One night removed from a 50-36 defensive title bout between Upper Arlington and Northland, Sunday's Hidden Gems Spring Showcase was a much different feel from the night before. With a roster full of flashy guards, forwards, and several talented big men, let's take a look at some of the day's top performers.
Jaquan Harrison (6'3 Junior SF / Columbus Africentric):
By now, Harrison has become a bit of a legend at the Hidden Gems seasonal showcases. In a style of play that suits Harrison's strengths, the 6'3 combo-guard razzled and dazzled with strong drives to the cup, often resulting in powerful slams. Taking over the reigns as Africentric's leader in a run to a regional runner-up finish, Harrison is suited for a breakout summer leading into a senior season with high expectations.
Khalil Iverson (6'5 Junior PF / Delaware Hayes):
Arguably the most dominant player at the showcase on Sunday, Iverson picked up right where he left out after a highly successful junior season at Delaware Hayes. One of the top athletes in Ohio, Iverson is a complete force to be reckoned with, as his above-average strength, bounce, and natural scoring ability make him one of the state's top junior forwards. Receiving several looks from multiple mid-major to high-major programs, Iverson looks to keep progressing as an all important AAU season awaits.
Mike Hall (6'6 Junior PF / Warren Local):
Division I quality combo-forward with above-average athleticism and scoring-ability. Hall has a great feel for the game, and is always highly-productive, as he gives maximum effort each time he is on the floor. Formed a great duo for Warren Local as Hall and West Liberty commit Evan French were two of Southeast Ohio's top scorers this past season. At this point, Hall is more of an undersized four, but has shown improvement in his perimeter skills over the course of the last year.
Dymiere Finch (6'1 Senior PG / Columbus Walnut Ridge):
Quality scoring point guard that excels in free-flowing events such as Sunday's showcase. Shifty ball-handler that has shown to be a flashy distributor in the open floor, in addition to being able to score with contact around the rim. Hasn't shown the greatest confidence with his jump-shooting, but knocked down more than he missed on Sunday.
Joey Schmitz (6'1 Senior SG / Bloom-Carroll):
High-scoring sleeper in Central Ohio that can really light it up from deep. Schmitz is very strong and saves his biggest performances for the biggest games. Had one of his best performances in a district final loss to Eastmoor this month, in which Schmitz went for a game-high 29 points, scorching the nets from three even with a hand in his face. Receiving several Division II looks, Schimtz should be a quality addition for whichever college he chooses late in the recruiting process.
Jalon Lewis (6'1 Junior PG / Columbus Eastmoor Academy):
Solid all-around point guard that excelled with his pull-up jump shot in transition. Quality ball-handler that always has his eyes up court. Lewis has good vision and handles perimeter pressure pretty well. Hit some major shots late in games for Eastmoor this season, as Lewis was arguably the top reserve point guard in Central Ohio in 2013-14.
Akiean Frederick (6'6 Senior PF / Columbus Franklin Heights):
High-quality power forward with a refined post game and finishing ability around the rim. Has improved tremendously over the course of the year, and is effective at carving out space on the block to put himself in a position to score. Exploded onto the scene in Central Ohio this season, leading Franklin Heights to a winning record, while averaging more than 18 points and nine rebounds per game.
Tyrell Edmiston (6'4 Junior PF / Plymouth):
Undersized four but plays much bigger than his height as the junior is a great athlete with a thick build. Edmiston is an anchor on the block and has elite level bounce. Rebounded pretty well on Sunday, but has been known to have a questionable motor throughout his time at Plymouth. Relatively unknown at this point, but his performance on Sunday has put him on the radar at least.
Xavier Holston-Sims (6'1 Junior PG / Columbus Eastmoor Academy):
Arguably the top all-around point guard in attendance on Sunday. Excellent ball-handler with great vision. Handles pressure very well, and attacks the basket easily. Effective as a distributor in transition that can get the ball up court in a hurry. Eastmoor's starting point guard as a junior that will have to pick up the scoring load next season as the Warriors graduate a great deal of its scoring from this season.
Joseph Thomas (6'4 Junior SF / Columbus Centennial):
Intriguing combo-forward with natural scoring ability but has shown to have a questionable motor at times. Averaged 18 points and 13 rebounds as a junior en route to earning first team All-City League honors. Can get his shot off against any defender, and showed an ability to score both inside and out on the perimeter. Has a long frame and a great second bounce, helping Thomas become a threat to block shots in the low post.
