Ohio's Greatest High School Player Ever

Who was the best player in high school?


  • Total voters
    109
  • Poll closed .

CometCountry

Well-known member
Lol I get where you are going. Lol The Middletown Middies still played a tough schedule.
Hey HardCorps---How about these 6 games between Middletown and Hamilton that were played at the Cincinnati Gardens during the Lucas/Middletown 76 game winning streak---most of these crowds were bigger than crowds that the Cincinnati Royals ever got during their time in Cincinnati from 1957-1972. Two different games of the six had over 13,000 fans---Middletown in those days played the toughest schedule in Ohio as my Dad's good friend Coach Paul Walker told me many times as they worked together in the summer at River Downs in Cincinnati.

Jan. 6, 1956

-- Middies Sophomore Jerry Lucas scored 32 points before a crowd of 8,578 in his first Gardens game. In the closest game in the series, the lead changed 20 times before the Middies won, 81-79 on a Lucas basket with 37 seconds to play. Gary (Spud) Hornsby's 30 points was the highest for a Big Blue player in the Gardens matchups.





For Lucas, it was the start of a basketball career that included three-time All-American status and an NCAA championship at Ohio State, an Olympic championship in 1960, and rookie-of-the-year honors with the Cincinnati Royals in the first of his 11 seasons in the NBA.

Feb. 10, 1956

-- The Lucas-Hornsby shoot-out was renewed when the Middies breezed, 87-70, before 13,167, a Gardens crowd then exceeded only by 13,521 when the Harlem Globetrotters played the College All-Stars there April 14, 1950. Lucas and Hornsby had 30 and 29 points, respectively.

Jan. 5, 1957

-- Lucas totaled 49 points in leading the unbeaten Middies to an easy 86-69 victory over once-beaten Hamilton before 7,864 fans. Jay Byrd added 12 and Bob Reed 10 for the winners; Paul Riggins (21), Ralph Brunner (13), and Tony Blaine and Ed Pentecost (10 each) for Hamilton.

Feb. 22, 1957

-- The Middies extended their win streak to 43 games in beating Hamilton, 48-36, as 8,635 saw the Big Blue play a deliberate game. Only six points were recorded in the second quarter, a period in which the Blue's Ralph Brunner dribbled the ball for two consecutive minutes. Hamilton trailed 33-30 before a fourth-period Middies spurt. Scoring leaders were Lucas (28) and Larry Emerick (10) for the Middies; and Jim Lacey and Paul Riggins, each with 10 for Hamilton.

Jan. 27, 1958

-- The unbeaten rivals ranked 1-2 in the Ohio AP poll. The 13,649 attendance was the most in the 20-game series. The Middies won, 64-49, as the 6-10 Lucas scored 31 points while becoming the first Ohio high school player to score 2,000 points in a career. (He would finish his career with 2,460.) Tom Sizer netted 22 for the Middies while Tony Blaine scored 13, and Paul Riggins and Jim Lacey each 12 for Hamilton.

Feb. 7, 1958

-- Lucas scored 34 in an 87-67 win before 10,386 people. Larry Emerick had 18 as the Middies won their 68th in a row. Hamilton leaders were Tony Blaine (17), Jim Lacey (14), Jerry Johnson (11) and Bruce Hunter (10). In six Gardens games, Lucas scored 204 points, a 34-point average.

The Middies in three seasons won 76 straight before losing, 63-62, to Columbus North in the state semifinal game in Columbus in 1958. During the streak, Coach Paul Walker's team won state titles in 1956 and 1957.

Compiled by Jim Blount from the Hamilton Journal
 

cjb56

Well-known member
In my lifetime (which precludes me from considering Lucas, who could very well be #1 or at the very least #2), the best I’ve seen in HS are:

1. LeBron
2. Clark Kellogg
3. Jimmy Jackson
4. Dennis Hopson

Clark Kellogg was considered as possibly the best player in the nation in a year with Ralph Sampson, Sam Bowie, Dominique Wilkins, Isaiah Thomas, James Worthy and several other players of note. For a big man, Clark could do it all. Post up, shoot, pass, handle the ball. We were robbed of seeing him become an NBA all-time great due to severe knee injuries and were unfortunately robbed of seeing him max out his college potential due to the awful coaching of Eldon Miller.

I had to revise my list when I realized I left off the all-around wizardry of Jimmy Jackson. He was a special talent.
 
