A Farewell to Central Ohio’s 2015 Class
— Zach Fleer
With graduation ceremonies wrapping up all over Central Ohio this past weekend, it’s time to say farewell to the area’s top basketball players who are headed to the college ranks. Starting my career when these student-athletes were sophomores, it has been a pleasure to see them mature, grow and improve over the last three years. Let’s take a look at where each graduating senior is headed.
Khalil Iverson (6’5 SF / Delaware Hayes) — Wisconsin
Following an amazing career at Delaware Hayes in which Iverson was a four-year letterman, the bouncy 6-foot-5 wing will be making his way to Wisconsin. Going to a program that has went to back-to-back Final Fours, Iverson’s development and enormous potential is in great hands.
Doug Taylor (6’9 C / Northland) — Ohio
Despite missing most of his senior year due to a knee injury suffered in December, Taylor still found a way to be productive for Northland this season, leading in many ways as the Vikings advanced to the regional final. Taylor is headed to Ohio University, where he is looking to make a major impact.
Jordan Dartis (6’3 SG / Newark) — Ohio
Newark’s all-time leading scorer, Dartis is certainly going to be missed in the high school game in Central Ohio. A prolific shooter that willed Newark to a district title this season, Dartis joins Taylor at Ohio, where the duo look to make a splash similar to the one they made as teammates for All-Ohio Red last year.
Kovien Dominaus (6’7 SF / Independence) — Richmond
No player in Ohio came farther than Independence’s Dominaus, who went from an unknown commodity prior to this season, to the final piece of Richmond’s 2015 class. A long 6-foot-7 sharp-shooting wing, Dominaus’ ceiling is high as anyone in Central Ohio’s senior class.
Alonzo Campbell (6’10 C / Gahanna Lincoln) — Stony Brook
While Campbell never started a varsity game in his Gahanna career, the nimble 6-foot-10 big man is headed to a strong Stony Brook program. With an ability to shoot the ball better than any center in Central Ohio’s senior class, Campbell has recovered greatly from a devastating ankle injury suffered prior to his senior season.
Ulmer Manzie (6’8 C / Africentric) — Bethune Cookman
A major piece to an Africentric program that won a lot games over the last four seasons, Manzie is headed to Daytona Beach to play his college ball at Bethune Cookman. With great feet and an athletic body, Manzie is looking to contribute early on for BCU.
Tony Anderson (6’8 PF / Groveport Madison) — Southeast Missouri State
Returning to Central Ohio after a season at prestigious Oak Hill Academy, Anderson helped Groveport advance to the district semifinals, while also leading the Cruisers to two big wins over Pickerington Central in the regular season. Originally committing and de-committing from Toledo, Anderson found the right fit for him at SEMO.
David Dennis (6’2 PG / Harvest Prep) — West Liberty
In his two years at Harvest Prep, Dennis led the Warriors to regional titles in both seasons. Named Ohio’s Division IV Player of the Year as a senior, Dennis is heading to a West Liberty program that is expected to be one of the nation’s elite in 2015–16.
Nick Bapst (6’3 SG / Grove City) — Ashland
Lighting up the OCC-Ohio for the past two seasons, the high-scoring Bapst is headed to one of Ohio’s better Division II programs in Ashland. After a senior season in which Bapst averaged nearly 25 points per game, the 6-foot-3 guard is looking to make an immediate impact at AU.
Hasan Varence (6’7 PF / Linden-McKinley) — Ohio Dominican
One of Columbus’ front court hidden gems, the athletic 6-foot-7 Varence is headed to nearby Ohio Dominican. Helping Linden make great strides as a program over the last two seasons, Varence is poised for a successful college career.
Mike Simon (6’6 PF / Hilliard Davidson) — Ohio Dominican
Joining Varence at Ohio Dominican is the post-savvy Simon of Hilliard Davidson. One of Central Ohio’s better scorers on the block, Simon is the type of player that every college program could benefit from.
Jordan Clark (5’11 PG / Harvest Prep) — Walsh
While only playing one season at Harvest Prep, Clark left a lasting legacy in helping lead the Warriors to the Division IV state championship game. An underrated guard in Central Ohio’s senior class, Clark is heading to in-state Walsh.
