Rankings Update: The Class Picture

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Posted On: 03/28/18 5:00 AM

Turf wars are kind of what high school sports are all about. Protecting the home court, city championship games, and even AAU games between teams like Hidden Gems and the Cincy Lakers can get pretty heated. So, it seems appropriate to breakdown the class of 2018 by city/region.

There’s a lot of words on this page, so we’re just going to let you keep scrolling at this point.

Northeast Ohio – 70 total prospects

Top Five
Pete Nance
Dwayne Cohill
Christian Guess
Mike Bothwell
Sincere Carry

The Class Picture

Beyond having the most overall prospects ranked in the 2018 class, NEO is also home to the top guard talent. Cohill, Bothwell, and Carry represent the top perimeter talent in the class. The Cleveland-area 2018s are also especially thick with scholarship-level point guard play. Shortly behind that top pantheon we just mentioned, players like Dale Bonner, Jerry “Gene” Higgins, and Alfonse Hale are all in the top 80 overall.

Top 95 Unsigned Prospects

First of all, we should just say that we decided to cap this at 95 because there’s a little bit of a fall-off at that number. We expect players 1-95 to have the opportunity to play on scholarship at the college level. Then, 96-251 are more so your D-III players, with a couple players here and there who may find a perfect fit and grab a scholarship.

We’ll have articles later in the week detailing the available D-III players across the state, by the way.

Okay, back to Cleveland’s top 95 players who are unsigned.

Christian Guess is a prototypical athlete at the wing spot with D-I talent. Reportedly considering prep and junior college options also. The Shaker Heights wing hasn’t reported an offer since May 3, when Toledo offered a day after DePaul.

Yahel Hill is the best pure point guard available in the class. The dynamic shooting weapon is considering D-II programs, per a source.

Al Johnson, the no. 35 ranked player, rejects shots at a high level. Offers and interest range all across the Midwest at the D-II and NAIA level. If you’re looking for a defensive-minded post player in the 2018 class late, he’s your guy.

Omari Peek is a terrific one-on-one scoring option from Strongsville. Recruitment has been sort of quiet.

Jerry “Gene” Higgins is the most decorated winner in VASJ history. He received an offer from Winthrop Feb. 21.

Alfonse Hale, Delshawn Jackson, and Dyshawn Jackson all played for TNBA East this summer. The Jackson twins plan on playing in college together. All have received an offer from West Virginia State in the past.

Aaron Loines is a utility forward for an NAIA or D-II program waiting to happen. UNOH is the only school who has pulled a trigger on an offer to Loines.

Central Ohio – 67 total prospects

Top Five
Jerome Hunter
Dane Goodwin
Jelani Simmons
Taevion Kinsey
Adrian Nelson

The Class Picture

The biggest city in Ohio is home to the largest basketball prospects also. Although there’s not a Sterling Manley, Nick Ward, or Kaleb Wesson in the 2018 recruiting class, the wing is loaded with long athletes. In the Columbus top five alone, every player often has a size advantage against their matchup.

Top 95 Unsigned Prospects

Taevion Kinsey is the top  unsigned prospect that played OHSAA basketball last season. Lanky wing with major upside and a top four of Kent State, UT Martin, James Madison, and Marshall.

Tre Williams could make a major impact at a D-II program early in his career. However, don’t be surprised if the strong 6’6” Reynoldsburg product opts for prep school in hopes of eventually landing at a D-I program.

Reiko Bagley is an out-of-state transfer who is really a 2-guard at 6’6”. Again, notice the size in Columbus. He’s the no. 1 JUCO prospect in Ohio, unless Christian Guess goes that route.

Julius Brown has excellent quickness and ball skills as a point guard. Malone is the latest to offer Brown, joining a list of three other D-IIs and an NAIA.

Ross Ryan transferred to Pick North and didn’t receive as much playing time as we all expected. Unfortunately, it seems that the rangy defender’s stock is fleeting.

Elijah Bishop and DaTrey Long benefitted from a strong senior season with Beechcroft. Both have promising physical tools and a slew of offers from community colleges.

Thomas Hickman and Jejuan Weatherspoon are both combo guards with solid ball skills and the ability score. Hickman has been offered by Rio Grande and Edison State.

