Tournament Stock Risers: 2017


Posted On: 03/6/17 10:00 AM

A few players made an impression during the five games I saw last week. Admittedly, there’s more future Division I players included in this series than you’ll usually find on this site. However, there’s plenty of Division III talents, including prospects who were previously off the PHO radar.

Regardless of what level we project these players to land at, these are the players who played better than expected last week.

Jarius Ward, 6’2” G, Lima Senior

It wasn’t that Jarius Ward put up 30 points on Wednesday against Toledo Waite, it’s how we went about it. Last summer when I spoke to Ward, he talked about becoming a knock-down 3-point shooter: mission accomplished. With Ward’s newfound ability to hit treys, he’ll be far more effective coming off the ball in college. Ward could likely play for a low major.


Caleb Allen, 6’5” F/C, Toledo Start

Caleb Allen, who doesn’t jump off the page athletically, is a throwback. Allen was in attack mode all night when he caught around the basket, finding contact and getting to the free throw line. In the second half against Whitmer, Allen kept Start in the game by making back-door passes and scoring from the high post face-up.

Allen is a former point guard who hit a late growth spurt and has converted into a completely different position. Although it was our first time watching Allen, those around him said he’s become a totally new player since adding around five inches. Division III schools looking for a power forward should check out Allen.


Nick Witcher, 6’4” F, Whitmer

Nick Witcher is another power forward that could contribute at the Division III level. His athleticism compensates for the lack of height. Witcher is most effective in transition. Defensively on the block, taller post players can’t push him around because of his strength.


Derrick Rayford Jr., 6’ PG, Whitmer

Derrick Rayford Jr.’s biggest shot came on Friday, as he eliminated Lima Senior with a late jumper. On Wednesday against Start, he also put on a show. He’s a high-energy player who plays with a ton of confidence. He’s best in transition, which is something he does a lot of by making himself available for quick outlet passes. In the half court, Rayford Jr. set his teammates up for easy shots. Defensively, Rayford Jr. showed his quickness and hustle in the 1-3-1 full court press.


Tre Crigler, 6’1” PG, La Salle

Tre Crigler has a good sense of when to rise for the lay-up or floater. Crigler can also hit a deep jumper and is reliable with the ball. Crigler was named 1st Team All-GCL South this season.


CJ Fleming, 6’ G, La Salle

The Bellarmine commit came out firing in the first quarter. Although his outburst led a high-scoring first quarter effort for La Salle, CJ Fleming was able to switch the pace when they captured a lead. Fleming worked the clock late, showing his maturity and poise in the Sectional Final.