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The Intro Recap: Sean Jones stands out among deep crop of 2022 talent

By Zach Fleer, 08/27/18, 3:30PM EDT


Gahanna guard Sean Jones was the inaugural The Intro MVP on Saturday

LEWIS CENTER, Ohio -- More than 90 of the best freshmen in the greater Central Ohio area converged on Olentangy Orange High School for the inaugural "The Intro" showcase on Saturday. Going through a day's worth of skill drills, team contests and scrimmages, the participants from the class of 2022 put it all on the line in front of a packed house.

Let's take a look at how the event went down.

Morning Skills and Drills Session

We tipped off the day with a series of stations in which each player rotated through drills where they not only competed, but had to make decisions on the fly. 

Receiving instruction from some of the top skills coaches in the area, here were some of the standouts from the first morning session.

  • Sean Jones, G, Gahanna
  • Jerry Saunders, G, Pickerington North
  • Tegan Myers, G, Logan
  • Denim Craig, G, St. Charles
  • Jaylen Simmons, G, Beechcroft
  • AJ Clayton, PF, Philo
  • Ethan Smith, G, Olentangy
  • Jaylon Clark, G, Bedford
  • Ajay Sheldon, G, Dublin Coffman
  • Josh Harlan, G, Pickerington Central
  • Luke Lyall, G, Tri-Valley
  • Marlon Elliott Jr, G, Groveport
  • Cooper Davis, F, Reynoldsburg
  • Amil Upchurch, F, Northmor
  • Duane Davis, G, Groveport
  • Cam Andrade, G, Thomas Worthington
  • Joel Addo, F, Olentangy Orange
  • Quinn Corna, G, Upper Arlington
  • Amari Gaston, F, Bishop Hartley

3 on 3 Competition

Splitting the 94 participants into groups of three, we finished up the morning session with a lengthy 3-on-3 competition on all eight baskets in the gym. In the first session, players were not allowed to set ball screens or perform dribble handoffs, which forced participants to move without the ball, cut and screen away to get open. 

Ball movement, spacing and defensive communication created a winning formula for the top teams, as these four groups won more than anyone else in the gym. 

Ryan Paris (Hilliard Davidson), Sean Jones (Gahanna), Jerry Saunders (Pickerington North)

Josh Harlan (Pickerington Central), Ethan Smith (Olentangy), Luke Lyall (Tri-Valley)

AJ Clayton (Philo), Josh Whiteside (Gahanna), Miles Poindexter (Westerville Central)

Joel Addo (Olentangy Orange), Ryan Lynn (Dublin Coffman), Dior Conners (Pickerington North), Ayden Parsons (Worthington Kilbourne)

5 on 5 Games

With the morning session complete, players returned from lunch for the highly anticipated 5-on-5 games. Broken up into 10 teams, we saw plenty of players turn up for the game action. Playing two 30-minute games, these were the following players selected to the Top 20 All-Star Game to wrap up the afternoon. 

Team 1

  • Sean Jones (G, Gahanna) - Dominated to the tune of 28 points per game in two wins. Best player in the gym. More on him below.
  • Josh Whiteside (F, Gahanna) - Big man played hard on both ends and was one of the day's top rebounders. As physical a player as you will find right now.
  • Jerry Saunders (G, Pickerington North) - Breakout player on Saturday. Big, physical guard who plays with a mean streak. Capable of hitting shots and making plays on both ends.
  • Ryan Paris (G, Hilliard Davidson) - Paris had his best moments in the All-Star game, knocking down six threes and scoring a game-high 18 points. Paris is an elite shooter and if he gets close to his dad's height of 6-foot-7, could become one of the premier players in this class.
  • Ayan Comedy (G, DeSales) - Comedy impressed as a scoring machine on Saturday, getting out of the gate early in his 19-point performance in the second game. One of the day's breakout players.
  • Michael Miller (G, Chillicothe) - Miller gives great effort and was one of the quickest guards in the event. Can get to the rim and is a willing defender.
  • Ajay Sheldon (G, Dublin Coffman) - Sheldon wowed coaches in the morning session, dominating in each station and giving great effort. Sheldon brought that intensity to the 5-on-5 games as well. 
  • Josh Harlan (G, Pickerington Central) - One of Saturday's top stock risers, Harlan consistently found his way into the lane to make things happen for himself and others. Tough guard with a great motor, but more than all, an elite distributor. 
  • Brandon McLaughlin (F, Heath) - Has great size at 6-foot-4 and is a skilled finisher. Played two great games and was solid in the all-star game.
  • Javo Jordan (G, Beechcroft) - One of five talented Beechcroft freshmen in the event, Jordan had solid scoring games in both contests. Jordan has a mature game and can score in a variety of ways.

