Posted On: 10/30/18 11:17 AM
* This article has been updated to include Trey Syroka’s updated ACT score of 32. An earlier version of the article stated that he had a score of 28.
November 14, November 21, and November 29. Three important dates to stay cognizant of if you’re a senior basketball prospect. The first two represent the beginning and the end of the Early Signing Period for Division I basketball commits. In Ohio, we’re on-track to have up to 17 seniors sign during that span. Then, November 29: the official start of the high school basketball season.
The imminence of those dates got us thinking that it would be timely to look at the top players who are uncommitted at this time. Although many of the 41 prospects in our weeklong series won’t sign to a D-I program early or late, all of them should play college basketball next season.
Jeremiah Keene, 6’0”, Westerville North
South Carolina Upstate, Kent State, Stony Brook, and UT-Martin have offered Keene throughout his career. The poised ball-handler’s strength is outside shooting, a weapon he uses to space the floor in the half-court or pull-up in transition. Keene has a speed advantage most days, an asset that is important for a kid who lacks size. Westerville North should be one of the top ten or so teams in Central Ohio Division I this season with him at the helm.
Devon Grant, 6’0”, Lorain
Grant blew up last season in Lorain’s surprise run to the Division I State Tournament, including performances of 34 and 29 points against St. Edward and Toledo St. John’s in the Regional Tournament. Shortly thereafter, he was rewarded with offers from Kent State and Bowling Green. He has reportedly received one from Detroit Mercy recently, too.
We’re interested to see if last season’s magical run will be remembered as his shining moment at the high school level or as the precursor to an even better senior campaign. Clearly, though, Grant has the capability to draw college interest during the winter.
DJ Dial, 5’9”, Brush
Dial’s recruitment may have peaked as an underclassman with both Cleveland State and Kent State offering more than a year ago. Division II program Urbana, however, did throw their hat in the ring early this month. If he chooses to go with a D-II offer, Dial would likely have a chance to run a program for three to four years at the next level. But, similar to VASJ 2018 graduate Jerry “Gene” Higgins’ process, sometimes undersized guards have to wait it out until a D-I extends a late offer. We know that D-I programs have continued to keep an eye on Dial and a strong senior season could secure his case at that level.
Trey Syroka, 5’10”, Whitmer
Syroka, a 4.6 GPA/32 ACT student, is known for having the ball on a string and beating opponents with the pass. He received his first offer with a post-grassroots season one from Shawnee State recently. High-academic programs are likely still courting him also.
A high school postseason run, which is very possible, could propel his recruitment once again if he holds out on a decision. However, becoming more efficient (turnovers and 3-point shooting percentage) would likely be the key to more offers. Nonetheless, we think Syroka has likely be nitpicked too much as it is and should have a couple D-II and/or NAIA options alongside Shawnee State right now.
Chris Painter, 5’11”, St. Vincent-St. Mary
Painter is one of our top candidates to breakout this coming season, similar to what we saw from 2018 graduate and Akron walk-on Scotty Walter last season with the Irish. To us, Painter is just not a Division III player, even though there’s a couple kids every year who surprise us with their college choice.
So, why are we so high on him? Willingness to play a role: Painter can get hot and carry the scoring load or facilitate offense. He’s an excellent team and on-ball defender because of his hands, quickness, and instincts. Also, the speed helps on both ends — kid is a burner. His size and 3-point shooting might be a concern, even though he’s pure with the mid-range pull-up and floater.
Erik Painter, 6’2”, Bay Village
Painter is a big guard with a sweet outside shooting stroke. He is currently without an offer despite being a soon-to-be four-year starter, a member of the 1,000-point club, and a 3.8 GPA student. Painter’s outside shooting ability is the key to his game. He plays with good balance and can shoot it off the dribble. It also opens up opportunities for Painter to get into the lane and convert pull-ups and floaters. He could play either guard spot at the next level, especially if it ends up being Division III.