What you need to know: Scholastic Play-by-Play brings it Saturday


Jefferson’s Adreian Payne is headed to Michigan State. (Photo by Nick Falzerano)

The 9th Annual Ohio State Scholastic Play-by-Play Classic is coming to Value City Arena  Saturday in what should prove to be the most collection of talent in the event’s history. Northland, Princeton, Benedictine, DeSales, Jefferson and others take their shot at the Schott…

The 9th Annual Ohio State Scholastic Play-by-Play Classic is coming to Value City Arena this Saturday (January 23) in what should prove to be the most collection of talent in the event’s history.

The seven-game line up could also prove to be the match ups since its inception in 2002. That is hard to believe considering the Play-by-Play extravaganza has featured classics such as Akron St. Vincent- St.Mary’s/Columbus Brookhaven in 2003 and Cincinnati North College Hill/Canton McKinley in 2006.

The Ohio State Play-by-Play Classic has a pretty prestigious alumni list with the likes of LeBron James, Andrew Lavender, O.J. Mayo, Bill Walker, B.J. Mullens, Raymar Morgan, Yancey Gates, Dante Jackson, and Jon Diebler all taking part in the one-day spectacle.

This year’s list of top-flight players may just be the events best with the participating teams possessing a combine 13 players committing or signing with D-I colleges.

2010 Ohio State Scholastic Play-by-Play Schedule:

10:30 am- Harvest Prep vs. Dayton Jefferson
12:30 pm- Logan Elm vs. Westerville South
2:00 pm- Chillicothe vs. Canton Timken
3:45 pm- Wilmington vs. Columbus DeSales
5:30 pm- Massillon Jackson vs. Huber Heights Wayne
7:15 pm- Bishop Luers (IN) vs. Columbus Northland
8:45 pm- Cleveland Benedictine vs. Cincinnati Princeton

Main Event:

This year’s main attraction features Bishop Luers High School (9-3) out of Fort Wayne, Indiana squaring off with USA Today’s No. 1 ranked Columbus Northland Vikings (9-0).

The Vikings, who took over the country’s No. 1 spot after defeating Oak Hill Academy (VA) on Saturday and Findlay Prep (NV) defeating previous No. 1 St. Patrick (NJ) on Monday, will meet up with a Bishop Luers team that has won back-to-back Indiana 2A State Championships. Of course, Northland is the defending Ohio D-I State Champs.

The game will display three of Ohio State’s highly-regarded 2010 recruiting in Jared Sullinger (6’9) and James ‘JD’ Weatherspoon (6’6) of Northland along with Luers Deshaun Thomas (6’7).

These three will be competing on Saturday, but will be teammates come fall when they enter onto campus of The Ohio State University. They are three of the self-proclaimed ‘Super 6’ that also includes Jordan Sibert (Cincinnati Princeton), Aaron Craft (Findlay Liberty-Benton), and Lenzelle Smith Jr. (Zion-Benton Twp, IL).

Thomas, a do-it-all 6-foot-7 lefty, leads the Knights with 34.3 points, 16.4 rebounds, 3.3 blocks, 3.2 assists, and 1.5 steals per game.

Thomas is supported by 6-foot-1 junior Evan Blackmon, who is averaging 14.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 2.3 steals per contest along with 5-foot-9 junior Kenny Mullen chipping in 11.6 points, 8.3 assists, and 1.8 steals an outing.

Kyle Song (5’10/Sr.) is getting 6.3 points a game, followed by Eric Sorg (6’3/Jr.) with 6.8 ppg., James Knapke (6’3/So.) tallying 5.8 ppg, and Kameron Mack (6’6/Jr.) adding 4.2 ppg.

The Knight average 79.9 points per game with their only losses coming to South Side (IN), Detroit Country Day (MI), and Bishop Dwenger (IN). Luers is scheduled to play Harding (IN) on Friday before Saturday’s trek to Columbus.

Northland will counter with Jared ‘Big Smooth’ Sullinger and his 21.3 points, 13.9 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per encounter. Sullinger, who is arguably the best low post presence in the country, is shooting 76 percent from the field.

Ohio’s reining Mr. Basketball, Sullinger, scored 32 points and grabbed 17 rebounds in a December win over previous No. 1 Findlay Prep (53-52) and then last Saturday was held without field goal in a 47-46 over Oak Hill Academy but did manage to score three points including the two game-winning free-throw and pull down 16 rebounds despite playing with a mask due to a broken nose suffered two days prior.

Sullinger’s teammate, JD Weatherspoon, is his co-pilot or more like his Batman’s Robin. Weatherspoon, who scored 21 points and snared six rebounds in the win over Oak Hill, is averaging 12.7 points and 7.3 rebounds a night including a 77 percent score from the floor. ‘Air Spoon’ is regarded by many as one of the best high-flyers in the country.

