Just seven days before the All-Ohio Nike City Series kicks off with a battle of the state's top six cities, Ohio State commit Jae'Sean Tate was one of several top performers from the Columbus region qualifier. With a handful of Division-I prospects in the house, let's take a look at who solidified their spot among the city's best.
Jae'Sean Tate (6'4 SF, Pickerington Central / 2014):
The star of the last several All-Ohio sponsored events, Tate did not disappoint in the Columbus regional. Dominant on the block, Tate established authority in the paint over the weekend. While the Buckeye commit has struggled with his perimeter shooting, Tate's finishing ability around the rim has not suffered. Tate's highlight play came on Sunday when the forward lobbed an alley-oop to himself for a two-handed jam on the fastbreak. The Pickerington Central senior will lead a Columbus regional team featuring Gahanna combo-guard Javon Bess, who committed to Michigan State on Monday.
Jordan Dartis (6'2 SG, Newark / 2015):
Getting my first look at Dartis since the AAU circuit, I came away thoroughly impressed with the Newark shooting guard. Glowing with confidence, Dartis was a scoring machine over the weekend, stroking the ball from the perimeter, while also finding success on the drive. Dartis is a very skilled guard that adjusts well to contact, and never seems to lose faith in his jump shot, even when it is not falling, which doesn't happen very often anyways. With offers from Cleveland State, Kennesaw State, Ohio and Toledo, Dartis is also receiving interest from Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Wisconsin. One of the area's top guards, look for Dartis to have a huge junior season in the Ohio Capital Conference.
Seth Towns (6'8 SF, Columbus Northland / 2016):
Towns, one of Ohio State's top targets for the 2016 class, had another impressive performance leading up to a sophomore season with state championship implications. The 6'8 forward was extremely active on the defensive end, showing more lateral quickness and vertical leaping ability. Towns has become a master of the step-back jump shot, hitting with consistency from the right wing. After hitting big shot after big shot in the postseason a year ago, Towns is primed to become of the nation's top forwards.
Khalil Iverson (6'4 PF, Delaware Hayes / 2015):
If I had to give out an award for the player with the most tenacity around the rim, Delaware Hayes' Iverson would be one of the top candidates. After being one of the area's top rebounders a year ago, Iverson was one of the best post players in action on Sunday. Efficient around the basket, Iverson is a great leaper that can adjust to contact, in addition to being able to hit the outside shot. Look for Iverson and 6'8 senior Alex Stevens to lead the Pacers this season.
Jeremiah Francis (6' SG, Berwick MS / 2019):
One of the top 7th-graders in America, Francis was an absolute beast on Sunday. At 6', Francis is a big guard for his age, and has a skill set that is well beyond his years. Son of former Ohio State standout Jerry Francis, Jeremiah showed flashes of his father's game, excelling around the rim and finishing with contact for scores. Francis also lit it up from the perimeter, shooting best from the right wing. As the elder Francis is head coach at Pickerington Central, look for Jeremiah to develop into one of the state's best players as he hits the high school hardwood.
Lavoris Brown (6'2 SF, Columbus Eastmoor Academy / 2015):
One of the few players I had not seen at all before Sunday, Eastmoor's Brown left me confused as to how he is not more well-known. Built like a brickhouse at 6'2, Brown was an absolute bully in the paint, rebounding the ball at a high level and scoring despite contact. The junior has a game similar to Iverson, and should be one of the City-League South's top juniors this season. Look for a talented junior class at Eastmoor to cause damage in a division that may be more balanced that what many are expecting.
Dez'Juan Wright (6'1 SG, Gahanna Lincoln / 2015):
If there was one word to describe Wright, it would certainly be "electric." The 6'1 junior was one of the more athletic guards in attendance on Sunday, wrecking havoc in transition with his finishing ability. In addition to his work around the rim, Wright was also effective from behind-the-arc, hitting the three with consistency. With Michigan State commit Javon Bess and Wisconsin target Matt Moyer receiving all the attention at Gahanna as of late, do not sleep on Wright in 2013-'14.
Will Maynus (6'4 SF, Westerville Central / 2016):
In a 2016 class loaded with versatile forwards, Maynus is a player that should receive Division-I interest in the years to come. With good size at 6'4, Maynus is a good shooter with athleticism and a college-ready build. Paired with Duquesne commit Eric James, Maynus and the Warhawks should be one of the most athletic teams in the OCC this upcoming season. Look for the sophomore to pick up interest as his intriguing combination of size, skill and athleticism is built for the college game.
Andre Wesson (6'6 SF, Westerville South / 2016):
Another talented forward in the 2016 class, Wesson was again impressive inside the Reynoldsburg Summit Campus gym. Wesson is a skilled 6'6 post player with good footwork and a soft touch around the rim. The sophomore is very active on the glass, and has a knack for being at the right place at the right time. Training under his AAU coach, Lamar Thornton, Wesson has improved his overall skill set and looks to be one of Central Ohio's top players in the class of 2016.
Corey Baker (5'9 PG, Groveport MS / 2018):
Seeing Baker for the first time a few weeks ago at a Groveport open gym, I am confident that Baker will develop into one of the state's top point guards. At 5'9, Baker has decent size for his position, but it is the guard's control of the offense and ability to adjust to pressure that is most impressive. Baker is a guard that can score the ball at will, but is efficiently aggressive. Rarely turning the ball over, Baker consistently makes the correct play, and shows maturity at the point guard position that should warrant great success at the high school level.
Other Notable Performers
Nick Ward (6'7 C, Gahanna Lincoln / 2016)
Jaquan Harrison (6'3 SF, Columbus Africentric / 2015)
Jelani Rogers (5'10 PG, Westerville South / 2016)
Shawon Wilson (6'2 PG, Columbus Africentric / 2015)
Xavier Holston-Sims (5'10 SG, Columbus Eastmoor Academy / 2015)
Alex Sparks (6'1 SG, New Albany / 2015)
Babe Murphy (6'5 SF, Licking Heights / 2014)
Chris Byrd (6'1 SG, Columbus South / 2014)
Eric James (6'6 SF, Westerville Central / 2014)
Tarik Wright (6'4 SF, Columbus Walnut Ridge / 2016)
Ibi Watson (6'4 SF, Athens / 2016)
Isaiah Napper (6'1 SG, Central Crossing / 2015)