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Posted On: 06/20/18 6:14 AM
The 2021 Watch List went up today, which means it’s time to start overviewing this class for the first time from a statewide lens. We’ll structure these regional breakdowns with a consistent format, which resembles what we’ve been doing this month to look at other classes.
So, what can you expect? First, a list of all the prospects from a designated area. Then, a look at Top Prospects, First Impression (i.e. a trend or tidbit), Top Bigs since they’re rare, and The Intrigue where we identify some undercover guys with upside.
Of course the All Ohio Red guys stick out immediately, as our Nike affiliate has a proven track record of identifying a variety of talent for their 15U roster.
Going one by one, Jamiya Neal has the most intriguing raw talent as a 6’4” wing. He handles the ball well, showed mature defensive instincts as a varsity starter, and improved as a jump shooter over the last year. Neal also rebounds in traffic and will defend multiple spots in college.
Kalen Etzler, the younger brother of 2019 Miami Ohio verbal pledge Javin, is a fluid athlete with some bounce and transition scoring ability. Etzler has a collegiate shooting form and we believe he’ll turn the jumper into a reliable asset over the next three years. Much like Neal, Etzler has loads of versatility.
Finally, Steve Coleman is an explosive and powerful athlete from the wing spot. He scores most of his points in the paint byway of athletic finishes. Coleman already outmuscled small school opponents during the high school season for Maumee Valley. Defense and energy looks like his calling cards.
Also playing for an EYBL program is Blake Reynolds from Indy Heat Red, who our Indiana site has seen more of than us. After the Run N’ Slam, they wrote, “Blake is a big wing with good handles and shooting ability. Was really good off the catch and hit multiple mid-range jumpers and added some threes in as well. Needs to mix it up more in the post but was really impressed by his skill from 15’ and out. Has a big frame with strength and should continue to grow as well.”
Otherwise, keep an eye on the bigs (more on them later) and players from Toledo St. John’s, who has a reputation for developing prospects. After the graduation of a loaded 2018 class, the Titans have versatile wing weapons on the upswing in their program.
We’ve written a ton about Columbus’s capacity to produce perimeter wings that carry a height advantage to most courts. On the opposite side of that has been NWO, an area of the state with a tendency to lack collegiate size.
However, the early read on this 2021 class from Toledo and rural Northwest Ohio is that there are various twos and threes that are 6’3” and could continue growing. Now, if they top out there, then never mind. However, any more than a couple ball-handlers and playmakers 6’5” and above would be uncharacteristic of this area.
Of the players we’ve seen so far, there’s been a pretty obvious top two.
Jainaz Cameron is an impact defensive player overall and strong inside scorer. Cameron is laterally quick enough to switch screens onto smaller guards. Meanwhile, his presence is felt by drivers as he intimidates with physicality and can rise high for rejections. He’s been one of Tru Game’s top players this spring.
Second is Frank Waganfeald from Oregon Clay, a program where college basketball prospects are few and far between. Waganfeald has a natural feel of how to get buckets inside. He carves out space with spin moves and other powerful gathers. He’s a below the rim player that scores with power and craft. Defense and rebounding seem to be the areas he could improve at.
We’re definitely interested to see the impact this group of wings could have at Toledo St. John’s. Brady Lichtenberg was the only to get varsity playing time as a freshman, while Thomas Zsiros played junior varsity and Shane Garcia is an Anthony Wayne transfer.
Lichtenberg proved capable as a spot-up shooter during the winter. In the springtime, the two-sport athlete showed shot creation ability off the dribble and a smooth jumper off movement. Meanwhile, Zsiros combines athleticism with good court sense and playmaking ability for others. Shane Garcia likely won’t make an impact at the varsity level because of the transfer regulations, but he provides more defensive versatility, length, and outside shooting. Together, the 2021 Titans are interchangeable on defense and can mostly all pass, dribble, and shoot.