Posted On: 06/13/18 6:15 AM

Before tomorrow’s premiere of the new 2020 rankings, we’re back to explain no. 76- 173 in Ohio’s 2019 class.

To start out, we’d just like to touch on a couple things we haven’t yet this week as we’ve navigated the readers through the 2019 class. First of all, the 2019 class really isn’t all that weak, as was the consensus around this time last year. One of the markers of a class’s strength is depth and there are some talented prospects within the final 100 on the list. Second and finally, the real main reason we did an update in June was to help readers going into the final month of AAU ball. The final three weeks of grassroots is a crucial time for small college programs and prospects alike, especially for seniors-to-be. We’re here to provide a service that is mutually beneficial and honest towards both of those audiences, a principle that is the motivation behind this rankings update.

Moving back more specifically to this grouping of 25 prospects, you’re looking at a group of players who could either earn scholarships or wind up as difference makers at the D-III level.

Potentially Worth It

Three specific players within this range have a higher potential upside than the rest. While they’re all strong prospects in the current day who will have nice senior seasons, their best ball may be two to three years down the line.

The highest rated of this trio is no. 78 Derek Van Vlerah, who holds an offer from Air Force and is one of the best high jumpers in Ohio’s track and field scene. His verticality manifests itself on the basketball court in transition, where he occasionally gets high enough to release an indefensible layup. The athleticism doesn’t stop there, as DVV is super light on his feet and has long arms — two important physical tools on the defensive side. However, he has room to grow when it comes to court sense, assertiveness, and halfcourt shot creation.

Next is no. 84 Ibrahima Athie, who averaged 9.1 points and 6.5 rebounds while shooting over 50 percent on an undefeated Deer Park team last year. Athie is built like a prototypical wing. He runs the floor with speed and can finish and rebound with power. While the ball skills need training, Athie jumps off the page as an athlete and certainly has a nose for the ball.

Jordan McMilian, no. 85, broke out for perennial contender Westerville South last season. The point guard has a surplus of speed with the ball in his hands. We’ve seen very few defenders stay in front of McMilian and he’s a big-time scorer when he doesn’t settle for tough mid-range jumpers. Convincing him to use his speed to force help and pass would be a big deal.


This group of 25 can really be broken into two distinct categories, this being one.

  • Chris Painter (105 → 76) — Are programs recruiting this kid yet? STVM is going to bring back a ton of talent next year, so there’s a chance that July is far and away the best time to see him on full display. Painter has been the consummate reliable back-up PG for Nova (James) this season. He brings immediate energy off the bench and applies pressure on both ends with his speed and high IQ. Painter can also shoot off the dribble and is a willing passer.
  • Kayin Derden (91 → 79) — Impressive and thoughtful young man with an aggressive outside shooting ability and defensive instincts. Playing confident ball this grassroots season.
  • Milton Gage (101 → 82) — High energy utility guard who needs more reps as a playmaker but provides inspiring work on the defensive end. Has added muscle and irritates the living heck out of his matchup.
  • Bodie Eberhart (109 → 89) — Offensively driven combo guard who can get a bucket from all three levels. Creates separation via pump fakes, off-ball movement, and changes of speeds. Football offer from Urbana.
  • Treohn Watkins (137 → 92) — We caught Watkins on a really good day a couple weekends ago in Columbus. He was using his speed to get into the lane and apply defensive pressure. Shows poise as a floor general and can dictate tempo. Also a solid outside shooter.


Here’s the second distinct category.

  • No. 80, Jakiel Wells — Quick hands and feet which truly shine on the defensive side of the floor. He causes turnovers. Slight frame. Continuing to show improvements as a lead guard in terms of court sense, pace, and outside shooting.
  • No. 81, Nigel Martin — Raw prospect from Cleveland who still is yet to find the right basketball situation. Passes the eye test in terms of height and build. Needs to tighten up handle and shot-making.
  • No. 93, Michael Knoll — Landed on our radar this spring with his fluid size, capable jumper, and rebounding ability. Legitimate size.
  • No. 99, Leon Hughes — Glue guy on and off the floor. Versatile defensive player who scores in creative ways inside 10 feet. Very good activity level.
  • No. 100, Isaac Elsasser — Elsasser has a consistent jumper and can create space with craft. More of a faceup forward but has the ball skills to maybe eventually transition to the wing.