Pickerington Central’s Royal named Ohio Mr. Basketball


COLUMBUS — Senior Devin Royal of Pickerington Central High School was named the 2023 Ohio Mr. Basketball on Wednesday by the Ohio Prep Sports Writers Association.

Royal, who led Pickerington Central to a state championship last year as a junior, has the Tigers back in the state tournament this weekend.

In the Mr. Basketball voting, Royal edged out Centerville senior Gabe Cupps, who won the Mr. Basketball award last year.

Cuyahoga Falls Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy sophomore Darryn Peterson was third in the voting, followed by senior Dailyn Swain of Columbus Africentric, sophomore Jerry Easter II of Toledo Emmanuel Christian, senior Bede Lori of Caldwell and junior Luke Skaljac of Brecksville-Broadview Heights.

In the statewide voting process conducted by members of the OPSWA, three points were awarded for first place, two for second and one for third.

Royal had 90 votes compared to 87 for Cupps.

Now in its 36th year, the prestigious Mr. Basketball award was first given by the Associated Press in 1988.

It has been voted on by the Ohio Prep Sports Writers Association since 2017.

The 6-foot-6, 210-pound forward from Pickerington Central was rated the state’s top recruit, led his team to the Division I state championship as a junior, and signed with Ohio State two weeks before the first game of his senior season.

Royal is averaging 19.6 points and 7.6 rebounds and shooting 65-percent from the field for the Tigers (23-5), which play Centerville (25-3) in a Division I state semifinal at 5:15 p.m. on Saturday at University of Dayton Arena.

Royal is Pickerington Central’s first Mr. Basketball recipient.

He is the ninth winner from central Ohio and the first since Walnut Ridge’s VonCameron Davis in 2020.

A three-year starter, Royal averaged 19.1 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists during last year’s state title run.

He committed to Ohio State on Aug. 2, and scored a career-high 40 points on Jan. 13 in a win at Reynoldsburg.

Royal became Central’s all-time leading scorer last Thursday, amassing 28 points in a 59-51 regional semifinal win over Westerville South.

He had 29 last Saturday, including the game-winning basket in the final minute, to power the Tigers to a 57-53 comeback win over Olentangy Orange in the regional final at Ohio University.

Royal has 1,504 career points, 43 more than 2014 graduate Jae’Sean Tate.

Tate went on to play at Ohio State, and currently is with the NBA’s Houston Rockets.

Ohio Mr. Basketball Winners

2023 – Devin Royal, Pickerington Central

2022 – Gabe Cupps, Centerville

2021 – Malaki Branham, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary

2020 – VonCameron Davis, Columbus Walnut Ridge

2019 – Samari Curtis, Xenia

2018 – Dane Goodwin, Upper Arlington

2017 – Kaleb Wesson, Westerville South

2016 – Xavier Simpson, Lima Senior

2015 – Luke Kennard, Franklin High School

2014 – Luke Kennard, Franklin High School

2013 – Marc Loving, Toledo St. John’s Jesuit

2012 – Justin Fritts, Mentor

2011 – Trey Burke, Columbus Northland

2010 – Jared Sullinger, Columbus Northland

2009 – Jared Sullinger, Columbus Northland

2008 – William Buford, Toledo Libbey

2007 – Jon Diebler, Upper Sandusky

2006 – O.J. Mayo, North College Hill

2005 – O.J. Mayo, North College Hill

2004 – Jamar Butler, Lima Shawnee

2003 – LeBron James, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary

2002 – LeBron James, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary

2001 – LeBron James, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary

2000 – (tie) Tony Stockman, Medina; Chester Mason, Cleveland South

1999 – Isaac Jefferson, Columbus West

1998 – William “Sonny” Johnson, Garfield Heights

1997 – Kenny Gregory, Columbus Independence

1996 – Jason Collier, Springfield Catholic

1995 – Damon Stringer, Cleveland Heights

1994 – Aaron Hutchins, Lima Central Catholic

1993 – Geno Ford, Cambridge

1992 – Greg Simpson, Lima Senior

1991 – Greg Simpson, Lima Senior

1990 – Bob Patton Jr., Youngstown Liberty

1989 – Jimmy Jackson, Toledo Macomber

1988 – Jimmy Jackson, Toledo Macomber

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