Ohio State Team Camp Recap

The Ohio State team camp brought some of the best talent in the entire Buckeye state to the Schottenstein Center. In this article, I will be recapping the games I watched while spotlighting some of the most impressive performers of the camp.

Woodward 62 Vs Northland 42

The first game of the camp was pretty sloppy. Northland really struggled to create decent looks on offense and their lack of outside shooting was apparent against an aggressive Woodward defense. Rob Dorsey was the top offensive player for Northland as his basketball IQ and distributing skills were on display. He still doesn’t have a knockdown 3-point shot (at least didn’t unleash it in this game) but his mid-range game is solid off the bounce and he is crafty at the rim with his left hand. Dorsey is still very small and got pushed around by Paul McMillan IV who despite being the same grade as Dorsey is on a completely different level physically.  Makhale Massey was the other Northland player who showed some scoring potential, he hit a majority of the spot up threes that Northland made this game and was comfortable attacking the rim in transition and used the aggressive Woodward defense to his advantage by drawing fouls. Massey will be a junior next season and Dorsey will only be a sophomore, so the progress that Northland can make on the perimeter should be interesting to watch. On the Woodward side, Davion Mace was an absolute animal down low, using his natural athleticism to overwhelm the less athletically gifted Northland bigs. He had a nasty putback dunk and protected the rim without fouling most of the time. His post game is still very much a work in progress as he didn’t make any confident moves and traveled once when he got the ball down low, but JUCO coaches should be very interested in working with him to add this to his game. Mace also made some rushed decisions after controlling rebounds when faced with a little pressure, having him calm down with the ball 80 feet from the hoop will help limit turnovers for Woodward. Aaron Davis flashed as a solid third option for Woodward in this game. Davis is a hustle combo guard, who attacks rim hard and has active hands defensively. Davis will only be a junior next season and will need to develop chemistry with point guard transfer Paul McMillan IV.

Top performer: Paul McMillan IV: McMillan was one of the highest rated prospects in attendance of the camp and he didn’t disappoint the first time I saw him in person. McMillan is transferring after playing his freshman season at Hughes, it was clear based on the way he played early on that he was looking to distribute and figure out where his teammates want the ball instead of showing off his pure scoring ability, McMillan averaged 24.7 PPG as a freshman. In the second half, he showed that he is a pure scorer with a couple of nice jumpers off the dribble in the pick and roll. McMillan is one of the top 2022 prospects in the entire state of Ohio and looks poised to continue his momentum at a new school for his sophomore season.

Worthington Christian 49 Vs Medina 34

This was probably the worst played game of the entire camp that I watched. Medina looked very poor as they couldn’t find the bottom of the net with hardly any jumpers. I’d be surprised if they shot above 15% from 3-point range this game, despite taking around 20-25 3’s in the game. Besides seeing that shots just weren’t falling it was a poor performance from Corey Tripp, Medina’s 2021 point guard. Tripp looks absolutely massive with very bulky legs and a wide chest. I’m pretty sure Tripp might be sacrificing a little bit of lateral quickness with his wide frame but that’s sorta the way he’s always been built. Tripp struggled with his handle this game and found himself out of control driving to the hoop, leading to a couple traveling violations and charges drawn against him. After watching him look very impressive in high school, this was a setback for Tripp. On the Worthington Christian side, they came out firing and jumped out to a double-digit lead within the first ten minutes of the game that they would keep for the remainder of the game. Kobe Buford looked comfortable with his new squad, he’s not very tall but worked well around the hoop. He doesn’t have a ton of perimeter skill but his rebounding and interior scoring will add another dimension to this team after leaving Upper Arlington. Worthington Christian should aim to be one of the best in Division III next season.

Top performer: Dj Moore was clearly the most impressive player in the entire game. While I was excited for a potential matchup with Corey Tripp, the two-point guards hardly ever matched up against one another. Moore has a diverse offensive game for an incoming sophomore and showed his three-level scoring ability. Moore worked in the post against the smaller Medina guards, overpowering them for easy layups. Moore also abused slower players with his handle when they got switched onto him after pick and roll sets. Moore will be one of the most coveted 2022 guards in the entire state with his offensive talent.

