Five area players are headed to the NCAA Tournament

Appalachian State's Deshon Parker plays against Troy during the 2020-21 season. Photo by Jay Crain
Appalachian State's Deshon Parker plays against Troy during the 2020-21 season. Photo by Jay Crain

Five men’s basketball players from area high schools are set to play in the 2021 NCAA Tournament.

All are veterans of college basketball with multiple years under their belts, and all have started at least a handful of games this season for their respective teams, a group that includes squads with national title hopes and dreams of at least playing Cinderella before all is said and done.

ExploreOhio State one of three teams from Ohio heading to NCAA Tournament

Here is a look at the five (in alphabetical order):

Justin Ahrens, Ohio State

The all-time leading scorer in the Midwest Athletic Conference, Ahrens is a Versailles graduate who started 15 of 28 games on the wing for the Buckeyes.

The 6-foot-6 junior averages 6.0 points and 1.9 rebounds in 18.4 minutes per game for the Buckeyes, who are the No. 2 seed in the South region an begin the tournament Friday against No. 15 Oral Roberts.

Ahrens is shooting 43 percent from 3-point range this season and 121 of his 127 shots are from beyond the arc.

Ohio State forward Justin Ahrens, left, goes up for a shot against Purdue guard Jaden Ivey during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Columbus, Ohio, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)
Ohio State forward Justin Ahrens, left, goes up for a shot against Purdue guard Jaden Ivey during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Columbus, Ohio, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)

Credit: Paul Vernon

Credit: Paul Vernon

Caleb McConnell, Rutgers

A 6-foot-7 junior guard, McConnell averaged 5.3 points and 4.0 rebounds in 18 games for the Scarlet Knights this season. He started eight games and also had 28 assists and 27 steals.

McConnell averaged 13.9 points per game at Dunbar High School in 2017 before transferring to Spire Institute in northeast Ohio for his senior year.

Rutgers is the No. 10 seed in the Midwest region and will play No. 7 Clemson on Friday.

Deshon Parker, Appalachian State

A 6-foot-4 junior guard from Wayne, Parker started 14 of 20 games for the Mountaineers this season and averages 1.8 points and 1.2 rebounds in 17.3 minutes.

Parker began his career at James Madison before transferring the ASU after two seasons.

The Mountaineers are a 16 seed and will face Norfolk State in the First Four on Thursday night. The winner of that game will take on No. 1 Gonzaga.

Appalachian State's Deshon Parker plays against Georgia State during the 2020-21 season. Photo by Jay Crain
Appalachian State's Deshon Parker plays against Georgia State during the 2020-21 season. Photo by Jay Crain

Torrey Patton, Cleveland State

A star at Trotwood-Madison where he was a two-time All-Ohio honoree, Patton is a two-year starter at Cleveland State. At 6-foot-5, he led the Horizon League champion Vikings in scoring this season (14.9 points per game) and was their top rebounder at 8.0 per game.

He was also a double-figure scorer last season after transferring back to his home state from Indian Hills Community College in Iowa.

Cleveland State is a No. 15 seed and opens the tournament against No. 2 Houston in the Midwest region on Friday.

ExploreRead more on Patton from Tom Archdeacon
Torrey Patton drives for a layup against Northern Kentucky on Jan. 8, 2021. Cleveland State Athletics photo
Torrey Patton drives for a layup against Northern Kentucky on Jan. 8, 2021. Cleveland State Athletics photo

Credit: Frank Jansky

Credit: Frank Jansky

D’Mitrik Trice, Wisconsin

A fifth-year senior from Wayne High School where he starred in football and basketball, Trice is the leading scorer for the Badgers and their point guard.

He is averaging 13.8 points per game along with 3.4 rebounds. A 38-percent shooter from 3-point range, the third-team All-Big Ten selection also has 112 assists.

The 6-foot senior is a three-year starter for Wisconsin, the No. 5 seed in the South region. The Badgers will take on North Carolina in the first round.

Wisconsin guard D'Mitrik Trice (0) shoots over Nebraska guard Thorir Thorbjarnarson during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021, in Lincoln, Neb. (AP Photo/John Peterson)
Wisconsin guard D'Mitrik Trice (0) shoots over Nebraska guard Thorir Thorbjarnarson during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021, in Lincoln, Neb. (AP Photo/John Peterson)

Credit: John Peterson

Credit: John Peterson

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