The Gahanna girls basketball team will celebrate a program that has won three Division I district titles since the 2002-03 season by having four players sign with Division I programs Nov. 16.
The latest player to commit is senior guard Chrishna Butler, who verbally committed to play for Cleveland State in mid-October according to coach Rick Hauser.
Butler, who averaged 8.7 points a year ago, will join former Gahanna player Haley Schmitt with the Vikings. Schmitt is a 2010 Gahanna graduate who is preparing for her junior season with Cleveland State.
Maddison Blackwell will play for Zavier, Zenobia Bess will play for Illinois State and Quiera Lampkins has verbally committed to Ohio University.
Butler averaged nearly 11 points as a sophomore and has shown an ability to put it in the basket the last couple years. She battled some injuries a year ago, so it'll be interesting to see if her offensive game takes a step forward now that she's a senior.
What should be an exciting basketball season for Westerville North senior Jack Gibbs took its first positive turn Oct. 22 when he verbally committed to play for Davidson.
Just about anything is going to be better for this talented point guard than what he endured a season ago.
Gibbs averaged 18.1 points, 4.5 assists and 3.7 steals while being named first-team all-OCC-Cardinal Division and second-team all-district in Division I as a sophomore in 2010-11. Then last season, Gibbs averaged 16.7 points through three games before going down with a season-ending knee injury Dec. 16 against Dublin Scioto. He underwent surgery Jan. 11 and saw limited time in the AAU circuit over the summer.
After also considering Creighton, Akron and Ohio University, Gibbs settled on mid-major power Davidson. The Wildcats went 25-8 and lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament, and they've been selected as the Southern Conference's preseason favorite by both the men's basketball coaches and media polls.
Davidson has made it to the NCAA tournament 11 times, including in 2007-08 when it advanced to the Elite Eight during Stephen Curry's sophomore year.
"I liked the coaches and the players and I felt comfortable there," Gibbs said via text message. "And I feel like the coach can help me get to where I want with the game of basketball. And the style of play fit me pretty well."
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There have been times that Eastmoor football coach Jim Miranda wishes he had made senior Devon Edwards a bigger part of his passing game this season.
When he did use him, there might not have been a more productive tight end in central Ohio than this 6-foot-6, 240-pounder who verbally committed to Pittsburgh over the weekend.
During Eastmoor's 5-4 start, Edwards had 14 catches for 343 yards and five touchdowns. That's an astounding 24.5 yards per catch. He also added a 75-yard interception return for a touchdown as a defending lineman.
According to his profile on ScoutingOhio.com, Edwards also had offers from Nebraska, North Carolina State, Boston College, Cincinnati, Kentucky and Purdue in addition to his first offer, which came from West Virginia.
Fans might only get one more chance to see Edwards at the high school level, and that's Oct. 26 when the Warriors travel to winless Africentric.
Eastmoor is on the bubble for the playoffs in Division III, Region 10. It needs a win over the Nubians and it likely needs River Valley, DeSales and Independence all to lose to make the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season.
Hartley senior shortstop Anna Kirk will sign a letter of intent to play softball for Ohio State on Nov. 14, according to coach Meghan Zuercher.
Last season, Kirk hit .609 with nine home runs, 34 RBI and 35 stolen bases and was the district Player of the Year in Division II. She also helped Hartley earn a district runner-up finish.
Look at those numbers for a second. I know that it's softball where many players hit at least .400 and the top players often hit .500, but that .609 seems magnified by the fact that she did this against extremely tough competition. The CCL always provides a tough battle, with DeSales winning the league at 6-0 last year followed by Hartley (4-2), Ready and Watterson (1-5 each).
Under Zuercher, who formerly played for Ready and at Ohio State when she also was known as Tommy Rowlands' little sister, the Hawks have developed into an area power in five seasons.
The Hawks should be pretty good again next spring, considering Sidney Melton, Cassie Plageman, Tiffany Wolf and Alexis Britford are others expected to be back.
Should be a fun few months for Kirk and the Hawks.
Newark senior girls basketball player Paige Cashin will take her 6-foot-4 frame to South Florida, according to Wildcats coach J.R. Shumate.
A four-year starter for Newark who has a program-record 269 blocks, Cashin also considered Minnesota and New Mexico before choosing South Florida.
Cashin has averaged 10.5 points for her prep career and last season averaged eight rebounds as the Wildcats made it to a Division I district semifinal. In the always competitive OCC-Ohio Division, she helped Newark go 8-6 and place fourth.
