Antwon Lillard making strides at Best of The Best Combine

Antwon Lillard made a splash in the Cleveland area early in his career at Central Catholic and now that his high school career is near it’s end, is ready to take his game to a whole new level. At the Chet Mason Best of The Best Combine, he showed everyone in attendance why.

Owning legit size for a wing at every bit of 6-foot-6, the slender Lillard put on some serious weight to his wiry frame. He did 19 reps on the bench and looked more like a college player than a high school guy. Antwon played much better defense, used his added strength to be more explosive attacking the rim, and was simply more explosive than he was as a junior in high school. He showed off his jumper that has countless colleges recruiting him, too.

“Antwon is hearing from Dayton, West Virginia, and Pitt a lot,” Cleveland Central Catholic assistant coach Anthony Burns rattled off. “Kent State, Cleveland State, Manhattan, Arkansas State, Oakland, and St. Peters have all offered him.”

With a collegiate decision not expected anytime soon, Lillard is still weighing his options and working on a qualifying test score. However, we will have plenty of updates on him throughout the season at CityLeagueHoops.

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2014 UK Blue/White Game top plays

Kentucky held its annual Blue/White scrimmage and did not disappoint in front of a sold out crowd. The Blue team won the game by a score of 94-66 in a game that had Karl Anthony-Towns and Alex Poythress spending time with both squads. Sharpshooter Devin Booker led the game in scoring with 22 points, although he showed off his complete game and did not hit one single three pointer. The Harrison twins combined for 34 points and the most highly touted draft prospect of the group, Towns, showed his improved game on the block to finish with 20 points, 13 rebounds, and 3 blocks.

Check back on CityLeagueHoops for more Kentucky pre-season coverage.

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Tyler Ulis yanks defender at UK Blue/White scrimmage

For what Tyler Ulis lacks in the size department, he definitely makes up with his game. Constantly proving doubters wrong since the first time that we saw him in middle school, Ulis looks like he’s going to do that yet again at the highest level of college hoops. He had the play of the night in last evening’s Kentucky Blue/White scrimmage, sending a defender stumbling with his filthy crossover.

Stay tuned to CityLeagueHoops for more UK Blue/White videos.

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Brandon Slater displays huge upside for Team Takeover

Having featured Team Takeover point guard Donovann Toatley yesterday, it was only right to take a look at one of the guys who converts his assists. 6-foot-5 freshman Brandon Slater may not have the name of his teammate, but those in the know understand the massive upside that he offers.

The super athletic swingman produced at a high rate for both Takeover and at the CP3 Rising Stars Camp. The lefty showed off a good first step going to the rack (especially going left) and shoots it well enough from deep to keep the defense honest. Where Brandon is best is in transition, though. He is already an elite level finisher who not only looks to dunk everything, but can finish with creativity in traffic. The length and athleticism that he possesses gives him a lot of potential on the defensive end. We aren’t the only ones seeing that potential, either.

Virginia has already been hot on Slater’s trail, bringing him down on campus for an unofficial visit earlier this spring. He will be playing for perennial VA powerhouse Paul VI and while he may not receive a ton of immediate playing time, will be learning from one of the nation’s best wings in 6’7 VJ King.

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Donovann Toatley is next at the point for Team Takeover

Team Takeover has been producing a strong lineage of guards of late. Randall Broddie just came off the board to Memphis, but Takeover has no shortage of guards. For the 2018 group, the one who runs the show is Donovann Toatley.

Not the biggest guard at just 5-foot-7, Toatley makes up for his lack of size with extreme heart and will to win. He is one of the more fiery guard in the class and has no shortage of confidence. With blazing speed and super ball-handling, the freshman has been nearly impossible to stop from getting in the lane on the AAU and camp circuits. Donovann is also able to keep the defense honest with his ability to shoot the ball from the perimeter, but as a diminutive playmaker, must develop more creative finishes at the rim to reach his maximum potential as he faces taller competitors as the years go on.

Stay tuned to CityLeagueHoops for more coverage of Donovann in the near future.

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Thon Maker shows total package at John Lucas Midwest Invitational

As seen on SportsCenter last night, Thon Maker is back in action. He made an appearance at the 2014 John Lucas Midwest Invitational and showed the all-around skill set that has made him the top player in the class of 2016.

Doing the bulk of his work from the perimeter, he showed off the unique skill set that has made him such a fascinating player. He is a special ball-handler for a 7-footer, was great passing the ball from the post, and shot the ball well from the perimeter. Thon’s time at Orangeville Prep proved beneficial, as seen by his improved frame and more explosive leaping ability. There were times in which it seemed as if he was a bit too passive and needed to take over, but when the games got clutch, he left no doubt who the top player in the class of 2016 was.

