Notes From State AAU Tournament

The state AAU basketball tournament was held this past weekend in Cincinnati. Here is a look at some of the notable developments at this event, where a number of the state's top prospects were in action.

Here are some notables from the AAU state basketball tournament held this past weekend in Cincinnati:

* Adrian Graves, a 6-4 junior shooting guard from Cincinnati Hughes, a driving layup with 6.9 seconds to play to help his Queen City Prophets defeat All-Ohio Red 79-78 in the 17-and-under state AAU tournament.

James Dews, a 6-4 junior shooting guard from Liberty Twp. Lakota East and a recent verbal to Miami (Fla.), then missed a jump shot as time expired for All-Ohio Red.

The whole scene seemed like history repeating itself. On May 22 at Delaware Buckeye Valley High School, 5-10 sophomore point guard Lonnie Hayes of Cincinnati Princeton drained a deep three-point shot with less than four seconds left to give the Prophets the state 16-and-under title in a thrilling 101-100 win over All-Ohio Red.

But the Queen City Prophets' 17-and-under victory at SportsPlus in Cincinnati was only a quarterfinal game due to Red being upset in pool play, thus eliminating a potential championship match.

The Prophets went on to win the title Sunday in anti-climatic fashion beating Cincinnati AAU Black in the semifinals by 10 and the Cincinnati Royals 71-60 in the final. Graves led all scorers with 19 and teammates Chris Poellnitz, a 6-3 point guard from Toledo Libbey, had 17 and Hayes 12.

Going back to the "real championship" with All-Ohio Red, Graves pumped in 29 points to offset Dews' game high 31. Unforunately for scouts and fans, neither player guarded one another, thus the debate still lingers both city wide and state wide as to who is the better player.

Dews is as good of a shooter and scorer in the state. But what Graves gives up to Dews shooting, he makes it up with his defense, ball handling and athleticism. Graves said after the game that Dayton, Seton Hall, Ohio State, Illinois and Xavier were recruiting him the most, but expected more interest after he takes his college entry test for the first time next week.

Queen City has several players who could be considered as Division I prospects. They include a trio of juniors from Cincinnati Taft in 6-8 center Tyrone Bradshaw, 6-7 power forward Brandon Russ and 5-7 point guard Eddie Gray.

Another key name is Cincinnati Withrow 6-4 wing forward Jamar Howard. He attended the Miami (Ohio) football camp the last day and his coaches say he is the biggest sleeper in the 2006 football class in Ohio with 4.5 speed in the 40 and a 35-inch vertical jump.

Also on that team are a trio of talented sophomores in Hayes, Cincinnati Hughes 6-7 power forward Christian Siakam and Trotwood-Madison 6-7 power forward Chris Wright. Wright was injured and did not play.

Wright, the top prospect among the sophs, said he is getting little interest from Ohio State. He listed Kentucky, Michigan State, Dayton, Xavier, Illinois, Michigan, St. John's, Valparaiso and Ball State as those recruiting him the most.

Wright and Siakam, along with 6-6 sophomore wing forward Nate Miles (Toledo Libbey and Xavier verbal), have been invited to the Nike Hoop Jamboree in St. Louis later this month which features the top freshmen and sophomores in the nation.

Junior Josh Chichester, a 6-8 power forward from West Chester Lakota West who has Ohio State in his final five schools, and senior Chris Knight, a 6-7 wing forward from Cincinnati Withrow who plans on attending prep school next year at Laurinburg, N.C., played well for All-Ohio.

All-Ohio who was missing standout sophomore 6-6 Jon Diebler of Upper Sandusky due to illness.

* The 15-and-under and 14-and-under events were both played at SportPlus this past weekend. The D-One Greyhounds, who won the Reebok/Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions 15-and-under bracket last week, looked like the favorite on paper.

But that was until it was discovered that Club Ohio No. 2/Cincinnati Bearcats was actually the Cleveland Basketball Club 15-and-under team featured on this site in early April, minus 6-4 wing forward Rayshawn Goins of Clevland Rhodes and a couple of other players from that area.

(Note: Ohio is broken up into two regions for AAU basketball: Northeast Ohio is called the Lake Erie region and the rest of the state including Toledo is called the Ohio region. Accordingly, boys from the Lake Erie region can not play in other qualifiers, but could join for the nationals.)

Club Ohio No. 2 featured 6-11 center and Ohio State verbal B.J. Mullens of Canal Winchester Harvest Prep, 6-8 power forward Yancey Gates of Cincinnati Hughes, 6-2 shooting guard Devon Moore of Columbus Northland and 6-1 point guard Anthony McBride of Cincinnati Withrow.

However, as is often the case, the most talented teams don't always win and that was the case Sunday, as the D-One Greyhounds were knocked off in the quarterfinals, and Club Ohio No. 2 lost the championship game to the Cincinnati Royals 63-53 after getting off to an 18-4 deficit.

Mullens and Gates were held to four points apiece, while McBride had 17 and Moore scored eight. In the 57-53 semifinal win over the Shining Stars, Gates had a game-high 17, Moore 12, Mullens 10 and McBride four.

* The 14-and-under bracket was won easily by the Spiece Tigers from Cincinnati. Here are some names to file away for the future (Class of 2009) that OSU coach Thad Matta and staff will be looking at: 6-5 power forward Stephon Johnson (Cincinnati Woodward), 6-7 center Danny Macalroy (Cincinnati LaSalle), 6-2 shooting guard Orlando Williams (Cincinnati Northwest), 6-4 wing forward Darren Goodson (Cincinnati Moeller), 6-3 power forward Anthony Shoemaker (Lakota West) and 6-3 wing forward Javon Cornley (Columbus Northland – yes, he is Jamelle Cornley's little brother).

(Note: all of these players are still in middle school and have not enrolled in high school, so the list for 2009 players is tentative.)

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