BY MARCUS HELTON
BOWIE, MD - The 5th annual DMVelite 80 attracted many of the area’s best players to Bowie City Gym on September 9, giving them an opportunity to get some high-level work in in front of media and college coaches while participating in seminars on life skills and college eligibility.
The talented 2018 class put on an impressive display, and here’s a look at a few of the senior standouts
RELATED: 2017 All-DMVelite 80 Team
MATTHEW URBACH, WT WOODSON (VA) GUARD
Urbach (RIGHT) averaged an event-high 13.3 points per game, showcasing a nice touch from beyond the 3-point line and the ability to finish at the rim.
The 6-foot-4 Urbach finished the day 15-of-24 from the floor and a sizzling 9-of-12 from 3-point range to lead Team Navy to a 2-1 mark. Urbach played with energy on both ends of the floor and capitalized on open scoring chances.
Urbach enjoyed a nice debut season at Woodson last year after transferring in from Paul VI, leading the Cavaliers to the Virginia 6A state championship. He carried that momentum into the summer with Team Takeover Orange, picking up his lone Division I offer from La Salle.
MATT BALANC, SPRINGBROOK (MD) GUARD
Balanc has had one of the fastest rises of any player in the area, carrying a breakout junior season into a standout summer with Mid-Atlantic Select 17U and collecting a host of Division I offers.
It was easy to see why on Saturday, as he displayed impressive explosiveness, highlighted by a soaring one-hand putback dunk.
The 6-foot-3 Balanc averaged 7.7 points per game, highlighted by 15 in a 57-52 win against Team Red. He went 6-of-11 from the field and 2-of-4 from 3-point range in that game
Balanc has cut his list of college suitors to five schools: Florida Gulf Coast, Massachusetts, Quinnipiac, Rhode Island and UMBC.
DANIEL OLADAPO, BLADENSBURG (MD) FORWARD
Oladapo strengths were on full display in a 59-39 win over Team Grey, as he scored 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting and grabbed 12 rebounds - both game-highs. He finished the day averaging 11.7 points and 6 rebounds per game.
Oladapo is relentless on both ends of the floor, and has steadily improved his perimeter game. He’s comfortable and effective with the ball in his hands on the perimeter, where he’s too big for small guards to check and to quick for slower bigs to stay in front of.
Oladapo currently holds offers from Canisius, High Point, Howard and Towson, among others, but said he’s planning to attend prep school after his final year at Bladensburg.
DEMETRIUS MIMS, BALTIMORE POLY (MD) GUARD
A day after committing to Long Beach State, Mims looked visibly relieved to have his recruitment wrapped up, and said he spent the event focusing on a more complementary role.
“I feel like I showcased some of my skills today,” he said. “I had more of a passing day – I had a couple of back-to-back buckets, but I feel like I got a lot of assists today, rebounded and tried to help my team win when I was out there.”
Mims averaged 3.3 points per game but lead his squad in rebounding at 3 per game. His best offensive outing came when he scored 8 points on 4-5 shooting while grabbing six boards in a loss to Team Black
Mims committed to Long Beach State in a ceremony at Poly on Friday afternoon, choosing the 49ers over Coastal Carolina, Lehigh and Towson. He said distance from home wasn’t a factor in his decision, noting that his older brother Daquan Cook committed to UNLV.
“I did a lot of research into my four colleges,” he said, “and Long Beach State, they had some of the best competition. They’ve played Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina, so it’ll be good competition when I go out there. My first year out there, my first game is going to be against UCLA and then then next week against Arizona, so I’m going to be put on the right stage.”
With his recruitment now wrapped up, Mims is focused on trying to help Poly repeat as Maryland 3A state champions. The Engineers lost a major piece following the graduation of DMVelite Maryland Player of the Year Dre Perry (Temple), but Mims said he’s ready to step in as the focal point.
“I’ve matured a lot over one year,” he said, “so I just feel like I’m ready. I’m ready for college and to move on, but before that I’m ready to lead my team to another state championship.”
CHRISTIAN JONES, ANNAPOLIS (MD) GUARD
Jones put himself on the radar following a breakout season for state semifinalist Annapolis, and it was easy to see what college coaches like.
Jones is a smooth and efficient scorer, and even when his perimeter shots weren’t falling - he missed his only two attempts - he found ways to put the ball in the bucket effectively. He finished 9-of-14 from the field overall while averaging 6 points per game, and even managed to lead his Team Navy squad in rebounding at 4 per game - not bad for a 6-2 guard.
