Breakout Seasons: 2018


Posted On: 02/21/18 5:00 AM

What does it mean to have a breakout season? We’re talking about players who shattered our (or the public’s) expectations for their senior year. We’re not talking about Dane Goodwin here, his expectations were too high to overcome.

Also, we’re not mentioning players who’s blow-up happened in the summer. A player like Westerville North’s Julius Brown has been way better as a senior than junior. However, his emergence was obvious for those who pay attention on the grassroots season.

With a brief recap of their senior season, keep scrolling to read about a mixed bag of 2018 prospects — unsigned and signed, D-I to JUCO.

Reiko Bagley, 6’5”-6’6” W, Whitehall

Unless we’re unaware of someone’s academic standing, Bagley is shaping up to be the top JUCO prospect in Ohio. Any junior college coaches searching for a 6’5”-6’6” wing who can get you a bucket at any time, here’s your guy! Bagley is averaging 19 points per game in his first season in the Buckeye State (Illinois transfer).

Sincere Carry, 6’1” PG, Solon

We mistakenly had a lot of reservations about Carry this summer. However, he’ll be the top prospect committed to a D-II college program in our final 2018 Prospect Rankings, higher than some D-I commits. Solon’s Mr. Everything gives them a legitimate chance to reach Columbus.

Jeremiah Davenport, 6’6” W, Moeller

Last season’s super sixth man of the State Tournament built on that momentum and has thrived in an extended role. His production has scaled impressively: compared to last season, Davenport is playing 13.3 more minutes and averaging 11.0 more points, 3.9 more rebounds, and 1.6 more steals plus blocks. While doubling his minutes, the Wright State signee has pretty much tripled his production.

PJ Flannery, 6’3” W, Lakewood St. Edward

On any given night Flannery leads a loaded Eds team in scoring because of his impact as a 3-point shooter. The versatile defensive player had a surprisingly quiet recruitment in mid-January when we spoke to him, only drawing interest from John Carroll.

Christian Guess, 6’6” W, Shaker Heights

Guess has been a highlight tape revelation in Northeast Ohio this season. He’s been performing the type of explosive dunks that only Division I prospects are capable of. Besides the flash, Guess has truly improved as a powerful slasher since the summer. His ball security on the drive has been more consistent, although we still have questions about his handle with the left hand.

Jack Hendricks, 5’10” G, Kettering Fairmont

Although Hendricks has cooled down a bit since mid-January, he’s still shooting the 3-point shot at 43 percent with a large volume of attempts. Against Indianapolis Washington, the senior shooting specialist dropped in 14 triples during a 52-point night. He moves well without the ball and has a quick release.

Darweshi Hunter, 6’4” G, Princeton

Leading the Princeton Vikings in scoring once again, Hunter is showing more consistency as a shot creator and athlete. With twitchy lateral quickness, Hunter has upside as a defender. He ranks high amongst unsigned D-II prospects and we’ve had a college head coach tell us he believes a D-I could swoop in late on Hunter.

DaTrey Long, 6’4” PG, Beechcroft

Long’s points per game may only have risen by about two points, but his impact on a one-loss Beechcroft team has been special. He sets the tone with his defensive pressure (made possible by his grit, length and athleticism) and has proven capable to be effective as a lead guard of a successful team. Over the course of the season, Long has received offers from Urbana, and the following JUCOs: Sinclair, Cuyahoga, and Columbus State.

Ryan Reidy, 6’0” PG, McNicholas

Reidy has established himself as one of the best available D-III point guard prospects in the state by being a more efficient scorer. McNick has gotten away from their winning ways lately, but the unselfish point guard’s confidence will be crucial to their postseason success.

JT Shumate, 6’6” W/F, Newark

The blow-up for Shumate started in the summer when he was dropping in triples for OH-NOVA (Rice). But he just keeps getting better. At this point, Shumate has combined a pure shooting stroke with a body that is capable of initiating a physical interior game. From junior to senior season, Shumate went from a secondary scorer at 13.0 points per game to a leading 20.8 on a 19-3 Newark team.

Jelani Simmons, 6’6” W, Beechcroft

Simmons was unranked at this time last season (embarrassing on our part, right?). Following a big summer, he’s currently at #20. At the end of the season, the Youngstown State signee will be in our top 12. Simmons is a super rangy kid showing improvements across the board, including as an outside shooter.

Brandon Styers, 6’3” G, Holy Name

Styers has gone from unranked to around 17 points per game on nearly 50 percent shooting from beyond the arch. Now, one of the most promising 3-point specialists in the 2018 class, Styers looks like an impact prospect for a Division III school.

Darius Quisenberry, 6’0” PG, Wayne

Our second Youngstown State signee on the list played just half of last season for Wayne after transferring. With more familiarity, his averages have ballooned to 18.2 points, 6.5 assists, 5.2 rebounds, and 3.0 steals — true Mr. Basketball candidate stats on a one-loss team. Quisenberry is consistently flashing vertical  athleticism these days too.

Scott Walter, 5’11” PG, St. Vincent-St. Mary

Walter joins Ryan Reidy as one of the top D-III point guard prospects in Ohio. However, Walter’s athleticism could appeal to NAIA programs. The dual-sport athlete has proven capable of leading a State Championship contender after playing as more of a utility guard for STVM last season. While he hasn’t dropped off in the effort department, Walter’s shooting has improved considerably.

Ajai Washington, 6’2”-6’3” PG, Toledo Bowsher

A lesser known commodity from the Toledo City League, Washington has an ability to see unique passing angles from his 6’2”-6’3” height. While Washington isn’t a freakishly explosive athlete, his float game and feel make up for it as a slasher. He’s impressed as a senior after playing spot minutes on a star-studded Bowsher team last season. Washington will likely go the JUCO route.

Tre Williams, 6’6” F/C, Reynoldsburg

Williams went from thriving in a small role for All Ohio Red this summer to putting up double-doubles almost every night for Reynoldsburg in the winter. One of the most physically imposing post players in Ohio, Williams uses his bulky frame and quick feet to beat defenders before finishing in absurdly agile ways. He remains one of the top unsigned prospects in the class. Williams told us before the season that he plans on going to a prep school if he doesn’t find a Division I fit.

Honorable Mention: Branden Maughmer, CJ Penha