Ben Evans (6'9 Junior PF / Delaware Christian):
Lengthy junior post with quality footwork and fundamentals around the basket. Showed an ability to run the floor, and defend on the post. Has gone relatively unnoticed at Delaware Christian, but would be a quality addition for any AAU program looking for a serviceable post man that can defend on the low block.
Jahmal Hughes (5'10 Senior PG / Columbus Eastmoor Academy):
High IQ senior guard with unlimited range. Unorthodox shooting motion, but Hughes gets his shot to fall often enough where you really can't complain. Crafty slasher that shows good body-control when weaving through traffic to get his patented floater to fall. One of the key pieces in a deep Eastmoor backcourt that helped lead the Warriors to a district title.
Asante Patterson (6'0 Junior SG / Dayton Thurgood Marshall):
Impressive athlete that is best served slashing to the basket for scores. Efficient in transition and showed an ability at times to knock down shots from the perimeter. Had a few impressive moments when I watched him in the regular season earlier this year.
RJ Mims (5'7 Senior PG / Whitehall):
Ultimate energy guy. Mims is a terror in high-paced events like Sunday's showcase. Plays defense for 94 feet, and is a strongly built senior guard with quality burst. Not the most consistent perimeter shooter, but makes up for it with slashing ability and impressive athleticism. Adjusted his game to suit the pieces on Whitehall's roster this past season, which was one of the main reasons why the Rams won the Mid State League-Ohio Division title.
Raymel Franklin (6'3 Junior SF / Cleveland Garfield Heights):
Above-average athlete that made several quality plays around the rim on Sunday. Another piece to what is seemingly a basketball factory at Garfield Heights, Franklin has a high ceiling and should get a chance to really produce as a senior. Active on defense, Franklin was effective scoring the ball in the open floor on Sunday.
Nic Bapst (6'2 Junior SG / Grove City):
High-scoring junior guard that has undervalued athleticism and a nose for the ball. Excelled alongside Eastmoor guard Holston-Sims, and showed an ability to knock down shots from the perimeter. One of the area's leading scorers as a junior, Bapst is primed for a breakout summer leading into a senior season at Grove City with high expectations.
Elijah Pughsley (6'1 Junior SG / Cincinnati Hughes):
Streaky-scoring guard that has range up to 35 feet. One of the key contributors on a Hughes team that had the potential to do some real damage in the postseason. Has shown an ability to score with contact around the rim at times, but is still best served as a perimeter shooter.
Reece Dupler (6'2 Junior SG / Lakewood):
Dead eye shooter that has continued to improve his scoring with the ball in his hands. High IQ player that will constantly make the right play. Lakewood's leader scorer as a junior, and should lead the Licking County League in scoring as a senior.
Josh Chellers (6'4 Junior SF / Columbus Beechcroft):
Built like an NFL defensive end, Chellers showed a crazy level of athleticism on Sunday. In addition to his high-flying theatrics around the rim, the junior forward also showed an ability to step out on the perimeter, and be a consistent knockdown shooter. Has shown to have a questionable motor at times, but could become a really solid player if he continues to work hard on his game. Has the potential to be a first team All-City League type player.
Rodney Willis (6'3 Junior SF / Columbus Briggs):
Highly athletic combo-guard that excelled on a team complete with high-flying wings. Constantly aggressive and attacks the rim with vengeance. Can be overly animated on the court at times, but when Willis is dialed in, the junior can really score the basketball. Will have to be Briggs' primary scorer as a senior, as the Bruins graduate top contributors in Travon Hester and Dante Brown.
Chase Brown (5'9 Junior PG / Columbus Africentric):
One of the better junior point guards in attendance on Sunday, and continued to improve his stock after a solid finish to his season in Africentric's run to the regional finals. Has quick hands, and is great at forcing steals in the open floor, while having quality vision on the offensive end. Puts great touch on his passes, and is a crafty finisher around the rim. Brown's jump shooting is still a work in progress, but the junior is a shifty guard that looks to have quite a bit of promise.
Coy Van Tillburg (6'1 Junior SG / Mansfield Madison):
Quality scoring guard that was able to score inside and out, most excelling with perimeter shooting. Also showed an ability to attack the basket, but showed the most rhythm with his pull-up jump shot.
Jalen Malone (6' Senior PG / Westerville Central):
Rock solid senior guard that had an impressive performance on Sunday, just a week after putting up 19 points vs. Northland in the district finals. Streaky shooter that scores in spurts, and has an ability to take over the game at any time. One of the better unsigned seniors remaining in Central Ohio that really improved his stock in the last month of the season.
Will Maynus (6'5 Sophomore SF / Westerville Central):
Explosive athlete that attacked the basket relentlessly on Sunday. Has a questionable motor, but when Maynus is dialed in, he can be one of the area's top sophomores. Didn't play in the AAU circuit last year, as he was one of the state's top track athletes, competing in events all summer long. Showed long shooting range, and a full offensive arsenal, only adding to the potential that Maynus ultimately possesses.
Jaylin Bannerman (6'4 Sophomore PF / Pickerington Central):
Athletic forward that can make things happen on the floor while not having much of a skill set. Best served on the block on offense, while being a high-quality rebounder, often creating second chances for himself and his teammates. Received quite a bit of varsity action as a sophomore, and is likely to crack the full time starting lineup as a junior.
Kalib Younger (6'3 Sophomore PG / Columbus Walnut Ridge):
Big point guard that showed a high level of activity on the defensive side of the ball. While Younger struggled a bit from the perimeter, the sophomore guard had little issues in finding his way to the basket. Has to work on finishing better around the rim, but will see extended minutes as a junior as Walnut Ridge graduates its entire backcourt.
James Manns (6'6 Sophomore SF / Columbus Marion-Franklin):
Still raw, but has an extremely high ceiling. Great athlete that can be really effective when he is fully dialed in. Showed a greater ability to hit shots from the perimeter, but did the most damage around the rim. One of Ohio's top sophomore forwards that should continue to rise on the summer circuit with All-Ohio Red.
Raheem Smith (5'10 Freshman PG / Gahanna Lincoln):
Stocky point guard that showed no fear in attacking the basket. Showed good vision and unselfishness. Might have a shot at cracking the varsity roster as Gahanna graduates several talented seniors.
Brian Thompson (6'0 Sophomore SG / Columbus Whetstone):
Athletic guard that always seemed to be around the ball. Active defender, finished pretty well in traffic. Should see an increase in minutes as a junior. Will be looked to provide some scoring for Whetstone, as the Braves graduate top-scoring senior guard Aaron Adair.
Jordan Davis (6'5 Sophomore C / Cleveland Garfield Heights):
Thick, wide-bodied post that was an anchor on the block on Sunday. Never lost a rebound and showed good body control around the rim. Aggressive and wasn't hesitant to challenge any shot that was attempted in his vicinity. Should see more varsity action as a junior as Garfield Heights graduates its top post man, Ohio State commit Dave Bell.
Ricky Lightner (6'0 Sophomore PG / Toledo Springfield):
High-scoring guard with quickness and great vision. Showed to be a streaky shooter, hitting six in a row from the perimeter at one point on Sunday. One of several quality underclassmen on a Toledo Springfield team that should be one of the most talented in Northwest Ohio next season.
Zane Laws (5'11 Sophomore SG / Upper Arlington):
Long-armed sophomore that scored some difficult baskets in traffic and in transition. Played on the junior varsity team this year, and should get some varsity action as Upper Arlington graduates the majority of its scoring from a team two wins away from its first state championship since 1937.
Christian Carter (6'1 Freshman SG / Thomas Worthington):
Quality scoring guard that showed decent quickness. Hit a few shots from the perimeter, and was able to finish in traffic. Should see some varsity minutes as a sophomore on a Thomas Worthington team that graduates some top talent after a less than stellar season.
Luke Mayer (6'5 Sophomore PF / Hilliard Davidson):
Lengthy 6'5 sophomore forward with surprising athleticism. Showed an ability to finish with contact, and finish strongly around the rim. Rose up for back-to-back dunks in the opening game on Sunday, with the second dunk coming over a defender. Should see significant minutes as a junior on a Davidson team with decent size, but not enough production. Sunday was Mayer's first game back in action after missing a great deal of time as a sophomore recovering from ear surgery.