In the latest edition of ‘P.I. Pulse’, Pro Insight’s Eric Rubenstein outlines top narratives and additional prospects of note surrounding the 19th annual Premier Health Flyin’ to the Hoop High School Basketball Invitational, after spending four days on the ground covering the event in Dayton, Ohio, from January 14-17, 2022.
Mongolian Mike is for real
The weekend started with ISA Academy (OH), led by Dayton commit Mike Sharavjamts, facing off against undefeated Link Academy, out of Missouri (more on them later). While ISA came away in defeat, “Mongolian Mike” displayed an extremely dynamic skillset which he backed up in their win over Shaker Heights (OH) on the next day.
Sharavjamts has an exceptional feel for the game and plays with a certain confidence and creativity. He processes the game at a high-level and makes great reads as a passer with both hands. Critics will knock his frame, but he’s stronger than he looks with impressive body control. There are simply not a ton of holes to his game as it’s hard to find players his size who can pass, dribble, shoot, and defend at such a high level. Our staff is looking forward to tracking Mike throughout the rest of the season and into his time at Dayton.
vs. Link: 16 PTS, 4 REB, 0 AST, 4 TOV, 1 STL on 4-10 FG, 2-7 3PT, 6-7 FT in 23 MIN
vs. Shaker Heights: 19 PTS, 4 REB, 3 AST, 3 TOV, 2 BLK, 2 STL on 8-11 FG, 1-4 3PT, 2-2 FT in 25 MIN
All Ohio Red’s impressive 2023 class
Throughout the weekend, several of Ohio’s best talents faced off. A common theme across many of these games was that one (or both) of the teams was led by a member of All Ohio Red’s 2023 class. Dailyn Swain (Columbus Africentric) showed off great versatility for his size, essentially running the point for his team at 6’6” and using his height to see over the defense and make reads as a passer. Swain’s Africentric team came out on top, but Oakwood’s Will Maxwell led all scorers in the game with 16 points. Maxwell competed from wire to wire, attacking the rim with aggression and regularly finishing through contact.
Later in the tournament, lefty combo-guard Lawrent Rice (Huber Heights Wayne) proved to be one of the more talented players at the event. Rice is extremely crafty off the dribble with an ability to comfortably get separation and get to his spots. He’s got a lethal mid-range game but also shows to be both a crafty finisher and creative passer with both hands. There’s a lot to like about his talent level.
Devin Royal from Pickerington Central had arguably one of the more dominant performances of the event, scoring 27 in their win over Garfield Heights. The strong and athletic combo-forward has a well-rounded skillset with a nice blend of finesse and toughness to his game. He shows soft touch from the mid-range but is not afraid to use his strength to carve out space and seek out contact in the paint. He lived at the line in this viewing and knocked in an impressive 13 of his 14 free-throw attempts. Lance Hayes from St. Vincent-St.Mary’s also stood out as a versatile and disruptive defender who thrives as a glue guy. With this core of 2023 standouts (as well as some talented 2024 and 2025 prospects on deck), All Ohio Red should be primed for a strong performance in the 2022 EYBL.
Centerville’s case for national attention
In the most entertaining game of the weekend, the Centerville Elks grinded out a win vs. national power SoCal Academy in front of a packed house. While the game was filled with Power 5 commits to schools — such as Michigan State, USC, Oregon, Ole Miss, Stanford, Indiana, and FSU — it was former Drexel commit Rich Rolf who absolutely stole the show. Rolf made his presence felt from tip to buzzer, scoring Centerville’s first 16 points and finishing with 27 points, 12 rebounds and 4 assists. Rolf’s feathery touch as a spot-up jump shooter will get the headlines, but his toughness on the glass and disruptiveness as a help defender were equally important to Centerville’s winning effort. Expect his recruitment to pick up shortly.
Meanwhile, junior PG and Indiana commit Gabe Cupps managed the game very well from the position as he blended scoring and playmaking well while showing some real grit on the defensive end. FSU commit Tom House kept the game simple but was highly efficient as a spot-up shooter, straight-line driver, and ball-mover. Junior guard Emmanuel Deng doesn’t put up flashy numbers, but his toughness and competitive spirit were infectious from the jump as he battled on the glass and really got after it on defense. Centerville may not be the flashiest team, but they are a well coached group that plays hard, plays smart, and plays together.
Link Academy continues to dominate
Rodney Perry’s talented group came into this weekend undefeated and by the time they touched down in Springfield, Mass. to play at the HoopHall Classic, that was unchanged. Link pulled off two convincing wins in Dayton vs. ISA and Huntington Prep (WV). Arkansas commit Jordan Walsh got to the rim at will and used his length to disrupt on defense, but it was 2023 PG Trey Green who proved to arguably be Link’s most valuable player. Green is tough as nails and a consummate lead guard who manages the game well. He serves as an extension of the coaching staff and has shown to be a more than capable shot-maker off the catch, off the bounce, and on the move. Couple that with his defensive tenacity and there is a lot to like about the junior.
