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Posted On: 07/2/18 7:04 PM
The amount of Division I Columbus City League prospects has been cut in half since the end of last year. Guys like Taevion Kinsey, Jelani Simmons, and Will Mfum, have cleared the path for the next set of stars to emerge in the league.
But even we — a company dedicated to covering college prospects — have the awareness to understand that the winter isn’t all about the future of the young basketball players. On Friday nights, it’s about school pride and your chance to capture bragging rights around the city. The players will come and go, but the tenacity remains.
The City League high-flyers we’ve referred to at the top saturated the YouTube and Twitter highlight market for the past couple of years. With them gone, 6’3” wing Marcus Johnson is the most explosive player remaining. But the reason South is truly exciting next year and a worthy candidate for a Ball Is Life video next year is that Johnson could be their 4 or 5 next year.
South is likely going to run the break with a plethora of athletic guards capable of pushing the pace. Johnson himself has been a quality secondary ball-handler against national competition for All Ohio Red this spring and is improving in that regard.
Then as far as guards go, Treohn Watkins, Trevell Adams, and Taquan Simington represent a problem for slow-footed opponents. All are capable of winning a footrace with the ball in their hands. Collectively, they have a nice balance of shooting, raw athleticism, quickness, fearlessness, and poise.
Walnut Ridge and Beechcroft will boast an inside-out dual threat capable of competing for a City League Championship in 2018-19.
VonCameron Davis and Qian Magwood followed up a sub-.500 freshman season by adding three wins in the WR win column last year. With plenty of last year’s top teams undergoing roster overhauls, Davis and Magwood are now the top duo in town. If they can dominate WR’s shot attempts, Davis and Magwood are talented enough to beat certain teams on their own.
It was reported by Zach Fleer on April 25 that Chance Groce, the conference’s premiere 2021 prospect, transferred to Beechcroft from Linden. If we’re understanding the rules correctly, that means he’s eligible to play the entirety of next season, because he made the move before the new OHSAA transfer rules passed.
Pairing Groce with 2019 forward Na’Elle Simmons gives the reigning City League champs a real chance of running it back. Groce has a couple holes in his game that ultimately come down to not being physically developed enough. Dedication in the weight room and following a natural growth pattern could turn him into a 20-point-per-game scorer as early as next season. Simmons is an ideal second option for a perimeter scorer like Groce. He fills a number of holes on any given night by being a willing screener, versatile defender, and energetic rebounder. Simmons can also bail them out of sloppy possessions with quick hook shots.
We made an error by not including David Brown in our latest 2019 rankings update. We planned on having him in there, but it got lost in the shuffle of our notes. Anyways, we like him as a high-energy combo forward that scores by staying active and rebounding. His best asset as a recruit is defensive versatility. After leading Linden in scoring as a junior, he should enjoy a big senior year.
Northland’s N’Keeley Elmore, South’s Marcus Johnson, and Beechcroft’s Na’Elle Simmons are all hardly on the outside looking in.
Davis averaged 22.9 points for Walnut Ridge last year and was the only sophomore in the state to make any of the Division I All-Ohio teams. Defenses knew he was the guy last year and they’ll know it again this season. It won’t matter. He’s become more polished as a ball-handler and slasher while even showing flashes of becoming a reliable 3-point shooter. Even replicating his performance from last year would likely be enough.
As we detailed already, their speed and amount of scoring options sets them apart from most other teams in the league. But contrary to the earlier section, South will be on another level if senior point guard Treohn Watkins creates quality looks in the halfcourt to complement their fastbreak threat during close games. We have faith that his experience and poise will provide a second look for the team and that they’ll run away with the league, despite challenges from Beechcroft, Walnut Ridge, and Northland.