By most accounts, the Inaugural Buckeye Prep Thanksgiving Shootout was a complete success! Designed to provide 2nd and 3rd grade teams an opportunity to play AAU level basketball during the winter, the first-year event delivered. Of the two divisions, the 3rd grade division was by far the most competitive.  With the nationally ranked and Louisville, Kentucky-based J. Anthony Elite, plus the defending 2031 AAU National Champions in Team Charging, and a Buckeye Prep Hoopsters 2031 team that included 2 of the top 3rd graders in the country in Trice Carter and Zander Pughsley, the stage was set for a competitive weekend of basketball.  Although they have not received the national recognition they deserve, the 2031 Flint Flames made some real noise in Columbus, Ohio over the weekend.  In fact, on day one of the event, powered by a 23-point outburst from Rocket Williams (4’5″/PG/2031/Flint, MI), the Michigan-based Flames upset J Anthony Elite (42-28) in pool play. It should be noted that J Anthony Elite exacted some revenge with a lopsided win over the Flames in the semi-final game (34-11).

As we always do, one of our goals was to identify the standout performs at the event. Although we detail about 20 players who logged in standout performances, there are several kids who really impressed us with their level of play.  One such player was Landon Miller (4’8/CG/2031/Dublin, OH).  Miller is a 3-level scorer who finishes near the basket at a high rate. In the semi-final game, Miller led his team with a team-high 13 points. Also,  Trice Carter (4’6″/PG/2031/Ironton, OH), displayed a complete and dynamic game.  Carter has good size, he’s athletic, and his skill set and scoring ability are beyond his years.  Carter also has a good feel for the game and can create his own shot. A 3-level scorer, Carter has boat load of potential!  His teammate, Zander Pughsley (4’4″/PG/2021/Columbus, OH), was impressive as well. What’s most impressive about Pughsley is his grit, scrappiness and ability to impact a game at both ends of the court.  Pound for pound, Pughsley plays harder than any kid in his class.

As you would expect, the 2032 division was dominated by Team BNU, who easily cruised to the 2nd grade championship game. Almost as dominate as his team was Marion “Big Baby” Matthews, who led his team in scoring and rebounds.  Although he’s big, strong and physical in the post, Matthews is light on his feet, can handle the rock in transition and finds open teammates on the break with excellent outlet passes.  Moreover, we had another opportunity to watch Joshua Anthony (5’0″/CG/2031/Lousiville, KY) play, and we’re still very impressed with his level of play.  Anthony is the clear leader on his team and he has consistently performed at a high level.  From what we’ve seen, this kid has a chance to play some big time basketball with continued growth and development.  We also have to give a shoutout to Penny King (4’5″/PG/2032/Knoxville, TN), who ran his team like a true floor general, found open teammates and scored the ball when his team needed a bucket. He plays with good pace, is poised, and gets to his spots. From event to event, King has consistently shined.  Below is a more expansive list of the standout performers over the course of the weekend.  We hope to see these teams and players back at our Buckeye Prep Invitational Tournament the weekend of March 25th-27th.  No other media outlet is going to pay as much attention to these classes than the Buckeye Prep Report!

Tournament Results

Zander Pughsley

Marion “Big Baby” Mathews

Rocket Williams

Trice Carter

Landon Miller

Josh Anthony

Penny King

Markee Davis

Nolan Moore

Trustin Farmer

Jase Owens

Jack Shaker

Porter Witts

Adrian Hall

David Johnson III

Zaiden (LNU)

Milze Carter

David Perry

Landon Jones

Rush Anstine

Anthony Burns Jr.

Tony Jones Jr.

Bobby Peebles

Maddox Perry

Name Hgt/Pos Class City Evaluation Notes
Rocket Williams 4’6″/CG 2031 Flint, MI Elite shooter with range, drained 5 treys & scored a game-high 23 points in a game we watched
Zander Pughsley 4’5″/PG 2031 Columbus, OH Super quick, super skilled, ultimate competitor, gets to the cup and fishes at a high rate, can shoot & make plays, elite defender, scrappy, converts free throws, stays in the paint, impacts the game on both ends of the court, has euro-step
Marion Matthews 4’10″/PF 2032 Dayton OH Great size, big body, handles the rock well for his size, elite rebounder, excellent passer for size, physical, finishes well through contact, outlets the ball at a high level, scores at a high rate in the paint
Trice Carter 4’6″/PG 2031 Ironton, OH Elite skill set, 3-level scorer, mature game, great feel for the game, gets buckets, elite ball skills, can score & make plays, creates his own shot, good court vision & passing skills, special talent, prospect
Trustin Farmer 4’6″/CG 2031 Flint, MI Quick, handles the ball well, stays in attack mode, gets to the basket, can score the rock
Penny King 4’5″/PG 2032 Knoxville, TN Excellent skill set, has a good feel for the game, handles the rock well, solid court vision and passing ability, plays w/good pace, poised
Nolan Moore 4’8″/PF 2031 Reynoldsburg, OH Good length, skilled, surprisingly athletic, finishes well, can shoot it
Adrian Hall 4’5″/PG 2031 Louisville, OH Super skilled PG w/high basketball IQ, quick, solid court vision & passing skills, tough, good feel for the game
Joshua Anthony 5’0″/CG 2031 Louisville, OH Long, athletic, solid ball skills, has several combo moves, gets to and finishes at the basket, aggressive, 3-level scorer, knocks down catch & shoot treys.
Markee Davis 4’6″/CG 2031 Flint, MI Can nock down the 3-ball, solid ball skills
Jase Owens 4’6″/PF 2032 Columbus, OH Can score the ball, gets to his spots, is continuing to develop
Landon Miller 4’9″/SG 2031 Dublin, OH Good size, athletic, solid skill set, has floater & mid-range jumper, finishes at a high rate
Porter Witts 4’2″/PG 2033 Canton, OH Small but tough, handles the ball well, skilled, his team’s leading scorer
Milze Carter 4’3″/PG 2032 Canton, OH Solid skill set for his age, can score the rock, gets to the cup
David Johnson III 4’5″/SG 2032 Worthington, OH Good size, defends on-ball well, can score
David Perry 4’9″/SG 2032 Trotwood, OH Good size, athletic, excellent defender, physical
Bobby Peebles III 4’5″/PG 2032 St. Louis, MO Excellent ball skills, can create his own shot, changes speed & direction well, quick
Jack Shaker 4’5″/CG 2031 Powell, OH Skilled, changes speed & direction well, tough as nails, high basketball IQ, plays hard, solid ball skills, sees the court well, willing passer
Zaiden Kirk 4’5″/CG 2031 Louisville, KY Strong, physical, aggressive to the basket, solid handle, can score the rock
Tony Jones Jr. 4’4″/PG 2032 Columbus, OH Excellent defender, tough, plays hard, solid handle
Anthony Burns Jr. 4’8″/CG 2031 Garfield Heights, OH Solid skill set, can knock down catch & shoot treys, hit multiple treys in semi-final game
Rush Anstine 4’7″/WF 2031 Columbus, OH Solid skill set, high basketball IQ, motor
Landon Jones 5’3″/PF 2031 Louisville, KY Good size, athletic, rim protector, runs the floor well, soft touch around the basket