Hughes 72 Vs Canal Winchester 65

This was one of the more exciting games I saw in the two days in Columbus. Hughes jumped out to a huge lead and stunned Canal Winchester with their athletic talent. Bilal Sow was the one Canal player that seemed up for the challenge in the first half by showing off his high motor and shooting skills. Sow is very long and stands at about 6’5 but will be looking to play mostly center at the D2 level. Sow competes on the glass and his energy helped spark a huge Canal run that ended up tying the game after trailing by 16 points at halftime. That second half run was made by Cole Metzler. Metzler is a very limited player with little outside game and when he attacks closeouts he is almost always using his right hand and finishing with his right but he was insanely productive in the second 20 minutes. Metzler should be given looks from D3 schools looking for depth at the forward position and is a good vertical athlete who needs to add a little strength.

Top performer: Rayvon Griffith comes into Hughes as one of the most hyped 2023 players in the entire country and his skill was on full display against Canal. Griffith knocked down multiple 3-point shots both off the catch and the bounce. He’s a quick-twitch athlete and has springs in his feet allowing him to explode for explosive dunks. Griffith has a very impressive outside game for a player with his size at his age and has the potential to be a future NBA player. With all this being said, there is a lot of room for Griffith to grow as a player. Griffith still doesn’t play defense with a lot of intensity, he is lazy with switches and his help-side defense is poor at this stage. Griffith also showed frustration when Bilal Sow got an offensive rebound and was fouled, Griffith yelled out to his teammates to box out when his man grabbed the offensive rebound. This isn’t to hate on the kid, he is an incredible talent who will be an absolute joy to watch develop as a basketball player, but just putting in perspective where he currently stands, the transition from 8th grade basketball to the varsity level is a steep one and he will go through his ups and downs this winter.

Centerville 36 Vs Hilliard Bradley 64

I was excited for this game as it put one of the top Columbus teams against one of Dayton’s best but this game was everything but competitive. Bradley is always so prepared for summer basketball and this was on full display as their defense gave the Elks absolute fits. Mo Njie really struggled with the unity that Bradley has defensively and Chris Mayfield won the rebounding battle against Njie. Gabe Cupps came off the bench for the Elks and was their best offensive player in this contest. His natural feel for the game is obvious when he’s on the floor and his knockdown shooting is very valuable for the Elks offense. Cupps is a capable passer with both hands and made good reads against one of the best defenses in the state. Defensively Cupps is an advanced defender for his age and despite being very tiny he competes on that end and even took a charge on Matt Allocco. Despite getting blown out by Bradley, Cupps was a major positive for Centerville.

Top performer: Matt Allocco was by far the best player on the floor in this contest. Allocco attacked the rim at will but sometimes was too aggressive, and had 2 charges taken on him. Allocco used his size to his advantage on offense, posting up the smaller guards that Centerville threw on him. He even sealed Cupps in the post for an easy layup. What Allocco did that was so promising was shoot the basketball from the outside. In the two games I saw at the camp Allocco shot around 50% from 3-point range which is very much improved from last season. His jump shot is very ugly but it was going in with consistency and if that happens Allocco could be the most prized recruit in the Columbus area for the 2020 class.

Toledo St Francis 46 Vs Pickerington North 51

This game was pretty competitive but Pickerington North was missing a decent amount of talent that will be playing for the Panthers next year. Football stud Jack Sawyer wasn’t in attendance at this Ohio State team camp on Thursday, the Ohio State football commit was participating in the football camp. On Friday Sawyer participated in both the football and basketball activities but I wasn’t able to catch a Pick North game that day. Dior Connors also wasn’t playing for Pick North this day and I’m not sure if he was there Friday either. Hunter Shedenhelm was the main attraction for the Panthers and he didn’t disappoint. Zach Fleer called him the best D2 prospect in the state and you will receive no disagreement on that statement from me. Shedenhelm is an elite shooter and at 6’5 he can defend both wing positions at a high level. He isn’t taking players off the dribble very often and doesn’t make advanced reads but the things he does well are extremely valuable and high level. In this game, he showed some flashes of scoring without some of the Panthers other scorers on the floor and ended the game with average efficiency. I think there’s a chance that a DI school offers Shedenhelm and he’s more than capable of playing at a low level of DI basketball, but I think his best option would be playing at an elite D2 school.

Top performer: Jerry Saunders, Saunders was somebody I was unfamiliar with before the camp but he 100% deserves to be mentioned as a top performer based on his efforts this game. Saunders is a very aggressive player, he attacks the hoop relentlessly and even hit a couple of shots outside the paint. Saunders best skill is probably his perimeter defense where he gave the St Francis guards fits with his intensity and ball pressure leading to turnovers. Saunders will just be a sophomore next season for Pickerington North and getting a lot of shine will be difficult on a team as talented as the Panthers project to be, but he’s 100% a player to watch develop this winter.

