As always, Flyin’ to the Hoop featured a mix of national prep teams as well as strong in-state teams. There was plenty of talent on display in four days of basketball.
Silas Demary 6’4 185 PG – Combine Academy 2023 (USC)
Demary (pictured) was great from start to finish against Lutheran East, hitting contested shots from all 3 levels. He did a good job of getting into the lane and initiated well off the dribble. He handles the ball well with defensive pressure and contact, getting where he wants while not dancing with the ball or over-dribbling. He sets the pace for Combine’s offense and as much as the ball was in his hands, he didn’t contribute a single turnover despite his 4 assists. He was only 1-5 from the FT line against Lutheran East, but finished with 17 points (7-11 FG, 2-4 3PT) and 6 rebounds to win 62-49. I was unable to attend Combine’s first game against Keystone Academy, but Demary finished with 28 points (8-14 FG, 3-3 3PT, 9-10 FT), 7 rebounds, 3 assists to 1 turnover, and 2 steals in the 81-74 victory.
Xavier Booker 6’11 205 PF – Cathedral 2023 (Michigan State)
Booker wasn’t as involved with the offense as I would’ve liked, finishing with 8 points in the 65-61 comeback win against Pickerington Central. He looked smooth on a midrange pull-up that found the bottom of the net. His other points came on a fastbreak layup and two put backs to round out his 8. He had a nice block when the opposing guard tried to take it to him. I would like to see him keep the defense out of the paint more and lock up when he’s defending on the perimeter; as he has the length, athleticism, and coordination but gets taken off the dribble too often. He needs to find more consistent ways to get easier baskets as he was the biggest guy on the floor and rarely had Devin Royal guarding him, and he didn’t attempt a single free throw. There’s a lot to like about Booker, as it’s easy to see his natural ability without looking too hard but he still has a way to go as a prospect. Efficiency and rebounding could have been better, going 4-14 from the floor and 0-3 from 3PT, and only grabbing 4 rebounds in the game.
Rayvon Griffith 6’7 180 SF – AZ Compass Prep 2023 (Cincinnati)
Griffith got some good looks and didn’t have to hunt for his scoring opportunities. He cashed in a spot up corner 3 and scored well off the ball, going back door for a layup and was on the finishing end of a big alley oop. He had a baseline drive that would have been nice to land his dunk attempt, but it went off the back rim. He was very comfortable connecting on midrange jumpers to score 11 points on 4-10 shooting. He didn’t bring much outside of scoring with 1 rebound and no assists but he was one of Compass’ standouts in the 73-40 blowout win against Omnia Academy.
Zayden High 6’10 225 PF – AZ Compass Prep 2023 (North Carolina)
High is aggressive anytime he gets the ball within dunking territory as he’s athletic and explodes well off the floor. He made 2 of his 3 3PT attempts and nailed a midrange jumper, showing comfort in faceup situations. He had a few good takes to the rim to round out his 12 points on 5-10 shooting. He also did his job protecting the rim to come away with 2 blocks.
Jordan Ross 6’3 150 PG – AZ Compass Prep 2023 (St. Mary’s)
Ross has been big for Compass this season. He’s a good ball-handler and did well in pick & roll situations and was successful moving the ball to record 4 assists to no turnovers. He’s a below the rim athlete, but he shows craft on his finishes, using same hand and foot to throw off the defense when getting into the paint. The lefty also has a nice outside shot. Ross went 3-3 from the floor to score 7 points in the win.
Jamari Phillips 6-3 190 PG – AZ Compass Prep 2024 (Arizona)
Phillips showed his 3PT ability early in the game to go 2-3 from 3PT range. Defensively, he was in the grill of the ball-handler, creating a lot of discomfort for the opposing guard and came away with 2 steals. Phillips came off the bench to finish with 8 points for Compass.