Austin Schaub (6’1 PG / New Albany) — Tiffin
Making a major rise during the AAU season in 2014, Schaub was one of Central Ohio’s top point guards as a senior. A terrific three-point shooter that can really handle the ball, Schaub is headed to in-state Tiffin where he looks to make an impact.
Chris London (6’5 SF / New Albany) — Tiffin
A high-rising athlete with bounce for days, London is joining his high school teammate Schaub at Tiffin. While London may not have filled the stat sheet for New Albany, his impact on the Eagles was unmistakable over the last two seasons.
Tommy Bolte (6’1 PG / Chillicothe) — Concord
The best player in Ross County for the last two years, Bolte is headed to Concord University in West Virginia. An athletic lead guard that can score on all three levels, Bolte led Chillicothe to the district semifinals as a senior, while leading the Cavaliers in both points and assists.
Malik Bocook (6’4 SF / Zanesville) — Alderson-Broaddus
One of Ohio’s best athletes, Bocook is headed to Alderson-Broaddus in West Virginia. Always a threat to score and rebound around the basket, Bocook was a major reason for a successful two-year run for Zanesville.
Chris Godfrey (6’4 SF / Mount Gilead) — Alderson-Broaddus
Leading Mount Gilead to a very successful regular season as a senior, the talented wing forward Godfrey is joining Bocook at Alderson-Broaddus. One of Central Ohio’s more underrated forwards, Godfrey is looking to make his name at the collegiate level.
Kevin Fisher (6’8 C / Logan) — Urbana
Putting together a monster senior season in which Fisher averaged more than 20 points and 10 rebounds per game, the 6-foot-8 big man is heading to Urbana to join a talented incoming class for coach Rob Summers’ program. A native of Groveport, Fisher graduated from Groveport-Madison High School after leaving Logan following the high school season.
Lloyd Chatman (5’9 PG / Reynoldsburg) — Urbana
One of the top shooters in the OCC-Ohio, Chatman joins Fisher in Urbana’s 2015 class. A scoring guard that can play either position in the backcourt, Chatman had several memorable performances in a Reynoldsburg uniform over the last few years.
Kyle Freytag (6’7 C / Worthington Christian) — Ohio Valley
Transferring to Worthington Christian for his senior season, Freytag is headed to Ohio Valley University for his college career. A rather large post at 6-foot-7, Freytag produced for Worthington Christian in just a half season.
Devon Peart (6’1 SG / Reynoldsburg) — Davis & Elkins
Chatman’s backcourt mate at Reynoldsburg, the tough-nosed Peart is headed to Davis & Elkins College located in West Virginia. While Reynoldsburg didn’t have the strongest season in 2014–15, Peart had arguably the Raiders’ highlight play of the year by hitting a deep buzzer-beating three to defeat Pickerington Central on the road.
Caleb Mitchell (6’8 C / Bellefontaine) — Urbana
The wide-bodied 6-foot-8 Mitchell is headed to nearby Urbana after helping lead Bellefontaine to a district title as a senior. With good size and decent athleticism, Mitchell is hoping to contribute in leading the Urbana program to new heights.
Mel Shuler (6’0 PG / Tree of Life) — Marietta
While Shuler flied completely under the radar in Central Ohio, the lightning bolt of a 6-foot guard is headed to Division III power Marietta. A high-energy and high-scoring guard that lit it up at Tree of Life, Shuler is looking to make an impact early on at Marietta.
Will Patrick (5’11 PG / Pickerington Central) — Wilmington
While Patrick may have not had a whole lot of opportunities to score on a talent and guard-loaded Pickerington Central squad, the 5-foot-11 senior made the most of his opportunities whenever on the floor. A talented three-point shooter that is hard to stop in the open floor, Patrick is one of severl members of a talented incoming freshman class for Wilmington.
Brandon Allen (6’1 PG / North Union) — Wilmington
The pride of Richwood, the talented Allen is headed to Wilmington after scoring at a high level as a senior. A talented scorer that had several big games for North Union this season, Allen is looking to have a strong college career.
