Sunday, Apr 22, 2018
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Area standouts: Loving to OSU; Donnal to UM; Brown, Hayes pick Wisconsin

Marc Loving woke up Wednesday morning with the same frame of mind as he would typically have on any other Wednesday.

The St. John’s Jesuit senior got dressed and showed up at school ready for another full day of classes followed by basketball practice.

The fact that it was national signing day for high school basketball players across the country didn’t cause the normally even-keeled 6-foot-8 teen with a silky smooth jumpshot to deviate from his usually calm demeanor.

Loving made it official that he will attend Ohio State next fall by signing a National Letter of Intent. He averaged 22.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 2.7 assists as a junior.

“I wasn’t nervous but I will say that my parents were definitely more excited than I was,” said Loving, who completed the paperwork before family, friends, and media on hand at St. John’s for the special moment. “I can’t say that I get excited over a lot of stuff, but this was a pretty exciting moment.”

Loving had known since the summer between his freshman and sophomore years of his college plans. He verbally committed to Ohio State and Buckeyes coach Thad Matta during that time.

“It seems like I just committed like a couple of weeks ago,” Loving said. “I’m happy to have the process out of the way and behind me.”

Loving was one of several highly regarded seniors in northwest Ohio to make things official Wednesday.

Anthony Wayne’s Mark Donnal signed his letter of intent to attend Michigan. The 6-10 center is considered one of the top frontcourt players in the state heading into his senior season. He averaged 19.6 points and 9.2 rebounds as a junior.

Bowling Green’s 6-8 post player Vitto Brown signed to attend Wisconsin. The senior is coming off a junior season in which he turned heads with his play around the basket by averaging 19.2 points and 11.9 rebounds for the Bobcats.

Brown said he looks forward to becoming a Badger.

"It's very exciting," Brown said. "It feels good to know where I'm going to be for four years in college."

Brown said knowing he'll be heading to Madison, Wis., along with Whitmer's Nigel Hayes makes going to the Big Ten program even more special.

"I think it's really good to be able to go there and know someone else who is going there," he said.

Hayes, a 6-7 senior, is scheduled to sign today to attend Wisconsin. Hayes, who led the Panthers to the Division I state semifinals, averaged 13.4 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 2.9 assists as a junior.

The Badgers already have one player on their roster who is from the Ohio. Traevon Jackson, a 6-foot-2, 213-pound sophomore , is the son of Toledoan Jim Jackson, a standout at Macomber and Ohio State.

Central Catholic’s 6-6 senior Deontae Cole signed with Northern Kentucky. He averaged 13.1 points and 4.6 rebounds as a junior.

Two Rogers players will attend college together. Tony Kynard and Clemmye Owens, both 6-foot guards, signed with Bethune-Cookman in Daytona Beach, Fla. Kynard averaged 13.9 points and 8.2 assists last year, while Owens averaged 18.8 points and 5.5 rebounds.

Austin Gardner of St. John’s and Ricardo Smith of Whitmer both committed to play for the University of Findlay.

Some local top girls also signed Wednesday.

Rogers guard Cha’Ron Sweeney will attend Eastern Michigan. She averaged 19.4 points 5.0 assists as a junior.

Southview guard Lexi Lopez signed with Saint Louis. She averaged 19.0 points and 7.9 rebounds last season.

Bedford 6-6 senior forward Jackson Lamb, who was an All-Blade selection as a junior after averaging 21.8 points and 10.0 rebounds, has opted to play baseball in college and plans to attend Michigan.

Contact Donald Emmons at:, 419-724-6302 or on Twitter @DemmonsBlade.

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