Just a rugged looking kid out of Toledo, Ohio, William Buford made his commitment to play basketball for The Ohio State University as a part of the class of 2008. In an era of "one-and-dones" and early departures to the NBA, William Buford stood out as a special kind of player and person.
Its been quite a run with Willie B. After a stellar freshman season in 2008, Buckeye fans began to look forward to him and Evan Turner running the show for the next couple of years. He went on to be a perrenial starter for the rest of his career, on teams that had stars such as Evan Turner, David Lighty, Jon Diebler, and Jared Sullinger. In fact, he was more than just a starter, he was a signifact contributer on every team he played for, averaging 14+ points per game every season after his freshman year (and about 11 points per game his freshman year.) William went on to become the fourth best scorer in Ohio State history, something I think many of our fans don't appreciate enough.
A different kind of perspective on Buford began to emerge, though, after last year's Sweet 16 loss to Kentucky. Fans singled out his 2-16 performance as the reason such a talented bunch of Buckeyes were going home so early in the year. This perspective carried over to this season, as Buford (unfairly) became the scapegoat for all of this year's team's problems. People called him out for not being the senior leader he should be, despite not even knowing the truth about what was going on behind the scenes. His great career was overshadowed this year by a bunch of keyboards, and what a shame that is. As this season comes to end, I am forced to turn in my "ultimate defender of Willie Buford" card, but we had a good run, Willie. In poetic fashion, Willie Buford is perhaps the only player not being blamed for the loss to Kansas, which eliminated the Buckeyes from the NCAA tournament just as the loss to Kentucky did last year. I thank William for his incredible run as a Buckeye and for all of his amazing contributions to this program. I hope Willie is glad that he came to Ohio State and stayed he for four years, but I could never blame him if he's not based on the way he's been treated by our "fans."