Posted On: 04/16/18 5:00 AM
Grand Rapids was host to one of the top Midwest tournaments this weekend, as the Storm Classic featured several elite programs.
In terms of Ohio talent, our Under Armour affiliate C2K Elite and Nova Village acted as headliners. All Ohio Rebels, Ohio Varsity Shooting Stars, Ohio Varsity, Elite Basketball Club, and a couple others also made the trek up north.
One week before the Live Period, plenty of Ohio’s Division I prospects found a rhythm in their fresh new uniforms. However, there was talent up and down, including some breakout small college prospects and everything in between. Tomorrow we’ll be back with a 16U breakdown, then a 15U on Wednesday.
Safford excelled in the up-tempo style of play on Saturday. Starting as the small-ball four, which isn’t his natural or long-term position, Safford boxed out and rebounded at a high level. Then, he acted as a secondary ball-handler and pushed the pace. He’s strong enough to rebound and defend the paint while also having the quickness to get a pair of 5-second calls in their Sunday game.
Curtis can get the offense a quality shot at any time. He’s shifty as hell, can knock down the 3-pointer with range, and is a crafty finisher with either hand. However, we come away from the weekend most impressed by the Xavier early commit’s unselfishness and vision. Curtis secured defensive boards and was advancing via the pass. He also sees cutters and gets them the ball when they need it.
The West Liberty verbal commit impressed mainly with his ability to shoot it with his feet set. Conley understands how to position himself away from the ball, in order to catch and shoot open looks from deep. He also directed traffic like a collegiate point guard and showed his competitiveness at the end of tight games. Conley drives to pass and often drew a second defender.
Keene played well enough this weekend to make the All Tournament Team and was a sliver away from making the cut. Amongst 2019 point guards in Ohio, Keene is one of the most poised. He plays a pretty ball-dominant style on this team, as they ran a lot of high pick and rolls with him. Keene showed good court awareness and pull-up shooting ability with range. He simply makes the right play most times and takes care of the ball. Floor spacer without the ball who mostly hangs out at the top of the key.
Simmons really impressed us in their second game of the weekend. He’s got upside and that’s the game he really put it together this weekend. The Central Ohio big looks like a D-I prospect but doesn’t quite have the ball skills or strength to totally convince coaches at that level yet. However, Simmons is super versatile defensively because of his length and activity. He was able to hedge and switch on ball screens effectively.
Simmons is likely going to need to redshirt as a freshman in college because of his slight frame.
Kinsway is a work horse. He plays with unquestionable effort and uses his 220-pound frame to score inside. He uses pro hops and spin moves to knock defenders off-balanced before forcing the ball into the cup. Kinsway’s long-term projection is as more of a versatile 4, in our opinion. His jumper may be trending in the wrong direction, however that’s judging off this weekend. Kinsway is unique athletically.
Brown is an interesting small college prospect who needs some work in terms of skill. However, we know for sure that he plays hard defensively and could take on either forward spot against most teams. Brown has active length and is pretty quick. Will likely always have a small role offensively, but his jumper isn’t helpless. Brown was one of the catalysts to a rather strong weekend for OV-SS.
Painter impressed in his role as the back-up lead guard/scorer off the bench. He brings immediate energy into the game and successfully increased Nova’s pace when he was in there. He can shoot the mid-range jumper off the dribble once he gets by the initial defender. He stays low with his dribble.
He might be a bit of sleeper because of his small role with STVM last season, but Painter should interest NAIA and some D-IIs this grassroots season. He’s in a good AAU situation.