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HardCorps

Well-known member
Hey HardCorps---How about these 6 games between Middletown and Hamilton that were played at the Cincinnati Gardens during the Lucas/Middletown 76 game winning streak---most of these crowds were bigger than crowds that the Cincinnati Royals ever got during their time in Cincinnati from 1957-1972. Two different games of the six had over 13,000 fans---Middletown in those days played the toughest schedule in Ohio as my Dad's good friend Coach Paul Walker told me many times as they worked together in the summer at River Downs in Cincinnati.

Jan. 6, 1956

-- Middies Sophomore Jerry Lucas scored 32 points before a crowd of 8,578 in his first Gardens game. In the closest game in the series, the lead changed 20 times before the Middies won, 81-79 on a Lucas basket with 37 seconds to play. Gary (Spud) Hornsby's 30 points was the highest for a Big Blue player in the Gardens matchups.





For Lucas, it was the start of a basketball career that included three-time All-American status and an NCAA championship at Ohio State, an Olympic championship in 1960, and rookie-of-the-year honors with the Cincinnati Royals in the first of his 11 seasons in the NBA.

Feb. 10, 1956

-- The Lucas-Hornsby shoot-out was renewed when the Middies breezed, 87-70, before 13,167, a Gardens crowd then exceeded only by 13,521 when the Harlem Globetrotters played the College All-Stars there April 14, 1950. Lucas and Hornsby had 30 and 29 points, respectively.

Jan. 5, 1957

-- Lucas totaled 49 points in leading the unbeaten Middies to an easy 86-69 victory over once-beaten Hamilton before 7,864 fans. Jay Byrd added 12 and Bob Reed 10 for the winners; Paul Riggins (21), Ralph Brunner (13), and Tony Blaine and Ed Pentecost (10 each) for Hamilton.

Feb. 22, 1957

-- The Middies extended their win streak to 43 games in beating Hamilton, 48-36, as 8,635 saw the Big Blue play a deliberate game. Only six points were recorded in the second quarter, a period in which the Blue's Ralph Brunner dribbled the ball for two consecutive minutes. Hamilton trailed 33-30 before a fourth-period Middies spurt. Scoring leaders were Lucas (28) and Larry Emerick (10) for the Middies; and Jim Lacey and Paul Riggins, each with 10 for Hamilton.

Jan. 27, 1958

-- The unbeaten rivals ranked 1-2 in the Ohio AP poll. The 13,649 attendance was the most in the 20-game series. The Middies won, 64-49, as the 6-10 Lucas scored 31 points while becoming the first Ohio high school player to score 2,000 points in a career. (He would finish his career with 2,460.) Tom Sizer netted 22 for the Middies while Tony Blaine scored 13, and Paul Riggins and Jim Lacey each 12 for Hamilton.

Feb. 7, 1958

-- Lucas scored 34 in an 87-67 win before 10,386 people. Larry Emerick had 18 as the Middies won their 68th in a row. Hamilton leaders were Tony Blaine (17), Jim Lacey (14), Jerry Johnson (11) and Bruce Hunter (10). In six Gardens games, Lucas scored 204 points, a 34-point average.

The Middies in three seasons won 76 straight before losing, 63-62, to Columbus North in the state semifinal game in Columbus in 1958. During the streak, Coach Paul Walker's team won state titles in 1956 and 1957.

Compiled by Jim Blount from the Hamilton Journal
Wow! Thank you so much. So you were hanging out with Paul Walker. You lucky dog. I do recognize a lot of the names. I can only imagine The Big O and Lucas working over the opposition.

Thanks, again, for taking your time to post that. I am going to go over it again, a little slower this time.
 

CometCountry

Well-known member
Wow! Thank you so much. So you were hanging out with Paul Walker. You lucky dog. I do recognize a lot of the names. I can only imagine The Big O and Lucas working over the opposition.

Thanks, again, for taking your time to post that. I am going to go over it again, a little slower this time.
I was just a young guy in HS and then coming out of college and my Dad had been working with Coach Walker at River Downs after Coach Walker had retired as Middies coach---Coach Walker gave me a plethora of coaching advice and coaching manuels that he had used at Middletown to use as I began my coaching career--he was a wonderful man and very gracious always. I was lucky!!
 

eastisbest

Well-known member
Five of the top 16 are from that legendary class of 1979, led by Clark Kellogg...but Special K was outranked on the list by LeBron. I concur.
That's only one game. I was posting more as its supports those having Kellogg in their top 3-4. I don't really agree but in the interest of fairness.
 

clarkgriswold

Well-known member
Who could ever forget the Jerry Lucas memory system commercials of our youth. Wish I could find it on Youtube.

Little Rock Ark Can Saw....

AS far as impact in high school, Jay Burson should be on the short list.
 