Southwest Ohio – 67 total prospects

Top Five
Darius Bazley
Jaxson Hayes
Justin Ahrens
Caleb McConnell
Jeremiah Davenport

The Class Picture

When you combine Dayton and Cincinnati, the Southwest Ohio region has the most high-end talent in the 2018 class. Of the top 75 players in Ohio, 25 are from that corner of the state, including the no. 1 player in Darius Bazley.

The top talent was also condensed, as Moeller, Wayne, Princeton, Hughes, Dunbar (both of which finished at Spire), and Walnut Hills had 13 players in the top 56.

Top 95 Unsigned Prospects

Caleb McConnell has received an offer from UMASS since transferring from Dunbar to Spire Institute. He’s added some muscle to his frame in that time also.

Damani Mcentire, Zubi Nwankwo, and EJ Williams, represent the top three out-of-state transfers this season. All have D-I basketball in their future, even if that means a year of prep for the Walnut Hills seven-footer.

Kameron Gibson is a tweener as a guard and a prospect. He can play either guard spot, and even defend the three at the D-II level. It’s yet to be seen whether he’ll play D-I or D-II ball. Maryland Eastern Shore and Ashland are the schools who have offered, both in the fall of 2016.

Darweshi Hunter proved us wrong this season, as he established himself as a D-II prospect. The scoring 2-guard has offers from Findlay, Lincoln (PA), Purdue Northwest, Assumption, and LIU Post.

Myles Belyeu is a premiere D-II recruit who does a ton of things on the defensive end of the floor. The slashing hybrid is being prioritized by several of the higher end programs at that D-II level.

Giovanni Santiago and DJ Brewton are Hughes teammates separated by just seven spots in our 2018 rankings. Both have D-II offers. Rumors of prep school have circled around Santiago’s name lately.

Mason Schneider is the best non-Division I forward prospect still available. He makes his name as a shot-blocker in the paint.

Terry Durham had a couple outrageous stat-lines in the playoffs, including a game where he scored 40 points and took 33 free throws. He’s considered a football lean as an outside pass rusher. However, the physical forward could be disruptive in the paint at the D-II level.

Riley Haubner shoots the ball excellently and plays with an edge. He received his lone offer from Christian Brothers two days after dropping 30 on Moeller in mid-January.

Northwest Ohio – 32 total prospects

Top Five
Vincent Williams
Austin Rotroff
Houston King
Keith Williams
Drew Johnson

The Class Picture

Ton of small college prospects lingering in the farmland of Northwest Ohio, and even within the city limits of Toledo. Only eight of the 34 NWO prospects in our final 2018 rankings are within the top 95. You’re going to see a lot of shooters in this area of the state regardless of position. Your classic D-III shooting specialists at the guard position are guys like Dan Unruh and Ben Pacer. Then, there’s plenty of taller wings and face-up forwards like Mark Janowski, Harrison Gough, and Drew Johnson.

Top 95 Unsigned Prospects

Houston King is the lone D-I prospect still out there in Toledo. His recruitment has been up (receiving a Georgetown offer this summer) and down (pretty quiet during the high school season) throughout his career, which reflects his identity as a volume scorer.

Keith Williams emerged late in his career. The Sandusky wing doesn’t do many things spectacularly but also doesn’t have major flaws. Division II and NAIA programs should sneak in late. He’s without an offer.

Brooks Gype is a playmaking wing player from Wauseon who we already wrote about this week. UNOH is the latest program to offer Gype, joining Malone and IUSB from earlier in the winter.

Christian Smith is a JUCO prospect from the Toledo City League with enticing measurements and fluidity. Smith doesn’t have a lot of burst as an athlete, but he can score with his back to the basket or on the drive.

Southeast Ohio – 15 total prospects

Top Five
Cameron Brooks-Harris
Dylan Swingle
Eric McLaughlin
Mark Mayle
Jake Mcloughlin

The Class Picture

There’s a lot of tough kids in the Southeast Ohio class. Guys like Jake Mcloughlin, Branden Maughmer, and Brandon Kennedy come to mind as players who can defend players larger than them.

Proctorville Fairland as a recruiting hotbed is a primary storyline as well. Nearly their entire starting five cracked the rankings, with the fifth, Keedrick Cunningham, missing only because he opted for a future in football.

Top 95 Unsigned Prospects

Kollin Van Horn was the man in the middle for said Fairland team. Although he’s not an explosive athlete, Van Horn’s size and skill translates to the college game if he finds the right level, which we believe is Division II. KVH can also face-up and hit jumpers from the elbows and short corners. Marshall offered him an preferred walk-on spot.