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Posted On: 08/14/17 5:12 PM
Continuing our coverage of northwest Ohio basketball today, we’re examining what makes this region of the state unique.
Vincent Williams (#5), Justin Ahrens (#6), Austin Rotroff (#11) and Houston King (#15), have all established themselves as D-I players.
No surprise when it comes to any of these four, but especially with Williams and Ahrens. As for Rotroff and King, most of their D-I offers have come since the update in April.
Rotroff and King both played with circuit programs (OBC and C2K respectively). In their time competing on national stages, both showed enough flashes to be mentioned with the very best in Ohio.
Excluding C2K (who is based in Lima but has the majority of their players coming from other regions of the state), the Northwest Ohio Basketball Club is the most represented grassroots program from the region.
All of the 2018 Division I prospects from northwest Ohio play on circuit teams. Then, a bunch of the under-recruited players from this region didn’t get much exposure over the spring/summer at all — we didn’t have a chance to view most of them anywhere except in the Toledo summer league.
However, six of the top 163 players in Ohio played on this NWO Club roster: Mark Janowski (#59), Drew Johnson (#79), Harrison Gough (#86), Jay Kaufman (#104), Jake Dible (#154), and BJ Miller (#166). While many northwest Ohio programs don’t consistently travel in the grassroots season, NWO Club is the exception. The amount of exposure they received by playing in tournaments consistently is something that cannot be separated from their future success in college basketball.
Over a three-week span in June, we watched a significant amount of Toledo-area basketball during summer league action at Woodward and Scott. There were plenty of small college gems waiting to be uncovered.
For example, Carl Banks (#125) is most likely going to be the Toledo City League Player of the Year next season. While he stands 5’7”, Banks’ handle and shooting range are enough to put up 20+ every night as a senior. He’ll compete with Christian Smith (#75) for that award. Smith is a 6’5” offensive-minded wing with a mature mid-range game.
It doesn’t stop there, as Smith’s teammate Derrick Verse (#164) deserves to be evaluated by small programs looking for a tough rebounder with scoring touch. He’s undersized in height, but his big frame and mobility allows him to clear space in the paint.
There’s plenty other examples of players who may not receive athletic scholarships, but could be serviceable players at the Division III or JUCO level. Refer to this list.