"Paige has been an exceptional role model for our younger players," Shumate said. "Her work ethic in the classroom and on the court is relentless. As a four-year starter and our anchor on defense, Paige has been a difference-maker for our basketball program. ... If she just maintains close to her career average, she will rank in the top 10 in career blocks all-time for Ohio girls high school basketball."
Cashin is among a handful of players who should be signing with Division I programs in November in girls basketball, along with Africentric's Marley Hill (Cincinnati), Northland's Alexis Peterson (Syracuse), Gahanna's Quiera Lampkins (Ohio U.), Zenobia Bess (Illinois State) and Maddison Blackwell (Xavier), Olentangy Orange's Taylor Agler (Indiana) and Reynoldsburg's Yamonie Jenkins (Ohio U.), Destini Cooper (Ohio U) and Shiloh Murphy (Morehead State).
Jared Drake came to Westerville Central in this past offseason ready to battle for the quarterback job as a junior, and he's been one of central Ohio's breakout players this fall.
What's going to be interesting over the next few months is how Drake is going to be recruited, because he could end up playing at defensive back when he gets to the next level.
Drake, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound junior who played running back for Upper Arlington last year before transferring to Central, was 74-for-143 passing for 971 yards with 11 touchdowns and just two interceptions through seven games. He also had rushed for 839 yards and nine scores as the Warhawks won six of their first seven games.
Defensively, he had interceptions against Big Walnut and Worthington Kilbourne and also had two fumble recoveries.
He has the size and speed to play defense in college. According to his page on Rivals.com, he has run the 40 in 4.5 seconds.
The thing he'll have to figure out over the coming months is how to sift through the offers because I've got a feeling they're going to start coming in.
One of the things that has stood out for anyone who has seen Hartley junior Alonzo Saxton in action is that he amazing speed and big-play athleticism.
At 5-foot-11, 170 pounds and now healthy after being hurt at the beginning of this season, Saxton seems a logical candidate to make an early verbal over the next few months from the 2014 recruiting class.
According to his profile on ScoutingOhio.com, Saxton now has offers from Illinois, Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin from the Big Ten as well as from Toledo and Cincinnati.
Because of some of the talent surrounding him at Hartley, Saxton might not put up a ton of impressive stats this season but he already has four catches for 229 yards for a 57.25 average and two touchdowns in three games. He had an 86-yard touchdown reception in the Hawks' 56-6 victory over Proctorville Fairland on Sept. 21.
Saxton also plays defensive back and was credited with eight solo and one assisted tackle in the Hawks' 28-14 win over Watterson on Sept. 28.
I think he's a name we're going to be hearing quite a bit about when things start to heat up for 2014 recruits early next year.
Pickerington High School North's Jake Butt is the top-ranked recruit in central Ohio from the 2013 recruiting class, and he might be getting closer to making his decision.
Already with 18 offers and ranked No. 96 among Rivals.com's top 100 prospects in his class, Butt took a visit to Ohio State on junior day, Jan. 29.
Less than a week later, after scoring 30 points to lead the Panthers boys basketball team to a 55-46 win over Gahanna (Feb. 3) on senior night, the 6-foot-6, 225-pound junior tight end implied that one of the schools on his list could be emerging to the forefront.
"Michigan has shown me a lot of attention so far," Butt said.
What Butt did last season was impressive enough. He spent time on offense at H-back and tight end and saw action defensively at both end and outside linebacker. He finished with 27 catches for 424 yards and seven touchdowns to help the Panthers finish 8-2 on offense and had 9.5 sacks and 16.5 tackles for losses on defense.
His quickness and pass-catching abilities have turned him into one of the marquee tight end prospects in his class. He seems to move so gracefully for his size.
Butt said that four other schools -- Ohio State, Notre Dame, Wisconsin and USC -- have told him that he's the No. 1 tight end on their respective boards.
One intriguing issue regarding Butt's situation is that Michigan got a verbal commitment from tight end Khalid Hill (6-3, 235) from Crockett Vocational Tech in Detroit on Feb. 6, according to various reports. Hill is one of three players to verbal to Michigan from the 2013 class.
Wisconsin also already has a tight end among its 2013 recruiting class in Scott Orndoff (6-5, 240) from Seton-Lasalle in Pittsburgh.
Ohio State, meanwhile, has locked up two players -- Middletown athlete Jalin Marshall and Trotwood-Madison cornerback Cameron Burrows.
Dec 13, 2013 | Currently: 17° Clear