Taking place in Columbus on Sunday was the second week of Coach Vic's Open Gym, a weekly event featuring some of Ohio's best basketball talent. Hitting the hardwood were a few Ohio State commits and several possible targets in the 2015 and 2016 classes. The open gym consisted of several 10-minute, five-on-five scrimmages with a running clock.
Starting off with Jae'Sean Tate, the Pickerington Central forward was impressive as always, leading a talented unit with the help of All-Ohio Red teammate Javon Bess. Tate has proven to be a bulldog throughout the course of his career, and Sunday was no exception. The 6'5 forward attacked with a vengeance, both in the half court and in transition. Although the senior struggled a bit with his outside shot on Sunday, he made up for it with his aggressiveness on the drive. As Gahanna seniors Bess and Manny Powell had productive afternoons in the scoring department, Tate showcased greater assertiveness on offense, operating as a facilitator for a great part of Sunday's action.
A week after becoming Ohio State's first commitment in the 2015 class, King James and Dayton Dunbar point guard AJ Harris was arguably the top point guard in Columbus on Sunday. Harris was excellent in transition, using his quickness to get out on the break and create offense. The junior has a second gear on the break that rivals former Buckeye Mike Conley, which Harris used to his advantage in a street ball-type environment. Sharing the floor with Columbus Northland sophomore forward Seth Towns, the duo were exciting to watch in transition, until an ankle injury sidelined Towns for the remainder of the afternoon.
Coming down from Cleveland, big men Dave Bell and Esa Ahmad provided for one of the best front courts out of all the talent in Columbus. While Bell operated primarily in the low post, Ahmad had an all-around performance from both the post, and the perimeter. While everyone knows that Bell needs to improve his strength, the Garfield Heights center showed flashes of improvement in that area. Using his incredibly long arms, Bell snatched down an array of offensive rebounds, while also getting out on the break and running the floor.
Ahmad, who has received interest from Ohio State, had a solid showing on Sunday. As has been the case all summer, Ahmad showcased greater versatility in his offensive game, handling the ball both in the half court and on the break. While a big bulk of Cleveland's scoring came via Shaker Heights point guard T.J. Steele, who scorched the nets from three, Ahmad found ways to be productive both on the glass and the defensive end. The 2015 power forward lists offers from Dayton, Miami (FL), Wright State and Xavier.
Equally impressive for Cleveland was Lakewood St. Edward's combo-guard Kipper Nichols, who had the edge vs. Tate in the teams' second matchup of the night. In that game, Tate was held scoreless, while Nichols led Cleveland with five points and two rebounds. Nichols, who plays on the same AAU team as Harris and Ohio State targets VJ King and Luke Kennard, was arguably the top player on his team on Sunday. The 6'6 shooting guard has a developing offensive skill set, and scored amidst a high level of contact, as the players called their own fouls. After an impressive showing at the AAU Nationals in Orlando, Nichols stock has really picked up steam in recent weeks.