Posted On: 03/20/19 5:00 AM
Every player on every team is coming down to Columbus with the primary goal of bringing home a State Championship trophy.
At a distant second, the next objective is to impress the college coaches and scouts throughout the Schottenstein Center.
In identifying players who are “on the verge,” we’re looking for guys who are playing well right now, unsigned senior prospects who are a tinge under-recruited, and/or underrated prospects.
Alex Dotson (2019), 6’4” G, Purcell Marian
Dotson is an unsigned senior with such an intriguing combination of skills and physical tools. He’s also very poised in the half-court. Colleges who witness his improved outside shooting ability may jump on Dotson after this weekend. We really like his ability to defend two or three positions at the next level, too.
Brandon Beavers (2019), 6’3” PG, Harvest Prep
Beavers is another unsigned senior guard with size who could draw attention during the Division III portion of the weekend. He is effective getting up and down in transition or picking apart defenses in the half-court. The lefty is a very good distributor, but Beavers can also score high-percentage looks in the lane over smaller guards, using his body very well around the basket.
Nehemiah BensonNehemiahBenson6'6" | PFLutheran East | 2020StateOH (2020), 6’6” F, Lutheran East
Benson is averaging 21.3 points in the Falcons’ last three games and is reportedly playing the best ball he has all season. He has big-time upside heading into his 17U season and the Final Four would be a great time to build on his reputation heading into the spring. Benson can shoot the ball from distance and shows signs of becoming a pick-and-pop big who can definitely compete athletically inside. Good length.
Jordan Burton (2019), 5’10” G, Cardinal Stritch
Burton falls into the underrated and playing-well-right-now category. He’s already committed to play at Notre Dame (OH). The senior has seen the Stritch program come a very long way during his four years in uniform and has successfully left everything on the court in his final run. Scoring the ball efficiently and has one of the best one-dribble pull-up games in the state. Finishes in traffic extremely well for a 5’10” kid.
Grant Heileman (2019), 6’7” F, Sheridan
Heileman is a physical unsigned big both capable of bodying up with physical centers and hitting pick-and-pop triples — an exciting combination of attributes. Rebounds well and plays with an edge. Heileman and senior point guard Ethan Heller have developed a ton of chemistry over the years.
Devontae BlantonDevontaeBlanton6'6" | SFSt. Edward | 2020StateOH (2020), 6’6” W, St. Edward
Cleveland State, Dayton, Toledo and Duquesne are already on the offer sheet for Blanton. Don’t be surprised if he adds another one to the catalog after this trip to Columbus. Blanton is an improved shooter, both from distance and off the dribble. The jumper has unlocked so much potential as a scorer on the wing. Great combination of quickness and power.
Montorie Foster (2020), 6’0” PG, St. Edward
Maybe the most underrated prospect in the 2020 class scooped his first offer on Sunday as Eastern Kentucky pulled the trigger. Foster is an efficient scorer, impact point-of-attack defender, and someone who knows how to play with other talented players. Keeps everyone involved and doesn’t need to dribble the air out of the ball to make an impact. Emphatically checks the boxes on athleticism and competitiveness.
Gbolahan AdioGbolahanAdio6'3" | SGRichmond Heights | 2020StateOH (2020), 6’4” W, Richmond Heights
Adio is the epitome of what this article is setting out to capture. Here’s a small school kid who has improved a ton over the last several months and should enter the spring as a priority recruit for D-IIs. Adio is a long, athletic kid who knows how to play the game on both ends of the floor. He will flash play-making ability, outside shooting, and the ability to put the ball on the floor and get to the rim.
Jevontae JonesJevontaeJones6'5" | SFRichmond Heights | 2020StateOH (2020), 6’5” W, Richmond Heights
Jones is a very intriguing athlete who can be plugged in at the 3 or 4 position. We’re excited to get another look at him ourselves, actually. Physical, high-motor wing who has shown some ability to score the ball off the dribble. Rebounds and defends multiple positions.
Kalen EtzlerKalenEtzler6'8" | PFConvoy Crestview | 2021State#208NationOH (2021), 6’8” F, Convoy Crestview
Hoops heads in Ohio are all kind of hip to how good Kalen EtzlerKalenEtzler6'8" | PFConvoy Crestview | 2021State#208NationOH is. Fans and the like, though, might be a bit blown away with the sophomore forward. Our soon-to-be top ranked 2021 prospect may very well have high-major offers by the start of his junior season and this weekend in Columbus could be his shining moment before the blow up.
Max LandMaxLand6'4" | SGMoeller | 2020StateOH (2020), 6’4” W/F, Moeller
Land had one of his best games of the season in the regional championship win over Centerville, scoring 15 points and grabbing six rebounds. The athletic combo forward has really thrived in his role at Moeller this season, optimizing his athleticism by defending multiple positions and scoring efficiently at the rim.
Alex WilliamsAlexWilliams6'5" | SFMoeller | 2021StateOH (2021), 6’4” F, Moeller
Moeller’s sixth man has been the leading scorer in their last two games, averaging 14.5 points in the regional tournament. Brings a new dynamic to the game when he checks in by spreading the floor at the 4 and 5 on offense, while also being physical enough to rebound and check centers. Very efficient scorer with shooting splits of 58-47-76 this season.
Nick Nakasian (2019), 6’3” W, Olentangy Liberty
Nakasian is committed to Carnegie Mellon for college ball, so he’s not really on the verge of any sort of recruiting spike. The senior, however, has just been playing so well lately that he could be the talk of the town come Friday night. Liberty’s secondary scorer has been so reliable when it comes to hitting open shots and making the right decision when there’s not a look available. Plays with a lot of emotion. Improved athlete.
Malaki BranhamMalakiBranham6'5" | SGSt. Vincent-St. Mary | 2021State#26NationOH (2021), 6’4” W/F, St. Vincent-St. Mary
Branham’s production is much more important to the Irish than it was a year ago when they won the Division II State Championship. Now a starter, Branham’s versatility and scoring ability is paramount if they’re going to win it all. Defends the basket and rebounds very well for a 6’4” combo forward.