It’s the second week of the July recruiting period, as coaches scoured the Midwest and our nation’s capital to check out the top high school-aged talent.
The Ohio State presence was felt in Milwaukee, at the Under Armour Summer Jam, the Nike Global Challenge in Washington D.C., and back in "Ohio," at the Adidas All-In Classic in Cincinnati.
Thad Matta traveled to all three sites to watch current Buckeye commits Keita Bates-Diop, D’Angelo Russell and David Bell. A few OSU targets were in action, and one 2015 recruit is playing well enough to pique Matta’s interest.
Earlier in the week, three other prospects did more than catch Matta’s eye – they earned a scholarship offer:
Buckeyes Offer Two Guards, One Big Man
Monday night was a busy one for Matta and his coaching staff. Within an hour, the news broke about the three latest Ohio State offers.
The biggest and most unique – because of his name – recruit the Buckeyes are now targeting, is 2014 center Goodluck Okonoboh.
The 6-foot-9-inch Boston native is a mammoth shot-blocker and shows enormous potential because of his athletic ability. Those two attributes, combined with the fact that he once played for Tilton School in New Hampshire, and, especially, his propensity for high top fades, draw inevitable comparisons to Nerlens Noel.
In addition to Okonoboh, the Bucks also offered 2014 PG Kaleb Joseph and 2015 PG Jalen Brunson. Debatably, there’s enough room in OSU’s 2014 class to fit another guard. They’ll need the depth, considering Shannon Scott will be gone after the 2014-15 season.
Regardless of whom they add, Matta will try to bring in another point guard to complement D’Angelo Russell – either in the 2014 class, or the season after.
Russell Shines at the Nike Global Challenge
Speaking of the future Buckeye guard, Russell became one of the undoubted stars of the Nike Global Challenge. He has the award to prove it.
As usual, the 2014 guard poured in buckets in a variety of ways. Russell was largely featured in an off-ball role, with North Carolina commit Joel Berry handling a majority of the point guard duties for their regional all-star team.
According to Rodger Bohn of cityleaguehoops.net, Russell “showed the ease in which he can get buckets when he is playing off of the ball,” Bohn wrote. “He shot the ball effortlessly from deep, kept defenders in the paint off guard with his floater, and established himself as a scoring threat every time he got the ball.”
Under Armour Summer Jam
Russell’s classmate, Keita Bates-Diop, impressed those in attendance at the Under Armour Summer Jam in Milwaukee. His Illinois Wolves team took part in a couple of tough battles against OSU target Leron Black. Bates-Diop is becoming a more complete player:
Keita Bates-Diop continues to impress on both ends. Looks like he will be able to step right in and contribute at Ohio State— Danny Hazan (@DeeHaze24) July 20, 2013
Ohio State commit Keita Bates-Diop has improved perimeter skill set all AAU season. Jumper looks fluid/better off bounce. @uasummerjam— Scott Phillips (@phillipshoops) July 18, 2013
Black, meanwhile, ), meanwhile, told Doug Bucshon of OrangeandBlueNews.com that he plans on checking out the Illinois campus within the next two months. He also said that he wants to take an official visit to Indiana, and has yet to disclose any plans for visiting Columbus.
As well as those two played, they were overshadowed – literally and figuratively – by 2015 post Diamond Stone. The Milwaukee native dominated in his hometown event, including a 31-point, 12-rebound and five-block performance on Saturday.
He drew a crowd all week, including Matta, who took in a game on Thursday. Stone is a big body, and one of the top post players in 2015 – a class loaded with potential at his position. His looks – at 6 feet 10 inches and 250 pounds – are deceiving. As powerful as he is, he still runs the floor fairly gracefully and can knock down perimeter shots.
Carlton Bragg, striving for More Offers
This tweet might have alarmed Buckeye nation, but Bragg is just trying to prove himself to other elite programs and round out his list of schools. Reasonably, the 2015 Cleveland forward would love offers from Duke, Kentucky, Louisville and North Carolina – as he says in this video, from the Courier-Journal (at about 1:04):