Flyin’ to the Hoop provided four days of talented high school prospects with combinations of prep schools vs prep schools, public schools vs public schools, and even public schools beating prep schools. There were big performances on display from each class.
Keon Ambrose-Hylton 6-7 185 SF – ISA Andrews Osborne 2020 (Alabama)
Ambrose-Hylton had a big 18 point and 20 rebound (seven offensive) game in the win against Hillcrest Prep. He was consistently active and had some big dunks in traffic that made him look like the best athlete on the floor at times. He can be sloppy with he ball and his jump shooting can use some work but his nonstop motor helps him stand out against anyone. He was an active defender as well, guarding everyone at some point and pestering the ball handler. ISA Andrews Osborne beat Hillcrest 81-68 and Ambrose-Hylton shot 8-16 from the floor with four assists and three turnovers.
Charles Bediako 6’9 220 C – ISA Andrews Osborne 2021
Bediako contributed with 13 points and eight rebounds (five offensive) against Hillcrest. He had his hands full in the paint against Makur Maker and Michael Foster, but he still got the job done. He’s athletic and mobile but he has to be stronger with the ball and quicker with his moves, as he can get better at handling contact and double-teams. He scored on a few put-backs, and although he didn’t stretch the floor, he has some ability to face up offensively. Hillcrest may have the most talented frontcourt in the country but Bediako battled to come away with the win.
Makur Maker 6’11 210 PF/C – Hillcrest Prep 2020
Maker (pictured) scored 11 points in the loss to ISA Andrews Osborne. He showed a nice stroke from outside with a quick release off the catch to shoot 2-5 3PT. He’s versatile and can score/play at different spots on the floor. He wasn’t quick to block shots as a help defender and he only grabbed three rebounds, I would’ve liked to see more in those areas with his athletic and physical gifts.
Dalen Terry 6’6 165 SG – Hillcrest Prep 2020 (Arizona)
Terry showed his quickness and ball handling to beat the defense. He’s an athletic guard and plays with flair. He scored eight points, grabbed nine rebounds, and passed six assists to four turnovers against ISA. He definitely sees the floor and drops his share of dimes but can try to do too much at times. Terry’s a threat to score or set up a teammate any time he touches the ball, and he ignites the talent at Hillcrest.
Michael Foster 6’9 220 PF – Hillcrest Prep 2021
Foster had his share of dunks in the paint and showed some impressive drives for a big man, with his ability to play off the dribble. He scored 24 points and although he can stretch the floor, he’s a little too comfortable shooting the three, going 1-5 3PT and was very accurate on 2PT FGs going 8-10. He has a nice set point on his shot, out of the defender’s reach making it difficult for them to contest and used a midrange fadeaway. He only grabbed four rebounds and had five turnovers, but he scored in bunches late in the game to try to bring his team back, but it was too late. Foster’s a big-time talent and showed why he’s one of the top juniors in the nation.
Jalen Green 6’5 175 SG – Prolific Prep 2020
Green gave an anticipated crowd what they came to see with his highlight dunks, from the layup lines to the fourth quarter buzzer. He scored 21 points on 7-13 shooting, and as a jump shooter, this was the best I had seen from him, going 4-7 3PT with no hesitation and little room from the defender. He found his rhythm early and had no problem finding the bottom of the net. Something I’ve talked about in past articles was getting more from Green than scoring; he grabbed eight rebounds and passed out five assists. He used his burst to get a step on the defense and would kick to the open man from there. He had four turnovers, sometimes inaccurate with the pass but his court vision stood out more than usual. Defensively, he’s got the length and quickness defending on the ball. On one play, he blocked a layup at the peak of its height to send the shot into the crowd. Prolific Prep beat Huntington Prep 84-78.
Nimari Burnett 6’3 185 PG – Prolific Prep 2020 (Texas Tech)
Burnett scored 15 points against Huntington. He pushed the ball and he made some nice passes to record six assists. He played well off the dribble and scored for himself when appropriate, pulling from 3PT and midrange. Although he had three turnovers, Burnett does a good job of reading and reacting, knowing what his options are with the ball at all times. He grabbed six rebounds and came away with four steals as well.
