Ahrens Continues Rehab, Hopes to Earn Buckeye Offer

By Jeremy Birmingham on March 24, 2014 at 8:00p
84 Comments

Ohio State's 2015 recruiting class took a little bump this evening as five-star shooting guard Luke Kennard, from Franklin (Ohio) chose Duke over Ohio State as his college choice. Kennard, an AAU teammate of current Buckeye commitment A.J. Harris, is one of a handful of highly-ranked players in the Buckeye's backyard. 

Kennard and Harris are two of what seems to an entire roster full of thoroughbreds. Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary's V.J. King, perhaps the top 2016 player in the country also runs alongside them on the court as does Versailles (Ohio) sharpshooter Kyle Ahrens, the 104th-ranked player in 247Sports.com's composite rankings.

 

Ahrens, a 6-foot-4, 180-pound shooting guard, has scholarship opportunities from Michigan State, Iowa, Dayton, Xavier and more. The number would likely be significantly higher had a freak leg injury not cut short his junior season.

"I just came down wrong," Ahrens told 11W about the moment he fractured his tibia and fibula in his left leg during a game in December. "It's feeling better, I'm getting back to 100-percent slowly. I'm going to therapy three times a week to strengthen my hips so nothing else happens."

Anyone who's suffered a major sports injury knows that often times the biggest part of rehab is convincing your brain to trust your body again once you're back to full speed. Ahrens acknowledges that concern but the fact that college coaches haven't backed off because of the injury helps keep his mind at ease.

"(Everyone who has offered) has all said they still want me," he said of how those recruiting him reacted to the injury. "They know what I can do so I don't need to rush it."

Despite there being no pressure to hurry his rehab, Ahrens is excited to get back on the court and hopes to do it soon. 

Not just a jump shooter, Ahrens can finish above the rim.
Ahrens is a knockdown shooter and excellent finisher.

"The therapist said I've got about two to three more weeks of full therapy," Ahrens added about his rehab. "I'm excited to get back to work."

At Versailles, Ahrens was averaging 27 points a contest before his injury and finished his season five points shy of 1,000 points for his high school career. On his AAU team, surrounded by other slashers and scorers, Ahrens focuses less on scoring and more on distributing and defense. As a player who could be headed for the Big Ten, he knows how important being an effective stopper is.

"I love defense," Ahrens said when asked about how much he likes the "other" side of the ball. "That's the one place my dad has always favored and stressed to me. If I'm lazy on defense trust me my dad would let me know instantly (laughs.)"

As he prepares for another season of AAU ball, Ahrens is hoping to see his recruiting ramp up a bit. Coming back healthy and with an improved game will draw him some more attention, at least that's the plan. 

"The strength of my game is my shot," he said, telling us why he's getting the attention he's received. "I've been working on is my ball-handling that's where I've improved a bunch. Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, Xavier, Dayton, Butler and Iowa are in my top group of schools. Only Michigan and Ohio State haven't offered of that group."

The Buckeyes have been in touch with Ahrens, and recently.

"Actually Coach (Greg) Paulus just sent me a text today to check up on me," he said of the Buckeyes' contact. "He told me that they'd like me to come this spring for a visit and check out the campus. I've been there before for a couple games."

Although Ahrens says he'd like to make a college choice by the end of his AAU season (end of July,) he admits that he could wait a bit longer if he's still unsure of his choice. He is sure, however, of what is important to him as he looks for a college.

"The academics," Ahrens said immediately of what's important to him in a college choice. "But, also how I fit in with the program and (whether or not) it's close enough so my family can come support me. (My relationships with) the coaching staff, that is really how I will know how I fit in."

84 Comments

Comments

bergy22's picture

Kid is the real deal. LOVES DEFENSE?! Thad what are you waiting for?

+6 HS
Knarcisi's picture

Wha are you waiting on Matta?  Don't miss this one, too. 

+2 HS
Johnny-Shane_Utah-Falco's picture

I've got faith.

Thad was probably so consumed with game preparation that he was waiting until after the season to fully evaluate top junior prospects. I trust he'll get a better understanding as to what Ahrens can offer. And then Thad will offer.