Woodward Vs London (forgot to mark down final score)

This game was entertaining as it put Trey Woodyard against Paul McMillan and his new look Woodward squad. For McMillan, it was business as usual with the 2022 point guard displaying his impressive offensive arsenal on the main gym in the Schottenstein Center. McMillan wasn’t the only guard for Woodward that impressed me in this game though, Kanye Mooreland is a 2023 point guard with a very shifty handle, he even dropped a London defender. Mooreland doesn’t have a great jump-shot yet with his development but with his flashy handle and passing ability, it should create for him exciting highlight plays when he links up with McMillan or Davion Mace.

Top performer: Trey Woodyard, the first time I got to see Woodyard in person was incredible. He came out and scored his teams first eight or so points and continued to just get buckets throughout the rest of the game. His difficulty of shots that he was forced to take was absurd but besides one airball it seemed like almost every shot had a chance to go in. Woodyard is forced to play a larger creator role with this London team than what would be expected at the next level but it allows him to flash some skills that he might not get to unleash with a more talented team. He handed the pick and roll well and made some nice give and go passes by taking advantage of the increased attention put on him. At the end of the day, it will be his size and shooting that gets him recruited to play Division I basketball.

This next player I never got to catch a full game of but he twice was playing on the court next to the one I was watching and both times excelled. Massillon Jackson’s Hunter Geissinger is a 2022 transfer from St Thomas Aquinas. Geissinger is listed a 6’5 and he displays some elite scoring ability. There was one stretch where he scored nine straight points for Jackson during halftime of the Pickerington North Vs Toledo St Francis. There isn’t a more advanced scouting report because I only saw brief moments of his play but consider myself very intrigued with Geissinger as a 2022 wing from the northeast Ohio area.

Princeton 49 Vs Centerville 61

This game was a much better overall performance for Centerville and a big-time bounce-back performance after the disappointing Bradley effort. Mo Njie was much better in this game, he still had defenders fouling him often when he touched the ball in the post but he battled much better on the glass and finished some layups in traffic. For Princeton, Kaleb Crawford shined as an elite level athlete. Crawford is very shifty with the ball and competes with multiple other scholarship level talent that Princeton boasts. Bowen Hardman continued his impressive summer by draining many 3-pointers in the two games I was able to watch of his. When Hardman is open for even a split second the ball is going up and more than likely is going in the hoop.

Top performer: Jason Hayes for Centerville is a decent spot-up shooter that got hot in this game. Offensively he’s a little underdeveloped on the perimeter but showed flashes, he enjoys transition opportunities to get to the hoop. Hayes uses his speed and athleticism to create easy looks for himself on the fast break. Defensively Hayes applied better ball pressure than some of the other Centerville guards and wings and gave the Princeton players he defended some problems with his quickness.

Thomas Worthington 53 Vs Toledo St Francis 62

Toledo St Francis impressed me with how well they shared the basketball in this game. They created so many open 3-point looks and they converted on a high percentage of these attempts to blitz a more talented Thomas Worthington squad. On the Worthington side, Tyrese Hughey looked good in a new jersey after transferring from Licking Heights. Hughey has a pure basketball body and attacks the basketball off the rim. With his combination of height, strength, and vertical athleticism he’s a problem for teams to contain boxing out and when he plays above the rim can score in bunches in the paint. Jalen Sullinger was very impressive the first time I watched him play. He’s a very small guard and his lack of size really shows up defensively as he makes little impact and is a net negative on that end, but on the offensive end, the dude is filthy. Between step back 3-points from college range to floaters in the paint, Sullinger has a scoring package that allows him to get a good shot off almost whenever he wants. With him running the point plus Isaac Settles and Hughey, Worthington has a stacked 2021 class.

Top performer: Jamiya Neal looked much improved from Winter, and had to carry a larger scoring load than what should be reasonably expected. Regardless Neal was finding open shooters when attracting double teams and those shooters hit their shots when fed the ball. Athletically, Neal is still an elite athlete and had some impressive dunks throughout the weekend. With Neal looking much more confident on the ball, you could expect to see him run some ‘point guard’ for St Francis after losing a lot of pieces from their team last season.

