Posted On: 06/29/18 2:28 PM

The first installment of our Bold Predictions series on the Ohio Capital Conference features the Olentangy and Westerville schools. We’ll navigate through the conference alphabetically, from Buckeye to Ohio.

Olentangy Liberty goes from worst to first

A year after finishing under-.500 overall and 4-6 against OCC competition, we expect Olentangy Liberty to climb to the top of the Buckeye Division.

Injuries stifled their 2017-18 season. On Feb. 5, it was reported that Ben Roderick, who was leading the conference with 24.4 PPG through the first 17 games, tore his ACL. Without him they went 1-6, despite being 10-7 to start the year. They’d beaten teams like Westerville North and Dublin Coffman with Roderick in the lineup. Assuming he remains healthy next year, Roderick should come close to replicating his level of production pre-injury.

Along with their D-I wing prospect, Mitchell Kershner, Nick Nakasian, and other secondary contributors return for their senior season. We expect them to edge out Westerville North for the OCC-Buckeye by winning approxiamately 20 games next year.

First Team All OCC-Buckeye

  • Jeremiah Keene (2019), 6’0” PG, Westerville North
  • Sean Marks (2019), 5’10” PG, Olentangy
  • Jordan McMilian (2019), 6’1” PG, Westerville South
  • Ben Roderick (2019), 6’6” W, Olentangy Liberty
  • Philip Alston (2019), 6’5” F, Westerville North

Quick hits: McMilian will be WS’s featured scorer and ball-handler once again. He was First Team last season and has only become a step quicker.

Alston, and Keene too, will have added scoring responsibilities with the graduation of last year’s leading scorer Julius Brown. Alston enters next year as one of the top athletic forwards in the conference. He’ll out-board opponents to create his own shots at the rim. Alston can also straight-line drive with power.

Player of the Year: Jeremiah Keene

So, Sean Marks and Ben Roderick are the natural choices if you’re basing your pick on last year alone. Both averaged more points and meant more to their team’s success. The flipside is they both were the no. 1 option for their respective teams, while Keene was a secondary scorer and ball-handler to 2018 guard Julius Brown.

Now, it’s Keene’s team and he has shown every sign that he’s ready for the challenge this spring. Expect WN’s offense to slow down one octave so that Keene’s playmaking can really shine. He’ll lead them in a tight race with Olentangy Liberty for their division and average about 20 points on the way.

The top two scorers in the OCC are in the Buckeye Division

Keene and Sean Marks will be the top two scorers in one of Ohio’s top basketball conferences. Marks led all OCC juniors in scoring with 22.5 per game last year. There’s no shortage of shots for him to take next year either. Meanwhile, we believe Keene will actually top Marks, as the Warrior becomes more aggressive off the dribble.