Columbus’ finest put it on.
by Rodger Bohn / @rodgerbohn
In between my travels to basically catch every high school game within driving distance before the season ends, I shot down to Columbus, OH for an absolutely loaded day of state playoff games, along with a chance to take a look at some of the top youngsters in one of the more loaded hoops states the country has to offer.
The Columbus Fairgrounds Coliseum played host to the OHSAA district tournament games, pegging all of the top Cap-City teams against each other. We got a chance to peep Columbus Northland (the nation’s No. 1 team with Ohio State recruits Jared Sullinger and JD Weatherspoon, Penn State recruit Trey Burke, and West Virginia verbal Jalen Robinson), although it was against subpar comp. In the other games, we caught a number of the top underclassmen, along with a nice mid-major guy in Dayton commit Ralph Hill.
During the break in games, we stopped by Rob Taylor’s Buckeye Prep Report Elite Showcase, which featured most of the top 6th-9th graders Ohio has to offer. The showcase has produced alumni such as McDonald’s All-Americans Jared Sullinger and DeShaun Thomas, top 50 2010 Juwan Staten, and near lock 2011 McDonald’s All-American Tony Wroten. While we don’t usually check out kids this early, it was worth the risk given the crazy talent Ohio has produced over the last five years. There were tons of nasty crossovers and dunks, led by the silly display that point guard Tyler Ulis put on.
Here’s a look at some of the top PUNKS who we saw in Columbus:
Jared Sullinger | 6-8 | PF/C | Columbus Northland | 2010
Sully led his team to a blowout W, in dominant fashion. His Northland squad held opposing Teay’s Valley to 7 points in the first half of a blowout victory. The 2010 Naismith Player of The Year had a couple of nice dunks and got buckets like always, but only played about 15 minutes. Gotta save the big fella for the state tourney!
JD Weatherspoon | 6-6 | SF/PF | Columbus Northland | 2010
While Sullinger played limited minutes and faced a constant double team, Weatherspoon was able to show his full package facing single coverage on D. The freak athlete had a couple of ridic dunks (as seen on the left) and showed his emerging perimeter skills by stepping out and knocking down a couple of open three pointers. There’s still a bit of work to do for JD to be a full time wing, but he appears to be making steps in the transition.
Elijah Macon | 6-8 | PF | Columbus Marion Franklin | 2012
The top sophomore in the state of Ohio (and top 25 nationally) was in a bit of a tough situation playing with some guards who didn’t really get him the rock, but still showed why he is one of the better 2012 bigs at this point. The West Virginia recruit showed a nice jumper facing the basket, was incredibly active around the cup, and used his athleticism to change the game on both ends of the floor. Macon still has a ways to go in terms of his back to the basket game, but the tools are def there for him to be a nice one down the road.
Stevie Taylor | 5-9 | PG | Gahanna Lincoln | 2011
The diminutive guard has led his team to an undefeated record in the biggest division of Ohio, while posting real nice numbers. His flashy style of play has made him one of the crowd favorites nationally in the Class of 2011, due to his sick ball handling and ability to drill deep three pointers. Obviously his biggest flaws are his lack of size and ability to finish in the paint amongst traffic, but if he’s able to add an inch or two, he should have no problem finding a home at the high major level.
Kyle Molock | 6-2 | PG | Dublin Coffman | 2012
The top sophomore point guard in the state of Ohio balled out, exploding past whoever was in his path en route to the rack. Molock finished a variety of acrobatic takes to the rim, converting with either hand in traffic amongst the trees. The Purdue commit must continue to keep improving on his J if he hopes to keep defenders honest in the Big Ten, but already possesses the physical package necessary to play at that level.
Ralph Hill | 6-6 | SF/PF | Westerville North | 2010
Hill continues to expand his game on the perimeter, trading in his hard hat for work on the outside to keep defenders at bay. The Dayton recruit is looking like a real nice pick and pop power forward given his ability to step out and stroke the trey ball. Boasting some pretty nice bounce, the combo forward caught the crowd’s attention with a couple of nice dunks and in the process came home with the W too.
Devin Williams | 6-5 | SF/PF | Cincinnati Withrow | 2013
Williams was the most dominant 9th grader we caught at the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase. The powerfully built forward bullied people inside, but also showed off his handle. Definitely a guy who has a chance to make a name for himself down the road.