Ohio State Basketball Recruiting Notebook: 8/20

By Mike Young on August 20, 2013 at 7:00p
Tate's best trait is his physical play. 

The school year is just beginning and most basketball activity has temporarily halted, but that isn’t keeping recruits off the road.

Two highly-ranked prospects in the next two classes reportedly visited Ohio State over the weekend, one of which is related to a current Buckeye football player.

Several other OSU targets are in the process of visiting and setting up visits at other schools.

Meanwhile not all action on the court has stopped.  Three Ohio State commits traveled to Columbus and competed in open gym scrimmages – the Eleven Warriors recruiting team was there to witness the action.

Bell, Harris and Tate In Action

After a solid summer of continuous basketball action, maybe some of these guys would take a weekend off, before the school year starts. Not Dave Bell, A.J. Harris and Jae’Sean Tate.

The three Buckeye commits were among the top tier Ohio prospects at Victor Dandridge’s open gym, Saturday. Considering Bell’s presence and the talent on his squad, I spent a majority of my time watching the Cleveland-area team (no hometown bias, I swear).

Their frontline consisted of Garfield Heights’ Bell and Shaker Heights 2015 forward Esa Ahmad – no other squad could compete with that size. Bell brought the pure height, at 6 feet 11 inches, while Ahmad’s physicality and perimeter skills wore down opponents.

Bell shows potential, but is a project.  

I didn’t see a wide range of offensive moves from Bell – he had major difficulties finishing in traffic and around the rim. The open gym setting isn’t necessarily conducive to getting a post player involved.  Still, I wonder if he’s still adjusting to his newfound height. Maybe he just had an off night on that end. I hope he adds a few pounds of muscle and a midrange game to compliment his athleticism.

To his credit, he runs the floor well for his size and was a major factor on the defensive side. He did a solid job of jumping out on the perimeter to contest jump shots and using his long arms to keep rebounds alive.

Meanwhile, Tate was probably the most impressive player I saw.  Even though he ran with Pickerington Central teammate and 2016 point guard D.J. Tyree, Tate took on a majority of the ball handling duties.

This allowed the defense to load up and attempt to stop him by completely mauling him. He saw triple teams on a couple of possessions.
Tate also wasn’t afraid to take a jump shot, although he was even less afraid to take contact. Seemingly every trip down the floor, he got shoved – or, more aptly, shrugged it off and bowled into his defender. Off the ball, I saw him set a number of vicious screens.

The 2014 commit extended his physical play to the defensive end, as well. Tate went one-on-one with Bell a few times. Despite the obvious height difference, the 6-foot-4-inch Tate held his ground on the block. His ability to box out for rebounds didn’t go unnoticed, either.

Lastly, I caught 2015 commit A.J. Harris at the tail end of the session. A high-energy point guard, Harris looked exhausted after two straight hours of play. That didn’t stop him from making a few ridiculous plays.

On one possession, Harris picked up his man at half court, stripped him of the ball, drove down the floor, faked a behind the back pass with his left hand and then went in for a lay-up.

The Dayton Dunbar guard is gifted with the ball and pulled off a number of nifty passes. Seemed like he was toying with his defenders, at times.

Russell and Mitchell Reportedly Visit Columbus

Another Buckeye commit reportedly travelled to Ohio’s capital city over the weekend.

Louisville native D’Angelo Russell tweeted, Aug. 12, "Taking another Trip to Ohio State Sunday. Show me love." That Sunday, he followed up by tweeting, "I love Ostate. Great Coaching staff, great place all around."

Using detective instincts and Twitter stalking skills, we can glean a few things from Mickey Mitchell’s tweet:

The 2015 forward is Ohio State linebacker Mike Mitchell’s brother. Under Thad Matta, the Buckeyes have not landed a recruit from Texas, but the familial connection will certainly help.

Mitchell was also a talented quarterback, but will reportedly focus on basketball after suffering a major knee injury on the gridiron. Before last year’s basketball season even began, Mitchell tore an ACL. It prevented him from playing football, basketball and all the AAU basketball summer activities.

Hopefully, he returns to form because he has some of the best mixtape material around:

Notes On Other Buckeye Prospects

Matta is still searching for someone to fill out OSU’s 2014 class, preferably with an elite center. Good news is, Ohio State one of the final five schools for – possibly – the nation’s best shot-blocker:

The 6-foot-9-inch big man is still raw offensively, but scouts rave about his defensive instincts. Those are why he draws comparisons to Nerlens Noel – other reasons: they played together in high school and AAU. Plus, both Noel and Okonoboh are fond of high-top fades.

Currently, Okonoboh has no future visits planned.

The Buckeyes are also in the hunt for 2015 wing Malachi Richardson:

Richardson spoke to Tar Heel Illustrated about making cuts.

"I think I had a pretty good base on who I wanted to really recruit me," he said. "So, I trimmed the list."

He will be in Bloomington, Ind., this weekend and plans on visiting Columbus next month.

[Tate image courtesy of Slam Online]

[Bell image courtesy of Dayton Daily News]


Comments Show All Comments

DenBuck's picture

Do you think Bell projects to be better than Amir? Blow me up if you will but Amir is a freakin' stiff!

Buckeye For Life

westlaneavenue's picture

Williams is a total bust.  Can't catch.  Can't pass.  Michigan and Michigan State dodged a bullet not getting him.  We need a replacement quickly.

captain obvious's picture

Amir is going to have a big year it takes big men time to develop.

I'm a friend of thunder is it any wonder lightning strikes me

buckeyeboy31's picture

being physical and aggressive, and playing with some sort of emotion, is something that should not need to be developed

hetuck's picture

First name escapes me, but Brown from the late 80's was from Texas.

