basketball Edit

Flyin' to the Hoop: Evans' Saturday Takeaways

DAYTON – The schedule had to be reworked some thanks to the quick snowfall that hit the region but the first full day of action at the Flyin’ to the Hoops was not short for standout performances. Junior guard Samari Curtis kicked things off by touching every portion of the box score, Indiana and Syracuse signees displayed tremendous potential, and a future Arkansas Razorback looks primed for immediate production.



Neither had their best on tap on Saturday but there is no denying the abilities or upside from top-50 forwards Jerome Hunter and Darius Bazley. Headed to Indiana and Syracuse respectively, each stand at 6-foot-7, boasting ready-made college skillsets and the ability to play more than one possession and on either end of the floor.

Hunter, signed for Indiana, brings a stronger frame to the court compared to Bazley, something that could serve him well playing in smaller ball lineups, the type of system that had come to define Archie Miller’s better teams at his previous employment in Dayton. The Pickerington North standout has become a better athlete since the summer and bettered his motor in the meantime. While he does have to shoot it more consistently, the fact that he can efficiently score the ball from 17-feet and in while heavily guarded should serve him well. However, thanks to his skillset, could slide in nicely alongside Juwan Morgan and, when healthy, DeRon Davis, in giant lineups next season as a greatly sized small forward; he finished with 23 points and five rebounds.

Bazley on the other hand could not have found a better fit than that at Syracuse. A 6-foot-7 forward that had been labeled as a tweener in the past, has put on a few pounds of muscle but also reworked his game where he is a great fastbreak initiator off of the defensive glass. Bringing a super confident offensive skillset to the floor that can put up points in the blink of an eye, Bazley did have a rough going but more than showed his vast upside as the face of his Princeton High squad. Picturing him alongside current freshman standout Oshae Brissett should only cause headaches for ACC coaches as both can slide between either forward spot on the offensive end but also display the length and instincts that should excel nicely within the Orange’s vaunted 2-3 zone; the five-star ended his day with 12 points and 14 rebounds.


There has been no shortage of talent from the state of Ohio in recent years and the 2019 class should continue the trend. Samari Curtis, a 6-foot-3 scoring guard with a tremendous basketball frame and impeccable passing skills, kicked things off in style as three in-state programs have begun to pursue.

Locking down the best from the state is the utmost importance for schools in the ilk of Dayton, Cincinnati and Xavier, three programs that have already offered Curtis. A rather lightly touted prospect up until this point, Curtis is the headliner for his Xenia High bunch, displaying a wealth of versatility and an offensive punch that should only broaden his college recruitment.

Finishing his team’s win with a game high 25 points, Curtis nailed three 3-point attempts, three mid-range jumpers, and tallied four assists, some coming in the eye-popping variety. Not a complete product just yet, Curtis is oozing with potential as he is quickly becoming a priority for in-state programs as Dayton head coach Anthony Grant and two of his assistants were on hand for his standout outing. Look for a number of other Big 10 and Atlantic 10 schools to jump into the picture sooner rather than later.


Against a nationally ranked and physical McEachern High bunch featuring a bevy of four and five-star prospects, Amari Davis was the guy that stole the show with his quickness, playmaking abilities, and, most of all, bucket getting skills. A 6-foot-2 combo guard out of Trotwood Madison High School, Davis has led a rather minimal recruitment, of which shouldn’t last much longer following his 24-point outburst.

A lefty guard that plays with supreme confidence and wields an accurate jumper that he loves to get off from the left elbow region, Davis is capable of getting his team a basket at a moment’s notice. Toughness is not lacking, neither is Davis’ willingness to go up against the very best and produce.

Currently, things remain in the beginning stages of his recruitment. Following his close defeat to McEachern, the junior guard rattled off offers from Cleveland State, IUPUI, Toledo and Akron. While just a mid-major affair, Iowa, Cincinnati, Xavier and Dayton have begun to recruit Davis as a visit to Iowa could be on the horizon.

Whichever the case, expect for the Trotwood Madison product’s stock to soar entering his senior travel ball season. The value of scorers and shot makers remains at a premium, of which bodes well for his future when it comes to searching for a comfortable landing spot at the next level.


The final contest of the evening pitted Prolific Prep and IMG Academy together, two of the better units nationally. Prolific Prep boasts two signed seniors for UC-Santa Barbara and after the somewhat quick and surprising turnaround this season under the tutelage of first year head coach Joe Pasternack, expect for the Big West bunch to only get better thanks to the upcoming enrollments of Sekou Toure and Amadou Sow.

Sow is the definition of a high-motor big man that makes his name via his rim protecting skills, rebounding numbers and finishes in the lane. A hard-nosed center, Sow will be joined by jumbo lead guard Sekou Toure next year, the type of guard that can take over any given game thanks to his two-way abilities. Toure and Sow could one day find themselves as All-Big West first teamers and catalysts for noise made in March.

Working alongside the future Big West standouts is Jeenathan Williams, one of the few Rivals150 prospects headed to a mid-major program. A New York native that will return to his native state in the fall, Williams will be tremendous for head coach Nate Oats at Buffalo. Sporting superior length, a physical tenacity and willingness to do whatever it takes to win, look for Williams to fight for postseason MAC awards early on and continue the trend of major success out of the Buffalo program.

Opposing the three was Keyshawn Embery, a 6-foot-2 scoring guard that will enter the Arkansas basketball program upon his graduation from IMG in the spring. Hurdled by injury for the majority of the fall, Embery is off of minutes restriction and is becoming to get his feet under him. The Razorbacks will need immediate backcourt firepower next season due to the upcoming graduations of Daryl Macon and Jaylen Barford, an opening that Embery should be able to fill to some capacity. He finished with 30 points as he should be an immediate factor upon his arrival in Fayetteville next season.