As a junior, Dwayne Cohill helped lead Parma Heights Holy Name to a 15-game improvement on its previous season. After the Green Wave fell to Elida in a Division II regional semifinal, Cohill took a week off.
Since then, it has been work in the gym and with a personal trainer with an eye on making a big splash this AAU season — and more imminently, overseas. Cohill will be part of a team that includes Pickerington North’s Jerome Hunter assembled by Bobby Kortsen that will head to Italy this weekend for a 10-day tournament.
It’s all part of being among Ohio’s top prospects in the class of 2018.
“It’s been a humbling experience, just being able to say that as a 17-year-old I have all the top schools in the country coming to see me and they know who I am, and being able to bring them in our school and have kids who may or may not have had these opportunities to play in front of them or just see them in person,” Cohill said. “I thank God for it every day. I want to just keep improving and not get complacent with it.”
247Sports ranks Cohill, 6 feet 2 and 170 pounds, as the No. 2 prospect in Ohio and No. 55 nationally. ESPN ranks him third in Ohio and 58th nationally. Both list him as a four-star prospect.
Ohio State, alongside Xavier, has been recruiting Cohill since his eighth-grade year. Penn State and Northwestern got on board during his freshman season, and since then, interest has continued to grow. Cincinnati and Butler visited him Thursday, and Ohio State, Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Vanderbilt, among others, have made the trip to northeast Ohio as well. The Hokies and Bulldogs are his most recent scholarship offers.
“I want something that feels like a family atmosphere, where I feel like the coaches love their players as much as I’d like them to,” he said. “If I have a shot to get to the next level, help me develop to take my game to the next level. Then make sure my relationship with all the coaches is where I need it to be and the academics are great.”
Cohill said he talks with a member of the Ohio State coaching staff at least once a week.
“Our relationship is great,” he said. “They tell me the same thing: If I come in, I’m going to get the ball day one as long as I keep working and improving the way I am. They want to help me reach my goals as much as I want to reach them and that if I come, we could take the program to a whole other level.”
The Buckeyes have three commitments for the class of 2018, all from Ohio: Cincinnati Princeton small forward Darius Bazley, Versailles small forward Justin Ahrens and Upper Arlington shooting guard Dane Goodwin.
Ohio State missed the NCAA Tournament for a second straight season and was not offered a bid to play in the NIT after finishing 17-15. Cohill said the program’s recent struggles don’t concern him.
“I’m looking at it as right now, yeah, they might be struggling but I feel like when I’d come in I could make a difference and turn a program around in a way that helps them improve,” he said. “I’m just looking from last year to this year: Did players improve? Did they get better? And if I see that they’re developing, I know I could definitely come in and help a lot. Winning or losing doesn’t matter to me, really. It’s about how they’re playing and how they’re developing.”
After playing in Las Vegas this summer to close the live evaluation period, Cohill said he plans to cut his list of potential schools within a week or two with an eye on making a decision either for the early-signing period or by the middle of his senior season.
That hasn’t stopped one of Ohio State’s commitments from trying to accelerate the timeline a bit: Cohill and Ahrens talk daily.
“Of course he’s been pushing a lot, especially the last couple of weeks,” Cohill said. “He’s been trying to push Ohio State in my head, and I love it. I tell him, ‘Justin, I love you, bro, and I feel it and everything, but I’m just taking my time.’ Yeah, I like Ohio State a lot, but I don’t want to rush the process or anything. As much as you’re trying to push it into my head, I’m not trying to force a decision or anything. He understands it completely. He wants what’s best for me. We have regular conversations, we have recruiting conversations, we talk about anything."
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