Princeton 41 Vs Hilliard Bradley 61

Hilliard Bradley continued their impressive team camp by blowing out another of Southwest Ohio’s best. With Matt Allocco draining jumpers he’s a completely different type of player to defend with his combination of size and passing ability. Bradley just defends at a way higher level than what almost any other team at the camp did that I saw. Their cohesion and unity on that end plus their attention to detail makes them a prime candidate to not only succeed in June but also in February and March.

Top performer: Keaton Norris showed off his pure shot many times throughout the day. His form is pinpoint and there was a stretch where Norris and Bowen Hardman traded 3-pointers for like four of five possessions. Norris uses the threat of his shot well, by throwing hard pump fakes at the defense to gain an advantage against the defense to find a teammate for an easy shot.

Pickerington Central 60 Vs Walnut Ridge 49

Walnut Ridge came out and punched a Pick Central team without their entire roster and jumped off to a big early lead thanks to some dominant play from their stud, Von Cameron Davis. Davis flashed the potential that makes him a mid-major prospect by hitting an elbow jumper and a 3-point shot while also using his strength to drive to his favored left hand to finish layups. In the second half though it was a completely different story. Pick Central forced Ridge to turn the ball over and when Davis tried to put the team on his back he ended up doing too much and forcing bad shots or turning the ball over. Central took advantage of their defense pressure by turning defense to offense and getting some easy shots to take the victory.

Top performer: Elhadji Thiam is a very raw big man but he has lots of potential for the Tigers. His post game is a work in process but Thiam is a great rim protector and competed against stronger and older bigs for Walnut Ridge. He doesn’t pose much of a threat outside the paint offensively but provides value as a rim runner and attacking the offensive glass.

Cleveland Heights 61 Vs Canal Winchester 44

The first time seeing new look Cleveland Heights with Garvin Clarke and Ej Farmer was a successful one for the Tigers as they took down Canal Winchester with relative ease. Farmer struggled to shoot the ball early in the game but started getting going when Heights forced Canal into like four turnovers in a row and Farmer was able to leak out for easy layups. He struggled to shoot the ball from the outside and doesn’t look as confident with his shot as I’ve seen at times throughout his high school season. Clarke and Farmer aren’t the only transfers that made an impact for Cleveland Heights. Davion Smith-Johnson is a Maple Heights transfer and he’s an active big around the hoop. He’s very young for the 2021 class and should provide valuable mobility as a big for Heights. On the Canalside Bilal Sow was their most impressive player. Sow got a little love earlier in the article but with his shooting and rim protection skills he displayed he’s a prime candidate to be a coveted division II big man. His jumper is inconsistent with results but when he does miss, it’s typically either short or long and not off left or right which is a good sign for future development.

Top performer: Manny Hill, after struggling to make a consistent impact last season, Hill was very impressed with his new look team. Manny, the younger brother of Yahel Hill, isn’t close to the shooter that Yahel was but he hit a couple of jumpers in this game. Where Manny does his damage offensively is attacking the hoop. Hill is decisive with the basketball but unlike some guards, he isn’t out of control when going to the paint and made a nice dump off pass to a Heights big for an easy layup. Defensively Hill has long arms and is aggressive in going for steals on the ball and in passing lanes. This creates some steals but also some moments where he gets himself out of the play. Hill will be an important player to monitor for Heights this season with a new head coach and so many transfers, he’s one of the few to play in big moments in that jersey last season.

Gahanna 72 Vs Hughes 38

While Hilliard Bradley might’ve been the most impressive team I saw at the camp, Gahanna was the most pleasant surprise. Everybody knows Sean Jones and he was spectacular as always. His basketball IQ just jumps off the page when he plays and his insanely quick hands allowed him to get around five steals in this game alone. It’s clear to me that Jones is showing no signs of slowing down after a huge freshman season for Gahanna. Gahanna was impressive by having a stud player at guard, wing and big, and Macio Williams was that big. Williams moved his feet well against Rayvon Griffith and held the highly touted incoming freshman to a very low scoring output. Williams has a solid frame but didn’t get exposed on the outside by a skilled forward that he ended up defending. Offensively Williams sets hard screens for Jones to use and is actively looking for the ball around the basket. For Hughes, this was a very disappointing team performance as Gahanna didn’t allow the big red to get any offensive momentum and made this a blowout from start to finish.

