Hidden Gem Fall Showcase

September 30, 2015

As is always the case, the Hidden Gems Fall Showcase was once again a complete success. Over fifty college coaches were on hand as the event continues to churn out opportunities at a rate that is arguably the best in the state when it comes to Showcase events. The talent was certainly not lacking either, as multiple high-major D1 players participated along with dozens more who will also find themselves playing at the collegiate level regardless of Division. Lucius Jones and his Hidden Gems crew once again put on a first class event as it continues to seemingly improve upon itself each and every year. Here are a number of the players who stood out on Saturday:
'16 F Seth Towns (Northland) - The Harvard commit is as advertised as he is just a special type of kid you don't find very often. Towns was a scoring machine all afternoon making it look easy mixing in step-back jumpers, acrobatic finishes at the rim, and filling it up from deep. Perhaps more impressive to watch than his play was his body language and interaction with his teammates. He was encouraging, supporting, and having fun throughout the day; his play on the court aside, a regular observer would not have known Towns is a Top 100 talent nationally, as he doesn't carry the arrogance and entitlement found in many student-athletes at his level.
'16 PF Nick Ward (Gahanna-Lincoln) - Ward easily asserted his dominance in the paint as he consistently bullied defenders and punished the rim. The Michigan State commit was limited to one game on the afternoon after he tweaked an ankle, but it only took one game to see why he is considered by many to be a Top 50 prospect nationally. Showed a good face up game and a quick first step to get to the rim. Virtually unstoppable when he gets on the block.
'16 G Charles Aden (Harvest Prep) - An intriguing prospect, Aden was consistent throughout play on Saturday. Stays active and involved on both ends. Can shoot it from the outside but is perhaps at his best slashing to the basket. Going to be an in demand JUCO prospect for area teams. Expect a big season from him at a historically successful Harvest Prep program.
'16 Samer Jabbo (Bedford, MI) - Jabbo was a pleasant surprise on Saturday, having seen him in recent weeks he continued his strong play and gained some college interest along the way. A good frame, with deceptive quickness, Jabbo is a more than capable scorer around the rim. Has a plethora of moves around the basket that he goes to confidently. Can also shoot it from the outside to keep defenders honest. Doesn't do much talking, just gets the job done.
'16 Erron James (Westerville Central) - James was one of the most impressive prospects all day on Saturday. He projects as a scoring point guard at the next level. Was deadly from three point range, can get to the basket with ease and create for teammates. Has a good build and uses it to his advantage. James should make a quality D2 program very happy, wouldn't be surprised if he gains some D1 interest as the year progresses. Comes from a basketball family.
'16 G/F Kameron Singleton (Defiance) - Singleton was active and fundamentally strong throughout play as is usually the case for him. Showed efficiency scoring the basketball once he gets a foot in the paint. Has a deceptively quick first step and has more 'bounce' than meets the eye. One of the best inside/out players in Northwest Ohio. Going to find himself on a D2 or D3 roster at the college level.
'16 Daijour Whittington (Toledo Woodward) - Whittington got his first taste of some big time basketball this weekend and held more than his own. Was trouble for opponents when leading the fastbreak, he operates best in the open floor. Jump shot is still a work in progress but is ever improving. When he's locked in defensively he can be special as well. Going to be a quality JUCO prospect when all is said and done.
'17 BJ Duling (Newark) - Had someone tell me Duling reminds them of a 'mini Shawn Kemp' and that assessment is spot on. Duling is flat out explosive and is one heck of an athlete. It comes as no surprise that schools like Iowa and others are involved in his recruitment. Needs to improve his jump shot, and bring his energy every possession. Does most of his damage on the glass at either end; he is a special prospect.
'16 G Sam Saxton (Grove City) - He is a specialist from deep and did not disappoint. Hitting 3's with consistency all afternoon, he showed a quicker and improved release, and lets it fly confidently. A coaches son with an above average basketball IQ, he carries a pretty sound skill set, but it is no secret where he is most lethal. A lock to play at the D3 level, he could even sneak onto the radar of D2 coaches with a good start to the high school season.
'18 Jerome Hunter (Pickerington North) - Probably the best prospect in Columbus that was the least talked about until this weekend. Hunter already stands 6'7" with a good reach and length that make you believe he still has room to grow even more. Has a solid jump shot, but tends to fade away more than needed, something that will be fixed as he continues to develop. Finished well on the offensive end and can face up to the basket and make a play. Needs a higher degree of awareness on the defensive end. With plenty of room for improvement, this young prospect will more than likely find himself at a high-major D1 program in the next three years.
'16 Jason Carter (Johnstown Monroe) - Carter is tough and doesn't shy away from anyone out on the floor. The Ohio University commit showed good strength and toughness all afternoon in the paint ripping down rebounds and finished through contact. Smart, heady competitor, Carter will be a nice fit in the MAC.
'16 James Manns (Walnut Ridge) - Manns has been a staple at Hidden Gems events in the past and always performs well, Saturday was no exception. An ever improving jump shot and a well toned body make him a matchup problem for opponents out on the perimeter. Powerful down on the block, he can score in a variety of ways. Holds a handful of D1 offers currently.
* The focus on Saturday was the Junior/Senior age group, but in the limited action seen of the younger division two kids really stood out. The first was N'Keeley Elmore who is a freshman at Northland this year. He was nothing short of sensational when the ball was in his hands. He had his share of 'ooohhhs and ahhhss' from the crowd with no look passes and flashy plays. He will be one to follow over the next couple of years. The second young fella that stood out to no surprise was 7th grader Prince Penn, the son of Ohio State legend Scoonie Penn. With game way beyond his age, Penn ran the show directing teammates, setting them up, and picking his spots to score. Rumored to be set to attend Dublin Coffman High School when the time comes, Penn will be a household name in years to come.

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