It seems that this is the way the sports world works these days: Seasons don’t matter all that much.
For example, so much of basketball happens in the summer now. As it has for Northern Kentucky’s top trio of returning players for next season.
*** Start with Covington Catholic point guard Evan Ipsaro, the lone local player named first-team all-state by the Courier-Journal.
The explosive 5-foot-11 Ipsaro, who averaged 21.7 points, 5.8 assists and 2.4 rebounds a game as a junior while shooting 57.4 percent from the field and 90 percent from the foul line, announced on his twitter account this week that he would be attending Miami of Ohio after his final season at CovCath this coming year.
He’ll follow in the footsteps of CovCath’s 6-8 Mitchell Rylee, who is headed to Miami this fall. Both were signed by new Miami – and former Xavier – head coach Travis Steele.
The Northern Kentucky Player of the Year, as voted by the coaches, Ipsaro led the Colonels to a 30-5 record and a state semifinalist finish in the Sweet 16, losing to runner-up Warren Central. Ipsaro had offers from Bellarmine, Robert Morris, Stetson, Radford, Furman, Youngstown State, and Cleveland State.
*** Going the other direction and de-committing was Holy Cross guard Jacob Meyer, a Lexington Herald-Leader all-stater and Division II Player of the Year in Northern Kentucky whose 38.2 scoring average led the state – and according to Max Preps, the nation — in scoring. The 6-2 Meyer de-committed from Western Kentucky and opened up his recruitment – also on twitter.
The ambidextrous, athletic Meyer led Holy Cross to a 21-10 season and finished with a flourish, scoring 81 points in the Indians’ two Ninth Region Tournament games. He’s being recruited by Northern Kentucky, Miami (Ohio), Bowling Green, and IUPUI among others and is scoring the ball on the summer circuit with high games of 24 and 18 points for the Indy Heat in the Nike EYBL Classic in Louisville.
*** Then there’s Lloyd Memorial’s sophomore-to-be EJ Walker, who started this past season as a 6-5 freshman playing for his dad, Lloyd coach Mike Walker, and is now listed on the summer circuit as 6-7 – and in one report – 6-8. Nothing but high praise for his play in tourneys like the Nike EYBL Kansas City Classic. One of the hottest younger players in the nation according to the recruiting services.
Walker led the Juggs to a 22-8 season with averages of 10.7 points, 6.2 rebounds and 56.2 percent shooting.
*** And finally, in post-graduate news, Dixie Heights’ Kiernan Geraci will be moving on to Thomas More this fall and taking his 19.4-point scoring average, 55.9 percent shooting and 4.8 rebounds per game with him. The 6-3 Geraci led Dixie to a 22-7 season and a runner-up spot in the Ninth Region Tournament. He’ll join Robertson County’s 6-8 Justin Becker, the state’s second-leading scorer at 32.4 points a game in the Saints’ incoming class.
A LAST LOOK BACK AT DISC GOLF HERE: With a successful LWS Open at Idlewild in the books, tournament co-director Jason Kerl of Burlington takes a look at the state of a sport here that many don’t know all that much about. Here are some of the highlights:
*** There are 45 disc golf course within 30 miles of downtown Cincinnati with 10 of those in Northern Kentucky. And soon to be 12 with new ones coming at Devou Park and Fox Run.
*** Boone County’s Idlewild course, home of the LWS Open, is the No. 1-ranked course in Kentucky, No. 8 in the world a year ago and No. 15 now after a number of new courses came online the last year. It’s rated 4.8 out on a 5.0 scale. “The woods and the length,” Kerl says, make it not a course for novices.
*** The average person might come out and throw the disc 150 feet the first time and move up to 300 feet, Kerl says, with a lot of work. But getting past that, to the 400/500-foot mark – and for some of the top pros, 600 feet – is the big difference. “If you can’t throw it 400 feet, don’t go to Idlewild,” Kerl says. Watching the top pros throw the disc like world class athletes competing in the disc event in track and field makes you realize how athletic this sport is at the top end. No. 1 in the world, Ricky Wysocki, says his lanky 6-foot-4, 185-pound frame is ideal for this sport.
*** Except for one private course, there’s no charge to play disc golf in Greater Cincinnati although for the courses in the Hamilton County Parks system, there is a $5 daily parks fee.
*** The discs cost $10 to $25, Kerl says, and as players get serious, “they go from one to 20 (discs) pretty fast” in order to handle all the different situations players find themselves in. Play with a $10 disc and “it’ll get beat up pretty quick,” Kerl says.
*** There are some 70 disc manufacturers worldwide, Kerl says, with 10 or so major ones. “We carry 24 of them (brands) in our store,” Kerl says of The Nati shop at the Mt. Airy Forest course. Along with Florence’s Disc N’ Dat shop, they’re the two disc golf stores that matter most in Greater Cincinnati.
*** The course that gets the most play here, Kerl says, is Lincoln Ridge in Independence, which hosts as many as 300 rounds a day. He estimates there are as many as 5,000 disc golfers in Northern Kentucky.
THOMAS MORE WAITS ON THE NCAA: Thursday is the day when Thomas More finds out from the NCAA whether the school’s bid to return to the NCAA from the NAIA — where it currently competes – has been accepted. And to do so as a Division II school with athletic scholarships after having been a non-scholarship Division III NCAA member previously. Stay tuned for the big mid-afternoon announcement.