Ohio's top all-time prep player: boys basketball

Eric Frantz | MaxPreps.com Tuesday, March 24, 2020 10:30am

You vote, you decide...who is the Buckeye State's top high school boys basketball player of all-time?

Luke Kennard surpasses Lebron James
Watch one all-time nominee eclipse another on the state's career-scoring list.

Who is Ohio's best? You vote, you decide.

Below are our nominees and a poll to vote on for Ohio's top high school boys basketball player - ever. National players of the year, multiple Mr. Basketballs, NCAA National Champions and NBA MVPs, All-Stars and World Champions. Ohio's impact on hoops history is undeniable and pronounced. So too are the careers of those listed below. Which one takes the top spot? 
Photos by Nick Falzerano

Ohio's Top All-Time High School Boys Basketball Player

* Jay Burson, John Glenn (New Concord) - 1981-1985
Averaged 33 points per game over a career that ended with a then-state record 2,958 points. Ohio Player of the Year as a junior and senior and was a three-time first team all-state selection. Reached double figures in 89 of 90 career games and had 530 career assists. Went to Ohio State where he started 95 of 122 games. Finished with 1,756 points, 329 assists and 204 steals (career steals leader for OSU).

* Jon Diebler, Fostoria and Upper Sandusky - 2003-2007
Ohio's all-time leading scorer with 3,208 points. Played freshman season at Fostoria and final three seasons at Upper Sandusky. Dropped 77 points in a 105-100 win over Tiffin Columbian as a junior (seventh most in state history) and averaged 41.2 points, 12.3 rebounds and six assists per game as a senior when he was named Mr. Basketball. Capped prep career with 48 points in an 87-85 loss to Dayton Dunbar in the state final. It's the second-highest scoring tally in Ohio finals history. Won state championship as a sophomore. Went to Ohio State where he set the Big Ten record for career 3s made. Drafted in second round of the 2011 NBA Draft by the Portland Trailblazers.

* John Havlicek, Bridgeport - 1955-1958
Earned All-Ohio honors in three sports (football, basketball and baseball) as a senior. Scored 1,594 career points in 59 games and averaged more than 30 points per game his junior and senior seasons. Scored a school record 53 points in a 103-101 overtime win over Cadiz as a junior. Played in the Ohio North-South All-Star game with Jerry Lucas. Went to Ohio State where he was a two-time All-American and won an NCAA title (1960). Was the No. 7 overall pick by the Boston Celtics in the 1962 NBA Draft. During his 16-year career with Boston he won eight World Championships and was a 13-time NBA All-Star. Remains the Celtics all-time leader in points (26,395), games played (1,270) and minutes played (46,471) and is one of two players in NBA history to have over 26,000 points, 8,000 rebounds and 6,000 assists. Was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1980.

* Allan Hornyak, St. John Central (Bellaire) - 1965-1969
Shooting guard led the state of Ohio in scoring his junior and senior seasons by averaging 42.7 and 41.9 points per game, respectively. Finished career with 2,385 points (812 as a junior and 923 as a senior). Dropped a career-high 86 points (fourth most in state history) against Tiltonsville High School in 1969 and followed that with a 61-point performance against archrival Bellaire. Scored 50 or more points 14 times in his career. Went to Ohio State where he led the Buckeyes in scoring his final three years and was All-Big Ten each season. Two-time All-American was selected in the second round of the 1973 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

* Bill Hoskett Sr., Stivers School for the Arts (Dayton) - 1927-1930
All-Ohio center led the Tigers to three straight state titles (1928, 1929 and 1930) and was considered Ohio's best prep player ever at the time. Nicknamed "Big Bill" he stood just under 6-foot-5. Went to Ohio State where he led Buckeyes to 1933 Big Ten title. After graduation (there was no NBA) played with the famed Waterloo Wonders – a barnstorming pro team that beat both the New York Celtics and the Harlem Globetrotters.
Jared Sullinger (Northland), Jon Diebler (Upper Sandusky), LeBron James (Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary) and Luke Kennard (Franklin) all rank Ohio's best all-time prep players. Is one of them tops?
Photos by Nick Falzerano
Jared Sullinger (Northland), Jon Diebler (Upper Sandusky), LeBron James (Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary) and Luke Kennard (Franklin) all rank Ohio's best all-time prep players. Is one of them tops?

