Starting the weekend in Euclid, a cast of Northeast Ohio basketball stars stole the show at the first annual 3rdCoastHoops Exposure Showcase on Saturday. In an event with around 70 players, several student-athletes in the 2015, '16, '17, and '18 classes put in impressive performances to open up what looks to be an exciting fall for Ohio hoops. Let's take a look at the top players at each position.
Markell Johnson (6'0 PG / Cleveland East Tech / 2017):
If you haven't seen Johnson by now, now would be a good time to go watch him play. Far and away the top guard in Ohio's class of 2017, defenders had no chance of staying in front of the explosive 6-foot guard, as Johnson had his way in the lane all day long. Scoring a game-high 26 points in a hard-fought loss vs. Anthony Christian & Co., Johnson responded with 20 points in the following game, a blowout win. Helping lead East Tech to the state final four as a freshman, look for Johnson to really explode onto the statewide scene as a sophomore.
Dwayne Cohill (6'2 SG / Cleveland Holy Name / 2018):
I haven't seen all the top guards in Ohio's class of 2018, but I'm willing to bet there's not a single one better than Cohill. At 6-foot-2, Cohill has a mature build, and can really attack the basket, finishing confidently with either hand. Although a capable shooter, Cohill is best-served on the drive, slashing through defenses for scores. Cohill is a killer in transition, and breaks defenders off with a devastating crossover move to either hand. Heading to a Holy Name program that doesn't have quite the star power that Cohill possesses, look for the wing-guard to have a successful freshman season.
(Check Cohill's highlights from the Fab Frosh Camp at the 1:27 mark)
Anthony Christian (6'3 SG / Akron Archbishop Hoban / 2016):
Arguably the strongest guard pound-for-pound in the showcase, Christian put his strong upper body to use in a set of impressive performances on Saturday. Bullying defenders to the basket for scores, Christian also showed an ability to step out and hit from the mid-range area. Playing off the ball for the entirety of the AAU season, Christian showed on Saturday that he is best served with the ball in his hands whenever he is looking to score. For whatever it's worth, Christian was seen wearing an Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary t-shirt before his second game of the day, which happens to be Hoban's archrival.
Maurico Tate (5'10 PG / Westlake / 2017):
A transfer from the Memphis area, Tate brings a level of toughess to the floor that is reminiscent of guards from his area. Constantly in attack mode, the Westlake sophomore finished on several difficult drives, and hit the open shot several times, showing a versatile offensive skill set. New to the Northeast Ohio scene, Tate could be a breakout player this season.
Anthony Carmon (6'1 PG / Cleveland East Tech / 2015):
One of the top defensive guards in the event, Carmon got it done on both ends of the floor, breaking defenders off and finishing on the drive. Equipped with quick hands and special defensive instincts, Carmon forced a flurry of steals, leading into transition opportunities for his team. A major piece in the East Tech backcourt along with Johnson, Carmon is poised for a major senior season as the Scarabs look to win yet another Senate League title.
Jeramie Burge (5'9 PG / Shaker Heights / 2016):
The younger brother of former Garfield Heights standout Al Burge, who is now at Longwood, the younger Jeramie was one of the better point guards that I saw on Saturday. Quick off the dribble, Burge can consistently get past his defender, and finishes at the rim more often than not. Although he seems to get selfish a little too much at times, Burge was dynamite at the end of the game for his team in multiple close wins.
Other Notable Guards
Tanner Castora (6'2 SG / Strongsville / 2015):
Deceptively athletic, solid shooter and capable off the dribble. Can create his own shot, and is a strong finisher. Keep an eye out on Castora this season at Strongsville.
Jayvon Graves (6'1 PG / Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary / 2017):
Tremendous athlete at the point guard position that has continued to grow and get better this summer. Killer in transition, where he is at his best. Played really well alongside Yavari Hall.
Brooks Simms (6'2 SG / Cleveland John Adams / 2015):
Simms is another tough, gritty guard from the Senate League that can flat out light it up from anywhere on the floor. Was one of the better guards that I watched on Saturday. Should be John Adams' go-to scorer this season.
Ondrej Brown (5'6 PG / Garfield Heights / 2015):
One of the hardest-working players in the state, Brown is always in the gym. Playing in several elite camps this summer, Brown has taken a unique route to this point in his prep career. Spending three years at Garfield Heights, Brown has yet to try out for the actual basketball team, but hopefully that will change in his senior year. A quick guard with improving handle, Brown makes correct decisions in transition, and can extend and finish near the basket.
Roy Hatchett (6'1 PG / Cleveland Glenville / 2015):
Shifty guard with scoring ability. Utilizes devastating crossover to create separation and score. Should be Glenville's go-to man with the graduation of Akron freshman Jimond Ivey.
