COLUMBUS, Ohio -- With COVID-19 preventing a normal season of AAU from happening and keeping NCAA Division I and II coaches at home when they'd typically be on the road recruiting, the rising senior prospects in Central Ohio have been affected in a negative way.
With that in mind, we wanted to start a series highlighting rising seniors in the area. While we were not able to get every single deserving player into our 2021 Challenge event a few weeks ago, we can still find ways to help the area.
Let's take a look at the prospects to know at the point guard position in 2021.
Jalen Sullinger (5'11 / Thomas Worthington): As talented as they come in this class, Sullinger keeps the ball on a string, can hit shots off the bounce from all over and is a very talented passer. The rising senior just turned 17 yesterday and has his best basketball ahead of him. Two offers from Ohio and Kent State, as the two MAC programs are working hard to try and secure his commitment. We think Sullinger will be an exception college player with the mature offensive game that he has already. HIGHLIGHTS
Keaton Norris (5'11 / Hilliard Bradley): Norris has made a rapid rise in the last year. The 5-11 senior received his first Division I offer this past weekend from Wright State and has been as highly recruited as any player in the class as of late. Norris offers elite shot-making ability from beyond the arc but more importantly is a crafty and intelligent passer that always finds way to put his team in positions to score. HUDL HIGHLIGHTS
Travonne Jackson (6'6 / Dohn Prep): The former Centennial standout has moved on to the prep ranks in Cincinnati. Jackson is a flashy and skilled passer at 6-6, has exceptional length and versatility on the defensive side of the floor and is an improving scoring threat. At his size, Jackson's best basketball is still ahead of him as he has clear scholarship-level talent. HIGHLIGHTS
Quincy Clark (6'2 / Westerville Central): Perhaps the top stock riser in the 2021 Challenge, Clark has made great strides over the last two years and is one of the best lead guards in the class. Clark has great size, length, defensive versatility and shot-making ability. Clark's finishing ability, passing, IQ and on-ball defense are traits that will translate to the next level, as he has been contacted by a host of Division I and II programs in the last few weeks. In Central's first-ever district title season, Clark led the team in minutes, assists, steals and blocks. HUDL HIGHLIGHTS
Eli Burke (6'0 / Africentric): Burke is a powerful athlete that plays with great aggression and purpose. One of the most physical on-ball defenders in the area, a threat to put it on your head in the lane and a willing (and talented) passer who sees the floor and can make things happen for others. Burke's best traits are his work ethic and desire to learn, as he has continued to improve over the last two years. If you're looking for a tough kid with elite athleticism who loves the game of basketball, Burke is your guy. Burke holds one offer from Division II Concord. HUDL HIGHLIGHTS
Casey George (5'11 / Pickerington North): Built like an outside linebacker, George might be the strongest point guard in the area. With that, he is one of the toughest defenders, below-rim finishers and shot creators at this position. George is a high IQ guard who thrives both on the off the ball. He excels in space, uses his physical frame to bump guys off their spots and can really shoot it both off the bounce and off movement. George has one offer from NAIA Lourdes. HIGHLIGHTS
Henry Hinkle (6'0 / Olentangy Liberty): Hinkle is a smooth operating point guard who can flat out shoot the basketball. Deadly from beyond the arc, but is a talented ball handler who can change speeds, find open shooters and use his crafty finishing skills around the rim. Hinkle was one of few non-seniors to receive first team all-district honors this past year, as he led Olentangy Liberty to a share of an OCC title despite the Patriots losing all five starters from their 2019 regional title team. HUDL HIGHLIGHTS
Tabari Howard (6'2 / Westerville South): Howard is a guard that we absolutely love in this class. While his offensive abilities are impressive, it's his on-ball defense that stands out the most. The 6-2 guard is a long, rangy athlete with quickness and elite toughness. When you take that and put it on the opposing team's primary ball handler, it causes chaos and that's what Howard did all last season. Howard fits in perfectly with the culture that Westerville South has built over the years, as he is as tough and competitive as they come, especially on the defensive end of the floor. Offensively, Howard can attack the rim but made his biggest strides last season as a shooter, knocking down outside jumpers on a consistent basis. If you're looking for 3&D potential with great size on the perimeter, give Howard a call. HUDL HIGHLIGHTS
AJ Mirgon (6'0 / Hilliard Bradley): Much like Norris, Mirgon has been in the shadow of Matt Allocco for the last three years, which did not always allow him to show off his full arsenal of ability. We really like Mirgon's defensive abilities, as he is a physical and tough SOB that will lock up on the perimeter against the most talented of athletes. Mirgon is a knockdown catch and shoot threat on the perimeter, has enough athleticism to create his own offense off the bounce and is a willing and unselfish passer. Mirgon currently does not hold any offers. HUDL HIGHLIGHTS
