XENIA — One of Ohio’s most eligible basketball bachelors is off the market.
Xenia High School senior standout Samari Curtis became a University of Cincinnati Bearcat Nov. 14, signing a national letter of intent in the high school gym during the early signing period. Flanked by friends and family, Ohio’s No. 4 prospect according to 247sports.com said it was an “easy” choice.
“You know when you go to the campus and it just feels like home,” the 6-foot-4 combo guard said. “The coaching staff treats me like family. Everyone — all the players — they’re cool. I just love the campus, love the program. It’s just an easy choice for me. I want to thank God and my family. Without them I wouldn’t be here at all. And all my friends who supported me and all my teachers that helped me every day.”
Curtis averaged 30.4 points, 5.2 assists and 5.1 rebounds per game for the Bucs, the second time he led the Greater Western Ohio Conference in scoring. He currently has 1,293 career points and needs 109 for the school record, according to a release from UC.
“Samari is a tremendous recruit for our program,” UC Coach Mick Cronin said in the release. “He is a tough, hard-nosed player, who could score over 2,000 points by the end of his high school career. He can pass, score and defend with toughness. Much like (Wilmington native) Jarron Cumberland, it is always great to add a player to our program that has been the best in southern Ohio for his entire career.”
Curtis is ranked among the top 150 players according to Rivals.com and was third-team All-Ohio last season by the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association.
“It is a special day for Samari and his family … only .9 percent of high school basketball players go on to play Division I basketball,” Xenia Athletic Director Nathan Kopp said. “So, for every hundred kids you see, you’ll see one Division-I basketball player and we’re looking at one right now.”
Xenia opens the season Friday, Nov. 30 at Stebbins. No doubt all eyes will be on Curtis, who welcomes the attention.
“I feel like there’s still pressure, I feel like I’ve got something to prove,” he said. “Still show that I’m a good guard, show why I’m going to UC … The recruiting pressure is off. I feel good, I feel really good. The team is looking good.”