The day Buckeye basketball fans dreaded since Mickey Mitchell's brother decommitted from the football team came a week ago.
So, the younger Mitchell is no longer a Buckeye pledge and the 2015 recruiting class is back to three – center Daniel Giddens, wing Austin Grandstaff and point guard A.J. Harris.
"Mickey's one of my best friends and I still think we have a shot at getting him, for sure," Grandstaff told Eleven Warriors, Sunday. "I'm still going to recruit him and hope to bring him to Ohio State, but it's his choice and I respect him doing what he needs to do for himself."
The Mitchell family has not spoken about Mickey's situation, but his brother, Mike, said one of the reasons he transferred Texas Tech was because of their father, Ken.
"My dad’s health isn’t great. It wasn’t as bad when I left (for Ohio State), and for a while it seemed to be getting better. But now, it’s kind of not as good," Mike told FoxSports.com in June. "But really, it was mostly about my family, about being back in Texas and being closer to them, being around them as much as I can."
The pull of family is, obviously, strong and that's certainly the case with the Mitchell family. It's also worth noting Mickey's high school and AAU teammate, Tyler Davis, recently committed to Texas A&M. Expect the Aggies, along with Texas Tech, to be a contender for Mickey's services.
Scout.com's Brian Snow also made an interesting point on the night of Mickey's decommitment. Ohio State loses another basketball recruit on the heels of a football transfer:
Amazingly football transfers (Mike Mitchell & Kenny Hayes) have now cost Thad Matta commitments from Mickey Mitchell and Nigel Hayes— Brian Snow (@BSnowScout) August 22, 2014
Options to Replace Mitchell
From a roster construction standpoint, there's still a lot to like about the future of Ohio State hoops.
Barring further movement, when the trio of current Buckeye commits end up on campus, nine players will be underclassmen. As weird as it sounds now, Marc Loving would be the most experienced player on that team. So, it leaves a lot of room for development, particularly with young, big men Giddens, David Bell and Trevor Thompson.
With 10 projected scholarship players and no seniors, there are three scholarships left to distribute among the next two classes. Thad Matta now has freedom to be more aggressive in recruiting the class of 2016 and have an extra spot to roll into that year.
However, with Mitchell's departure, Grandstaff believes there's a void in 2015.
"I don't know if there's one player I can think of that I really want to join us at Ohio State, but we need a power forward, so someone like Esa Ahmad or Carlton Bragg would be a huge get for us," he said. "probably recruit Esa the hardest of all the guys I've met. He was my roommate at the Kevin Durant Skills Academy so I got a chance to get close with him."
Much like D'Angelo Russell before him, Grandstaff adds the "active recruiter" label to his dangerous shooting range. His classmate, Harris, has a quick first step, can get into the lane at will and is a good distributor. Giddens is probably the best shot blocking rising-senior in the country. What they lack the most, in Mitchell's absence, is a high-IQ player with tremendous passing skills, especially for his size.
While he hasn't produced mixtapes as flashy as Mitchell's, the 6-foot-7-inch Ahmad would provide a similar level of basketball instincts. Speaking of whom:
Ahmad Sets Visit to Maryland
His early August visit to Ohio State was also an unofficial one, and an undetermined, official visit may follow. In the meantime, Ahmad has pushed college decision into September, when he is now expected to choose between the Buckeyes and Terrapins, as well as Oregon, West Virginia and Wisconsin.