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Vince Lombardi

Mike Young's picture

Jamaal Brown? I should clarify... *under Thad Matta*

hetuck's picture

Correct. Drew a blank on Jamaal. Also Ricky Dudley.

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Vince Lombardi

westlaneavenue's picture

One of the problems with recruiting big men to OSU now... yes, Matta has produced a lot of college stars... buy they're not panning out as pros.  Oden would have been a top 10 center had he stayed healthy, but Sully isn't an impact player in the NBA, nor is Mullens, Koufos et al.  They haven't shown the ability to develop really high level pros -- now that the sample size is larger this might be impacting the recruiting a bit.

ODEEZ330's picture

Sully would of been all rookie had he been healthy all yr. Mullens is solid and has one of the best touches in the nba for a 7 footer and had good stats and starts. Koufos also is solid and is a great rotation player and if javale mcgee wasn't a freak of an athlete kouf would be making a lot more noise. All these guys were 1st rd picks also so I def disagree with ur argument

stark county football

Orlando Pancakes's picture

Not to be a grammar Nazi but it's would have, not would of. A lot of people hear would've and think that it's would of. Sorry, I'm not trying to be a dick but it's similar to when you have something in your teeth; you want someone to tell you. Anyways, I completely agree with you on Mullens and Koufos. Also I think Sully will really fill a big need on the Celtics now that they have traded away most of their stars.

13THandSummit's picture

Who are the dominant big men in the NBA? Howard (High School), Chandler (High School), Varejao (International), Jefferson (High School), Gasol's (International), Cousins (Kentucky), Horford (Florida), Lopez (Stanford), Hibbert (Georgetown), Noah (Florida), Duncan (Wake Forest), etc. No Duke, Kansas, Syracuse, UNC, and the one from Kentucky is a head case. No school consistently puts productive big men in the league besides Florida if you throw in David Lee. Texas has been decent in this area as well, but the big men we're going for don't have them on their list I believe.

tennbuckeye19's picture

I don't blame Matta. Kinda hard to "develop" a player in only one year (or in Sullinger's case 2) in a program. Not to mention, Oden wasn't healthy the whole season he played in Columbus and Koufus and Mullens played their year at OSU with one foot out the door.

buckeyeboy31's picture

Oden hasn't been healthy enough to truly develop into what he could be.....Mullens and Koufos had no business going pro after 1 year, but it is what it is and Matta should bear no responsibility in their decisions, which ultimately has affected their development

tennbuckeye19's picture

Thanks for the updates on b-ball, Mike. Nice work as always.

CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

Great article Mike!  I like Bell a lot and hope we get him.  My cousin saw him play and was very impressed.  Seems like to have big time D1 potential. 
Go Bucks!

OSUNuge's picture

Does anyone know if Mickey Mitchell has a jumper to complement the ridiculous athleticism he demonstrated on that mixtape? 

Jordan Wagner's picture

ESPN scouting report:

"He is a decent three point shoot when he feet are set and he is in rhythm."

Future150 scouting report: 

"He shoots the ball well from the 3-point line." and "Needs to add a 1 and 2 dribble mid-range jump shot."

BayArea_Buckeye's picture

Mickey Mitchell is insane. 
I didn't see him shoot in that video, but he can take it to the hole, he can dish, and he seems like a formidable shot blocker. Impressive. 

oregonianbuckeye's picture

Wow, those Mickey Mitchell highlights are pretty sweet. These were from his sophomore season? Holy athletic. 

raiderred's picture

I think his freshmen year which is more impressive

Mike Young's picture


Correct... Tore his ACL playing football during his sophomore year, missed basketball season entirely

chowoon97's picture

With D'angelo Russell and Mickey Mitchell, we can really enjoy a showtime basketball. 

zbd's picture

Mickey Mitchell (6'7" forward) won the Texas state 5A championship. He is better right now than Amir Williams and Trey McDonald. Best passing big man I've seen in a while.

1967Buck's picture

  While watching Mickey Mitchell tape, I thought of Bird. His passing alone made me say WOW. When its all done and said, he will be a Buckeye. Peace and go Bucks.

TheBadOwl's picture

Absolutely insane passing ability, vision, athleticism, and a decent jumper. Really hope we get this kid.

When I walked in this morning and saw the flag was at half mast I thought, "Alright, another bureaucrat ate it." but then I saw it was Li'l Sebastian. Half mast is too high. Show some damn respect.

Mirror Lake Jump's picture

Holy white boy athletic. Get Micky Mitchell in a uniform ASAP.

1967Buck's picture

  I wonder, is he still growing? Go Bucks.

ScarletNGrey01's picture

The Mickey Mitchell mix is SICK!  Wow, as a certain annoying announcer might say, that diaper dandy is on the all windex team, that high riser can really dish the rock!  Sorry about that.  Anyway ... hope the young man has a complete recovery from his ACL injury regardless of where he ends up ... but would be cool if he could join his brother in c-bus.

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

buckskin's picture

Check out how high Mickey gets at .07 of that video, as he jams over that dude.  His passing also reminded me a Bird.

mh277907's picture

D Russell, Aj Harris, Jae'Sean Tate, and Mickey Mitchell- all lefties... Is that just a coincidence? Between playing basketball and watching basketball all my life, I have always felt that lefties have a natural advantage since defenders are not used to going against left handed players.


Hayesedandconfused's picture

Mickey Mitchell can flat out ball.

TraptnMI's picture

After watching Mickey's sick trip down the court, I'm craving me some white chocolate. Most impressive. I'm in!

" It's real good whatcha done Anthony, real good ! "