Centerville star Gabe Cupps enjoys official visits to Ohio State, Indiana

Adam Jardy
The Columbus Dispatch
Centerville point guard Gabe Cupps, here shooting in a game against Mason, has taken official recruiting visits to Ohio State, Indiana and Michigan.

The pressures of being a college basketball recruit never really weighed down Gabe Cupps.

Sure, the Centerville, Ohio, point guard has held dreams of playing the sport at the highest level possible. But whatever that would entail, Cupps entered the spring knowing that he’d go where his work ethic carried him – and he was pretty confident in what that could entail.

“With the whole offer thing, I was kind of to the point where, if I was getting an offer, I was getting an offer; but if not, I was all right with that,” he said. “I put in the work and I worked as hard as I could and I was all right living with whatever that meant, whether that means I get an offer to play D-I or I go D-II or even if I play D-III. I was fine with whatever happened because I knew I put in the work and I tried to work as hard as I could.”

As he prepares for his junior season, that approach has Cupps entertaining offers from some of the nation’s top Division I programs. A member of the reigning Division I state champions, Cupps just completed a week with official visits to Ohio State and Indiana that came on the heels of one to Michigan. Another is planned to Stanford in two weeks.

Gabe Cupps, a 2023 recruit from Centerville, Ohio, spent time with Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann before the Buckeyes football game against Maryland.

He arrived in Columbus last Thursday night and left following Saturday’s football game against Maryland.

“It was good,” Cupps said. “I got to get a better feel for the coaches and players. Just being able to spend more time with them was really big for me because that relationship that I’ll have, wherever I end up, is going to be really important to me.”

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While in town, Cupps said he met with academic support staff, worked out in the mornings, spent time with the current Buckeyes after watching them practice and generally got a feel for the environment.

Cupps said he spent the majority of his time with second-year players Gene Brown III, Zed Key and Meechie Johnson Jr. as well as first-year player Malaki Branham.

“Those were the guys I went and hung out at their dorm a little bit and everything like that,” he said. “It was good. I really like those guys. I hit it off with them, especially Zed. I’ve been talking to Zed since the visit, but I can feel that I would fit in with those guys if I decide to go there, and it’s the type of guys I’d want to be around.”

Assistant coach Jake Diebler has been his primary recruiter. Cupps said he spent time with him and head coach Chris Holtmann. The group discussed where he would fit into future lineups, his potential role and where he needs to improve his game in order to be ready for the collegiate level.

He had similar conversations while on his subsequent official at Indiana with someone else familiar to Ohio State fans: former Buckeyes coach Thad Matta, now associate athletic director for basketball for the Hoosiers.

“He has a unique insight being at the places he’s been at and coaching the caliber of players that he’s coached,” Cupps said of Matta. “He’s a really good resource that Indiana has. He hasn’t been at Indiana nearly as long as he was at Ohio State, but he shared both of his experiences from each school and said he wants the best for me wherever that is, whether that’s Indiana or Ohio State or somewhere else.”

As a sophomore, Cupps averaged 15.2 points and 4.9 assists per game as the Elks finished 26-3 and defeated Westerville Central 43-42 in the title game. Cupps started that contest and played all 32 minutes, finishing with a team-high 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting with three rebounds, three assists, one steal and no turnovers.

Moeller guard Nick Williams guards Centerville's Gabe Cupps in the Division I regional finals game between Moeller and Centerville high schools at Princeton High School March 13, 2021.

Cupps is a four-star prospect in the 247Sports.com rankings. He’s listed as the No. 3 prospect from Ohio, the No. 16 point guard in the nation and the overall No. 88 prospect. He considers himself a true point guard, and that’s the position colleges are recruiting him to play.

“All of them see me as a true point guard running the team and getting everyone else open shots while being able to score and shoot it myself,” he said. “I think that a good point guard needs to be the guy that is the coach on the floor and gets the offense moving and sets the tone on defense. I think it’s a real important position that if you don’t have a really good point guard, it can really hurt your team.”

Since AAU season ended, Cupps said he’s only actually been home for two weekends. The hope is that by taking as many visits as possible now, Cupps will be able to fully focus on helping the Elks defend their title.

Right now, he has no list of favorites or timetable on making a commitment.

“Everything is kind of open,” he said. “I think once I know, there’s not really a set date I’m waiting to commit on. Once I know where I want to go, I’m gonna commit. I don’t think I’ll sit on it or anything. Once I know and feel confident about my decision, I’ll make it.”

ajardy@dispatch.com

@AdamJardy

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