Irish60

Well-known member
Who could ever forget the Jerry Lucas memory system commercials of our youth. Wish I could find it on Youtube.

Little Rock Ark Can Saw....

AS far as impact in high school, Jay Burson should be on the short list.
This isn't exactly what you were talking about, but here is a clip from a Tonight Show appearance from 1973 where Lucas talks about the Knicks' championship and his memory routine. It really is pretty amazing!

 
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TCSoup

Well-known member
In my lifetime (which precludes me from considering Lucas, who could very well be #1 or at the very least #2), the best I’ve seen in HS are:

1. LeBron
2. Clark Kellogg
3. Jimmy Jackson
4. Dennis Hopson

Clark Kellogg was considered as possibly the best player in the nation in a year with Ralph Sampson, Sam Bowie, Dominique Wilkins, Isaiah Thomas, James Worthy and several other players of note. For a big man, Clark could do it all. Post up, shoot, pass, handle the ball. We were robbed of seeing him become an NBA all-time great due to severe knee injuries and were unfortunately robbed of seeing him max out his college potential due to the awful coaching of Eldon Miller.

I had to revise my list when I realized I left off the all-around wizardry of Jimmy Jackson. He was a special talent.
He was around Ohio until the McDonalds All Star Game was televised that Spring. Then it was whoa holy $rap . That year and crop of HS Seniors was one of the best ever. Would take that Team versus any other year. Clark was real special but not nearly the best HS Senior that year.
 

TCSoup

Well-known member
That State Final with Clark versus Cols. East which was also on TV the best player on the floor in the 1st half was Bo Castleman from East he had 25 by Half and East was leading by almost 30 . Bo ended with around 34-35 and his College career was cut short by a tragic injury. was set to go play for Tark at UNLV .
Story of the game is linked in the RIP Granville Waiters thread along with a snippet of Bo's tragic story.
 

tcgobucks

Well-known member
Of the guys I've personally seen play.....some a lot more times than others....so took that into consideration

1. Lebron - SVSM
2. Jimmy Jackson -Macomber
3. Clark Kellogg - St Joe's
4. OJ Mayo - NCH
5. Todd Mitchell - Toledo St Francis
6. Bill Walker - NCH
7. Jamar Butler - Lima Shawnee
8. Greg Simpson - Lima Senior
9. JJ Sullinger - Northland
10. Bruce Hodges - Lima CC
 

Bball216

Well-known member
#1 is not close. LBJ - hands down. Nobody played against the competition the Irish did his junior and senior year. They played a national schedule in some of the best venues in the country. They took names and kicked - led by LBJ.
 

cjb56

Well-known member
He was around Ohio until the McDonalds All Star Game was televised that Spring. Then it was whoa holy $rap . That year and crop of HS Seniors was one of the best ever. Would take that Team versus any other year. Clark was real special but not nearly the best HS Senior that year.
He was right there with Isaiah, right behind Sampson and Sam Bowie...both skilled 7 footers...since back then the game still ran through the center. These days, it would probably be Clark, Dominique and Worthy as the big prizes.
 

cjb56

Well-known member
Not part of the conversation of best ever in Ohio, but all the talk of great Toledo players reminded me that I recently met a former Toledo player of note that won a natty at Kentucky, Truman Claytor.
 

D4fan

Well-known member
#1 is not close. LBJ - hands down. Nobody played against the competition the Irish did his junior and senior year. They played a national schedule in some of the best venues in the country. They took names and kicked - led by LBJ.
Incredibly hard to compare 70+ years of basketball and find that one guy.

If you consider only the way the game is played today, three point line and all, physical underneath, palming the ball allowed today; you get a very different result as who the best players were vs the much more hands off era of the 1950's.

So if the question was posed "best high school player of modern era" I tend to agree with you on Lebron, but not necessarily on it not being close. However, the question as posed by the OP, I lean towards Lucas.

Probably has a little to do with where you are located in the state. I sit about 30 miles from Middletown so I read and heard much about the play of Lucas. Knew little about Lebron, but did go to UD arena on an icy day to watch him vs. Kettering Alter. He was not the best player on the floor that day, so in a classy move when they gave him an award for player of the game he called up his teammate to the podium and gave the award to him.
 

eastisbest

Well-known member
He was around Ohio until the McDonalds All Star Game was televised that Spring. Then it was whoa holy $rap . That year and crop of HS Seniors was one of the best ever. Would take that Team versus any other year. Clark was real special but not nearly the best HS Senior that year.
This says Kellogg didn't play inthe McDonald's. Is it correct?
 

cjb56

Well-known member
This says Kellogg didn't play inthe McDonald's. Is it correct?
I watched that game as a kid and I’m sure he played. I definitely remember Darren Daye was the MVP and he was on that UCLA team that knocked off the Ransey/Williams/Kellogg Buckeyes.

