Thad Matta has his guard. And while Braxton Beverly may not ring the bells in your mind that a Troy Brown Jr. or Nojel Eastern would, the Hazard, Kentucky native's commitment is still majorly important to Ohio State hoops. Especially in a 2017 class that has taken awhile to develop after getting out to a great start.
Beverly's addition to the Ohio State program is a big one. The Buckeyes have needed depth at guard for quite some time, and while Beverly is not likely to come in as a freshman and set the world on fire, he still will play a key role. Likely to come off the bench, Beverly is a high-level shooter who can really score the ball. A former Miami (OH) commit, many closest to him knew Beverly was too good for that level, as that commitment had always felt "weird" for those around the 6-foot guard.
Some think it's "weird" now that Ohio State took a guard whose top offer prior to the Buckeyes was from George Washington. Make no mistake, Beverly has really began to emerge since enrolling at Hargrave Military Academy prior to his senior season in 2015-16. Now playing at the postgrad level, Beverly has impressed in his seventh...SEVENTH year of prep basketball (Beverly first lettered at Perry County Central High School in the seventh grade. That is allowed in Kentucky. OJ Mayo used to do it.)
An experienced floor general who has a high IQ and feel for the game that will be welcomed in Thad Matta's offense, Beverly will come into a situation where he will have to use his strengths early on to help the Bucks. Depending on whether or not JaQuan Lyle opts to go to the pros after this season, Beverly will likely still see some time on the floor. If Lyle does indeed leave, look for Beverly to back up CJ Jackson at the lead guard spot, as Ohio State will be down to just three true guards on the roster, which is why Beverly is so important.
Another reason for Beverly's importance is from a continuity standpoint. The high school teammate of freshman big man Derek Funderburke, Beverly and the 6-foot-9 Cleveland product have high chemistry, both helping Hargrave go 47-1 last season to win its second national title. Matta wants winners and wants players who are more concerned with the name on the front of the jersey, and he has that in Beverly and Funderburke. Beverly's commitment also represents a continued trend in that regard, as eight of Matta's last 10 commitments are from the state of Ohio, and players that the OSU head man in confident in to come in and play hard every game.
Did I mention that Beverly can score? Here is him dropping a 70 ball last season for Hargrave. To put that in perspective, Ohio State scored less than 70 points in 16 games last season. And while Beverly isn't likely to come into OSU and get buckets like this, it is still encouraging for Ohio State fans looking to know more about the newest Buckeye.
With Beverly's commitment in hand, Ohio State still has a few more options in 2017 before fully moving onto an already stellar 2018 class. Still in the race for Brown, Eastern and Georgia guard MJ Walker, the best-case scenario for the Buckeyes would be to add a bigger wing guard, which all three aforementioned players are. It has been no secret that Ohio State has wanted to bring in a guard, a wing and a big in 2017, and with Beverly coming on board, the Buckeyes are on step closer to making that a reality.