Posted On: 08/15/17 2:00 AM
Continuing our coverage of northeast Ohio basketball today, we’re examining what makes this region of the state unique.
The 60 players from northeast Ohio out-number any other region in the state. The immense amount of talent in NEO makes for a recruiting hot-bed, for programs at all levels.
The amount of 2018 prospects from Cleveland, and surrounding areas, that project to be scholarship-level players is upwards of 30-plus. That’s a ridiculous number, folks.
Although central Ohio may hold the title for most Division I talent, we’re ready to anoint northeast Ohio with the award for best 2018 class in Ohio.
The majority of forwards in northeast Ohio do much more than score in the paint and defend the rim. While Al Johnson (#32) and Mario Caywood (#76) are exceptions, most of these players shoot the 3-pointer, can handle the ball, and can defend multiple spots.
It starts at the top with Pete Nance (#7) and Mark Mayle (#28). Nance sets the trend here by being a gifted passer and athlete who can dominate games from the elbow. Defensively, he’s trustworthy in multiple spots because of his length and feet. Meanwhile, Mayle is a Division I stretch-4 because of his catch-and-shoot ability from downtown.
Moving down the list to kids who project as Division II/NAIA players, here are combo forwards wings because of their athleticism: Reed “RJ” Sunahara (#38), Aaron Loines (#72), and Kevin Peterson (#78). Then you have a group of forwards that hit the deep ball and bang inside that will likely end up with scholarships in Mason McMurray (#39) and Zak Zografos (#89).
Ryan Kooser (#128), Dalen Solomon (#135), and Emmett Chambers (#163), all fit these molds also, but currently project as Division III gems.
Bottom line: scouts that are placing value on big bodies who can defend multiple positions while being able to dribble, pass, and shoot, should spend a lot of time in northeast Ohio.
We’d be remiss not to mention the trendy vibe coming out of Garfield Heights this summer. Along with Pickerington North and Archbishop Moeller, the Bulldogs from Garfield have one of the most talented rosters in Ohio high school hoops next season.
They’ve already had two kids from the 2018 class commit to play college basketball in Donovan Forte (#60) and CCC transfer Alex Heath (#63). Keandre Graves (#182) has also transferred into the program.
They have a ton of players in that gym who will wind up as college basketball players.