Sunday, January 31, 2010

2011 vs 1996 Let the Debate Begin

"I can't think of another class like this in central Ohio history," said John Stovall, a long-time evaluator and fan of high school basketball, co-founder of Prep Spotlight and current writer for "I have never seen three guards of this caliber [in central Ohio]," said Jerry Watson, founder of the All-Ohio Summer Basketball Program based out of central Ohio. To what are these long-time basketball gurus referring to? Like most central Ohio basketball fans, there has been much talk about the trio of junior point guards who have, so far, led their high school teams to undefeated seasons. Trey Burke (12-0 Northland), Treavon Jackson (16-0 Westerville South) and (15-0) Gahanna Lincoln's Stevie Taylor may be the most talented group of guards in central Ohio basketball history.

Not since Drew Lavender and Chris Quinn has central Ohio enjoyed such highly regarded guards. In fact, according to John Stovall, only the 1996 class of Estabon Weaver, Kenny Gregory and Michael Redd can come close to rivaling the 2011 class of guards. When comparing the two classes Stovall acknowledges the 1996 class was made up of more "wings and scorers who were bigger and longer," compared with the class of 2011 guards who were more "point guardish, creaters, distributes and leaders of their respective teams," said Stovall. To further contrast to the classes, Stovall predicts the current class of guards will have better college careers than the 1996 guards (keeping in mind Weaver did not attend college and Redd left early for the NBA). One of these three guys may have a chance to make it to the NBA," said Jerry Watson. These guys' (Burke, Jackson & Taylor) overall games are better top to bottom and their skill set is a little more advanced (than Weaver, Gregory & Redd)," offered Watson.

Regardless how the 2011 class of guards stack up to their predecessors, one thing is clear; each of the three guards have their respective teams in the hunt for undefeated seasons and deep tournament runs in the high school state tournament. As of now, Northland stands as the # 1 team in the nation, the State of Ohio and central Ohio, while 15-0 Gahanna Lincoln is ranked 4th in the state, second in central, and could clinch the OCC Ohio division championship on Tuesday night with a win over Pickerington North. Westerville South is currently 16-0 and is ranked high in both the AP State Poll and the central Ohio's Coaches Poll. At this point in the season, its hard to argue with the role these three floor generals have played in their team's current success.

Although each of the 2011 guards have their own distinctive styles, Taylor is a quick and speedy guard who excel in transition and easily creates for himself and teammates, while Jackson uses his size and strength to slash to the bucket, and Burke has a combination of both and the ability to shoot from deep and play lock down defense; they are all winners with a long history of leading teams to championships. In addition, there is little doubt that each of these guards will play ball at the next level, as Burke has already committed to Penn State, Jackson has high major offers from the likes of Wisconsin, Arizona State and several MAC schools, while Taylor has multiple offers from several mid-major schools including Providence.

However you cut it, or whichever class you prefer, their can be no question that the class of 2011 is special, and has a chance to go down in central Ohio basketball history as one of the best. Only time will tell how the final chapter of this class will be written, but if you have not had a chance to see these guys play, you might want to get out and check them out. If you don't get a chance to see them this year you have one more chance, as they are only juniors with another full season of high school basketball ahead of them. Oh yea, if you can't catch this trio this high school season, you can catch them this summer, as they make up the back court of the U-17 All-Ohio Red squad which is currently ranked as the #1 U-17 AAU squad in the nation. Last summer, in one event (Nike's Peach Jam), this trio of guards led All-Ohio to the championship game of the prestigious tournament. Their success at the Nike Peach Jam has many people excited about this summer and the level of success this team could achieve. "This trio of guards gives All-Ohio the the best scoring guard tandem we have ever had. We have never had three guards on a team who's high school teams are undefeated," said Watson. "These guys [Burke , Jackson & Taylor] are 1500 point scorers for their high school teams and potential 1000 point scorers in college," predicted Watson. No matter where the trio ends up in college and beyond, the footprint they are likely to leave on central Ohio hoops could be significant, and hotly debated for years to come! -Click on the red highlighted links for footage and stories of the players-Feel free to weigh in on the debate using the comment section below.


  1. Great article. These guys are all very talented. I've debated the Stevie Taylor and Trey Burke issue for a while myself. Now adding Jackson to the mix will only complicate the argument, haha. Great article on three great players.

  2. I agree Burke, Taylor, and Jackson are definitely the best trio of guards to come through central Ohio in a long time. Hopefully the offers will continue to pour in for Taylor and Jackson since they are both undecided. However, my personal opinion is that Weaver, Redd, and Gregory are the best that I have ever seen at the high school level. I also personally think that Weaver is the best guard I've ever seen in central Ohio. Although the others made names for themselves at the next level, Weaver was a very rare, and incredible talent.

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