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Posted On: 06/26/18 4:45 PM
Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary ended the 2018 season the Ohio Division II state champions. It was the program’s eighth state title and based on how Irish looked in an impressive 91-55 blowout win over Mentor at the Terry Rozier Summer League on June 25 they could be hanging banner No. 9 come next March. The road could be tougher in 2019, as St. V’s moves up to Division I from Division II.
Here’s a brief overview of who starred during the St. V win over Mentor.
Seth Wilson (2021), who started as a freshman, started slowing scoring just four points the first half, but turned up his game in the second half scoring 17 to finish with 21. He also grabbed 10 rebounds.
Wilson has grown since the end of the season and now stands 6’3”. He tortured Mentor’s smaller guards by going inside during the second half and continually muscled his way to easy baskets. He also displayed a nice jump shot and connected on a mid-ranged jumper and 3-pointer. Earlier this summer Wilson picked up an offer from Akron, which is believed to be his first from a Division I school.
Malaki Branham (2021) is quickly becoming a monster. The 6’4” sophomore-to-be scored with ease inside and was strong on the glass. He also recorded a nasty one-hand dunk in traffic late in the game, which left the crowd oohing and ahhing.
Darius Cone (2019) doesn’t seem to be getting much recruiting buzz but every time I see him play he’s impressive. A muscular 6’3” wing, Cone was benched at one point during his junior season but came on strong to be a productive player for the Irish during their run for a state title. Cone shows flashes of being a lockdown on-ball defender and his ability to establish possession on the block allows him to score inside. He also runs the floor extremely well which allows him to score easy buckets in transition.
A couple of players flashed for Mentor in the loss.
Point guard Luke Chicone (2021), 5’8” point guard, was continually able to get by bigger and stronger defenders on the dribble and get to the rim or find open shooters. He definitely likes to go left, but no defender appeared able to stop him.
“I’m a quick shifty guard that changes pace and relies on my midrange jumper and 3-pointer,” said Chicone, who played major varsity minutes as a ninth grader.
Caleb Piks (2020) lit it up from outside for Mentor in the loss to St. V. The 6’3” guard hit multiple shots from 3-point range and with a quick release needed just the tiniest of openings to get his shot off.
“I’m strictly a shooter right now, but I’m working going to the rim. I see the floor pretty well but I need to work on my handle,” Piks said when asked how he described himself as a player. “I rebound pretty well and work on my defense.”
Piks’ father is an assistant basketball coach for the men’s basketball program at Lake Erie College.
“I need to get stronger, quicker and that will help me finish at the rim,” said Piks.
In the past year Piks has increased his bench press and squat max by 100 pounds, he said.