Ohio head coach Jeff Boals has big aspirations for the Bobcats. He hopes that Ohio will soon hang Mid-American Conference championship banners in The Convo rafters. But if Boals wants to compete in a conference as deep as the MAC, he’ll have to be able to recruit star talent. 

Which is something he’s done quite well during his short time in Athens. 

With the basketball season hopefully only months away The Post thought it would be fun to look at some of the most talented recruits Boals and his staff have secured for the future. It’ll be some time before a few of these players play in the Convo, but their time should bring happy tidings to Bobcat fans. 

Mark Sears

Class: 2020

Position: Point Guard 

Height: 6’1 

Ranking:  4-stars (ESPN), 3-stars  (247Sports) 

Ohio already has a great point guard in Jason Preston, but Boals was wise to find his eventual replacement in Sears. Sears, a product of Hargrave Military Academy (VA), is the highest-rated recruit the Bobcats have had since DJ Cooper in 2009. 

Sears has uncanny finishing ability around the rim. At 6’1, 165 pounds, he’s undersized but his quickness gives him an advantage against larger defenders. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s left-handed, making him awkward to guard.

During his time at Hargrave, Sears played with some of the best talent in the country. Playing in an offense with multiple double-digit scoring threats will be nothing new to him. 

It’ll be exciting to see Sears suit up this season in Athens, but make no mistake, he is the future of the program. Players like Jason Preston and Ben Vander Plas will be who Boals trusts to lead the Bobcats. Sears will provide the Bobcats a bucket and could bring energy to the second unit.  

Sam Towns 

Class: 2019 

Position: Power Forward 

Height: 6’9

Ranking: 2-star 

There’s a lot of talent that comes out of Columbus and Boals has spent years mining it. And he may have found gold in Towns. Towns, a graduate of Pickerington Central, played last season at Winchendon Prep School in Massachusetts to polish his game. 

And that game has got some shine on it. In one season with the Wapiti, Towns averaged 22 points, 10 rebounds and four assists a game. He’s another player that’s going to have to earn his minutes amid the talented Bobcat roster, but Boals is very excited about his addition to the team. 

"We are excited to add Sam to our program," Boals said in a release. "He can play multiple positions and is very skilled. Every time I've seen him, from high school to AAU to prep school, he has gotten better. He comes from a great family and fits who we want in our program."

AJ Clayton 

Class: 2022

Position:  Forward 

Height: 6’7

Ranking: 3 stars (247sports)

2022 feels like a lifetime away, especially with how this year has gone, but Boals is definitely looking forward to what that year will bring. 

AJ Clayton is very talented for a junior in high school. The 6’7 forward who plays for Philo can stretch the floor and protect the rim. In his sophomore season he scored 18.1 points per game and added 8.9 rebounds and three blocks. 

And he’s just scratching his potential. 

It was a surprise when Clayton verbally committed to Ohio. He already had six offers, two of which were from Ohio’s MAC rivals Akron and Kent State, and could certainly see more in his next two seasons. 

Clayton said that the campus felt like home in an interview. A lot can happen in the next two years, but if Boals can keep Clayton interested in wearing the green and white, then the Bobcats will be much better because of Clayton’s presence. 

Jeff Boals has done great work with a team that was mostly put together by Saul Phillips. Preston and Vander Plas will play a large role in Boals’ plans for the near future. But soon, Boals will have a team full of players he recruited. They will be long, versatile and talented and poised to bring Ohio back to the top of the MAC. 

@JL_Kirven 

jk810916@ohio.edu