D-I Columbus District Finals: Top Junior Performances

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Posted On: 03/11/18 12:00 PM

To be frank, the 2019 class in Ohio gets a bad wrap. Top to bottom, it’s definitely not the most talented class that the Buckeye State has produced in recent years. However, Columbus has legitimate players lurking in the junior class, many of which played at Ohio Dominican on Saturday at the D-I District Finals.

As far as teams go, Pickerington Central, Dublin Coffman, Reynoldsburg, and Bradley eliminated Westerville North, Upper Arlington, Mount Vernon, and Westerville South respectively. As far as junior prospects go, keep scrolling to check out the pivotal performances.

Javohn Garcia, 6’3” PG, Pickerington Central

The slippery ball-handler weaved between Warrior defenders for 14 points, eight rebounds, and six assists. Asked to fill in for the injured Jeremiah Francis this season, Garcia is really ticking now that it’s money time. He handled the game like a veteran, creating his own shot at the right times while managing to keep everyone involved throughout the game. Expect him to add multiple Division I schools to the offer sheet this summer, to go along with Stony Brook. He can handle a team.

Will Hunter, 6’3” G, Coffman

Hunter was all over the floor defensively, building on his reputation as a high-motor defender. He also switched onto anything and communicated when the screens came. However, we were most impressed and surprised by his ability to continually get into the lane off the dribble. Hunter careened his way to the rim by putting his back into defenders and welcoming contact.

While we’re pegging him as a NAIA/D-III prospect currently, D-II staffs could fall in love with mentality and defense.

Derek Van Vlerah, 6’5” W, Coffman

All of Van Vlerah’s contributions didn’t show up in the box score, although he did have five points and three rebounds. Primarily, Van Vlerah impacted the game with his length on the defensive end. Showing on screens with athleticism and length was integral in their defense of Dane Goodwin. He also flashed the upside that coaches can look for this summer on a nasty double-clutch layup.

Ben Fort, 6’4” W, Reynoldsburg

Fort scored a game-high 17 points in a win against Mount Vernon. Most of those came early on, as he had 11 in a heartbeat. Fort was confident attacking the basket, using his long athleticism to his advantage. He also shot it pretty well off the dribble on Saturday. He’s possesses a quick first step and even speeds by defenders in transition.

Going into the summer, we have questions about Fort’s tendency to be too passive. It was encouraging to see him come out of the gates attacking the paint and we’d like to see him continue approaching games with that aggressiveness.

Jordan McMillian, 6’0″ PG, Westerville South

McMillian is a terrific one-on-one player because of his elusiveness with the basketball. He often slid by a stingy Bradley defense for contested layups or pull-ups. Although there’s a slight hitch in his jumper, it didn’t hinder him today. He also possesses the lateral and hand-speed to be an impact on-ball defender. He scored a game-high 22 points to close out his junior season.

Zach Hummel, 6’4″ F, Bradley

Although Hummel is a football prospect, it doesn’t diminish his value for Bradley this season. Starting against opposing 5s, Hummel is an enforcer all over the floor. He sets grown man screens and isn’t afraid to toss a massive shoulder at his opponent on the way to the glass. He clears out significant space on rebounds. Also, Hummel makes for five total players who can all pass, dribble, and shoot in the half-court.