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270 Hoops Battle for the City: 2023 Top Performers

By Greg Glasser, 04/15/21, 10:15AM EDT


A look at the top performers from the 2023 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. 

Tuesday night's event finished with prospects from the 2023 class.  In a round-robin format, the OCC won both of their contests, while the City League defeated Central Ohio in the session's final game.

A strong display of talent was featured on all teams.  Let's take a look at the top performers from the 2023 session.

Dailyn Swain (6'6 WG / Columbus Africentric) - No player stood out on Tuesday quite like Swain, the clear MVP of the session.  When Swain was on the court, often times he looked to be in a league of his own. The talented wing was able to get whatever he wanted offensively as he scored 17 points against the OCC.  The City League was noticeably better and instantly competitive when Swain was in the game.  The rising junior currently holds an offer from Ohio University and will undoubtedly be one of 2023's most sought after prospects in the area. At 6-foot-6, with his size, athleticism and perimeter skill, Swain has a very strong chance to develop into an ESPN Top 100 type prospect - which would make him the first local player to land in those rankings since 2018 (Jerome Hunter, Dane Goodwin). 

Devin Royal (6'7 WF / Pickerington Central) - After having a successful sophomore season in which he was first team all-conference, Royal stood out Tuesday night as the most talented and all-around player for the OCC.   Royal showcased everything that we saw him develop this past season.  He was active on the boards, showed off an expanded midrange and possessed next-level vision.   The six-foot-seven forward was comfortable handling the ball in the open court and consistently made good decisions.  Royal currently holds an offer from Ohio University and at times was the best player on a talented Tigers team last season.  Look for Royal to be a standout not only for Pickerington Central, but for the entire district the next two years.

Sonny Styles (6'5 WG / Pickerington Central) - You won't find many athletes in the nation quite like Sonny Styles and his performance on Tuesday was further validation that's truth.  The six-foot-five wing was a nightmare on both ends.  Styles put on a show with multiple open court dunks and lock down defense.  If he weren't a five-star recruit in football, Styles would certainly be a sought after prospect on the hardwood.   While he may not have a consistent jumper, Styles' athleticism is able to overpower his opponents, a role he will look to expand for the Tigers next season.

Bede Lori (6'2 WG / Caldwell) - Although the Central Ohio All-Stars weren't able to pick up a win, it wasn't without a strong effort from Lori.  After having a spectacular sophomore season in which he already surpassed 1,000 career points and broke the Ohio state record for single season free throw percentage, Lori showcased his impressive scoring ability.  Lori understood when to take a game over and was creative and effective with his shot selection.   To end the session, Lori not only won the three-point contest, but broke the event record with 28 points.   Being from Caldwell, which is east of Zanesville, Lori may not get the attention he's properly warranted, but Tuesday he proved he can shine with Central Ohio's best.  

Lachlan MacDonald (6'1 WG / Dublin Jerome) - On a well rounded OCC team, MacDonald was his team's sharp shooter as he got warmed up and connected multiple times from deep.   MacDonald is also a decent athlete that is good with his dribble and creating quality offensive possessions.  The rising junior was second in team scoring last season for the Celtics and could transition into a first team all-conference player.

Ryan Nutter (6'3 PG / Dublin Jerome) - Another talented guard for the Celtics in the 2023 class, Nutter displayed Tuesday the glimpses of excellence that led to his all-conference sophomore season.  At six-foot-three, Nutter is an athletic guard with elite vision and ignites the offense with an aggressive attack.  While not yet a premiere shooter from deep, Nutter is crafty and does a good job to create his own space.  Nutter led the Celtics in scoring last season and should evolve into one of the area's best guards.

Peyton Frey (6'6 PF / Hilliard Davidson) - After earning quality varsity minutes in his first season at Hilliard Davidson, Frey showed a mature and efficient performance Tuesday.   With a long frame and wingspan, Frey moves well, has nice vision and good awareness on both ends of the floor.  Defensively, he did a nice job of moving his feet, avoiding fouls and keeping the offense in front of him.   Frey has a huge role for the Wildcats next season, as Hilliard Davidson returns a ton of talent. If Frey can continue to improve his game and add some strength, he could be the post presence the Wildcats need to be a district title contender. 

Jordan Hall (6'8 C / Kipp Columbus) - Hall is an absolute load on the block. The 6-foot-8 sophomore looks like Orlando Pace, as he has a massive frame and is unlike the vast, vast majority of high school post prospects. When given touches on the interior, Hall finished at a very high level, as he has a soft touch over either shoulder and can finish through contact. In an era of basketball that is so uptempo, it's nice to see throwback posts who can get you a bucket with their back to the basket. Hall is a sophomore big to keep a close eye on, as Kipp has two great underclassmen pieces between him and freshman point guard Dominique Aekins.

Trenton Collins (6'3 WG / Lakewood) - Collins is a very athletic wing with plenty of tools. On Tuesday, he impressed as an outside shooter, connecting on a handful of three-point buckets. The 6-foot-3 sophomore has a lot of natural scoring ability and will have a chance to be a top scorer in the Licking County League for years to come. For Collins to reach his full potential, we'd like to see him play with a consistent motor on both ends of the floor. That would take him from good to great. 

CJ Swanson (6'4 WF / Columbus East) - Outside of Swain, Swanson was the only other source of consistent offense for the City League. The 6-foot-4 sophomore has a strong, thick build and is one of the toughest players that we've seen across the City. Swanson impressed as an interior finisher, as he was not phased by contact. The sophomore took a big strides this past season in becoming one of the East's go-to scorers, as the Tigers will greatly rely on him and junior guard Kwalee Woods-Law next winter. 

Preston Steele (6'5 PF / Africentric ) - Steele is a well built sophomore with great size and impressive athleticism. He was able to stretch the floor and show the ability to hit perimeter jumpers, while also impressing on the interior as an athletic finisher. With the Nubians losing Eli Burke to graduation, Africentric will need someone to step up alongside Swain, and Steele appears to be that guy. The duo of lengthy sophomores will give opponents in the City League South great trouble for years to come. 

Davion Bridges (5'11 PG / Northland) - Bridges had a really strong showing in the City League's win over Central Ohio. The 5-foot-11 sophomore ran the show at the point guard spot and gave the City League team great consistency. When he's hitting shots from the perimeter, which he did in that game, it makes Bridges tough to account for, as he has good wiggle to his game and can get by defenders to the rim. Look for Northland to rely heavily on its great backcourt duo of Bridges and junior Rob Dorsey next winter. 

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