+1 HS
Bolt's picture

Probably waiting on offering this kid because he was telling Kennard that he was his priority at the SG position and offering Kennard lite (Ahrens) could send the wrong message. Sometimes to land a big fish coaches have to sell out and put all their eggs in one basket. We've seen Thad do it and hit and miss, we've seen Urban do it and hit and miss. We struck out with Kennard, so I wouldn't be surprised to see the staff scrambling for a contingency plan. Ahrens could probably be getting an offer soon. 

+1 HS
Johnny-Shane_Utah-Falco's picture

I wouldn't call him "Kennard lite" though, Ahrens plays better competition...in the end, Ahrens will end up having a better career than Kennard.

 

Bolt's picture

Hope so, and hope he does at Ohio State!

CaliforniaBuckeye's picture

Well that was fast

"The only way we'd get beaten was if we got a little fat-headed, if we didn't train right, if we had dissension on the squad." - Woody Hayes

+1 HS
Jeremy Birmingham's picture

I might've been prepared for that...

Knarcisi's picture

Thanks, Birm. Knew we would need a quick pick-me-up. 

+1 HS
osu07asu10's picture

Still, you never fail to impress Birm.

 

"They don't know what they don't know." - Coach Mick

+2 HS
Jeremy Birmingham's picture

We're going to do our best to ramp up the hoops recruiting coverage. It's a totally different game covering basketball recruiting, but we'll do what we can.

osu07asu10's picture

I can only imagine with the AAU circuit, high school basketball, AND Euro. 

"They don't know what they don't know." - Coach Mick

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

The "circle of trust" is significantly smaller and harder to break into.

osu07asu10's picture

Just have to get you in touch with this guy...

 

"They don't know what they don't know." - Coach Mick

Nick's picture

Any info on why Ohio State doesn't look at African players, especially bigs, there is a lot of talent there. Rick Pitino said if he could only recruit those guys he would. The AAU mentality is toxic and those guys are humble, hungry and extremely hard workers.

+1 HS
Kingbuck12's picture

Well poop we lost Luke 

Kingbuck12

+2 HS
Seattle Linga's picture
+1 HS
c92996p's picture

Totally looks like a Kennard-lite, except this guy is hoping for a Buckeye offer instead of just leading us along

ghalephoto's picture

Thad Matta was told when he took the job to be a consistent winner at Ohio State you needed to secure Ohio.  Trey Burke Mich, Aaron White Iowa, A. Payne, Travis Trice Michigan State, Jackson at Wisc. All Ohio kids that seriously wanted to play at Ohio State. Now its Kennard.  Even A. Craft went to Tennessee 1st.. When is going to be mentioned that maybe Matta isn't the recruiter he gets credit for or his eye for talent isn't what it was.   Conley and Oden are once in a lifetime gets.  DeSaun Thomas isn't coming around again soon.  Obviously just because a kid is a McDonalds All-American doesn't mean he can be a top Div 1 player.  You need to have someone who can get the ones that are and want to be at Ohio State.  Maybe this years class is a change and these guys coming in are just that, lets hope. 

+3 HS
jaxbuckeye's picture

Vile mob in 3...2...1...

-3 HS
Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Tough to argue - but maybe those comments are best served in the forums as opposed to on a story where a kid and his family might read it. Criticism, especially constructive, is A-OK, but let's be cognizant of the impact fans have.

Patriot4098's picture

We should be able to upvote you, Birm.

"Evil shenanigans!"     - Mac

+5 HS
Barnsey69's picture

Yup.

Thank the Maker that I was born in Ohio, cradle of coaches, US Presidents, confederate-stomping Generals, and home of The Ohio State University Football Buckeyes!

+4 HS
buckibri's picture

Sure a few kids have turned out to be solid players for other programs that OSU didnt pursue and it is always so easy to view recruiting in hindsight.

OSU has been on the greatest 10 year run in our basketball history under Matta and staff. Really hard to bitch about the players brought in the program. Not many academic issues, not many off court issues, no NCAA issues. Kids are going to the NBA. Since the early 1960's has there been a better period in OSU basketball?

 

+8 HS
Young_Turk's picture

Did I miss something?  Has Thad not been a consistent winner at Ohio State??????

 

+7 HS
gm3jones's picture

Depends on your goals.

