High School Road Trip: Pre-Season Edition
Big attractions show out at the National Prep Tip-Off.
by Rodger Bohn / @rodgerbohn
With the high school hoops season getting ready to tip off in most states throughout the country, my man Ty Kish from City League Hoops and I decided to take a little road trip throughout Ohio and Pennsylvania to take in as much action as we could to get our prep fix. Two days, 10 games, and countless miles later we killed our jones–albeit temporarily.
We started off Saturday morning watching two of the more storied programs in the state of Ohio scrimmage each other. Cleveland Heights, which produces countless DI players year in and year out, offered a nice group of talented underclassmen. Their opponent was the home of the King, St. Vincent St. Mary out of Akron.
From there, we shot out to tiny Saltsburg, PA to peep the National Prep Tip-Off at The Kiski School. I’m an ‘80s baby, but felt like I was born in the ’40s with ambiance of this place. The restaurant that we were referred to by coaches was legit in terms of the cuisine, but everything else about the place screamed creepy. From the waiter who looked like he was in a ‘50s horror movie, to the incredibly slow service because everything was “made by hand,” to the fact that they couldn’t comprehend splitting a check… it was just hella weird.
Needless to say, we made it out alive and saw some great hoops. The field was eight teams deep, with Princeton Day Academy out of Maryland and host Kiski being a cut above the rest. Princeton Day narrowly got the W over Kiski in a crazy exciting game that offered around 15 DI players.
Here’s a peak at some of the top ballers we saw:
Sim Bhullar | 7-5 | C | Kiski School | 2012
SLAMonline first chronicled Sim and his little brother Tanveer over a year ago. Having been nearly six months since I saw this gargantuan big man in person, I was unsure of what to expect. I was at the Pitt Jam Fest when this video that went viral was shot and saw the potential that the Canadian big man had. But I was not completely sold on whether he would be able to play at the highest level. Fast forward to this past weekend in Pennsylvania and I’m a firm believer in what the big fella can do.
Over the three games that we saw in Saltsburg, Sim had over 20 dunks and averaged 28 points per game. Pretty wavy, eh? Sounds like an exaggeration, but it’s not. Dude throws everything down when he gets it within five feet of the tin. He showed off super soft hands and changed the game defensively by clogging up the middle of Kiski’s zone as well. Of course there are going to be mad haters out there talking about what he can’t do, but with that kind of size and soft hands, I’m more curious about what he can do. So is just about every team in the Big East, since they’ve virtually all offered him scholarships and he’s down to Georgetown, West Virginia and UConn.
Stefan Jankovic | 6-10 | SF | Kiski School (PA) | 2012
Known as just a shooter by most recruiting gurus, Jankovic came out with a chip on his shoulder and did his thing in Saltsburg. He’s crazy fluid and often made you forget that you were watching a player the same height as Dwight Howard out on the court. If you combine a pretty jumper with nice handles and solid hops, you’ve got yourself a pretty decent mix from the weekend. Wake Forest and Seton Hall seemed to like as well, given that they both offered him a scholly in the last five days.
Maurice O’Field | 6-5 | SF | Cleveland Heights (OH) | 2013
One of the better sophomores in the state of Ohio, O’Field showed off his explosive athleticism on the defensive end primarily in his scrimmage versus St. Vincent St. Mary. His jumper wasn’t really falling and he struggled at times handling the rock, but the potential that this youngster showed was undeniable. With schools such as Pitt, West Virginia Tennessee and Michigan State recruiting him at just 15 years old, this is a name you may want to remember.
Donte Thomas | 6-4 | SF | Princeton Day Academy (MD) | 2011
The explosive wing led his team to the title over Kiski by simply going above or through whomever was guarding him. Not much of a shooter, Thomas slashed to the rim with passion just about every time he touched the rock and got buckets in the process. The post grad looks the part of a nice mid-major plus prospect who has a chance to be real nice down the road.
Marquis Clayton | 5-11 | PG | REDA (CN) | 2011
If you need a point guard who can get buckets, Clayton is your man. He dropped 41 points on Kiski and single-handedly kept them in the game through his variety of deep jumpers, teardrop floaters, and acrobatic takes to the rim. It’s honestly mind boggling how the dude doesn’t have a single DI offer at this point in time, but if he keeps showing out like this, expect that to change quickly.
Devonte Beard | 6-2 | PG | St. Vincent St. Mary (OH) | 2011
In terms of cats who keep getting better, Beard is one of those guys who always seems to surprise me each time I see him. He’s got great size and athleticism for a point and has recently gotten his jumper right, which makes him a pretty tough guard at the high school level. The one-time St. Francis commit has re-opened his recruitment and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this playmaker land at a higher level program.
Casey Carroll | 6-6 | SF | Kiski School (PA) | 2011
After playing at an incredibly small high school, Carroll has put himself on center stage here at Kiski. His game completely disproves the “White Men Can’t Jump” theory, evidenced by his windmills and poster dunks that we saw throughout the weekend. The Youngstown product also has a deadly three-point shot to tag along with his hops, but needs to improve his game off of the bounce. Regardless, Casey is definitely a cat who local mid-major programs should be taking a look at.
Tanveer Bhullar | 7-2 | Kiski School (PA) | 2013
With his big bro killin’ the comp, there wasn’t a ton of PT left over for Tanveer. The youngster showed off his soft touch and was able to gain an offer from Seton Hall based on his play in limited minutes. Not bad for a weekend’s work.