The high school basketball season is in full swing and it's no secret the Cincinnati area is home to some of the best hoops in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.
Who better to know what kind of talent Cincinnati offers than the players themselves?
The Cincinnati Enquirer sought opinions from players across multiple conferences on opponents who were impressive on the court this season.
Check cincinnati.com each Friday to see which boys and girls basketball players left an impression on their opponents this year.
Want to give an opponent a shoutout for his or her stellar play this season? Contact Shelby Dermer at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @EnquirerShelby.
Ben Southerland, Sycamore
"I’ve been playing against him since last year and all through the summer and every time he has gotten harder to guard. With his height and the way he can shoot the ball, he is so hard to cover. He is also a really smart player. He knows when to use his shot fake to get around players closing out and then will finish over someone. The scary part is he will jump with anyone in his way and draw a foul or finish.
"His ball-handling has gotten so much better since last year; it’s hard to stay in front of him. He is moving constantly in the offense, which is the hardest to guard, and if you lose him, it’s over. Overall he is a really good player and a better person. I can’t wait to see what he is going to do at Liberty. I know whatever is thrown at him, he will be ready to do whatever just because that's what kind of person he is. Hands down, Ben is one of the top players in the state."
— Nathan Dudukovich, Lakota West
Southerland, a 6-foot-7-inch forward, has built off his honorable mention all-district season in 2021. The senior is third in the GMC in scoring at 17.3 points per game to go with six rebounds and 2.3 assists to help lead Sycamore to an 11-2 record. Southerland and Dudukovich were the two leading scorers — combining for 46 points and 10 rebounds — in Sycamore's 72-54 win over Lakota West Dec. 7.
Ty Thornton, Indian Hill
"The toughest player we have played this year was, for sure, Ty Thornton. He can do just about everything from driving to shooting. He has a great pull-up jumper and has a quick first step. He can also guard any position and is very athletic on both sides of the ball."
—Harry Hilvert, Taylor
In six games, Thornton is averaging 18.3 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists per night. The senior was honorable mention all-district last year and has averaged double-figures in each of the last three seasons. The Braves sit at 5-5 overall and 3-2 in Cincinnati Hills League play this season.
Paul McMillan IV, Woodward
"Playing against Paul is always competitive! It’s always fun going at it with him because I know it’s always going to be a good one. I’m looking forward to playing him one more last time in high school."
—Aboubacar Cisse, Western Hills
McMillan's success has been no secret as one of the most prolific scorers the city has ever seen. The senior eclipsed 2,000 career prep points this season and is the leading scorer in the Cincinnati Metro Athletic Conference at 29.4 points per game. He's also fourth in the league in assists at 5.2 per night. McMillan has anchored Woodward to a 10-3 record and sole possession for first place in the Red division.
On Tuesday, McMillan and Cisse each scored 30-plus points in Woodward's 79-73 win over the Mustangs.
Danny Austing, Taylor
"One of the best players I have played against this year and over the last couple of years is definitely Danny Austing. Being on the smaller side, it is really impressive how much he is able to do on both offense and defense. He can shoot from anywhere with a very quick release, but can still be lethal on the drive if you get off balance. He is a great team player, too, and makes everyone around him better. I got him on the golf course, but he definitely has me on the basketball court and I have a lot of respect for him."
—Brandon Conner, Madeira
Austing has Taylor on the verge of history as the Yellowjackets (12-2, 7-0 CHL) are nearing their first CHL championship in 30 years. The senior guard is second in the CHL in scoring this season at 20.2 points per game and is third in the league in steals.
The four-year varsity player was honorable mention All-Ohio as a junior last season.
Brayden Robinette, New Miami
"Brayden Robinette is a big guard at New Miami, with good ball-handling and body control. As a freshman, the kid can score from anywhere once he crosses half court. He’s not the fastest, but if you let him shoot, he’ll make you pay."
—Matthew Cardwell, Cincinnati Christian
It's been a tough season for New Miami (1-13), but Robinette has been a bright spot for the Vikings for down the road. The freshman guard is averaging 12.6 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. He had 18 points, nine rebounds and three steals Tuesday night to lead New Miami to its first win of the season — 55-46 over Tri-County North.
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Cincinnati athletes offer a shoutout to opponents who impress, Jan. 21