Penn State commit Trey Burke (6’0/Jr.) has been the catalyst for the unbeaten Vikings scoring 14.9 points per game, and dishing out 7.1 assists, and swiping 3.3 passes. Burke is shooting an astounding 66 percent from the field, which is phenomenal for a guard.

Sophomore big man Jalen Robinson is really starting to come into his own scoring 12 points last Saturday against Oak Hill and seems to be getting better each time out. The 6-foot-8 West Virginia commit is averaging 7.4 points and 4.7 rebounds a game coming off the bench.

Starting sophomore guards KeChaun Lewis (6’3) and Jordan Potts are averaging 6.1 and 2.9 points respectively.

Three are key bench members are left-handed sharp-shooter Lavonte Justice (5’11/Jr.) averaging 7.1 points per game, Jakyl Cornley (6’2/Jr.) getting 3.4 ppg., and Devon Scott (6’8/So.) averaging 3.1 ppg.

As a team, the Vikings are shooting 67 percent from the field and 69 percent from the charity stripe.

In all, Northland has two D-I signees, two D-I commits, two others with D-I offers, and another getting plenty of feelers.

In the day’s opener, Dayton Jefferson (8-3) will meet Harvest Prep (7-3) in what could be the first of two meetings between the two. The way the brackets set up it is not out of the question that these two small-school powerhouses could meet again on March 27 playing for the D-IV state championship.

The game also pits OHSH/JJHuddle Power Poll No. 1 (Jefferson) versus No. 2 (Harvest Prep).

Jefferson, who has dropped its last two decisions, is led by 6-foot-10 Michigan State signee Adreian Payne. The senior is averaging nearly 16 points per game and double-digit rebounds.

6-foot-3 junior Joby Jackson is his top support at 12 points per game including a 21-point effort against Pine Crest (FL) last Monday at the Flyin to the Hoop.

It is uncertain if 6-foot-2 junior Cody Latimer will be able to play or not. Latimer, who is averaging 15.6 points per game in just seven contests, has been out with a concussion and shoulder issue.

Also keep an eye on senior guards Irving Wood (5’9) and Lamont Cole (6’0) along with junior Dwight Johnson (6’0) and sophomores Devin Foster (6’1) and Terry Blythe (6’4).

The Broncos three losses are to unbeaten Middletown Madison, Pine Crest (FL), and D-II power Dayton Thurgood Marshall.

Harvest Prep will counter with a team filled with athleticism and quickness along with youth.

Prep can come at the opponent with several different options at guards including sophomores Grant Harris (6’1) and Adam McCall (5’10) along with senior JQ Austin (5’9) and Shakir Dunning (6’1). Even sophomore Doug Richey (6’0) can come in and fill the role.

Inside, the Warriors line up with junior Geron Tate (6’5) and Eric Brown (6’5) along with Dresan Johnson (6’5). Tate will be hard for most D-IV teams to handle.

Prep’s three setbacks are to D-II power Akron SVSM, D-I Marion Franklin, and Kentucky-power Lexington Catholic. The Warriors will play Licking Heights on Friday before Saturday morning’s affair.

Game 2, will feature Logan Elm meeting unbeaten Westerville South. This should be a very intriguing match up with LE possessing a well-schooled swarming defense highlighted by nice length on the wings against a team that relies heavily on 6-foot-3 junior Traevon Jackson.

Jackson is the maestro of the Wildcats offense creating by slashing into the paint and dishing out for open three-point shots that his teammates certainly can knock down. When need-be, Jackson can put the ball in the basket much like the 29 points he dropped on archrival Westerville North in a battle of unbeatens.

Jackson is backed by capable shooters junior Ben Jones along with seniors Jon Jennings, Vincent Calo and Tevin Favors. Also, keep an eye on junior Demarkeo Lyshe, who is coming off a career-high 18 points in a 64-48 win over Groveport Madison on Tuesday. The win gave head coach Ed Calo his 300th career victory.

South (12-0) will take on Westerville Central at home this Friday before Saturday’s match up.

Logan Elm, who made the D-II state tournament a year ago, is led by 6-foot senior guard Adam Blake and his ability to make everyone else around him a better player. Blake is more comfortable dropping dimes, but this season he has picked up some of the scoring duties with Brandon Amman and Tim Congrove graduated.

Other capable scorers are 6-foot-8 senior Logan Hauserman, 6-foot-5 senior Tyler Pritchard, and 6-foot-5 junior Nathan Elswick along with senior guard Cory Whaley and reserve post Zack Fulton (6’5).