Top performer: Jarious Jones was the wing who impressed me in major ways this weekend. Jones showed his shooting potential in both games I saw, while he is mostly a spot up shooter he is not somebody you want to leave open. Jones either shoots the jumper or attacks the rim, he doesn’t really look for the mid-range shot very often. Jones also does whatever Gahanna asks him to do, whether that’s defending the best wing offensive player on defense or running a pick and roll as a ball handler or screener, Jones is up to the challenge. If there was one thing to nitpick on his game I will say that Jones struggled with his left hand. Whether it was dribbling or finishing layups, Jones doesn’t seem quite comfortable yet with his off hand, an improvement of this skill will be important for his development heading into his junior season.

Walnut Ridge 71 Vs Cleveland Heights 65

Despite eventually falling in this game I think I came away more impressed by Cleveland Heights in this game than I did in their win over Canal Winchester. For starters, Garvin Clarke made a much bigger impact on this game than the last one. He still doesn’t really ever make shots outside the paint but his quickness and passing ability are elite. While he might not score the most points he finds other ways to impact the game and was the biggest reason Heights didn’t completely fold. On the Walnut Ridgeside, Qian Magwood impressed after sitting out the previous day for the football camp at Ohio State (similar to Jack Sawyer) Magwood is a physical guard, uses football strength to overpower guard defenders when driving to the paint. Magwood is pretty much all left with the basketball but if he even gets half a step on the defender then he’s almost always beating them to the hoop.

Top performer: Kaveon Ross sparked the huge run that Walnut Ridge went on to eventually complete a double-digit comeback and win the game. Despite Von Cameron Davis also impressing with his ability to finish through contact, I thought Ross led the charge by playing more physical and wanting it more than the bigs for Cleveland Heights. Ross is another football athlete but is open to potentially playing basketball at the next level. Ross is very strong in the post, has a decent spot up shot that can help stretch the floor. It’s these skills that should make him someone for Division II coaches to keep tabs on what sport he decides he wants to pursue at the next level.

Moeller 53 Vs STVM 47

This game was not as close as the final score suggests. Moeller came out with Max Land dominating offensively by getting whatever he wanted driving to his left. He was making shots at the hoop with his left hand, going up and under, and draining mid-range pull-ups. Combine that with the stacked 2021 class that Moeller has and their dynamic team defense and it’s easy to see why they are favorites to win the third straight state championship. Sencire Harris was playing for his new team for the first time and this was a difficult setting to impress but he didn’t stand out on a court filled with talent. Malaki Branham dominated after a slow start which helped cause such a big Moeller lead. Branham started around 1-6 from the field with a turnover but after Moeller got up by about 20 points he turned a switch and came out firing. It didn’t matter what Moeller tried to do, Branham was scoring the basketball or getting an easy layup. Branham’s jumper looks even better than what it did at the end of last season and his self-creation skills have taken massive leaps from last summer. Branham showed why he is arguably the top 2021 player in the entire state with Chris Holtmann and the rest of the Ohio State staff watching closely.

Top performer: Logan Duncomb absolutely earned that Ohio State offer that came his way shortly after this game ended. Duncomb was a beast for Moeller in the paint and looks much improved from a state final four performance that was largely unproductive. Duncomb still looks kind of stiff moving, he doesn’t move with as much of a hunch as Mo Njie but he still looks a little odd moving. (Maybe I’m just not used to evaluating players that large and young but I noticed this with both players) Duncomb was a man amongst boys against the Irish by throwing down multiple dunks in traffic and nailing a 3-point from the shot from the top of the key that makes him almost impossible to defend. If Duncomb continues this type of aggressive play then don’t be surprised if Ohio State has lots of competition for the commitment of the 6’11 2021 big man. Out of all players at the entire event, Duncomb impressed me the most and made the biggest leap from when I last saw him in action.

Gahanna 62 Vs Team Point (MI) 40

Gahanna once again looked dominant in a victory over Team Point (MI) For team point they only had one player that really stepped up to the intensity that Gahanna played with, and that was Jerro Gunville. Jerro is a strong rebounder who worked on the offensive glass. Unfortunately for Team Point, there were just too many missed shots from their guards as they struggled to hit anything outside the paint. Gahanna played a disciplined style and Jarious Jones impressed once again with his two-way ability attacking the hoop and defending on the ball. Overall Gahanna looked locked in and got a comfortable victory over a team with plenty of athletes on the other side.