Dailyn Swain 6’8 SG 170 – Columbus Africentric 2023 (Xavier)
Swain did a good job getting to his spots in the midrange using a solid handle, showing touch on pull-ups and floaters, using glass when appropriate. He can still pick up his aggression level but had a strong take to the rim for a dunk attempt but was fouled. There were a few other plays he had an opening to the rim where he displayed his bounce. He usually roamed on defense, occasionally double teaming and disrupting the ball, but didn’t lock in the majority of the time, ultimately coming away with 2 steals. Swain finished with 18 points (7-14 FG), 11 rebounds, and 4 assists to 4 turnovers in the 64-55 win over CVCA.
Darryn Peterson 6’5 195 SG – Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy 2025
Peterson didn’t have a good game shooting the ball, but his shots didn’t look bad, hitting the back rim on most misses. He’s a natural creator and shot maker, pulling up and getting his shot off while under control against tight defensive pressure. He was face-guarded, thus his teammates had trouble getting him the ball and CVCA’s offense was a bit stagnant overall. He missed all 4 3PT attempts but his makes at the rim looked good, showing natural touch with 21 points on 9-21 shooting. He played limited minutes in the second half due to foul trouble. He also had 6 rebounds and 3 turnovers in the loss.
Demarius Owens 6’7 185 SF – Western Reserve Academy 2024
Owens scored 14 points and pulled down 7 rebounds (4 offensive) in their 54-51 win against SoCal Academy. Owens only made 1 of his 4 3PT attempts but his shot looks good from distance. He’s a good athlete, with an impressive tip-slam early in the game and another tip-in with his left hand in the second half, controlling his body while elevated at the rim. He played under control, showing ability to get to the middle when the help was under the basket, finishing with a nice floater when needed. I would like to see him get more action as he plays off the ball but just parks in the corner most possessions.
Garwey Dual 6’5 175 SG – Southern California Academy 2023 (Providence)
Dual shot well against Western Reserve, looking to take advantage any time the defender went under the screens and knocked down 2 of his 3PT attempts. He took advantage of a few opportunities to get into the paint and can finish above the rim. He’s quick and used an effective crossover to beat his man. He finished with 14 points on 5-12 shooting and 6 rebounds against Western Reserve. He struggled in the 48-40 loss to Centerville with only 4 points (2-7 FG) and 1 rebound.
Jahseem Felton 6’5 175 PG/SG – Southern California Academy 2024
Felton had some consistency as a scorer. He hit some contested shots off the dribble, scored well from midrange, and had some strong takes to the basket. He plays with good aggression and handles contact well. He’s not a bad athlete but finishes with more craft than explosion when getting into the paint. Felton scored 16 and 14 points in each game respectively, while shooting 6-14 from the floor in each game. He connected 3-8 3PT against Western Reserve and 2-6 3PT against Centerville.
Rakease Passmore 6’5 180 SG/SF – Combine Academy 2024
Passmore is an exceptional athlete with effortless elevation when attacking the rim. He has a big frame that will fill out even more but he’s already physical. He showed a floater and good body control on layups when he didn’t dunk. His outside shot doesn’t look bad, but he only made 1 of his 5 attempts from 3PT range against Lutheran East. He can be a bit turnover prone dribbling in traffic, and recorded no assists and 4 turnovers. Passmore finished with 14 points on 5-11 shooting and 5 rebounds against Lutheran East. He finished with 14 points (4-9 FG, 2-5 3PT, 4-5 FT), 5 rebounds, and 3 assists to 4 turnovers the night before against Keystone Academy.
Jesse McCulloch 6-9 190 C – Lutheran East 2024
McCulloch shot a perfect 3-3 from 3PT in the first half against Combine Academy, ultimately finishing 4-6 on 3s in the game. He has a nice release and no wasted motion in his shot. He showed a nice jump hook in the low post and some court vision/passing. He doesn’t have much off the dribble, making it difficult when getting run off the 3PT line. While he has a nice inside-out offensive game, he wasn’t a heavy rebounder with only 2 in the game. McCulloch finished with 16 points (6-12 FG) and 4 turnovers in the game.
