When talking about the top basketball prospects in the state of Ohio over the past 20 years, it is hard to come up with that list without mentioning Chris Livingston.
Livingston is the No. 4-ranked recruit in the 2022 class and the top prospect in the state of Ohio. He is the second-ranked small forward in the class, behind the former Michigan State commit and highly-coveted prospect, Emoni Bates.
Livingston is a 6-foot-6, 200-pound forward that can give you a little bit of everything. He is an athletic wing who can make plays for himself and for others and can guard multiple positions. He can shoot well, but if there was one area for improvement, that would be it.
He hails from Akron, Ohio and attends Akron Buchtel High School. His stat line this past season was one from a videogame — averaging 31.1 points per game, 15.8 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 4.7 steals and 4.5 blocks. He also shot 71% from the field. It isn’t too difficult to see why he is so highly regarded.
Livingston has narrowed his list to 10 colleges and one pro option. Those among his options include Ohio State, Kentucky, Memphis, Kansas, LSU, Georgetown, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee State, North Carolina and Overtime Elite.
Overtime Elite is the professional option. They are a league that was formed last season that compensates high school level players. A few major high school prospects have already taken advantage of Overtime Elite, and a lot of people believe that the organization and league will only grow with time.
2022 five-star Chris Livingston tells me he’s down to 11 options:— Tipton Edits (@TiptonEdits) June 9, 2021
Overtime Elite (Pro)
Overtime Elite has stated they will offer $100,000 one-year contracts to 30 elite high school prospects that want to skip college and play for pay for a year before they test the NBA draft waters. Livingston is one of those players which shows just how talented he is. It is certainly an interesting proposition to see how many high school prospects want to take that instead of heading to the college ranks.
Livingston’s consistency has been remarkable, as he was listed third in this class in the first 247Sports rankings of the 2022 cycle back in September 2019. He has never fallen past the fourth spot in the 2022 rankings. With how much fluctuation can be in those rankings year to year, that is an accomplishment on its own.
The question everyone will be wondering with Livingston is if he will head to college or Overtime Elite, and what can a college offer him to make him pass up on the $100K contract for one year?
There are a couple factors that bode well for Ohio State. First of all, he plays in Akron. As an Ohio resident and someone who grew up in the state, wearing the Scarlet and Grey is something that could entice him to stay home.
Another is Ohio State’s 2022 class. As it stands right now, the Buckeyes have three commits that make up the top class in the country. They are also hosting seven visits in the next month, all of which are top-60 recruits in the country. If Livingston sees one or two more top guys commit to the Buckeyes, he could see that his commitment could make that team reach the next level. The No. 1 recruiting class in the country can definitely be a selling point to land a guy of his caliber.
The top two contenders for Livingston against Ohio State in the college ranks look to be Kansas and Kentucky. Obviously, these are two teams that are no strangers to landing top tier talent. Of the 10 teams Livingston has listed, he has only visited two of them, those being Kansas (June 11) and Kentucky (June 18). Kansas does already have a small forward committed in the 2022 class — the No. 28 recruit Gradey Dick — but that shouldn’t have too much of an impact on Livingston’s decision.
It seems like Livingston has four real choices: Overtime Elite, Ohio State, Kansas and Kentucky. Another option to keep an eye on will be if by 2022 they allow players to jump straight to the NBA, because if that is the case, most analysts believe he will be a lottery pick and that will be almost certainly the path he takes. It would be incredibly tough to pass up on the chance to be a high-first round NBA Draft pick, and nobody would blame him for pursuing that route.
However, if that doesn’t happen and he decides to head to college for presumably one year, as of now it looks like it will be between Ohio State, Kansas and Kentucky. Regardless, it is safe to say Livingston will be a priority for Chris Holtmann and Ryan Pedon over the next year.