Over the past two weeks, I went to my hometown of Cleveland to catch some of the city’s best. Hitting a number of local games throughout the week along with the loaded Chet Mason Invitational. Mason, who was Ohio’s Mr. Basketball and a 10-year pro himself, put together an absolutely loaded event that blended a number of local Cleveland teams and prep schools. Unfortunately, 6-foot-10 five star forward Alier Maluk was a bit banged up with a minor injury, but that certainly didn’t stop the ridiculous amount the event offered.
I had planned on attending the Grind Session and Overtime Elite events in Atlanta the weekend prior, but a canceled flight kept me back in Minneapolis. On the flip side, this allowed me to hit a pair of Timberwolves and then a super hyped matchup of Minnesota’s defending state champions in Park Center (currently ranked 29th in the Ballislife FAB 50 Rankings) against Totino-Grace (led by a slew of D1 prospects). Park Center ultimately won, 76-62, but both teams still remain the favorites to win state titles in their respective divisions.
Here are a few of the top players that I’ve caught over the last two weeks:
Marcus Johnson, 6’2, PG/SG, Garfield Heights HS (OH), 2026
Considered by some to be the No. 1 freshman in the nation, I got the chance to evaluate Johnson three times over my week in Cleveland. “Baby Boy” had his best game (24 points) in a narrow loss against the state’s top ranked team (St. Edward’s) at the Chet Mason Invitational. The lefty comes from an amazing basketball lineage (father Sonny was Ohio’s Mr. Basketball and is his coach), creates a massive amount of separation with his step back jumper, and does a great job of using his shoulders to absorb contact for a young playmaker. The lefty’s showing over the weekend was enough to earn him an offer from Seton Hall, adding to six other high major programs who have already put scholarships on the table.
Tyler Williams, 6’8, PF, Brush HS (OH), 2023
One of Ohio’s more interesting unsigned seniors, Tyler Williams is the type of dude who knows his role and excels at it. He sets bone crushing screens, finishes above the rim, and uses his sheer physicality to control the glass on both ends. Williams finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds en route to being named MVP in Brush’s victory and already holds countless D1 offers.
Lucas Perusek, 6’2, PG/SG, Lakewood St. Edward’s (OH), 2023
Not only is he the leader for the top ranked team in Cleveland, but his St. Ed’s squad is also the top ranked team in Ohio’s biggest division (D1). Ranked No. 36 in the latest Ballislife FAB 50, Perusek is the glue on a St. Ed’s unit coached by Eric Flannery (who many consider to be the best coach in the state of Ohio). The super gritty guard is a big-time athlete (38 inch vertical), can lock down on either guard spot, and is outstanding finishing through contact. Perusek is still wide open with his recruitment as well.
TJ Crumble, 6’8, PF, Lutheran East HS (OH), 2026
The epitome of a new age power forward in today’s game, TJ Crumble got it done inside and out at the Chet Mason Invitational. One of Ohio’s truly elite players in the class of 2026, Crumble has been ranked in the top 25 nationally by many services. He dropped 19 pts via an array of post ups, quick moves off the bounce, and deep jumpers. Already holding offers from the likes of Missouri, Ole Miss, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, LSU, and a host of others, Crumble is a name you will want to remember in the class of 2026 nationally.
Jackson Fowlkes, 6’4, SG, Park Center HS (MN), 2024
One of Minnesota’s fastest rising players, Jackson Fowlkes had a really nice week for Park Center. The intriguing shooting guard is a serious on ball defender who can shoot it from deep and finish off the bounce with limited dribbles. Fowlkes has already been on campus at numerous D1’s for visits.
Isaiah Johnson-Arigu, 6’7, SF, Totino Grace (MN), 2024
Another one of the faster rising players in Minnesota over the past year, Isaiah Johnson-Arigu transferred to defending champion Totino Grace and hasn’t looked back. Owning a 7-foot wingspan, he offers a ton of versatility defensively, is interesting as a creator, and is a skilled cutter. Johnson-Arigu picked up five D1 offers since the evaluation period started and will assuredly add plenty more.
Darius Davis, 5’11, PG, Maple Heights HS (OH), 2023
In one of the biggest upsets in the city of Cleveland this year, Darius Davis paced Brush to an upset over perennial power Garfield Heights. The diminutive guard showed no fear going into the paint, hit a number of deep jumpers, and created a number of turnovers on the defensive end. Davis is the catalyst to an emerging Maple Heights squad that has won 11 straight games in Cleveland’s toughest conference.
Cody Head, 6’3, PG, Lutheran East (OH), 2023
In what was certainly a bit of a rivalry game for Cody, the senior blew up against his former high school. The unsigned senior PG dropped 18 points and 10 assists in a win over Shaker Heights en route to being named MVP of the game at The Chet Mason Invitational. The bouncy playmaker owns an explosive first step, has his head on a swivel, and is the catalyst for Ohio’s No. 1 ranked team in D3.
4 Replies to “Hometown Scouting Report: Ohio”
In regards of the rankings I see that Michael lewandowski the starting forward for maple hts has not gotten the recognition he is deserving of . This young man averages an impressive 14 points a game not to mention most productive and biggest rebounder maple has seen in some time . The young man received mvp back to back during the holiday break I. The tournament games .I mean in all fairness it’s arguably to say he hid the most likable player on the team most importantly the athletic.. I the fact that others being recognize for there talents but let’s be fair this young man should be looked at not to mention he didn’t start the very first to games for what ever reason the 3rd game he became a starter and star by numbers .
Give buckets young fellas there is no other way
Class of 2002 Bonner Academy Raleigh NC is the best prep team to ever do it .
I just love the way this article is written. It is very informative basketball information. Keep up the good work fellas.