ThisWeek's 2018-19 Super 12 Boys Basketball Team
By the time the Olentangy Liberty High School boys basketball team had its first official practice Nov. 2, it had been a little more than nine months since Ben Roderick's career took a difficult turn.
However, his affinity for the game - and his teammates - remained constant during the time he spent rehabbing a torn left ACL that ended his junior season prematurely.
"I just do the best things I can to help my team win at the end of the day," he said.
After developing into one of central Ohio's top wide receivers while helping the football team reach a Division I state semifinal in 2017, Roderick was averaging 24.2 points and had scored his 1,000th career point the same night the injury occurred Jan. 31, 2018.
The Patriots went on to lose their final seven games. Roderick had surgery a couple weeks after the injury and spent significant time working on leg strengthening.
The 6-foot-5 senior forward was back in form this winter, earning district Player of the Year and first-team all-state honors in Division I. He's also the first Liberty player to be named ThisWeek Super 12 captain.
Roderick received interest from numerous mid-major colleges and committed to Ohio University after the season.
He averaged 27.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and three assists this winter while shooting better than 50 percent from the floor, leading Liberty to its first state tournament.
The Patriots lost to Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary 58-49 in a semifinal to finish 24-5 overall. They won the OCC-Buckeye Division at 9-1.
Roderick is Liberty's all-time leading scorer with 1,817 career points. He scored a program-record 51 in an 84-60 victory over Johns Creek (Georgia) on Dec. 29.
"He really can probably shoot the ball every time he's on the court with (how well he) shoots, but he's bought into the team concept," coach Greg Nossaman said. "He (was) our leading rebounder, our leading scorer and one of our leading assist guys. He's going to be a big-time college player."
Other members of the first team are:
Allocco, a 6-3 junior guard, averaged 15.2 points and 5.2 assists for Hilliard Bradley, which won a third consecutive OCC-Cardinal title at 14-0 and finished 22-2 overall, losing to Thomas Worthington 46-41 in a Division I district semifinal.
Allocco was third-team all-state, first-team all-district and league Player of the Year. He shot 121-for-142 on free throws (85.2 percent) and 117-for-199 on field goals (58.8 percent) and has 959 career points.
"Matt led us in scoring and assists," said coach Brett Norris, whose team was seeded second in the district and has won 43 consecutive league games. "He also competes at a very high level and is a top-flight defender. He is both a leader and a winner."
After averaging 20 points while helping Harvest Prep reach a state semifinal a year ago, this 6-0 junior guard increased his scoring average to 25 points while earning Division III district and state Player of the Year honors this winter.
Anthony, who also averaged five rebounds and 3.5 assists, helped the Warriors beat Cleveland Heights Lutheran East 55-42 for the state title to finish 28-2.
Also a first-team all-district honoree last season, Anthony has more than 1,500 career points. Harvest Prep has gone 75-9 during his three seasons with the program.
"For him to be rewarded as (state) Player of the Year is big," coach David Dennis Sr. "To know we have the Player of the Year, we always have a chance."
With one more season still to go, this 6-5 Walnut Ridge forward already has scored 1,473 career points.
Davis was first-team all-state and all-district in Division I as a junior while averaging 27.3 points and 12 rebounds as the Scots reached a district semifinal and finished 19-5 overall.
Walnut Ridge battled all season for the City-South title before settling for a runner-up finish at 11-3.
In a 66-53 victory over Campbell County (Kentucky), Davis scored a program-record 46 points. He also had a 42-point performance in a 91-37 win over Columbus West.
"Von had one of the best statistical seasons in school history," coach Chuck Jefferson said. "(He was) one of the main reasons we went 19-5 this season."
This 6-3 senior guard averaged 19.6 points and 5.5 rebounds as Pickerington Central won its fourth consecutive Division I district title and tied Pickerington North for the OCC-Ohio title.
Central went 25-2 overall and 9-1 in the league, losing to Olentangy Liberty 66-58 in overtime in a regional semifinal.
Garcia was named OCC-Ohio Player of the Year, first-team all-district and second-team all-state.
"He's just a tremendous player and a tremendous kid that had a great season," coach Eric Krueger said. "He works his tail off. There are only good things to say about him. He will be missed."
Lane, a 5-8 senior guard, averaged 17.7 points and 3.8 assists for Olentangy Orange, which finished 17-8 after losing to Newark 64-53 in its first Division I district final since 2013.
Lane, who was special mention all-state, second-team all-district and first-team all-OCC-Buckeye, set the program record for points in a season with 442. He also shot 90.8 percent on free throws (99-for-109) and 42.0 percent on 3-pointers (37-for-88).
"Bryson has grown tremendously as a basketball player and a person over the last few years," coach Anthony Calo said. "He has worked very hard at improving his skills, but his maturity and ability to handle adversity in the moment may be what has elevated his game the most."
This 5-11 senior guard and Ohio Dominican recruit is Olentangy's all-time leading scorer (1,419 points) and the boys team's all-time leader in assists (253), 3-pointers (157), steals (109), free throws (374) and free-throw percentage (88.0).
Marks averaged 20.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.3 steals this season to earn first-team all-OCC-Buckeye and all-district and third-team all-state in Division I as the Braves went 14-10.
