Posted On: 12/4/17 4:54 PM
To kick off the season, we stopped by the newly remodeled gym at Cleveland Heights for the Great Lakes Classic on Saturday and Sunday. Over the twelve games, plenty of talented players from Northeast Ohio put their offseason work into action and raised their stock.
We’ll touch on underclassmen later in the day, but let’s start with a lengthy list of upperclassmen (alphabetical).
Kevin Bishop (2019), 6’5” F, Shaker Heights
Bishop is on the top of our list because B is the second letter in the alphabet. But, coincidentally, he was also the top stock-riser from the GLC. Bishop has slimmed down this offseason, allowing him more mobility. He’s utilizing the newfound athleticism by absorbing contact on straight-line drives and tracking defensive rebounds.
He dominated in their win over Warrensville Heights, scoring 26 points and grabbing 20 rebounds.
Dale Bonner (2018), 6’1” PG, Shaker Heights
Bonner has already signed with Fairmont State, so we won’t spend too much time recapping his day. But, he shut down Warrensville Heights’ junior Brandon Rush, hardly letting him catch the ball in the half-court and never allowing a clean look. Of the 23 Ohio seniors committed to a Division II program, Bonner is one of the top couple prospects in the group.
DJ Dial (2019), 5’9” PG, Brush
We wrote extensively about what Dial showed us yesterday.
To add onto that evaluation, Dial also impressed us with a step-back in the left corner towards the end of the game. Brush head coach Chet Mason tweeted after the game that Dial dished out 10 assists and had four steals to go along with a game-high 24 points.
Alonzo Gaffney (2019), 6’9” W, Garfield Heights
Gaffney looks like the top junior in Ohio right now and probably a top two prospect in Ohio regardless of class. Using his length, Gaffney dictated the game in Garfield Heights’ full-court press. The former VASJ center also crashed the weak-side glass.
Offensively, Gaffney’s 3-point stroke is pure, a shot which Cleveland JFK appeared happy to let him have. He’s also able to weave traffic in the open floor. Remaining balance when guys try to push him off his spots will help him at the next level.
Christian Guess (2018), 6’6” W, Shaker Heights
Guess has the prototypical size and athleticism for a Division I wing. He put on show in the Warrensville Heights game, bringing the crowd to their feet with fastbreak dunks. When the defense stood between him in the basket, Guess was able to rise above the traffic or seamlessly go through contact for and-ones. He’s a hassle on the defensive side when he commits himself on that end.
Dorien Grayer (2018), 6’4” F, Brush
Grayer manned the paint for Brush, who is beginning their season without 6’9” sophomore John Hugley. Grayer is a springy post player who crashes the boards and can contest shots above the basket. He also can run the floor and be effective away from the ball as a screener or by operating the baseline waiting for a drop down or missed shot.
Although he’s a little undersized and was previously off our radar, Grayer appeared to be a high-motor, defensively versatile forward that small college programs should check out as a big.
Grayson Green (2018), 6’2” hybrid, Cleveland Heights
The Heights’ sixth man is an immediate spark off the bench with his toughness and finishing ability. Green plays a grown man’s game in the paint, seeking contact and challenging taller players for rebounds. He didn’t finish consistently in the paint, which is a concern. Green’s jumper looked good from the mid-range but he was unable to connect from deep.
His mature physicality might make him lean towards football after this season, where he holds offers from Siena Heights and Central State.
Andre Harris (2019), 6’3” W, Brush
A one-handed poster, pair of and-ones, and strong euro step finishes were touched on in yesterday’s game recap. Harris will be crucial when Brush goes to their half-court trap, as he’s able to make up ground quickly with his speed and instincts.
Yahel Hill (2018), 5’10” PG, Cleveland Heights
Hill is arguably the top unsigned point guard playing Ohio high school basketball in the senior class. He put up 30 points on Saturday night and 18 on Sunday, either byway of the pull-up jumper or floater. He’s able to stop on a dime in the lane for the floater and it will be important for him to find consistency on that shot at the next level because of his lack of size. His signature move is the hesitation gather into a 3-point bomb, which was automatic for a stretch during Saturday’s game. He’s already shooting it nicely from the college range.
Dyshawn Jackson (2018), 6’2” G, Cleveland Central Catholic
We’ve never seen Jackson shoot the ball as well as he did on Sunday against Cornerstone. The unsigned senior knocked down four triples in their win and was especially aggressive in the third quarter. The blue-collar player was also able to carve up the defense on the drive, finishing through contact or clearing up space with a pump fake. As usual, Jackson was tireless on the defensive end, as he was glued to Furman commit Mike Bothwell all day, hardly ever allowing a clean look.
Division II and NAIA schools should be all over Dyshawn and his brother Delshawn. These two play hard every game by getting after it defensively.
Keith Jackson (2018), 6’4” G, Cleveland Heights
Jackson sealed their game against Cornerstone on Saturday with the 3-point shot. He can get hot from out there and looks like a specialist at the Division III level. Good length but needs to add some weight. Confident player.
Ryan Kooser (2018), 6’5” F, Kenston
Kooser turned in a pair of solid performances this weekend, helping Kenston start 2-0. He has the green light, which he takes advantage of by seeking out space for 3-pointers. His shot was a little flat and didn’t hit it with consistency, but the stroke is there. Kooser understands how to use his body to make himself available for post entries, where he likes ball fakes and step-throughs to draw contact and finish. Rebounding and defense are question marks at the next level, but he’s a solid Division III prospect.
Neeko Melendez (2018), 6’2” G, St. Ignatius
Melendez looks like another Division III prospect. Playing in a historically successful Ignatius program, Melendez plays fundamental basketball and takes advantage of open opportunities to hit the jumper. He led Ignatius in their win over John Hay with 15 points on 5/9 shooting from deep.
Emmanuel Perdue (2018), 6’0” G, Shaw
Perdue was Shaw’s lone bright spot against Euclid. He’s a volume scorer that is incredibly confident in his pull-up jumper from downtown. Perdue had 17 points in the first half, most of which came on triples. He also showed the ability to finish in the lane on a tear drop off the glass. However, he was taken out of the game in the second half with a face-guard from Euclid, scoring just six points. He didn’t do anything special away from the ball to get open, but Shaw also didn’t draw up plays or set screens for him to get open.
Brandon Styers (2018), 6’0” G, Holy Name
Yet another senior from Northeast Ohio who put on a shooting exhibition. Styers scored 20 points in their win over East Tech. He is one of many players who will get open looks from deep, playing off of Dwayne Cohill.
Brison Waller (2019), 6’9” F, Garfield Heights
As we wrote on Saturday, Waller controlled the glass for Garfield Heights.
Waller also converted on a one-foot fall-away shot about 10 feet away from the basket. His baby hook shot is also an effective move for Waller, the Bulldogs best true post player.