COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio High School Athletic Association will honor five former Ohio high school greats during the finals of the 2014 Boys State Basketball Tournament March 22.
Recognized during the Division II championship game that begins at 10:30 a.m. will be Jessica Davenport, Bob Golic and Abby Johnston, while Jim and John Paxson will be honored during the 4:30 Division III championship game. This is the eighth consecutive year the OHSAA has selected individuals who had prominent roles in the history of Ohio interscholastic athletics to be included in its Circle of Champions program. The state tournament will be held at Ohio State’s Jerome Schottenstein Center in Columbus.
Jessica Davenport has made her mark in basketball, beginning at Columbus Independence High School. She was a two-time All-Ohio selection and played in the 2003 McDonald’s All-American Game. From there she became a standout at Ohio State, helping the Buckeyes to their best four-year run in school history with a 108-22 record that saw the team win three Big Ten regular season titles, a Big Ten tournament championship and make four NCAA tournament appearances. Jessica became the first Big Ten player in history to finish with 2,000 career points, 1,000 career rebounds and 300 blocked shots and is the Buckeyes’ first player to earn first team All-America and Big Ten Player-of-the-Year honors three times. She has been in the WNBA for seven years and was a member of the Indiana Fever’s 2012 WNBA championship team. Leg surgery forced her to miss the 2013 season along with the opportunity to play in a current league overseas. Jessica earned her degree from Ohio State in consumer affairs and in 2012 has been inducted into the OSU Athletics Hall of Fame.
Bob Golic was a standout football player and wrestler at Cleveland St. Joseph High, where he won the state championship as a heavyweight wrestler in 1975. He went on to the University of Notre Dame, where he helped the football team win a national championship in 1977 and earned All-America honors in both football and wrestling. Following graduation in 1979, Bob spent 14 seasons in the NFL. Seven of those seasons were with Cleveland, where he was a three-time Pro Bowl nose guard and was twice named All-Pro. Following retirement in 1992, Bob has worked as a television actor, radio personality and sports commentator. He currently lives in Solon and owns Bob Golic’s Sports Bar and Grille in downtown Cleveland. He is the older brother of ESPN sports personality Mike Golic, the co-host of the popular Mike and Mike in the Morningshow.
Abby Johnston is an Upper Arlington native. She was a two-time OHSAA state champion in 1-meter diving, finished second as a sophomore and helped the Golden Bears win three state championships. Abby went on to compete at Duke University, where she became the school’s first diver to qualify for the NCAA Championships in 2009. She earned All-America honors three times, was the NCAA 3-meter diving champ in 2011 and also captured five ACC diving titles. The highlight of Abby’s young career came at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London when she teamed with Kelci Bryant to win a Silver Medal in synchronized 3-meter springboard diving. This ended the United States’ 12-year Olympic medal drought in diving and gave the U.S. its first medal in synchro. Abby was unable to complete her senior season at Duke last winter due to a left shoulder injury, but she graduated with a degree in psychology in May. She has been awarded an NCAA postgraduate scholarship and will enroll in medical school next fall.
Jim Paxson was a basketball standout at Kettering Archbishop Alter High School under legendary coach Joe Petrocelli. While playing for the Knights, Jim was first-time Class AAA all-state as a senior in 1975 and helped Alter reach the state tournament. He went on to have an outstanding career at the University of Dayton, where he was a second team All-American as a senior and earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing. A first-round pick by the Trail Blazers in 1979, Jim spent nearly nine years in Portland, where he was a two-time NBA All-Star and left as the team’s all-time leading scorer. His final two-plus years were spent in Boston until he retired in 1990. He scored over 11,000 points during his career and had a per game scoring average of 14.3. Jim has remained active in the NBA. He was part of the coaching and administrative staffs for Portland; moved to Cleveland, where he spent his last six years as the Cavaliers’ general manager, and since 2006 has served with the Chicago Bulls, where he is currently director of basketball operations. He lives in the Phoenix area.
Jim’s younger brother John Paxson also starred at Archbishop Alter High School. He was first-time Class AAA all-state as a senior in 1979 and helped the Knights win the state championship in 1978. John went on to have an outstanding career at the University of Notre Dame, where he was a two-time second team All-American, averaged 17.7 points per game as a senior when he was also named Academic All-American and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration. A first round pick by the Spurs in 1983, John was in San Antonio for two years before spending the last nine seasons of his 11-year career with the Chicago, where he helped the Michael Jordon-led Bulls to NBA titles from 1991 through 1993. John hit the winning 3-point basket with 3.9 seconds left in game six of the finals at Phoenix to clinch Chicago’s third consecutive championship. John has been part of the Bulls’ organization as a player, coach, broadcaster or a member of the executive staff since 1985. In his only year as an assistant coach in 1995-96, he helped the Bulls to an NBA-record 72-10 mark and the 1996 World Championship. Before being promoted as the team’s executive vice president for basketball operations prior to this season, he spent six years as the Bulls’ general manager.
