Those interested in the future of the Ohio State basketball program have plenty of reasons to set their sights on Indianapolis this weekend.
That’s where Chris Holtmann and the Buckeye coaching staff will be this weekend to watch the second of four spring Nike EYBL sessions, which feature many of the nation’s top high school prospects from the 2023, 2024 and 2025 recruiting classes as they go head-to-head on the AAU circuit.
Ohio State will have a particularly vested interest in watching the slew of players at the event who it has already extended scholarship offers to, with multiple of the program’s top targets in the class of 2023 taking the court over the next few days. Several of those players play for the All-Ohio Red 17-U team, which includes 6-foot-3 combo guard George Washington III, who was the first verbal commit in Ohio State’s 2023 class.
Before we head to the Pacers Athletic Center in Westfield, Indiana, to take in all of the action for ourselves, we’re taking a closer look at the players to keep an eye on for Ohio State recruiting purposes. You can stream the games live as they happen right here, and we’ll give you a rundown of when each of the following teams is hitting the hardwood before the action gets underway.
George Washington III
A four-star prospect and the No. 47 overall player in the class of 2023, Washington became the first commit in the cycle for the Buckeyes back in November 2021 and went on to have a stellar junior season at the Christian Academy of Louisville as a first-team all-state performer in Kentucky. But Washington will be coming to Ohio for his senior year of high school hoops, and opted to get a jump start on the AAU circuit before then by switching from JL3 Elite to All-Ohio Red.
Washington averaged 9.5 points per game in the first EYBL session with All-Ohio Red, as the team went 2-2 in Orlando, Florida, from April 8-10.
Now a top target for Ohio State in the 2023 class, Pickerington Central forward Devin Royal is fresh off a state championship win alongside Sonny Styles, and continues to earn attention from the Buckeye coaching staff with his standout play.
The 6-foot-6 forward received an at-home visit from Holtmann, Jake Diebler, new assistant coach Jack Owens and Mike Netti on Wednesday, showing just how interested the program is in the rising talent, who was a second-team All-EYBL selection in Orlando after averaging 16.8 points per game in the first session.
Royal also has offers from Illinois, Penn State, Butler, Dayton and Virginia Tech, among others.
Africentric’s Swain is another 6-foot-6 wing and a top-100 prospect in the country, rated No. 2 in the state of Ohio behind only Cincinnati Taft’s Rayvon Griffith. Swain averaged 11.8 points and 3.5 steals (which led all EYBL performers) in Orlando, and seeks another standout session when All-Ohio Red touches down in Indianapolis.
The Division III All-Ohio player of the year after leading Africentric to a state semifinal appearance this past season, Swain’s offers in addition to Ohio State include Marquette, Cincinnati, Kansas State and Virginia Tech, among others.
Rice, a Dayton product and three-star prospect from Wayne High School, averaged 9.2 points and four assists in All-Ohio Red’s first four games of EYBL action this April. The 6-foot-3 combo guard, who has held an offer from Holtmann and company since last June, included the Buckeyes among his top eight schools in January.
The commitment of Washington as a similar sized guard may not help Rice’s chances of joining the Buckeyes’ class, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility with the recent departure of several backcourt players from the program.
When do they play?
The All-Ohio Red 17-U team takes on Nightrydas at 7:45 p.m. Friday on Court 6 before a pair of Saturday matchups with the Georgia Stars (11 a.m. on Court 7) and Florida Rebels (3:30 p.m. on Court 1). The team then closes out the weekend with a 9:30 a.m. meeting with Team Griffin on Court 7 Sunday.
The Skill Factory
Four-star Kansas native Scotty Middleton, the No. 51 overall prospect in the class of 2023, included Ohio State among his top five schools just a day before EYBL action tips off in Indianapolis. A 6-foot-6 small forward, the Sunrise Christian product will be suiting up for The Skill Factory, which went 3-1 in All-Ohio Red’s group in Orlando.
Blessed pic.twitter.com/TDNcBGK4nf— Scotty Middleton (@ScottyMiddleto9) April 21, 2022
A five-star point guard and the No. 19 overall player in the country, Marvel Allen decommitted from LSU last March and still holds an offer from the Buckeyes. The second-ranked player in the state of Florida, the 6-foot-4 guard had Ohio State in his top eight schools before committing to the Tiger program in January, even if the Buckeyes don’t appear to be making another big push for him as of late.
2023 5 Marvel Allen (@1wayvel) has heard from the following schools consistently since reopening his recruitment:— Alex Karamanos (@TheCircuitAlex) April 12, 2022
- Maryland @tsfmack2023 @coach_agibbs @CalvaryChristi3
When do they play?
The Skill Factory takes on Vegas Elite at 9:15 p.m. Friday on Court 4, then will match up against Team United (12:30 p.m. on Court 2) and Alabama Fusion (6:30 p.m. on Court 6) on Saturday. The team then finishes up with a game against JL3 Elite at 9:30 a.m. Sunday on Court 2.
Brad Beal Elite
Four-star point guard Layden Blocker, the No. 37 overall prospect in the class of 2023, holds an Ohio State offer but did not include the Buckeyes among his top seven schools back in January. That list included Memphis, Baylor, Kansas, Oklahoma State, Gonzaga, Auburn and Arkansas. But Blocker will still be an interesting prospect to watch anyway, given the prolific scoring ability with which he averaged 20.8 points per game in Orlando, fifth-best among all EYBL competitors.
When do they play?
Blocker and company start off on Court 7 against Meanstreets at 6:15 p.m. Friday before taking on Team Takeover (11 a.m. on Court 3) and City Rocks (6:30 p.m. on Court 4) on Saturday. The following day, Brad Beal Elite plays Team Durant at 11 a.m. on Court 1.
Having just earned an offer from Ohio State this past week, class of 2024 small forward Amier Ali is set to appear for Houston Hoops in this weekend’s event in Indianapolis. A 6-foot-8 wing, the Montverde Academy product is the No. 42 overall prospect, the sixth-rated player in Florida and the No. 11 prospect at his position in his class.
When do they play?
Houston Hoops starts off Friday against Team Final at 7:30 p.m. on Court 2, plays Team Thad (11 a.m. on Court 5) and Seattle Rotary (5 p.m. on Court 4) on Saturday and then closes things out with a matchup against Indy Heat (9:30 a.m. on Court 1) on Sunday.
For a full schedule of the weekend's slate of games, including 16-U and 15-U action, check out the EYBL website right here.