Top performer: Sean Jones was incredible once again. Despite being a 5’9 point guard that doesn’t really shoot the 3-point shot he is still unreal. His body control in the air is absurd and his ability to finish around bigs almost a foot taller than him is crazy and his upper body is strong enough to handle the contract handed to him.  I think the reason why I’m not as concerned about Jones height compared to most players his size is that defensively he is a positive on that end right now. Maybe at the highest level of college basketball, it will become more of a problem but at this point his quickness and strength allow him to compete with players four to five inches taller without much issue. Jones is a pick and roll maestro and he found big man Macio Williams for easy layups. Jones is also one of the few players I’ve seen that a mid-range pull up jumper with defenders in his face is actually a really good shot because despite not having the 3-point shot like previously mentioned, he’s money from 17 feet and in. I hope Jones will grow but even if he doesn’t get much taller he’s an excellent leader and floor general and should find tons of success at the collegiate level.

Chillicothe 69 Vs Westerville North 41

This game was very tough to watch because of the number of injuries suffered in this game. Three players had to leave the game early due from getting banged up and one player looked to have a serious knee injury. When discussing the basketball played on the floor Chillicothe was a much more impressive team and they dominated the second half for a blowout victory. Mickey Miller flashed as a spark plug off the bench, despite standing at around 5’6 Miller finds his way inside the paint. For Westerville North it was another smaller guard that stood out compared to the rest of the roster. Noah Lawrence is a bit taller than Miller, as Lawrence stands at 5’9 and is the engine of the North offense. Lawrence is a good shooter off the dribble and created opportunities for his teammates by drawing help when getting inside the paint. Lawrence will have a bigger offensive responsibility with Jeremiah Keene graduating but he should be up for the challenge in his sophomore season.

Top performer: Brandon Noel was a man amongst boys in this game. He was just way bigger and overpowering for anybody Westerville North threw at him. Noel can finish over either shoulder in the post and this game, in particular, looked like it came so easy for him. There would be times he would receive a lob pass on the block because North was fronting him and there was no help-side defense to prevent a wide-open layup. One time a Chillicothe guard had a wide open fast break and he threw a lob to Noel who had to scrap for the finish, which put into perspective how dominating he was in this contest. Noel looked a little bored and his motor in this game was pretty poor, but watching him for the first time it was easy to see why high-level division II and low major Division I programs have been intrigued with Noel.

Moeller 53 Vs Toledo St Francis 30

The last game of the event was exciting because I got to see Moeller play basketball again. I just can’t stress how awesome watching them play is, their defensive pressure plus offensive talent is just on a whole different level than any other team in the entire state. Their 2021 class is special and should produce at least one more state championship in their last two seasons in high school. Will McCracken is one of those players and he shined when Moeller went to a press style defense after falling behind early on. McCracken didn’t get a ton of time last season but should be a key piece this season and his defensive pressure and up-tempo style will help Moeller push the pace. His ball handling skills will be interesting to watch because Moeller plays lots of lineups with no real point guard in the game, they played a lineup with McCracken, Max Land, Logan Duncomb, Alex Williams, and Evan Mahaffey. All of these players can switch into almost any position except Duncomb with guards. Even without a true ball handler this lineup still shares the ball so well and is able to dominate the rebounding battle because hardly anybody can match up with that type of size. Mahaffey was another player who shined in the first time I was able to watch him in person. Mahaffey is an incredible athlete and drives to the paint with lots of aggression.

Top performer: Alex Williams, Williams is built like a tank and plays like one too. His strength is his best skill and he’s able to score in the paint against anybody St Francis and STVM threw at him. Despite standing at around 6’3 I think he should still play Division I basketball, I just find it hard to imagine a taller low major forward would be able to punish him for his lack of height. I know it sounds weird to have a 6’3 power forward but with his switchability and rebounding, Williams plays much bigger than his listed height. Regardless of what level he plays college basketball, Williams is a super productive high school player that helps make Moeller so difficult to beat.

That’s a wrap on the Ohio State team camp report. I will have reports on the Youngstown State team camp and Word Church summer league in the coming week with more focus in northeast Ohio teams. Make sure to follow me on twitter @mikerothou to not miss a single article.

Advertisements

Chicago Cubs Win with Signing of Craig Kimbrel

The Chicago Cubs agreed to a deal with free-agent pitcher Craig Kimbrel on Wednesday night. The deal is for three years and $43 million and is pending a physical. The deal includes a $1 million buyout on a club/vesting option for the fourth year.

