Expectations Game: Garfield Heights looks loaded for another run at state title


Posted On: 06/29/17 8:43 AM

Garfield Heights is essentially the Kentucky of Northeast Ohio basketball. Coach Sonny Johnson somehow ends up with some of the best players in the area and that trend is continuing and has been on full display this summer during the Earl Boykins Summer League.

During at June 26th win narrow win over Kenston some of the Bulldogs most recruitable talent was on display.

Included in that group is was 6’8”Brison Waller (2019) as well as his frontline mate Donovan Forte (2018), a smooth 6’6’’ forward who can rebound, defend and impressively can step out stroke the midrange jumper while showing an ability to run the floor, too.

“My summer is going pretty good,” said Forte, who plans on majoring in education and has only been playing for two-and-half years, but appears to be far more experienced.

He early-committed to Jacksonville after Johnson told him he should, but if he continues to show like he did in the win against Kenston on a summer night in June I would expect more schools to get in on him.

Also making an impression in Garfield’s win was Freshman-to-be sensation, Meechie Johnson. The 5-10 nephew of the coach personified floor general during his time on the floor. He continually was able to break down the defense early and get to the basket. He showed incredible toughness when he banged his boney knee on the floor during a drive to the hoop but was able to shake it off and stay on the floor. Later in the game, he showed off the genesis of what could become a reliable jump shot. I liked when he had a spirited conversation with teammate Forte about floor spacing as the two stood near each other before free throws.

Keep in mind, the Bulldogs played without Alonzo Gaffney (2019), a 6’8’’ transfer who started for state champion Villa-Angela St. Joe’s last March, and point guard Alex Heath (2018), a 5-9 point guard, who is also a transfer, and started at Cleveland Central Catholic a year ago. Jesse Laster (2020) a 6’2” wing should also make an impact as a slashing/defender as well as Brent Darby Jr. (2020), who is a deadeye shooter.

Also impressive in said game was Kenston forward Ryan Kooser (2018). The 6’5’’ Kooser more than held his own against the bigger Bulldogs and showed off a nice jump shot, strong motor and will to compete, a perfect fit for an OAC team.