Month: August 2020

Kebba Njie Leaving Centerville To Join Nationally Ranked Team

Centerville, Ohio— Coming off two straight district finals appearances and multiple close outcomes against nationally ranked Moeller, the Centerville Elks were looking to have historic seasons for the next two to three years. Sharpshooter, Tom House, has been one of Dayton’s many faces of this year’s stock rise Summer, along with 6’7″ stretch, Rich Rolf. Add in nationally known sophomore, Gabe Cupps, and the Elks were set to be a top contender to finally defeat Ohio’s most dominant team in recent years, the Moeller Crusaders.

Centerville’s 2019-2020 Varsity roster. Pictured is (back row, left to right) Jayson Hayes, Tom House, Kebba Njie, Mo Njie, Tre Johnson, Rich Rolf, Ryan Keifer, Cam Smith, (front row, left to right) Eman Deng, Max Knauer, Reese Clark, Drew Thompson, Gabe Cupps, Andre Zimmerman, Bing Lambert, & Quinn Hafner (Source: Centerville)

The depth doesn’t stop with House, Cupps, and Rolf. ’21 Jayson Hayes is one of the city’s top guards. Varsity role players, Max Knauer, Tre Johnson, and Ryan Keifer, are all ready for role increases. JV starters, Irmuun Mandakh, Tristan Klumb, Quinn Hafner, Cam Smith, and Eman Deng all have the ability to contribute at the varsity level as well.

Possibly the biggest name throughout the Centerville program going into this upcoming season, was 6’8″ Kebba Njie. Njie was already a key contributor during the Elk’s 2019-2020 season, but would have to step up even more, with the graduation of his older brother, and former Centerville starting center, Mo Njie.

Kebba Njie in his new threads, after enrolling at La Lumiere Academy (Source: La Lumiere)

But, Kebba shocked the city when he decided he would be taking a different route to get to his division one dreams . . . La Lumiere Academy.

Lumiere is a profound prep school in La Porte, Indiana, located four hours away from his home. The perennial powerhouse has received six consecutive invitations to the GEICO Nationals, along with finishing the recent season with a MaxPreps ranking of 8th nationally, and a preseason ranking this year of 3rd nationally.

But, why would Njie leave an already stacked Centerville program with much to offer? There’s one simple answer. He simply wanted to take his game to the next level . . .

“Whether it’s from the competition in practice and games to developing my skill as a basketball player, I feel the need to take it all a step further. I chose La Lumiere because they are great school when it comes to what I was looking for. They have great players on their team so the competition in practice will be on a whole different level. This will give me the opportunity to show my skills everyday against D1 athletes,” said Njie.

Njie competing with the Indy Heat Gym Rats this Summer for AAU in Indiana. (Source: Indy Heat Gym Rats)

Kebba Njie has managed to stack up an abundance of division one interest, but has remained under the radar when it comes to offers, yet to receive his first. With his transfer to Lumiere, we can expect to see one of his many interests to come forward and offer the 6’8″ forward. Will it be a native program like Dayton, Xavier, Cincinnati, or Ohio State? Or could it be a powerhouse away from home like Wisconsin or Purdue?

This is a huge gain for Lumiere, but an even bigger loss for the Elks. With the loss of Njie, they lose their key defensive presence down low, and a key contributor on the offensive end. He can rebound, run the floor, and catch & face to score around the perimeter, mid range, and down low. He was the unanimous lock-in for their starting center position. Even with the loss of two of the three Njie brothers, they certainly don’t lack in height with House at 6’6″, Rolf at 6’8″, and possibly their next in line at the five slot, Tre Johnson at 6’9″.

Possibly Centerville’s next starting center, ’21 Tre Johnson (Source: Tre Johnson)

’21 Johnson had this to say about the loss of Njie, “When I found out Kebba was officially leaving, it sucked. He played a huge role. He went into every game with high expectations for us. He was my accountability partner, so we talked about everything from basketball to other things. Everyone respected him on the team.”

Johnson spent last season between Junior Varsity and some time contributing at the Varsity level. He’s had a big Summer, performing well in the AAU scene, participating in the Coach Render Rec Runs, and even earning an invite to our MVHV Dayton Elite Run. His raw talent and build combined with his work ethic could result in a huge role increase now with the loss of Njie.

