There’s talent in Upstate NY

By Darnell “Tate” Johnson

Buffalo, NY – The Best of the Best Upstate held in Buffalo, NY earlier this week gave us a look at some talented prospects across the upstate area. This is an annual event giving by Bay Area Hoops LLC & Last One Best One. Here’s a quick look at a few underclassmen who stood out.

2024 Mason Blackwood 6’5 (Aquinas Institute) This kid has all the tools. He’s long, skilled and can get to that rack at will. Blackwood has a nice stroke and can score at all three levels. I would like him to really step it up a notch plus he should’ve dominated in every game.

2022 Cameron Dyer 6’6 (Dixie HS) He has a great body and length. I really liked his energy and physicality. Finishes well around the basket.

2023 Seth Joba 6’9 (Orchard Park HS) Showed length and good touch around the basket. He surprised me with his toughest. He dunked on a few people. He showed good touch popping out and knocking down the 15 footer.

2024 Damarius Owens 6’7 (Western Reserve Academy) The young fella has a great deal of potential. He’s long, skilled and very aggressive. He has good touch from deep. He still has a higher ceiling in front of him. 

2023 Declan Ryan 6’8 (Canisius HS) This young man is an enigma. He plays very very hard. He’s one of the most skilled big men out there. He has to concentrate on his weight. It doesn’t make sense with how discipline his game is. If he sheds pounds, the skies the limit.

2023 Max Schneider 5’9 (Williamsville East) This young fella is tough as nails and has a very high IQ. Schneider really sees the floor. He may be limited athletically but makes up with it with heart.

2022 Philip Nwugwo 6’6 (Victor HS) He showed some nice skills. He needs to be more consistent. He would score in bunches then disappear.

2024 Marcqell Freeman 5’10 (Edison Tech HS) This young man is jet quick and can get anywhere he wants. He just had a problem finishing. He definitely needs to be more consistent. He needs to learn how to use his quickness more to his advantage.

2023 Jack Bleier 6’3 (Aquinas Institute) This young man has a nice stroke. He knocked down the deep jumper when open and contested. He could put the ball on the floor and just needs to do it more. 

2023 Jason Gibbs 5’10 (Churville HS) He was a very solid point guard that knows how to play and doesn’t hurt the team. He needs to step it up if he wants to take his game to another level.

2023 Kamar Goudelock 6’1 (Northside Christian) He’s a very active guard and at times was very effective. Goudelock is a good defender and was good at attacking the basket but needs to be more consistent from deep.

2023 Xavier Gissendanner 6’3 (Irondequoit) This young man teased me at times. At times he look very good and then he would tend to disappear. He has some nice tools to work with, just must become more consistent.

2023 Gary Johnson 6’8 (Amherst HS) He’s was also sort of a teaser too. He’s long, active and made some very impressive plays. However, Johnson would disappear for stretches at a time. There’s no reason this young man shouldn’t be a high major recruit. He has good range and athleticism.

2023 Ryan Heath 5’11 (Irondequoit) He’s talented with nice handles and loves getting the lane and finishing. His problem he can get loose with the ball and plays with it to much at times.

2023 Nick Moore 6’3 (Amherst HS) To be real he started off slow and I was very unimpressed. The last camp he was one of the standouts. Luckily he picked it up later in camp and was aggressive and made some shots.

2024 Khorie Reaves 6’3 (Greece Athena HS) This young man oozes talent. He showed in flashes that could score at will when he was assertive. He could be a very effective player if he became more aggressive. 

2022 Emmanuel Leftenent 5’11 (Eastridge HS) I loved this kids attitude. He played his heart out just didn’t get enough done. He needs to become patient and study the game, then he will be alright.

2023 Jimmie Green III 6’4 (Heath Sciences) He’s a strong guard that knows how to use his strength. He’s very physical and a bully on the court. He needs to get in the lab and work on toning up his skills.

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