After catching the 7th & 8th graders in action last week at the Columbus based Brick League, we headed back over to New Covenant Believers Church on Saturday to see what’s happening with the 5th and 6th graders. Although we were only able to checkout the first 2 rounds of games, there were a couple of players that caught our eye. The best 2 players we saw while we were there both played for an Upper Arlington-based team. Charlie Freiberger’s (4’8”/PG/2027/Upper Arlington) offensive production garnered him “Game MVP” honors, but he was much more than a scorer. Yes, he has an advanced handle and several dribble moves that aid him in breaking down his defender and getting into the lane, but he’s a playmaker and difference maker as well. He’s also a scrappy little floor general who sees the floor well, creates easy shots for teammates, all with a little swag. Bottom line, he’s smart and already understands the game beyond his years.
His teammate, Luke Mitchell (5’1”/CG/2027/Upper Arlington) was just about as productive. A bigger guard who has good size and strength and uses both attributes to get to the cup and finish at a high rate. Mitchell is a scorer, makes makes good decisions with the rock in his hands, and plays a tough brand of ball. We had him listed in our initial rankings, but with his play today he deserves and upgrade! We also really liked Mekhi Roddy (5’3”/SG/2027/Columbus) who played his way into MVP honors. Good size and strength best describes Roddy, Keep an eye on Caleb Ervin (5’1”/PG/2027/Gahanna) as well, as his length and ability to get to the cup are worth noting. Irvin is also a sold defender who, with continued hard work and development, could be a good high school player. We have to give some props to Ant Porter (4’0″/PG/2027/Pickerington), a scrappy little PG who showed toughness. Until we realized that Ethan Stewart (CG/2028/Columbus) and Nysean Pollard (SG/2028/Columbus) were 5th graders playing against 6th graders, we were a little underwhelmed. However, because they were younger kids playing up and holding their own, we have to give them their props. We intend to catch them both play against kids their own age going forward.
In addition to the Upper Arlington kids, there were a couple of bigs that really intrigued us. Sir Davion Jackson (5’9”/C/2027/Columbus) is a big kid, and will probably continue to be a big kid going forward. He’s still developing in terms of his offensive and defensive skills, but with continued growth and development, he could end up being a good long term post prospect in a few years. The same things can be said about Pharroahe Zaire (6’2”/C/2027/Columbus). When we say Zaire is HUGE, that’s exactly what we mean! An absolute man-child who was not only bigger than any player on any court, he was bigger than most coaches in the gym! Although he’s incredibly raw, and probably has never played any serious basketball in the past, any kid this big has to be tracked. Oh yea, he’s not an old kid, as he is only 12 years old. If we had to guess, football is probably in his future. Next time we hope to spend a little more time with this division in order to do a more thorough job with coverage.