Northern Kentucky recently closed out its 2022 signing class with the addition of Buford High School (Buford, GA) guard Alahn Sumler (6-3, 175 lbs.). In his senior season, Sumler led the Buford to a 27-5 record, a Georgia Region 8 Championship, a No. 17 state ranking and a spot in the Georgia 6A state championship game. Sumler rounds out a flurry of recent high school senior signings that also includes L.J. Wells, Cesar Tchilombo, walk-ons Mitchel Minor and Cole Sherman and D-II transfer Xavier Rhodes.
During his senior campaign at Buford, Sumler served as an on-court leader and shot 49% from the field while averaging 16.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.3 steals per game for a program that won the Georgia 5A state title just two years earlier. This production earned him All-Gwinnett County, Atlanta All-Metro and most significantly All-State honors in Georgia, a state recently ranked by Bleacher Report as having the second-best boys high school basketball in the country. Sumler held firm offers from Harcum College (PA), Miami (FL) Dade College and Independence Community College (KS) as well as garnering high interest from a host of Division I colleges before accepting NKU’s offer to join the Norse program in Highland Heights.
Sumler played his AAU basketball for Georgia-based World S.M.A.S.H. under the guidance of Coach Johann Martin, who had this to say about Sumler: “Alahn will definitely have an all-around impact on the court at NKU, with his ability to create shots for others…he rebounds exceptionally well from the point guard position and has the ability to stretch the floor with pro level range.”
As a player discovered by NKU during one of World S.M.A.S.H’s spring tournaments at the Hoop Group Showcase in Pittsburgh, Sumler had breakout performances throughout the weekend that put him on the map of many coaches in attendance. According to the showcase producers with Ryze Hoops, Sumler was one of the event’s standout players at the late-March Ryze 17U Tip-Off Classic in Atlanta, and published a glowing report of Sumler after the dust of the tourney settled:
“Coming off of a terrific season at Buford, Alahn Sumler showed why he’s one of the best unsigned players in the state (Georgia). He averaged over 18 points per game on the weekend, and went over the 20-point mark both games on Sunday. He’s a very gifted perimeter scorer and is a big time shot maker, averaging 2.5 threes per game on the weekend. He also has the ability to put the ball on the floor and create for others as well as play both backcourt spots.”
Producers of Ohio Basketball Live, a national grassroots high school basketball content clearinghouse, observed Sumler at AAU basketball events and surmised that “Sumler is quietly becoming a player that could very well be mentioned among not only the best in Georgia, but the best in the region. He is just scratching the surface in terms of potential and he is not letting up anytime soon.
“He is the ultimate package from the guard position. His ability to score the basketball is what makes him so special. He has a natural feel for the game and makes plays whenever it is asked of him. His ball handling skills and lightning quick first step separate him from many players in his class. He has above average court vision and can see plays before they happen. He is at his best in the open floor distributing passes to open teammates as well as getting to the rim and finishing at the basket. (He) has shown a lot more consistency in his mid-range shot as well as behind the three-point line. He is comfortable playing off the ball and uses screens well to get open and is always in attack mode making it exceedingly difficult for opposing teams to plan for.
“His size and speed allow him to keep people in front of him on the defensive end of the floor. He anticipates well and gets in the passing lanes leading to steals and easy transition baskets. Sumler is the ultimate competitor and does not take plays off on the defensive end. He positions himself well to get defensive rebounds and is not afraid to go in the post and play physical in situations where he may face stronger opponents. His all-around play on the court has not just been noticed by schools in Georgia, but he is trending upward nationally with schools from outside the region beginning to get a front seat to get a shot at landing him.”
When asked what position he sees himself playing in the Norse lineup, Sumler stated he feels what the Norse are getting is a player who is “long and athletic and can help on the defensive end of the court.” The Georgia product allowed that he feels he is preparing to spend more time at the point guard position than anywhere else, and is looking forward to “distributing the ball to shooters and scorers around the basket.”
While his development has come a long way in a short period of time, Sumler feels he still has much to work on with an emphasis on adding some size and strength to keep up with the more brutish play of Division I competition. He added, “My ball handling and shooting can always improve more…but the physicality in college is way different than high school, big guards and even bigger forwards and centers. But I’ve been getting in the gym a lot, I love that we can access it whenever we want.”
Now that the roster appears to be set for the 2022-23 season, Head Coach Darrin Horn and his staff have an exciting challenge of blending in all of the new youth in the roster with some key veterans returning to the mix. The guard rotation in particular may be one of the most interesting position group to watch this season. With fifth year senior Trevon Faulkner returning for another year, the addition of former D-II national champion Xavier Rhodes to the roster and the influx of young guards from this signing class, there will be ample opportunities for players young and old looking to step up and lead the Norse to another Horizon League title game.