COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Hosting 13 games at two different sites, the All-Ohio High School Hoops Showcase did not disappoint on Saturday. Taking in all seven games at Pickerington North and the final two at Gahanna, our staff got a chance to look at players from 11 different area teams. Let's take a look at the top performers from the day.
Jalen Sullinger (5'11 / Thomas Worthington / 2021): One of the best creators and most talented scorers at the lead guard spot in the entire state, Sullinger put on a clinic in a dominant 28 point showing against St. Ignatius. The 5-foot-11 junior had everything working as he got into the lane at will off the dribble, hit several pull-up three's, showcased an elite floater and got his teammates open looks all night. He has the ball on a string, can stop and start as well as any guard in the area, and does a great job of creating contact in the lane and getting to the free throw line. We liked the showing that he put on on the defensive end as well as he got after it on the defensive perimeter, played the passing lanes well and came up with several steals on that end. There's not a whole lot you can do when Sullinger catches fire from beyond-the-arc as he has the green light and knows how to create just enough space in order to get a clean shot off. Ohio University head coach Jeff Boals stopped by to watch the junior on Saturday as he should continue to attract some real interest from low/mid-major Division I schools this winter.
Isaac Settles (6'5 WG / Thomas Worthington / 2021): Settles has all of the physical and athletic tools to be a force on the high school setting and develop into a very promising college player, however at times has seemed to become a little complacent on the court. In our last several viewings of the junior, including Saturday, we were extremely impressed with his motor, defensive effort, rebounding and decision making as he continues to get rid of the narrative we just mentioned. On a team where a lot of the offense will be ran through fellow juniors Jalen Sullinger and Tyrese Hughey, Settles role as a number three option seems to suit him very well. The 6-foot-5 wing did a great job of using his size and handling ability to get to the rim against a stout St. Ignatius defense, getting to the free throw line and converting on several occasions along with showing off a soft touch around the rim. We really liked some of the passes Isaac made as well as he seemed to be a step ahead of the defense at all times, making good reads and setting his teammates up for easy baskets. We like what the junior brings to this Thomas Worthington squad as he can defend 1-4, rebound effectively and make things happen in the open floor.
Sean Moore (6’4 WG / Reynoldsburg / 2020): Moore started off his senior season with a great performance. He seems to have become a more reliable three point shooter as he knocked down two threes with a lot of confidence. He picked and chose his spots but when he put his head down and got downhill there was simply no answer for him as he finished at the basket early and often. He was active defensively in the passing lanes, rotating well and contesting shots at the rim as well. He got after it on the boards as well pulling down seven rebounds. He finished with a game-high 22 points as he led Reynoldsburg to their first victory of the year.
Conner Maciag (6’2 G / Pickerington Central / 2020): Maciag carried over his momentum from this summer and fall. He stepped up big time for the Tigers who are still missing a key piece in Garner Wallace due to him having a date in the football state championship next Friday. Conner showed that he was more than capable of carrying the scoring load as he knocked down a number of tough shots. He can get his shot off whenever he wants and can make shots from all over the floor. He’s a real grab and go threat too as he always hits the defensive glass hard. It's not just his scoring ability, he’s always dialed in defensively giving maximum effort. An example of that came when he went head first into the first row to save a loose ball. He finished the night with 20 points and five rebounds.
VonCameron Davis (6’5 F / Walnut Ridge / 2020): In a physical defensive game, Davis was still very effective. He was able to score it on the block and via some face up touches. Most impressive was his ability to shoot it from beyond the arc where he knocked three triples. As Walnut Ridge struggled offensively in the half court, Davis gave them much-needed scoring from the perimeter, knocking down two threes off the dribble and one catch and shoot triple from well beyond the three-point line. With Davis being most effective on the block, it's imperative that Walnut Ridge finds some sort of perimeter shooting to open up space for their senior stud, as Toledo Rogers keyed in on double and triple teaming him on Saturday. The Kent State commit finished with 21 points and five rebounds in a 10-point loss.
