CLEVELAND, Oh - The Scholastic Play by Play tournaments are held all over the country during the winter, and on Sunday they invaded Cleveland, Ohio for a showcase. The event featured some of the top teams in Ohio and some high profile players. Maybe none was more impressive than class of 2011 forward Jakarr Sampson.
Class of 2010 standouts
Cameron Wright: The Cleveland Benedictine star, who is signed with the Pitt Panthers, had a solid game in his team's win over Garfield Heights. The 6-foot-4 Wright struggled shooting the ball from the outside and the free throw line, but he used his athleticism and high energy play to make some key buckets down the stretch, including a steal and layup to ice the game. Overall Wright finished with 14 points, and showed some of the signs that made him a highly recruited player after his showing in July.
Derek Jackson: Wright's running mate in the backcourt for Benedictine is Jackson. The super athletic senior combo guard who is signed with Central Michigan showed why he can be an impact player at the mid-major level. Jackson is an above the rim finisher as a guard, and also he is capable of hitting shots from the outside. He didn't do a great job of getting his teammates involved as a pure point guard, but he does handle it well and can score. He scored 17 points, including making some big buckets in the second half.
Nick Harney: Harney hasn't played much basketball over the past few seasons, but now the unsigned senior combo forward is really emerging. At 6-foot-6 with long arms and a lot of athleticism, Harney will no doubt earn numerous mid-major offers. He led Benedictine with 20 points, and was a force inside and from the mid-range. He needs to improve his strength and his face up game, but he still has some upside left in him. Harney was the dominant player on the floor for Benedictine in their win.
Class of 2011 standouts
Jakarr Sampson: The most impressive looking prospect of the day was Sampson. The 6-foot-7 combo forward is absolutely putting his full game together. Always a great athlete with long arms, Sampson now has turned himself into an excellent passer from the wing, and someone who is very tough for defenders to keep out of the lane. Going to the rim he made several buckets, and was also solid once being fouled. He does need to rebound a little better in traffic and improve his shot making from the perimeter, but he is making huge strides, and is showing signs of being a legitimate small forward who can also be a matchup up problem for smaller defenders. His 16 points and nine rebounds kept St. Vincent-St. Mary in the game despite some trouble scoring from his teammates.
Anton Grady: One of the more impressive performances of the night came from Grady. A skilled power forward, Grady often brings the ball up the floor for his team, and initiates the offense with his high basketball IQ. At nearly 6-foot-8 with long arms, Grady is a tough matchup because of how he handles the ball, and with the way he passes. He isn't an explosive athlete or a great outside shooter, but Grady rebounded like crazy, and scored mid-range and in to account for 16 of his team's 39 points. Overall Grady looked excellent, and kept his squad in the game with his strong play on both offense and defense where he had no less than four blocked shots.
Zach Price: Playing down low on the block for St. Edward High School is Price who is headed to Louisville. The 6-foot-9 big man has long arms and a decent bounce off the floor, but he could never really get it going on Sunday. He finished the game with eight points and struggled to finish around the rim, especially when defenders took away moves over his right shoulder. Price was decent on the glass with eight rebounds, but he didn't go up in traffic as strong as he should have for boards. His potential is definitely there, but it wasn't one of Price's better performances.
Trey Lewis: The scoring combo guard started off slow, but when the game got down to crunch time, he really stepped things up. He led his team with 25 points, 21 of them coming in the second half. Despite being shy of 6-feet, Lewis is very quick with the ball and can get his shot off from all angles. He proved to be a big time shot maker with the game on the line, and rallied his team at the end to make it close. While his Garfield Heights squad came up just short, Lewis was excellent and proved he is capable of being a point guard or a scoring guard.
Tre Brown: One of the bigger sleepers in Ohio is Brown. The Warren Harding wing recently grew several inches and is now standing 6-foot-4. He is a solid athlete, a decent outside shooter, and has good length, but what he does best is score in the mid-range off the dribble. Brown has some point guard skills, though he might be best in a complementary ball handling role. He is just beginning to grow into his body, and strength is an issue, as well as the ability to go left, but had 17 points and opened eyes with his play.
