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270 Hoops Battle for the City: 2024 Top Performers

By Greg Glasser, 04/14/21, 10:30AM EDT


A look at the top performers from the 2024 session at Battle for the City

SUGAR GROVE, Ohio -- For the fifth year, 270 Hoops ended the season with last week's interconference exhibition that featured all-stars from the Ohio Capital Conference, Columbus City League and a Central Ohio team that included players from the remaining regional conferences. 

The event started with prospects from the 2024 class who just finished their freshman seasons.   In a round-robin format, the OCC won both of their contests, while Central Ohio defeated the City League in the session's final game.

With some of the area's best future talent on display, let's take a look at the top performers from the 2024 session.

Cortez Freeman (6'2 WG / Canal Winchester) - The MVP of the 2024 session, the versatile Freeman earned his honors with an excellent all-around performance.   After he led Canal Winchester in scoring his freshman season, Freeman displayed his three-level scoring ability with a confident demeanor and was usually in control.  The six-foot-two wing was also active on defense.  With Canal Winchester's off-season addition of senior Doogie James, look for Freeman to expand his game and become one of the area's top prospects in the 2024 class.

Sam Johnson (6'6 WF / Worthington Christian) -  Perhaps no player in the class had the in-game experience this past season as Johnson, the lone non-senior starter on the Warriors state runner-up team.    On Tuesday, Johnson showcased his experience with an incredibly efficient and dominating performance.   Already at six-foot-six, the wing forward has great patience and an excellence touch around the post and midrange.  His game is advanced beyond most of his classmates and that advancement clearly stood out.  Entering his sophomore season, Johnson has the potential to be one of the district's best players in Division III, regardless of class.

Jason Moore (6'7 C / Marysville) -  The lengthy center looked the part of a stock-riser after his performance on Tuesday.  At six-foot-seven, Moore showed a strong ability to bang in the post and also run the floor in transition.  The Marysville Monarch finished around the rim well and often times was one of the first guys down the court.  His combination of size and athleticism should have scouts begin to take notice as Moore will undoubtedly take on a bigger role for Marysville with the departure of senior big Garrett Taylor.

Dominique Aekins (5'7 PG / KIPP Columbus) - Perhaps the session's most athletic player, Aekins was hard to take your eyes away from.  Aekins showcased excellent handles, a strong bounce and possessed a speed that looked to be on a separate level from anyone else.  Don't let the size fool you, Aekins is still young and has serious spring that on Tuesday led to a couple clean blocks. Keep an eye on the fantastic athlete who leads a KIPP Columbus team eager for success.

Derek Goodman (6'1 WG / Olentangy Berlin) - The best in-game shooter on Tuesday, Goodman was on fire and connected on four total three point attempts.  The Berlin Bear was confident and smooth with each stroke, from multiple spots on the floor.  But Goodman wasn't limited to just strong shooting.  The six-foot-one wing ran the floor well and played efficiently within the OCC offense in both of their wins.  Look for Goodman to be a lead scorer for Berlin in his sophomore season as he could develop into one of the area's best shooters.

Jonah Lewis (6'0 WG / Worthington Christian) - While he didn't play a ton of meaningful minutes in Worthington Christian's state runner-up campaign, Lewis looked the part of a guy who played against DJ Moore in practice every day.   And that experience already looks to have shown off, as Lewis was excellent Tuesday night.   The wing guard was aggressive and effective on the offensive attack and also hit from deep.  Lewis looks like he's gained a little bit of strength since the beginning of the season.  Along with his fellow 2024 teammate Sam Johnson, look for the rising sophomore to lead the new era Warriors.

Juwan Turner (5'9 PG / Pickerington Central) - The five-foot-nine guard was the session's best distributor.  Turner did an excellent job of using his awareness and converting turnovers and rebounds into quick transition points.  The lead guard's floor vision was also noticed on the defensive end, as Turner played the passing lanes well and created turnovers.  The OCC wouldn't have had such comfortable wins without Turner's contributions.

LaRon Fuller (6'0 PG / Columbus Africentric) - Even though the City League failed to get a win, Fuller stood out as the best player on his team.  The lead guard from Africentric was aggressive offensively, a strong dribbler and showed a natural talent to create plays.   With senior Eli Burke departing, look for Fuller to compete for a starting position on a talented Nubians team.

KJ Jones (6'8 C / Columbus International) - The most intriguing prospect of the session, KJ Jones showcased serious upside.  Every bit of six-foot-eight, the rising sophomore ran the floor well and was efficient with the ball.   Jones did a nice job to compete with the other talented bigs in the game, mainly Moore and Johnson, and should only continue to grow, both physically and skill wise. 

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