The 2022-23 OHSAA State Tournament tipped off last week and the excitement is in the air. This season has been one of the more interesting seasons in recent memory as teams have continued to trade places atop both state and local polls.
NEO Spotlight has been joined by some of the most notable scouts/media in Ohio to wrap up the regular season and provide fans with a preview of what's to come over the next month.
Keep reading to check out our picks for Mr. Basketball, the biggest surprises of the regular season, dark horse teams that could make a deep run, and much more!
Peatross (NEO Spotlight): Dayton Chaminade-Julienne is currently number two in the latest Division 2 poll, finishing the regular season with a 20-2 record (9-1 GCL). Senior George Washington III, a Michigan commit, has been the main catalyst for their success as he has averaged an impressive 24.7 points per game. He rose to the occasion in big moments and had his fair share of buzzer beaters throughout the regular season, including an off the dribble jumper to beat Huber Heights Wayne that you can watch below. Pickerington Central senior Devin Royal will likely win the award, and rightfully so, but there is a conversation to be had.
Goul (Cleveland.com): There’s a difference between my pick and who I think will win it. My pick is George Washington III edging Pickerington Central’s Devin Royal and Centerville’s Gabe Cupps as the top three vote getters. The OHSAA opened up voting to all media members of the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association, which resulted this football season in Akron Archbishop Hoban’s Lamar Sperling winning Mr. Football in the fall. The media could lean on Royal, partly to make up for him not winning the award last year and his Ohio State commitment. I expect he will win it, barring a shakeup in the district tournament (the voting has traditionally been between the day after district finals and before regionals). Washington, though, has been the most entertaining player I’ve watched all season.
Roth (Prep Hoops Ohio): I’m going to go with Devin Royal, he had a case to win last season and followed that up with a dominant senior season. Other contenders included Dailyn Swain, Gabe Cupps and newcomer to Ohio, George Washington III. Other guys considered included Lawrent Rice, Colin White and Austin Parks.
Spegal (270 Hoops): While there is not a clear frontrunner for this season's Mr. Basketball, I believe Pickerington Central's Devin Royal will take home the award. Devin has the numbers and his team only has one loss to a fellow Ohio team, that being a double overtime loss to Centerville back in December. This award has also leaned towards seniors signed to Ohio State in the past, so I think that is going to benefit Devin as well.
Stubbs (Ohio HS Hoops): The race for Mr. Basketball may appear to be wideopen, but history tells me otherwise. Players such as Ottawa-Glandorf’s Colin White and Columbus Africentric’s Dailyn Swain have put forth admirable resumes, but the facts are a Division 3 or 4 player hasn’t won the award since O.J. Mayo in 2006. Darryn Peterson is another name to consider, but only two sophomores have ever won the award (Lebron James & O.J. Mayo). Gabe Cupps, the reigning Mr. Basketball, will try to join Jimmy Jackson, Greg Simpson, Lebron James, O.J. Mayo, Jared Sullinger, and Luke Kennard as the only two-time winners. This may be difficult with Ohio State signees Devin Royal and Austin Parks having tremendous senior seasons. I think a player like Lawrent Rice could be a dark horse, but the smart money would be on Royal. He checks all the boxes for a typical winner.
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