Pritchard is a much underrated wing forward and both he and Elswick cause problems for the opposing offense with their length.

The Braves are (10-1) and currently No. 10 in the D-II OHSH Poll with a road test coming Friday against Mid-State rival Canal Winchester before meeting South at the Play-by-Play Classic. LE’s lone loss came last Saturday to Fairfield Union

Game 3 brings some Northeast Ohio flavor against one of Southeast Ohio’s finest. D-I Canton Timken (11-2) will meet 2008 D-II state champions, Chillicothe (7-3).

Timken, who is 56-5 over the past two and a half years, is led by a strong contingent of guards led by D-I recruit Jehvon Clarke (6’2/Jr.), Cory Porrini (6’1/Sr.), and senior Thomas Carter.

The Trojans are young and athletic and a team that really likes to get up-and-down pressing from bell-to-bell. Athletic junior Rakim Reed (6’4) provides scoring punch along with seniors Adonte Collier, Preston Robinson, and Chase Polk. 6-foot-9 junior Desmond Rorie is an improving young ‘big’ that is being courted by several D-I college football squads.

Timken’s two losses are to D-I powers Warren Harding and Massillon Jackson. The Trojans will be on the road Friday meeting PAC-7 foe Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy then meeting the Cavaliers on Saturday.

Chillicothe also has a nice collection of young talent starting with 6-foot-8 sophomore Malik London. The D-I recruit is coming along nicely being known more for his defensive presence the sophomore is starting to develop a formidable offensive game. London is long with plenty of upside, so if he continues to work, the ski is the limit for this Cavalier.

Senior Michael Turner (5’9) was a key member off the bench for the state championship team, and is counted on for scoring and toughness.

Perhaps, one of the most intriguing prospects in the 2011 class is Jalen Ragland. The lengthy wing has the ability to elevate and shoot off the dribble along with being able to knock down the spot-up off the catch and shoot. The 6-foot-5 Ragland, who is silky-smooth, is filled with upside.

Freshman Zach Johnson (6’1) is another youngster to watch.

The Cavs will play a very good Ironton team on Friday before making their way to Columbus. Chilli’ has lost to Logan Elm, Ironton, and Pickerington Central. After starting 1-2, the Cavs have won six of their last seven.

Game 4 will feature two of Ohio’s best in D-II with Wilmington locking up with Columbus St. Francis DeSales. Wilmington is ranked No. 8 in our latest D-II poll, while DeSales checks in at No. 9.

The Hurricane of Wilmington are (8-3) on the year already facing plenty of adversity. The Fort Ancient Valley Conference school, Wilmington, has played the majority of the year with out Ashland signee Jordan Berlin (6’3).

Losing Berlin has been huge blow taking a deadly shooter out of the line up that averaged 15 points per game as a junior.

However, the Hurricane has persevered to win eight of their first eleven led by Miami (OH) signee Quentin Rollins (6’0). The senior is averaging 18.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 2.3 assists a night.

Other viable options are 6-foot-2 senior Brandon Arehart (8.3 ppg.), who can dial it up from distance along with inside players 6-foot-5 senior Malcolm Heard (11.3 ppg./7.0 rpg.), 6-foot-4 senior Kyle Blackeman (6.8 ppg.), and 6-foot-2 slasher Nyles Williams (5.8 ppg.). Williams also grabs four boards and dishes out 3.4 assists an encounter.

OHSH was able to talk to Berlin on Wednesday night and he says it still up in the air whether he will play on Saturday.

The Hurricane’s three defeats are to undefeated Dayton Dunbar and national powers Miller Grove (GA) and The Christ School (NC).

Wilmington plays Little Miami on Friday before Saturday’s showdown.

DeSales (11-2) is led by 6-foot-2 senior Nick Kellogg, who is the son of former Ohio State star and currently CBS Final Four color commentator Clark Kellogg.  Kellogg, who is a four-year starter, has signed with Ohio University.

Adam Griffin (5’9/Sr.) is another returning starter from a year ago and junior Clinton James (6’1) has been a pleasant surprise for the Stallions.

Chi-Chi Ariguzo (6’3/Sr.), Aaron Selmek (6’8/Sr.), and Patrick Levy (6’0/Sr.) are others to watch.

The Stallions, who have won four consecutive CCL Titles, will play rival Bishop Watterson on Friday at Ohio Dominican and then play Wilmington on Saturday.

The 5:30 contest is perhaps the best and most intriguing match up of the day when D-I heavyweights Massillon Jackson (10-1) and Huber Heights Wayne (9-2) hookup at Value City Arena.

