In another exciting week of basketball that included some memorable performances, unlikely upsets, and a grand showcase of talent in Ohio, it's time to take a look at some of the top performers in the state. Buckle your seat belts because this crop of talent is one of the best yet.
Top Performers from Week Three
Luke Kennard (6'5 SG / Franklin / 2015):
Smashing nearly every scoring record in Franklin's program history, Kennard is off to a red-hot start to his junior season. Averaging just over 40 points per game, Kennard exploded for a 30-point game, two 40-point games and a 51-point game this past week, each resulting in wins. One of the top combo-guards in the country, Kennard is making an early case for Ohio's Mr. Basketball. Receiving interest from nearly every top program in the nation, the junior's stock should continue to rise as the season goes on. Currently ranked No. 24 in ESPN's class of 2015 rankings, look for Kennard to move up a few spots as he continues a historic season.
Esa Ahmad (6'7 PF / Shaker Heights / 2015):
Another one of Ohio's top juniors, Ahmad is off to an incredible start to the season. Through three games, the 6'7 combo-forward is averaging just over 29 points per game, in addition to his magnificent work on the glass. In just three quarters of action in Saturday's 86-58 victory vs. Cleveland Benedictine, Ahmad posted 29 points, six rebounds, eight blocks and five assists. Two of Ahmad's greatest assets are his consistency and versatility, which have been put on full display thus far in his junior season. Holding offers from Charlotte, Clemson, Dayton, Miami (FL), Rutgers, West Virginia, Wright State and Xavier, look for Ahmad to start picking up more high-major interest as his production continues to increase.
Craig Randall (6'2 PG / Medina / 2015):
Playing with a purpose in his first season at Medina, the junior point guard Randall has proven early on to be one of the area's top players. In a statement victory vs. Garfield Heights on Thursday, Randall exploded for 27 points to snatch the win from Dave Bell and the Bulldogs. Spending his first two seasons at Girard High School near Youngstown, Randall transferred to Medina in the offseason to play with highly-touted sophomore center Jon Teske. Sitting at 5-1 through Medina's first six games, Randall, who averaged 25 points per game at Girard as a sophomore, has made a major difference in his team's success. Look for Medina to really be tested in the month of January, as games vs. Warrensville Heights, Shaker Heights, Mentor and a rematch at Garfield Heights await.
Nick Detlev (7'2 C / Cleveland Andrews Osborne Academy / 2014):
Leading all of the Cleveland area in points and rebounds, the massive Detlev had a monster third week of his senior season. Leading Andrews Osborne Academy to a 7-0 record, Detlev had arguably his best set of consecutive games this past week. Scoring 37 points and pulling down 25 rebounds in a 94-37 win vs. Hearts for Jesus on Thursday, Detlev followed that up with 28 points and 10 rebounds the following night vs. New Day Academy. Relatively unknown on a statewide level, Detlev has put up amazing numbers in a senior season that should spell more success for the Andrews Osborne Academy. Check out some of Detlev's highlights from his junior season here.
Jordan Dartis (6'3 SG / Newark / 2015):
Leading Newark to consecutive league wins this past week, Dartis was arguably the area's top performer. Averaging 21 points in wins vs. Pickerington North and Gahanna, the area's top ranked team, Dartis gave opposing defenders fits with his all-around scoring ability. Deadly from the perimeter, Dartis also has a quick first step, and adjusts well to contact when entering the lane for scores. Matched up with Michigan State commit Javon Bess for a large part of the first half in Friday's game vs. Gahanna, Dartis led Newark into the break with a game-high 20 points, while the rest of his team struggled to find a rhythm. Receiving interest from several Division-I programs in the region, Dartis' only listed offer is from Kennessaw State. Taking over the reigns as Newark's offensive leader, look for Dartis' recruitment to continue to rise.
