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Posted On: 08/16/17 2:00 AM
Continuing our coverage of central Ohio basketball today, we’re examining what makes this region of the state unique.
By our projections, there are twelve players from central Ohio’s 2018 class that project as possible D-I guys. The top seven of those are surefire D-I players, while Isaiah Speelman (#26), Garrett Tipton (#30), Lacey Watson (#31), Tre Williams (#35), and Ross Ryan (#37) just have to find the right fit.
Basically, you could build an entire 12-man D-I roster of central Ohio talent.
We wrote about this in our last update, but it’s worth beating the same drum again here. You’re not going to find a more dynamic group of perimeter talent between 6’4”-6’8” in the state. From Indiana commit Jerome Hunter (#2) all the way down to Lamine Komara (#185) and the 21 guys in between, the Columbus-area is a factory for skilled wings with collegiate size.
Some of the top D-II/NAIA wings in Ohio reside here: CJ Penha (#48), JT Shumate (#49), Solomon Pierre-Louis (#50), Reiko Bagley (#53), Dondre Palmer (#55), and many more really. Then you have a ton of kids who could contribute at the D-III level, like Bob Faller (#131), Craig Burt (#160), and MJ Rasoul (#169).
Pickerington North and Pickerington Central are out of control. These two premier basketball programs are separated by three miles. Between the two of them, you can find some of the best basketball that the Buckeye State has to offer.
Pick Central made it all the way to the Final Four last season. Their top prospect in the 2018 class, Adrian Nelson (#10), will be crucial to their success next season. The 6’7” wing/forward will likely be asked to defend the rim often next year, with the graduation of 6’11” center Sterling Manley, while continuing to be a dynamic scorer from the wing.
Pick North has caused waves of excitement this summer in the Ohio basketball community with their incoming transfers. The 2018 class has added Ross Ryan (#37) and Corey Baker (#68), both of which are scholarship players. When you package that alongside Jerome Hunter (#2), Elijah McNamara (#24), and Dondre Palmer (#55), what you get is the most talented starting five in Ohio.
From the outside, it may seem like teams are playing for second place in Division I, considering the talent at Pick North. Yet, the fun part about this storyline is that the defending Regional Champions, the Pickerington Central Tigers, have the best chance to stand in their way.