Mr. Basketball Preseason Candidate: Taevion Kinsey

High School

Posted On: 10/22/17 3:00 PM

Eastmoor Academy wasn’t quite the perennial Division II postseason favorite after last season’s 15-7 record. However, Taevion Kinsey got extremely hot during the postseason and led the Warriors all the way to a Division II State Semifinal appearance. EA was eventually eliminated by Wauseon in a game where Kinsey put up 15 points, which was 1.1 points below his season average. Kinsey also averaged 5.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists, which was impressive enough for First Team All State honors in Division II.

A repeat performance of last season will likely put him right up there for Division II Player of the Year. But, according to our formula, the high-flying prospect will need to check a couple more boxes to be named Mr. Basketball.

First of all, Ohio’s Mr. Basketball must have elite talent. Since 2001, only LeBron James (#1 NBA Draft pick) and Justin Fritts (Wheeling Jesuit) didn’t play Division I basketball.

Next, we considered projected team success. Again since 2001, 10 of the 17 Mr. Basketball winners led their high school team to the State Final Four that season.

Then, the most important piece of the formula considered is production. We’re considering the player’s projected role on their team to predict if they have the opportunity to fill up the scorer’s book. It’s especially imperative that you put up points, as the only Mr. Basketball to average under 20 points since 2001 was Jared Sullinger at 19.9 points per game in 2009. But, Sullinger made up for that tenth of a point by averaging 14.8 rebounds, being the #2 player in the country, and winning the Division I State Championship.

Now, let’s check out how we see Kinsey’s 2017-18 season grading out in each category.

Talent: A

First of all, Kinsey is one of the most athletic players in the entire state. His upside as a wing is tremendous, given his potential as a defender and scorer. Kinsey can be inconsistent as a jump shooter, but he rises above the competition for a clean shot attempt on any given possession. He’s also an irritant defensively, leading to electric plays on the fast break.

Kinsey currently holds 10 Division I offers.

Team Success: A

When it comes to the Division II postseason, Eastmoor is on the short list of preseason favorites. But, in the regular season when they will compete in the ever-competitive Columbus City League, they could take a couple lumps. Yet, with Kinsey, Tariq Brown, Stanley Williams, and Tim Smith, coming back, EA enters the season as the most proven team in the league.

Production: A-

Kinsey’s numbers last season grade out at about an A-/B+, simply because he didn’t hit that 20 points per game requisite. With the same group of teammates back this season, we’d expect his numbers to be just slightly better. While he’s capable of putting up 20-plus, opponents will game-plan heavily for Kinsey all season, forcing him to pass the ball to open teammates around the arch. Maintaining the 5.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists from last season would be both very realistic and very impressive.

Kinsey’s chances:

We expect Kinsey and Dwayne Cohill to be Co-Players of the Year in Division II. With that being said, Kinsey should be in the conversation for the award all season long. He’ll just have to see a boom in his scoring average to win the award. Also, Eastmoor will have to be more consistent in the regular season, including a couple signature wins outside of conference.

photo: Mitch Brown