Oct 31, 2011

Nike All-Ohio City Series: Columbus Finals Recap

Mark Minch
Just as every basketball fan familiar with the City Series event would've expected the 2nd edition of Jerry Watson's "Battle of Ohio" event was 48 hours of non-stop intensity. In the end Cincinnati made it to the championship game in two of the four age groups, but was not able to capture any championships; as Columbus took three trophies with Cleveland taking home the freshman title. Here's a look at how the Cincinnati teams fared in Columbus this past weekend..........

Seniors (4-0-1 Round Robin) (Lost in Championship to Columbus)

  • Mark Minch- The Lakota East SG took his game to a whole new level in Columbus and was the primary reason why Cincinnati made the finals. No one in the gym on either day could check Minch as he used his physicality and athleticism to get to the rim and score with great touch or pulled up with his patented mid-range game. If Minch continues this level of play he will be the senior that breaks out this season. Like Aiken's Willie Moore he is starting to find a consitency to his game that will make him a top flight prospect. 
  • Willie Moore- To make the championship game the senior team knew that they would have to get scoring out of Willie Moore and as he has all fall he delivered. CPHR just can't believe what a consistency Moore has added to his play, taking his talents to a whole new level. The Aiken SG exploded off the floor with more bounce thanks to weight room work and his jumper also looked as pure as it has ever looked. 
  • Rozelle Nix- The Cincinnati senior big men all played with great effort this weekend but none matched Withrow C Rozelle Nix. He just continues to improve and breakout as he looked to be in improved condition and really got up and down the floor well. Not only was Nix able to block shots and rebound as he always does, he was able to score around the rim. Rozelle produced some highlight dunks in traffic and even showed off an improved drop step and hook shot off the low block.  
Jermaine Freeman
  • Jermaine Freeman- The Taft SG understood what his role was on the team: Be the vocal leader and be the toughest kid on the court. In a close win over Cleveland the first game Jermaine did just that in shutting down highly regarded Cleveland Benedictine '12 PG Desmond Ridenour. Freeman took advantage of smaller guards all weekend by using his superior strength to bully them around the rim and score or to find teammates off the dribble, as he played a lot of PG for the senior team.
  • Paul Woodson (Aiken PF), Chris Connell (Woodward C), Malcolm Smith (Princeton SG), Geovonie McKnight (Middletown PG/SG), and Lionel Hill (West High PG) also helped the senior team as they gutted out and undefeated (with one tie) round robin record before falling in the finals. 
Juniors (2-3 Round Robin)
  • Devin Williams- At times Williams looked like he was several years too developed to be playing in this event. It started off with the 34 point and 20 rebound effort against Dayton and kept going through much of the weekend as Williams tied Cleveland Garfield Heights SF/PF Tony Farmer as the top junior in the competition. Williams shot the ball purely out to 17 feet and was unstoppable using his strength to overpower opponents. 
  • Corey Wise-The Withrow SG had a breakout weekend showing a level of passion and toughness that CPHR had previously not seen from Wise. For years Corey has been able to attack off the dribble and pull up for his pretty mid-range jumper but his consistent motive to get to the rim this weekend kept his Junior team in the games. Also showing the ability to play some PG when needed CPHR is really excited to watch the progress of Wise at Withrow this season. 
Corey Wise
  • Austin Grimes- The Aiken SG showed a lot of heart by taking over primary ballhandling duties as well as being forced to be a go to scorer when Devin Williams was on the bench. In a blowout loss to Toledo CPHR was impressed with the resiliency of Grimes as he kept competing and attacking the basket. His continuously improving handle is really going to help his recruiting stock this season. 
  • While the Juniors didn't finish with record they would've liked to they also received solid play from Kevin Johnson (Summit PG), Eric Tivis (Princeton SF), Brennan Ferrell (Milford SG), Will Clifton (West High PF), and Monty Boykins (Lakota West SG). Boykins played great in the first two games but was unable to attend the last three. 
Sophomores (4-1 Round Robin) (Lost in Championship to Columbus)
