Basketball Recruiting Notebook: Grandstaff's Impact, 2015 Class Taking Shape

By Mike Young on May 7, 2014 at 3:00p

Much like the way he built the incoming recruiting class, Thad Matta is off to a strong start with 2015. 

Freshmen Keita Bates-Diop and Jae'Sean Tate laid the foundation for the class, as the two top 100 players who committed a year from their signing date. Over six months before the early signing period, Matta also added Dave Bell. Sound familiar? 

A.J. Harris and Mickey Mitchell committed within weeks of each other back in August. With one Texan in the fold, Ohio State added another, as Austin Grandstaff pledged, Sunday. As we inch closer to the signing period in November, the Buckeyes are still looking for the prize of the class (a la D'Angelo Russell).

Whenever Trevor Thompson is eligible – up to the NCAA to approve his "hardship waiver" for this season – he will take one of the open scholarships. If it's for the 2015-16 season, OSU will have 10 scholarship players, including their current batch of commits.

Bell, a project, and Thompson would be the only big men on the roster. So, with three spots available, Matta is destined to use at least one on another center. Is this an indication of who might be next? 

Just like Grandstaff, Elijah Thomas is from Rockwall, Texas, and they're on the same AAU team (led by Grandstaff's father). If that's not enough to sway Thomas, he has one more Buckeye giving not-so-subtle hints at where he thinks Thomas should go: 

If Matta is able to grab a third player from Texas, Tom Herman might have to relinquish his nickname. 

Options in the Peach State

Regardless of whether Thomas ends up in Columbus, the Buckeyes are still targeting two bigs from Georgia.

Matta recently took an in-home visit with 7-foot center Doral Moore and continued his scouting work on Daniel Giddens during the first EYBL session in Sacramento. 

Both Moore and Giddens competed at the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions, this past weekend in Atlanta. We are in the beginning of a "quiet period," where coaches are not allowed to watch players compete at any location. Members of the media, however, watched the two OSU targets.

Jerry Meyer, recruiting analyst for 247Sports, compares Moore to former Baylor center Isaiah Austin and lists Ohio State among the six schools recruiting Moore the hardest.

Winston Neal, a former college assistant, also wrote about the event for He described Giddens as a complete package. 

"Rebounding – check.   Block Shots – Check.   Finish Around the Rim – Check," Neal wrote. "This talented big man already has a large group of HM programs in hot pursuit of his commitment."

No Small Tacko

Giddens is listed as tall as 6-feet, 10-inches, but that's diminutive compared to one of his AAU teammates.

Tacko Fall, a 7-foot-5-inch center for E1T1, is the tallest high school basketball player in the nation. Among his freakish traits: he wears a size 22 shoe and has an eight-foot wingspan.

Fall, a Senegal native, recently started playing basketball. He has no offers, but he's just now starting to attract the attention of college coaches:


Also, because the Fall family isn't abnormal enough, The Orlando Sentinel reported Fall has a seven-year-old brother who is nearly six feet tall. 

Around The B1G

The Maryland basketball team had already been hit hard by transfers.

Nick Faust, Shaquille Cleare and Roddy Peters already left, but a solid, incoming recruiting class could negate their losses. They seemingly signaled a mass exodus, however.

Seth Allen, who averaged 13.4 points per game while assuming the point guard role for the Terps, is also transferring. Sophomore forward Charles Mitchell is reportedly considering a transfer, as well. 

The 2014-15 Terps starting five could be among the best in the Big Ten, but the team will suffer from a severe lack of depth. 


Comments Show All Comments

BierStube's picture

We could have a whole new reason to celebrate "Taco" Tuesday ... You just can't coach Height or Speed!

"No matter where you go, there you are." B. Banzai

+5 HS
OSUpawn's picture

Anyone else watch those highlights and just think "come on that's not fair"

I believe the SEC players put their pants on one leg at a time like we do.

