Posted On: 09/17/18 3:08 PM

Stock-risers, new names, efficient players, top point guards, forwards, defenders, and team guys — we will cover them all throughout the week! This onslaught of recap coverage, though, needs to start at the top because an event that unites top prospects from every corner of Ohio begs the question: Which players were the best?

MVP: D’Marco Howard

Breakout Performance: Tehree Horn

Top Prospect: Na’Elle Simmons

Best Big Man: Alex Mangold

Best Facilitator: Luke Howes

Best Shooter: Conner Maciag


MVP: D’Marco Howard (2019), 6’3” G, Hamilton

Howard earns MVP because of his multifaceted impact. The most obvious was scoring, where he got to the rim with both power and quickness whenever he chose to. In tight windows, Howard does a good job of turning his body 90 degrees in order to slide through a crease. Then, defensively Howard occasionally turned up the full-court pressure and there wasn’t a guy in the gym who was blowing by. He communicated well, (figuratively) speaking to his seniority. Finally, Howard was the team’s best rebounder when I watched. Love his size and ability. In speaking with him, interested college programs need him to raise his ACT score, otherwise high-level D-II offers may have already been extended.

Breakout Performance: Tehree Horn (2019), 6’2” G, Southview

It’s the first time we’ve seen Horn as the unequivocal best player on a team and his abilities translated to the scenario. The senior plays with a very natural feel and rhythm with the ball in his hands. First of all, he skates by the initial defender with a quick first step or hesitation move, with the option of going to his jab series. Once he penetrated, Horn made his teammates better by giving it up to the open man. Also, a good finisher because of his hang-time and ambidexterity. Capable outside shooter off the catch or dribble. Slight frame but good height for a kid who might be best as the point guard.

 Top Prospect: Na’Elle Simmons (2019), 6’7” F, Beechcroft

Simmons has alarmingly good length, along with being good in the areas of mobility, shooting touch, and shot-blocking. In order to reach his potential, Simmons needs to capitalize on that length thing. Sunday, he put it all together. With interior defense draped all over him, he simply stuck the arm up and flipped tough shots in. Not only did he block shots at the rim and rebound, Simmons made second efforts to close-out with a hand high for rejections around the arch. Simmons also put it on the floor more than usual and hit a couple spot jumpers in the mid-range. Competed with a tone-setting level of intensity.

 Best Big Man: Alex Mangold (2020), 6’7” F, Lakota East

The coaches really like Mangold. He’s a pretty strong kid with a solid base and a collegiate frame, yet he can shoot it from the outside. Hard to describe him as simply a stretch forward, because Mangold’s greatest impact is often as a rebounder and back-to-the-basket finisher. He handles it respectably and can push pace off a defensive rebound. 

Best Facilitator: Luke Howes (2020), 6’1” PG, Fairview

Howes was my favorite performer from the entire event because of the way he carried himself. He approaches the game from a thinking-man’s perspective, adamant to create the best shot for his team on every possession. In an environment where players often fall victim to selfishness and bad shot selection, Howes made quality basketball decisions all day. He sees the game like a point guard should. He facilitated the basketball itself, and basketball as a game.

As a prospect, Howes isn’t the tallest or fastest guy. But he is a thick and strong enough to get to his spots — spots that he gets to in the least amount of dribbles possible. Howes can shoot. Defensively, he’s pretty aggressive in going after the steal, bordering on risky. However, we like where his head is at as an anticipator. He will premiere in the top 60 of our rankings in our next update. 

Best Shooter: Conner Maciag (2020), 6’3” G, Pickerington Central

Maciag had one game in particular, his first game, when he couldn’t miss. I rolled in halfway through, but Maciag dropped upwards of 30 points, mostly coming from about 20 to 25 feet. He shoots a line-drive ball that gets to the rim in a hurry, but it was falling for him. In order to draw separation, Maciag continued scooting back deeper and deeper. He’s confident off-the-dribble or as a spot-up guy.