Ten Best: D-III State Semifinals


Posted On: 03/22/18 9:23 PM

The first day of the State Tournament wrapped up with an all-Columbus classic as Africentric downed Harvest Prep 54-52. While no. 1 Harvest Prep stumbled, the other undefeated team, Deer Park, completely dominated Lutheran East 66-48.

A pair of sophomore point guards and several seniors had their moment tonight. We’ve got full player-by-player recaps below, followed by a look ahead at the D-III State Championship game.

MVP: Manning “Tre” Baumgardner III (2018), 6’0” PG, Africentric

The Minnesota State signee dazzled the crowd in the first half with his dynamic shot creation off the dribble. His quickness and handle left defenders in the dust as he was pulling up for 3, hitting four from beyond the arch in the half. 

Baumgardner was rather quiet for the next 10-12 minutes of play. Then, as Harvest Prep crept closer to the Nubians, he secured with a floater, free throws, and final rebound as time expired.

They rely on the senior point guard for most of their offense and he didn’t disappoint tonight.

Defensive MVP: Joseph Hocker (2019), 6’6” C, Deer Park

The Division I tight end prospect was a space eater and dominate rebounder against Lutheran East. A 10-point, 18-rebound double double pushed Deer Park to another level, as they usually get an average of 6.5 points and 5.6 rebounds from Hocker. He was also able to change shots at the rim. Sheer dominance in the paint from the tip. 

Top Underclassmen: Mark Wise (2020), 6’4” G, Deer Park

An extremely built upper body (for a sophomore especially) allows Wise to exploit gaps in the defense. He opens up driving lanes with his ability to change directions and speed. 

Wise has a couple obvious flaws, but it didn’t stop him from going for 16 points and seven rebounds. Shoring up his shot selection and jumper would make him a rather unstoppable offensive player. Wise is a no brainer as a Division I prospect. Kent State is the only school to offer thus far. 

Breakout Performance: Jalen Rose (2018), 6’5” W/F, Deer Park

The combo forward was efficient on the offensive end, scoring 18 points on 7/12 shooting. Rose’s feel and mobility would allow him to play multiple positions for a smaller school at the next level. He can spot up, hit jumpers off a little step-back, or get to the elbow for a mid-range pull-up. Thrives in their open floor/fast-paced style of basketball. It would be interesting to see if he can defend the post because he’s rather thin.

Top Unsigned Senior: Damani Mcentire (2018), 6’3” G, Deer Park

Mcentire covers a lot of ground on defense with his speed and length. He’s a disruptive figure on that end, often sliding in for weak-side steals and swats. The D-I prospect didn’t show a ton offensively, but his coast-to-coast speed was impressive.

Top Senior Signee: CJ Penha (2018), 6’6” W, Harvest Prep

Other than his off-the-dribble game, Penha is a rather complete offensive player. He doesn’t need to blow by defenders, which is a good thing because he’s not especially quick. But, as we were saying, he can finish through traffic with strength and has a nice short turn-around jumper. In the second half, the Taylor signee did most of his scoring in transition although his teammates often missed him streaking down the floor.

Under the Radar Performance: Ibrahima Athie (2019), 6’5” W/F, Deer Park

Although he’s been described as a raw athlete, Athie has a pretty nuanced offensive game. He’s able to see the floor on the drive and makes interior passes, totaling three assists against LE. Athie is a springy rebounder and finisher also. We like his upside, especially if he proves himself as a shooter. 

Top Shooter: Soul Hines (2019), 6’4” G, Harvest Prep

Hines is quick coming out of his pump fake and/or jab step to get off a mid-range pull-up. Although he didn’t connect on the shot at a high percentage, his shot-creation was impressive. We also liked his high, behind-the-head release.

In a close ball game, Hines’ best quarter was the fourth and we liked that he kept shooting despite struggling for much of the game. Hines is athletic enough to defend various types of guards and wings. 

Honorable Mention: CJ Anthony (2020), 6’0” PG, Harvest Prep

Anthony’s style of play and instincts are that of an upperclassman. He’s simply efficient with his decision making and doesn’t do anything extra when he touches the ball. The sophomore shoots it confidently from deep and usually drains it (shooting 6/12 from the floor and 6/6 at the line). Pretty developed upper body build.

Honorable Mention: David Gulley (2018), 5’10” PG, Lutheran East

The Solon transfer and unsigned senior point guard kept the Falcons alive with an aggressive first half. He looks to score before facilitating. He’s got deep range and puts pressure on the defense with that shooting threat. He is a specialist, as his finishing ability isn’t outstanding. Altogether, he scored 14 points on 5/19 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds.

A Look Ahead

Deer Park showed tonight that they can make an athletic team with quality guards very uncomfortable with their ball pressure. However, for whatever reason, it’s still hard for me to believe that Baumgardner will struggle with a full-court press. The Minnesota State signee will need to trust his fellow teammates when he’s trapped, but pressure shouldn’t be their downfall.

It’s hard to identify any holes in Deer Park’s team. Maybe they’ll struggle to execute in the half court if the game gets close late? Anyways, they have six players who can really go and four of them can defend pretty much every position. Even though Africentric is starting to feel like the team of destiny, they’ll come into the Saturday’s 2PM time slot as slight underdogs.