+3 HS
nrbuckguy's picture

Thanks for the updates! Any word on how Esa Ahmad's recruitment is going? I really want him and Giddens to end up in this class

In Urban We Trust

Posterchild's picture

I'd like to see us take Tacko just for the sake of having a guy who is 7'5" on the roster. Who knows how good he'll be, I didn't see him take one single jump shot, but just tell him to just stand by the rim and swat everything that comes his way.

+3 HS
Deadly Nuts's picture

Or just give him the ball, have him pivot and dunk without jumping.


+2 HS
Bolt's picture

I just wanna see his 6' tall 7 year old brother. That kid must be oozing awkwardness. Like a Great Dane puppy or something.

osu407's picture

Texas Thad? Doesn't sound too bad to me

+2 HS
Bolt's picture

Thexas, more like.

+3 HS

Looks like Tacko can shoot a free throw, Lauderdale was not scoring threat, but he was a rim protector. Id love to see what they could do with this kid. 

Pay It Forward!

irishfury's picture

A 7 year old kid that is 6 ft tall wow.

+1 HS
BROSEPH's picture

Damn, that's a pretty nice frame for a 7'5 kid.  I hope he hasn't had any knee/foot problems, those are kryptonite for a 7 footer.  

mh277907's picture

Assuming no early entrees after this upcoming season, give me a line up in 2015-16 of:

1. AJ Harris/Russell

2. D'Angelo Russell/Austin Grandstaff/Kam Williams

3. and 4. - Any mix of Tate, Mitchell, Bates-Diop, Grandstaff, Bell

5. Daniel Giddens/Trevor Thompson/Bell

That would be a very young team but an extremely talented team.


+3 HS
Ludwig Yards's picture
+4 HS
mh277907's picture

Knew I was missing someone. Thanks


+1 HS
d5k's picture

With Giddens that is a top 5 team.  I think Russell has a shot to be Matta's next national or B1G POY as I do not think he will be entering the NBA until perhaps 3 years on campus.  He isn't the dominant athlete that the NBA often spends top 10 picks on so he will have to develop rapidly and demonstrate a finished product game (play like a Damian Lillard, Chris Paul, etc.) to leave early.  But at the same time I expect him to be a great college player with his skillset and love of the game.

Because of what happened with the 2011 class I am worried about transfers if playing time expectations are not met.  Tate, Loving, Mitchell and Bates-Diop are going to be competing for 2 starting spots and 1 primary wing backup spot.  Grandstaff, Kam Williams and Harris will likely be competing for 1 starting spot and a primary guard backup spot.  So combined that could be 2 highly ranked guys warming the bench.  Hopefully they are patient as Loving will be a junior in 2015 and we could have early entrants at some point to the NBA.

+1 HS
Ludwig Yards's picture

Can't say I'd like to live my life as a 7'5" fella, but it would be fun to be able to try it on a temporary basis.

+3 HS
skid21's picture

Matta and OSU hoops are so underappreciated.

The 7 footer is anything but fluid. He needs some coaching.

+6 HS
Nick's picture

He looks very fluid compared to others that are over 7' at that age.

-1 HS
buckeyeradar's picture

Texas Thad.  I've been watching these local kids Mitchell and Grandstaff and he's got some scorers.  Coach Matta has got some work with their defense, but if we can out score them who cares?  Texas Thad cares. lol

I may not be the sharpest crayon in the box but I'm one of the most colorful.

skid21's picture

Anyone who has been paying attention to Thad's teams know they "play themselves some defense." If Mickey and Austin want to get PT they will learn how to play defense.

+3 HS
d5k's picture

Otherwise they will ride the pine behind guys like Jae'sean Tate who will possibly be the next Buckeye to be constantly called "best on ball defender in CBB".

+2 HS
bethesdabuck's picture

Thanks for the basketball coverage, Mike. Quick question: Daniel Giddens seems pretty quiet and doesn't reveal a whole lot about his recruiting. He has us listed in his top 5 or so. Everyone, it seems, lists us as his favorite, and there have been some recent 'crystal ball' selections for OSU in the last couple of days. What is that prediction based upon? Has he indicated in more subtle ways that he is favoring the Buckeyes? 

