
victory in one as well. Miller has a long wingspan and used it to rack up blocks on consecutive
possessions in a crucial part of the game, he also made drivers think twice a few times before
they made a decision as well. He showcased a solid handle of the basketball and broke down
defenders on his way to the rim a couple times too, while making plays for himself and his
teammates in the lane. Miller finished around the rim with a nice touch and different ways to get
the ball in the basket in that area. A really high upside mixed with a hard working demeanor, this
kid will be one to watch as the years go on.

Lonnie Pughsley ( 2030 / Gahanna Middle School / G): Pughsley was so much fun to watch as
his team handled business rather easily in both matchups on the day. He was silky with the ball
in his hands and did a little bit of everything on the court while putting his bag of tricks on display
as well. He was a quiet leader on the court, getting the ball to the right places at the same time

being a smart decision maker and never putting the ball in harm’s way. He tracked the ball down
on long rebounds and boxed out really well on short ones, then was explosive in the open court.
Pughsley finished at the rim through contact and nailed a couple three’s on the day, including
one from way deep. Star in the making, get on the bandwagon now because this kid is going to
be special.

Zander Pughsley ( 2032 / Gahanna Goshen Lane / G): The smallest kid in the building with the
biggest heart and the most electricity running through him. He flat out got after it on both ends of
the court, whereas his older brother Lonnie had a calm demeanor, Zander was all energy from
the opening tip. The youngest player at the event guarded at a high level, moving those
lightning bolts inside his shoes and frustrating ball handlers who couldn’t get past him. He
handled ball pressure and was able to use his quick handle to blaze past defenders who
guarded him too close while making them pay for leaving him open from deep when he buried
jumpers. Zander had a mean layup package as well, getting the ball over top of defenders and
leaving the crowd shook by some of the ways he finished at the rim. Much like his older brother,
Lonnie, Zander is also primed to be a star in this area if his development continues at this pace.

Joe Zeyen ( 2027 / Watterson / F): One of the most vocal players in the building on both ends,
he stayed in constant communication with his teammates and was instrumental in his team's
win. He guarded screens really well, calling them out for his guards. Zeyen was versatile on
defense, being able to defend inside with strength and also going to the perimeter to use his
length which made for a tough time for ball handlers. He demonstrated good footwork in the
lane and was able to finish at the rim as well. Really good defender with a good upside with the
ball in his hands too, Zeyen really impressed on Saturday.

Leondre Marshall ( 2027 / St. Paul Middle School / G): It seemed like he glided when in
transition, getting the ball up the court smoothly and making plays off the dribble in the process.
Swerving his way through the defense, Marshall found ways to finish at the rim and showed the
IQ to know when he needs to swing the ball to a teammate for a good shot. In the halfcourt, he
was poised and made sure to get his teammates involved with some dynamic passes to his big
men. For his size, Marshall showed good timing and knowledge of where to rebound the ball
and snagged some tough ones down. A playmaker as a lead guard, this kid can get it done.

Ash Hanna ( 2029 / Olentangy Orange Middle School / G): Another fun player to watch, mixing
really good fundamentals with creativity and smart play on both ends of the court. Ash had the
ball on a string and got past his defender numerous times to get in the lane where he used the
ball fake to get himself open and draw the defense into him at times. Nobody could speed him,
using his body to shield off close defense so he could play at his own pace. He showed good
timing defensively as ball handlers were driving, being able to knock the ball away and get his
team in transition. Hanna played smart and did not put the ball in bad positions, leading his
team to wins. With his basketball IQ, his size as a guard and the way he showed he can run an
offense, Hanna will be a player the area should keep their eyes on.

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