TJ Crumble 6’7 180 SF – Lutheran East 2026
Only a freshman, Crumble showed flashes with his athleticism. He had a nice midrange post-spin to float the finish right outside the paint. He finished with a solid contribution with 10 points (4-6 FG) and 6 rebounds in the loss to Combine. His shot will take some work though; shooting a corner 3 with no ball rotation and while his shot on free throws rotated more, it didn’t have ideal backspin, showing some side rotation, almost like a globe.
George Washington 6’3 165 SG – Chaminade Julienne 2023 (Michigan)
Washington hit a lot of shots right in the face of the defender from midrange and 3. He has a solid array of dribble moves to free him up to go into his jumper. As a ball-handler, he’s more east and west though, as he doesn’t get to the rim often. He showed a lot of explosive athleticism in warmups but nothing above the rim in game. He can grow as a facilitator, which will be imperative as he doesn’t have two-guard size at the next level, as his reads weren’t necessarily advanced and he telegraphed some passes, recording only 1 assist to 2 turnovers. Washington finished with 26 points (9-19 FG, 3-10 3PT, 5-6 FT) and 1 rebound in the 62-55 loss to Pace Academy.
Kyle Greene 6’4 170 PG/SG – Pace Academy 2024
Greene shows a nice outside shot, squaring up quickly off the catch and move with good ball rotation to go 2-5 from 3PT range. He got to the rim a bit and was physical with the ball in the paint. He threw down a dunk in semi-transition and is a good athlete overall. He turned it on well in the second half, scoring on critical possessions as the game got close, keeping Pace ahead to record the win. Green ended up with 25 points (9-17 FG, 5-5 FT), 1 rebound, and 3 assists to 3 turnovers to beat Chaminade Julienne.
Marlon Barnes 6-6 180 SF – Brush 2023 (Pittsburgh)
Barnes came out and hit a shot from midrange on the first play of the game and a 3 shortly after for a quick 5 points. He’s got a good-looking shot and looks the part of a high prospect but settles on the perimeter top often. He’s a good athlete but doesn’t get to the rim much. On one play, he threw a pass right to a defender and chased him down to swat the shot off the backboard. His stock would rise if he can put it all together. Barnes finished with 21 points (5-10 FG, 3-7 3PT, 8-9 FT) and 2 rebounds in the 74-51 loss to Taft.
Lawrent Rice 6-3 170 PG/SG – Wayne 2023 (Murray State)
Rice had a good shooting performance, knocking down 5 of his 11 3PT attempts on his way to 33 points. He used his quickness to beat his defender and had a few right-hand finishes. He’s more of a combo guard than true point, as he’s more wired to score than facilitate at 6’2. He made a few nice passes, but he telegraphed a few as well. Overall, it was a good showing for Rice, scoring 33 points (10-17 FG, 8-11 FT), 6 rebounds, and 3 assists to 2 turnovers, losing to Garfield Heights 75-71.
Marcus Johnson 6’1 PG – Garfield Heights 2026
Although his release is a little low, Johnson showed a nice outside shot and had a few good takes to the basket. He let the 3 fly often and hit a few. He didn’t show a lot of quickness with the ball or first step, but he changes his speed well with the ball. He looked to score more than make plays for others. The freshman finished with 19 points (7-13 FG, 2-6 3PT, 3-4 FT) and 5 rebounds in the win against Wayne.
Del Jones 6’2 180 PG – Huntington Prep 2024
Jones struggled in the 83-67 loss to St. Ignatius with 6 points (3-11 FG, 0-3 3PT) and 2 rebounds, but he completely flipped the switch in their game against La Lumiere and was Huntington’s offensive firepower, creating nearly every possession. He got to the rim in the half-court, finished in transition, and had no trouble connecting from distance. He handled the ball well and got where he wanted with his dribble and was fearless taking it to the rim. He had a lot of success on his pull-ups, connecting at a high rate from everywhere on the floor. He finished with 30 points (10-21 FG, 3-8 3PT, 7-9 FT) and 5 rebounds in the 73-71 win against La Lumiere
Jordan McCullum 6’8 190 PF – Huntington Prep 2024
McCullum is very athletic and elevates naturally with minimal gather. He didn’t have to do much outside catching and finishing around the basket. If he can extend his scoring range and improve his perimeter skills, it could take his game a long way. He shot 0-3 from 3PT and 3-10 from the FT line in both games combined. He still has room to improve his skill set around the basket as well, in terms of low post offense and finishing technique when he doesn’t dunk. McCullum scored 9 points (4-6 FG) against St. Ignatius and 12 points (5-13 FG) along with 8 rebounds (4 offensive) against La Lumiere.
