basketball Edit

Flyin' to the Hoop: Evans' Sunday Takeaways

DAYTON – Some of the very best from the state of Ohio were on tap Sunday at the Flyin’ to the Hoop as the event continues to cement its standing as one of the best during the winter months. The commitment of Flo Thamba is eminent, Xavier may have found its next Matt Stainbrook, and a duo of underclasmen guards showed just why they’ll be so highly recruited.



One of the top center prospects available this winter, Flo Thamba is nearing a college decision. Following his team’s outing on Sunday morning, the Mountain Mission product stated that he plans on committing on Monday, January 15.

Down to a final three, Illinois, Nebraska or Baylor will secure the commitment of the 6-foot-10 center this week, he told Rivals. Sporting a 7-foot-5 wingspan, good mobility as a rim runner and the tenacity and awareness to develop into an upper-echelon shot blocker at the next level, Thamba should provide for a strong defensive spark at either of the three schools in the mix.

Despite not having his best on tap Sunday, there was still some positives to take away from his performance. Finishing with 14 points and 14 rebounds, Thamba has further work to do on the offensive end but his hands, size and ability to run the floor remain intact. Look for a commitment to come in the days ahead, if not by Monday, as the Illini, Cornhuskers or Bears are set to welcome a rim protector and rebounder in bettering their 2018 class.


Six years ago, Xavier head coach Chris Mack went out and grabbed a rather under the radar pick-up via the transfer wire in Matt Stainbrook. At the time, the giant 6-foot-10 center by way of Western Michigan was coming off of a decent sophomore campaign within the MAC but it was his development within the Musketeers’ basketball program that aided in its run to the 2015 Sweet 16; could Xavier have struck again with a big in a similar mold?

Its first commitment in the 2018 class, Jake Walter is someone that is far from where he needs to be in order to contribute and produce for a consistent Big East contender. However, Walter does have the size, hands, feel in the low post and interior production capabilities that could some day make him a major cog within Mack’s system.

Just like Stainbrook, Walter has to get into better shape upon arriving in Cincinnati but he is also similar to the former WMU transfer where he plays hard, has a firm comprehension of how to score with his back to the basket, and can make the proper pass out of the double team.

Walter is not a deal breaker for Xavier but he is someone that should fit in well within the confines of the Big East program. The Musketeers worked wonders with Stainbrook and the same magic could be rekindled again upon the enrollment of Walter in the fall.


In a mighty battle between a nationally ranked Prolific Prep bunch and one of the more talented Midwest units in the Garfield Heights High program, it was a duo of underclassmen guards that showed just how talented they are.

Leading the winning group was Prolific Prep sophomore guard Nimari Burnett. Where he lacks for explosive athleticism, the Rivals75 prospect makes up for it with his feel, decision-making abilities and mature approach at the lead guard spot. A good size playmaker that sets the floor well for his older west coast bunch, Burnett, who is a native of Chicago, Illinois, has already seen his recruitment hit the highest level. Finishing the day with 22 points, Burnett currently holds a pair of offers from DePaul and Illinois. Expect for a number of others to jump into the picture in the not-so-distant future for the four-star sophomore.

Opposing him but a grade level younger was Meechie Johnson, a tremendously skilled and talented guard with the Garfield Heights High crew. Playing with supreme confidence, Johnson is not afraid to let it fly as far out as 23-feet, displaying shades of a younger Trae Young. Not comparing the two, though Johnson is mature beyond his years at the most important position on the court, capable of making others better but also finding his own shot within the confines of his team’s offense. His change of pace and direction dribble is already on point and so is his playmaking abilities. Holding offers from UNLV, Ohio State, Louisville, Georgetown and a slew of others, Johnson is on track to be regarded as one of the top guard prospects in his graduating 2021 class.