Ty Hairston (6'2 SG / Columbus Northland / 2014):
On a loaded Northland roster complete with scorers, Hairston has been the most consistent Viking on the offensive end. Averaging 23 points in wins vs. league opponents Columbus Centennial and Columbus Linden-McKinley, Hairston has taken full advantage of his role in the starting lineup. After coming off the bench and averaging just over 10 points per game as a junior, Hairston has increased his production as a senior, and is arguably Central Ohio's top unsigned guard. Similar to Dartis, Hairston is an all-around scorer with underrated quickness, and an effective left-handed floater. As sophomore standout Seth Towns has struggled a bit from the perimeter, Hairston has stepped up on the offensive end, and has Northland again looking like the juggernaut to beat in Columbus.
Nic Bapst (6'2 SG / Grove City / 2015):
Arguably Central Ohio's top breakout performer, Bapst had another impressive week to lead the young Greyhounds. Averaging 25 points per game, Bapst has taken over the Grove City offense, and has seen great success. Scoring 24 points in a close on the road to Reynoldsburg on Tuesday, Bapst rebounded with 21 points on Friday to lead Grove City over a much-improved Groveport squad, 96-66. The following day, Bapst's 29 points paced the Greyhounds to a 79-51 win over Tyler Primmer and Teays Valley. Spending the summer playing on a talented Hidden Gems squad, Bapst has returned to Grove City as an improved scorer and looks to pick up Division-I interest as the season goes on.
Malik Harrison (6'5 PF / Columbus Walnut Ridge / 2016):
Another member of the talented sophomore class in Central Ohio, Harrison had the best performance of his career in a 67-65 loss on the road at Groveport on Saturday. Going for 26 points, 13 rebounds and eight blocks, Harrison was absolutely dominant, nearly leading the Scots to a tough win in a hostile environment. While no other Walnut Ridge player scored in double-digits on Saturday, Harrison was a monster on the block, posting up trip after trip to give the Scots a scoring advantage in the post. Playing much taller than his listed height, Harrison is an incredible athlete with elite strength, helping the sophomore adjust to contact around the rim. Playing alongside Seth Towns and Matthew Moyer in the AAU season, look for Harrison to attract Division-I programs all over the region as his production continues to climb.
Trey Smith (6'5 SF / Delphos Jefferson / 2016):
Leading Jefferson through five games with 24 points and 6.5 rebounds per contest, the underrated sophomore Smith is making a name for himself in Northwest Ohio. After being named as JJ Huddle statewide player of the week during week one, Smith has continued to produce at a high level early on in his sophomore season. With the versatility to play multiple positions, Smith is primed for success at a Division-I program as he continues to improve his overall skill set. Putting on a show at the All-Ohio Nike City Series earlier in the fall, Smith has seen a spike in recruiting interest, and the sophomore's 4.0 grade point average certainly helps his case. Keep an eye on the talented forward in Northwest Ohio this season.
Xavier Simpson (5'10 PG / Lima Central Catholic / 2016):
Arguably the top sophomore point guard in the state of Ohio, Simpson has had a brilliant start to the season in leading Central Catholic to a 3-0 record. Scoring 20 points, and dishing out five assists in a 64-44 home win vs. defending Division-III state champions Ottawa-Glandorf on Sunday, the sophomore was in total command of the game from the opening tip. With great quickness, elite finishing ability, and on-ball defense that coaches crave for, Simpson is the total package at the point guard position. Paired with fellow sophomore standout Tre Cobbs, and sharp-shooting senior Martyce Kimbrough in the Thunderbirds' backcourt, Simpson has been an integral part in LCC's success early on. Looking to be one of the top Division-III teams in the state, don't be surprised if you see Simpson leading the blue and red down to Columbus for the state final four come March.
Note: Each Monday, Zach Fleer will name his top performers from the previous week across the state of Ohio. If there is a player that you feel is deserving of a mention, contact Zach on Twitter @ZachFleerLGHL, to increase the chances of that player being mentioned. All players are eligible for inclusion.