Chet Mason Invitational: Top Performers!

The Chet Mason Invitational is an annual pilgrimage back to my hometown of Cleveland and is a “must see” event for anyone in the state of Ohio. Blending Cleveland area teams with prep schools, the one day event at Brush High School falls in the middle of the NFL Playoffs, but that doesn’t stop the city from coming out and supporting. Mason had quite the storied career himself. He’s the last player from the Cleveland City League (The Senate) to win Ohio Mr. Basketball, was Adriatic League MVP, and played in the preseason with the Cavs.

The CMI boasts NBA alumni such as LaMelo Ball, Isaiah Jackson, Jordan Hawkins, JT Thor, Malaki Branham, and Oscar Tshiebwe. Furthermore, there have been well over a hundred D1 players who have played in the event over the years, along with a number of viral videos. While nothing went viral from the 2024 edition, there was still some serious talent at Brush High School.

Here are a few of the top performers from the 2024 Chet Mason Invitational:

Damarius Owens, 6’7, SF, Western Reserve Academy (OH), 2024
Damarius Owens stole the show at the CMI, winning MVP of his squad’s overtime win against a super tough Fort Erie squad. Winters changed the game on both ends with his athleticism, but what was even more impressive was the fact he has developed into far more of a complete small forward. The City Rocks senior was automatic with his jumper, used his athleticism to finish over the top of people in the paint, and showed the chaos that he can potentially cause on the defensive end. Damarius is far from a finished product, but is exactly the type of skilled athlete that fits in perfectly with Shaka Smart’s system.

Tobe Ezeokafor, 6’5, SG/SF, Fort Erie International Academy (CAN), 2024
A player who I was unfamiliar with going into the event, Tobe Ezeokafor is everything that you look for out of a power wing in today’s game. He is an outstanding shooter with his feet set, can finish through contact in the paint, and utilizes his 7-foot-1 wingspan to put pressure on the rock. Still very open with his recruitment, Ezeokafor is the type of 3 and D guy that colleges are dying for in today’s game.

Marcus Johnson, 6’1, PG/SG, Garfield Heights HS (OH), 2026
Having played the night before in Columbus (two and a half hours away from Cleveland), it was a quick turnaround for Ohio’s top sophomore (and ESPN’s No. 12 player in the class of 2026). Johnson is one of the most naturally gifted scorers that the city has seen in a long time. His ability to create separation and get to his sweet spots is simply special. The fact that he only had 16 points for Cleveland’s top team surprised some because of the video game numbers he’s been putting up as of late, but that certainly hasn’t stopped just about every school in the country from putting a scholarship on the table for the lefty.

Matt Dann, 7’0, C, Fort Erie International Academy (CAN), 2025
One of the higher upside players in the event, Canadian Matt Dann certainly showed that he belonged at the CMI. A very solid athlete with a 7-foot-6 wingspan, Matt made a number of tough catches in traffic, ran the floor well, and even showed flashes of a short jumper facing up. Already holding an offer from Oregon, Dann will be a name you definitely need to follow in The Grind Session and beyond.

Royce Parham, 6’8, SF/PF, Western Reserve Academy (OH), 2026
The definition of a new age forward, Royce Parham got it done inside and out at the CMI. Showing more pop than he did in the summer, the Team Durant forward dunked everything in the paint, and showed a feathery touch facing the rack. The combination of Parham and Winters should help bolster Marquette’s front line from day one with their versatile play.

Damarion Witten, 6’4, SF/PF, Cleveland Glenville (OH), 2024
The epitome of a glue guy, Damarion Witten brought everything that you’d hope for out of a high school teammate. The long armed forward literally defended every single position at times, played with an unreal motor on both ends, and ripped the rim off at every single opportunity he had en route to MVP honors of the game. Witten is a four star football recruit headed to Ohio State and was MVP of the US Army All American Game, but is still the type of teammate that every player would love to have on their team.


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