Coleman Hawkins 6’8 210 PF – Prolific Prep 2020 (Illinois)
Hawkins is a stretch big man for Prolific and although he comes off the bench, he’s a contributor and scored 19 points against Huntington. He’s got a nice jump shot and can drive when he gets ran off the 3PT line. He can also score in the post when he gets position down low and has solid touch. He grabbed seven rebounds and kept his head up to move the ball. Defensively, he’s not incredibly quick but he’s very mobile and does a solid job protecting the paint, blocking three shots in the win.
Jaemyn Brakefield 6’9 210 PF – Huntington Prep 2020 (Duke)
Brakefield showed a much improve jumper since this summer, he no longer drops the ball in the shooting pocket as it comes off much smoother, shooting 6-12 3PT over the two games. He used hesitations and has a nice change of speed with the ball when he drives. He had a handful of big dunks including alley oops and an and-one windmill on a fast break. Brakefield’s improvement was great to see and he was efficient in the two games. He finished with 20 points (8-12 FG) and eight rebounds against Prolific Prep, then 18 points (6-11 FG) and seven rebounds in the 75-66 upset loss to St. Edwards Lakewood.
Isaiah Cottrell 6’9 210 PF – Huntington Prep 2020 (West Virginia)
Cottrell is underrated and was impressive in both games. He’s got a nice face up game; he was money from midrange and shot 3-6 3PT over the two games. In addition to his shooting, he’s a big-time athlete with numerous dunks, some straight from the vertical underneath the basket and others off the gather. He protected the paint as well, blocking two shots against Prolific and four against St. Edwards. His awareness and intensity can definitely improve but played well overall with 15 points (4-8 FG) and 11 rebounds in game one and 16 points (7-13 FG) and 11 rebounds (six offensive) in game two.
AJ Hoggard 6’3 215 PG – Huntington Prep 2020 (Michigan State)
Hoggard has some jerky moves with the ball and gets shifty, then he likes to finish with a bully move as he’s stronger than most guards at this level. He consistently plays hard and although he’s not real explosive, he can finish above the rim at times. He made some nice passes, sometimes in transition while other times in the half-court off the dribble to drop off to the open man. There are times he can take care of the ball more, passing out 11 assists but committing seven turnovers against Prolific Prep. Hoggard scored 15 points (6-10 FG) against Prolific Prep and 12 points (4-10) against St. Edwards.
Paul McMillan 6’1 170 PG – Woodward 2022
McMillan doesn’t need triple threat to beat the defense and his offense comes from dribble penetration. He’s quick but not explosive, all his finishes are well below the rim and he favors his right hand with the ball. There were times his dribble got away from him and other times he forced his way into the contested paint, resulting in seven turnovers to only two assists. At his size, he’ll benefit by improving as a playmaker as well as shooter, missing all three 3PTers. McMillan consistently plays hard and finished with 29 points (11-22 FG) and five rebounds in the 87-55 loss to Walnut Ridge.
Bruce Thornton 6’1 180 PG – Milton 2022
Thornton is strong and physically developed for a sophomore. Although he missed both 3PTers, his shooting form isn’t bad, and he could hit from midrange. Most of his points came from attacking off the dribble and with his strength, he wasn’t shy of contact, but he did tend to always finish with his right hand. Not a high-level playmaker but he was unselfish and moved the ball with three assists. He played intense defense but reached a lot. Thornton scored 13 points and grabbed five boards in the 62-56 loss to Pickerington North.
Kanaan Carlyle 6’1 165 PG – Milton 2022
Carlyle didn’t shoot well in his ten point game (4-13 FG, 1-4 3PT) but he’s only a freshman and some shots just took a bad bounce. He’s got a nice midrange game, whether a shot or a floater, he’s smooth squaring up into his shot. He’s long, instinctive changing speed well with the ball, and passes well. As he matures, his intrigue will also grow.
Deivon Smith 6’0 165 PG – Grayson 2020 (Mississippi State)
Smith’s an explosive athlete; he’s quick going downhill with the ball and was on the finishing end of a few alley-oops. His jump shot isn’t bad looking but it’s not his strength either, going 1-5 from 3PT range. He’s got some shifty ball handling ability and stays alert for the open man when he attacks, finishing with six assists to three turnovers. If Smith’s jumper improves, he’s going to be a handful for the opposition. He ended with 12 points (4-12 FG) and eight rebounds (four offensive) in the 71-56 victory over Wayne.