Delbert Love: The most impressive player for St. Edward's was Love. At 6-foot-1, Love has always been able to attack the basket off the bounce, but he really had it going from the perimeter on Sunday. Love hit three consecutive three point jumpers in the first half and then used that to his advantage in the second half by attacking the rim. Though not a great athlete, Love finishes well in traffic and just has a nose for the rim. He finished the game with a team high 15 points.
Shonn Miller: Miller is a big wing who has a lot of talent. An excellent athlete, Miller can hit threes as well as finish down low. The release on his shot is low, but it is effective as when he got his feet set the ball went down. Miller ended up finishing with a team high 15 points, and also added several rebounds. The next step for him will be finishing through contact better.
DaVonte Beard: Beard is a very athletic guard who looks like he can play both on and off the ball. He didn't shoot it well, and that is obviously not his game, but he gets others involved, is a tenacious defender, and is a supreme athlete in the backcourt. He didn't do much scoring on Sunday evening, but everything else was impressive. He is already attracting mid-major interest, and as his jump shot improves his game could really take off.
Ricky Johnson: Unlike Beard, Johnson is the scoring punch on the outside for St. Vincent-St. Mary. Johnson is more of an undersized two guard than a point guard, but he just knows how to get buckets. He does need to improve his passing skills because of his size he will have to play the point guard position, but he has the quickness and nice release to find a way to get his shot off, even against taller defenders.
Cole Krizancic: From a sheer numbers perspective the best performance of the event came from Krizancic. In an overtime thriller, Krizancic was unstoppable for Mentor. The 5-foot-11 guard won't wow anyone with athleticism or explosion, but he just knows how to play, and can really shoot it. He scored 42 points as Warren Harding simply had no answer for him. Krizancic isn't super quick with the ball, but he knows how to change speeds and draw contact getting into the lane. Once at the foul line he is money, and came up huge time after time rallying his team from a big halftime deficit.
Class of 2012 standouts
Myles Hamilton: Hamilton is a good looking 2012 prospect who is beginning to come into his game. The 6-foot-3 wing can play on the perimeter or in the mid-range, and also attacks the glass very well. On Sunday Hamilton knew he had an advantage going to the rim, so he took his man repeatedly to the basket using the bounce. He finished with 12 points and would have had more, but St. Edward was comfortably in command and didn't need much scoring in the fourth quarter.
Lorenzo Cugini: One of the surprises was Cugini. At 6-foot-6, the St. Vincent-St. Mary forward can be a dynamic player in a pick and pop situation. Cugini has an excellent stroke from the outside with a feathery soft touch. He needs to improve his rebounding and strength down low, but when he gets his feet set he can really hit shots. In the first half he kept St. Vincent-St. Mary ahead by knocking down three threes. Overall he knows how to get himself open and has the size that makes it tough to challenge his shot on the perimeter.
Class of 2013 standouts
Tony Farmer: A great looking freshman is Farmer. Standing a legitimate 6-foot-5, Farmer is an excellent athlete. He finished the game with eight points, but it is his versatility that is so intriguing. Depending on his body and game develops, he could end up anywhere from a power forward to a shooting guard. At this point Farmer scores mostly 10 feet and in, but his shot doesn't look bad, and with his athleticism a move to the wing could definitely be in the cards.
Mark Williams: Another good looking freshman is Williams. Playing with several other division I prospects on Benedictine, Williams doesn't get too many touches, but the 6-foot-7 forward has good athleticism and size for a young prospect. Williams isn't much of a scorer right now, but he does a good job of rebounding the basketball and also looks like a good defender with his size and long arms.
Elijah Brown: The son of Cleveland Cavaliers Coach Mike Brown looks to have some definite talent. Brown is a 6-foot-2 guard with very long arms, an excellent outside shot, and a good feel for the game. Right now foot speed is a question, and that could mean he slides to the shooting guard position, but for such a young player he really knows how to play the game.
Anton Grady is hearing from Dayton, Xavier, Cincinnati, Michigan State, and several other schools.
Trey Lewis says most of the MAC has been in touch with him, and singled out Kent State, Cleveland State, Ohio University, Miami-Ohio, St. Joe's, Penn, and Dayton as being actively pursuing him.
Nick Harney didn't have a scholarship offer going into the day, but noted that the MAC and George Mason are in pursuit.
Delbert Love has offers from Eastern Michigan and Akron to go along with interest from Cleveland State and Columbia.