Coach O leads players through a dynamic warmup prior to Sunday's workout
The NEO Spotlight Open Runs have provided free exposure to student-athletes here in Northeast Ohio as well as surrounding areas. Gilmour Academy served as host this past Sunday as 40 players were in attendance to showcase their talents in front of local and regional college coaches.
With over a dozen coaches in attendance, there were a number of breakout performances. Keep reading to check out the top performers as well as a 3rdCoastHoops recap of all the action!
Benejan's performance on Sunday is one of the reasons why we throw together at least one open run per year. After playing alongside one of the state's better guards a year ago in Devon Grant, now a freshman at Miami (OH), it was nice to see Benejan in a much different role as he showcased the ability to get into the paint and make plays with either hand. On a team with a number of athletes, Benejan was great in transition as he was able to push the tempo and put the ball where it needed to be.
From the very start of Sunday's skill stations, no one in attendance could match the gear that Blair played with. The explosive guard is coming off of a solid Spring with the Wooster Warriors and isn't showing any signs of slowing down. Blair used his explosiveness to get out in transition where he was able to get to his spots on the floor and mix it up with an array of pullup jumpers, skips, and dropoffs to teammates. While he made plays on both ends of the floor from start to finish, it was Blair's motor and toughness that stood out in the showcase style setting.
There may not be another player on this list who put together a more complete weekend than Chaney, a native of southern Ohio. The 6'4 wing followed up an impressive outing on Saturday at the OHSBCA Showcase with another really good showing on Sunday. He has a quick release and displayed the ability to shoot the ball with range as well as make some crafty finishes out in the open floor.
Similar to Chaney, Foster had a busy weekend of hoops as he participated in state's first "Division One Showcase" on Saturday prior to participating in the open run, but apparently Foster still had a little gas in the tank. There wasn't a shortage of highlight level plays on Sunday and more than a handful of them came from the Cleveland guard. His ability to get downhill and make plays has always been on par with the top guards in his class, but Foster was also able to create separation and breakdown defenders. As he continues to expand his game beyond the three-point line, expect his name to circulate across the region.
The Tigers of Cleveland Heights have been the talk of the summer, but senior Manny Hill has managed to create some buzz of his own. After a pair of clutch shots at the Word Church summer league back in June, including a buzzer beater against Fairview in OT, Hill put some of that same scoring ability on display this past weekend as well. The skilled point guard played with high energy and put the ball in the basket during the 5-on-5 portion of the event. Even with the new additions, you can expect Hill to be a major contributor for a Heights squad loaded with potential.
Without question the player who did themselves the biggest favor on Sunday was Pfeiffer. The 6'7 forward out Lorain County immediately caught the eye of those in attendance due to his combination of length, athleticism, and fluidity. Pfeiffer showed off some skill with the ball and even stepped out with confidence behind the arc. As the July AAU weekends are set to tip off, we expect Pfeiffer to become a household name amongst coaches in the area.
Throughout the month of June, Piks really caught our eye playing at various college shootouts with Mentor, particularly his showing at Youngstown State's team camp. At 6'4, Piks is a guy that efficiently scored the ball on Sunday and did in a variety of ways. He displayed some toughness and willingness to play with contact on both ends of the floor. Piks added an offer from Notre Dame College earlier this summer and we expect his interest to pickup throughout the latter part of the summer.
Pugh was quite possibly the top prospect in attendance on Sunday. The Northern Ohio native made the cross town trip to Cleveland and made the most of his time. At 6'5, Pugh has a great feel with the ball in his hands and was very unselfish in the open floor as he thread the needle on several occasions, showing off a little flare in the process. While he isn't an explosive athlete, Pugh combines a smooth pace with a shifty to handle to create scoring opportunities for himself and others. After watching him briefly in the Spring, Sunday gave us a more clear picture of Pugh's ability as he is one of the most under-the-radar players in Ohio's 2021 class.