Posted On: 02/20/18 6:35 AM
To package alongside our District Previews from last week, we wanted to provide the readers with perspectives from all over the state on big picture questions. The OHSAA playoffs start this week, which means plenty of game coverage, more predictions, and a flood of opinions over the next 72 hours.
Today, we’re starting with questions about players, tomorrow is teams/matchups, and State Championship predictions come on Thursday.
Let us know what you think by commenting or replying on Twitter!
In your city, which player will your city be abuzz about after the tournament?
Dusty Wright (Cincinnati): For this category I think that you must pick a player whose team has a chance to make a deep postseason run. Or that player that can put on that one performance that you will not forget. Hughes senior G DJ Brewton can put up points in a hurry and can do it with some flair as well. Do not be surprised if he puts up a 30, maybe even 40-point, performance during the tournament.
Tony Peters (Dayton): There’s plenty of names here that can be mentioned. Personally I think Ethan Conley from Franklin-Monroe will be the one being talked about. The junior has been one of the top players in Dayton all season and has a legitimate chance of putting up huge numbers in Division IV this year.
Anthony Garcia (Toledo): Joey Holifield of Cardinal Stritch. Although Toledo is well aware of Holifield, the sophomore point guard has a chance to blow-up statewide if Stritch goes on a run in Division III. Personally, I think the Cardinals have a very strong chance of making the Regional Tournament and Holifield’s leadership and talent is the primary reason.
The Torrey Patton Award: Which senior will earn a D-I offer in March?
Dusty Wright: Giovanni Santiago has what it takes to play at the D-I level. He is one of the best play-makers in the state and can fill up every category on the stat sheet. This is the stage where a player like Santiago usually shows up, and if he does expect the offers to follow.
Tony Peters: Why not name another guy from Trotwood? Myles Belyeu is clearly the Torrey Patton this season. Belyeu has seen several teams express interest at the D2 level, but after this tournament, I think he will see a few D1 offers come through.
Anthony Garcia: I’m actually going to stick in Toledo and go with Houston King of St. John’s. If the Titans are to reach Columbus, King will be shooting the ball at an extremely high rate. He once had shooting performance with C2K that brought an offer from Georgetown, but his recruitment has slowed down since the summer. He’s shooting it well right now though, so he’s got a chance to pick up momentum late.
Which player is most important to their team’s success?
Dusty Wright: Kameron Gibson must play well for the Walnut Hills Eagles to have a chance to win. Gibson is the only perimeter threat that the Eagles have and is also their best ball-handler. Without him Coach Ricardo Hill’s team may not even be a .500 squad. With him they can at least win sectionals.
Tony Peters: Justin Ahrens from Versailles. He can always be depended on to score for the Tigers, but come tournament time if opponents take him out of the equation, Versailles is in trouble. Versailles needs a big showing from Ahrens if they have a shot of getting back to Columbus.
Anthony Garcia: Vincent Williams of Toledo St. John’s. They won’t play a team with a major size advantage until the Final Four (if they beat St. Edward for a second time in the Regional Final). However, the VCU signee’s elite blend of physicality and playmaking ability will be crucial for SJJ when the time comes. If he’s able to hold his own in the post and rebound at a high level, he’s a problem on the other end for centers, as he usually is their primary ball-handler. (Others considered: Austin Rotroff, Taevion Kinsey, Sincere Carry, Dane Goodwin, Manning “Tre” Baumgardner III, Justin Ahrens, Alex Heath, Mike Bothwell.)
Which underclassmen is going to have a major impact in the tournament?
Dusty Wright: The North College Hill Trojans have not lost a game since December, and two of the main reasons why are 2020 G DeAirius Barker and 2021 G Kaden Warner. Both young men play with the poise of a veteran and can score the ball. If NCH hopes to live up to expectation, then both young men will have to play well.
Tony Peters: Carter Gray from Arcanum. Gray has been an under-the-radar player all season and at times has not received the credit he deserves. The sophomore will be a major piece for the Trojans and potentially may have a big game or two.
Anthony Garcia: Montorie Foster from Lakewood St. Edward is one of the most valuable players on that roster and they have a chance to reach Columbus again. He advances the ball better than almost anyone in Ohio. Foster sets the tone by not only being unselfish, but also staying active defensively. The Eagles have a balanced scoring attack, but the sophomore keeps everyone on the same page at the point guard position.