Boys Ohio State Basketball Semifinals In Pictures

Regretfully, due to a scheduling conflict, I wasn't able to attend the state boys' basketball finals on Saturday but I did catch all eight games on the first two days. Here are the some of the sights that I witnessed from my courtside vantage point on over that two-day span.

As most of you know, I'm a football guy. I make no pretense about having any in-depth knowledge of high school basketball. But after witnessing the future of high school hoops in Ohio at this tournament...I may soon become a convert.

I got my first glimpse of the next basketball prodigy who is in the person of O.J. Mayo and I was sold in a big way. I just love every aspect of his game and his demeanor that goes with.

Just a sophomore, 6'5" Mayo was averaging 27.4 points a game coming into the state tournament.

Mayo has two other teammates that are pretty special in the own right.

There's the acrobatic and athletic 6'6" sophomore Bill Walker...

...and 6'9" sophomore center Keenan Ellis who has really good skills and mobility for a young big man.

Of course Daequan Cook was another reason that I wanted to be there. I never saw him play prior to the tournament. The 6'5" junior sounded really positive about OSU after the game.

Sophomore Aaron Pogue was another really good young player. The 6'9" sophomore center is a solid force to deal with in the paint and moves well also.

The most pleasant discovery of the day for me might have been Jon Diebler of Upper Sandusky High School. I really liked his game. The 6'6" sophomore guard is a young stud on the hardwood.

Linden McKinley has a really good youngster performing in their backcourt. 6'5" sophomore James Davis Jr. actually took the last shot in their 71-70 loss to Wooster Triway.

Cincinnati Moeller has a young player who will likely lead the Crusaders back to the final four in the future. 6'4" Troy Tabler has a strong resemblance in appearance and game to Matt Sylvester if you ask me.

And finally there is Canton McKinley. Just punch their ticket again to Columbus for next year. The Bulldogs are just loaded with young talent up and down their roster.

First there is 6'7" junior Raymar Morgan who was averaging 18 a game going into the tournament.

6'6" junior Ricky Jackson was averaging 13.1 a game prior to the tournament.

And perhaps the most underrated of the three is 6'5" junior Todd Brown who was contributing 9.0 points a game before the weekend began.

Combine all of this young talent with guys like 6'9" Dallas Lauderdale out of Solon, 6'5" Margues Johnson from St. Vincent-St. Mary and 6'6" David Lighty from Cleveland St. Joseph and other top players around the state, and you can see the future of Ohio high school hoops is very bright.

I'll have more photos from the OHSAA state tournament at the Value City Arena of all of the games in my next photo gallery.

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