The state of Ohio has long been renowned as one of the most abundant sources of football talent in the entire country. Recently, though, the highly regarded basketball talent may have been even better. As home to superstars like Lebron James and O.J. Mayo, and other standouts like Daequan Cook and Bill Walker, the Buckeye State is seemingly in a golden age for basketball talent. Ohio State has done a good job of harvesting some of those riches, but many other programs have bombarded the borders in an attempt to steal a piece of the pie.
The Michigan Wolverines have been amongst the most active programs attempting to infiltrate the territory to its south, and they've already identified a number of players from the class 2008 as primary targets. GoBlueWolverine previously profiled one of those recruits, (Yancy Gates), after watching him in action this summer. Recently GBW made the trek to the Cleveland suburb of Lakewood to check out another.
Lakewood St. Edward's sophomore Delvon Roe has been shot up on the radar for a number of schools this past summer when he turned heads with his AAU team, King James Shooting Stars. He has continued that strong play during his high school season, averaging 22 points, 15 rebounds, and 7 blocks for the Eagles.
At a shade over 6-7 and weighing in at 220 pounds, Roe shows outstanding athleticism in the paint and can score in a number of way around the basket. Shooting Stars AAU coach Percy Robinson first described Roe to GoBlueWolverine as a "Raymar Morgan-like" player. After watching Roe in action first hand, we can see how the youngster's progression could follow a similar track as that of the future Spartan.
As was case with Morgan, Scouts point to the advancement of Roe's perimeter game as the key to how good he becomes. His coach at St. Ed's, Eric Flannery, has little doubt that his young star will show improvement in that area as he matures.
"Right now Delvon is primarily a post player," Flannery said. "He's 6-7, but he has got a wingspan that I believe is over seven-feet long. Defensively he is very active. He is also very active on the defensive and offensive glass. He is very good around the basket, and he's left-handed which gives him that extra quirk that I think makes him a little tougher to defend. He has already kind of extended his game to the 12-15 foot range. He does handle it fairly well, and he passes it excellent for a big man, but he can still work on his right hand and his overall perimeter game. Defensively, on the ball there are some things he can work on as well…but he is a great help side defender, he's a great shot-blocker, and he's a great rebounder. There are a lot of positive and they far outweigh the negatives. I think by next year, which will only be his junior year, he'll be able to shoot the three and really be better from the perimeter. I think eventually he is going to be a small forward. He definitely will have the skill to play that position as he gets older."
Flannery has coached a number a great players during his run as Eagles headman, and even led his second team at St. Ed's to the Division 1 state title in 1998. When he looks back and compares Roe to some of the players on his earlier teams, the youngster stacks up quite well. "You hate to speculate down the road, but at this time with Delvon being a sophomore and comparing him to guys like Sam Clancy, Steve Lepore at Wake Forest, or even Jawad Williams at North Carolina, quite honestly he is the best at this age," said Flannery. "He has got a lot of upside to him. His work ethic and his knowledge of the game is as good or better than those guys. I just think the sky is the limit for what he can do eventually."
Many collegiate coaches share in Flannery's opinion of Roe's potential. The versatile forward has already spoken with to a number of top programs and has seen the intensity with which he is recruited steadily increase. "I like Michigan, Michigan State, Illinois… and Ohio State always has to be in there because that's the home team," Roe said. "I really like North Carolina too. They said they would see me this summer. So did Duke. I don't have any favorites right now, but Michigan probably on me the hardest."
Flannery too has seen the Wolverines a large amount of interest. That said, he feels a number of other schools will step up their attention towards Roe in similar fashion. "Quite honestly, the interest is just going to grow more and more," said the veteran coach. "The Big Ten as a conference has been very interested and has probably been the most interested. Of those schools, Michigan is #1 and then Illinois as far as the amount of interest they've shown. Right behind them is a Michigan State and Ohio State."
The Maize and Blue hosted Roe's first unofficial of the season a few weeks back for their home game versus Michigan State. Afterward he indicated that he enjoyed in time in Ann Arbor a great deal. However, that was but the first of a number of visits he'll be taking in the coming months. Getting him on campus over the spring and summer has increased significance for the interested schools because the youngster would prefer not drag his decision making process out.
"I'll probably decide either at the beginning of my junior year or at the end," said Roe. "That will depend on how I do this summer. It will come down to where I fit in best and how I like the campus. It's going to be really tough."
GoBlueWolverine will have more on Roe in the coming months.