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?
the family just committed to THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY dang man you just made this tough on me! congrats! I love ya b @AustinGstaff1— Elijah Thomas (@edotcash) May 4, 2014
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.
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 Hoopseen.com. 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.