FT. WAYNE, Ind. -- Sunday was Championship Day at the Bill Hensley Memorial Run-N-Slam at the Spiece Fieldhouse. The Illinois Wolves did what they do riding a balanced effort to a title in the 17's and Ryan Cline of Indiana Elite Diesel put himself on the map. The story of the day, though, was the play and potential of what looks to be a very good sophomore class from the state of Ohio as the Ohio Basketball Club, led by Jarron Cumberland took out King James in the 16U finale.
2016 loaded in the Buckeye State
Due to travel arrangements, Rivals.com had to leave before the Ohio Basketball Club was able to outlast the King James Shooting Stars. But we saw more than enough on Sunday to see that these two squads are loaded with talent and that the state of Ohio looks to be up in the class of 2016.
Leading off with some of the guys from OBC, Jarron Cumberland was an absolute beast on Sunday. Standing around 6-foot-4, Cumberland is a powerfully built guard who plays physically and has good skill. Cumberland is not a speed merchant or a high flyer, but he is a good ball handler and it is virtually impossible to take the ball away from him. He gets to the free throw line a lot, finishes at the rim and makes some jumpers too. Bigger, stronger and more competitive is a tough combination to beat and he's all of those things. Cumberland said that he doesn't have any offers yet but listed Purdue, West Virginia, Michigan, Detroit and Cincinnati.
Among the many OBC standouts was 6-foot-4 shooting guard Yavari Hall is a smooth scorer who has lots of upside. He isn't yet physically strong, but he has a long and wiry frame, is very fluid with the ball, makes jumpers and is a finisher in transition. Point guard Carlik Jones showed poise and made plays. His numbers probably weren't huge, but the 5-foot-11 sophomore had a calming effect on his team whenever he was on the floor.
Like OBC, the King James Shooting Stars are loaded with talent. At the top of the heap as far as prospects go is Derek Funderburk. Currently ranked the No. 48 player nationally in the class of 2016, Funderburk is 6-foot-9, slender and has tremendous tools. Funderburk can run, he has toughness and he generally plays pretty hard. Like so many young bigs he can get in foul trouble and isn't polished, but he has touch offensively and an overall good feel for the game. He's clearly a legitimate high major prospect.
At the point guard position for King James, Xavier Simpson is tough. As a sophomore he led Lima (Ohio) Central Catholic to a state title and he is a leader on the floor. He has quickness, he is tough, he finds teammates, controls tempo and can score.
Derrick Daniels is another of the many King James players who did some nice things. Slim and athletic, Daniels can really run the floor for a young power forward. He can also finish above the rim and looks to have some touch on his jumper.
C.P.O.S. Champions play on Sunday. It is the Illinois Wolves motto and Mike Mullins 17 and under group not only played on Sunday but won on Sunday. As usual, the Wolves handled their business with good guard play, better execution than their opponents and a balanced effort each time out.
Because the Wolves play such good team basketball, it is often hard to designate just one standout. Their leading scorer tends to change from game to game and they usually have a lot of kids contributing. That said, Roosevelt Smart was pretty good all weekend long. The No. 142 player in the class of 2015 was a reliable weapon on the offensive end and made some clutch shots. He is a scorer with good instincts and can create some offense as a 6-foot-1 combo guard.
The most highly rated of the Wolves, Glynn Watson, is maybe the hardest to get a good read on at times. A 5-foot-11 point guard and the No. 67 player in 2015, Watson gives flashes. He can make the offense go, does a little scoring off the dribble and can be a pest defensively. Watson, though, needs to get a bit stronger and he can be a bit up and down in terms of production. He is a high major prospect and has a nice assortment of Big Ten and Big East even if he's not entirely consistent.
Big man Barret Benson is not in the 2016 top 60 but he has been designated as an early four-star prospect. The sophomore has pretty good size, pretty good overall skill and a body to work with. He certainly looks and plays the part of a Big Ten big man in the making.
Cline an interesting option
He isn't a total unknown to college coaches, but Ryan Cline is a bit of a mystery man in terms of recruiting. Playing with Indiana Elite Diesel, the 6-foot-4 junior from Carmel (Ind.) High helped lead his team all the way to the title game as his jump shot played a big role.
Cline looked like one of the best shooters Rivals.com has seen all spring on Sunday. He has a quick release, is always on balance and his range extends to well past the three-point line. He isn't particularly strong, but he doesn't lack for toughness and is smart with his dribbles and a good passer.
According to Cline he has been offered by Purdue, Ball State, Belmont, Northern Kentucky, South Alabama and Lipscomb while Butler, Xavier, Creighton and Harvard have shown some interest.
He doesn't mind being known as a shooter, but Cline does think there's an underrated aspect of his game that he's hoping to show along with areas of his game that he would like to improve.
"Really my decision making," Cline told Rivals.com. "People don't realize, but I think I'm a very good passer and that I see the floor well.
"I need to keep working on my handles. I want to try and be more of a combo guard and I have to get stronger."
Final notes from Sunday
The Albany City Rocks 16 and under team is another one of those balanced teams that executes well. Point guard Howard Washington is already ranked No. 50 in the class of 2016 and he is a mature and patient guard. Washington can knock down some shots from deep, is a sneaky athlete and most importantly he is a rock solid teammate who is able to stand out by blending in. There's no forcing of the issue from him, just generally smart and effective basketaball.
Truth be told, it didn't seem like Cassius Winston had the ball in his hands enough for The Family's 16 and under team. But, they are trying to balance out playing time for their guards and to keep their best players on the floor so it is understandable why Winston doesn't dominate the ball for what is a pretty talented team. The No. 30 player in 2016, Winston is tough, reacts quickly to get into the lane or make a play when the opportunity is there and he is a competitor. Winston listed offers from Michigan State, Michigan, Iowa State, Iowa, UMass and Colorado to go with interest from Ohio State, Miami and Georgetown.
The Mac Irvin Fire are another team that had a good looking group of 16 and under players. 6-foot-4 shooting guard Zach Norvell ranks No. 53 in the class of 2016. He is physical, athletic and can score from deep in bunches. Big man Nick Rakocevic can score with the jump shot and is pretty mobile. Ben Coupet entered high school with huge expectations, the 6-foot-6 wing showed some flashes of athleticism and scoring on Sunday. At Morgan Park in Chicago, they have won the last two state titles and because of players like point guard Charlie Moore and power forward Alonzo Chatman they have a great chance to win a third. Moore is small, but he is tough, can score and is a leader on the floor. Chatman is growing into a nice looking power forward prospect.
The Iowa Barnstormers made it to the finals of the 17U division where they lost to the Illinois Wolves. By the time they got to the title game, the 'Stormers looked to be pretty drained but they had a very successful weekend. In particular, shooting guard Cortez Seales raised some eyebrows. The 6-foot-4 junior can handle it pretty well, puts pressure on defenders and has what looks to be a solid all-aroun game to go with some athleticism. He has early offers from Drake and Northern Iowa. Speaking of Northern Iowa, commit Luke McDonnell looks to have pretty good upside. He looks every bit of 6-foot-9, has a body to build on and should be a good low post scorer in the Missouri Valley.
Finally, mid to high majors are going to keep track of D.J. Wilkins. A 6-foot-2 combo guard from Merriville (Ind.) High, he is elusive off the dribble and quite adept at creating his own shot. He is skinny, but quick and really looks to have a feel for things as a scorer.+