Reece Dupler (6’2 SG / Lakewood) — Wooster
An absolute steal at the Division III level, the high-scoring Dupler is a tremendous get for Wooster. Playing big-time AAU ball alongside Kansas signee Carlton Bragg for the last two summers, Dupler completed a successful career at Lakewood, located 40 miles east of Columbus.
Dana Coffman (6’0 SG / Harvest Prep) — Muskingum
A vital member of back-to-back regional titles for Harvest Prep, the athletic Coffman is headed to Muskingum. With great athleticism and scoring ability, Coffman is a great get for the Muskies’ program.
Austin Armwood (6’1 PG / Westerville North) — Westminster
A talented lead guard that leaves a big imprint on the Westerville North program, Armwood is headed to Westminster, located in Pennsylvania. Learning under Davidson point guard Jack Gibbs in his first two years in a Warrior uniform, Armwood is more than ready for the college game.
Alex Sparks (6’0 PG / New Albany) — Case Western Reserve
A talented three-point shooter that really made big strides as a senior, Sparks is heading to Case Western Reserve as part of a talented incoming freshman class. Leading New Albany to the district semifinals, Sparks and Schaub formed for one of the OCC’s top-scoring backcourt duos.
Jenisys Battle (6’2 PG / Gahanna Lincoln) — Baldwin-Wallace
A big-time performer both on the hardwood and on the gridiron, Battle is headed to in-state Baldwin-Wallace to play both basketball and football. A natural born leader that isn’t scared of anything, Battle is looking to produce in both sports as a freshman.
Joe Thomas (6’5 PF / Centennial) — Capital
One of the more unheralded studs in Central Ohio, Thomas is heading to nearby Capital after dominating as a senior. A skilled forward with lots of toughness, Thomas is a vital part to a talented incoming class for Capital.
Michael McGovern (6’5 PF / Upper Arlington) — Case Western Reserve
The lone starter in the 2015 class from Upper Arlington’s state runner-up team in 2014, McGovern is headed to Case Western Reserve after missing a lot of time due to injury as a senior. A strong and skilled 6-foot-5 post, McGovern is the only member of Upper Arlington’s senior class that will be playing basketball in college.
Jordan Hecker (6’3 SF / Delaware Hayes) — Wilmington
An athletic wing with upside, Hecker is headed to Wilmington as part of a talented incoming class. Showing flashes of his upside as a senior, Hecker has a lot of room to grow in college.
Brad Smith (6’0 PG / Olentangy Liberty) — Case Western Reserve
A high-academic lead guard, Smith is headed to Case Western Reserve. One of Olentangy Liberty’s top scorers as a senior, Smith is looking to transition his high-efficient play to the college ranks.
Tristin Tillman (6’0 PG / Bellefontaine) — Marietta
A vital piece to a Bellefontaine senior class that advanced to the regional semifinals, Tillman is heading to Division III powerhouse Marietta. A skilled lead guard that can score, Tillman is looking to contribute early on at Marietta.
Isaac Townsend (6’0 PG / East) — Rio Grande
In just one season of varsity basketball, Townsend was the top breakout player in the Columbus City League North, helping lead East to a district runner-up finish. After spending three years at Walnut Ridge, Townsend found a comfortable home at East for his senior year. Townsend is looking to make an impact at Rio Grande at both guard positions.
Brendan Snyder (6’2 PG / Canal Winchester) — Rio Grande
One of the OCC’s most prolific shooters, Snyder is headed to Rio Grande where he is looking to contribute early on. A terrific jump shooter from anywhere on the floor, Snyder was a big reason for a successful season for Canal Winchester.
Jackson Murphy (6’5 PF / Hilliard Bradley) — Indiana Wesleyan
A major reason for why Hilliard Bradley had its best season in history in 2014–15, the post-scoring Murphy is heading to NAIA power Indiana Wesleyan. A hard-nosed and gritty performer, Murphy left a lasting legacy on Bradley basketball.
