Posted On: 04/2/18 3:13 PM
In just their second year of operation, C2K Elite has already established a reputable program in Ohio. This season, they’ll carry many of the top prospects in Ohio on their high school rosters. And they’re looking to maintain that level of excellence across all levels of the grassroots game.
“We want to play the competition possible,” said Dave Clarke, the C2K Elite 16U head coach. “When you come here, we’re going to it the right way. We’re going to travel all over the country … We’re not just going to go play in a tournament because we can win it. We want to go to tournaments that we’re going to play other top teams in the country.”
At the high school boys level, Clarke is joined by a trio of proven coaches: Cincinnati Princeton head coach Steve Wright (Assistant Director of C2K and 17U assistant coach), David Ramey (15U head coach), and Lima Senior head coach Quincey Simpson (Director of C2K and 17U head coach).
Clarke and Wright handle many of the day-to-day operations with a primary goal in mind.
“So, our goal is to make sure that kids realize that the biggest thing is skill development. We practice a lot, a lot more than a lot of AAU teams do. We don’t just go play in tournaments. We’re going to practice a bunch,” Clarke said, who was formerly head coach at Owens Community College before joining C2K.
Although Simpson’s home gym is in Lima, those practices are primarily being held in Columbus, a central location for their statewide talent.
From there, as Clarke mentioned, C2K players are preparing for a national schedule. They’re the first grassroots program in Ohio with an Under Armour sponsorship, which means the 17U and 16U teams play on the UAA Circuit.
“Under Armour [circuit] doesn’t have 15s on. That’s not how they do it … The 15s still get really competitive play. But Under Armour’s philosophy, and same with all the other shoe companies, they want to put all their money and time because coaches want to watch the 16s and 17s. There’s a big change when you get to the 16 level,” Clarke said.
C2K also plans on having a B-team at the 17U level, but that roster isn’t finalized yet.
C2K Elite 17U
C2K Elite 16U
C2K Elite 15U
“On the Under Armour circuit, and on any circuit, if you don’t come in with some mid-major-plus or high-major guys, you’re not going to win,” Clarke explained. “Even the worst team in Under Armour … they’re going to have four or five Division I guys.”
Clarke told us the ideal numbers for a C2K group is nine players, to ensure playing time for everyone. Of that nine, seven to eight tend to be D-I prospects, with the occasional D-II prospect who fits in nicely (think Myles Belyeu from last year’s loaded 17U group).
This season, C2K’s 17U team is carrying three players who rank in the top seven of our 2019 Prospect Rankings. The guard play on that team is especially dangerous.
“You got to look at the whole class in general in Ohio, the 2019 class is very guard-heavy and it’s not very deep. But guard wise, on the 17s, I think we got the three best guards in the state,” Clarke said.
The backcourt talent doesn’t stop there though, as Zeb Jackson enters his 16U season as the hottest recruit in Ohio’s sophomore class. Unlike the 17U group though, Jackson has a multiple forwards who provide depth around the basket.
Along with their nationally challenging schedule, C2K is hosting their own event in mid-May. The unique event will bring many of the UA sponsored programs into Lima on that weekend.
“We have a lot of Michigan teams, we have a lot Under Armour teams from Indiana and Michigan coming down. It’s not going to be your typical Ohio tournament where you’re going to play the same Ohio teams,” Clarke said.
Games will be played at various high schools across the city with most of the high school action taking place at Lima Senior.
Before then, they’ll kick in Grand Rapids in a couple of weekends before heading off to play in their first circuit weekend.