Azzan Daniels (6'0 / Bishop Ready): Daniels is one of the more talented passers in the class, as he sees the floor well and can get guys open. Daniels is a talented ball handler and facilitator, while having exception on-ball defensive skills that helped him really stand out at the 270 Hoops Fall League last year. While Daniels isn't in the same class of shooters as other guys on this list, he is as good as they come in terms of passing, toughness and perimeter defense. HUDL HIGHLIGHTS
Kade Bafford (6'0 / Newark): Ask anyone in the area about Kade Bafford. They'll all say the same thing, "that kid is tough!." And that's just the truth. Bafford has started every game of his career at the point guard spot for Newark, something that we don't see all too often, especially for underclassmen in that program. Bafford is the ultimate teammate, extremely coachable, highly competitive and a kid that will do anything for the team. Outside of that, Bafford is a knockdown shooter, has a strong frame much like George's and can really defend. Bafford is a kid you won't be able to take off the floor when he gets in your program. HUDL HIGHLIGHTS
Jack Christian (5'10 / Marysville): Absolute sniper. Christian has been a baseball standout for years but is considering going the basketball route for college. That may not be a bad idea, as Christian has been one of this class' elite scorers for the past three seasons. The small but stocky guard can absolutely score it, as he has been one of the area's best shooters, but is a talented passer that can see the floor and create for others. Take a look at Christian's tape. You won't be disappointed. HUDL HIGHLIGHTS
Brock Waits (5'11 / Grove City): Waits is very similar to Christian in terms of body and game, as the 5-11 Grove City guard is a bulldog who can flat out put the ball in the bucket. Waits had a breakout year for the Greyhounds this past season, leading the OCC-Ohio in scoring and being one of the conference's top shooters. Waits is a coach's son and high-level competitor that I really recommend. HUDL HIGHLIGHTS
Jaiden Guice (6'0 / Westerville South): Guice can absolutely score the basketball, as he is an excellent catch and shoot threat from the perimeter and reliable slasher off the bounce. The 6-foot guard enjoyed a strong junior season where he was a big piece of a huge bounce back season for the OCC champ Westerville South. Guice competes hard, will give great effort on the defensive side of the floor and is a difficult matchup for most high school defenses. In terms of pure scoring ability, Guice is one of the best in this class at the point guard spot. HUDL HIGHLIGHTS
Andre Irvin Jr. (5'8 / Olentangy Orange): While Irvin is among the smallest guards in the class, that means nothing to him as he plays with zero fear and ultimate confidence. Irvin has been a mainstay at the point guard spot for Orange the last two seasons and has been pretty effective, doing a bit of everything for the Pioneers. Irvin is a talented scoring guard who can fill it up from the perimeter, while having crafty finishing skills under the rim against height and length. Irvin has strong ability as a perimeter defender and passer, as he has the capability to impact a game in every way. HUDL HIGHLIGHTS
Ethan Bell (5'10 / River Valley): Bell is one of our favorite lead guards in the class, as he is a tough customer that can fill it up from all over. Outside of being an outstanding outside shooter, Bell is a terrific playmaker who sees the floor and can set up scoring opportunities for his teammates. The 5-10 guard is a talented ball handler who can really create space for himself to score. While he is an effective catch and shoot guy, Bell is really dangerous off the bounce with his three-point shot. If you're looking for a gamer who is going to come in and compete, Bell is the guy for you. HUDL HIGHLIGHTS
Riley Gibson (5'11 / Circleville): One of the best point guard talents south of Columbus, Gibson is as vital to Circleville as the Pumpkin Show. The 5-11 guard is one of the most talented scoring guards in Pickaway County, as he prefers to operate off the bounce where he can make shots off the dribble against tight pressure. Gibson is also effective off the ball, coming off screens where he can bury perimeter jumpers. HUDL HIGHLIGHTS
Josiah Mobley (6'1 / Reynoldsburg): It's back to Reynoldsburg for Mobley after a year at Whitehall. The Whitehall season was good for Mobley as he had his best year yet on the high school level, operating mostly off the ball where he was one of the area's best microwave shooters. Mobley competes hard, never takes plays off, applies great pressure defensively and is a kid that will hardly be outworked. We look forward to seeing what Mobley does for Reynoldsburg this year when he teams up with his highly touted freshman cousin Juni Mobley. HUDL HIGHLIGHTS
Garrison Budd (5'10 / Bishop Ready): While not being the quickest or most athletic guard in the class, Budd makes up for it with his shooting and playmaking abilities. The 5-10 guard competes, is a great teammate and perfect complimentary guard for Daniels. Budd is one of the better catch and shoot players in the class and will be able to contribute from day one with his toughness.
