E.J. Liddell joined some elite company Wednesday. The Belleville West high school star was named Illinois Mr. Basketball for a second consecutive year. He's just the second player to win the award in back-to-back years. Former Duke star and current member of the NBA's Washington Wizards, Jabari Parker, is the other. Liddell, part of Chris Holtmann's highly touted 2019 Ohio State recruiting class, led Belleville West to the Illinois 4A state championship earlier this month. The 6'7 senior averaged 20.2 points and 9.3 rebounds per game this past season and finished his high school career with 2,508 points.
Liddell and fellow Buckeye signee, D.J. Carton of Betttendorf, Iowa will be teammates next month at the Allen Iverson Classic, to be held April 26 in Philadelphia. Carton, earlier in March, was named Iowa's Mr. Basketball, after leading his school to a No. 1 ranking for much of the season before they were upset in the Iowa state playoffs prior to the state Final Four. The 6'1 point guard averaged 23 points per game this past season and will be part of a new back-court at Ohio State next season which will also include C.J. Walker, a transfer from Florida State who had to sit out this past season at OSU.
Also part of Holtmann's top 10 class is 6'9 forward Alonzo Gaffney, out of Garfield Heights. Gaffney, this past season, played for Brewster Academy who won the National Prep Championship in early March. He will play in the Jordan Brand Classic, in Las Vegas April 20. According to 24-7 sports, Carton is the 28th best prospect in the 2019 class, Gaffney is number 42 and Liddell, 45.
If you want to get a glimpse at the future of Buckeye basketball, I've posted some highlights of each player below.