Jalen Tate, 6'4 guard, 2016, All-Ohio Red. The brother of Ohio State's Jae'sean Tate. Don't let his thin frame fool you, there is a lot of toughness coming from this kid. Jalen dives on the floor for loose balls, rebounds, passes well, and plays solid defense. He has a nice ability to absorb contact and score it at the bucket as well shoot it from the outside. Tate is already receiving attention from high majors. As his game continues to grow and with him adding muscle, colleges will love what they get from this kid.
Willie Jackson, 6'6 guard, 2016, All-Ohio Red. A versatile kid that can play all over the floor -- he can score it from deep, hit the mid-range shot, and he will take you in the post and do damage on the low block. I really like the effort that he gives on the defensive side of the ball where he works hard at it. With his long arms and motor he can be an outstanding defender both now and at the next level. Willie plays hard and is tough on both ends of the floor. Colleges are already lining up for his services.
Nick Ward, 6'8 center, 2016, All-Ohio Red. The very first thing that I noticed about Nick is his soft hands, which allows him to catch passes in traffic. Ward is A TRUE low post center who does not want to show you his perimeter skills. He wants to live on the low block and use his outstanding post moves to dominate in the paint. When Nick is down low he works hard to get the position he wants -- and credit his teammates, they get it inside so he can do work. He has a very good motor, runs the floor well, eats up rebounds, and defends not only his man but protects the rim as well. His offer list from colleges will continue to climb. I really enjoy watching a throwback big man play in the post and enjoy doing it.
Jarron Cumberland, 6'5 guard, 2016, OBC.This kid has a man's body already -- he has to be at least 210 and plays tough. Watching him play, one thing is apparent -- he gets buckets from all over the floor. I saw him score from deep, plus he likes to attack the basket to get into the lane and score. Jarron cleans up misses around the basket as well. He's a good rebounder in traffic. And he plays defense but could be much better at with more emphasis put to it. Cumberland seems to love contact no matter where it is on the floor. The potential is there for him to be really good as he continues to develop. Coach Corey Tucker tells me he was a quarterback up until 8th grade and then gave it up for basketball. With how tough he plays I'm not surprised at all. He has offers from some really good colleges already and I expect that trend to continue.
Seth Duggan, 6'11 center, 2015, ACB Bank. Another low post player that understands where he belongs -- and that is on the low block. Works hard to get position in the paint although sometimes his teammates forget he is on the floor. Seth never gets down about it, he just continues to work hard for the ball. He has good hands around the basket and keeps the ball up high so guards cannot get to it. When he does get the ball he doesn't hesitate to score at the cup. I like that he blocks shots outside of his area, not just waiting under the rim to block them. He cleans up well around the rim, he's a nice rebounder, and he runs the floor well. He has offers but the big boys are starting to sniff around and are more than just interested -- they seem to be quite intrigued with his skills.
Evan Boudreaux, 6'7 forward, 2015, Team NLP. A player that is very patient on offense -- he never seems to be in a hurry or allow someone to speed him up. Evan is very crafty and very strong at scoring around the basket. He can score in a variety of ways, driving to the basket, getting the ball on the low block and facing you up. Shooting it from deep is something he is consistent really good at. He can handle in the open court, he rebounds and can start the break, he's a good passer as well. He has some very nice offers, and some high majors are starting to show him a lot of interest at this time.
Tremell Murphy, 6'6 forward, 2016, Team Indiana. Tough inside player who works tirelessly out on the floor on every single possession. He eats rebounds, and defends on the perimeter and in the low post like there is no tomorrow. He scores well around the basket. I'd like to see more from him offensively -- he doesn't always look to score but he is still developing. I would pay to see this kid play with the effort and motor he plays with. He has offers with more to come his way.
Albany City Rocks 16 -- 40 minutes of hell
I had a chance last night to watch Albany City Rocks 16 U yesterday and head coach Jim Hart demands a lot from his guys. They defend 94 feet, NEVER giving up on defense and covering every single inch on the floor as if their life depended on it. Now I have seen other good defensive teams but Albany plays tough, intense, hard defense for every single second they are out there.
This team does not take plays off or they will hear about it. Playing against them is hell -- they don't allow you to breathe. On offense they are pushing it up the floor as they are getting backdoor baskets, open threes, drives to the basket ,and put backs. The same energy applied to defense is also applied to offense; their conditioning is quite impressive.
Oh, by the way, they play every single player on the bench and there is no drop off in talent or effort when they come in the game. Head coach Jim Hart and assistant coach Patrick Neary are intense coaches with a firm hand, but a great balance of understanding as far as when to turn it on and when to step back. Forty minutes of hell is what I call it -- if you watch them play you will understand what I am talking about.
Never judge a book by its cover
As I walked into the gym to see All-Ohio Red 16 and under (who by the way are loaded) I thought the score was wrong but it wasn't. Tri City Thunder out of Illinois was up by 12 -- and it was not luck at all. As Willie Jackson from All-Ohio Red said, "Man that kid was hitting shots from everywhere he can play."
"That kid" is Michael Schroeder out of St. Charles North High School in St. Charles, Illinois. I guess you could say All-Ohio Red has a lot of respect for him and the way he played. When you drop 35 points on one of the top AAU programs in the country, respect should be given. Michael scored on an assortment of threes, drives to the basket, and-ones, and free throws.
At 5'10 Michael probably doesn't pass the eye test and neither does his team ... but as the old saying goes never judge a book by its cover. In the end Tri City lost by 2, but trust me All-Ohio Red was lucky to leave with the victory.
Dre's Blog: Spiece Run-N-Slam
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