JJ Simmons (5'11 G / Beechcroft / 2022): Leading all Beechcroft scorers with 15 points on Saturday, Simmons put together a really nice offensive showing. The 5-foot-11 guard had an impressive right-handed finish through contact while driving left, hit shots from the mid-range both off the dribble and the catch and knocked down a catch and shoot three. We liked the way he attacked off the dribble, getting into the lane on several occasions and making some good reads whether it were dropping off a pass or adjusting his shot around the length of the Gahanna defense. The sophomore showed good defensive instincts as well, jumping in the passing lanes for an easy transition lay-in on one occasion and making a lot of good reads on that end throughout the contest. We liked the effort and energy JJ brought on Saturday, as he was in attack mode from the start in a matchup with one of the best guards in the state in Sean Jones. After seeing full-time starting duties on the varsity level as a freshman, expect Simmons to put up some impressive scoring numbers for Beechcroft this season as they have the talent that it takes to win every night in the City North.
Cali Davis (6’1 G / Africentric / 2020): The senior guard was his usual self on Saturday, wreaking havoc on both ends of the court. Defensively he was aggressive applying pressure on the ball and finished possessions on the glass where he had five rebounds. Offensively he had it going where he made some really tough shots. He knocked four threes and got to the rim for some tough finishes. He made some clutch shots down the stretch before fouling out as well. He finished with 19 points. Now a full academic qualifier, look out for Davis’ recruitment to heat up.
Maurice Barnes Jr (5'11 PG / South / 2021): Coming off the bench in a tough matchup against Akron Buchtel, Barnes was terrific in helping lead South to a victory. The 5-foot-11 guard is a talented ball handler, passer and scorer, who played an efficient game as he was consistently able to break down the defense with his dribble drive game. Barnes can really create off the bounce, as he delivered a few difficult passes which led to his game-high six assists. If Barnes can continue to play like he did on Saturday, he will give South a huge boost off the bench, as he is also one of the team's best perimeter shooters and a crafty finisher around the rim.
Casey George (6’0 G / Pickerington North/ 2021): George scored the first four points for North and never looked back. Despite the relentless ball pressure from St. Vincent St. Mary, Casey didn’t get flustered at all. He’s a very high IQ guard who is always at his own pace, as he consistently got to his spots and was able to create a shot better than any player on the North roster. He didn’t get the memo that “the mid-range game is dead," as he especially excelled from that area, using his pull up jumper both in one-on-one situations and in the ball screen game to score. The 6-foot guard is a talented passer with great vision and composure, as he made plays for others all night. George led the team in scoring with 13 points and looked poised to take a bigger scoring role with the absence of Jack Sawyer.
Henry Hinkle (5’11 G / Olentangy Liberty / 2021): With all of the production that Liberty lost from last year, the now three year starter has to step up as the guy. That’s exactly what he did on Saturday, breaking defenders down all game long and getting in the lane where he either finished or dropped it off to a teammate. He showed off improved finishing ability at the rim with some tough finishes through contact and several and-ones.He showed off his handle under pressure as Springfield relentlessly pressed them, but he was still able to keep his poise rather well. Hinkle didn’t shy away from the dirty work either. You could find him amongst the trees battling for rebounds. Hinkle started out his junior campaign with a bang finishing with a game-high 24 points, five assists and six rebounds.
Omari Effiong (6'2 WG / Thomas Worthington / 2021): While Effiong may not get some of the same attention as the Cardinals other three talented juniors right now, he brings just as much value to their lineup as any of them. The 6-foot-2 guard played excellent perimeter defense on Saturday, using his size, lateral quickness and active hands to frustrate St. Ignatius ball handlers all night. Offensively, Effiong made some really instinctive reads leading to easy baskets, finished through contact on multiple occasions and found open teammates both in the open floor and in the half court after beating his man off the bounce. We really like the energy and grit he brings to this squad as he's the glue guy on a team that has a shot to not only win a district title, but possibly even the region. Division II programs should keep an eye on Effiong as he could become a really impressive two-way player in the next two years with his tools, attitude, and work ethic.