  • Jeff Larkin- The LaSalle SG proved that despite being small he has all-world toughness, can play with anyone in the state, and is ready for the big show at LaSalle this season. Larkin was one of the most consistent scorers in the event as he showed an ability to blow by his man and finish through contact around the rim, as well as shoot the ball from deep off the catch of off the dribble. A tough defender and clutch offensive player he should have a great year at LaSalle. 
Martin Jones
  • Martin Jones- The Winton Woods product has gone from undersized PF to big SG in just a matter of months. Possibly the most consistent scorer in the entire sophomore division this weekend Martin was able to score from all three levels. A very good set shooter who showed an improved mid-range pull up game, CPHR was most impressed with his improved handle that allowed him to score around the rim. If Jones can consistently guard quicker perimeter players, as he did this weekend, he should be an impact guard in the FAVC as a sophomore. 
  • Tyonte Robertson- The Withrow PG has his up's and down's over the weekend but showed why he is one of the state's elite PG talents, and probably still at the top of the list. In a 35 point effort in the championship game loss to Columbus Robertson was unstoppable off the dribble. His defensive abilities on the ball and array of finishing or passing moves in transition make him a special talent to keep evaluating as he improves.  
  • Adam Gigax- The Moeller SF/PF did what we all know he is going to do: knock down three pointers. But he also did so much more; Gigax led the Cincinnati sophomores in assists, was able to guard much quicker perimeter players, and showed an improved ability to attack off the dribble. Gigax's controlled style on the drive fits perfectly into the GCL style and CPHR is wondering if he has made enough on an ascension to be a role player on the varsity this season. 
  • Blake Simpson- While the Moeller post didn't have his best day finishing around the rim CPHR was extremely impressed with how hard he played on every possession. Showing off some new moves, and a better understanding of how to use his power, around the block Simpson was able to get his shot's at will and scored off second (and even third) efforts several times. Being forced to sometimes guard smaller players and sometimes guard bigger players he showed great toughness in slowing his man down. 
  • CPHR's own ended up coaching the sophomore team and finished Sunday extremely proud with the effort and resiliency that this squad showed. All 10 of the players that participated should become known players by the end of their sophomore years. The rest of the Sophomore team was Kiere Bennie (Colerain PG), Kevin Daniels (Hughes SG), David Mitchell (Hughes SF/PF), Larry Moore (Withrow PG), and Latrell Tidwell (North College Hill PF).  
Jordan Bradley, Germaine Britten, Robert Tubbs
Freshman (0-5 Round Robin)
  • The freshman just couldn't get it all the way right this event as short numbers and shorter height caused them to struggle on the bigger stage. CPHR would like to commend the players that did attend for not backing down. The five players that represented Cincinnati were Jordan Bradley (PG Princeton), Germaine Britten (SG Northwest), Robert Tubbs (PG/SG Sycamore), Lamont West (SF/PF Withrow), and Seth Orlemon (C Turpin). Bradley and Britten in particular were most effective scoring the ball as they have advanced skills for their age group and the confident mentality to try and take over games. 


  1. What tyonte did not have 35 points in the championship he didnt do anything all weekend he was a mess up and you always be hyping him blake didnt do anything either the boys that was working was that Kevin Daniels kid and that Jeff Lakins kid and everyone else had they games accept for the tall black kid he was terrible and the Martin kid was playing hard to.

  2. Yeah, the big kid from Withrow is not all that. You should spend more time evaluating kids that can actually play the game instead of hyping up kids just because they are tall.

  3. One thing that I constantly tell young men who are unhappy with their place in the rankings is that just saying you are better or (even worse) that someone else is terrible doesn't mean anything to me.

    You say that Tyonte "was a mess up" and Rozelle "is not all that". Who performed better then those players on their perspective teams? What specifically made them better? Without dwelling on negatives, something I make a point to try not to do, what parts of Tyonte and Rozelle's games did you find subpar?

    Thank you for your comments.

  4. Turnovers and he dribble to much and I told you the kid Kevin Daniels and Jeff Larkin was better.