On a basketball-filled day at Kettering's Trent Arena on Sunday, several of the region's top players had performances to remember. Let's take a look at some of Sunday's top performers from Flyin' To The Hoop.
Javon Bess (6'5 SG / Gahanna / 2014):
Playing arguably his best game of the season, Bess' 30 points and nine rebounds led Gahanna to a hard-fought 65-57 win vs. the host Kettering Fairmont. Dominating on each side of the ball, Bess was an impossible matchup for Fairmont, who had neither the size, strength or athleticism to contain the 6'5 combo-guard. Knocking down three of fives shots from behind-the-arc, Bess continued to show off his improved perimeter shooting, one of the major reasons why Tom Izzo sees lots of promise in the Gahanna senior.
Esa Ahmad (6'8 PF / Shaker Heights / 2015):
Continuing a dominant junior season, Ahmad's 28 points and nine rebounds were a major part in the Raiders' 76-71 victory over St. Louis Christian Brothers. Matched up with Texas commit Jordan Barnett, Ahmad got the best of the future Longhorn, scoring a plethora of points off the drive near the basket. Teamed up with 5'5 point guard TJ Steele, Ahmad and the Raiders are a tough unit that gets the job done on both ends of the floor, while never seeming to get rattled. With the versatility to play up to four positions, Ahmad continues to elevate his stock in the nation among the top forward prospects in the class of 2015. Going for 28 and 9 in front of West Virginia coach Bob Huggins on Sunday, Ahmad should be a lock in the top 100 for every national recruiting database.
Keita Bates-Diop (6'7 SF / University, IL / 2014):
Scorching the nets from behind-the-arc, Bates-Diop gave Buckeye fans in attendance a glimpse of the future that the 6'7 forward intends to bring to Columbus. Going off for a game-high 31 points in University's 89-78 loss to Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, the lanky forward was a difficult matchup for nearly every defender that the Irish threw at him. Beginning the game with four consecutive three-point field goals, Bates-Diop lit it up again in the second half, scoring 14 of his 31 in the third quarter alone. In a recruiting class that includes highly-ranked guards D'Angelo Russell and Jae'Sean Tate, Thad Matta should have no shortage of offense beginning in the fall of 2014.
V.J. King (6'7 SG / Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary / 2016):
The unanimous No. 1 sophomore prospect in Ohio, King proved exactly why he is deserving of the top spot in a talented 2016 class. Ripping off a team-high 30 points, King knocked down an array of difficult shots, in addition to getting out in transition for high-flying finishes in the open floor. Matched up with Bates-Diop for a great deal of Sunday's action, King showed no signs of backing down to the highly-ranked senior. Scoring an efficient 30 points on Sunday, King excelled with the step-back, pull-up and fadeaway jump shots, looking to be an improved shooter from the summer. With a high level of maturity in a skill set that is improving game by game, King will only continue to elevate his game as the years go on, which quite frankly, is scary to imagine.
Jalen Hudson (6'6 SG / Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary / 2014):
Putting on a show in a high-flying first half, the Virginia Tech commit Hudson would finish with 23 points and four rebounds in helping lead the Irish to a big win over Bates-Diop and University. Throwing down three high-energy jams, none bigger than this poster slam over a taller defender, Hudson showed exactly why he will be a difficult matchup for opposing guards when he makes his way to Blacksburg, Virginia later this year. With the ability to stretch the floor with above-average jump-shooting, Hudson also has an elite ability to attack the lane and finish above the rim. With Hudson and King in the backcourt, coach Dru Joyce has two of the state's top wings at his disposal on any given night.
Emmanuel Mudiay (6'5 PG / Dallas Prime Prep / 2014):
Coming into Sunday as the No. 5 player in the entire country, Mudiay proved it with a 20-point, 7-rebound, and 3-assist performance in a 72-53 win over Garfield Heights on Sunday night. With incredible size, strength and athleticism for the point guard position, Mudiay showed impressive versatility for Prime Prep, playing several positions and rising above taller defenders for rebounds. Shocking the nation with a commitment to SMU earlier in 2013, Mudiay looks to flourish under legendary coach Larry Brown in the fall.With a noticeable level of flash to his play style, Mudiay will be one of college basketball's top freshmen to watch next season.
Chelvonte Montgomery (5'11 SG / Garfield Heights / 2014):
Picking up an offer from Division-II Fairmont State after an impressive 24-point, 7-rebound performance vs. Prime Prep, Montgomery showed exactly why some believe he is the top senior in Northeast Ohio. Although a bit undersized for the shooting guard position, Montgomery makes up for it with strength and toughness, two qualities that help the senior get to the rim and finish. Treating each possession as a challenge, Montgomery was zoned in from the start, and showed no signs of backing down to a highly-ranked Prime Prep squad. Despite scoring a great deal of his points near the basket, Montgomery also flashed an ability to hit from the perimeter, converting on two of his three attempts from behind-the-arc.
Xeyrius Williams (6'8 SF / Huber Heights Wayne / 2015):
In the day's opener vs. Justin Jackson and HCYA, Williams had one of his top performances this season, going for 20 points and eight rebounds. One of Ohio's most promising juniors, Williams has improved each time I've seen him, and will only continue to get better as his skill set becomes more and more refined by the day. At 6'8, Williams has incredible length and athleticism, while also having the versatility to guard up to four positions on the floor. Alongside fellow junior forward Ahmad Wagner, the duo combined for 38 points to help lead Wayne to a 74-67 win over Jackson's HCYA squad. An excellent student of the game with an easy-to-coach mentality, look for Williams to continue to see boosts in his recruitment as time goes on.