Jun 10, 2011

Taft Shootout

The Northland vs Taft matchup was the day's main event.
Here, Taft's Adolphus Washington battles Jalen Robinson of Northland.
When you win the State Championship everyone wants a piece of you, so Taft coach Mark Mitchell had no problem finding top teams to come to the home of the Senators for a one day shootout. CPHR was able to sit in for a couple of hours of action, and observe the progress that some of the top local teams are making this summer as they prepare for another season. Here are our thoughts: Photos 
  • Taft: The Senators looked like they hadn't missed a beat as they convincingly defeated D1 runners up Columbus Northland without the help of the injured Dwayne Stanford. Adolphus Washington, Jalean Lowe, Orlando Berry Jr, and Jermaine Freeman all performed at their usual high level for Taft while sophomore transfer Aaron Oden and senior bench player Fred Cannaday were surprise contributors. Oden looked fairly comfortable in his first weekend of action with Taft as he adjusts to a new system, his talent certainly will help him gel quickly with his new teammates.
  • Withrow: For a team that is playings its first real basketball without Aaron Thomas and the rest of the departed seniors the Tigers looked pretty impressive today in an easy win over Cincinnati Country Day and an overtime loss to Dayton Dunbar. Playing without Devin Williams, who is at an elite camp, the Tigers got great inside play from Rozelle Nix who played some of his best basketball. Nix was blocking shots, grabbing boards, and finished very well inside today. Withrow also got good contributions from their small lineup where they played three PG's at the same time. Damon Gooch, Kendall Beamon, and transfer Tyonte Robertson all made plays in flashes for the Tigers.
  • Rozelle Nix, of Withrow, had a big day on the low block.
    Winton Woods: This team probably lost more then anybody to graduation but the cupboard is far, far from bare. Next year's Warriors team will be young but they certainly will be as talented as the typical Winton Woods squad. The addition of transfer Trent Donald has taken this team to the next level, Donald was unstoppable today in games against Northwest and Batavia as his combination of strength and skill was too much for opponents to deal with. PG Ronnie Rousseau, one of 6 sophomores expected to contribute on varsity, was also very impressive today as he controlled the pace of the game without trying to do too much. Zach McCorkle, a senior center, and only returning varsity player, also was effective today by outrunning opponents up the floor to get his hands on rebounds and finish passes at the rim.
  • West High: Playing without star scorer Keevin Tyus, who is out until December with a torn ACL, the Mustangs have to find ways to work their offense and score as a team. In the early phases of that they looked OK in moving the ball around and helping free up PG's Bubba Hill and Darrell Bullock for open shots. One advantage that West High will have is on the boards where they return quality physical bigs Marquez Carpenter, Cortez Adams, and Charles Clark.
  • Trent Donald got off to a good start in his Winton Woods debut.
    Northwest: Another team that is going through a changing of the guard with the departure of Melvin Hunter; the Knights looked more then competitive today in losses to Winton Woods and Taft. Ramar Hairston, a junior SG, and senior wing Chazz Gwinn are the new go to guys for Northwest and both of them looked comfortable with the scoring load being directed towards them. The Knights also got some help from freshman PG Isaiah Jones, one of Ohio's most talented young guards, who really controlled the offense for Northwest. 
  • Clark: Playing without Paul Woodson, who's name has come up in lots of transfer rumors, the Cougars struggled against more athletic teams. The bright spot however was the continued success of senior PG Max Hassell, who has quietly emerged as one of the city's better PG's.
  • Columbus Northland: Not many teams in Ohio, or the whole country, have a starting five that is all projected to sign division one collegiate scholarships like Northland's is. Senior C Devon Scott, senior PF Jalen Robinson, senior SG Kechuan Lewis, senior PG Jordan Potts, and junior SG Jaylen Benton all have serious talent and will be expected to take Northland back to the division 1 State Championship Game, where they lost last season to LaSalle. Scott and Robinson will be on everyone's short list for Ohio's Mr. Basketball award as the two giants look like national top 150 players.
  • Dayton Dunbar: If Northland doesn't have the most talented starting five in Ohio then Dunbar does. Playing without PG Andre Yates and PF Damarion Geter, who couldn't make the trip down, the Wolverines were still clicking on all cylinders in a win against Withrow. Senior forwards Deante “Teddy” Hawkins (one of Ohio's most coveted recruits as a 6'7 wing) and Gary Akbar (a 6'4 bruiser with a versatile offensive game) both shined today while rising freshman Amos “AJ” Harris looked solid, although it might be tough for him to live up to the immense hype.

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