Buckeyes Chasing Okafor, but Have Other Big Men in Mind

By Mike Young on July 2, 2013 at 4:00p

Ohio State remains in strong contention for prized recruit Jahlil Okafor, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a contingency plan in place if they don’t land him.

Every other big man in the rankings is looking up at Okafor

With at least one scholarship left, OSU is looking to add another big man. The amount of elite 2014 prospects at the power forward and center positions are pretty staggering.

Obviously, Thad Matta and OSU fans alike are hot for the 6-foot-10-inch Okafor, whose game harkens back to the Buckeye post-offense glory days of Jared Sullinger. An Okafor commitment would shoot them to the top of the team rankings on every major recruiting site.

However, if he insists on playing with Tyus Jones and, possibly, Justise Winslow, then you can count Ohio State out of the “Okafor sweepstakes.” Duke is the favorite to land Okafor, if that is the case.

Even without another post player, OSU's 2014 class has toughness and plenty of scoring ability. Commit Dave Bell has reportedly grown another two inches, alleviating the concerns about lack of height with this group. Still, since the current roster needs more of an interior presence, Matta would be wise to grab one – even if it’s not Okafor – from 2014.

Turner and Robinson have distinct styles of play 

Eleven Warriors already covered OSU target Craig Victor, a big body who listed the Buckeyes in his top five last week.

In their search for a big man, the Buckeyes have also turned their lonely eyes to "The Lone Star State." Texas will produce two of the top big men in the country: Myles Turner and Elbert Robinson.

Rob Dauster, head writer for College Basketball Talk on NBCSports.com, was in New Jersey at the Nike Skills Academy last week. Turner and Robinson were there, as well, and Dauster spoke to Eleven Warriors about what he saw in those two:


Dauster on Turner: 

“I love Turner as a prospect for all the reasons that everyone loves Turner. He's big, he's athletic, he blocks shots, hits threes. He desperately needs to add a post game, but he's got time.
He's going to be as good as he wants to be, and the thing that I like the most about him is that he's a very, very intelligent kid. Extremely well-spoken. 'Gets it.' Wants to open up a counseling psychology firm when his hoops career is done. I don't think there should be a concern about whether or not he ends up reaching his potential.
The one thing to note about Turner: he broke his ankle last summer and was more-or-less an unknown heading into this summer."

Dauster on Robinson:

“He's massive. 7-feet, pushing 275 pounds, 7-5 wingspan. He moves fairly well for someone his size and his age, too. I've liked his ability to get position in the post, and I think he embraces his size.
He's got a decent touch around the basket and showed off a couple post moves at the NBPA camp. He's got to get into shape, but I think he'll be a good college player for a top 25 program down the road.”

Currently, Robinson is ranked in 66th overall in the 247Sports.com 2014 rankings. That’s not necessarily a knock on Robinson, but more of an indication of how strong the class is, as a whole.

Turner’s rise, to a five-star and top two at his position coincides with – as Dauster said – his recovery from an injury, as well as his high-level athleticism and improving offensive repertoire.

It should be noted that the Buckeyes also offered forward Leron Black from Memphis, Tenn. He visited Columbus in January but looks like a Florida lean, at this point.


Comments Show All Comments

pjtobin's picture

Thanks for the info. 

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad. 

Danify's picture

Cool to hear Dave Bell grow another 2 inches.

TMargo's picture

I think Thad and his crew found a diamond in the rough with Bell.  This kid is a late bloomer and could end up being quite a find. 

Jdadams01's picture

If we don't land another post recruit, I would be thrilled with Bell. But if we can add someone to him, look out. Giving another post to Thad to create competition in practice would only help Bell and whichever other recruit it is.

chowoon97's picture

Thanks for great info!

Squirrel Master's picture

If Dave Bell is a true 6'11'' now, then he should sky rocket up those rankings. He is raw but at that height he is more of a prospect than he was when he was a 6'9'' raw forward. 
if anything, I think he is a slightly less raw Amir Williams. and he still has another year of HS to play. He could be another great piece with the 3 others.
I know Thad and Co. are looking for a big, and Okafor would be sick, but where is the PG? Russell could handle the ball but he isn't a true point. There isn't a pg in the 2013 class either and Shannon Scott will be a senior in 2014. Need some size but also need someone to run the offense. 

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

Would love to get Okafor and hope we do, but both Turner and Robinson look like really good players.  I agree we need to add size to our team.
Go Bucks!!

36buck's picture

Not that impressed with bell to this point. Disappeared in to many games last yr. Hope he improves. 

Michibuck's picture

Thanks, Mike. Much appreciated.

unholy bucknut's picture

Good years to come for Ol' Thad if he keeps putting classes together like this. If he lands Okafor wow lights out.

Edincostarica's picture

Thanks Mike!  This is going to be one heck of a class.