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Derek McKeithen shines at Northland open gym

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In the same gym where former Northland star JD Weatherspoon once had ten dunks in one game, current Viking high-flyer Derek McKeithen put on a show for the ages of his own on Monday. Playing in front of various Division I and II coaches, the senior combo-guard had his best performance in several months. Let’s take a look at the top performers from Monday’s open gym.

Derek McKeithen (6’4 SG, 2014):

Having his best offensive performance in months, McKeithen was the top player in the gym on Monday. On the receiving end of several alley-oops from guard Ty Hairston, McKeithen did more than just attack the rim during a two-hour open gym session. The 6’4 guard was deadly from three, highlighted by a stretch in which McKeithen knocked down three consecutive shots from the right wing, wrapping up a high-paced scrimmage. With incredible athleticism and length, performances like he had on Monday should elevate his stock this upcoming season.

Seth Towns (6’8 SF, 2016):

Fresh off an unofficial visit to Ohio State this past weekend, the sophomore Towns was solid once again on Monday. Officially measured at 6’8 during his visit to Virginia Tech several weeks ago, Towns is becoming a more complete offensive player each time I have seen him. The small forward excels with his step-back jumpshot, and has worked hard to improve his ball-handling and facilitation of the offense from the top of the key. When left open, Towns will knock down shots from the perimeter. Guarding 6’7 power forward Jaylen Tucker, Towns’ low-post defense looked to be also improved, another testament to how hard the sophomore phenom works.

Ty Hairston (6’2 SG, 2014):

Visiting Gardner-Webb earlier in the summer, Hairston has picked up Division-I interest in recent months. With a complete offensive skill set, the senior is primed for a huge season in 2013-’14. On Monday, Ty was deadly in the pick-and-roll, knocking down several threes off screens. Hairston was also effective on the fast break, either scoring or assisting multiple times in transition. The combo-guard also utilized his polished pump-fake, breezing by biting defenders. Operating out of a J.R. Smith type of role a season ago, look for Hairston to continue to excel offensively.

Jaylen Tucker (6’7 SF/PF, 2014):

One of Northland’s most improved players, Tucker, who played alongside Ohio State commit Jae’Sean Tate for All-Ohio Red this past summer, was impressive on Monday. With noticeable improvements in his ball-handling, Tucker looked to be much more comfortable with the ball in his hands, slashing through the lane for points. Tucker was also a force on the offensive glass, attacking the boards to create second-chance points. The 6’7 forward is a high-energy player who will run the floor effectively and give you maximum effort for 24 minutes a night.

Shemar Waugh (6′ PG, 2014):

Receiving interest from several high-end Division-II programs as of late, the floor general Waugh did a little bit of everything on Monday. Waugh’s trademark is his great basketball IQ and court vision, as both qualities were on display as the point guard dialed up teammates for an array of assists. The senior is great at looking off defenders to find open teammates in transition, a trait very few guards possess.  In addition to his ability to facilitate the offense, Waugh’s suffocating on-ball defense, another trait of his, was also apparent on Monday. Waugh is an active defender with quick hands that is great at causing turnovers.

Seth McCoy (6’2 SG, 2015):

Recently transferring from Canal Winchester, McCoy looks to be a key addition for the Vikings this season. Excelling with his spot up three-point shooting, McCoy also attacked the basket and finished with contact. The junior is an all-around solid offensive player that will hustle and make things happen on both ends of the floor. I see McCoy seeing a great deal of minutes during league play for the Vikings, as Northland sports a 106-game Columbus City-League winning streak, refining his skills for an expected deep run in the state playoffs this season.

Donte Smith (5’11 PG, 2014):

Reserve senior guard Smith impressed with his deep shooting range playing alongside Waugh and Tucker. Smith stretched the defense as he knocked down several threes from NBA range, and was also effective in transition, finishing decently well amongst contact.

Kenny Sloan (6’1 PG/SG, 2014):

Like Smith, Sloan is another solid reserve guard for the Vikings. While Smith got the job done from behind-the-arc, Sloan is more of a slasher. Sloan scored at a decently well rate on Monday, and played great perimeter defense. I expect Sloan to be effective off the bench for Northland this season as the Vikings look to win their first state championship since 2009.

Ben Buffoe (6’3 SF, 2014):

When talking about Buffoe, “explosive” is the word that continues to come to mind. Built like an SEC linebacker, the 6’3 forward played a brute style of basketball on Monday. Primarily used for his rebounding and physical defense, Buffoe attacked the lane whenever a seam opened up, and finished pretty well at the rim. Buffoe is another talented senior on a Vikings squad that relies heavily on production from the 2014 class.

- Zach Fleer / @ZachFleerLGHL

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