Rodney Culver (6’5 SG / Pickerington Central) — Elev8 Sports Institute
With a ton of upside on the wing, the youthful Culver is headed to Elev8 Sports Institute located in Delray Beach, Florida. Young for the 2015 class, Culver has a chance to develop into a really solid Division I prospect with a year of postgrad work.
Shawon Wilson (6’1 PG / Africentric) — Hillcrest Prep Academy
One of three Central Ohio players headed to Hillcrest Prep Academy in Arizona, Wilson is looking to improve his stock with a year of postgrad. A lead guard with perimeter shooting ability, Wilson helped lead Africentric to the regional finals as a senior.
Xavier Holston-Sims (6’0 PG / Eastmoor) — Hillcrest Prep Academy
A lockdown perimeter defender at the point guard position, Eastmoor’s Holston-Sims is headed to Arizona for a year at Hillcrest Prep. An athletic lead guard that with great bounce, Holston-Sims is hoping to boost his stock on the West Coast. Holston-Sims played a major role in helping lead Eastmoor to its first-ever state final four as a senior.
Coy Van Tilburg (6’2 SG / Galion) — Hillcrest Prep Academy
A talented guard that often went under the radar playing at rural Galion, Van Tilburg has a chance to change that in Arizona for postgrad. With an ability to score on multiple levels, Van Tilburg is hoping to see a rise in recruitment at Hillcrest Prep, the defending Arizona state champions.
Seth McCoy (6’2 SG / Canal Winchester) — Hargrave Military Academy
Heading back to Canal Winchester for his senior year after a stint at Northland, McCoy had a big season which led to his commitment to Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia. A talented three-point specialist with great work ethic, McCoy is looking to boost his stock with a year of postgrad.
Shad Kimble (6’3 SG / Mifflin) — Wabash Valley CC
A key piece to Brookhaven’s Columbus City League champion squad as a junior, Kimble made his way to Mifflin as a senior where he was one of the area’s top performers. A bouncy guard with an ability to score from anywhere, Kimble is headed to a strong Division I junior college in Wabash Valley, which is located just north of Indianapolis.
Drew Mellen (6’6 C / Marysville) — Lakeland CC
One of the better big men in the OCC-Central, the massive Mellen is headed to Division II junior college Lakeland in Northeast Ohio. Mellen is looking to improve over the next two seasons in a strong program at Lakeland.
Jaylyn Watkins (6’1 PG/SG / Walnut Ridge) — Hocking College
A member of Hocking’s inaugural recruiting class, the athletic Watkins is looking to become a player that the newly-developed basketball program can build around. While academic struggles plagued his first three years at Walnut Ridge, Watkins turned it around as a senior and was a vital member to a Scots team that made its first state final four in more than 40 years.
Rael Windley (6’4 SF / Harvest Prep) — Ohio Christian
The bouncy Windley is headed to Ohio Christian after helping lead Harvest Prep to two-consecutive regional titles. With one of Central Ohio’s highest motors, Windley is a great pickup for OCU.
Carmearl Thomas (6’7 C / Groveport Madison) — Ohio Christian
Coming a long way in regards to his development, the big-bodied Thomas is headed to NCCAA power Ohio Christian. With soft hands and a soft touch around the basket, Thomas should be an instant contributor for OCU as a freshman.
A Look Back
These were the top ten most-winningiest programs from 2011–15
- Northland — 93–13, three district titles (2013, 14, 15), one regional title (2013)
- Bishop Watterson — 83–21, two district titles (2013, 14), two regional titles (2013, 14), one state title (2013), one state runner-up (2014)
- Gahanna — 81–20, one district title (2013)
- Newark Catholic — 79–24
- Africentric — 79–25, three district titles (2012, 14, 15), one regional title (2012)
- Westerville South — 77–21, one district title (2015), one regional title (2015), one state runner-up (2015)
- Newark — 77–24, one district title (2015)
- Pickerington Central — 77–27, three district titles (2012, 13, 14), one regional title (2012), one state title (2012)
- Walnut Ridge — 75–22, one district title (2015), one regional title (2015)
- Dublin Coffman — 71–22, one district title (2014)