Devin Royal and George Washington III Shine For All-Ohio Red, Darryn Peterson Puts Up Big Numbers at Nike EYBL in Indianapolis

By Griffin Strom on April 25, 2022 at 10:10 am
Devin Royal, George Washington

Coaches from most of the top college basketball programs across the country descended upon Westfield, Indiana, this past weekend to watch many of the nation’s top high school prospects compete in the second session of the Nike EYBL circuit this spring.

Ohio State assistants Jake Diebler and Mike Netti were on hand and so was Eleven Warriors, as I attended the first two full days of games at the Pacers Athletic Center, keeping a close eye on the All-Ohio Red team that features one Buckeye commit (George Washington III) and several other top targets in the 2023 recruiting class. 

We also watched a number of other prospects that Ohio State has an eye on across the next three recruiting classes, and we’re recapping all of the most important things we saw – including the foremost standout performers – over the past few days, starting with how the aforementioned Ohio-based AAU team performed collectively as a unit.

All-Ohio Red

The team of Buckeye state standouts started off strong in Indianapolis, winning both of its first two games and looking like the far superior squad for long stretches of both meetings, but ultimately finished the weekend 2-2 after dropping its final two games at the Nike EYBL event. All-Ohio Red also finished 2-2 during the first EYBL session in Orlando earlier this month, bringing its overall record to 4-4 thus far.

In its opening contest against Nightrydas Elite on Friday, All-Ohio Red finished with a 76-62 win, turning turnovers into transition points all night as it notched eight steals and forced its opponent into 12 turnovers. All-Ohio Red looked just as good for much of Saturday’s first game against Georgia Stars, but nearly gave away a double-digit lead in the final two minutes before surviving to hold on by one point.

All-Ohio Red suffered its first defeat in its second game on Saturday, falling by six points to Florida Rebels, 68-62, in a game that featured a much lower scoring output from several of its stars. In the final game of the weekend, All-Ohio Red stumbled by a similar margin, losing by seven points to Team Griffin in a 70-63 ballgame.

Devin Royal

The star of All-Ohio Red’s first contest, Royal led the team with a breakout 28-point outing on 9-for-17 shooting, and many of his scores came on dunks in transition. Royal also pulled down 11 boards and a team-high three steals, often bullying Nightrydas elite inside on both ends of the floor. Royal’s output didn’t drop off all that much to start day two, as the Pickerington Central poured in 22 points against Georgia Stars, leading All-Ohio Red to victory in its second game of the event on Saturday.

Royal wasn’t quite as productive in the final two games of the event, scoring just seven points in the loss to Florida Rebels and contributing five points in the matchup with Team Griffin to close things out in a second straight losing effort. Still, Royal finished the weekend averaging 15.5 points and seven rebounds for All-Ohio Red.

While Royal lost a bit of steam by the end of the event, the class of 2023 Ohio State target showed plenty across four games, scoring inside and out, off the dribble and on a few catch-and-shoot 3-pointers. He was also engaged on the defensive end with a number of steals and solid rebounding throughout.

George Washington III

The first commit in Ohio State’s class of 2023 gave the Buckeye coaching staff in attendance a lot to be excited about over the weekend, averaging 16 points a game as he showed off his pure 3-point shooting stroke and offensive play making ability on several occasions.

Washington hit the 20-point mark in two contests, leading All-Ohio Red with 23 points in a win against Georgia Stars on Saturday and closing out the weekend with a 22-point showcase (albeit in a loss) against Team Griffin on Sunday. When Washington wasn’t scoring, he was often setting up his teammates, as he dished six assists in All-Ohio Red’s second game and worked well in tandem with Dayton’s Lawrent Rice – who also holds an Ohio State offer – in the backcourt.

Washington was particularly clutch down the stretch in a one-point win against Georgia Stars, rattling off five straight points in a crucial period late, and was All-Ohio Red’s top scoring option on the perimeter over the weekend.

Dailyn Swain

Ohio’s second-rated player in the class of 2023 didn’t score quite as much in the second session as he did in Orlando, where he put up 11.3 points per game, but Africentric’s Swain still impressed over the weekend, putting up 8.3 points across four games and showing the versatility that has become his calling card as a wiry 6-foot-6 guard/forward.

Swain dished nine assists to go along with his six points in All-Ohio Red’s second game against Georgia Stars, and in Sunday’s meeting with Team Griffin, he tallied four steals. Swain excelled when getting out in transition during the event, making several athletic and authoritative finishes on fast breaks even if his shot wasn’t always falling.

Two weeks into EYBL play, Swain leads all 17-U performers with an average of 2.8 steals per game.

Lawrent Rice

Paired with Washington in the All-Ohio Red backcourt, Rice showed he could coexist with the Buckeye commit quite nicely, as the pair often played off of one another to great effect. Rice averaged 6.3 points per game during the event, scoring his most points in his first outing with 11 against Nightrydas Elite. The three-star guard prospect had several impressive dribble drives to the bucket that resulted in made baskets, and many required creative finishes as Rice showed a natural knack for putting the ball in the hole.

Darryn Peterson (NJ Scholars)

Just a day after ESPN named him the No. 4 overall prospect in the class of 2025, Canton’s Darryn Peterson showed why in his first 15U game of the tournament against Oakland Soldiers. The 6-foot-4 guard putting up a whopping 31 points for the NJ Scholars as he dazzled off the dribble to find his way inside for a number of scores at the rim. Despite his age, Peterson looked like a man among boys on the hardwood, and having long since earned an offer from Ohio State, it’s clear the Buckeyes identified a special talent early in the recruitment process.

Scotty Middleton (Brad Beal Elite)

Brad Beal Elite may have gone 0-4 on the weekend, but Scotty Middleton – who made a last-minute switch from The Skill Factory prior to the tournament – showed promise after listing Ohio State among his top five schools last Thursday. Middleton, a 6-foot-7 forward and the No. 51 player in the class of 2023, struggled a bit early, going 4-for-16 in his first game and not scoring at all in the second. But Middleton finished with a standout 16-point effort in the final contest of the weekend on Sunday, shooting 7-for-14 in an eight-point loss to Team Durant.

Middleton’s versatility was hard not to notice, given that he guarded anyone from opposing guards to bigs on defense, and the Kansas product blocked shots, rebounded and facilitated offense for teammates with several impressive passes during the event.

Amier Ali (Houston Hoops)

Fresh off of earning an Ohio State offer, class of 2024 forward Amier Ali averaged eight points per game as Houston Hoops went 3-1 on the weekend. The 6-foot-8 wing had his best performance Saturday in a three-point win over Seattle Rotary, as Ali scored 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting, but he proved capable of impacting the game without scoring as well. In Houston Hoops’ first game of the weekend, Ali paired a seven-point effort with five rebounds, four blocks and four steals in an impressive stat line that demonstrated activity on both sides of the floor.

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