Landon Tillman (5'7 / Westerville Central): Albeit being the smallest guard on this list, Tillman is among the best of the best shooters in the class. The 5-7 guard is a warrior, exhibiting toughness, unselfishness and high IQ on the floor. We love the way Tillman plays, as he picks his spots well, does what's best for the team each time out. We hope Tillman can hit a growth spurt, as he has real game with the ball in his hands, while remaining a deadly shooter on the perimeter. HUDL HIGHLIGHTS
Ryan Smudz (5'10 / Delaware Hayes): An elite student with game, Smudz is one of the more underrated talents at the point guard spot in the area. After sharing a backcourt with Nate Griggs the last two years, Smudz will have a chance to really breakout this season. The 5-10 guard is a talented shooter both off the bounce and off movement, as Delaware ran him off a bunch of screens last year where he was effective. Smudz is a talented passer as well, as his offensive game is pretty solid with not many holes. HUDL HIGHLIGHTS
Maurice Barnes Jr. (5'11 / South): Much like Smudz, Barnes has waited in the wings at the point guard spot for the last few years. With South featuring a loaded backcourt that included full scholarship guards Tre Watkins, Trevell Adams and Taquan Simington, Barnes hasn't had his chance to fully shine. His time is coming soon, as the backcourt will be his next year as he attempts to keep the Bulldogs atop the City. Barnes is a talented scoring guard who can fill it up on every level. We like the intensity that he brings to the floor, as he matches the attitude and effort that has made South the juggernaut that they've become. Barnes is a talented passer who can really see the floor. Toughness is never an issue with South guards and that is the case for Barnes, as he will have a chance to be one of the top breakout players in the City League this winter. HIGHLIGHTS
Keshawn Harris (6'0 / Independence): One of the more underrated point guard talents in the City League, Harris is a name to know heading into this season. After averaging 15 points and nine assists per game as a junior, Harris is primed for a big senior year. The 6-foot guard is a great teammate, plays with good pace, can make plays for himself and others and is a great attitude kid that will give you elite effort each time out. One of the most impressive parts of Harris' junior season was the fact that he took 16 charges over the course of the season, a testament to his winning mentality and toughness. HUDL HIGHLIGHTS
Jaylon Jackson (6'0 / Centennial): Jackson has been blessed to have a great support system in his life, mainly his father Terry Jackson who has raised him to impact the game and the rest of his life with hard work and humility. That's beginning to pay off for Jackson, as he was offered a spot in Denison's program last week thanks to his impressive academic profile. On the floor, Jackson is a defense-first guard that plays with great toughness. Offensively, Jackson gets his teammates involved, keeps the ball moving, makes the right basketball play and is a capable shooter from the perimeter. Jackson won't be outworked, is extremely coachable and plays to win. He's one of those guys that you just can't keep off the floor or out of the gym with his desire to work.
PJ Daniels (6'0 / Bishop Ready): On a Ready team with three quality guards, Daniels can sometimes get lost in the shuffle however he is a physically impressive guard who can get downhill to the rim. Defensively, Daniels is a physical defender who is a threat both on and off the ball. Thanks to his physical frame, Daniels is able to absorb contact finish at the basket. Daniels is being highly recruited in football at the Division III level, but could also play there in basketball if he chose to. HUDL HIGHLIGHTS
Mason Purvis (5'9 / Millersport): We aren't joking when we say that Purvis is the James Harden of Millersport. In a school that didn't have enough boys to have a football team last year, Purvis is the end all be all for the basketball team, as he was one of the area's top volume scorers last season. Despite not having great size, Purvis really knows how to create his own shot and is an exceptional three-point shooter. While he jumped off the radar for us with his scoring ability, it is his impressive passing skills that really stand out. Purvis has a great understanding of the game, can create advantages for himself and others and will never be afraid to compete. HIGHLIGHTS
Jaivon Miller (6'1 / Licking Heights): In the LCL, Miller is a talented lead guard to keep an eye on. The impressive athlete had a breakout junior season for the Hornets, serving as their most consistent player throughout the course of the year. Miller has impressive scoring ability, mostly noted with a 7-three, 27-point game on the road at Granville last season. In an area ripe with quality small college prospects, especially at the point guard, Miller is a name to know in this class. HIGHLIGHTS
