No Playing Around
Recapping the Cleveland Scholastic Play By Play Classic.
The Scholastic Play by Play Classics have been staples of the high school basketball season all up and down the East Coast since the mid-90s. Founder Jeremy Treatman was one of the first to put LeBron James on center stage, showcasing him as an underclassman; from his home in Philly, to Cleveland, to Columbus, to North Carolina, and all the way in between, Treatman has held events that have offered far more NBA talent than just the King himself. Tyreke Evans, Kobe, Rajon Rondo, Dwight Howard, OJ Mayo, Jameer Nelson, Kyle Lowry and a handful of other NBA starters have all put their talents on display at one Play By Play or another, truly showing that this is one of the nation’s premier events for fans to get an early look at guys who will soon be doing work in the League.
Here’s a look at some of the players who did their thing at the Cleveland Play By Play Classic:
Carlton Bragg, 6-9, SF/PF, Cleveland VASJ, 2015: The best sophomore in the state of Ohio, Carlton Bragg brought that type of outside/in game that is similar in style to Kevin Durant’s. While no one is donning him the next KD just yet, the two share similar length, body type and effortless stroke mixed with the ability to go hard in the paint. Ranked amongst the top 25 sophs in the country by most recruiting services, Carlton plays for a loaded, upperclassmen-laden high school squad that is the favorite to win the D-4 state title in Ohio. There are times that his numbers may not blow you away on such a talented team, but look for this versatile forward to thrive with the open play of the circuit playing for the adidas-based Ohio Basketball Club program.
VJ King, 6-6, SG/SF, Akron SVSM, 2016: Playing on a SVSM team that brings at least five D-1 prospects, shots aren’t always plentiful, especially when you’re a freshman. Still, VJ King always seems to find a way to get buckets with his efficient style of play. With the IQ of a senior, King did the majority of his work as a jump-shooter, but made defenders pay if they closed out on him out of control. VJ’s 13 points may not blow you away, but the fashion that the 6-6 wing got them in certainly would have.
Alec Papesch, 6-6, PF, Cleveland St. Ignatius, 2013: Arguably the most productive post player in the city of Cleveland, Papesch hung 32 and 11 on SVSM in a narrow defeat. Bringing out just about every move in the book, the senior used a series of post moves and heady plays to get himself easy buckets. Not just a cerebral player on the hardwood, Alec gets it done with the books too and will be attending NYU next fall.
Rosel Hurley, 6-4, SF, Shaker Heights, 2014: Losing Louisville recruit Terry Rozier to graduation, it’s been a group effort at Shaker to make up for the massive amount of buckets that Ohio’s top player in the class of 2012 got. Part of the team effort to make up for the loss of Rozier is Rosel Hurley, a 6-5 wing. At the PBP, he showed off his toughness, slashed to the cup well, and converted on a bunch of and-1 takes. Already rocking an offer from Horizon power Cleveland State, expect that list to grow substantially if he keeps putting together MVP performances like he did at the PBP.
Antonio Woods, 6-0, PG, Cincinnati Summit Country Day, 2014: The best junior point guard in the Queen City (and arguably the entire state of Ohio) led Summit Country Day to a win over one of Cleveland’s perennial D-1 powers (Lakewood St. Edward’s). He isn’t the type of true point guard that is going to wind up on any crazy mixtapes, but may be the type who is going to win you a lot of games. He distributed the ball well to his scorers, played solid defense and scored when the opportunity presented itself. Doubling as a big-time football prospect, Antonio is going to have his choice chance between throwing bombs as a QB or dropping dimes as a PG at the D-1 level.
Rico Jones, 5-10, PG, Richmond Heights, 2013: One of the area’s better guards, Rico Jones put on a show at the Play By Play en route to winning MVP honors for Richmond Heights. The speedy guard used his explosiveness to drop 15 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds in the victory. Undoubtedly a D-1 player talent-wise, it’s looking like academic issues will force Rico to take the JUCO or prep school route next year.