Thad Matta and his staff have put together a strong 2015 recruiting class, but it might be hurting their efforts with the following year.
Within the last week, two of the top Ohio prospects in the class of 2016 committed to schools outside of the state. Jon Teske, a three-star center from Medina, pledged to Michigan, Thursday. Teske was a Buckeye target and received a Buckeye offer in June.
Teske's AAU coach described him as someone who can develop into a prototypical John Beilein big man.
"He's definitely athletic enough, can run the floor well enough, he's got a pretty good shot, especially within about 15 feet," Team Work coach Dave Logan told Eleven Warriors, in June. "I'm sure, as he gets a little bit older and stronger, he'll be able to expand that out to the three-point line. He's got a terrific release on the ball."
Teske attended Michigan camps and never really proclaimed Ohio State as a favorite. That's what makes Gahanna Lincoln forward Matthew Moyer a more interesting case.
Saturday, Moyer committed to Syracuse. Naturally, because he is from the Columbus area, there is a rush to figure out how he could possibly escape the grasp and lure of the Buckeyes.
As the four-star recruit told Syracuse.com, his reasoning is fairly fundamental in the world of recruiting.
"I had a whole lot of options, but Syracuse just felt like the perfect place for me. Their style of play fits me," Moyer said. "I have a great relationship with Coach Boeheim and Coach GMac (assistant coach Gerry McNamara)."
Among the many reasons why Ohio State was unable to cultivate the same sort of relationship with Moyer and his family: scholarship arithmetic. The Buckeyes already have four commitments in the class of 2015. Esa Ahmad and Carlton Bragg remain high-priority recruits, so they could end up with as many as six in that class.
Even if it stays at four in 2015, Matta only has two scholarships to hand out for 2016. With six, OSU would have none for 2016, excluding transfers and other departures. That gives him limited flexibility for future classes.
Obviously, basketball is not like a football, wherein a guy, say Nick Saban, can come up with a flimsy excuse to free up a scholarship by dismissing or giving out a medical hardship waiver to a five-star bust – that's only theoretical, of course, something like that would never happen.
Meanwhile, Moyer's father, Fred, had some rather harsh comments regarding Ohio State's treatment during his son's recruitment. The Buckeyes offered, but only after Florida, Syracuse and other major programs did the same.
"If he goes somewhere else and he blows up and in a few years he's in the NBA, that looks horrible for them," Fred Moyer told Syracuse.com. "If you're interested, offer him. If you're not, don't offer. It kind of looks like a back-handed compliment. To not show any interest, or have much of any contact, with a kid who lives that close, I mean, come on."
OSU is also loaded with players at Moyer's position, so it's not surprising Moyer and the Buckeyes went in different directions.
Options for 2016
If looking at direct replacements for losing Teske and Moyer, there are two: center Derek Funderburk Jr. and wing V.J. King. Plus, the Buckeyes have a longer history recruiting both of them.
King is still ranked No. 1 in 247Sports' Composite Ohio Rankings, although he is transferring to Paul VI in Fairfax, Virginia. No. 2 is another OSU target, Omari Spellman, but he too is transferring – to MacDuffie School in Granby, Massachusetts. Funderburk is No. 3 and he remains at St. Edward in Lakewood.
Currently, King is competing with Team USA U17 in Dubai, and games are sporadically airing on ESPNU.
Nike Global Challenge
In other amateur competition, Buckeye commits Daniel Giddens, Austin Grandstaff and A.J. Harris – as well as the undecided Ahmad – are at the Nike Global Challenge in Chicago.
The four-day event begins today and features some of the top prep talent from the United States, Canada, Brazil, China and Africa. American players are divided among four teams. Grandstaff is on USA West, Ahmad is on USA Midwest, while both Giddens and Harris team up before they become Buckeyes, and will play for USA South.
D1Circuit.com, in association with HighSchoolCube.com, will broadcast the games. Keep an eye on the upcoming game schedule.
Elsewhere Around The B1G
Another Ohioan is headed out of state to play college ball.