“I feel like I’ve been ready for this role. Knowing the guys that will be returning for this season, I’m positive with our talent we will go far.”

Njie leaving is not only a sizeable loss for Centerville, but the Dayton basketball scene as a whole. He is the 26th player to transfer from or to another school that we cover in the Dayton area, just during this off-season. He’s only the 3rd Dayton player this off-season to transfer to a prep school. Belmont‘s Shawn Phillips decided to team up with arguably the best player currently in high school basketball, Emoni Bates, at Ypsi Prep in Michigan. And, GCL Co-ED‘s Larry Kocisko was the only prep transfer to stay in Ohio, heading north to ISA.

With Mo Njie reclassifying and heading to Florida, and Kebba Njie transferring to Indiana, Dayton has lost two of their best big men. Thankfully, Mo & Kebba aren’t the last of the Njie’s we’ll see suit up in the black and yellow.

Baboucarr Njie pictured above alongside his brothers, Kebba (right) and Mo (left). Also pictured is Beavercreek‘s Chris Herbort and Alter‘s Anthony Ruffolo. (Source: 937 Hoop Dreams)

The youngest of the three, Baboucarr Njie, will be enrolling at Centerville for his freshman season this upcoming year. Unlike his older brothers, he has yet to hit his growth spurt, only standing at 6’2″ and playing the guard position. It’s safe to say once he does hit his spurt, he will be a major threat, having Mo’s height, Kebba’s ability to stretch the floor, and his own ability to shift defenders off the dribble. Could Baboucarr be the best of the three Njie’s?

With Mo possibly returning to play in Ohio at the collegiate level, Baboucarr enrolling as an Elk, and Kebba hopefully suiting up for La Lumiere at Flyin’ To The Hoop, we’ll still be seeing a lot of the Njie’s dominance on the court.

Dear players & coaches, if you come across any misinformation about you or your players, be sure to let us know by contacting us on one of our social media platforms !

Dayton Alumni Possibly Joining Beavercreek Staff

Beavercreek, Ohio— Coach Steve Pittman has turned the Beavercreek program in a full 360 after only his first year with the Beavers. The former Beavercreek and Dayton grad, led the Beavers to their first winning season since 2016 and first district finals game in twenty years. But, now Pittman might not be the only former Dayton basketball player leading the way . . . former A-10 All-Defender & Sixth Man of The Year, Kyle Davis, could also be joining the team.

“The position came about while I was playing in the TBT Tournament. Coach Pittman texted me and asked if I was around Dayton, and able to help out the team . . . I look at Coach Pittman like an uncle, and he sees me as a nephew.”

Davis played four years at Dayton where he was Coach Archie Miller’s first recruit out of high school. In his freshman season, he played in 35 games and earned himself Dayton’s best team defender award, along with two SportsCenter Top 10 Plays.

One of Davis’ two plays that made SportsCenter Top 10 Plays during his freshman season at Dayton. (Source: Alex Ghilani)

Sophomore year, Davis started all 36 games for the Flyers, and forced Big East Player of The Year, Kris Dunn (Chicago Bulls), into 4-13 shooting and seven turnovers in the second round of March Madness.

His junior season, Davis was named a co-captain and once again started every game. Throughout the season, Davis was a game changer for UD, hitting two game winners, and making the Flyers 10-1 when he scored in double digits.

For his last dance as a Flyer, Davis posted career highs in six categories, along with being named to the A-10 All-Defensive Team and earning Sixth Man of The Year.

Davis’ senior season highlights while at Dayton. (Source: Dayton Flyers)

His basketball career wouldn’t end there. Davis would go on to play his 2017-2018 season in the NBA G-League for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the G-League affiliate of the Houston Rockets. He saw the floor in sixteen games, where he averaged 5.4 ppg, 2.9 rpg, and 3.4 apg. He received 18.9 mpg.

Davis has spent his last two seasons professionally in Argentina. He put up 8.9 ppg, 2.9 rpg, and 3.1 apg, last season with Comunicaciones Mercedes.

Davis’ highlight reel from his most recent season in Argentina. (Source: Meitay Sports Highlights)

Most recently, he starred in the popular TBT Tournament, with Dayton’s alumni team, The Red Scare. Davis helped lead his team to the final four as a starter, before falling short to Marquette’s alumni team, and the chance at $1 Million.

