After the chemistry debacle that was last season's hoops squad, it sounds as if Matta is doing all he can to make sure that lesson is learned only once.
In the pros, I don't really buy the chemistry excuse because they are paid to perform but at the college level, especially in hoops where the number of players is so small, it pays to have a unit that's on the same page.
We all remember Jamar Butler blowing up any chance at harmony last year with his aloof personality combined with some frustrated comments directed towards teammates he never really accepted. What I didn't give as much credence to is the fact the team never had a chance to form any legit relationships before the season started thanks to various reasons.
Besides Butler's in season exhibition of how not to be a captain, he wasn't even on campus the summer preceding meaning he never really got a chance to bond with his new teammates before practice began. In addition, both David Lighty and Kosta Koufos played overseas.
Hoping to avoid another train wreck, Bob Baptist notes Matta's '08-'09 Buckeyes have been together since summer pickup games with David Lighty serving as the team leader. Sure, Lighty seemed to regress as a player last year but nobody can question his team first attitude and his personality is definitely more fitting of a leader than we ever saw from the introverted Butler.
Of course, chemistry can only take you so far but with a roster comprised of seven combined freshmen and sophomores, it's a good start, especially with the amount of raw talent some of these kids possess. Excluding afterthoughts Kyle Madsen, Danny Peters and Mark Titus, the Buckeyes could go as many as 11 deep in the early going (assuming Kecman is ruled eligible) before the inevitable shortening of the bench as conference play gets rolling.
Understanding they must all put aside their personal goals for the benefit of the team will be crucial to the success of this year's Buckeyes. So what do you think - Is chemistry overrated even at the college level? Further, do you think this team can make the Dance with as many as eight freshmen and sophomores playing vital roles?