All-Time ThisWeek Basketball Team

Sullinger, Turner named top players

Week 6: First Team

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Since the Associated Press began awarding Mr. Basketball and Ms. Basketball in 1988, only three central Ohio high school girls and three area boys have earned at least a share of those honors.

While that was an obvious place to start when putting together the "All-Time ThisWeek Basketball Team," it was just one of a number of factors taken into consideration.

What Northland's Jared Sullinger and Pickerington's LaToya Turner accomplished in addition to receiving the state's highest honor is what has earned them the distinction of being the greatest boys and girls players of the past 25 seasons.

Sullinger is a 2010 graduate who was Ohio Mr. Basketball as both a junior and senior and also earned the Naismith National Player of the Year honor in his final prep season.

Turner shared Ms. Basketball as a senior and was a two-time district Player of the Year.

Another thing they shared was the ability to lead their teams to victory.

In Sullinger's four seasons, Northland went 95-4 and won the 2009 Division I state championship.

Turner helped Pickerington reach a Division I state semifinal in 1997 and then led the Tigers to state titles in each of her final two prep seasons.

Joining Sullinger on the first team is 1997's Mr. Basketball, Kenny Gregory.

The only other player from central Ohio to earn Mr. Basketball was Northland's Trey Burke in 2011. Although he was a three-year starter and played in two state tournaments, edging him for a spot on the all-time first team because of their slightly better overall career accomplishments are Gary Trent, Chris Quinn and Andrew Lavender.

Both Lavender and Quinn were runners-up for Mr. Basketball as seniors in 2003 and 2002, respectively, behind Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary's LeBron James, the only three-time winner of the award.

The only other area girls to be named Ms. Basketball were Brittany Hunter in 2003 and Pickerington's Beth Ostendorf in 1995.

Hunter and Turner are joined on the first team by Helen Darling, Jessica Davenport and Marscilla Packer while Ostendorf, who played just two seasons for the Tigers, made the second team.

BOYS FIRST TEAM

•Kenny Gregory (Independence, 1997 graduation year) -- Central Ohio hasn't seen many swingmen as explosive offensively as the 6-foot-4 Gregory.

Gregory, who averaged 28 points, 7.8 rebounds and four assists as a junior and 24.2 points and seven rebounds while shooting 65 percent from the floor as a senior, led Independence to City League titles in 1995 and 1997 and to its only district title as a senior.

After playing in the McDonald's All-American Game, he played for Kansas and for several seasons in Europe.

"He was just a great natural talent," former 76ers coach Dave Feyh said. "Kenny was a person you could count on to bust out several times a game."

•Andrew Lavender (Brookhaven, 2003) -- Despite being just 5-6, Lavender rarely was overmatched while leading the Bearcats to a 97-11 record that included four district titles and three state tournament appearances.

Lavender, who averaged 11 assists while helping Brookhaven win the Division I state title as a junior, averaged 17 points and nine assists as a senior when he made the McDonald's All-American Game and was Division I state Player of the Year.

Lavender played collegiately at Oklahoma and Xavier.

"Drew was as quick as they come and an extremely talented passer," former Dublin Coffman coach Tony Bornhorst said. "He also could get on these hot streaks shooting."

•Chris Quinn (Dublin Coffman, 2002) -- A two-time all-state player who averaged 22 points, six assists and three steals as a senior, Quinn scored 1,628 career points.

Perhaps as impressively was that as a senior he committed just 32 turnovers while leading Coffman to its second consecutive Division I district title.

Quinn then played for Notre Dame and for seven seasons in the NBA.

"He made everyone around him better because he knew what to do and when to do it," Bornhorst said. "He had a really high basketball IQ, and one thing people don't realize is that he was one tough customer."

•Jared Sullinger (Northland, 2010) -- A four-year starter who had 1,910 career points and more than 1,200 rebounds, Sullinger was named co-MVP of the McDonald's All-American Game following a senior season in which he averaged 24.5 points and 11.7 rebounds.

He made third-team all-state as a sophomore, first-team all-state as a junior and was state Player of the Year as a senior.