DONOVANN TOATLEY, RIVERDALE BAPTIST (MD) 2018
The Tennessee-Chattanooga commit was his usual electrifying self, leaving defenders reaching in vain and spectators gasping all afternoon. He put on a show in a 54-53 win over Team Red - putting an opposing guard on skates to the delight of his teammates and spectators - and finishing with 13 points and five assists. He averaged 6.3 points per game for the day.
In addition to his quickness, Toatley has gotten noticeably stronger over the past year, and is able to use that added power to absorb contact and finish in the paint. He has an uncanny ability to create just enough space to get shots off over larger defenders.
EMMANUEL AGHAYERE, SOUTH LAKES (VA) FORWARD
The 6-6 Aghayere (RIGHT) impressed observers with his quickness up and down the floor - and in the case of one impressive dunk, off of it - while putting together a solid day in his DMVelite 80 debut.
Aghayere averaged 8.7 points and 3.3 rebounds per game while going an extremely efficient 13-of-15 from the field in three contests.
Aghayere enjoyed a strong summer with Team Takeover Grey 17U, and earned his first scholarship offer from Division II Shepherd (WV) earlier this month. With his blend of size, power and athleticism, he’s sure to add to that list during his senior campaign.
JOSH MACK, ST. MARIA GORETTI (MD)
Mack took full advantage of his first DMVelite 80 appearance, averaging 5.3 points and 2 assists per game for Team Orange. He made winning plays on both ends of the court and looked especially good in a 59-39 win over Team Grey in which he scored 12 points on 5-of-5 shooting.
Mack came into the event with an offer from Division II Shepherd (WV), and added one from D-2 Wheeling Jesuit (W.Va.) on Monday.
RICKY LINDO, WILSON (DC) GUARD*
One of the area’s most intriguing prospects, Lindo holds a host of Division I offers, with recruiters drawn by his combination of size, skill and athleticism. Lindo has already announced that he’ll do a prep school year and enter college with the class of 2019*, which will help him add key strength to his lanky 6-foot-8 frame.
One of Lindo’s hallmarks is his versatility, which was on display Saturday as he averaged 5 points and 1.5 rebounds pr game for Team Grey. His length and athleticism make him a matchup problem on both ends of the court.
After helping Wilson to the DCIAA championship last year, Lindo is primed to lead the attempt at a repeat.
ELIJAH BOWENS, MARET (DC) GUARD
The 5-foot-10 Bowens didn’t put up huge numbers but impressed with his poise and willingness to distribute, dishing out a team-leading 4 assists to zero turnovers.
Bowens was a key part of Maret’s MAC and DCSAA runner-up squad last year, and said he enjoyed getting to measure himself against the area’s best last Saturday.
“The beginning was good, and when we got to the games there was a lot of competition,” he said. “A lot of people already knew each other, but to go against each other 5-on-5 full-court, just going hard at each other – you get to push yourself to the limit. Everybody in here can shoot and score – that’s why we’re here – but you get to see what extra you can do, as far as defense and playing hard and the intangibles that everybody has and what you don’t have.”
OTHER 2018 STANDOUTS
Dee Barnes, King’s Christian (Md.) Guard
Allin Blunt, Gonzaga (DC) Wing
Elijah Boyd, Maret (DC) Guard
Stephen Cannady, St. Vincent Pallotti (Md.) Guard
Savion Gallion, Thurgood Marshall (DC) Guard
Brayden Gault, Battlefield (Va.) Guard
Nigel Haughton, John Carroll (Md.) Guard
Darius Hines, Bishop Ireton (Va.) Guard
Josiah Marable, Wilson (DC) Forward
Kevon Voyles, Stephen Decatur (Md.) Guard
NOTES: Rock Creek Christian (Md.) forward Jermaine Harris attended this year’s event, but didn’t participate due to injury. He did take some time to discuss his upcoming official visit schedule, which starts this weekend with West Virginia, followed by Rhode Island, Xavier, Kansas and Miami.
So, why that group?
“I definitely feel like I’ve been wanted, because they’ve been keeping in contact with me,” Harris said. “It’s clear that they feel like they kind of need a player like me, so why not just stick with the people that have been rocking with me?”
The 6-foot-9 Harris is ready to bring his recruitment to a close, but paused to consider what it says about how far he’s coming in a few short years since moving to Maryland from Georgia.
“I couldn’t make lay-ups, couldn’t make sprints – I couldn’t catch the ball,” he said. “But I stayed in the gym 24-7 with my coach Chris Cole. He kept me in the gym and we worked every day until I got better.”