On Monday afternoon, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the City League basketball season officially got started in Toledo. In one of the many matchups on the afternoon, Start traveled to Rogers in a highly anticipated game featuring the two most successful programs in the City League in recent years. With Rogers gaining much of the attention, and recognized as the favorite to win the league, Start proved once again, that with talented pieces, and one of the best coaches around, they will once again be a team that must be reckoned with. They would pick up their first City League win of the season on the road, defeating Rogers by a final score of 51-40. Here is who stood out:
2021 G Kaleb Wanamaker (Start) – One of the top veterans returning this season at Start, Wanamaker played a big part in his team’s win on Monday. Playing under control, setting tempo, and getting teammates organized, Wanamaker’s experience and leadership were evident. While he won’t ‘wow’ you with his play, he competes, makes hustle plays, finds his way around the basketball, and isn’t afraid to guard on the defensive end of the floor. Displayed the ability to score it from the outside, and must be accounted for around the rim. Should be one of the top, and most consistent talents in the City League this season.
2022 G Jordan Kynard (Rogers) – Is going to be relied upon to do a large part of the scoring for his team this season, and looks more than happy to do so. Known for his ability to knock down shots in a hurry from the perimeter, he showed that in this one, while also scoring it from mid-range, and in the paint. Showed a tight handle, and improved ball-handling. His growth and development are evident, but could use improvement in his play-making, and involvement of others, which should come with more time at the point guard position. More than capable of being an asset defensively, with his ability to put pressure on the basketball, doing so on multiple occasions in this one. Led all scorers in this game, with 24 points in the loss.
2022 G Ke’Vontai Payne (Start) – Has a knack for scoring the basketball, and doing so in a multitude of ways. Was efficient, did a nice job of picking his spots, and making good decisions on the offensive end of the floor. Solid on defense, his length, and activity make him a difference-maker. Rebounds well from his position, isn’t afraid of contact. Brings consistent effort, and focus. Only going to improve, and is going to be a nice talent to follow in the City League this season, and the next.
2022 G Nate Houston (Rogers) – One of the headline talents in the league, Houston showed flashes in this one as to why he is so highly thought of around the city. While his shot wasn’t falling for much of the game, he didn’t force things, and let the game come to him. Displayed really sound footwork, the ability to create his own shot, and get good looks for teammates. Can be trusted with the ball in his hands, got downhill and into the paint at will. Utilized his bounce around the rim, with numerous impressive rebounds. Wasn’t necessarily his day, but still put together a solid showing in the first game of the season.
Others who stood out: Mason Cottrell (Start), Pharrell House (Rogers), Kemaar Cunningham (Start).