When asked about if he’ll make the decision to join the staff full time, Davis stated, “If Beavercreek has a season, and I don’t sign to continue playing professionally. I will be apart of the coaching staff. I haven’t fully decided yet, but with everything with the pandemic going on, if I can help a kid take their game to the next level, and learn something new, I’m willing to help. I love the game so much that I want to help the players that want to get better.”

Beavercreek will be a losing a lot in Chris Herbort (Florida Coastal Prep), Yousef Saleh, and Mali Harris-Strayhorn. But, will be returning a lot as well in Adam Duvall, Gabe Phillips, Siloam Baldwin, and Braden Grant.

Duvall is one of the city’s top junior prospects, receiving calls from Robert Morris, Wright St, Air Force, & Miami (OH), on the 2022 contact day. He already holds an offer from Youngstown St. Expect him to be a double double machine next season with the Beavers. Duvall had this to say about Davis joining the staff . . .

“He’s been great. He knows a lot about the game and has been everywhere through basketball that I want to go.”

Another noticeable returner is stretch big, Braden Grant. Grant has been one of Dayton’s many stock risers this off-season, earning himself a spot on our top 2021 prospects list. Lighting it up with the Mid-Ohio Pumas this Summer, Grant has gained interest from Miami (OH), Wright St, Ashland, and numerous other D2, D3 programs. It’s almost certain we’ll see the 6’7″ forward at the next level after this season. Grant was especially looking forward to the program’s newest addition. . .

The 2019-2020 Beavercreek varsity roster, minutes before action against Centerville (Souce: Claydot)

“I’m super excited to have a guy like Coach Davis, with his experience and knowledge of the game, added to the Beavercreek staff. I think he’ll especially help level up our guard play along with what our coaches have already been doing.”

On the defensive end, look no further than ’21 Siloam Baldwin. When needed, Baldwin can also step up in offensive situations, dropping a career high in points (13) and assists (6) in their post season game against Lebanon. He is as excited as the rest of his teammates when it comes to their possible new coach . . .

“He’s cool. He tells us about his experience coming from Chicago and going against big name division one athletes every game. He just brings a whole new perspective to our team.”

Davis indeed did play some tough basketball during his time in Chicago. In 2013, for his senior season at Morgan Park, he averaged 21 ppg, 5 apg, and 3 spg. He was named to the All-City 1st Team, Southtown Star 1st Team, All Area Team, All-State Team, and Team MVP, while leading Morgan Park to their first state championship since 1976.

This earned Davis a four star rating and multiple offers coming out of high school. Davis won’t be the last basketball stud to come out of Morgan Park, Ayo Dosunmu is a projected 2nd round pick, currently playing for Illinois.

NSFW: Davis details how his tough, trash talking, play style originated from growing up in Chicago. (Source: Eight Nations)

Beavercreek is not going to get handed a conference championship this year, even after their historic season. The Beavers are going to have to once again work to earn everything they want, playing in a competitive GWOC, filled with tough teams in Centerville, Wayne, Fairmont, Miamisburg, and an interesting Springfield team led by new head coach, Shawn McCullough.

“For the time, we’ve just been doing conditioning and I’ve just been getting to know the players. My expectations for the team is to just help them get better each year.”

With their newest addition, there’s no telling how far it could take the program these next few seasons . . .

Dear players & coaches, if you come across any misinformation about you or your players, be sure to let us know by contacting us on one of our social media platforms !

Same Friday Knights, New Faces

A preview of Ryan Chew in his new threads!

Kettering, Ohio — At 1:15 on Saturday, August 8th, Miami Valley Hoop Vault broke the news of elite Dayton point guard, Ryan Chew, officially transferring to Kettering Alter. The 2022 prospect, and former Bellbrook stand out, has been contemplating the decision for a while now . . .

“I’ve been playing on and off now with Jacob Conner for a couple of years throughout the AAU scene, and in open gyms. We’ve always had great chemistry on the floor. I’ve known Alter is an amazing school with a great tradition. I just wanted to be apart of it”.

Chew isn’t wrong, Alter’s tradition and past has been filled with an abundance of one simple thing . . . winning.

