Looking Ahead: What Could Become of Ohio State's 2017 Basketball Class

By Zach Fleer on June 18, 2016 at 6:00p
Ohio State head coach Thad Matta

Ohio State head coach Thad Matta

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It's nearly been a year since Westerville South center Kaleb Wesson committed to become the first player in Ohio State's 2017 class. In the months since, the Buckeyes have yet to land another commitment in a class that may not be as talent-rich in recent years in Ohio, but important nonetheless.

A look at the class

In the fold:

Kaleb Wesson (6'10 C - Westerville South)

ESPN ranking: 85th

One of the nation's best back-to-the-basket big men, everything that could be said about Wesson on this site has already been said. Helping lead Westerville South to a Division I state championship over Lima Senior this past season, Wesson is a proven winner that is a nice centerpiece for this class. However, concerns of weight and fitness have surrounded Wesson for years, and could be something to watch going forward. 

Top targets:

Kyle Young (6'7 SF - Massillon Jackson)

ESPN ranking: 86th

After a breakout EYBL season, Young has quickly emerged as one of the Buckeyes' absolute top targets. Showing off impressive versatility and scoring ability against the nation's elite. Young has been a rising prospect on the radars of top teams all over the region. Young, who has yet to narrow his choices, seems to like the idea of playing in coach Thad Matta's system, as Ohio State's offensive and defensive schemes would allow the Massillon Jackson rising senior to do what he does best - play multiple positions. Outside of Columbus, Young has received offers from the likes of Florida, Michigan State and West Virginia, to name a few.

Commitment Chances: 75 percent

Young has a 100 percent Crystal Ball projection to Ohio State on 247Sports, which makes the Buckeyes the presumptive favorite. An addition of Young to Ohio State would really amp up an already promising class, as both he and Wesson are ranked among the top players in the nation. 

MJ Walker (6'5 SG - Jonesboro, GA)

ESPN ranking: 18th

One of the nation's more elite combo guards, Walker appears to be down to Ohio State, Maryland and Florida State. A player that the Buckeyes have ramped up the pressure on as of late, Walker is a power wing that reminds us a bit of Jae'Sean Tate, as he would fill in greatly along the perimeter. 

Commitment Chances: 40 percent

Competing against two quality suitors in Florida State and Maryland, Ohio State has some work to do in order to reel in Walker. With two scholarships open, Ohio State appears to be looking to sign a wing guard and wing forward, as Walker and Young are at the top of both lists for the Buckeyes. 

Jordan Goodwin (6'5 SG - Belleville Althoff Catholic, IL)

ESPN ranking: 54th

Another power guard that the Buckeyes have been intrigued with this spring and summer, Goodwin is from the St. Louis area and has had an Ohio State offer since the end of May. After performing at a high level in the EYBL for the St. Louis Eagles, Goodwin has emerged as a top Ohio State target, as the Buckeyes joined the likes of Iowa, Illinois, Michigan State, Northwestern and Purdue, among others, in offering the 6-foot-5 wing. While Ohio State joined the party a little later than the others, there's still a chance that Goodwin could become a future Buckeye.

Commitment Chances: 33 percent

An outdated Crystal Ball set of predictions has Goodwin 100 percent heading to Illinois, which may or may not be true. Goodwin, who thrives in attacking the basket and living around the rim, also reminds us of Tate, as he could play on the wing, and live on the block if Ohio State were to go small. While the chances that Ohio State reels in Goodwin aren't overwhelmingly strong, there is still a chance. 

Nojel Eastern (6'7 SF - Evanston, IL)

ESPN ranking: 74th

A long wing that fits the mold of what Matta usually recruits along the perimeter, Eastern is a player the Buckeyes have been on hard all spring. Offering in April, the Buckeyes are hoping to reel in Eastern to fill in at the small forward position. However, Eastern is a 100 percent Crystal Ball pick to Michigan State, as the Spartans extended a scholarship in May of 2015, which may come back to aid Tom Izzo's program in the end.

Commitment Chances: 20 percent

The chances of reeling in Eastern are slim, especially since the Ohio State staff didn't get a chance to see him up close at the program's team camp this past weekend. While Eastern's Evanston High School team was in Columbus, the 6-foot-7 wing was taking part in the Nike Elite 100 camp, which features some of the top players in the country. Another up-close visit with Eastern could have possibly helped out Ohio State's chances. 

Markell Johnson (6'2 PG - Cleveland East Tech)

ESPN ranking: 48th

A player that was once considered a strong Ohio State lean, things have cooled off between Ohio State and Johnson as of late, as the Buckeyes are no longer listed among the guard's Crystal Ball predictions. Taking recent official visits to NC State and Texas A&M, Johnson appears to be headed anywhere but Ohio State, as the 6-foot-2 guard has been anything but sure of his top choices.

Commitment Chances: 10 percent

Johnson's Crystal Ball has 50 percent of experts thinking the Cleveland guard is headed to NC State, while other predictions to Louisville, Xavier and Texas A&M also remain. It will be interesting to see what comes out of Johnson's recruitment in the end. 

 

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