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.
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.
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.