AKRON, Colo. — Editor's note: the video in the player above is from April 6, 2021
After an eight-year absence, Ohio's Mr. Basketball award has returned to Northeast Ohio. On Wednesday, the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association announced that it has voted St. Vincent-St. Mary guard Malaki Branham Ohio Mr. Basketball for 2021.
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Leading the Irish to a Division II state championship, Branham averaged 21.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.8 steals in his senior season. The 6-foot-4, 175-pound guard completed his high school career by scoring 37 points in St. Vincent-St. Mary's 72-50 victory over St. Francis DeSales in the Division II state title game in March.
The Ohio State signee is the first Northeast Ohio player to win the award since Mentor's Justin Fritts did so in 2012.
With Branham being named Ohio Mr. Basketball, St. Vincent-St. Mary now passes Columbus Northland for the most trophies in the award's history, which dates back to 1988. Previously, LeBron James was named Ohio's Mr. Basketball in each year from 2001-2003 during his storied high school career at St. Vincent-St. Mary.
According to 247Sports.com, Branham ranks as the No. 1 recruit in Ohio and the No. 29 prospect nationally in the 2021 class. In addition to Ohio State, he had received scholarship offers to play at Baylor, Alabama, Iowa, Kansas State, Louisville and Xavier before signing with the Buckeyes.
A full list of Ohio Mr. Basketball winners can be found below:
- 2021 – Malaki Branham, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary
- 2020 – VonCameron Davis, Columbus Walnut Ridge
- 2019 – Samari Curtis, Xenia
- 2018 - Dane Goodwin, Upper Arlington
- 2017 - Kaleb Wesson, Westerville South
- 2016 - Xavier Simpson, Lima Senior
- 2015 - 2014 Luke Kennard, Franklin High School
- 2013 - Marc Loving, Toledo St. John's Jesuit
- 2012 - Justin Fritts, Mentor
- 2011 - Trey Burke, Columbus Northland
- 2010 - Jared Sullinger, Columbus Northland
- 2009 - Jared Sullinger, Columbus Northland
- 2008 - William Buford, Toledo Libbey
- 2007 - Jon Diebler, Upper Sandusky
- 2006 - O.J. Mayo, North College Hill
- 2005 - O.J. Mayo, North College Hill
- 2004 - Jamar Butler, Lima Shawnee
- 2003 - LeBron James, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary
- 2002 - LeBron James, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary
- 2001 - LeBron James, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary
- 2000 - (tie) Tony Stockman, Medina; Chester Mason, Cleveland South
- 1999 - Isaac Jefferson, Columbus West
- 1998 - William "Sonny" Johnson, Garfield Heights
- 1997 - Kenny Gregory, Independence
- 1996 - Jason Collier, Springfield Catholic
- 1995 - Damon Stringer, Cleveland Heights
- 1994 - Aaron Hutchins, Lima Central Catholic
- 1993 - Geno Ford, Cambridge
- 1992 - Greg Simpson, Lima Senior
- 1991 - Greg Simpson, Lima Senior
- 1990 - Bob Patton Jr., Youngstown Liberty
- 1989 - Jimmy Jackson, Toledo Macomber
- 1988 - Jimmy Jackson, Toledo Macomber