Even as recent as the Knight’s 2019-2020 season, they continued their winning tradition with a conference championship and deep tournament run with wins over #17 Northwestern, #11 Ponitz, #4 Kenton Ridge, and #1 Wyoming before their run was cut short due to Covid, fueled by seniors Conor Stolly (Thomas More), Brady Uhl (Cumberlands), and sharpshooter, Jack Smith.

Chew has proved to be one of the best point guards in the city. He’s set to be a four year varsity player, and finished his sophomore season 1st Team All-Conference and 8th in conference scoring (14.8 ppg).

Chew is not only a lights out shooter, but can pass with consistent accuracy as well. The Alter guard posted a career high, seven assists, in a game last season against A.J. Eller & the Brookville Devils. He also had a pass that went viral over social media during AAU season recently, receiving a repost from OverTime that received 475 retweets and 2,800+ likes.

Chew’s viral pass to Miamisburg’s Anthony Coppock while playing with Midwest Basketball Club this Summer. (Source: OverTime)

“I’ve never seen someone actually do the pass in a game. After I did it, I was like, wow. I didn’t think it was going to make it.”

His new teammates had this to say about the season altering addition . . .

“I was really excited when I first heard the news, because I know how good of a player Ryan is. I think he’ll make our whole team better overall. I know he’ll push us harder in practice everyday,” said ’23 A.J. Leen.

Chew driving downhill with ’23 Randy Latham (Dunbar) on his hip, during one of Coach Render’s Rec Runs (Source: Matt Barnes)

“I’ve known and played against Ryan since we were little. He reached out to me a week ago, saying he was considering transferring. I was so excited. Adding a player like Ryan will not only make our team better but having him around will make everyone else work harder in practice,” replied ’23 Anthony Ruffolo.

“Ryan coming to Alter will only make our team stronger, and our depth at the guard position will be even deeper. I’m eager to see what he brings to the table, because I’ve heard good things but never actually seen him play in person,” stated ’23 Gavin Geisel.

All three 2023 prospects spent their freshmen seasons on junior varsity for the Alter program, but are expected to have a huge role increase for the upcoming season. All three are expected to make a case for a starting position at the varsity level.

A.J. Leen has been lighting it up on one of Dayton’s best 15U teams, Team Flyght. The team is highlighted by top five sophomore, Antaune Allen (Dunbar), along with Lee Benson (Meadowdale) & Emmanuel Deng (Centerville), just to name a few. Leen, along with Team Flyght, recently went 9-2 on the Midwest Circuit and finished runner up in the finals.

937 Hoop Dream AAU team, featuring Chew’s new teammate, Anthony Ruffolo (middle right), and former teammate, Eli Brooks (exact middle). (Source: Wade O’Connor’s Instagram)

Meanwhile, Anthony Ruffolo has been hooping with 937 Hoop Dreams, coached by one of the most well-known trainers in Ohio, Wade O’Connor. The team consists of Collin O’Connor (Tecumseh) and Eli Brooks (Bellbrook), who will be having a huge role increase with Chew’s departure. In Ruffolo’s first tournament, he put three twenty plus point games, leading his team to the elite eight where they lost against Indiana Elite. Most recently, he guest played for Midwest, where he went 5-0 and won the Bearcat Classic with big wins over Louisville Magic, Mid Ohio Pumas, and Cincinnati Royals.

Gavin Geisel continues to contribute at a high level for one of the most decorated AAU programs in the state, All-Ohio. The program currently consists of two of the top three ’23 players in the Dayton area, including Lawrent Rice (Wayne) and Will Maxwell (Oakwood). Geisel is also recognized as one of the top ’23 prospects in the city. Many have yet to take notice though, being shadowed by Alter’s deep senior class last season. Expect that to change for the 2020-2021 season, due to his role increase in the program and ideal work ethic.

Ryan Chew in his new threads alongside Jacob Conner, Dayton’s newest duo.

Not only will the Alter Knights be a top contender for the GCL Co-Ed title this upcoming season with their deep 2023 class and newest addition, but also with division one prospect Jacob Conner leading the way.

Out of the thousands of prospects we cover in the state, Jacob has hands down had the hottest Summer. Conner went from a single offer from Bryant, to now holding ten division one offers heading into his junior season.