Kimbrel had spent the last three years with the Boston Red Sox . Last year he had42 saves with  a ERA of 2.74 with 96 strikeouts and 31 walks. Kimbrel has a 1.91 ERA with 868 strikeouts and 333 saves. He is a seven-time All-Star, has won a World Series title and was the 2011 National League Rookie of the Year.

The Cubs are really excited about Kimbrel joining the team. Cubs closer Pedro Strop told ESPN: He’s awesome. You’re bringing in — if he’s not the best, he’s one of the best closers in the game. Hopefully he’s in good shape so he can help us win another World Series. … He’s one of my favorites.”

Signing Kimbrel is a great move by the Cubs. Kimbrel is a good pitcher and one of the best closers in the game. He will fill a need for the Cubs, which is relief in the late innings of games. Cub relievers have blown 11 saves this season, third most in the majors. Entering Wednesday the Cubs bullpen had a 4.02 ERA and the Cubs had the highets walk rate(12.2 percent ), a strikoue-minus-walk percentage of 10.7 and the lowest swinging-strike rate (10.4 percent ) in the National League, according to Jordan Bastian of MLB.com.

“It’s definitely a boost, just obviously when you sign Craig Kimbrel, with what he’s done, winning the World Series last year and what he’s done throughout his career is amazing,”Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo told Tim Stebbins of NBC Sports Chicago. “It’s definitely a big boost for us and just lengthens everything out once he gets here and gets settled in.We’re pumped.”

Cbus pitcher Jon Lester told Stebbins: “I think really the only thing that this move does is lengthen our bullpen,” Lester said. “Now it takes a little bit of pressure off of us as starters when we don’t have our good stuff, where we’re grinding and we’ve got to fill that hole to get to that back end, we’re able to do that probably a little bit easier than we have been.”

Lester added, “Now our bullpen gets a little bit deeper. You’re not worried about matching guys up, and ‘What about tomorrow?’ I feel like we’re able to play that game a little bit more now that we have [Kimbrel], we have [Pedro Strop] back now.” This is a huge boost for us. I hope he can get here soon and get in uniform.”

The Cubs are winnners for signing Kimbrel. They now have the depth and help they needed in the bullpen. Now they have a good shot at winning the division and posssibly winning the World Series.

 

Dallas Keuchel Should Sign with the Yankees

One of the biggest questions in baseball right now is where will former Houston Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel sign? Last fall Keuchel turned down a $17.9 million qualifying offer from the Astros. This spring he turned down a one-year, $15 million offer form Houston.

According to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, the New York Yankees and the Atlanta Braves are the favorites to sign Keuchel. Feinsand also said that a second source believes that the Yankees are the true favorites to land Dallas. And yes Keuchel would shave his beard if he were to sign with the Yankees, according to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com.

The Yankees think that Keuchel wants to play for them. On Tuesday Feinsand went on WFAN and told Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts that Keuchel wants to be in pinstripes.

“What I’m hearing is there are probably three, four, five teams that are interested in Keuchel. They are all in that one-year mix, probably in the same range. I don’t know the exact number. I’d guess they’re probably throwing out $15 million or so … prorated obviously for the season. I think he wants $18 million. He wants the number that he turned down in the qualifying offer, kind of helps save face. What I’m hearing from people is the Yankees is where he wants to go. I just find it hard to believe that if he wants to come here and they’re interested that it won’t get done one way or another.”

Last year Keuchel was 12-11 with a 3.74 ERA. In seven seasons with the Astros he was 76-63 with a3.66 ERA. In eight starts against the Yankees he is 4-4 with a 2.22 ERA. At Yankee Stadium he is 3-2 with a 2.45 ERA.

Keuchel should sign with the Yankees. He would provide depth and insurance to the Yankees. Luis Severino hasn’t played at all this season, although he could return after the All-Star break. James Paxton and CC Sabathia have spent time on the injured list. Keuchel could step up and help the Yankees win games should one of their pitchers get injured late in the season or in the playoffs.

Keuchel is a former CY Young award winner, which means he’s a good pitcher. He could help the Yankees alot should they need any help. Also he wants to play for the Yankees, so why should he sign with the team that isn’t the Yankees? So look for Keuchel to sign with the Yankees sometime soon.