DJ Donnell (5'11 / Bishop Hartley): We are big fans of Donnell, as he is one of the most intelligent and standout perimeter defenders in the area. Donnell has elite quickness, great end to end speed and is not opposed to playing a physical game out on the wing. The rising senior is defense first, but is a talented scorer who has shown a better ability to create his own shot and finish at the rim. Donnell is a late blooming senior guard who plays winning basketball and will only continue to improve. HUDL HIGHLIGHTS
Jayden Hawkins-White (6'1 / London): When it comes to defense, Hawkins-White brings it. The 6-1 guard is a high-energy defender that can REALLY move his feet on the perimeter. With a nose for the ball and a genuine toughness, Hawkins-White is a disruptive point of attack defender. On the offensive end, Hawkins-White is a little less refined but creates the majority of his offense on steals and deflections where he shows his athleticism in the open floor. With Trey Woodyard and Naz Cameron both leaving the program, Hawkins-White will have a chance to put up big numbers for London this year. If you're looking for defense however, Hawkins-White is a good kid to get familiar with. HUDL HIGHLIGHTS
Austin Mann (5'7 / DeSales): While undersized, Mann is another tough small guard that can really play. Serving a big role in DeSales' district title team this past season, Mann was effective coming off the ball as a shooter off action. With the ball in his hands, Mann can create offense and score on multiple levels. We marvel at his ability to create space at his size, as Mann is an effective scorer around the basket. Defensively, Mann is pesky with active hands, as he can sit down on defense and stay in front of some of the quickest guards. HUDL HIGHLIGHTS
Teddy Brown (5'11 / Whitehall): A constant theme with this article have been guards who really get after it on defense. Brown is one of those guys as he goes all out on the defensive end of the floor and was one of the best point guards in all of the MSL last season. Brown's defense sets the tone for his offense, as he has a strong mid-range game, is a crafty finisher at the rim and has the IQ and toughness to command an offense. In our viewings of Whitehall last season, the Rams were most effective with Brown on the floor, as he is a natural leader at the point guard spot and a kid with good grades that we really recommend.
Isaac Ward (5'10 / Logan Elm): On a Logan Elm team complete with smaller guards, Ward is one of the best as he was a key part in the Braves' district title run. Ward is an active defender, smart passer and talented playmaker. As a shooter, Ward can knock down jumpers off movement and off the bounce. On a Logan Elm team that returns nearly everything from last year's regional qualifier, keep an eye on Ward to put up big numbers in his senior season. HUDL HIGHLIGHTS
Jaydon Pearson (5'11 / Dublin Scioto): A common theme in this article are players who have waited their turns at the high school level. Pearson is an embodiment of that as he has played behind strong guards in Vic Mwamba and Jayden Prince the last two years at Scioto. With both of those guys moving on to college basketball, the time has come for Pearson to step into a bigger role and we think he is fully capable. The 5-11 guard is a smooth operator at the point guard spot, showcasing strong shooting ability from the perimeter and the ability to get to the rim off the bounce. Pearson can hold his own among the top guards in the class and will have a chance to really shine next season with an expanded role for the Irish. HUDL HIGHLIGHTS
Trevyn Feasel (5'10 / North Union): In a district final run that included 22-straight wins, Feasel was a standout on North Union's bench unit, leading the team in assists and serving as a great boost of energy for the Wildcats. The 5-10 guard is a tough ball handler who can get in the lane and make plays. While he isn't at the scoring level of other guards on this list, Feasel flat out competes and can create for his teammates, traits that helped him serve a vital role for the Wildcats this past season.
Mehki Jarrett (5'6 / Mifflin): A mainstay in the backcourt for Mifflin, Jarrett had several major moments in a relatively solid season for the Punchers. Hitting game winners against Beechcroft and Centennial, Jarrett helped lead Mifflin to first place in the City North at the mid point in the season. While Mifflin fell to earth the rest of the year, Jarrett's play remained solid. While undersized, Jarrett competes at a high level on both ends of the floor. He's a talented ball handler that can get into the lane and create for his teammates. Jarrett has shown the ability to score at the high school level, but is most concerned with making the right basketball play, traits that speak to his maturity and IQ. HUDL HIGHLIGHTS
Honorable mention: Cayden Daugherty (5'8 / Worthington Kilbourne), Evan Justice (5'11 / Circleville), Tyreek Gunnell (5'8 / Centennial), Jason Sailor (5'8 / Logan Elm). Daaron Brown (5'10 / Walnut Ridge), Dante Woods (5'10 / KIPP), Brayden Blanchard (6'0 / Bishop Hartley), Amari Forte (5'10 / Linden-McKinley), Daylen Fullen (5'8 / Eastmoor), Sidi Aden (6'1 / West)