The 6’8″, guard, has managed to add thirty pounds to his frame and received calls from at least ten schools including West Virginia, Virginia, Wright St (offered), Northern Kentucky (offered), Marshall (offered), and Ohio (offered), following his performance at our Dayton Elite Invite-Only Run.

“It’s a big time pickup for our team. It’ll help our team, experience wise, for this year. I’m excited to work with him”, said Conner.

Chew has been one of the city’s many Summer stock risers. He spent the first half of the off-season with Team Flyght, who he committed to back on February 25th. But, he’d go on to leave for Midwest Basketball Club along with former Bellbrook right hand man, Gabe Pavlak.

When asked about his reaction to Chew’s departure, Pavlak responded, “I wasn’t expecting it because we were a duo, even since freshman year. We were the only two freshmen on varsity and both had big sophomore years. The next two years for us were going to be big. We were going to win a conference championship and make a big tournament run together. Chew was a big part of our team. But, it’s going to make me and my team work that much harder.”

Chew alongside former teammates, Gabe Pavlak and Caleb Fugate, two of Bellbrook’s three returning players with consistent varsity experience. (Source: Ryan Chew’s Instagram)

Since Chew’s announcement, Pavlak has been bombarded with questions of whether he’ll transfer like his fellow Eagle . . .

“It’s not on my mind. I’m sticking with Bellbrook through high school. I’m still excited for this season. It’s going to be a test for us, losing our leading scorer. But, we’ll push through and compete none the less.”

Chew had this to say about his relationship with Pavlak, who he made aware of his transfer just the night before making it public . . .

“Well . . . Me & Gabe have surprisingly become really close over these past two years. We used to hate each other, until about mid-season of our freshman years. He will always be my brother. I see big things for him in the future.”

He also had no love lost when it came to the Eagles’ coaching staff, who he made aware of his transfer only hours before being announced . . .

“It’s going to be hard leaving the Bellbrook staff. Coach Tate and Coach Chitty always pushed me to be the best me I can be. I love both of them for that. It’s also going to be hard leaving Coach Short. It was his first season, last year. He came in and really helped the team in a lot of ways. I’ll always love Bellbrook.”

Chew receiving guidance from his coaches, including Coach Tate who is pictured.

A lot of questions still remain after the new announcement. Will Chew be Alter’s newest Knight in shining armor? Will Alter be able to compete with a small ball lineup in a physical GCL Co-Ed conference? How will Bellbrook recoup from losing their leading scorer? Will Pavlak truly remain an Eagle?

Dear players & coaches, if you come across any misinformation about you or your players, be sure to let us know by contacting us on one of our social media platforms !

Ben Knostman commits to Winthrop University

Tipp City, Ohio — The news broke quietly and suddenly on Thursday night, as Tippecanoe star and reigning MVL player of the year Ben Knostman had committed to Winthrop University. The incoming senior held other offers from Lehigh, UNOH, Malone, Point Park, Saginaw Valley St., Ashland, and Indiana Wesleyan.

Knostman is the first Tipp player to go to a division one university for basketball since Robert Goldsberry went to Canisius all the way back in 2007. Knostman was also the first Tippecanoe player since 2014 to win a conference player of the year award. The last player to do so was Ben Stucke.

When asked if COVID-19 was a determining factor in his early commitment, Knostman said, “COVID definitely wasn’t the main reason that I decided early but it was a factor since AAU season was so different this year.”

Ben also went on to say that, “I feel like this would have been my choice regardless since Winthrop is such a great school and I really meshed with the coaches and players.”

Knostman also said that he likes how Winthrop competes every year in their league and is able to play in March Madness most seasons.

“My biggest influences would be my family first and foremost and then all the great coaches that I’ve had along the way like Grant Gilliland, Adam Toohey, David Ramey, Sam Talley, and all the others,” Knostman said. “My workouts with Sammy Faulkner and Miles Dixon have also helped me reach my goals.”

With his commitment out of the way, Knostman can now just focus on his senior season, that is if he gets a senior season. “I’m really hoping that we can have a season, but I understand that it is out of my control though so all I can do is pray and wait.” The Red Devils will look to make their longest playoff run in over a decade as they return other talented pieces like Zach Frederick and Gavin Garlitz.