"He is not only an incredible worker on his own game, but commits time to our program by talking and working with our underclassmen as well as our youth programs," coach John Feasel said. "His all-in attitude has helped lay the foundation for success in our program."
Surrounded by few players with significant varsity experience, this 6-1 senior guard led Wellington to a 14-10 finish.
In his final game, Patrick scored 38 points as the Jaguars fell 77-73 to Columbus Academy in the second round of the Division III district tournament.
Patrick was first-team all-state and all-district. He averaged 25 points and scored more than 1,300 for his career.
"He shows up every single day with the same mind-frame, just a worker's attitude, and has been growing more and more with the different challenges," coach Artie Taylor said. "Now you see him having more conversations with guys even in our huddles. He tells a (teammate) to keep his head in it and to keep shooting. He's growing as a leader."
A first-team all-district and third-team all-state honoree in Division I, this 6-1 junior guard made the Super 12 for the second consecutive season.
Penn increased his scoring average from 16.3 last season to 19 this winter while leading Dublin Coffman to the district's No. 1 seed, the OCC-Central title and a 22-2 finish.
He also averaged three rebounds, 2.2 assists, two steals and shot 52 percent from the floor and 84 percent from the free-throw line. He has 1,261 career points.
"He was outstanding," coach Jamey Collins said. "His stroke this year was really something that's been impressive. He's really done a great job in trying to become a better point guard and his defense has been a big part of it."
The Division II district Player of the Year and a first-team all-state honoree, Safford averaged 24.8 points, eight rebounds and 2.5 assists while shooting 40 percent from 3-point range and 75 percent from the foul line.
A 6-4 wing player who averaged 13.5 points last season, he closed his prep career with more than 1,100 career points.
With Safford leading the way, Hartley overcame injuries to two key players to win a district title and finish 15-10.
"When Payton (Collins) went out, (Safford) really took on, 'Hey, I have to be the leader and take charge of this,'" coach Randy Kortokrax said. "You look at his scoring and his all-around play, it's pretty incredible. He's really stepped up to the challenge."
This 6-5 sophomore forward led Pickerington North to a share of the OCC-Ohio title and its second Division I district title in three seasons.
Sawyer averaged 21.8 points and 10.8 rebounds. The Panthers went 23-5, the most wins in their 16 seasons, and lost to Olentangy Liberty 64-58 in a regional final.
Sawyer, who was first-team all-district and all-league and second-team all-state, is an Ohio State football commit.
"He's done it all," coach Jason Bates said. "He took things on his shoulders, maybe more than anybody, to make sure this season was a success. We need him to pass, we need him to score (and) we need him to defend. He's just had a phenomenal season. He has attacked every opportunity."
The biggest constant for a Columbus South team that has become the City-South's top program has been this 6-0 senior guard, who was first-team all-district and third-team all-state in Division II.
Watkins had 17 points in a 50-44 victory over Watterson as the Bulldogs won their second consecutive district title. South lost to Trotwood-Madison 77-73 in the state final to finish 28-2.
For the third year in a row, Watkins averaged 13.5 points as he closed his career with more than 1,000 points. He also averaged 2.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists.
"He's shown good leadership, sharing the ball and not caring about his individual points as a senior," coach Ramon Spears said. "He just plays good basketball."Honorable mention
Luke Bartemes, Dublin Coffman (Sr., G); Brian Collier, Grandview (Jr., G); Kayin Derden, DeSales (Sr., F); Jacob Drees, Hilliard Davidson (Sr., F); N'Keeley Elmore, Northland (Sr., G); Ben Fort, Reynoldsburg (Sr., G); Kegan Hienton, Big Walnut (Jr., C); Jeremiah Keene, Westerville North (Sr., G); Terin Kinsway, Delaware (Sr., F); Max Martz, Upper Arlington (Sr., F); Jordan McMillian, Westerville South (Sr., G); D.J. Moore, Worthington Christian (Fr., G); Dorrian Moultrie, Columbus Academy (Sr., G); Nick Nakasian, Olentangy Liberty (Sr., G); Zach Sawyer, Watterson (Sr., G); Na'Elle Simmons, Beechcroft (Sr., F); Brady Snyder, Canal Winchester (Sr., G); Jalen Sullinger, Thomas Worthington (So., G).Past captains
Upper Arlington's Dane Goodwin (2018), Westerville South's Kaleb Wesson (2017), Northland's Seth Towns (2015-16), Trey Burke (2011) and Jared Sullinger (2009-10), Gahanna's Javon Bess (2014), Pickerington Central's Jae'Sean Tate (2013) and Caris LeVert (2012), Canal Winchester's B.J. Mullens (2008), Eastmoor Academy's Ron Steward (2007), Reynoldsburg's Javonte Clanton (2006), Brookhaven's Jamelle Cornley (2004-05) and Andrew Lavender (2003), Dublin Coffman's Chris Quinn (2002), Thomas Worthington's J.J. Sullinger (2001), Worthington Christian's Sam Smith (2000), Columbus West's Isaac Jefferson (1999), Brookhaven's Antwain Lavender (1998), Westland's Doug Davis (1996-97), Westerville North's Shaun Stonerook (1995) and Eastmoor's Lamont Barnes (1994)