’19 Best Available

1 Oct

Andre Gordon

This year’s fall signing period, where prospects can sign National Letters of Intent with NCAA D1 programs is scheduled for November 14-21; and, as of October 1st, we’ve already seen 18 prospects from Ohio’s senior class of 2019 make verbal commitments to NCAA D1 programs (with around the same number also having committed to NCAA D2 programs). Excluding those committed prospects, who are the best players from the Buckeye State whom college coaches are targeting as the fall signing period approaches? Below is our list of the ten prospects being most heavily recruited right now, plus some sleepers to watch for. Note that in this article we are listing prospects that are true 2019 high school seniors, meaning we are not including reclassified prep prospects who were 2018 seniors.

Andre Gordon – PG/SG Huntington Prep (WV): The name being mentioned most frequently to us by NCAA D1 schools, both at the mid and high-major levels, Gordon left Sidney (OH) to head to Huntington Prep for his final high school go-around, and so far that, along with a strong circuit season with C2K Elite, has paid dividends in his recruiting stock. An elite level athlete (perhaps the most bouncy prospect in Ohio’s 2019 class), Gordon has evolved as both a scorer and a true lead guard, causing college coaches to like him more as an all-around basketball player and not just an elite athlete. Having given up football to focus on hoops, we’re excited to see how many minutes Gordon can earn at Huntington Prep, and the potential offers that could come with excelling in those minutes. Gordon’s current offer list includes Boston College, SMU, DePaul, Loyola-Chicago, Dayton; and, per Huntington Prep coach Arkell Bruce, more and more high-major schools are jumping into the mix almost daily.

Ben Roderick – SG/SF Olentangy Liberty: Roderick was putting together a huge junior season before an injury derailed not only the remainder of the season, but also his entire AAU season. Due to that injury, Roderick’s recruitment is very tough to project. On one hand, high-major NCAA D1 schools were raving about him pre-injury, and have had good things to say about him in fall workouts; however, on the other hand, missing those months allowed for some other prospects to get more exposure and thus could mean that Roderick ends up being the top signee on a quality mid-major team. Regardless of where he ends up, Roderick has a college ready body with a mature and skilled floor game that should allow for him to be an impact player. Potentially a top-five prospect in Ohio’s 2019 class, we expect for Roderick to wait out the process, put up big scoring numbers this winter, and have multiple scholarship offers to choose from heading into the spring signing period. As of today, Roderick’s known offer list consists of Ohio, Akron, UT-Martin and Stony Brook.

Jordan Mitchell – SF Montverde Academy (FL): An honoree member of Ohio’s 2019 class, even though he decided to spend his last two years of high school hoops at the prestigious Montverde program in Florida, there are few players anywhere in the country as talented as Mitchell. A 6’7 do-it-all wing with unlimited offensive potential and fluid athleticism for his size, Mitchell didn’t stand out in limited minutes at Montverde this year; but, if he gets on the floor more this year, his deft combination of skill and size will quickly catch the eye of high-major college coaches. With all of Mitchell’s high-major offers having come a full two years ago, we’re not really sure where his recruitment stands at the moment, but his talent level definitely warrants one of the top spots on this list.

Greg Tribble – PG/SG Cincinnati Winton Woods: Having taken a similar trajectory to Gordon as a hyper-athletic scoring point guard, Tribble’s future is somewhat of an enigma. Both mid and high-major NCAA D1 schools tracked him in April and July, with Stony Brook, NKU, Ball State, Kent State, Toledo, Youngstown State and Morehead State being among those who have offered. As he is very young for his graduating class, don’t be surprised if Tribble considers the prep school route for another year of development; however, if he remains in the 2019 class then we expect these in-region mid-majors schools to turn up the heat on his recruitment.

Tanner Holden – SF Wheelersburg: A two sport athlete also putting up impressive stats on the football field, Holden is easy to forget about among Ohio’s top hoopers due to the remoteness of his high school. However, we’d hate to sleep on the 6’5 wing from Southeastern Ohio, as Holden is one of the most versatile role players you’ll find on the circuit. The prototypical “glue guy” Holden is coveted by multiple mid-major programs, including Wright State, Marshall, Akron, Toledo, Cleveland State and Winthrop, all of whom have offered scholarships.

Devon Grant – PG/SG Lorain: Tough and skilled floor generals such as Grant are hard to come by, and, while he isn’t the flashiest athlete on this list, Grant is near the top of the recruiting board for every mid-major school in the region still searching for a point guard. Already with offers from Bowling Green and Kent State, we’re expecting to see Grant end up in the MAC, although his list of schools could grow with the exposure that will come to Lorain this season, as Grant will lead one of Ohio’s most talented high school basketball teams. An injury limited him some in AAU, but, when healthy, Grant has the toughness and offensive playmaking ability to continue to impress college coaches.

Abba Lawal – C Cincinnati Withrow: Standing at 6’11, Lawal, a Nigerian native entering his fifth year in the USA, has true collegiate size in the lane, but, also has the ability to run the open floor like a deer (rare for someone with his size). While Lawal still lacks bulk, and his basketball game is somewhat raw considering his late introduction to the sport, several mid-major schools have extended scholarship offers. Cincinnati Withrow HS has been a busy spot this fall with college coaches, and will continue to be heading into the winter, as Cleveland State, Akron, Stony Brook, Miami (OH) and Toledo have offered scholarships.

Brison Waller – PF Cleveland Garfield Heights: While Waller still has a ways to go with his development, there are few players more physically talented then the Garfield Heights power forward, as Waller possesses elite athleticism at 6’8. While his name was hot within recruiting circles earlier in his career, some schools are still waiting for Waller to put all the pieces together on the basketball court. Being recruited primarily at the mid-major level, Waller will end up signing with an NCAA D1 school; as he might be the Ohio senior who is most closely watched this winter by college coaches.

Morgan Safford – SG Columbus Bishop Hartley: A skilled and polished scoring wing at 6’3, Safford holds NCAA D2 offers and is being evaluated by NCAA D1 schools as well, primarily due to his ability to score the ball from the perimeter. After a strong July with Nova Village-James, Safford is without a doubt one of the best wing guards in Ohio available, especially with similar scorers like Josh Corbin (Gahanna Lincoln) and Samari Curtis (Xenia) already committed. If he continues to put up big high school scoring numbers, expect for Safford’s list of offers to grow.

Ben Fort – SG/SF Reynoldsburg: A long and intriguing wing athlete with the ability to score the ball, Fort’s size, athleticism and versatility have caught the eye of a lot of colleges, after his play on the Adidas circuit with EG10. While IUPUI is the only NCAA D1 school to have offered a scholarship to Fort, several others are considering following suit, as Fort has late-bloomer potential which could make him a steal in this class looking back a few years down the road.

Honorable Mention: Jeremiah Keene (PG Westerville North), Milton Gage (PG Dayton Chaminade Julienne), Alex Dotson (PG Cincinnati Purcell Marian), DJ Dial (PG Cleveland Brush), Bash Wieland (SF Lakota East), Taevon Pierre-Louis (SF Lorain), Ibrahima Athie (SF Cincinnati Deer Park), Derek Van Lerah (SF Dublin Coffman), Mike Hill (SF Cincinnati Withrow), Brice Hill (SF Cincinnati Seven Hills), Alec Pfriem (SF Cincinnati Moeller), Sam Towns (SF Pickerington Central), AJ Garrett (PF Cincinnati Purcell Marian), Na’elle Simmons (C Columbus Beechcroft), Noah Pack (C Georgetown), Keshawn Heard (C Newark), Coleton Landis (C Pickerington Central)

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