St. Joseph star Evan Turner did about as much as anyone could expect. For Turner, 29 points, 11 rebounds and six assists satisfied the hungry appetite of Hawks' fans hoping for an upset against Chicago Simeon.
Though St. Joseph lost 74-66 to Simeon Saturday night in a match-up of Illinois' best players - Turner and Memphis-bound Derrick Rose, Turner couldn't have felt like he was overrated.
"Simeon's players were calling me overrated and stuff like that," Turner told the Chicago Tribune after the game.
In defeat, Turner extended his scoring average to 21 points and 10 rebounds a game this season for St. Joseph (18-4). He averaged 16 points a game as a junior.
Turner joins Jon Diebler, Kosta Koufos, Eric Wallace and Dallas Lauderdale heading to Ohio State next season. While Wallace was the late addition, Koufos was the prize recruit and Diebler is the sentimental selection because of his forthcoming scoring record, Turner was the surprise - the one that caught people off guard.
The 6-5 Turner committed to the Buckeyes a mere 24 hours before Alex Tyus and his family were set to visit Ohio State from Cincinnati. Tyus anticipated possibly committing to Ohio State following his visit, provided all systems were go.
But Turner beat him to the punch.
"When I think of Evan Turner, I think of a guy that is the consummate glue player," said ScoutHoops.com basketball analyst Dave Telep, "a jack-of-all-trades.
"He's the perfect role player at Ohio State because he's not going to have to come in and be the prominent scorer," Telep added.
Telep compares Turner to Michigan State freshman Raymar Morgan. He says Turner is a guy that does the little things and is a glue guy that, "is cut from the same mold."
While Turner is No. 70 in the ScoutHoops.com top 100 2007 rankings, Koufos is No. 10 and in competition with Diebler for Ohio's Mister Basketball.
Koufos is 7-foot-2 and a guy that can beat teams inside or outside. It's a good possibility Koufos will be the lone McDonald's All-American pick this season of a five-man class.
"Offensively, Koufos is one of the more skilled players in the class of 2007," added ScoutHoops.com contributor Evan Daniels. "He stands nearly 7-feet and possesses a rare touch for a guy his size."
With 33 points, 14 rebounds and 10 blocked shots Saturday night against two-time defending Division I State Champion Canton McKinley, Canton GlenOak won the Federal League for the first time in eight years. It was the second time GlenOak defeated McKinley, as the Eagles snapped McKinley's 44-game home winning streak earlier in the year, as Koufos scored 32 points, grabbed 18 rebounds and also blocked 10 shots.
His two-game outpouring against the Bulldogs of 32, 16 and 10 have Ohio State fans' mouths watering collectively.
While Greg Oden is widely considered to be around just one or two seasons for the Buckeyes, the jury is widespread on how long Koufos will stay in Columbus.
"He's a guy that at some point over the next four years, provided he lives up to his expectations, is going to have a decision to make," said Telep. "I think he's at least a two-year player in college. If you look around college basketball today, a lot of things depend on opportunity. Kevin Durant has the opportunity to get up 20 shots (a game). Meanwhile, Sherron Collins has to wait at Kansas until the second half of the year for his opportunity to come. With Kosta, it will depend on what Ohio State looks like inside. You would think if Greg Oden leaves, it looks like the red seas will part and Koufos will have his opportunity."
For the season, through 19 regular season games, Koufos is averaging 26.2 points and 16.2 rebounds per game.
Koufos is likely to see the floor early and often at Ohio State beginning next season. He'll play at the four and also the five.
"You don't recruit a Kosta Koufos for a front-row seat at Ohio State in Big Ten games," Telep said. "Kosta was recruited to be a prominent player at Ohio State and he's going to have every opportunity to do that."
It's likely that Koufos will play both with his back to the basket, and facing the hoop on the perimeter. He can shoot from outside, penetrate and score with a variety of low-post moves.
"His jump-hooks in the lane are very dependable," added Daniels, "and he has the range to step out to the three-point line and bury long jumpers."
Fellow 2007 recruits Wallace and Lauderdale are doing their part.
Through 26 games for a loaded Hargrave Military Academy, Wallace is the sixth man, averaging an estimated 10.4 points and five rebounds. Lauderdale is scoring 17.1 points and grabbing an estimated 12 rebounds per game.
Diebler, who needs 43 points to break Ohio's all-time scoring record Friday night in Upper Sandusky's regular season finale, is throwing in 42.6 points, 13.6 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game.
With the home stretch of their junior seasons forthcoming, the competition for next year's Ohio Mr. Basketball should be heating up. The early frontrunners are Lakewood St. Edward's Delvon Roe and Toledo Libbey's William Buford.
Neither are doing anything to hurt their chances.
Buford is on an assault of Northwest Ohio this season. He's averaging 28.4 points and 12 rebounds a game for 17-1 Libbey. Roe is putting up more than 22 points and 10 rebounds in his own right.
"Delvon would have to be the leading candidate," surmises Daniels, "as he's the best player on arguably the best team this year and they bring everyone back (next season)."
Roe, who most people believe will pick North Carolina over Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State and Kansas after his high school season ends, will not be a shoe-in for a runaway victory, much less a win of the annual award.
Over the past four games, Buford, one of four 2008 verbal commitments to Ohio State is averaging 37 points a game. He's thrown in at least 30 in six of Libbey's past six contests. Both he and Roe have performed at a high level against mostly top competition.
"Buford is a great shooter, especially off the dribble, and has range past the three-point line," said Daniels.
Not to be forgotten is Cincinnati Withrow's Yancy Gates, scoring 19.4 points and rabbing 8.2 rebounds a game.
Canal Winchester 7-1 junior B.J. Mullens, the other Ohio State commitment for the class within the state's boundaries, wrapped up his regular season with 28 points, 21 rebounds and seven blocks against Amanda-Clearcreek. Mullens finished with 26.9 points a game, 13.6 rebounds and 5.6 blocks per game for the Indians (13-7).
Flint (Mich.) Southwestern point guard Anthony Crater, another future Buckeye, is leading SWA to a 15-2 record. He's chipped in with 16.4 points, 7.2 rebounds and 8.8 assists a game. Indianapolis Warren Central guard Walter Offutt is also scoring 18.0 points per game this season. He had 22 points in a 4-point loss at Evansville Reitz on Saturday.
Reno (Nevada) Galena will participate Thursday in the Nevada State Championships. Luke Babbitt scored 48 points, 34 points and 23 points in victories this past season to lead Galena into the promised land. Babbitt is expected to choose between Ohio State, UCLA, Arizona, Gonzaga and Nevada in a few weeks. He averages 27.4 points and 10.0 rebounds per game this season as a junior.
2009 & 2010 Classes
* Roberto Nelson scored 24 points and grabbed six rebounds against Hawthorne Friday evening in the first round of the California state playoffs.
* Tyler Griffey scored 28 points and grabbed nine rebounds in a loss against Hazelwood Central.
* Jared Sullinger, 6-8 freshman and little brother of former Buckeye J.J. Sullinger, helped Columbus Northland to a 20-0 regular season record with a City League Championship victory against Eastmoor Academy Saturday. The 59-55 win saw 18 points and 17 rebounds from Sullinger. He finished the regular season with 18.2 points and 10.3 rebounds.
* Deshaun Thomas, a prized freshman from Ft. Wayne (Ind.) Bishop Luers, continued his rookie assault with games of 40 points and 27 points this past weekend. Through 17 games, Thomas is now averaging 27.9 points and 13.6 rebounds.
For the entire scoring averages, stats and results, visit the recruit tracker link: