November 14, 2013
Boys basketball: 2014 class includes depth, star talent
It's not every year that a central Ohio boys basketball recruiting class produces a Big Ten recruit, and even more rare is one like the 2014 class that has two.
Throw in a few mid-major talents, and there should be some exciting moments this winter -- particularly in the OCC-Ohio Division.
During the early signing period this week, Pickerington Central's Jae'Sean Tate signed with Ohio State while Gahanna's Javon Bess will be signing with Michigan State on Friday.
Most people who follow central Ohio recruiting know that both helped the Tigers win the 2012 state championship before Bess transferred to Gahanna, the school system he grew up in.
The 6-5 Tate saw a lot of his time around the basket last year, averaging 21.9 points and 12 rebounds while being named the ThisWeek Super 12 captain and first-team all-district.
When he gets to college, though, he projects as a small forward for the Buckeyes so undoubtedly he'll be working on his outside shooting over the coming months.
Bess, also a 6-5 forward, immediately fit in at Gahanna last year as he averaged 18 points and eight rebounds while helping the team reach a regional final.
While Tate was the first commitment in Ohio State's class, Bess was among the last in Michigan State's. He also projects as a small forward collegiately with his ability to attack the rim and with solid ball-handling ability.
It should be fun to watch Bess play this winter with the Lions' Matthew Moyer, a sophomore who is among the hottest recruits from the 2016 class.
Other guys who are signing early with smaller Division I schools are Pickerington Central's Connor Kern (Arkansas State), Westerville Central's Eric James (Duquesne) and Upper Arlington's Kevin Vannatta (UNC-Asheville).
Ohio Dominican's growing sports program hit central Ohio hard, reeling in Northland's Shemar Waugh, Olentangy Liberty's Michael DeLeon and Brookhaven's Ronnie Williams. Newark's Teddy Metzen committed to Ashland.
Who are some other 2014 prospects to watch this winter?
Walnut Ridge point guard Dymeire Finch and Northland shooting guard Derrick McKeithon could be two of the better backcourt players in the City this fall.
Northland lost Armani Towns to graduation after making what was honestly a surprising run to a state semifinal last year, but it won't be under the radar this time. The Vikings also have one of the top recruits in the 2016 class in Seth Towns, who plays on the same AAU team as Moyer.
There should be enough flash to keep hoops enthusiasts on their seat throughout the coming winter.