+2 HS
skid21's picture

Matta has more 2015 commits than Urban. Wow, who would have ever predicted that?

+1 HS
d5k's picture

Well it would be easy to predict it would happen in the last month or so.  I made some jokes about it happening a few weeks back.  But 6 months ago, absolutely not.

sivaDavis's picture

The 00:23 mark of that Tacko video... dude looks like he is holding a little nerf basketball.

"I've had smarter people around me all my life, but I haven't run into one yet that can outwork me. And if they can't outwork you, then smarts aren't going to do them much good." - Woody Hayes

+1 HS
ScarletNGrey01's picture

Yeah but how does his 3 point shot look?

I hope Tacko is icing his knees every night, that's got to be a lot of stress on the joints when you are that tall.  Of course, hope he stays healthy and plays as long as he'd like.

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

+1 HS
DenBuck's picture

Just think, last Fall, some of the OSU faithful wanted to run Thad outta town!

Buckeye For Life

+5 HS
skid21's picture

Unbelievable. Thad has taken this program to another level. Anyone who doesn't recognize that is just ignorant. Ignore them.

+8 HS
MikeEagleBuckeye's picture

Loving the way the 2015 class is shaping up.  Now give me two of four of Giddens, Bragg, Ahmad, and Thomas, which I think is entirely possible, and I will be as happy as kid in a candy shop!

+1 HS
MikeEagleBuckeye's picture

On a side note, 7 foot 5 isn't fair at all.  I honestly feel like I would get bored of basketball relatively quickly because of how easy it would be!

-2 HS
Waltbuck's picture

Basketball looks to be rock solid for years to come.

+2 HS
weimerad's picture

What I'd like to know is why nobody is talking about Carlton Bragg being a part of this class anymore. I realize that Kentucky is showing more Crystal Ball predictions but is Matta still recruiting him? Or is he pretty much a lost cause now?

tennbuckeye19's picture

As far as I know, Matta and Co. are still recruiting Bragg and would love to have him in the 2015 class. It might be telling though that they have offered Esa Ahmad, who plays the same position as Bragg.

+1 HS
EvanstonBuckeye's picture

I was thinking kind of the same thing, but from the angle of "if we land Thomas or Ahmad and Giddens". Any combination of these players and we'll have a top-3 class. It just takes the pressure off of landing Bragg, though I don't know how recruiting two players very similar to Bragg will impact his recruitment.

+1 HS
d5k's picture

He actually isn't as much of a need as a true center.  But you still take him and recruit him since he is an elite player.  Grandstaff is arguably as big a get as Bragg would be because of need.  And for me, the assurance that Mitchell is still coming makes me feel fine about the 2015 class even if Matta only adds a 3 star center to it like a Dave Bell.  More likely he lands someone like Giddens and I will be thrilled.

+1 HS
tennbuckeye19's picture

A true center is a need, although OSU will have 7 footer Trevor Thompson available for the 2015-16 season after he sits out this coming year. It seems Matta is pursuing both a center and a power forward to finish the class. 

And I think a power forward is needed. Loving will be the only PF on the roster after this year (although Diop might be able to play the position). 


Buckeye5000's picture

I Love the way Russell is helping recruit teammates to OSU.


Keep it up D'Angelo!!

2014 Undisputed National Champions!

+2 HS
CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

In Matta We Trust!

Go Bucks!!

+2 HS
Ball-Z-Buck's picture

7'5 are you kidding me???? Fall is tall we surely have room on the team no matter level of talent for a beginner round baller.

+1 HS
Gcbuckeye62's picture

 Next year, Tacko will do a tip toe dunk, year after, flat foot dunk, doesn't seem fair to pay against this kid, it's hilarious!

pdan46's picture

Thad Matta does an incredible job recruiting great young players.  He does it much more quietly than Coach Meyer, but no less effectively.  I am very optimistic about our Football Team and our men's BB Team for the next several years. Now, Coach Matta, please get Giddens, Thomas and either Bragg or Ahmad and we should be NC Contenders for the next several years.

+2 HS
osubuckeye4life's picture

Thad is doing work!!!