Past honorees in the OHSAA Circle of Champions program have been: 2007-Todd Blackledge; Jay Burson; Dean Chance; Archie Griffin; Bill Hosket; Clark Kellogg; Dante Lavelli (since deceased); Cindy Noble Hauserman, and Katie Smith; 2008-Galen Cisco; Jim Lachey; Susan Nash Sugar, and Bill Willis (posthumously); 2009-Robin Freeman; LeBron James; Larry Siegfried (since deceased); Dick Schafrath, and Mary Wineberg;2010-Howard “Hopalong” Cassady; Jerry Lucas; Al Oliver; Jesse Owens (posthumously), and Tony Trabert; 2011-Harrison Dillard; Wayne Embry; John Havlicek; Jim Houston; Madeline Manning Mims, and Phil Niekro;2012-Barry Clemens; Bob Hoying; LaVonna Martin-Floreal; Butch Reynolds; Dick Snyder, and Gene Tenace, and 2013-Earle Bruce; Rex Kern; Michael Redd; Chris Spielman, and Paul Warfield.
Other awards that will be presented during Saturday’s championship games at this year’s boys state tournament are as follows:
• The 2014 OHSAA Ethics and Integrity Award recipient: Katie Smith, one of the most successful female basketball players of all time. The Logan native and Ohio State All-American completed a 17-year professional and international basketball career last summer. She finished as the all-time leading scorer in women’s professional basketball that includes both the American Basketball League and the WNBA and played on four pro championship teams – two with the ABL’s Columbus Quest and two in the WNBA. Internationally, Katie was part of three U.S. Olympic Gold Medal winning basketball teams. She is currently finishing her graduate degree in dietetics at Ohio State and will start the next chapter of her life with the WNBA’s New York Liberty as an assistant coach next season.
• The OHSAA Naismith Awards, presented to two people for their meritorious service to the sport of basketball or interscholastic athletics: Dale Gabor, one of Ohio’s most accomplished athletic administrators at Cleveland St. Ignatius High School for 25 years before retiring from that position in 2008, and Jerry Sigler, who retired after 37 years as Sylvania Northview’s girls basketball coach after the 2012-13 season and compiled a record of 675-177 to rank third all-time among Ohio’s girls basketball coaches in career wins.
• The OHSAA Coaches Sportsmanship, Ethics and Integrity Award: Pete Liptrap, a head basketball coach for 30 years before retiring after the 2012-13 season, spending the first 20 at Pickerington High School and the last 10 at Pickerington High School North where he compiled an overall record of 406-263.
• The OHSAA Commissioner’s Award for Exceptional Sportsmanship: Germantown Valley View High School.
• The National Federation of State High School Associations' Section 2 Spirit of Sport Award: Defiance Ayersville High School senior Mackenzie Guilford, who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at the age of 16 months and, despite undergoing treatments her entire life, has excelled both academically and athletically while also participating in service initiatives.
• Recognition of special Ohio Athletic Trainers Association award winners: State Athletics Trainers Hall of Fame inductee Michael Medich, who is currently in his 19th year as the head athletic trainer and science teacher at Westland High School in Galloway; 2013 Trainer-of-the-Year Diana Ivkovic, who has spent the past 21 years as the district athletic trainer for the Fairfield City Schools; 2013 Trainer-of-the-Year is Katie LaRue-Martin, an athletic trainer for Kettering Sports Medicine and Dayton Christian Schools, and 2013 Trainer-of-the-Year Matt Root, the coordinator of Aultman Sports Medicine in Stark County and of the therapy services at Aultman North in North Canton.
• OHSAA special Service Service Awards: Farmers Insurance, a core partner of the Association’s since 2007, and to Dr. John Archer and his wife, Dr. Cheryl Archer, optometrists in Bowling Green who made a generous donation to the Ohio High School Athletic Association Foundation to assist in the funding of the Foundation’s Student Leadership Conference that was held last October on the Ohio State campus.
• A National Federation of State High School Associations Outstanding Service Award in Ohio: Al Lopez, who recently retired after 40 years as an OHSAA state and district athletic board member and as the long-time district athletic board treasurer for Northeast Ohio. He resides Leavittsburg.
• OHSAA Media Service Award (Friday): Randy Rhinehart, who has spent more than 32 years of providing broadcast excellence in Ohio professional, intercollegiate and interscholastic sports. His experience includes the Big Ten Network, Columbus Sports Network, SportsTime Ohio, Fox Sports Ohio, Ohio News Network, Sports Channel, SportTV and his career has included play-by-play of the Columbus Clippers, Columbus Destroyers, Capital University, 10 different Ohio State University sports and hundreds of high school radio and TV games, totaling more than 3,000 events. In 2010, he helped establish the OHSAA Radio Network, which has now grown to 36 stations around Ohio and West Virginia.
• Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame: The 2014 induction class includes former Cleveland Plain Dealer sports writers Bob Fortuna and Tim Rogers, former Fremont News-Messenger sports editor Bob Marker and current Lima News sports writer Tom Usher, who will join 50 other prep sports writing greats enshrined in the OPSWA Hall of Fame.