In the 8th grade division three of the top five 8th grade boy's basketball players and 5 of the top 10 showed their wares! The players were first put through drills and skill development by some of the city's finest basketball minds.
Ex-professional basketball player,
Western Kentucky alumni, and current head of the Next Level development program,
Johnny Taylor led the way.
Johnny talked to the youth about the importance of hard work on and off
the court and the value of their athletic gifts. Johnny went on to teach defensive stance
and guarding your man.
Former Western Hill's high school coach and UC Bearcat Terry Nelson, who currently owns DIY-recruiting, taught every player an offensive system that would be utilized when the scrimmaging began.
Current Hargrave Military Academy and Dayton University signee Norman Plummer taught the kids post moves and perimeter shooting, while current Aiken freshman basketball coach Kimar Morris handled the ball handling session.
Coach Rashaad- Ali Shakur instructed the art of free throw shooting station and spoke of the importance of the "rhythm" you need to find and not let be disturbed.
Let me tell you, there was a lot of talent in that gym last Saturday morning. Let's start with the younger guys.
The 6th grade class was LOADED! Robert's Romel Hicks B> and Covedale's Lawrence Ervin Jr. put on a point guard extravaganza. These kids flat out got after it. Hicks and Ervin are both about 4'5" and 75 pounds soak and wet, and both have exceptional ball handling skills, scoring ability, and intense defense.
Also in this class was Lincoln Heights' Ontario Williams. Williams is a sleek and smooth guard/small forward who can shoot and get to the rack. Very active, Williams is also a defensive wiz. Fairview's David Watkins was also very impressive on this day. He can play either guard spot and also has the height to play some forward. He really got after it! after his Friars Club coach Coach Leon came into the gym.
Thanks to Leon these kids were getting this type of exposure opportunity. Another of Leon's kids was Chane Behanan. He signed in as 5th grader, but it was said that he is only a 4th grader. Either way this kid is far advanced. You'll definitely be hearing his name in the future. Ken Kunker from White Middle and Oyler's Nico Browner also made lasting impressions during the morning workout.
In the 7th grade division, Clermont Northeastern's Jake Terry stood out as an intense, knowledgeable hooper with great athletic ability and very high skill level. He was pitted against Mt. Healthy South's Jordan Smith who I had just seen in a middle school game a couple of days earlier. Smith is a very impressive smooth shooting guard that seemed to enjoy the challenge of handling Terry. Other 7th graders that showed promise were South's Lovell Revels and Cardinal Pacelli's Zach Garner.
The 8th grade class may have been the most impressive on this day. Burton's Anthony McBride, North College Hill's Damon Butler, and Shroder's Juandez Brown all came into the event with top 5 billing. Burton's Kendall Owens and Finneytown's Courtney Davis were said to be top 10 type players. They all showed that they belonged.
Here are the final rankings of the top 11 from the 8th grade class:
1 Anthony McBride (Burton)
1a Damon Butler (North College Hill)
3 Kendall Owens (Burton)
4 Juandez Brown (Shroder)
5 David Harris (Wyoming)
6 Courtney Davis (Finneytown)
7 Ian Gordon (Colerain)
8 Rickey Terry (Roberts)
9 Cameron Keesey (Pleasant Hill)
10 Derek Heckenmueller (Mt Healthy South)
11 Andrew Nichols (Mt. Healthy South)