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You’re Nuts: Who is the best Cleveland basketball recruit in Ohio State history?

There’s been fewer NE Ohio stars than we assumed there would be, actually.

Ohio State v Florida Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Since we’ve likely got some big basketball #BOOMs on the horizon, we’re dipping back into recruiting this week — although not in the way you’re thinking. We’re looking back at the areas of Ohio that historically have produced the most talent and trying to pick the best players from each area, starting with Cleveland. Maybe we’ll do it again next week, we’ll see. Depends on how the people like this week’s.

Last week, we posed the question if Jon Diebler’s Ohio State record of 374 three-pointers would ever be broken. Connor said it would eventually be broke, while Justin did not. The people sided with Justin overwhelmingly, with 77% of the vote.

After 60 weeks:

Connor- 27
Justin- 24
Other- 7

(There have been two ties)

This week we’re talking recruiting, but in the past tense. Ohio isn’t the single biggest hotbed of basketball talent, but there are All-Conference caliber players coming out of the Buckeye State pretty much every year, and a good chunk of those stars grew up in northeast Ohio, specifically.

Our question this week: Who was the best Ohio State recruit from Cleveland? For technical purposes, we included Akron/Summit County in this debate, but cut the line there. So unfortunately Canton legend Kosta Koufos is not eligible.

Today’s question: Who is the best Cleveland basketball recruit in Ohio State history?

Justin: Clark Kellogg

Iowa v Ohio State Photo by Ryan Young/Getty Images

There have been some incredible players to come through the city of Cleveland, and there have been a lot of guys who have gone to Ohio State from Cleveland. My pick, however, is Cleveland and Ohio State royalty: Clark “Special K” Kellogg. What a sick nickname.

Kellogg holds a special place in Ohio State fans hearts, going all the way back to his playing days and now when he talks about the Buckeyes on CBS. Not to mention, his son Nick just took a job on Chris Holtmann’s coaching staff. The Kellogg name runs deep in Ohio State lore.

The only way to describe Kellogg in high school is that he was really good. Simple, but it does the trick. He attended St. Joseph High School, and his career is widely regarded as one of the best high school careers in the history of Cleveland high school basketball. During his senior season, Kellogg and St. Joseph’s lost 79-65 in the state championship game, and Kellogg scored 51 points with 24 rebounds. For those counting at home, that means the rest of the team scored 14 points. His 51 point performance is still the record in an Ohio state championship game.

Kellogg was also named to the McDonalds All-American game and played in the Capital Classic.

In his first season at Ohio State, he averaged 12 points and eight rebounds per game, showing that he was a great high school player because of how quickly he adjusted to the college game. He also was the No. 8 pick in the 1982 NBA Draft to the Indiana Pacers, and finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting. He succeeded at every level in his career, and high school was certainly not an exception.

This is not a long explanation because it simply doesn’t have to be. Kellogg’s career and 51-24 performance in the state championship says everything I need it to say.

Connor: David Lighty

Ohio State v Illinois Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

David Lighty wasn’t an All-American or an NBA draftee, but he was Ohio State’s version of Iron Man from 2006-2011. Lighty was the quintessential teammate with the Buckeyes, and would later go on to set the record for most games played in NCAA history. As they say, the best ability is availability. He also left Ohio State with the most wins in program history — a record that has yet to be beaten.

Here are a few records and noteworthy marks that Lighty set while playing for Thad Matta at Ohio State:

  • One of 60 1,000-point scorers in Ohio State history.
  • Owner of the sixth-best three-point shooting season in Ohio State history (during the 2010-2011 season his knocked down 42.9% of his attempts).
  • One of five Buckeyes to ever hit 100% of their three-pointers in a game, with at least five attempts (vs George Mason on 3/20/11).
  • Fourth in Ohio State history with 191 career steals
  • Most games played (157) in Ohio State history
  • Most games played (157) in NCAA history among players who did not get the 2020 COVID waiver for an extra year
  • Most career wins (129) in Ohio State history
  • Set a Big Ten Tournament record when he logged 50 minutes against Illinois in the 2010 BTT Championship game

Hailing from Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School, Lighty is one of the best all-around players to come out of the Cleveland area not just in Ohio State history, but in NCAA history. No player is more synonymous with the word “winner” than David Lighty — as far as Ohio State basketball goes.

Aside from his time playing for the Buckeyes, Lighty also helped carry Carmen’s Crew to a TBT championship in 2019, and has won multiple titles playing overseas in France. Lighty was a four-star recruit coming out of high school. He was the No. 33 recruit in the nation from the class of 2006, the No. 13 small forward and the No. 3 player in Ohio. He was the fourth-highest rated player in a class that also included Greg Oden, Mike Conley, Daequan Cook, and Othello Hunter.


Who was the better Cleveland recruit to go to Ohio State?

This poll is closed

  • 92%
    Clark Kellogg (Justin)
    (199 votes)
  • 7%
    David Lighty (Connor)
    (17 votes)
216 votes total Vote Now