Gabe Cupps 6’2 165 PG – Centerville 2023 (Indiana)
Cupps controlled the pace for Centerville and the game overall. He wasn’t looking to isolate but SoCal’s big man was matched up with him, and he was able to take him off the dribble and to create shot, knocking down a few 3s in the process. He does a nice job of keeping his dribble and knowing his passing options when his initial path gets cut off, sometimes when driving baseline, while being force out of bounds, he would find the open shooter on the perimeter. He’s not a run and jump athlete but positions himself well defensively, drawing charges and stole the inbounds pass a few times, recording 4 steals in the game. Cupps was big for Centerville with 12 points (4-7 FG, 2-3 3PT, 2-3 FT) and 4 rebounds against SoCal Academy.
Jonathan Powell 6’5 170 SG – Centerville 2024
Powell took on a heavy dose of the scoring load for Centerville with 22 of their 48 points. He lived off corner 3s and was a magnet to the corner each offensive set. He didn’t create for himself or bring much else offensively outside catching and shooting, going 4-11 from 3PT and 8-17 from the floor overall. He struggled to make something happen when getting ran off the 3PT line. He showed some athleticism as the final seconds were counting down with an uncontested dunk, but not much in the half-court. Overall, Powell’s offense was an asset for Centerville.
Dorian Jones 6’5 160 SG – Richmond Heights 2025
Jones didn’t have much half-court offense, generally spacing the floor and staying ready to shoot. He’s not the type to break the defense down off the dribble and create from scratch but looks to score in transition. He forced numerous right-hand layups on the left side of the rim and lacks technique as a finisher overall. He’s a good athlete and has potential as a defender. Richmond Heights won 56-53 to beat Fairfield. Jones contributed with 13 points (5-15, 3-9 3PT), 2 rebounds, and 2 blocks.
Devin Royal 6’7 210 SF/PF – Pickerington Central 2023 (Ohio State)
Royal got it going early as Pickering Central jumped out with a quick lead. He showed a nice faceup game, but his 3 ball isn’t consistent yet, going 1-5 from 3PT with his only make as a bank from straight ahead. In addition to him facing up, he scored in the post as well. He had too many turnovers as Cathedral was making their comeback, getting loose when trying to do too much as a ball-handler at times and other times he put his head down with the ball and didn’t see the double-team coming until too late, recording 6 turnovers in the game. He’s not real explosive but he’s tough and likes to play physical. He defended a few different positions throughout the game, both the post and perimeter. He cooled off and a bit quiet in the second half to ultimately finish with 23 points (9-15 FG) and 6 rebounds in the loss.
Kaleb Glenn 6’7 210 SF – La Lumiere 2023 (Louisville)
Glenn had some strong takes to the basket and scored an efficient 14 points on 6 shots (4-6 FG, 1-3 3PT). His aggressive play led to a few trips to the free throw line where he took advantage, making all 5 of his attempts. Glenn has improved as a shooter, but he can improve as a ball handler, allowing his dribbling to open up slashing opportunities, rather than relying on triple threat and superior physicality to get to the rim. In addition to his 14 points, he also recorded 10 rebounds and 5 assists to 5 turnovers against Huntington Prep.
Gus Yalden 6-9 265 C – La Lumiere 2023 (Wisconsin)
Yalden was La Lumiere’s most reliable scorer, knocking down the 3 ball on one play, but having more success in the post, calling for the ball when having the size mismatch. Not a high-level athlete but he’s very mobile and is constantly moving. Yalden was efficient as well, scoring 23 points while going 10-14 from the floor and grabbed 6 rebounds in the loss.