Posted On: 12/2/17 11:23 PM
In their first game on a refurbished home floor, Cleveland Heights defended the land with a 81-70 win over a tough Cornerstone Christian team.
Let’s check what five messages were sent in the primetime game on Saturday at the Great Lakes Classic.
Yahel Hill is the best unsigned lead guard in Ohio
Hill, a 5’10” point guard from Cleveland Heights, scored 30 points in their opener on Saturday night. The hesitation gather into a pull-up 3-pointer is Hill’s signature move and he used it to open up a big lead in the first quarter. When the defense came out, Hill showed the ability to scoot around and finish with elusiveness in the paint. Hill especially uses the glass on floaters very well.
His scoring ability should translate to the next level because he doesn’t need the ball for long. His confident jumper stretches the defense and he plays well away from the ball.
First quarter killed CCA
Furman commit Mike Bothwell didn’t play in the first quarter and Heights jumped out to a 24-11 lead. Cornerstone actually outscored Heights from that point forward. Bothwell never took a seat on the bench in those final three periods, speaking to his value. The 6’3″ lead guard is paramount to their offense as a creator and coach on the floor. Bothwell also is one of their top rebounders and perimeter defenders.
Cornerstone remains a D-IV competitor
As mentioned, Cornerstone outscored a strong Division I team tonight when Bothwell was on the court. His intelligence and talent level is going to be tough for Division IV teams to compete with in the playoffs. Additionally, 5’9″ guard Ricky Adams (2019) can take advantage of the defense’s commitment to Bothwell with his outside shooting. Then, 6’5″ forward/center Kendall Saunders (2018) finished baskets inside, rebounded, and provided some toughness inside. If 6’6″ wing Martel Ferrell (2018) can make more of an impact, they could cut down the nets in Columbus despite an 0-1 start.
Tyreke Smith is the X-factor
Smith, a 6’4″ forward and big-time football recruit, was a beast in the paint tonight. Cleveland Heights could’ve buried CCA if he wasn’t in foul trouble.
While Smith struggled finding his touch as a finisher inside and was too aggressive as a shot blocker, they’ll need him in order to compete with the top D-I programs. He can clear space with interior moves and wins position on every rebounding battle. Smith also was incredibly effective defending Bothwell, as he can keep quick guards in front and it’s impossible to go through his chest.
The top six in Cleveland Heights’ rotation are all seniors. We’ve mentioned Hill and Smith, but 6’4″ sharpshooting guard Keith Jackson hit three 3-pointers in the fourth to seal it. As CCA was making their run, 6’1″ guard Javon Roberts protected the ball as their primary ball-handler. Roberts finished with 15 points. Also, 6’2″ hybrid Grayson Green was their edge when Smith went to the bench. Green rebounds extremely well and finishes through contact.
All five of these unsigned players could play college ball. Smith won’t because of football. Green could follow that same path, but he’s worth a look for hoops programs.