Two of the Big Ten's top men's basketball players this season, Ohio State's Jared Sullinger and Michigan's Trey Burke, have well-known connections to central Ohio as former Northland High School teammates.
I put together a list of central Ohioans who will be playing in the men's and women's basketball NCAA and NIT tournaments that can be found here, and the list, as could be expected, is rather lenghty.
There are 13 men's players who will compete in either the 68-team NCAA tournament field or the 32-team NIT field, and another four that didn't get mentioned are competing in the CollegeInsiders.com Postseason tournament that also began last night. There are 15 native women who are competing in either the 64-team NCAA or 64-team NIT.
While NCAA football rosters have around 80 scholarship players every year, each basketball team is closer to 15 -- meaning that there are significantly fewer scholarships to go around for Division I programs.
Because of this, it only makes sense that most of the college recruits from an area the size of Columbus end up at mid-major schools such as Ohio University or Dayton.
From the 2012 senior class in central Ohio in boys basketball, Northland has three more Division I college recruits in Jalen Robinson (Dayton), Devon Scott (Dayton) and Jordan Potts (UNC-Greensboro). That trio won't be back at the state tournament after the Vikings got upset in a Division I district final last Saturday.
In girls basketball, Northland had Symone Denham (Michigan), but many of the top area recruits are underclassmen.
Pickerington Central's Caris LeVert is an Ohio University-signee whose high school boys team is competing in the regional tournament this week.
Two of central Ohio's other top recruits from the 2012 class, Dublin Coffman's Kyle Molock (St. Joseph's) and Delaware's Matt Bingaya (Morehead State), had their senior seasons cut short by injuries and should return to the court over the coming months.
So who is on the radar of college teams in basketball from central Ohio?
In boys basketball, Westerville North's Jack Gibbs and Gahanna's Aaron Jackson are probably the top two juniors. Gibbs missed all but three games this season with an injury, while Jackson averaged 14 points for a Gahanna team that made it to a district semifinal.
In girls basketball, Northland junior Alexis Peterson is probably going to go to a Big Ten school. Reynoldsburg's Alyssa Rice is a sophomore who already is on the national radar.
The recruiting period for basketball should start heating up in April and May, once the AAU season is in full swing throughout the nation.
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