* Jimmy Jackson, Macomber-Whitney (Toledo) - 1985-1989
Captured Ohio's first two Mr. Basketball awards (1988 and 1989) and led team to 1989 big school Ohio state title. McDonald's All-American and two-time first team Parade All-American finished with 2,328 career points. Went to Ohio State where he was a two-time Big Ten MVP (1991 and 1992) and two-time first team All-American. Drafted No. 4 overall by the Dallas Mavericks in in the 1992 NBA Draft. Was on the active roster of 12 different teams over his 14-year NBA career, which ties the league record

* LeBron James, St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron) - 1998-2002
Ohio's only three-time Mr. Basketball winner led the Irish to four state finals and three state titles. First player in history to be named first team USA Today All-USA three times and Gatorade National Player of the Year twice. Naismith Prep Player of the Year in 2003 was also Mr. Basketball USA in 2002 and 2003. Ranks fifth in Ohio history with 2,646 career points. Three-time NBA Champion, three-time NBA Finals MVP, four-time NBA MVP and 16-time NBA All-Star (Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers). Two-time Olympic gold medalist (2008 and 2012).

* Clark Kellogg, Villa Angela-St. Joseph (Cleveland) - 1975-1979
Recorded arguably the most memorable performance in state history with his OHSAA finals record 51 points (and 24 rebounds) in a 74-65 loss to Columbus East in 1979. Scored 35 points in the state semifinal win over Cincinnati LaSalle. Finished with 1,961 career points. McDonald's All-American and 1979 Mr. Basketball USA winner went to Ohio State where he was the Big Ten MVP in 1982. Drafted No. 8 overall by the NBA Pacers in the 1982 draft.

* Luke Kennard, Franklin - 2011-2015
Two-time Mr. Basketball winner (2014 and 2015) capped his career as the state's second leading scorer all-time (2,977 points). Ranks No. 1 in state history for made free throws (760) and No. 9 for made 3-pointers (263). Was Parade's National Player of the Year and a McDonald's All-American as a senior. Drafted by the Detroit Pistons (No. 12 pick overall) in the 2017 draft after spending two seasons at Duke (ACC Tourney MVP, first team All-ACC and second team All-American as a sophomore).

* Jerry Lucas, Middletown - 1955-1958
Averaged 34 points over a three-year prep career that included undefeated state and national championship seasons in 1956 and 1957. The Middies suffered a one-point loss in the state semifinals (63-62 to Columbus North) his senior season that snapped a state-record 76-game win streak. Finished with 2,460 career points, which ranks 12th in state history. Established legend as a sophomore when he dropped 53 points in a state semifinal win over Cleveland East and 44 in the state final win over Canton McKinley. Two-time Mr. Basketball USA winner had over 150 scholarship offers. Went to Ohio State where he was a three-time first team All-American, two-time AP College Player of the Year and a national champion. Played 12 seasons in the NBA (Cincinnati royals, San Francisco Warriors and New York Knicks) where he was a seven-time NBA All-Star and won a title with NY (1973). Also member of the 1960 Olympic gold medal team. Was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1980.

* Jared Sullinger, Northland (Columbus) - 2006-2010
Led Vikings to state title as a junior and an undefeated regular season (21-0) and national No. 1 ranking as a senior. Finished both seasons as Mr. Basketball and a Parade All-American. McDonald's All-American game co-MVP and the Naismith Prep Player of the Year in 2010. Went to Ohio State where he was a two-time first team All-American in his two seasons. Drafted 21st overall by the Boston Celtics in the 2012 NBA Draft.