PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- On Saturday, defending state champion Pickerington Central played host to the Jared Sullinger Play-by-Play Classic, pitting some of the most talented teams on the court against each other and having some of the best players in the area playing in the games. The headline names were not the only ones that came through with good performances as some under the radar players made an impression and had strong games.
Northland defeated Harvest Prep to kick the day off, then Reynoldsburg, without two starters, took a hard fought loss to Dublin Jerome in the second game, Emmanuel Christian bested Walnut Ridge in the event's third game and Pickerington Central was victorious over Africentric to end the night.
There were some spectacular performances from players, with young men displaying some big-time skill. With all the talent in the building, here are the players that made the biggest impact during the event.
King Kendrick (2026 / Northland / 5’9 PG): The freshman was the best player on the court, on a court stocked with good wings and guards. Kendrick’s 26 points led all scorers, as he showcased his usual brilliance around the rim with his soft touch and ability to use either hand. In transition he was great as well, exploding through traffic and attacking the basket. As impressive as the 26 points were, the 5’9 guard grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out six assists as well. He was excellent at finding the ball off the rim and getting off his man to track down the ball. A couple of his assists were flat out dimes, threading the needle for layups. Kendrick was also vocal on defense and is becoming more comfortable leading as a freshman. King has been nothing short of excellent this season.
Adonus Abrams (2024 / Harvest Prep / 6’2 HG): He came out the gate scorching from three, draining three triples in the opening quarter and keeping his team alive all night even after the three-ball didn’t become as prevalent in his game. Not only did he show the ability to be a catch-and-shoot guy, he also made plays off the dribble and got to the rim multiple times. Abrams got up and down the court in transition, running the court like a track star and finishing at the basket. On defense, Abrams really showed value and heart during the first game of the afternoon. He had a beautiful chasedown block that got the crowd into the game as his team tried to claw back into the ballgame. The junior is an impressive looking athlete as well, with a frame that allows him to be versatile and guard different players while being physically strong enough to take the punishment of an attacking wing.
Jerry Easter (2025 / Emmanuel Christian / 6’5 HG): After shaking off a slow start, Easter was able to show why he is such a sought after recruit. He finished the game with 31 points and did it in a myriad of ways. The highly touted sophomore got to the rim using his quick dribble and even flashed nice shooting ability off the dribble as well, getting good elevation on his shot and being able to shoot over top of defenders. Easter has springs in his legs and can rise really quickly for a young man of his size. Defensively, he can really move his feet and stay in front of ball handlers, he also played passing lanes and used his explosive speed to get the ball and get out in transition. One of the best players in the country for his class showed why he is just that.
Sasha Stavroff (2023 / Dublin Jerome / 6’0 PG): He showed off his burner early and cruised from that point on and became an excellent playmaker. Stavoff played at an extremely high level in the second game of the afternoon taking advantage of the defense that continued to leave him open at the three-point line. He made a total of five three’s during the game and then showed his midrange game when defenders ran him off of the three-point line. Stavroff moved well without the ball in his hands and found open spots in the defense due to his movement. His release was quick and he used his pump fake to perfection as well. The senior also threw some nice passes as well to not only make the extra pass but also hit cutters at the rim.
Jorden Bowens (2026 / Reynoldsburg / 6’6 PF): Another outstanding freshman from the class, Bowens is a tremendous athlete and an elite finisher around the rim, he excelled at the basket on Saturday afternoon. Bowens showed off his soft hands, catching everything that came his way and was really good at catching the ball despite catching it in traffic. He led his team in scoring and was able to get them back in the game with his explosiveness in the paint. As he gets stronger, he will be able to get defenders off of him with more ease and absorb contact better. Defensively, this young man is a shot changer, with the ability to make drivers think twice before putting the ball up over him and shooters pump fake on the perimeter when he runs out there. His ceiling is as high as any young man’s in this class and he is making an early impact in his freshman year.
Luke Kuhlman (2023 / Dublin Jerome / 6’4 WG): While he did not have a big time scoring output, his all around impact on the game was one that could not go unappreciated. His six points were not much, but he was able to add four assists, three rebounds and a steal to the stat sheet. He drained a corner three to get his day going then was able to make plays for his teammates as he continuously made the smart play when the ball was in his hands. Kuhlman was patient with the ball in his hands and did not allow defenders to speed him up while he was into his action. The senior moved with a purpose without the ball, finding gaps in the defense where he could take advantage and make a play from. A solid, scholarship-level player that gives his team valuable leadership and consistent play on the court.
Noah Smith (2024 / Reynoldsburg / 6’4 HG): An excellent leader of young men, Smith never gave up on the game (even down 13 points late in the third quarter) and helped get his team back to a three-point game in the fourth. His nine points all came in critical moments of the contest and his two blocks got their comeback started. Smith was poised in the comeback attempt and controlled the game from both a pace standpoint and playmaking on the offensive end. The junior showed his court vision with some very nice assists to his athletic teammates, dumping the ball to them and letting them take care of the rest. His athleticism is underrated and he can flat out defend the ball and force ball handlers to shoot the ball over the top of him. Schools in the area should start putting this solid guard on their radars as one of the better ones in his class.
Dailyn Swain (2023 / Africentric / 6’7 SF): An Xavier commit, Swain was the most consistent player on the court Saturday evening against Pickerington Central, taking over a majority of the game and giving his team the chance to win. He took the gym’s collective breath away when he used his go-go gadget arms to catch an alley-oop along the baseline. His midrange game was working as he knocked down free throw line extended jumpers off the dribble and operated from that area with expertise. The senior forward broke defenders down and got to the rim where he was virtually unstoppable. Swain plays at a steady pace and can slither through and past defenders with the greatest of ease, keeping the basketball over his head which makes his shot unblockable for defenders. The go-to guy for the Nubians delivered another really good performance on Saturday and had his team with a chance to win it late.
Devin Royal (2023 / Pickerington Central / 6’8 SF): The future Buckeye played through some adversity on Saturday evening, picking up two fouls in the first half that forced him in and out the game during the first 16 minutes. He even picked up a third one midway through the third quarter, sitting him down until the end of the third. When Royal returned to the game, he put the team on his back and finished with a game-high 23 points, all of them critical to the outcome. The senior spreaded the floor with his three-point shooting and got into the paint and was great from 10-feet and in. His performance on Saturday wasn’t perfect by any stretch, but it he found ways to put his imprint on the game numerous times throughout.