Sullinger, who led Ohio State to the Final Four in 2012, recently completed his second season with the Boston Celtics.

"He controlled the things he could control, which was his attitude and effort," said his father and coach, Satch Sullinger. "He never lost a City League game, from middle school all the way through. That's kind of unheard of."

•Gary Trent (Hamilton Township, 1992) -- During a breakout junior season in which he led the Rangers to a Division II district title, the 6-8 Trent averaged 25.2 points, 13.8 rebounds and 5.7 blocks while shooting a staggering 75.7 percent from the floor.

He managed to top those numbers as a senior, averaging 32.4 points and 15.7 rebounds while shooting 81.2 percent to finish his prep career with 1,536 points.

Trent then starred for Ohio University, earning him a spot in the Mid-American Conference Hall of Fame in 2013, and spent nine seasons in the NBA.

"I just remember when he first came to Hamilton that he was an athlete, and he developed into a basketball player," Canal Winchester coach Kent Riggs said. "He was athletic, strong and jumped well."

GIRLS FIRST TEAM

•Helen Darling (Brookhaven, 1996) -- With this 5-8 point guard starting every game of her four-year prep career, the Bearcats went 93-6 with three district championships and won the 1996 Division I state title when they went 28-0.

Darling, who finished with more than 1,400 career points, averaged 16.1 points, 5.3 assists, eight steals and 9.5 rebounds as a senior.

She then went on to star for Penn State before playing 10 seasons in the WNBA.

"She was a coach on and off the floor," former Brookhaven coach Reggie Lee said. "She just commanded so much respect, which is why she was one of the top five players I've seen in the state of Ohio."

•Jessica Davenport (Independence, 2003) -- Blessed with a 6-5 frame, Davenport helped the 76ers to City League runner-up finishers in each of her final three prep seasons.

She averaged 15.5 points, 11.3 rebounds and 5.9 blocks as a junior, 17.3 points, 10.7 rebounds and five blocks as a senior and finished with 1,305 points and 458 blocks for her career. Davenport played in the McDonald's All-American Game before playing for Ohio State and for six seasons in the WNBA.

"She was just a person of great character," former Independence coach Bill Spencer said. "I always likened her to going from a caterpillar to a butterfly because she didn't start playing until seventh grade."

•Brittany Hunter (Brookhaven, 2003) -- The Ms. Basketball honor she received as a senior capped a career in which she developed into one of the nation's top recruits.

After averaging 16.7 points as a sophomore, the 6-3 Hunter averaged 20 points and 14 rebounds as Brookhaven won the City and lost in a regional final her junior year. She then averaged 23 points and 14 rebounds as a senior as the Bearcats won the City and made a state semifinal.

Hunter went on to play for Duke and Connecticut.

"She was the national Player of the Year and a Parade Magazine All-American," Lee said.

•Marscilla Packer (Pickerington North, 2004) -- Packer became just the third girl who played her entire career in the Central District to score more than 2,000 points.

She was a state Player of the Year as a senior when she averaged 21.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.5 steals and shot 44 from 3-point range and 82 percent from the free-throw line.

After leading Pickerington to district titles in each of her first three seasons, she helped Pickerington North earn a regional runner-up finish in its first season before playing for Ohio State and in Europe.

"Marscilla is one of the best shooters I have ever seen, boy or girl," North coach Dave Butcher said. "She also had really great range and strength for a guard."

•LaToya Turner (Pickerington, 1999) -- No team in the state was more dominant in the 1990s in Division I than Pickerington, and the 6-4 Turner did her share to keep the Tigers at the top after transferring from Columbus West for her sophomore season.

Turner averaged 22.3 points and 14 rebounds as a junior when Pickerington won its fourth state title of the decade. She then averaged 20.2 points, 10.6 rebounds, four blocks and four steals when the Tigers defended the title while also being named USA Today national champions in 1999.

Turner went on to play for Ohio State, although her career was marred by injuries, and later played in Europe.

"LaToya not only had great size but ran the floor exceptionally well," Butcher said. "(She) had great touch around the key, including an uncanny ability to use the board."

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