For most teams, the 2023 travel basketball season is almost halfway over, and for several Columbus-based teams, the Bleacher Republic-sponsored Adidas Spring Fling was well positioned to attract many of the top area teams in the younger divisions. While many of the older teams were participating in various shoe company-sponsored circuits around the country, younger teams were grinding it out closer to home before heading up to Detroit for the very competitive Hell’s Kitchen event.
Case in point, in the 3rd grade division, the event attracted three of Ohio’s top ten 2032 teams (#1 Buckeye Prep Hoopsters, #3 Ohio Hoopsters-Monarchs & #5 Charging Elite). In addition to the top 10 teams entered in this event, 3 teams in our “Honorable Mention” list (Midwest Basketball Club, Gem City Heat & Ohio Elite Basketball) showed up ready to test their team against the best in the state.
The 3rd grade division was dominated by the Buckeye Prep Hoopsters, who breezed through the tournament with little resistance. Buckeye Prep is hitting on all cylinders right now and has won 4 tournaments so far this season. The best things about this team are their half court defense, full court press, balanced scoring and ball movement. Clearly, kids are developing, and they have bought into the concept of “passing up a good shot for a better shot.” In other divisions, a couple of branded programs had a good day on Sunday, with Charging winning championships in the 4th & 5th grade divisions, while the Gem City Heat program took home titles in the 6th & 7th grade divisions. Swish Parker Elite was the last team standing in the 8th grade divisions.
Addition to gaging team success, this event gave us the opportunity to evaluate some kids we had not previously seen, and we were also able to get a closer look at some Central Ohio kids. We have to acknowledge the play of Chauncey Cumberlander III (4’4″/PG/2033/Columbus), who put on a show in the 3rd grade semi-final game against Charging Elite. From what we can tell, Cumberlander, a 2nd grader playing in the 3rd grade division, got hot from the perimeter, knocking down at least 4 treys. We’ve seen Cumberlander play on a number of occasions and this is the best performance we’ve seen to date. Consequently, his stock is up in our eyes! We were also impressed with the play of Ashton Hanna (5’4″/CG/2029/Lewis Center), who continues to demonstrate a high skill level and the ability to score the rock.
Lee Debro (4’8″/PG/2030/Pickerington, OH) was seen ballin this weekend. The diminutive PG is quick, aggressive and difficult to stop from getting to the rim. Also, his ball skills are impressive, as his ability to score the ball. We’re also seeing a lot of growth from Will Harding (4’11″/WF/2032/Northmont, Ohio), who has always rebounded the ball well playing from the high post, but he’s now stepping away from the basket and knocking down the trey ball. We look for Harding to continue to develop. Below is a complete list of our standout performers.