As for the rest of the team, LSU commit Julian Phillips fills his role to perfection as an open-floor finisher, spot-up shooter, and defensive playmaker. Michigan commit Tarris Reed Jr. is a brute down low with budding ability as a shot-maker. Reed shot it very efficiently from the top of the key here and is proving to be someone who defenses must pay attention to in pick-and-pop and trail situations. His frontcourt running mate and future college rival, Ohio State commit Felix Okpara adds value as a rim runner and imposing rim protector while seemingly rebounding everything in his (long) reach. Link gets a ton of value from their role players as Omaha Biliew (2023), Jordan Ross (2023), and Damien Mayo (unsigned SR) all seem to have a keen understanding of how they can contribute to winning during their time on the floor. I left Dayton very impressed by this talented and well-coached team — looking forward to seeing how the rest of the season plays out for them leading up to a potential substantial run at GEICO Nationals.
More talent is on the way to the Big Ten
The Big Ten has been must-see TV this season with the flurry of highly-rated teams and top-tier draft prospects. That being said, fans have a lot to look forward to with some impressive incoming talent. High school teammates and future college rivals Tarris Reed Jr. (Michigan) and Felix Okpara (Ohio State) were mentioned above, but one of the standout performers of the event was St. Vincent-St.Mary’s lefty guard and Illinois commit Sencire Harris. Harris is a long and wiry slasher who is graceful on the attack. He’s stronger you think and was able to get to the rim at will in this viewing en route to 25 points. He really does a great job of extending to finish at the basket and also brings some toughness on the defensive end. Michigan State commit Jaxon Kohler stood out as per usual for SoCal Academy with his feathery touch from all over the floor and advanced low-post game. He’s an absolute mismatch nightmare at this level with an ability to make plays in a variety of ways from all over the floor. As mentioned above, 2023 Indiana pledge Gabe Cupps helped lead his Centerville squad to a win over Kohler’s SoCal Academy. Lastly, Rutgers commit Antwone Woolfolk’s physicality in the paint as a finisher, rebounder, and defender also caught our eye. There’s certainly a lot of talent in the Big Ten pipeline these next few years and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see some of the underclassmen in attendance work their way to that level in time, as well.
Ohio's underclassmen already making their mark
Throughout the event, there were several times where scouts, coaches, and fans would look down at their programs in awe only to realize that the player who just made some dazzling play was just a freshman or sophomore. Several teams in attendance started at least one 2024/2025 prospect, with some starting multiple. Among the in-state teams at the event, Dunbar freshman guard Brandon “BJ” Hatcher was the cream of the crop. At first glance, Hatcher does not look or play like a freshman. He’s a crafty handler with a quick first step and an advanced floor game. He’s fearless as a finisher amongst the trees but also showed a lot of fight getting after it on defense and crashing the glass (5 offensive rebounds). Hatcher has a really impressive combination of skill, feel, and toughness for a young player and is someone we’re looking forward to monitoring closely. Meanwhile, St. Ignatius sophomore guard Calvin Little Jr. stood out as one of the premier passers at this event, regardless of class. Little is a shifty and unselfish playmaker who makes some really advanced reads as a facilitator. He constantly plays with his head up and makes some impressive deliveries on the move. Arness Lawson from Pickerington North is another freshman that stood out. Like Hatcher, Lawson is scrappy with a quick first step. He keeps the game simple right now as a ball-mover and straight-line driver but is able to impact the game without demanding a high-volume of touches, which bodes well for his future. Lastly, 2024 guard Delamarr Blanton of Trotwood-Madison showed off advanced scoring ability en route to 23 points vs. Pace Academy (GA). Blanton plays low to the ground and is fearless when attacking the rim while also having loads of confidence as a three-point shooter. The state of Ohio is in good hands with the group of young talent already making an impact as underclassmen.
The future is bright in the Peach State
This year’s Premier Health Flyin’ to the Hoop featured two teams from the state of Georgia, Pace Academy and Wheeler. While Wheeler is led by the tenacious Isaiah Collier who relentlessly attacked the rim and showed off improved shot-making ability, sophomore wing Klairus Amir made a really nice impact in a complementary role. Amir has a sound foundation of positional size, touch, feel, and competitiveness. He shot it well in this viewing from a variety of spots and out of a variety of actions.
Meanwhile, Pace Academy is led by the versatile left-handed Cincinnati commit Josh Reed. That being said, they have several freshmen and sophomores that play key roles in their rotation. 2025 forward Bryson Tiller is the most notable of them all. Tiller is long, strong, and skilled with a solid motor. He finishes well around the rim, competes on the glass, and has big-time upside as a defensive playmaker. He, sophomore forward LJ Moore, and sophomore guard KJ Greene form one of the more disruptive trios in high school hoops as they all play with urgency on D and have advanced instincts within Pace’s defensive schemes. Moore possesses some versatility as a defender, handler, and facilitator with the potential to fill a similar role to Josh Reed upon his graduation. Greene thrives as an open floor finisher. He protects the ball well and is highly effici