There is nothing more remarkable as learning to think better.

-5 HS
Squirrel Master's picture

So you are saying Matta should have won 3-4 championships by now. Every coach needs to be Coach K or they are just not good enough? that is what you are saying?

forget it! done wasting my time with you morons!

 

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

+6 HS
Bolt's picture

That seems to be what people insist upon. Coaches at blue blood schools recruit top five classes with players from all over the country and don't have to lift a finger. We don't have that luxury. Still, Thad has more consistent success than some of these blue blood guys on a year to year basis. The only thing that can be held over his head is no nat'l title in 10 years. Let's be clear, he would have one right now if he didn't run into a Florida team that was probably the best all around CBB team of the last 15-20 years. I thought we hands down had the best team in the country in '10-'11 but just had one off night. Winning a nat'l  title in basketball is extremely difficult with the tourney format. Look how long it took Roy Williams...and he's had the luxury of coaching at 2 different blue bloods that have had gaudy amounts of talent that Thad could only dream of. Jim Boeheim is viewed as a legendary coach at a fringe blue blood school and has 1 nat'l title in 27 years. Some of these blue blood schools have down years where they miss the tourney altogether and don't even muster 20 wins with ridiculous amounts of talent. Our down year resulted in 25 wins and a tourney appearance. 

+5 HS
tennbuckeye19's picture

Not to correct you, but to further your point, Jim Boeheim has actually been the coach @ Syracuse for 37 years and has 1 title and 4 final fours. It took him 27 years to win a title.

Also, I just read that since 2009 Kentucky has landed 20 5-star recruits and the only program close to that is Duke who has brought in 12 (13 now with Kennard's commitment). That's tough to compete against. I don't remember the source, but I remember reading that Bill Self even said that since Calipari has been at Kentucky, recruiting has changed for everyone, even Kansas. 

 

 

+4 HS
Bolt's picture

Thanks for the correction!

+1 HS
buckeyefan51's picture

Anybody interested looking at a 7 footer that can move and shoot like this kid type in Michal Cekovsky           and watch him shoot and move around basket.He is in the 2014 class 

+2 HS
bergy22's picture

As long as he has a pulse I like him better than Amir. I kid I kid. 

+4 HS
Deadly Nuts's picture

No way we get him with Rick Pitino on his ass,

LEBRON

-1 HS
Raider85's picture

Thad is a good recruiter sometimes too good it isnt his fault kids leave after one season and as far as saying big guys dont develope they would have to stay longer to find out, I wish the NCAA would make it where kids have to stay just like the football rule. 

Raider85

+1 HS
Michsux's picture

Sure hope Thad offers Kyle. Have seen him play several times as his high school is only several miles from where I live. The kid is the real deal. He comes from a great family and Kyle is a super guy. Religious, humble and very hard worker. Prior to the injury, Izzo flew in to watch him work out and shoot before school in the morning. He offered him on the spot. I think Izzo knows a thing or two about talent! I hope Thad doesn't wait too long.

+7 HS
ab1993's picture

I like this kid more than Kyle but that's just me

Class of '16

+1 HS
buckeyefan51's picture

Send Craft up to talk to him.

+2 HS
Ebvine96's picture

With some of the recruiting struggles lately our hoops team seems to be in need of a mark pantoni pronto

+1 HS
Buckeye Chuck's picture

I'm not really sure of the psychology of how these recruits think, especially since I'm sure Ahrens knows Kennard is thought of as the better player by those who do the ratings and presumably most college coaches.

But the text from Greg Paulus immediately after the rejection from Kennard isn't the most subtle move I've ever seen. It's like "If you really wanted to go to the prom with me, why did you wait until after Suzie Bigboobs shot you down?" (Leaving aside that Kennard going to Duke has to be a gutpunch to Paulus personally.)

Izzo was in on him first, and MSU has had a boatload of success with Ohio players going back to when he built his program on the ruins of the Randy Ayers era here. My intuition says that's going to be hard to overcome.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

That text was earlier in the day, when I spoke to Kyle.

Johnny-Shane_Utah-Falco's picture

I get what your'e saying Chuck.

And, if Izzo & MSU think he's good enough for Sparty....he should be worthy of an OSU offer too.

