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Posted On: 09/4/18 1:40 PM
A high turnover rate is in the nature of high school basketball — and we’re not talking about giving the ball to opponents. High turnover rate in the sense that there’s a changing of the guard constantly. Players get really good, and then they go to college.
So, every year — especially when you have a stacked class like 2018 — new leaders emerge. There are 40 players who made a First Team All State last season and only three are back (Tanner Holden, Ethan Conley, CJ Anthony). Sixteen teams made the Final Four and just five return their leading scorer.
In looking at last year’s top teams and graduating players, we’ve identified several rising stars who are poised to be that guy for those teams come November. We kicked this off with guards, and now we’re tossing it over to the wing.
Martz, a Univ. of Penn commit, has been the man in waiting behind Ohio’s most decorated 2018 graduate Dane Goodwin. Martz was the clutch secondary option for the Golden Bears as Goodwin led the team to top ten finishes in the AP Poll and earned Mr. Basketball as a senior.
But a year after averaging 14.0 PPG, Martz now has one year to try and lead UA on a postseason run. Finding a balance of scoring and keeping his talented teammates involved will likely be the challenge. In CJ Karsatos, Sammy Sass, Kobe Buford, and Max Mollman, he has legitimate shot-making running mates who will make a defensive impact. But at the end of the day, Martz will be the one with the mismatches on the wing and the glass. If he’s able to exploit a size and scoring advantage in the way he did with Nova this summer, Martz will likely be leading a potential conference champion and statewide contender come February.
Moss didn’t even start in Springfield’s opening game last season. Yet, he led the Wildcats in scoring at 14.9 PPG by year’s end, despite being second on the team in shot attempts behind Leonard Taylor. Various 2018 graduates and two transfers has officially cleared the path for Moss to be the unquestioned leader of the 2018-19 team. In comparison to last year’s numbers, he has room to grow in terms of field goal attempts (203 last year), 3-point attempts (17), and free throw percentage (69 percent on 121 attempts).
Jayvon’s older brother, Branden, was last season’s lead man at Chillicothe. Big brother is now at Cedarville to continue his basketball career, meanwhile Jayvon has blossomed as a recruit. With an early offer from Concord, impressive measurables, and a promising skill-set, we expect Maughmer to demand the lead role as a junior. He will cause mismatch problems as 6’8” teammate Brandon Noel detracts the opposing team’s biggest defender. In turn, Maughmer has enough skill and size to take advantage of whoever else opponents can throw on him.
Just over 23 points per game left the program with the graduation of Dorian Crutcher, a consistent long-range spot shooter. With a less-spaced floor than the last few years, Logan will need to find a way to score in bunches to keep Elyria Catholic near the top of the Great Lakes Conference.
Towards the end of the grassroots season, Logan appeared poised for a breakout year. He’s more explosive, strong, and consistent as an outside shooter. He plays hard on both ends. In transition, Logan’s power is such that he finishes through traffic consistently. We like his game a lot and expect the EC faithful to be pleasantly surprised by his improvements come November.
Reynoldsburg’s roster will look entirely different from last year’s District Championship team, as Fort is the only returning starter. And while guys like Sahmi Willoughby and Josiah Mobley are ready for a varsity role, their success will largely come down to one man, and that’s Ben Fort. His scoring average may need to double from 11.6 PPG for them to stay afloat in the Ohio Division of the Ohio Capital Conference. The wiry 6’5” wing who has one offer from IUPUI and a ton of upside. But one of his question marks is his assertiveness. Fort hasn’t shown an inclination to dominate games consistently, so this new role could be a question of mentality more than anything.
Introducing the new no. 1 prospect in Ohio’s 2019 class after the offseason transfer of Ohio State commit Alonzo Gaffney. Hailing from Charlotte, NC, Withers is the no. 63 prospect in the country and finished last year as no. 5 in North Carolina’s 2019 class.
Here’s what Prep Hoops NC contributor Justin Byerly wrote about Withers in June:
“Player that has seen a huge jump in his recruitment over the last few months, he’s a versatile player that can play inside as well as step outside and score it. Numerous times throughout the season and summer we saw him put together some double/doubles in points and rebounds.”
Arizona, Texas, Boston College, Clemson, Florida, Louisville, NC State, and Virginia are at the top of his recruiting list, according to an article in the Charlotte Observer that Byerly contributed to.
In terms of the impact on Cleveland Heights, this is a huge acquisition for a team that graduated their entire starting lineup and top couple players off the bench. Withers, who has a shooting release that undeniably resembles Kevin Durant’s, will take over as their primary scoring option immediately. He can create his own shot from the perimeter, score with size and athleticism inside, and dominate the glass. It will also be interesting to track which Midwest programs make a late push for Withers, as Louisville and Xavier are the only schools within reasonable proximity to Cleveland who have offered him.