Posted On: 02/9/18 5:00 AM

The grassroots season will be here before we know it. In preparation, we’ve identified a number of juniors to become more familiar with over the next six months or so. The following juniors have flashed enough potential and production to headline a lengthy list of 2019s we’ll watch closely this summer.

(The list is in alphabetical order.)

Payton Collins, 6’7” F, Bishop Hartley

Collins is an avid rebounder that relies on brute force to gain position for finishes. His ceiling probably doesn’t reach the D-I level but recruiters are going to stumble upon a productive, old-school big man when they watch him in the summer.

Max Denman, 6’4” W, Anthony Wayne

Denman might lean football over hoops but we’ve been impressed with him this season. With solid length and athleticism, the 6’4” wing shoots it well and defends multiple positions. Denman doesn’t hesitate to let it fly from a step beyond the arch. A pretty rangy kid that could be a strong Division III prospect or jump up to the NAIA level with a certain amount of development as a playmaker.

Will Hunter, 6’2” G, Dublin Coffman

Hunter could end up being one of the top small college defensive specialists in the junior class. That’s not to say he cannot produce on the offensive side with good decision making and shooting ability. His instincts and relentlessness on defense just outweigh those qualities.

Jake Snyder, 6’0” G, Archbishop Hoban

Snyder looks like a shooting specialist that D-III schools will be glad to pursue around this time next season. He can really stroke it, whether that be from deep or off the dribble. Continuing to show ability as a defender and playmaker could warrant a scholarship offer eventually.

Tim Smith, 6’5” W, Lakewood

Smith has been in double-digit scoring figures most of the season for a 15-win Lakewood team. With promising size and length, Smith is a fluid wing player who can shoot the ball and handle could demand attention from in-state Division II schools.

We’re mostly excited to track his defensive impact, having not had enough opportunities to evaluate him on that side of the ball. Smith clearly has the physical tools to guard multiple positions.

Derek Van Vlerah, 6’5” W, Dublin Coffman

The other week against Marysville, Van Vlerah showed flashes of elite athleticism on the wing. He looks a bit raw as a player but can shoot it already. He’s a plus rebounder from the wing, tracking the ball and using his hops to go get it. Translating his athleticism into production this summer will be crucial.

Bryan Warah, 6’6” F, Purcell Marian

Warah has a post player’s build with enough lateral quickness to switch onto perimeter wings. He’s averaging 8.8 points and 7.1 rebounds this season for Purcell, a team with other go-to scorers. If Warah can prove capable of providing rebounding and defensive flexibility, we believe colleges will take him pretty seriously this summer


Others: Philip Alston (Westerville North), Ibrahima Athie (Deer Park), LaTrace Jackson (VASJ), Javonta Lyons (Purcell Marian), Jake Maranville (Uniontown Lake)