The 6-foot-5 left-handed guard from Pickerington (Ohio) Central led a depleted high school team into an unexpected berth in the regional tournament then this month led a team of players from Ohio to a tournament championship in Italy.
"At the beginning of the year, I thought we had a chance to win but we had so much happened that I didn't know if we would get there,'' said Kern.
In the semifinals of the district he went for a career-best 33 and in the finals hit 25 in a 58-42 victory over Zaneville. It was Central's third straight district title.
He has named first team All-Ohio Division I and second team All-Metro (Columbus).
"He just carried the team,'' said his dad, Kris Kern. "They had a lot of adversity. They lost their best player and the coach went down in the middle of the season. There is no way I thought they would be district champs for the third straight year.
"Connor really played well late in the year. There were some other schools that started checking on him but we told them we are sold on Arkansas State."
In April, he was Kern was selected to be part of a team from Ohio that participated in a tournament in Italy. He averaged 25 points per game, made 24 3-pointers and was 33 of 35 on free throws. He was named top scorer for the tournament, which the Ohio team won.
"He really played well," said Kris Kern, "Against some pretty good competition. I would say it was probably college level players are a little above. We actually had an agent from the Italian pro league talk to his mom and me and I said we are not interested. Talk to us in 4 years."
Connor will arrive in Jonesboro for the second summer team.
"I am ready to get down there and get to work and try to break into the lineup," he said.
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