Top five Flyin’ to the Hoop individual performances


Photo: Alexis Massey

Five star prospect, Miles Bridges, throwing down a windmill dunk in the warm-ups.

Every January the Premier Health Flyin to the Hoop High School basketball invitational comes to the Montgomery County, and every year fans, scouts, and coaches are immensely impressed by the talent and showmanship of top prospects.

Being a dramatic, passionate basketball fan myself, I was entertained and simply starstruck.

There were many players that will soon be familiar to NCAA and NBA fans everywhere. Out of all those big names, here’s a list of the top five that wowed me the most.

5. Seth Towns, Northland High School, Forward, 6-7, Senior

The Harvard commit was stellar in an 87-63 utter domination over Greenville. Towns dropped 40 points on decent defense, whether it was a step back three or he was slicing through the lane with force for a slam dunk, the kid was getting it done. The most impressive part wasn’t that he was getting buckets in abundance, but that he was doing so with methodical patience and not forcing anything. Playing off the ball a majority of the time and letting his team control the game with their choice of pace seemed to work. Towns also rebounded well and made wise decisions, Harvard has a good ball player in its grips.

4. Curtis Jones, Huntington Prep, Point Guard, 6-4, Senior

The four star prospect who is headed to Indiana showed out in the two games he played. Jones put forward 22 points saturday night versus Prolific Prep, and 24 on Sunday facing Garfield Heights. When I was watching, one thing stood out the most: this guy can shoot the lights out. He floated around the perimeter feeling out slight weaknesses in the defense, and when he wasn’t on the perimeter, he was driving in the teeth of the D. Don’t get me wrong, this kid is a natural born scorer, but he was passing really well also. Overall the way he performed definitely excited.

3. Trevon Duval, Advanced Prep International, Point Guard, 6-2, Junior

Relentless. One word that comes to mind when I think of the #4 ranked junior in the ESPN 60Duval with 16 points Sunday as API blew out IMG Florida 82-52, was very unselfish. He took part in the balanced attack that picked IMG apart, by making smart passes and playing lockdown defense. But it was a different story Monday night as the junior point guard took over the game versus Pickerington Central. It started with an effective drive through defenders, followed by a floater to get the first two points of the game. Then for the second bucket, he blazed down the court on a fast break and executed a smooth behind-the-back pass to senior forward Mark Vital for an atrocious slam. With a blink of an eye, he has a 12 point first quarter. Just as API was down by 11 in the third, the coach pulled Duval over and he came from that talk appearing fired up. Right after that Duval took the ball down, immediately drove in the lane, split two defenders, then spun to the hoop, scoring while getting fouled, and converting the and one opportunity. He was very explosive as he led API to a comeback victory over Pickerington Central, scoring 29 points. He’s getting recruited by schools like Kansas, Arizona, and Maryland, and well deservingly so.

2. Josh Jackson, Prolific Prep, Small Forward, 6-7, Senior

Many came to Trent Arena to watch this guy, a high-flying, uber athletic, 6’7 NBA esque wing. This kid can fill it up. He was featured in one of two opening games on Friday, up against La Lumiere in which he beat them, and dropped 32 on them with ease by spot-up threes and electrifying dunks. In the second game, labeled by some as one the most exciting FTTH games ever, Jackson underwhelmed in his mediocre performance the first 3 and a half quarters. In the end of tight game, he was very aggressive. The biggest thing that shocked me was his immaturity, as Prolific Prep was down with around 8 seconds left in the fourth, some teammates turned the ball over. His response was to sit and scream on the ground, cursing loud enough so the whole stadium could hear. Jackson’s childish outburst should show the scouts something to be worried about, horrible sportsmanship. But as childish as it was, he stayed in the game and let everyone know what all the hype was about. With the clock at 1.9 seconds, down by 2, Jackson got lobbed the ball at the top of the key and sunk a game winning three at the buzzer. With the crowd ecstatic, he let the media know why his game was off, he broke his hand the night before. As poorly as he acted, he’s still too talented to deny.

1. Miles Bridges, Huntington Prep, Small Forward,  6-7, Senior

Bridges is ranked #6, but he played like the #1 player in the ESPN 100. The Michigan St. recruit’s game had seamlessly no holes in it. He was in two contests this weekend losing a tightly fought game with Prolific Prep, dropping 25. Then winning against Garfield Heights dropping 21 points, 17 rebounds and four assists. But no stat line could capture how well he played. He was dominating in every aspect of the game. He was showing his freak athleticism, throwing down many ground-shaking slams, scoring with effectiveness; inside and outside. Bridges had amazing court vision, unbelievable defensive instinct, and snagged rebounds with reckless abandonment. He also did little things like set screens and hustled back. I can’t ramble on about good he is, you can’t believe it until you see it. Basketball fans should keep an eye out as he climbs up the competition ranks, because this guy is primed to be a star.