Posted On: 09/21/18 9:01 AM
After highlighting some 2020 standouts Wednesday, it is now time to cover the class of 2021. Before attending the event, I was told the 2021 class was flooded with talent running through the state of Ohio, and the they did not disappoint. It felt like a majority of the best overall prospects and play was from the 2021 prospects on Sunday. Here are just a few of many 2021 standouts from the Top 250 Expo.
Jarius Jones G Gahanna Lincoln High School
I may be higher on Jones’ overall game compared to some of my colleagues. Maybe it was the quality of sample, but I was blown away by the 6’3″ combo guard. On the offensive side of the ball, Jones has an exceptional understanding of the game. He possesses quality passing vision, moves without the ball well, and understands floor spacing concepts. As a quality rebounder for a guard, Jones is able to create easy transition opportunities on the grab and go. Where he can finish at the rim with a strong frame, or set his teammates up for open shots. He’s an efficient scorer in halfcourt settings as well. Jones does not try to do too much, but elects perfect opportunities to get into the lane changing speeds. Defensively, Jones stood out off the ball, showcasing his knowledge of proper help side defense where he was active challenging shots attempts and disrupting passing lanes.
Jones has an enormous amount of potential. He has still yet to come around as a shooter and if he improves as an athlete we could be talking about a Division one mid major point guard with his physical traits. He seemed more comfortable as a lead guard, but was not called upon to play that role Sunday. I’m looking forward to checking back in on Jones where he hopefully makes a big impact to the Gahanna Lincoln varsity team this season.
Kalen Etzler W/F Convoy Crestview
Etlzer’s performance was simply outstanding. Named MVP of the Top 250 Expo for the underclassmen, he could be the best long term prospect at the event. Standing at 6’8″, Etzler is effective offensively on the perimeter. He has an impressive handle where his long strides help him get to the rim quickly and he can finish above the rim consistently with elite leaping explosion. Etzler also showcased a quality shot of the catch with fundamentally sound shot mechanics. He attacked the offensive glass consistently which led to numerous put back dunks. On the defensive end, he was aggressive defending in the post and his overall athletic package combined with his massive strides should help him to be a switchable defender that can guard multiple positions.
Etzler was quiet last year on the Crestview varsity team, but he has strong bloodlines. His brother Javin is a 2019 recruit already committed to play at Miami of Ohio. There’s no doubt Kalen will follow in his brother’s footsteps as a D1 college basketball player, he should be in line for some big offers in the coming years.
Allen Lattimore G Stivers School of The Arts (Dayton)
Lattimore is a 6 foot scoring lead guard that came into the Top 250 Expo with the reputation of being a knockdown shooter. Beyond shooting the basketball, Lattimore had a creative handle that allowed him to get into the lane. He did not always finish those attempts at the rim, but could as his body continues to mature. Even though he does have a score first mindset, he flashed the ability to have some passing vision in the halfcourt. He also showed off some quick hands on the defensive end coming up with a few steals on the ball.
Lattimore looked like he was trying to do a little too much on Sunday. If he would have played more within himself, he probably would have made a stronger impression. However, I do not want to take anything away from him. His talent was clear and made a strong enough impression to make this list. He looks like a probable D3 player right now.
Jack Pugh F Hilliard Bradley
Pugh is a strong bodied 6’6″ forward with with some offensive versatility. He was highly efficient scoring the ball offensively. He was driving into the lane with extreme aggression and force where he can finish with either hand. He also showcased his passing vision and handle which was impressive at his size as well. His physical brand of basketball makes a transition onto the defensive end of the floor. Where he also played with a constant motor.
Pugh has played with elite competition on the Adidas Gauntlet and that has allowed him to obtain a significant amount of exposure. Pugh averaged 5 points per game last season at Hilliard Bradley. It likely was just a lack of minutes even though I am not positive. Those numbers should go way up this season and I would hope Pugh takes advantage of the exposure he can get and go back out to San Diego for Grassroots play in the offseason.
Isaiah Moore G Beavercreek
Moore is a slender 6’3″ lead guard with exceptional positional size. He is lightning quick with the ball in his hands which allows him to get to the rim at will. He still has some kinks in his game that he needs to work out, but I cannot stress enough that he got to the rim at an alarmingly high rate. Once his body develops he should be able to continue to finish those shots at the rim. Moore is also very laterally quick where his long arms and height should help him to guard multiple positions.
Another impressive Beavercreek guard, with a consistent jumpshot and added strength Moore could have a really high ceiling. However, until his offensive game continues to develop or come together he is likely a high level D3 player.