Frankie Hughes (6'5 SG / Garfield Heights / 2016):
The top performer in the entire event, Hughes was flat-out elite on Saturday. With an unbelievable ceiling, Hughes put it all to use, breaking defenders off the dribble to finish thunderous dunks above the rim, while also stepping out and hitting consistently from the perimeter. Coming off the bench for 34 points in his first game of the day, Hughes was completely un-guardable, weaving through two, sometimes three defenders and making it look easy all at the same time. With the graduation of Chelvonte Montgomery and Dave Bell, look for Hughes to resume a major leadership role on coach Sonny Johnson's Garfield squad.
Antwon Lillard (6'5 SG / Cleveland Central Catholic / 2015):
One of my favorite players to watch in the 2015 class, Lillard consistently brings it to each end of the floor every time I see him play. Long and rangy at 6-foot-5, Lillard plays with a motor at all times, and is constantly making the correct plays, which is a major reason why his teams always seem to win in these type of events. A capable shooter from the perimeter, Lillard is an above-average athlete that can finish at the rim, while also anticipating passing lanes on the defensive perimeter. With offers from Cleveland State, Kent State, and Manhattan, Lillard would be a treat for any low-to-mid major program looking for a versatile scoring combo-guard.
Devon Andrews (6'5 SG / Lorain / 2015):
One of the top five most talented players in Ohio's class of 2015, Andrews' potential is limitless. A hybrid of a guard-forward, Andrews can play up to three positions, and is absolutely deadly in transition where his elite-level athleticism makes the difference. When Andrews isn't settling for jump shots and is in attack mode, he can do it all, using great vision to find teammates for scores. Paired with Cohill, Tate, and Jaquan Harrison, Andrews' team was the best in the entire event, running through competition for big wins. Committed to Kent State, Andrews would be a tremendous addition to the Golden Flashes program.
Yavari Hall (6'6 SG / Warrrensville Heights / 2016):
One of the more promising wing prospects in Ohio's class of 2016, Warrensville's Hall has continued to improve this summer. After scorching the nets from three in the AAU circuit, Hall did much more of that on Saturday. scoring from everywhere on the floor, but killing especially in transition. A long-armed 6-foot-6 wing guard, Hall is a difficult matchup for most defenders, as he is able to overpower smaller guards, while being able to extend the floor and shoot over bigger forwards. Look for Hall to be a top performer in Northeast Ohio this season, as he should be the go-to man at Warrensville.
Jaquan Harrison (6'4 SF / Columbus Africentric / 2015):
After a knee injury plagued Harrison in the last month of the AAU season, the Africentric senior was back to his old tricks on Saturday, using his uber elite-level athleticism to make plays on all ends of the floor. The only non-Northeast Ohio player in the entire event, Harrison left his mark in Euclid, rocking the rim for several powerful slams, while swatting seven transition lay ups in his first game of the day on Saturday. An incredible athlete that can score inside, rebound, and especially defend on the perimeter, Harrison still holds on to just one Division I offer from Bethune-Cookman.
Derek Funderburk (6'9 PF / Lakewood St. Edward / 2016):
Arguably the highest upside post in Ohio's class of 2016, Funderburk showed flashes of just how great he could be in the future with a set of impressive performances on Saturday. With a unique ability to put the ball on the floor and score, Funderburk also showed off a smooth jump hook, going over the right shoulder. The 6-foot-9 rising junior was also active on the glass, attacking the boards for offensive rebounds and put backs. After Ohio State missed out on Jon Teske and Matt Moyer, Funderburk looks to be the Buckeyes' No. 1 priority in Ohio's class of 2016.
Nolan Gerrity (6'8 PF / Berea-Midpark / 2015):
Fundamentally sound and solid around the basket, Gerrity was a treat to watch in the post on Saturday. Stepping up to the challenge in a primetime matchup vs. Funderburk, Gerrity would go for a game-high 22 points, in addition to eight rebounds. At 6-foot-8, Gerrity is long and stays active on both ends of the floor. One of the best post players in Northeast Ohio, keep an eye on Gerrity as he enters his senior season.
Other Notable Posts
Montell McRae (6'8 PF / Cleveland Central Catholic / 2015):
Long and mobile 6-foot-8 big man that can step out and shoot. McRae alters a moderate percentage of shots around the rim, and can really rebound when he is committed to that part of the game.
Jahmere Howze (6'7 PF / Warrensville Heights / 2015):
Constantly improving big man that is showing a greater offensive arsenal around the basket. Plays with a high motor and is always making things happen. Should have a pretty big senior year for Warrensville.
Malik Smith (6'6 PF / Cleveland Heights / 2016):
A transfer from Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph, Smith was a breakout performer on Saturday, doing damage inside the paint, and out on the perimeter. An above-average athlete with a thick build, Smith will be a major addition to Cleveland Heights alongside with elite 2017 combo-forward Jaylen Harris, who also comes over from Villa Angela-St. Joseph.