On Sunday afternoon at Toledo Christian the 3rd Annual Northwest Ohio Boys Basketball Showcase took place, and as has been the case over the prior two showcases, they continue to get better and better every year. For this year’s edition, more than 80 young men from grades 9th to 12th, from as far away as Columbus, went through drill stations, heard from a guest speaker, and competed in 5 on 5 action all afternoon long.
Demajeo Wiggins, a standout junior on the Men’s Basketball team at Bowling Green State University was kind enough to speak to the young men in attendance and stuck around all day in support.
College coaches were once again in attendance, as Bluffton University, Defiance College, and Owens Community College were there to evaluate the talent on hand. There indeed was plenty of talent, and more of it than in years past. Here is who stood out on Sunday:
2018 G/F DiShon Daniels (Northland) – Nobody made a further commute than Daniels on Sunday morning, as he made the trek from Columbus where he will be suiting up for the famed Northland program. Daniels was the best talent in the gym as his athleticism and energy are hard to deny. Gifted with CRAZY bounce, Daniels showcased a number of high-flying moments throughout the day, including an off the glass between the legs jam that brought the house down in the Slam Dunk contest. Can fly in transition, and possesses an above average shot from outside, Daniels should have a special season in Columbus and make plenty of noise moving forward.
Daniels took home the Slam Dunk Championship at the showcase.
2018 F Christian Wagenhauser (Sylvania Southview) – Standing around 6’7”, Wagenhauser took advantage of the showcase format today just about more than anyone else. In the drills portion of the day he displayed some quality footwork and post moves delivering them with authority and continued his standout play throughout Sunday. Finished with efficiency around the rim, cleaned up misses, and displayed a soft jumper on the offensive side of the ball. Using his length to contest shots in the paint and doing a solid job of cleaning the glass, he left his mark on the defensive end as well. If he wasn’t on the recruiting board of area small school colleges heading into the day, he certainly is there now.
2020 G Joey Holifield (Cardinal Stritch) – Holifield, who by all accounts has had a great summer on the court, was special to the point where if he wasn’t the best player in the gym, he was extremely close. Possessing all the tools on the offensive end with a tremendous skill set and a physical maturity beyond his age, Holifield can just about do it all. Never forces the issue and knows when to get his, while getting teammates involved and ultimately being a playmaker first. Brings focus and a high activity level on defense. While he does hold offers at the D1 level and is well known in Northwest Ohio, his lack of publicity at the state level is something that needs to change and hopefully will with time.
2019 F Andrew Bench (Genoa) – Well regarded as one of the better small school athletes around, Bench proved to be just that and more on Sunday. He displayed various levels of finesse and skill in the paint, battling for and winning most of the rebounding battles. Was locked in on every possession and punished opponents with his physical build and power. Capable of scoring inside-out, all the way to the perimeter with a good looking shot. Will have plenty of college opportunities for whatever sport he chooses to pursue at the next level.
2018 G CJ Robinson (Woodward) – Known for his length and athleticism, Robinson displayed that throughout the afternoon, but what stood out most on this day was his ability to knock down shots from the outside. One of the knocks on him has always been the inconsistency to shoot the ball, and he cleaned up some of those concerns hitting a multitude of jumpers. Runs the floor really well and must be accounted for in transition. Robinson should be one of the top talents in the City League this season.
2019 F Little Anderson (Cardinal Stritch) – What stands out most when watching Anderson is his ability to always be around the ball, a tribute to his hustle. Earns plenty of easy buckets from his energy and activity level on offense. Quick, long, and active hands on defense. Can bring the ball up the floor and make good decisions. ‘Jack of All Trades’ caliber player.
2019 PG Jabryis Heidelburg (Fremont Ross) – A bit undersized but the young man can flat out go. Quick, shifty, and really savy from the lead guard spot. Can knock it down from the perimeter with consistency to space the floor, as well as finish with creativity and take his lumps around the rim.
2018 G Donte Johnson (Elida) – Showed the ability to score it from all levels and was deceptively quick. Competes and plays hard on every possession. Has some hard-nosed grit to his game that shows on both ends of the floor. Physically mature. Gained the attention of a handful of college coaches in attendance with his play.
2020 G Mason Loeffler (Evergreen) – Doesn’t do anything too flashy but there’s no denying, Loeffler can play. Has a pure stroke from the outside and is deceptively athletic, visible by his finishing of multiple plays with easy transition jams. Lets the game come to him and doesn’t force the issue. Plays with a nice flow to his game and has good size at 6’3”. Going to be fun to follow his progress moving forward.
2018 G Delano Smith (Toledo Christian) – Mr. Fundamental was that once again as Smith stood out in showcase play. Makes plays and the right decisions on the offensive end, while being an absolute pest for opponents with his defensive play. A joy to watch simply because of how much fun he has playing the game. Wasn’t his best day shooting the ball but still did so at a high clip from the outside. Should be a contender for Conference Player of the Year for his upcoming senior season.
Others who played well and stood out: ’19 G Jordan Burton (Cardinal Stritch), ’18 G Tyrik Barbine (Start), ’20 F Nathan Brighton (Evergreen), ’21 G DeMarko Craig (Rossford), ’18 G Ajai Washington (Bowsher), ’19 PG Trey Syroka (Whitmer), ’20 F Garret White (Maumee), ’18 PF Jaiden Woodley (Maumee Valley), ’20 G Justin Wiggins (Toledo St. Johns), ’18 G Ahmad Smith (Lake), ’18 G/F Deveyous Terrell (Whitmer), ’21 G Jamiya Neal (Toledo St. Francis), ’21 G Cole McWhinnie (Toledo Christian).