There were a ton of big all star games back then. Found this one. Interesting the Capital team had the three stars (Lowe/Whittenburg/Bailey) of Jim Valvano’s NC State national championship team.

 
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TCSoup

Well-known member
This says Kellogg didn't play inthe McDonald's. Is it correct?
Never said he did , I watched it live and he had committed to i believe a Ohio All Star Game and back then you could only do so many ' All Star " Games . But after seeing the Level of Talent on display and seeing Clark several times knew then he wasn't near the best Basketball Player in the Country. Talking Basketball Players not Positions. 3 of those guys are in the NBA HOF and if not for injuries 2 more.
 

cjb56

Well-known member
Never said he did , I watched it live and he had committed to i believe a Ohio All Star Game and back then you could only do so many ' All Star " Games . But after seeing the Level of Talent on display and seeing Clark several times knew then he wasn't near the best Basketball Player in the Country. Talking Basketball Players not Positions. 3 of those guys are in the NBA HOF and if not for injuries 2 more.
Not true. He played in several all star games, the McD’s, Capital Classic (which I linked in a previous post where he was MVP) and the Derby Classic in Louisville, which was televised and he also was MVP. His talent level was on par with the heavyweights of that 1979 class and he was right up there with Sampson and Bowie as a prized recruit. There is a reason why he was ranked so high in the McD’s all-time top 35. It’s a shame knee injuries robbed him of a HOF pro career.
 
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cjb56

Well-known member

High school basketball: All-time starting five in each state



7. Ohio, 653.15
LeBron James, St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron), 241.35
John Havlicek, Bridgeport, 131.72
Jerry Lucas, Middletown, 98.41
Neil Johnston, Chillicothe, 91.99
Charles Oakley, John Hay (Cleveland), 89.68
That’s all based on pro careers and even then (like most MaxPreps ratings, IMO) they are flawed to the point where Isaiah Thomas barely cracks the Illinois top ten, behind several good but not great players like Jack Sikma.
 

eastisbest

Well-known member
Never said he did , I watched it live
Oh, ok. I misinterpreted then what you wrote.

He was around Ohio until the McDonalds All Star Game was televised that Spring.
he had committed to i believe a Ohio All Star Game and back then you could only do so many ' All Star " Games .
That link I posted said he was playing his state championship game. cjb56 says he was in the McDonalds. I'm trying to confirm which it was.
 

my2sense

Well-known member
From Wiki:
Clark "Special K" Kellogg grew up in East Cleveland, Ohio, attended Chambers Elementary, W.H. Kirk Middle School (both in East Cleveland), and St. Joseph High School in Cleveland, Ohio, and had a high school basketball career generally regarded as one of the finest in Cleveland history. The highlight was a 79–65 loss in the state championship game to Columbus East that saw Kellogg score 51 points and grab 24 rebounds. His 51-point game is still an Ohio high school state finals record. Kellogg also played in the McDonald's All-American and Capital Classic games.🤷‍♂️
 

Irish60

Well-known member

High school basketball: All-time starting five in each state



7. Ohio, 653.15
LeBron James, St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron), 241.35
John Havlicek, Bridgeport, 131.72
Jerry Lucas, Middletown, 98.41
Neil Johnston, Chillicothe, 91.99
Charles Oakley, John Hay (Cleveland), 89.68
Two points this article raised for me. One, I always forget about Charles Oakley! I don't know much about his HS career, but he had an incredible pro career. Two, I don't ever recall the name of Neil Johnston being brought up in these threads before. So I had to look into it because, to me, the purpose of these threads is to remember players and stories like this. And what a story he has to tell! An All-State performer at Chillicothe, Johnston attended Ohio State where he played both baseball and basketball in college. He was a minor league pitcher before his arm went out, then joined the Philadelphia Warriors in 1951. He was a 6'8" center who led the NBA in scoring 3 years in a row. A 6-time NBA all-star; 4-time All-NBA First Team. And inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1990. His illustrious 8-year career ended due to a knee injury in an exhibition game and he then became coach of the Warriors. His first season as the Warriors coach he had some rookie named Wilt Chamberlain! "Gabby" died in 1978 from a heart attack he suffered while playing basketball with his son. Learn more about Neil "Gabby" Johnston at the link below.

https://hofbbplayers.com/neil-johnston/

These are the stories that should be recalled and remembered!!!
 
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