But, even if he may feel a bit slighted for not being the "first coice", if in his heart he's an OSU fan --- that will overcome everything else.

I think the joy of getting that OSU offer, which he says he's been waiting for, cancels out any bad mojo from not being OSU's first choice.

I think this young man gets the offer from OSU and ends up a Buckeye.

+3 HS
Buckeye Chuck's picture

I hope that's true -- again, assuming that he's the SG we want in this class. 

I think there's something to be said for giving a scholarship to an in-state kid who is qualified, and comes from a community where a Buckeye offer is a once-in-a-generation experience, rather than holding out for the 5-star who is going to be harder to land. The Buckeyes don't need to recruit like Kentucky to be successful -- Sparty, to name one, really doesn't recruit like that. I think some of our recent problems have come from slow-playing Ohioans in the hopes of landing the "national" studs who ended up elsewhere, with the result  that we had only 10 guys on scholarship this season. Something like that happened in the early '90s, when Randy Ayers started doing crazy things like chasing after Jason Kidd. He let Ohio slide a little bit, and he never got it back.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

bethesdabuck's picture

Some of us forget that when you have only 10-12 spots and are managing who's graduating, who's leaving early, injuries, and so on you can't just go around handing out offers and at the same time keep integrity with the players you are pursuing the longest. It's a fluid situation and just because Izzo offered first does not mean OSU has not seen Ahrens worth. It's obvious Kennard was a prospect earlier on and higher rated, and had expressed interest in OSU. Would you rather Matta not gone hard after him? Izzo wasn't distracted by Kennard because he wasn't interested in MSU. Despite many years of investment by the OSU staff, Kennard is now off the board and other offers can go out.

Ahrens looks like a fantastic prospect and I hope he gets an offer real soon. While this year's team struggled to shoot, we all know Thad's best teams have had an outside threat or two, and having that is essential to his teams succeeding. Let us not have such short, bitter memories and not remember all the terrific shooters who have donned the Scarlet & Gray these last 10 years or so. I hope Ahrens can be one in the future, and the fact that he loves defense will mean he will probably see more of the floor earlier than even Diebler did. If you can shoot AND play defense under Matta = mucho playing time!

+3 HS
Knarcisi's picture

We need a player like this in every other class or so. Period. From here on out. I don't ever want to see a team that shoots like ours did this year. 

Chief B1G Dump's picture

Amen.

I didnt even need to read past the line that said this kid is a sharp shooter.  Sign him up...he's the Ohio JJ Reddick...only Ahrens plays D.

I dont care if he logs 9832492384 mins a game or 4...we need some microwave type shooters.  Helps that is sounds like he's a good kid and an Ohio guy but we need some outside gunners to open up a whole new world of basketball.

Perhaps even Amir would look better if all 5 defenders werent packed in within 5' of the lane.

+1 HS
OvalBeachBum's picture

My home town is very close to Versailles, so it's actually really cool to hear a small town guy like Kyle is at least getting looks from programs like tOSU.  My brother is actually his age, so through watching my brothers games I've actually watched Kyle personally a few times, and he's the real deal.  Kids damn good, technically sound, and just wins.  Takes games over.

"In the words of the late great Colonel Sanders, I'm too drunk to taste this chicken" - Ricky Bobby

+3 HS
Johnny-Shane_Utah-Falco's picture

Love that he said he likes to play defense.

I think he'd be a future star for the Buckeyes.

+3 HS
Johnny-Shane_Utah-Falco's picture

Trust in Thad. Thad is a great coach.

From 2010-2013, there was only 1 school who made it to the Sweet 16 four years in a row. It wasn't Duke, UNC, Kentucky, Syracuse, MSU or Kansas...it was The Ohio State University.

From 2007-2013, in the past seven NBA drafts, there has only been 1 school who has had at least one player drafted every year. It's not Duke, UNC, Kentucky, etc. ... it is The Ohio State University. By the way, in a few months, that latter streak will continue to an astonishing eight years in a row with at least one player drafted. 

T.I.T.

Trust In Thad.

+7 HS
ab1993's picture

right on, all this bashing is making me sick

Class of '16

+6 HS
gm3jones's picture

He just needs to win a NC.

