Ohio State Basketball Recruiting Notebook: Scouting Anthony Lee

By Mike Young on March 27, 2014 at 4:15p

With the slow developing tandem of soon-to-be seniors Amir Williams and Trey McDonald, in addition to LaQuinton Ross' reported departure, Thad Matta is searching for immediate help in the frontcourt.  

The ideal fit would be uncommitted, five-star recruit Myles Turner. Just in case that doesn't work out, Matta also contacted forward Anthony Lee, shortly after Lee announced he would transfer from Temple. That prompted a visit to Columbus, which he's taking this week:

Lee will finish his undergraduate studies in May, but he still has a year of eligibility left. Under NCAA transfer rules, he is eligible to play in the 2014-15 season. Chase Senior, who spoke to Lee on his WHIP radio show the day he announced his intentions to transfer, told Eleven Warriors he thinks Lee can make an immediate impact.

"That's why he's such a hot commodity," Senior said. "He's 6-feet-9-inches tall, pretty athletic, can get up and down the floor, score and rebound, he's a solid player." 

As Lee told Senior on WHIP, his decision to transfer is based largely on an attempt to boost his pro-basketball stock.

"One of my goals this year was to play well and, possibly, put myself in a position to play professionally," Lee said. "Because we didn't do well as a team and I didn't do as well as I wanted to, I knew there was also another option with being able to transfer." 

This past season, Lee averaged 13.6 points and his 8.6 rebounds per game led the American Athletic Conference. While those numbers are an improvement over Ohio State's Williams, a closer look shows they're not as far apart as it may appear (glossary via sports-reference.com): 

Season PER TS% ORB% DRB% TRB% blk% TOV% USG%
Lee, 2013-14 19.5 .525 10.9 20.2 15.4 2.7 10.8 23.2
Williams, 2013-14 19.7 .618 12.2 17.6 15.0 8.4 18.8 17.9

Essentially, Lee is a slightly better rebounder on the defensive end, doesn't turn the ball over nearly as much with more opportunities to do so, but, also, doesn't provide the shot-blocking presence that Williams does and can't convert around rim as well. The comparisons continue, according to Senior's scouting report. 

"One thing Lee needs to work on are his hands. There were times when he'd pick-and-roll, the point guard would give him a decent pass and he, simply, wouldn't be able to reel it in," Senior said. "If he can work on his hands and outside shooting, a lot of the schools would be impressed by what he's able to do." 

In his career, he's only hit one of five three-point attempts, but he is starting to extend his range out to the elbow and baseline. It's an attempt to showcase his versatility, showing he's capable of playing a different position than he did with Fran Dunphy's Owls. 

Miss the tournament and this is what becomes of you?
The art of desperation, via @Legit_Lasley23.

"I had a lot of experience playing the 'five' here, but I'm definitely more of a four," Lee told WHIP. "I need to be able to face up to the basket instead of having my back to the basket."

Bill Evans, who covers Temple for the South Jersey Times and OwlsDaily.com, praises Lee's skills in the low-post, but shows concerns over his defensive abilities.  

"Defensively, he struggles a bit as he is thin and, throughout his career, has been needed to play center, where he is a little undersized," Evans told Eleven Warriors. "This season, he picked up fewer fouls, but it also affected his ability to defend, as bigger and stronger players had their way with him – Texas Southern’s Aaric Murray going off for 48 was a prime example."

Lee, who wants to be closer to his family in the Midwest, is also considering Indiana, Iowa State, Louisville and Notre Dame. A week ago, he told InsideTheHall.com he received "about 300 or 400 tweets from Indiana people.”

"I'm pretty surprised that a lot of fans from these other schools are dying for Anthony Lee to come to their program," Senior said. "He's going to be a solid player, but not a superstar."

Myles Turner in Austin

Turner, the other target for next season, is currently on a visit to the University of Texas. 

It's his fifth official visit, meaning it's also his last. To recap, his official visits have been to Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Duke, Kansas and Texas. Recent speculation had him "closing in on an SMU decision," where he took an unofficial visit, but Kansas might be an even more likely landing spot. 

Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Joel Embiid will enter the NBA Draft. Not only would that open another scholarship, but, also, a clear path to the Jayhawks' starting lineup next to Cliff Alexander. In a USA Today live chat, Turner said he wouldn't consider Kansas if Embiid was still there.

"Coach [Bill] Self told me himself," Turner said, "if Embiid stays it's not worth my time."

According to his Twitter account, Embiid said he hasn't made a decision yet. His mentor, fellow Cameroon native Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, also reiterated Embiid's claim. 

In the chase for Turner, this situation is definitely something to keep an eye on. 

Thoughts on Kennard to Duke

In case you missed it, Monday, Luke Kennard announced – after multiple Twitter reports spoiled it –  his commitment to play for the Blue Devils in 2015. 

