All-Time ThisWeek Basketball Team

Series honors top players, coaches

Week 1: Honorable Mention

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From state champions to professional players to school-yard legends, central Ohio has produced numerous memories for high school boys and girls basketball fans over the past two-plus decades.

Considering there have been 25 basketball seasons since the ThisWeek Community News era began in 1990, our sixth-annual summer series seems to be an appropriate time to recognize the area's greatest players and coaches.

Over the next five weeks, we will release the "All-Time ThisWeek Basketball Team," which spans from the 1989-90 season through last season.

We've chosen five boys players and five girls players, regardless of their positions, to comprise the first, second and third teams.

The third team will be announced next week, followed by the second team. We then will rank the top 10 girls coaches of the past 25 seasons, followed by the top 10 boys coaches over that same span.

In the final installment of the series, the top five boys players and the top five girls players will be revealed, along with the selection of central Ohio's greatest boys player and its greatest girls player of the era.

Research for the series began months ago and included input from various coaches throughout central Ohio and colleagues such as long-time sportswriter Steve Blackledge from The Columbus Dispatch, in addition to the experienced staff at ThisWeek.

The athletes and coaches eligible for consideration are from schools located in Franklin and Licking counties, as well as parts of Delaware, Fairfield and Union counties.

The "All-Time ThisWeek Basketball Team" continues our summer tradition of an in-depth series, following "20 Years of Upsets" in 2009, "Most Dominant Teams" in 2010, "Top Individual Performances" in 2011, "Most Dramatic State Tournament Events" in 2012 and the "All-Time ThisWeek Football Team" last year.

We begin this series with an honorable mention list of 35 boys and girls players in alphabetical order, with each player's final high school season in parentheses:

•BOYS -- Cordaryl Ballard (Mifflin, 2005), Javon Bess (Gahanna, 2014), Javonte Clanton (Reynoldsburg, 2006), Antonio Daniels (DeSales, 1993), Chris Daniels (DeSales, 1991), Carlos Davis (Eastmoor, 1994), Bryan Gandee (Westland, 1991), Jermaine Guice (Westerville South, 1990), Dashon Harper (Ready, 2002), Josh Helm (Grove City, 2000), Traevon Jackson (Westerville South, 2011), Isaac Jefferson (Columbus West, 1999), Eddie Jenkins (Columbus West, 1993), Chris Johnson (Brookhaven, 2008), Nick Kellogg (DeSales, 2010), Antwain Lavender (Brookhaven, 1998), Caris LeVert (Pickerington Central, 2012), Ron Lewis (Brookhaven, 2002), Tony Rice (Briggs, 1992), Leon Rodgers (Eastmoor, 1998), Jon Smith (Grove City, 2009), Sam Smith (Worthington Christian, 2000), Ron Steward (Eastmoor, 2007), J.J. Sullinger (Thomas Worthington, 2001), Brian Sullivan (Upper Arlington, 2011), Stevie Taylor (Gahanna, 2011), Dezjua Townsend (Whetstone, 1991), Aaron Turner (Mifflin, 1997), Samaki Walker (Whitehall, 1994), Charles Warren (Whitehall, 1999), Antonio Watson (Eastmoor, 1991), Kevin Weakley (Worthington Christian, 1995), Estaban Weaver (Independence, 1997), Nate Wilbourne (Upper Arlington, 1992), Adam Wolfe (Westerville South, 1999).

The list includes six players who earned ThisWeek Super 12 captain honors as seniors in Clanton, Lavender, LeVert, Sam Smith, Steward and Sullinger.

Sullinger, a 6-foot-5 guard, was a key player for Ohio State from 2003-06 before playing overseas and LeVert, a 6-6 guard, is entering his junior season for the University of Michigan after making second-team all-Big Ten Conference as a sophomore.

Clanton, a 6-1 guard, had collegiate stints at Niagara and South Carolina-Aiken before being killed in a car crash March 18, 2009.

Walker and Weaver perhaps are known for more than just their talent.

During his junior season, Walker, a 6-9 post player, averaged 18 points, 15 rebounds and 5.8 blocks while helping Whitehall reach the Division II state final.

Thirteen games into his senior season, Walker quit the team. He went on to play two seasons for the University of Louisville, was selected by the Dallas Mavericks with the ninth pick in the 1996 NBA draft and played in the NBA until 2006.

Weaver, a 6-4 guard, led Hartley to a Division III regional runner-up finish in 1994 when he averaged 20.6 points as a freshman and was averaging 25 points in his sophomore season with the Hawks when he quit the team temporarily in February 1995. He returned to the Hawks for the postseason and helped Hartley reach a state semifinal.

Weaver transferred to Maine Central Institute for his junior year but was expelled from the school in January 1996. He returned to central Ohio and enrolled at Independence, but didn't play the rest of the season.

