My Super Sweet Sixteen (All Ohio Edition)
Recapping the Nike All-Ohio Super Sixteen.
The Nike All Ohio Super Sixteen was slated to bring some of the elite players from the Midwest to Columbus for a short, two day shootout. Teams not showing up (Boo Williams), schedule clarification issues (Spiece Indy Heat), and college visits (Adreian Payne for the first day) left the event without the star power that was expected. Regardless, it still offered a solid group of youngsters who will be playing at a high-major program near you.
The host All-Ohio Red program swept the event, snagging championships in the 14-U, 15-U, 16-U, and 17-U age groups respectively. Their 17-U group is tops in the country, losing only 3 games in the last 3 AAU seasons. This dynasty was missing top 50 recruit Jordan Sibert (Ohio State verbal) for 2 of those games, so you have an idea how loaded their squad is. Their only other loss came to Mike Duncan’s Ohio Basketball Club, an Adidas based team that has produced over 20 NBA players.
Here is a look at some of the top ballers the event had to offer:
Jared Sullinger (right), 6-8, Power Forward, Columbus Northland (OH), 2010: Another tournament, another championship for Sullinger’s All-Ohio Red unit. The big fella was dominant in the paint, but also showed an improving J from beyond the arc. Simply put, he was a man amongst boys and left no doubt in anyone’s mind why he’s amongst the five best seniors in the country. The Ohio State recruit still has a ways to go with his body and athleticism before he will be a guy we are talking about on NBA Draft lottery shows, but there’s no denying the productivity he brings to the table.
Aaron Craft (below), 6-2, Point Guard, Findlay (OH), 2010: Craft has been the catalyst of All-Ohio Red’s winning efforts this spring with all of the things that don’t show up in the box score. The Tennessee verbal puts the clamps on people defensively, draws charges, and controls the tempo of the game on the offensive end. It’s always rare to see a 17 year old kid play with the poise of an NBA vet, so we give props to Bruce Pearl for seeing this and offering Craft a scholly early on when he was only hearing from mid-major programs.
Adreian Payne, 6-10, Power Forward, Dayton Jefferson (OH), 2010: While Sullinger is the model of productivity with restricted upside, his frontcourt teammate Payne is the polar opposite. Standing 6’10 with a 7’4 wingspan and great athleticism, you’re looking at a kid who offers a physical package that most power forward’s prepping for next month’s draft don’t offer. Unfortunately for Payne, he doesn’t always put these tools to use, as seen by his scoreless performance in the championship game.
In his defense, the long post player was listening to Coach Calipari’s pitch on a visit to UK the day before and arrived late to the tournament on Sunday. You’d still like to see a top ten player in the country give you more then a goose egg in the finals, though.
Lenzelle Smith, 6-3, Point Guard/Shooting guard, Zion Benton (IL), 2010: An Ohio State recruit, Smith fell to his future Buckeye teammate Sullinger in the 17-U finals. The husky combo guard threw his weight around and abused smaller defenders in the post, while also showing gorgeous court vision. As long as he is able to keep his weight under control, he should see some immediate playing time in Columbus as a frosh, given the Buckeye’s desperate need at the point guard position.
Ben Brust, 6-3, Point Guard, Mundelein (IL), 2010: Brust continued his surprising play this spring all the way through this event and into the championship game. Showing off a nice jumper from beyond the arc and some sneaky athleticism, he caught a couple of defenders sleeping a banged a couple of dunks in half court sets. Sporting offers from schools such as Iowa and Northwestern, Brust really has the opportunity to blow up in the July evaluation period if he keeps this level of play up.
Michael Chandler, 6-10, Center, Lawrence North (IN), 2011: Following in Greg Oden’s foot steps, Chandler is the next big thing to come out of Lawrence North. Unlike most young big guys at this state, the Louisville recruit already has a number of moves on the offensive end and can finish with both hands. Throw in his big body and athleticism and it’s easy to see with Rick P offered him a scholarship so early. Chandler also had the dunk of the tournament, posterizing a number of helpless Friends For Life defender’s on a monster tip dunk on day one.