May 16, 2011

17u AAU Teams Making Noise

All-Ohio Purple's Willy Moore
The 17u (Rising Senior) level of AAU is always the most fun to follow because it is a player's last chance to make a name for their self and their team. This season we have seen solid play from several Cincinnati based AAU programs, and a few Columbus programs with Cincinnati guys as well. Here's a look at the teams to watch for as we get closer to the State Tournament and the July college coaches evaluation period: 
  • All-Ohio Purple: New year, same results; AOP continues to be the team to beat in Cincinnati, and will be unless someone can finally dethrone them after winning consecutive HS level state championships. This year's team really won't come back together until the state tournament, when all 5 of their Taft players will be able to play at once. Still in their absence they have gotten tremendous production from PG Josh Lemons (LaSalle), SG Tommy Kreyenhagen (Summit), and new acquisitions SG Willy Moore (Aiken), PG Geovonie McKnight (Middletown), and 7'0 post CJ Gettys (Findlay).

  • Cincinnati Knights (Gold): This team has thrived this spring due to their depth, athleticism, length, and experience (several of their players are post-grads headed to prep school). PG Semaj Christon (Winton Woods) has been the leader of this team while SF Jacob Rossi (Franklin), PF Justin Rossi (Franklin), PG Mike Boyd (Lakota East), SF Darrin Harris (Mason), SG Ben Galemmo (Moeller), PF Paul Woodson (Clark), SF Keontae Brown (Dayton Dunbar), and 7'0 post Mike Thipe have all contributed equally for the Knights. 

  • Cincinnati Knights (Black): Fun group to watch because they really play hard and have good team chemistry. They are led by PG Bubba Hill (West High), PF Randale Griffith (Shroder), and PG Trey Dees (Shroder). The Knights black team has also gotten solid contributions from SG Anthony Lamachia (Loveland), SF Darius Pritchett (Princeton), and PF Zach McCorkle (Winton Woods). Finally, SF's Mikey Thompson (Aiken) and Cameron Dunn (St. Xavier) have exceeded expectations through effective contributions despite being a year young.
    Cincinnati Knights (Gold) SG Ben Galemmo

  • GameTime Magic: This group has been the surprise of the spring, when this team came together out of nowhere they were not expected to be this good. SG's Deontez McGee (Norwood) and Malcolm Smith (Princeton) have been scoring machines while their huge front court of Chris Connell (Woodward), Tank Young (Princeton), and the newly added Rozelle Nix (Withrow) give them size to match anyone in the country.

  • Queen City Prophets: They have dealt with a lot of roster changes but this team finally seems to have settled on a team dynamic and it's starting to work for them. Their depth in the front court has been their strength as PF Michael Van Kleunen (Mason), C Ladell Griffin (Shroder), and the newly acquired athletic PF Malik London (Chillicothe) give them some big bodies. Guards Darrell Bullock (West High), Jaihlen Teague (Middletown), and Tayvonne Cook (Dayton Dunbar) provide most of the scoring for QCP.

  • Shining Star (Price): An under the radar team that has had some success everywhere they've gone. Wings Eli'Sha Campbell (Colerain) and Alex Voss (Moeller) provide much of this squads offense. SG Drew Hall (McNicholas) and PG James "Woo" Brown (Trotwood-Madison) have been the top complimentary players. 
  • Other teams in Southwest Ohio:
    • Cincinnati Knights (Black)
      All-Ohio Red: With Geovonie McKnight departing for Purple this team might not have any Cincinnati guys on it, but you can't talk about Ohio AAU without mentioning them; even though they've fallen short to Purple the last few years they will be the favorites at state's this year. AOR has captured the King James Classic crown, posted solid results at all major tourneys, and has competed with everyone in Nike's Elite Youth Basketball League (featuring the best 40 Nike teams in the country). Red is led by their talented front line of PF Kenny Kaminski (Medina), PF Jalen Robinson (Columbus Northland), and PF Elijah Macon (Marion Franklin). Guards Terry Rozier (Shaker Heights) and Jordan Potts (Columbus Northland) have been the play-makers this year and have really seen their recruiting stock improve.

    • Ohio Hoopsters: It took a while, but this team is coming together finally. After some initial struggles and several roster changes the Hoopsters advanced to the finals of the Adidas May Classic and look to be hitting a groove. SF Gary Akbar (Dayton Dunbar), PG Andre Yates (Dayton Dunbar), SG Joe Thomasson (Thurgood Marshall), SF Joe Ballard (Thurgood Marshall), and SG Tyler White (Lima Senior) give them a solid core to match a decent amount of size down low.

    • Columbus Mustang Ballers: Several talented guards from the Greater Columbus area along with Lakota East wings Mark Minch and Allante Foster give this team enough talent to upset anyone, and they have the underdog attitude to pull it off. They also have developing 7'0 C Jake Campbell (Centerville) to combat opposing big men.

    • All-Ohio Gold: Skilled team of shooters that plays hard and together with guys from all over central Ohio.

    • All-Ohio Black: Has struggled this season without SG KeChaun Lewis (Columbus Northland) and C Devon Scott (Columbus Northland) but if those two make an appearance at state's the game could change quickly!

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