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