2019 NBA Finals Can be Shot at Redemption for Kawhi Leonard

Back in the 2017 playoffs, the San Antonio Spurs faced off with the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. The Spurs were coming off of series victories over the Memphis Grizzlies and Houston Rockets en route to a showdown with the powerful Warriors. In Game 1 of the series Kawhi Leonard (at that time a member of the Spurs) was having an outstanding showing against the league giants: 26 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists in just 24 minutes on the court. Kawhi’s performance propelled the Spurs to an incredible 23 point lead! Things were going better than expected for Kawhi and the Spurs, that was until Warriors big man Zaza Pachulia injured Kawhi in the 2nd half of the game, making him unable to finish the remainder of Game 1. The Warriors immediately went on an 18-0 run over San Antonio, stealing all momentum and eventually taking Game 1 in crushing fashion over the now deflated Spurs. Kawhi would not only miss the remainder of Game 1, but the remainder of the series against Golden State. Without Kawhi on the court, San Antonio stood no match for the Warriors and they were promptly defeated in four games. This series of events essentially marked the beginning of the end for Kawhi’s tenure in San Antonio.

 

Kawhi played just 9 games the following season for the Spurs due to injury. In the summer of 2018, the Toronto Raptors acquired him and Danny Green in a blockbuster trade sending arguably the best player in Raptors history, DeMar DeRozan, and Jakob Poeltl to San Antonio. Many thought Kawhi would not be the MVP caliber player that he was with San Antonio. He has since proved all of his doubters wrong, as he has dominated in the regular season and playoffs, leading the Raptors to their first ever NBA Finals appearance and playing more minutes than ever before. In six playoff trips with the Spurs, Kawhi averaged 33.4 minutes per game with 16.5 points. This current playoff run with Toronto, he is averaging over 38 minutes per game with slightly over 30 points per game.

 

Kawhi now faces the Warriors in the playoffs for the first time since that 2017 series with the Spurs, and he now has a shot at redemption.

 

If Kawhi can win Toronto their first ever NBA Championship, it would be the greatest individual comeback after missing a large amount of time since Michael Jordan, who in his first full season (1995-1996) after returning to the NBA from playing baseball, led the Chicago Bulls to 72 wins and an NBA title.

 

If the Raptors were to eliminate the powerhouse that is the Golden State Warriors, it would be the ultimate redemption for Kawhi Leonard. The Raptors organization, their fans, and the nation of Canada would as well be ecstatic to be a part of this redemption story, being able to finally fulfill their long sought after goal of bringing a Larry O’Brien trophy home to Toronto.

Toronto Raptors will win NBA Finals if Warriors don’t get Durant back

The Toronto Raptors beat the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the NBA Finals Thursday night, 118-109. Now the Warriors chances for a three-peat aren’t good unless Kevin Durant comes back.

Durant has missed the last seven games due to a right calf strain. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr expects that Durant will miss Game 2 on Sunday, according to the Toronto Press.

“Kevin’s not going to play Sunday,” Kerr said. “I guess we’ve been sort of holding out hope, but he’s not practising today, he’s not [going to] practise tomorrow. He’s still progressing. … It’s near impossible for him to play on Sunday.”

While Durant won’t play in Game 2, he is expected to return about halfway through the series, league sources told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Some member of the Warriors organization are optimistic that Durant could return for Game 3, however a Game 4 return is the most logical and more probable option.

The Warriors really need to have Durant back. Yes they can win without him, entering the NBA Finals the Warriors were 31-1 when Steph Curry played and Duran didn’t play.  However the Warriors don’t have a chance at winning unless Durant comes back.

The Raptors defense showed why the Warriors won’t be able to win without Durant in the Finals. THe Raptors are long, athletic and have a lot of versatility and have a more dangerous group of role players than the Warriors do and were able to disrupt the Warriors offensive flow.

The Raptors held the Warriors to 43.6 percent shooting in Game 1 and they forced 17 turnovers. Three Raports players scored 20 points or more, as Pascal Siakam had 32 points, Kawhi Leonard had 23 points, and Marc Gasol had 20 points. Fred VanVleet also had 15 points for the Raptors.

Meanwhile for the Warriors, Curry had 34 points and Klay Thompson had 21 points. Besides those two the Warriors couldn’t find another player who could be a scoring option. The Warriors will have their offense depth tested as long as Durant remains out. Duran has averaged 34.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 4.9 assists this postseason and noone else on the Warriors can do what Durant can do when Duran isn’t playing.

The Warriors need to have Durant back. Otherwise they will watch the Toronto Raptors celebrate an NBA title.

 

Advertisements