Ohio Basketball Club’s Carlton Bragg is Under the Radar, but Won’t Be for Long

Carlton Bragg
Who is Carlton Bragg?

That was the question many here at Hoop Group’s Future All-American Camp on the campus of Albright College in Reading, Pa. were asking themselves when camp started.

By the end of the camp’s second day, those in attendance no longer had that question.

Bragg, a rising sophomore from Villa Angela-St. Joseph (VASJ) High School in Cleveland, stands 6-foot-8. But it was more than his size that answered the question.

It was his play.

Bragg took over the game in the post and was even able to nail several mid-range jumpers to keep the defense honest.

“He was clearly our MVP today,” said Kevin Hargrove, Bragg’s team coach here at camp. “He can get up and down the floor real well. He can also move well along the baseline.”

This is typical story for Bragg, who only started playing competitive basketball three years ago when a growth spurt keyed his decision to focus on the sport over baseball.

“I was a pitcher and a first baseman,” Bragg said. “I really liked playing baseball. But the last few years I decided to focus on basketball. This year I hope to play baseball again. I really enjoy playing more than one sport.”

Since his basketball experience had been limited, he started his freshman season at VASJ on the junior varsity. In his first game he hit the game-winning shot. He was quickly moved up to varsity.

The move paid off for the then-freshman, as several college coaches were keeping tabs on VASJ’s DeMonte Flannigan (6-8/ Class of 2013).

“Several (college) coaches have talked to me because they were there to watch DeMonte,” Bragg said. “I want to play high-level college ball but I still need to work on every aspect of my game. That’s one reason I came here (Hoop Group Future All-American Camp).”

And when he did arrive, the eyes were again initially on other players, specifically Marcus Derrickson (Paul VI, Va./ Class of 2015) and Thomas Bryant (Bishop Kearney, N.Y./ Class of 2015), both ranked among the top 10 in several early-watch rankings of 2015 players.

“I did a lot of reading about these (Hoop Group) camps,” Bragg said. “I did my research and I decided to come here to get more exposure and improve my game.”

To that end Bragg realizes that improving as a basketball player is about more than playing games.

He goes to a personal trainer every day from 4:30 to 7 p.m. and off the court instruction is one reason he chose to come to Reading.

“Other camps just play game after game,” Bragg said. “Here I saw they have instructions, lectures and drills. I really enjoyed the film session also, I’ve never had the game broken down like that.”

Studying and hard work off the court is nothing new for Bragg. In addition his dream of playing on the Division I level, he maintains a 3.0 grade point average and intends to major in Sport Management in college.

On the court, despite the attention he has already received, Bragg realizes that he still has a lot of work to do.

“I do feel I have a good elbow jumper and some post moves but I know I have to work on everything to get to the next level,” said Bragg.

It is that type of dedication and work ethic which have garnered praise in the early days of camp.

“He plays with a lot of passion,” said Hargrove, a former assistant coach at Sidwell Friends School (D.C.). “This kid works hard. He could be a sleeper. Keep your eye on him.”

Now you know who Carlton Bragg is. —@pfebbraro

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