As a senior, Weaver averaged 15 points and helped the 76ers earn their only Division I district title in program history.

"He was quite a player and he did some phenomenal things on the floor," said Dave Feyh, who coached Independence from its inaugural 1975-76 season through the 1998-99 season. "He was left-handed but could use his right hand as well. He was a pretty good defender and a great passer."

Chris Daniels, a 6-9 post player, averaged 22 points as a senior for DeSales. During his redshirt senior season for the University of Dayton, he was among the nation's leaders in field-goal percentage when he died of cardiac arrhythmia on Feb. 8, 1996. At the time of his death, his brother, Antonio, was playing for Bowling Green.

Antonio Daniels, a 6-4 guard, also was a standout for DeSales and went on to have an extensive career in the NBA, playing for seven teams, including San Antonio and Washington, for parts of 13 seasons.

In addition to Sullinger, others who spent time playing for Ohio State were Davis, Watson and Wilbourne.

Johnson played for Dayton and spent parts of the last two seasons in the NBA.

•GIRLS -- Taylor Agler (Olentangy Orange, 2013), Bridget Andrews (Pickerington, 1994), Aimee Babb (Utica, 1997), Gwyneth Ballard (Pickerington, 1993), Ashleigh Brown (Delaware, 2006), Bridjette Brown (Beechcroft, 2004), Kahli Carter (Brookhaven, 1997), Susie Cassell (Pickerington, 1990), Michelle Chavanne (Grandview, 1993), Tanisha Cook (Northland, 1998), Ashley Dennis (Bexley, 2009), Raven Ferguson (Africentric, 2011), Amanda Hayes (Beechcroft, 1992), Lorenda Haynes (Wellington, 2003), Bree Hinkle (Bexley, 2006), Lisa Howard (Reynoldsburg, 1992), Gigi Jackson (Mifflin, 1992), Charlotta Jones (Independence, 1993), Ashley Lutz (Ready, 2006), Tanya McClure (Gahanna, 1997), Tyeasha Moss (Africentric, 2008), Crystal Murdaugh (Dublin Scioto, 2007), Tomika Patterson (Columbus South, 1994), Kristin Peoples (Brookhaven, 2003), Denise Pickenpaugh (Heath, 1992), Alyssa Rice (Reynoldsburg, 2014), Hannah Robertson (New Albany, 2010), K.B. Sharp (Bexley, 1999), Crystal Smith (Bexley, 1996), Ashlee Stevens (Beechcroft, 2003), Stephanie Stevens (Pickerington Central, 2006), Tamara Stocks (Pickerington, 1997), Amber Stokes (Gahanna, 2008), Asia Taylor (Whetstone, 2009), Mandy White (Hartley, 1997).

The list includes six players who were Super 12 captains as seniors in Ferguson, Murdaugh, Rice, Robertson, Stephanie Stevens and Stocks.

Also among the group of players are some of the greatest scorers to come through central Ohio, including Haynes, a 5-10 guard whose 2,222 career points rank her 21st all-time in scoring in Ohio, according to the OHSAA.

In its 11-year history, Africentric has produced a plethora of talented players, including Moss (1,555 career points) and Ferguson (1,739).

Ashleigh Brown, Lutz and Rice all graduated as their respective program's all-time leading scorer, with Rice, a 6-3 post player, also garnering a program-best 904 rebounds.

Hayes averaged more than 27 points as a junior and 25 as a senior in leading Beechcroft to back-to-back district titles.

Taylor, who had 1,439 career points and 1,027 career rebounds at Whetstone, concluded her college career at Louisville last season and was among the numerous players in the area to play for a major Division I college.

Jackson, McClure and Stokes all played for Ohio State and Ferguson, a 5-11 guard, is entering her senior season with the Buckeyes.

Stocks, a 6-2 post player who played for the University of Florida and spent one season in the WNBA, is one of four players on the honorable mention list who played for Pickerington in the 1990s.

The Tigers were state runners-up in Stocks' freshman season in 1994 and were a state semifinalist in both 1995 and '97.

Pickerington won the second of its six state championships in 1990 with Cassell leading the way. Ballard played for the Tigers when they won state titles in 1992 and '93, and Andrews was a key player on the '93 team.

Others listed who helped their team win a state title are Carter (1996) and Moss (2007).

Bexley won five district titles from 1995-2004, and three players on the list who were a part of that era for the Lions were Hinkle, Sharp and Smith.

Andrews, who began her high school career at Columbus East, is among the players on the list who starred for more than one program. Peoples and White started out at Westerville South before transferring to Brookhaven and Hartley, respectively, and Bridjette Brown helped Mifflin reach a state final in 2002 before transferring to Beechcroft.

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