Caleb Murphy 6’3 180 SG – Grayson 2020 (South Florida)
Most of Murphy’s 17 points came on catch and finishes, most uncontested on the break. He did knock down a 3PTer and looks comfortable shooting the ball. He has solid court vision and made the extra pass, including lobs to Deivon Smith to finish with five assists. He also shot 7-12 FG and grabbed six boards in the game.
Elijah Fisher 6’6 185 SF – Crestwood 2023
Fisher’s very quick in the open floor and was too difficult to contain in transition, where most of his 15 points came from. He didn’t score a lot in the half-court, but he does show some creativity with his handle, although he does need to go to his left more often. As his game matures and he improves attacking in the half-court, the defense won’t know what to do with him. Until then, his jump shot isn’t bad but can continue to develop, shooting 0-2 3PT and 5-8 FT. He put defensive pressure on the ball, recording two blocks and three steals in the 68-63 win over Garfield Heights.
John Hugley 6’9 270 C – Brush 2020 (Pittsburgh)
Hugley utilized his strength, wearing out opponents who couldn’t match his physicality. He’s very mobile for his size and can handle the ball in space a little but not so much in traffic, which contributed to some of his four turnovers. He’s got very good touch from both the perimeter (2-3 3PT and 4-4 FT) and in the post, using a spin move to kiss it off the glass. Defensively, he generally just camped in the paint. Brush couldn’t pull off the win, losing to First Love Christian 63-54 but Hugley was a tough cover with 16 points (5-8 FG) and 11 rebounds.
Malaki Branham 6’5 175 SG – St. Vincent-St. Mary 2021
Branham had a monster game with 44 points (17-30 FG) and 11 rebounds (five offensive). Most of his points came in the paint or a few feet outside the paint on simple catch and finishes. He didn’t make a lot of moves, but he played physical and Trotwood couldn’t stop him. He’s a good athlete and had numerous dunks, running the floor with a high motor. He shot 0-3 from deep but has a smooth free throw stroke where he shot 10-10, so there’s definitely optimism about him extending his range moving forward. Branham also had four turnovers and two blocks in the 100-78 wing over Trotwood.
MarJon Beauchamp 6’6 170 SG – Dream City Christian 2020 (Chameleon BX)
Beauchamp had a rough game in the 62-47 upset loss to Pickerington Central. His jump shot wasn’t working for him going 0-3 from distance and 5-15 overall. Most of his 15 points came from utilizing his size around the basket. He secured boards on both ends with eight rebounds (four offensive) and although he only recorded two assists to four turnovers, he’s passed the ball well the last two times I’ve seen him, showing court vision and ability to move the ball mid-attack. Beauchamp’s a talented prospect but he’s going to have to improve from a streaky shooter to a consistent knock down. He didn’t get a lot of contribution from some of his teammates and a 15-point loss to a public school wasn’t part of the plan.
Matthew Cleveland 6’6 190 SG – Pace Academy 2021
Cleveland provided 23 points (9-14 FG) in the 79-47 win over Aiken. He has good length and long strides to go along with his quickness in the open floor as a leader in transition. He has a good shot making two first-half threes. He made an array of layups; scoring at different angles and rising to float it over the top of defenders when appropriate. He showed an impressive offensive skill-set and played in rhythm, creating without forcing. He also contributed with nine rebounds (four offensive), four assists, and three turnovers.
Aundre Polk 6’8 210 PF – Spire Institute
Polk has good size, coordination, and mobility. He didn’t make many moves, but he was accurate around the rim and Springfield didn’t have the size to match. He scored 15 points on 7-8 shooting, the only shot he missed was a 3PTer, but his shot didn’t look bad on a limited sample size when facing up. Overall, he kept it simple, playing within himself and has the ability to use either hand. Polk also grabbed eight rebounds to beat Springfield 78-42.
Rayvon Griffith 6’4 SG – Taft 2023
Griffith was very impressive with 25 points (11-15 FG, 2-4 3PT) and 16 rebounds while defeating Thurgood Marshall 76-70. He’s an instinctive scorer who can attack off the dribble, shoot from the perimeter, and used a midrange fadeaway on one play. He’s a high-level athlete and quick in the open floor. I hate to nitpick a freshman who can score and rebound with the best of them but he can work on dribbling with his left hand and being stronger with the ball, as Thurgood Marshall started making a comeback late in the game, resulting in a few turnovers (four) and tie-ups in crunch time. Griffith is just getting started and we will hear his name a lot over the next few years.