There is nothing more remarkable as learning to think better.

-2 HS
CaliforniaBuckeye's picture

I wish coach Coombs would go into Thads office and give him a JUICED up recruiting speech. 

"The only way we'd get beaten was if we got a little fat-headed, if we didn't train right, if we had dissension on the squad." - Woody Hayes

Patriot4098's picture

I still think some of our recent recruiting "misses" are due, in part, to staff changes. Give Thad and company some time. There's some young bloods who just stepped into larger roles. Just like Urban, Matta gots this. Be patient, Buckeye Nation; Ahrens is the real deal.

"Evil shenanigans!"     - Mac

+4 HS
Bigbutterbuckeye's picture

Representin' the M-A-C! hehe 

Already been on Sportscenter Top 10 so he should be ready to be a Buckeye. 

 

+5 HS
Chief B1G Dump's picture

Ha, good find.  Boss throw down.

Back in my day, when you get a busch league undercut taking it to the rack like that...you get up and fight that chicken sh!t turd, Bill Lambier style.

+3 HS
DenBuck's picture

Birm any thoughts on his like of OSU if we offer? Of course it looks like we waited too long...It's April and he's deciding in July. 

Buckeye For Life

OldColumbusTown's picture

Being from a similar part of the state as Ahrens, I've heard some really great things about Kyle, both as a player and person.  He sounds like one of those guys who will improve your team both on the floor and off.  Hopefully he gets his OSU offer, and soon!

+5 HS
Barnsey69's picture

He needs an offer, period. Kennard should have stayed home and shown his home-state school some loyalty, but that's just one old man's opinion. Might be the sliding door OSU needed, and Ahrens could be an impact player at OSU, while Kennard has to compete with all the other "5-stars" for playing time at Duke.

F*@# Duke and their weird no-lips coach.

Go Bucks!

 

Thank the Maker that I was born in Ohio, cradle of coaches, US Presidents, confederate-stomping Generals, and home of The Ohio State University Football Buckeyes!

+3 HS
buckeyeradar's picture

He would be a great addition to the Buckeyes.  Can shoot and knows defense wins.  Good article Birm.

Buckeye in Texas

+3 HS
Nutty's picture

Looks like the type of player who will surprise some on the college level. Is Mickey Mitchell solid to the Buckeyes or is his father's health likely to keep him closer to home?

-1 HS
ab1993's picture

He still says he's solid at this time.

Class of '16

tennbuckeye19's picture

Where did you see this?

+1 HS
ab1993's picture

Sorry I saw it a few weeks ago and I can't find the source anymore. I guess you can take my word on it, or just the fact that he hasn't decommitted yet.

Class of '16

+1 HS
bethesdabuck's picture

Do you have a link to an interview?

pdan46's picture

Always want guys who have talent, are smart and concerned about academic achievement, and want to be Buckeyes.  Let's get this kid in the fold!

+4 HS
wyatt's picture

  OSU needs scoring.  Only Ross could score and now he's leaving. The ttun and its sister getting Ohio players.....and advancing in the big dance should send a message.  Now I hate Duke even more for getting Kennard.  Matta needs to step it up in recruiting.  We need a center who can catch the ball and looks like he cares about winning.....not tying his shoes during the game.

-2 HS
RufusVonDufus's picture

Matta will most likely again be a day late and a dollar short in this recruiting war.    What is wrong with the guy?   He must approach recruiting the same way he approaches end-of-game coaching--he just doesn't do it well.

Bucksnnuts

-10 HS
bethesdabuck's picture

I would down vote you 1000x if I could. Did you intend a sarcasm font? If not, these kinds of comments are as tiresome as they are ignorant. 

+4 HS
RufusVonDufus's picture

@Johnny_Shane_UT

Was there four in a row and how many NC's?    Oh?    Outstanding talent can get you there, but then it is more the coaching as the talent is basically equal on all four teams.   Coaching, son, coaching!

Bucksnnuts

-10 HS
jamesrbrown322's picture

All this Matta talk is reminding me of how stupid I thought Kansas fans were in failing to appreciate Roy Williams...same with Self at Illinois. Think those schools were happy to dump those guys, only to see them win titles somewhere else? There was also a point in time that Boheim caught the same sort of flak.