Both teams will play on Friday night, which could be a decisive edge for Wayne being that Jackson will be involved in a monumental Federal League game with once-beaten North Canton Hoover at home in what should be a sellout crowd. The Warriors will play one-win Beavercreek at on the home boards.

Jackson’s lone loss came to unbeaten Mentor in San Diego (CA). The Polar Bears, who are No. 5 in the OHSH Poll, is led by one of the best inside duos in the state in Kent State signee Mark Henniger (6’8) and Akron signee Josh Egner (6’7).

Egner averages 21.8 points and 9.4 rebounds a game alongside Egner’s 14.6 and 7.6.

Senior guard Brad Dupont (6’0) and junior sharp-shooter Michael Shull (5’10) provide scoring punch from the backcourt. 6-foot-1 senior C.J. Julian and 6-foot-2 senior David Devine are other options for the Polar Bears.

Dupont, a Wheeling Jesuit signee, averages 5.4 assists and Shulls averages 11.1 points per night.

The Warriors counter with two heavily recruited juniors in guard Travis Trice Jr. (5’11) and wing forward Markus Crider (6’5). Trice has led the way in the scoring department averaging 20.8 points and handing out 3.9 assists per contest. Trice was held to just six points in his last outing against Montverde Academy (FL). Crider, an athletic and long prospect, is getting 13.3 points and a team-high 7.7 rebounds a game.

Trice is a deadly a shooter that can be streaky, while Crider has the ability to make ‘wow’ plays.

Xavier Jones, a transfer from Fort Wayne (IN), is a 6-foot-3 senior averages 10.6 points per game and sophomore guard Keith Clements (5’9) is good for 6.7 points.

Junior Isiah Boddie (6’2) nets 6 points per game and highly-touted D-I football recruit Braxton Miller (6’3/Jr.) tallies 5.3 points and brings superior athleticism to the table.

The Warriors two losses have come to unbeaten Gahanna Lincoln and Montverde Academy (FL).

The nightcap slates D-I Cincinnati Princeton (8-2) meeting D-II Cleveland Benedictine (8-3). The Vikings are currently No. 3 in the D-I OHSH rankings with the Bengals checking in at No. 3 in D-II.

Princeton is led by Ohio State signee Jordan Sibert (6’4) and his 16.6 points and 2.6 steals a game. Sibert is a silky-smooth wing that can score in bunches when need be.

He is flanked by hard-working senior Darrien Wilkins (6’5) scoring 15.2 points and grabbing 9.2 caroms per outing. Wilkins, for being undersized, is one of the best offensive rebounders in the state.

Junior Jay McCants (6’5) adds scoring (7.6 ppg.) and rebounding (8.0 rpg.) for the Vikings and senior Marcus Davis (6’2) is the glue-guy who is the catalyst of the team.

Davis, an LSU baseball signee, is a lefty that sets up his teammates with his 4.7 assists and can score if he has to averaging 7.6 points.

6-foot-2 senior Greg Williams, a transfer from Roger Bacon, averages 5.4 ppg and juniors Lionell Hill (6’4) and Ulysses Thomas (6’2) provided depth off the bench.

The Vikings have two setbacks to nationally-ranked Oak Hill Academy (VA) and Pine Crest (FL).

Princeton will play West Chester Lakota West this Friday before Saturday’s encounter.

Benedictine, a team that oozes with talent and prospects, is led by backcourt mates Cameron Wright (6’4) and Derek Jackson (6’1). Wright, a Pitt signee, became Benedictine’s all-time leading scorers earlier in the year while Jackson (Central Michigan) scored 22 points in last weekend’s loss to nationally-ranked Findlay Prep (NV). Jackson can wow you with his elevation on the jump-shot.

Another D-I prospect is senior Nick Harney (6’6) who averages close to a double-double. Harney is a good athlete that can run the floor and finish above the rim with a variety of dunk-shots.

Glue-guy sophomore Luke Heben (6’0) makes a lot of the little plays for the talented Bengals and senior Brian D’Amato is a junkyard dog type player that gets the tough rebounds and scores when given the opportunity.

Now, turning to the youngsters, and Benedictine has plenty of them starting with 6-foot-7 freshman Mark Williams who is regarded as one of the best young ‘bigs’ in Ohio. Williams is more of a rebounders and minutes eater right now, but his offensive game is coming along.

Sophomore guards Demond Ridenour (6’0) is a young version of Jackson that can provide some scoring off the pine and Winston Grays (5’10) is looked to provide a spark with his shooting prowess.

The Bengals three defeats came at the hands of unbeaten Akron Buchtel, Lakewood St. Edward’s, and once-beaten Findlay Prep.

Benedictine will face off with Cleveland Rhodes on Friday before tangling with Princeton late Saturday night.

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