Team 2

  • Dior Conners (G, Pickerington North) - Gifted athlete on the perimeter who has as much upside as any player in the class. Very quick first step, can finish at the rim and is an above-average shooter. Should see immediate time for Pick North.
  • Ethan Smith (G, Olentangy) - Big-time shooter who did not waste his opportunity on Saturday. Made tough shot after tough shot and also showed off a tight handle. 
  • AJ Clayton (C, Philo) - Biggest player in the event. Blocked shots, rebounded, scored inside and played great interior defense on the event's best bigs. A name to remember in eastern Ohio.
  • Jared Rose (F, Fairfield Christian) - One of two top breakout players, Rose impressed with his soft touch and rebounding ability inside. Could be the best freshman big in the MSL this season. 
  • Corey Hudson (G, Pickerington North) - Hudson's motor was something to rave about, as he had two great performances before scoring the game-winning bucket in the all-star game. Hudson is a confident player who should develop nicely in the Panther program. 
  • Quinn Corna (G, Upper Arlington) - Death, taxes and Upper Arlington shooters. Corna is next in line as he was one of the very best perimeter players in the event. Corna has solid size and physicality in addition to being an absolute knockdown shooter. 
  • Atticus Schuler (G, DeSales) - Schuler impressed his coaches with his ability to create and overall IQ. Schuler has a great feel, always makes the right pass and can score it as well. 
  • Robert Dorsey III (G, Northland) - Dorsey has a smooth game on the perimeter. A talented ball handler who knows how to score, Dorsey should have a chance to see minutes early as a freshman for the Vikings.
  • Lason "LA" Walker (G, Beechcroft) - The No.1 breakout wing on the day, Walker emerged onto the scene out of nowhere and left his mark on the event. A silky smooth scorer who put the ball in the bucket from all over, Walker came in unknown but would not leave that way. Walker might just be the best prospect in a talented Cougar freshman class. 
  • Austin Sizemore (G, Olentangy) - As if Smith wasn't enough, Olentangy has another talented shooter in Sizemore. A big freshman with quality size and strength, Sizemore was one of the top scorers outside of Court 1, impressing in both 5 on 5 games.

Honorable mention: Denim Craig (St. Charles), Isaiah Johnson (Westerville South), Dante Collier (Licking Heights), Aidan Dring (Dublin Coffman), Dylan Thompson (Buckeye Valley), Jamari Strickland (St. Charles), Jacob Pleiman (Botkins), Andre Crockwell II (Pickerington Central), Jaylon Clark (Bedford), Joel Addo (Olentangy Orange), Emmanuel Hood (DeSales), Jake Werling (Olentangy Orange), Cooper Davis (Reynoldsburg), Michael Sekyere (Thomas Worthington), Brae Friesner (Berne Union), Amil Upchurch (Northmor), Ayden Parsons (Worthington Kilbourne)

Event Awards

Most Valuable Player

Sean Jones (G, Gahanna): Jones won MVP honors of the inaugural event, dominating at the point guard spot. There's not enough you can say about how good Jones is. He might just be the best freshman guard that we've ever covered, as in addition to his natural athletic gifts, he has a mature and poised game. Jones doesn't rush, he doesn't get sped up, he doesn't get out of control and he makes the most difficult finishes and dribble moves look routine. There was not a player in the gym who could guard Jones, as he averaged a very efficient 28 points per game in addition to playing superb defense on the perimeter. Despite being about 5-foot-9, Jones has great burst and an ability to hang in the air for tough finishes at the rim. The most impressive part of Jones' game is his body control, as he finishes at a level that is very uncommon for high school players of any age. Jones will be the starting point guard from day one at Gahanna and could be well on his way to a decorated career. 

Impact Guard

Dior Conners (G, Pickerington North): Conners was one of the more entertaining players to watch in the gym. Productive in all areas of the game, Conners showed the type of upside that caused Stony Brook to offer him last month. Conners could end up as the best prospect in this class three years from now. However, look for him to receive early action for a Panther team that may be young, but will not lack talent.

Impact Wing

Lason "LA" Walker (G, Beechcroft): Walker was the best player on Court 2 all Saturday, showing off an intriguing ability to score. While Beechcroft may have just graduated a decorated senior class that put the Cougars back on top in the City League, prospects like Walker, Jordan,  and Jaylen Simmons will help Beechcroft stay there for years to come. 

Impact Big

AJ Clayton (PF, Philo) - At 6-foot-6, Clayton was the biggest player in the event. While many young players his size may be a little stiff, Clayton is the opposite, as he moves well, is an above-average athlete and has great hands. Clayton looks to still have a few more inches to go, which could turn him into one of the more intriguing prospects from eastern Ohio in recent years. We were really impressed with Clayton's discipline and interior defense. 

Breakout Players

Ethan Smith (G, Olentangy): Smith took full advantage of his opportunity on Saturday and never looked back. A talented scorer whose game doesn't lack bravado, Smith stole the show at The Intro. While Smith is a near elite level shooter, he has an ability to get places off the dribble and finish with grace at the rim. Smith is next in line in an impressive recent lineage of talented Olentangy guards. 

Jared Rose (F, Fairfield Christian): Rose stole the show on Court 3 on Saturday, proving to be the best big in the aux gym all afternoon long. With a soft touch, quality motor and tough rebounding ability, Rose is a name to remember in the Lancaster area. Look for Rose to have a chance to receive immediate minutes for FCA this winter. 

Check out all the event photos from The Intro here. Photos courtesy of Mitch Brown from Central Ohio Photography. Book Mitch for your next event! 

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