Tyrese Hughey (6'7 PF / Thomas Worthington / 2021): In his first game in a Cardinal uniform, Hughey did not disappoint on Saturday. Scoring an efficient 10 points on a rather low number of shot attempts, the junior showed off his athleticism with two big dunks off two feet in the lane, showed off his ability facing the basket by hitting a face-up jumper just outside of the paint and showed off his ability to stretch the floor by hitting a three pointer off the catch from the wing. At a long 6-foot-7, Hughey affects the game on the defensive end as well as he can alter shots near the rim, defend in the post and block shots in help side defense. One of the most talented 2021 prospects in the entire state, we're excited to watch the success Tyrese will have for Thomas Worthington this season.
Marcus Johnson (6'4 WG / South / 2020): There simply isn't a better perimeter defender anywhere in Central Ohio than Johnson. The 6-foot-4 wing was ALL over the floor on Saturday for South, forcing several Buchtel turnovers. Johnson has elite lateral quickness, as he seems to glide on the back line of South's vaunted trap defense. When he gets into transition, good luck, as Johnson is a finesse finisher with big-time athleticism. The senior has continued to evolve his offensive game, as he knocked down a mid-range jumper and was active all over the glass, coming up with a pair of second chance buckets. Johnson is the guy for South who takes them to their top level, as the Bulldogs are dangerous when the 6-foot-4 wing is playing at his potential.
Maceo Williams (6'5 PF / Gahanna / 2021): Continuing to improve with every viewing we have of him, we loved the toughness, finishing ability and motor of Williams in Gahanna's win over Beechcroft on Saturday. The junior showed a soft touch around the rim with both hands, finishing several times with the right and once with the left. At 6-foot-5 with some real size to him, Williams can move guys around near the rim with ease and that was exactly the case on Saturday as he had his way inside, grabbing rebounds, positioning himself well, and using his body to create space to finish. We really like the motor Maceo plays with as well as he isn't afraid to take a charge and has shown value as a rim-runner on several occasions. On a Gahanna squad who uses their big men in a large role and has a point guard who makes everyone around him better, Williams will only continue to improve and put up solid numbers this season.
Desmond Watson (6'5 WG / DeSales / 2021): While we did not see DeSales, Watson gets a much-deserved mention here as he went absolute off with 39 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Stallions over Huber Heights Wayne. Watson is a physically imposing wing at 6-foot-5, has all the toughness and intangibles that you need and is becoming a dominant scorer, evident with his junior year debut. We said in our preview magazine that Watson reminds us a bit of Morgan Safford, as he put up a Safford-esque performance on Saturday in the win.
Andrew Wade (6’5 F / Olentangy Liberty / 2021): The lengthy junior forward who saw his first significant playing time at the varsity level didn’t disappoint. He is still very raw, but where he lacks in skill he makes up ten times in effort. Wade rim ran extremely well on the break for easy opportunities. In the half court he showed the ability to be a threat in the low post scoring often on the block. Defensively he offered Liberty rim protection, coming up with two blocks and altering many other shots. He was a mad man on the boards pulling down a game-high 13 rebounds. Wade looks more than ready to step into the secondary scoring role for Liberty as he scored 21 points in his debut.
Dan Wagner (5’11 G / Africentric / 2022): The sophomore guard plays with a certain confidence on offense that is rare to find so early. Wagner had it going from three where he knocked down four shots from beyond the arc. He had some slithery takes to the rim as well finishing some difficult layups over defenders. He finished the game with 19 points as he did all he could to keep the Nubians in the game before fouling out. We spoke with Wagner later in the day, and he said he's determined to become a better rebounder and passer, which will take his game to the next level with the scoring prowess that he already possesses.
Amani Lyles (6'6 PF / Beechcroft / 2022): At a long 6-foot-6, Lyles knows how to use his length to affect the game on both ends of the floor and we saw exactly that on Saturday. Scoring on the offensive glass several times, Lyles moved guys around, got position and showed off a soft touch around the basket. He also hit a contested shot in the mid-range while fading away, showing another component of his game on that end of the floor. On defense, the sophomore had several big blocks as his long wingspan allows him to defend well in the post and frustrate opposing guards in help side defense. We like the tools Lyles presents at such a young age, as he could become a legitimate scholarship prospect with continued improvement over the next two seasons.