Appreciate Matta for who he is. Look in the mirror and be honest. Who could OSU possibly hire that would come to Columbus and be an improvement. By your rationale, Izzo is also not that good of a coach, because advancing in the tournament is meaningless if you don't win titles...
 

"I can accept failure, but I cannot accept not trying." - W.W. Hayes

+6 HS
Nerkbuck1's picture

Birm, do you think Matta will show any interest in Dartis from Newark if he has a good AAU circuit?

OldColumbusTown's picture

People are up in arms about Kennard... does anyone realize if Thad adds a VERY possible group of Bragg, Ahrens, and Giddens to already committed Harris and Mitchell, it will be one, if not the best, classes in the nation in 2015?

Then, look at the 2016 class in Ohio right now, and it is very possible Thad will bring in a great haul there as well.

The fickle "fan-dom" of Ohio State basketball is unreal at times.  10 years ago, people didn't even care about this team.  Thad starts recruiting with the top dogs, winning B1G championships hand over foot, reaching 4 straight Sweet Sixteens, then has a "down" year with 25 wins and 10 wins in conference, and everyone jumps off the wagon.

People need some perspective.  A kid like Ahrens is exactly what OSU needs, and there's a great chance they can land him if they offer (which I personally feel will be happening soon).  If Thad continues getting classes like 2014, as well as what he will more than likely get in 2015, and the doubters can go away once again, hopefully not ever coming back in the process.

+5 HS
pdan46's picture

I agree 100%.  I wanted to upvote your comments, but I am very new to the site and do not know how to upvote or downvote.  Anyway, you are absolutely correct!  Matta has done and still is doing a great job.  Just because a potentially good player chose Duke and Coach K over us does not denigrate the great job Matta is doing.  Just means we have to find another potentially good shooter, like Ahrens.

+5 HS
jamesrbrown322's picture

Jeremy Birmingham 11W Staff 15 hours ago

Tough to argue - but maybe those comments are best served in the forums as opposed to on a story where a kid and his family might read it. Criticism, especially constructive, is A-OK, but let's be cognizant of the impact fans have.

Did no one read this? It's a really fantastic point. Being a fan is one thing. Being such a critical "fan" that you're detrimental to the cause hurts us all.

O-H!

"I can accept failure, but I cannot accept not trying." - W.W. Hayes

+6 HS
tOSUman's picture

Ahrens is not going to the good guys. I think we're going to be too late to offer (if at all). It just seems to me that we are not recruiting shooters. We are recruiting athletes which is not translating on the offensive end. I have wonder for the past two years why we never recruited or offered the Mathias kid out of Elida (Lima). There is a hard working, smart kid who is a 6-5 wing that can shoot the hell out of the ball. Purdue is getting a good one there and the type of kid I wish we would pursue. 

+1 HS
OldColumbusTown's picture

Same here - I've seen Mathias a lot, and although he may not be a "take over the game" kind of scorer in college, he's someone who will grow into a consistent 10-12 ppg scorer (at least), just because he makes buckets.  He's the type of shooter OSU needs today, and based on the current roster and what looks to be coming in, he'd play right away...

Buckster's picture

Jeremy,  did you ask Kyle the status of his previously broken leg?  Did he injure it again? Is he playing again?

 

-1 HS
tennbuckeye19's picture

No offense, but did you read the article? He talks about his injury and his recovery in it.

+1 HS
skid21's picture

Kennard was never coming to OSU. He always wanted a blue blood higher-profile school. While OSU is certainly among the top programs we aren't among the blue bloods. Kennard was always going to choose a blue blood. I thought it was going to be UK so I was surprised at Duke. He is just one of those recruits who, regardless of other circumstances, was going to a blue blood program. I thought everyone knew that. Seems like Jeremy might have had a clue.

Deadly Nuts's picture

Notice most of the "blue bloods" have a form of blue as a team color. Duke, UK, UNC, Kansas, UCLA.

LEBRON

+1 HS
HoosierBuck's picture

I am getting the feeling that TOSU recruiters (BB&FB) are being reactive rather than proactive for Ohio talent.  That will cost us long term.

frustratedbuckeye's picture

Looks like he is going to be a Spartan.