Since Thad Matta arrived at Ohio State, only three other Ohio Mr. Basketball award winners have not ended up playing for the Buckeyes – O.J. Mayo, Trey Burke and Justin Fritts. Kennard's decision to play for Duke, the only school he took an official visit to, does not signal a mass-exodus out of the state. 

As I've written in the past, Matta relies heavily on Ohio and recruits the state well. The average retention rate for schools keeping their McDonald's All-Americans – Kennard certainly has a chance of being named one –  in state has dipped below 30 percent in the past decade. Even including Kennard, the number of Ohio All-Americans committing to OSU would be 71 percent. 

One way or the other, that figure will include five-star recruit Carlton Bragg (VASJ), the clear top Ohio target and a must-get for Matta. Kennard is a big loss, but incoming depth on the wing includes D'Angelo Russell, Jae'Sean Tate, Keita Bates-Diop, and Mickey Mitchell, not to mention redshirt freshman Kam Williams. 

More Ohio talent can be found on Kennard's AAU team, which includes 2015 Buckeye commit A.J. Harris at point guard, and it will be stacked with potential Buckeye targets. As Birm already wrote, those two will join Kipper Nichols (St. Edward) and Kyle Ahrens (Versailles), as well as 2016 OSU target V.J. King (St.Vincent-St.Mary) on the King James Shooting Stars, this summer.. 

Around the B1G

Michigan State is another Big Ten team still rounding out its 2014 recruiting class. 

The Spartans are digging for underrated talent, as they've missed out on a few big names and sit No. 50 in 247Sports' composite team rankings. Tom Izzo's latest find is 6-foot-7-inch forward Marvin Clark (Wichita, Kan.). 

He's the high school teammate of fellow MSU commit Lourawls Narin Jr., and, according to the Detroit Free Press, Clark merits comparisons to former Spartan Morris Peterson.


Comments Show All Comments

Shayla39's picture

Lourawls Narin, Jr?  I love that name and his name sake I am sure that was give to him.  


If he plays as well as Lou Rawls sang, wow.

+1 HS
Mortc15's picture

I watched a replay of the second half of the LCC-VASJ state title game recently and I was not overly impressed by Bragg. LCC, which happens to be a local team for me, missed numerous rebounds at the end of that and Bragg gave up more than 1 offensive rebound during the closing moments because he did not box out a player who was clearly inferior athletically. I'm sure his stat line still looked good because LCC didnt have anyone who could stop him, but, again, I was not overly impressed with the little bit I watched of him, especially considering that it was a state title game and boxing out is a fundamental aspect of the game.


t-hane's picture

As a Temple alum I have seen Lee for 3 seasons.  He may not statistically turn the ball over a lot but the scouting report is spot on about his hands they are dreadful.  He has good rebounding stats but they could have been so much better.  It felt like he was constantly missing easy loose balls and either knocking them out of bounds or directly to the opponent under the basket for an easy dunk.  Temple this year, due to poor recruiting and injuries, had very limited players and even had to resort to giving serious minutes to walk-on who in reality should have never gotten off the bench.  Therefore, Lee had to play a ton of minutes and also played horrendous defense because he had to make sure he stayed in the game.  

Lee has potential  for sure but I would not say he is polished.  I wish him well but he seemed disinterested this year.  Hopefully, wherever he end up he gets a look at by the pros.  That said Temple had a horrendous season but did manage to beat a top 25 team this year (SMU) with Lee out with injuries.    THs might be the best situation for all parties

moopdawg's picture

Really?  We are recruiting a big man who can't catch the damn ball?  Good Lord, I hope this isn't true. 

Coach Matta, haven't we seen enough of this?

ScarletNGrey01's picture

One thing Lee needs to work on are his hands.

I hope it is not on the same level as Amir, who would have problems snagging a beach ball floating gently up to him.  Amir needs to do drills where they fire a bunch of basketballs to him in rapid succession from all angles.  I'd love to see him come alive in his senior season.

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

southbay's picture

I'd love to seem him come alive in his senior season.

I hear ya, but I think you're more likely to see Bigfoot or Elvis. 

DenBuck's picture

Do we think Mickey is still coming?

Buckeye For Life

MikeEagleBuckeye's picture

I've heard that recently Mickey reaffirmed his commitment to Ohio State.

+1 HS
BuckeyeJ's picture

This is great news!!! I wish his brother the best but wishes he would have stuck it out. Though family health is more important

Seattle Linga's picture

What a great addition he would be..............

+2 HS
gm3jones's picture

So the chance of landing turner is equivalent to me sleeping with kate upton?

There is nothing more remarkable as learning to think better.

+2 HS
tennbuckeye19's picture

Your chances with Miss Upton are probably better...

moopdawg's picture

The footage is limited, but it looks like Lee can help.  He seems to react quickly to the action around him, and that alone would be an upgrade.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AiowQpeF6eQ