Stay tuned to CityLeagueHoops for plenty more updates on Thon throughout the season.

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Montell McRae shows monster potential at Best of The Best combine

‎Montell McRae is a well known commodity around the Cleveland area, but there are still a lot of people who don’t realize how special of a prospect is over at Cleveland Central Catholic. After attending MLK his first two years (he only played one), he made the move to CCC and college coaches began taking notice. Now a senior, he appears ready to take that next step in his game.

At Chet Mason’s Best of The Best combine, Montell brought out the full package. He used his high skill level to create mismatches all over the floor. At 6’9, he can shoot it out to the three point and has no problem putting it on the deck a couple of times attacking the cup. Throw in ‎his quick leaping ability that allows him to finish above the rim and it’s easy to see why McRae is so sought after.

“Manhattan, St. Peter’s, Cleveland State, ‎and Kent State have offered Montell,” Cleveland Central Catholic assistant Anthony Burns said. “Dayton, Depaul, and Duquesne are showing interest.”

At just 190 pounds, the senior will need to get stronger if he hopes to play at the high major level. Considering a move to the class of 2016, time will certainly be on his side. McRae has sure fire high major potential and with an added year of growth, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him land at a BCS program by the time it is all said and done.

Keep checking CityLeagueHoops for more up‎dates on Montell McRae.

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Deven Stover shows potential at Best of The Best Combine

Deven Stover attends one of the most prestigious high schools in Cleveland and while his diploma from St. Ignatius will certainly help him long term, the talent that he owns on the hardwood will also get him a college scholarship. At the Cleveland Best of The Best Combine, he reiterated that.

Measuring 6-foot-4 with a 6’9 wingspan, Stover has ideal size for a swingman at the college level. He has shown the ability to defend any perimeter position and has even slid down to guard power forwards. A strong slasher attacking the rim (especially going left), Stover is also able to keep the defense honest with his ability to shoot the three. He’s not an overly creative ball-handler, but remains an efficient one. The junior’s consistent play has attracted the attention of countless D-1 programs.

“Stonybrook has offered him a scholarship,” Stover’s father Reggie told CityLeagueHoops. “Deven has been receiving serious interest from Bucknell, Kent State, Akron, and Holy Cross. Wisconsin, Ohio University, Cornell, and Yale have been sending a lot of mail.”

“Deven will be taking an unofficial visit next week to Bucknell,” he added.

With an athletic and academic résumé like that, expect plenty more schools to enter the picture as Stover leads Ignatius in his junior campaign.

Stay tuned to CityLeagueHoops for updates on Deven throughout the season.

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Carlton Bragg recaps UK Big Blue Madness

Kentucky has reeled in the top recruiting class in the nation for six years in a row now and there is a reason why. Aside from getting guys to the league every year, their fans are the best in college basketball and they showed that the 2014 Big Blue Madness, impressing one potential recruit.

“I was blown away. I didn’t expect that,” Ohio Basketball Club’s Carlton Bragg said of the 24,000 plus in attendance. “The energy when you were walking to the stands was crazy and then Drake came out.”

Announced as the last member of the team, Drake then returned the favor by introducing Coach Calipari himself. Aside from taking in all of the festivities that the event had to offer, Bragg spent some time with a UK player that had a mutual connection.

“I’m closest with Tyler Ulis. He’s also from Ohio,” explained Bragg. “It was an AAU connection and we talked about how he played for Mike Duncan’s Ohio Basketball Club.”

The VASJ senior has been expanding his game even more on the perimeter, making him even more of a problem to guard. He shot 37% from three on the Adidas circuit and approaching 6-foot-9, still is one of the better offensive rebounders in the class of 2015. Bragg is eager to show off the improvements he’s made in his game, just like the UK players were able to do in their pro combine last weekend.

“I loved that,” admitted Carlton of Coach Cal’s innovative idea. “It gives you a chance to experience what the pros are looking for at the next level before you ever play a college game.”

Stay tuned to CityLeagueHoops for more on Carlton throughout his final season of high school basketball.

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2014 Kentucky Big Blue Madness Top Plays

Though Kentucky’s 2014 Big Blue Madness merely consisted of two nine minute halves and a little three on three, there was no shortage of excitement for the 24,000 plus in attendance. The nation’s #1 team has at least six potential NBA Draft picks for next year and as you can imagine, they provided plenty of highlights. Click above for all of the top plays that the 2014 Big Blue Madness had to offer.

Stay tuned to CityLeagueHoops for plenty more coverage of Big Blue Madness throughout the weekend.

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