Hard work pays off for Africentric's Dailyn Swain with Ohio State scholarship offer

Adam Jardy
Buckeye Xtra
Africentric's Elijahjuan Burke, left, and Dailyn Swain fight Pickerington Central's Garner Wallace for the ball during their game at Pickerington on Saturday January 30.

The reward for more than a year’s worth of hard work didn’t pay off in the way Dailyn Swain had initially anticipated.

As a freshman, Swain averaged 7.5 points per game as a 6-4 guard for Africentric but flashed enough potential for the likes of first Ohio and then Ohio State to start recruiting him. It provided some validation as well as additional motivation for the still-growing Swain, who added three inches to his frame as he entered his sophomore year. He was hoping for a shot at a state title for the Nubians.

Instead, the COVID-19 pandemic limited Swain and his teammates to an eight-game season that was cruelly cut short one day before the City League championship game, when a positive test forced them to withdraw. But while the year left Swain short on some team goals, it ultimately paid off in a big way personally this Wednesday when he landed a scholarship offer from Ohio State while on an unofficial visit.

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That offer came while Swain was seated in Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann’s office at Value City Arena after having just watched the Buckeyes go through a 9 a.m. workout and before a full campus tour and photo shoot.

“It was really an unexplainable feeling considering I came into the visit hoping that it would happen,” Swain said. “Then when I heard those words, it just made me feel really good.”

Swain blossomed as a sophomore, averaging 17.5 points, 7 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 3.2 steals per game while playing himself onto recruiting boards. In addition to Ohio State, Ohio, Toledo, Kansas State, Xavier, Marquette and Arizona State have all offered him a scholarship.

He's the first player from the City League to earn an offer from Ohio State since Seth Towns.

“We’re really excited about Ohio State offering a kid from the city of Columbus,” Africentric coach Michael Bates said. “Getting an offer from Ohio State is huge no matter where you’re from, but when you’re from Columbus, Ohio, and you’ve got an offer from Ohio State, that is just absolutely huge..”

The knowledge that schools were already interested in him, despite what he believed was a so-so freshman season, made Swain realize that he could achieve some lofty goals if he fully devoted himself to the game.

“I can’t really explain (it), but it definitely is a great feeling considering I grew up an Ohio State fan,” Swain said. “The local team is such a big deal, and everyone is crazy about Ohio State. It definitely made me feel like I’m doing something right and I’m headed down the right path, but it also tells me I could be a lot better and I can go somewhere pretty serious with this.”

He's listed as a forward by most recruiting services, but Bates said he’s a point guard who might still grow another inch or two. He shot 41% from three as a freshman and 40% as a sophomore, said the coach, who described him as a “true playmaker,” who is capable of guarding the 1-4 positions.

“He’s out in those passing lanes (on defense),” the coach said. “He has great anticipation skills. He rebounds. He can score it. He’s a complete player. He’s a two-way player. He’s a joy to coach because he really soaks in all of that information.”

As a member of the All-Ohio Red AAU program, Swain and his teammates have their eyes on a big summer. Playing on the biggest stages of the summer circuit, like the upcoming Peach Jam championship, figures to only increase the attention paid to Swain, who is currently an unranked prospect in the composite database. ranks him as the No. 4 prospect from Ohio in the 2023 class.

Ohio State recruiting:Chris Holtmann, Buckeyes offer new scholarships in 2023 class

More schools are likely to enter the picture, but Bates said Ohio State will be a significant player for Swain regardless of what the coming weeks might bring.

“That offer to Ohio State is very important to him and his family,” Bates said. “It’s extremely important. It really meant a lot to them for (assistant coach Ryan) Pedon and coach Holtmann to take the time to offer him so early in the process. It’s a very strong offer that will always be considered, that’s going to be one of the tops on the list regardless of whoever comes into the picture.”

Swain said he’s looking for a school where he fits and feels comfortable both on and off the court.

“Somewhere I can grow as a person and player because eventually the ball will stop bouncing so I’ll have to be ready for what happens after basketball,” he said. “And somewhere where I feel like my style of play fits and there’s a lot of getting up and down the floor and being able to play with confidence and make a move and being able to do what you want out there.”