Davon Wooden (5'10 G / Beechcroft / 2020): Wooden did some good things on the offensive end on Saturday, getting into the lane on multiple occasions and showcasing good finishing ability near the rim. He finished through contact for an and-one, showcased a good floater, hit a three-pointer off the catch and made several good drive-and-kick reads. We liked the activeness of Wooden, as he was involved on both ends of the floor and on the glass. With a thicker frame for a guard, he can push around smaller guards and get into the lane with ease. The senior knows how to adjust his shot near the rim as he had a really impressive right-handed finish while attacking with his left early on in their matchup with Gahanna. We expect Wooden to have a really solid season for Beechcroft, as he is the only senior in the starting in starting lineup and will have to step into a leadership role.
Julian Heckman (6'0 PG / Reynoldsburg / 2022): Reynoldsburg has enjoyed its fair share of talented guards over the years and Heckman seems to be next in line. In a tough matchup against an Africentric team with a backcourt trio as good as you'll find in the area, Heckman did not back down, as he played all 32 minutes to lead Reynoldsburg to a hard-fought win. The 6-foot sophomore is a tough leader at the point guard spot, as he provided valuable contributions to the Raiders in the form of scoring, playmaking and defense. While most young players may be fazed by the physicality of the varsity game, Heckman is not one of those guys, as his toughness and composure are reasons why he's not going to come off the floor much this season.
Cooper Davis (6’4 WG / Reynoldsburg / 2022): The sophomore wing started his season off ablaze beyond the arc as he put the area and maybe the whole state on notice. The 6-foot-4 wing is one of the elite catch and shoot prospects statewide, as he managed to score 20 points with little to no dribbles, knocking down six threes and shooting well over 50 percent from three. With Reynoldsburg losing so much to graduation, much is on Davis' shoulders this year, as we feel the sophomore is more than capable of taking on a much bigger load this season with what we saw on Saturday.
Zane Leitwein (6'2 WG / Gahanna / 2020): A high IQ player who knows what is expected of him and does his job, Leitwein put together another impressive showing on Saturday. The senior made several instinctive cuts for easy buckets, hit a three off the catch and finished through contact with both hands. We like the length he offers on both ends, as he can frustrate opposing ball handlers on the wing, can rebound and can finish really efficiently near the basket. Leitwein gives Gahanna value on both ends of the floor in the starting lineup and should continue to put together efficient games this season as he knows his role and doesn't stray away from it.
Sean Jones (5'11 PG / Gahanna / 2022): Despite a rather slow start that saw him get into some foul trouble early on, Jones turned it on in the second half of a convincing win over Beechcroft, going for 13 of his game-high 17 points after the 16 minute mark. As always, the sophomore scored in a variety of ways as he hit a mid-range off the dribble, hit a spot up three from the top of the key and got to the rim for several smooth finishes through traffic. For a more in-depth report on Sean, check out our scouting report on him from Gahanna's win over Westerville North on Wednesday here.
Jarius Jones (6'5 / Gahanna / 2021): Jones continues to impress us more and more with each viewing we have of him. Going for 16 efficient points on Saturday, Jones showed off his handling ability in the open floor, ability to carve through tight windows of the defense and his ability to finish near the rim. At a long 6-foot-5, the junior affects the game in several ways on both ends of the floor. For an in-depth analysis of Jones' game, check out our scouting report on him from Gahanna's win over Westerville North on Wednesday here.
Hunter Shedenhelm (6'5 WG / Pickerington North / 2020): In a difficult matchup against the uber-athletic wings of Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, Shedenhelm had his work cut out for him on both ends of the floor. We were pleased with what we saw from the senior, as he defended four-star prospect Malaki Branham as well as anyone could have in the event. Shedenhelm knocked down two triples and converted a few times at the line, doing what he usually does for a Pickerington North team that will need more scoring production from him this season than expected. The Ashland signee is one of the best two-way players in the area.
We did not see the earlier games in the day (Ohio State vs. Michigan), however, we still want to mention the top performers from those games.
The following players put up good numbers to lead their teams.
Tag(s): Home Conferences Central Catholic League Bishop Hartley Columbus City League North Beechcroft Northland South Africentric South Walnut Ridge Ohio Capital Conference Buckeye Olentangy Liberty Cardinal Thomas Worthington Ohio Gahanna Pickerington Central Pickerington North Reynoldsburg Mid State League Ohio Grandview