Posted On: 11/21/18 5:00 AM
You could have made a case for about a dozen Mr. Basketball preseason candidates last year. After that, we would have realistically narrowed it down by cutting half of that list. This year, however, the award is up for grabs.
As we know from our research last year, there’s three components of a résumé that voters gravitate towards: talent, productivity, and, ultimately, team success. The bench marks that have normally been hit is Division I talent, 20 points per game, and a team who threatens to make a playoff run. The more one exceeds those unofficial qualifiers (e.g. high-major Division I prospect, 25-plus points or 20 and 10 rebounds, no. 1 ranked team in the AP Poll) is where the separation occurs.
Considering those standards, along with common sense, we’ve identified candidates from each region of the state. For Dayton, we have their five candidates ranked in order.
Andre Gordon (2019), 6’2” G, Sidney
As is the case for all the Division I players listed here, the most likely blemish on Gordon’s résumé is going to be his team’s success. Upon averaging 23.0 points, 5.5 assists, and 4.6 rebounds as a junior, there’s no doubt that the numbers will be there. And in a race without a clear-cut favorite, maybe something like 28, 6, and 5 will win this thing regardless of how Sidney does. The Yellow Jackets, though, did total 18 games last year and they return most of their top players. Therefore, along with Devon Grant, Gordon is near the very top of our candidate watch list.
Amari Davis (2019), 6’4” G, Trotwood
Davis is another guy who has put up outrageous numbers throughout his career in the Greater Western Ohio Conference. Even when he was the third wheel to Torrey Patton and Myles Belyeu as a sophomore, he averaged almost 16 a game. That number went up to 21.0 last season, along with 6.4 rebounds and 5.1 steals. So, look, Davis is a super viable candidate, especially since Trotwood is probably going to be Ohio’s best Division II team.
Samari Curtis (2019), 6’4” G, Xenia
Samari Curtis is the first name that comes to mind when I hear the words “2018-19 Mr. Basketball.” Even if I’ve since moved him to my third best preseason option from the Dayton-area, Curtis is a no-brainer candidate to track. The Cincinnati commit is arguably Ohio’s most talented senior, and certainly the best scorer. He averaged, and I’m not joking, 29.8 PPG as a junior. In the meantime, he’s become an even better shooter. The trouble is, Xenia was just 11-12 last season and that’s just not going to cut it.
Ethan Conley (2019), 6’3” W, Franklin Monroe
A year stronger with a roster who continues to lack depth around him, Conley’s 22 points per game from last season will definitely be topped. His scoring numbers should really go through the roof, maybe even eclipsing 25 a night.
However, Conley has major barriers to overcome. First of all, he will need to be even more convincing than most given Franklin Monroe’s Division IV status. As an Ashland commit, he’d have to become only the second D-II commit since 2001 to win the award. Finally, Franklin Monroe might not be a top ten team, even in Division IV.
RaHeim Moss (2019), 6’3” W, Springfield
Springfield is losing a heck of a lot from last season’s team, both to transferring and graduation. So, if they’re anywhere nearly as successful as last season, Moss will deserve a ton of praise. As a powerful 6’4” wing, Moss is capable of scoring the ball efficiently while probably also leading the team in rebounding and steals. If he can keep Springfield relevant in the statewide landscape, the D-I prospect will check every box for what it takes to be a Mr. Basketball.