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Posted On: 02/25/18 1:56 PM
Although the number of unsigned seniors in action was the headliner at Mason Arena yesterday, there were plenty of juniors and underclassmen who impressed us. Whether it was an early college commit or never before seen prospects, it was another day of Ohio hoops where the talent was obvious.
Let’s see what Cincinnati showed us yesterday in the 2019, 2020, and 2021 class over the period of six first round games.
Bultema got going in the second half from downtown, dropping in a couple off the catch. Although his release is a bit deliberate, he can hit when he has time. Also, Bultema can rebound and move okay. He definitely looked like a quality D-III prospect with a chance of being more yesterday against Roger Bacon.
Dean dealt with foul trouble throughout the game, otherwise it might not have been too close in the fourth quarter against Wyoming. Dean is extremely fast with the ball in his hands, even able to blow past defenders who are sagging off of him and hoping he shoots. Creative finisher.
The emotional leader handled pressure extremely well, as Aiken relentlessly through length and speed at him. While they forced his scoring to come exclusively from the outside, Edmonds was able to create opportunities for others. His teammates didn’t capitalize consistently though and Wyoming is surprisingly going home early. However, the Findlay commit’s jumper and ability to control an offense is only improving.
Prater, who is also a D-I football prospect, looked like a legitimate D-I wing yesterday. He was a nightmare on the baseline, either as a corner shooter or slasher. Prater has excellent court awareness for a 6’5” wing, hitting teammates with timely passes when the double team came. However, he’s also strong and skilled enough to work through a double team with spins and step-throughs. Big-time athlete.
Stone is the trusted primary ball-handler as a freshman. He took care of the basketball in high-pressure situations and proved clutch by going 4/4 from the free throw line in the final minute. His poise during a one-possession game was impressive. Stone is also very quick with the ball in his hands.
It’s hard to say what position Smith is at this point in his career. His frame is that of a forward, and he uses it to body his way into the paint. Smith converted a couple layups in traffic that were impressive. Yet, the lefty usually catches on the perimeter and defends out there too. He struggled shooting, as the trajectory of the ball is pretty flat. Regardless, Smith is a special athlete with great physical tools.
Walker, a freshman, has the build of an upperclassman right now. The big guard can shoot the ball and has obvious defensive upside. However, he was a bit panicked yesterday at times and didn’t secure the ball. Something tells me he’ll have plenty of opportunities to make up for it down the line with this team. Definitely one of the most physically impressive freshman we’ve seen all season.
Smith was yesterday’s revelation. One of those, “Who the heck is this kid?” moments. At his height, Smith is a fluid athlete who can put it on the floor, defend multiple positions, and finish. He’s super thin and wasn’t an aggressive scorer, notably passing up a few open jumpers. However, Smith has unique physical tools. Hopefully the wiry athlete finds a grassroots team that ensures he’s on the floor this spring and summer. Kid has major upside.