Ohio State Reloading for Next Season's Big Ten Chase

By Mike Young on March 25, 2014 at 11:18a
70 Comments

Next season's roster will be a bit jarring for those who have followed Ohio State basketball the past four years. 

The Buckeyes will be considerably less physical on the perimeter, thanks to Aaron Craft, LaQuinton Ross and Lenzelle Smith Jr.'s departures. The shaggy haired, crowd-pleasing Amedeo Della Valle won't showcase an improved three-point arsenal – in Columbus, anyway, as he heads overseas to play professionally. 

As a projected second-round pick, Ross has reasons to join Craft, Smith and Della Valle in departing Ohio State. His absence, above all else, will truly lead to a massive overhaul. OSU has few, known scoring quantities and a significant lack of front court depth. 

Still, two members of the starting lineup return, as does Shannon Scott, who started a significant portion of the past season. We take a look at the current 2014-15 Buckeyes, position by position: 

Point Guard

Leaving: Aaron Craft (9.8 points, 4.7 assits, 3.7 rebounds., 2.5 steals)
Returning: Shannon Scott (7.5 points, 3.4 assits, 3.4 rebounds, 2.0 steals)
Incoming Freshman: D'Angelo Russell (composite No. 17 overall)

At multiple points throughout the past season, Thad Matta publicly challenged his senior core. 

From a defensive standpoint, there's not much more he can ask of Craft. Sure, Dayton's Vee Sanford hit the game-winning and a career-ending shot over Craft, but Matta might not find a defender with as much tenacity, knowledge or skill for the rest of his coaching career. 

Scott is a comparable replacement, but the shutdown duo – one that led Ohio State out of so many early deficits – will no longer exist. Offensively, Scott appeared to be gaining some positive momentum with his final two games of the Big Ten Tournament. As is the case far too often with him, he quickly faded.  

Help is on the way! (RIP "rapping bum")
He'll make an immediate impact at both guard spots.

Russell's shooting and ability to create his own shot will be key components to next year's squad. He may play point guard with the bench group or when Scott is in foul trouble, but his primary role will likely be playing off the ball – that is assuming Scott is capable of facilitating the half-court offense. 

Shooting Guard

Leaving: Lenzelle Smith Jr. (11.0 points, 5.1 rebounds, 33.1 percent from three), Amedeo Della Valle (4.0 points per game, 32.4 percent from three)
Returning: Redshirt Freshman – Kam Williams (Redshirt). Senior – Andrew Goldstein (1 field goal attempt, 2 games played)
Incoming Freshman: D'Angelo Russell

We all expected more out of Smith and what we got, well, was still good enough to be the team's second leading scorer.

His inconsistencies mirrored the team's and magnified everything that went wrong on offense. Smith's three-point percentage decreased from both his sophomore and junior years, but it wasn't all wide-open misses. There were plenty of those, sure, and also little floor spacing to help him out. His defensive presence will be missed, especially with a freshman expected to replace him in the starting lineup. 

Between Russell and Williams' range, one of them will be counted on to spread the floor and consistently hit deep buckets. Early on, it might be Williams, with Russell coming off the bench as one of the top "sixth men" in the country. 

Small Forward

Leaving: None
Returning: Seniors – Sam Thompson (7.9 points, 2.7 rebounds, 35.5 percent from three), Jake Lorbach (0.8 points per game in 8 games played)
Incoming Freshmen: Keita Bates-Diop (Composite No. 27 overall), Jae'Sean Tate (Composite No. 60 overall)

Ohio State experimented with a three-guard lineup until Sam Thompson returned to his starting role from the year prior.

Help is on the way! (RIP "rapping bum")
Matta compared Tate to Lighty.

Since Thompson replaced Scott, following an overtime loss to Penn State, he averaged 8.6 points per game. Compare that to the 7.3 he scored before entering the starting lineup. That difference is somewhat insignificant, but he appeared to be more confident as the season went on. 

He'll be the presumed starter at this position, with the expectation that he'll make a leap and get his three-point shooting back towards the 40-percent mark. Thompson will still get challenged by a pair of incoming freshman – the sharpshooting Bates-Diop and the physical play of Tate (on his radio show, Matta said Tate reminds him of David Lighty, who was a key contributor on the 2007 Final Four team).

Power Forward

Leaving: LaQuinton Ross (15.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, 35.3 percent from three, 44.7 percent field goals)
Returning: Sophomore – Marc Loving (4.4 points, 1.7 rebounds, 25.9 percent from three)
Incoming Freshman: None

Without Ross, this team will look drastically different on offense. 

That's not entirely a bad thing, but Ross was the only consistently productive offensive threat. He did it all, as the team's leading scorer and rebounder, just like Deshaun Thomas in 2012-13. His overall game is not as refined as his predecessor, but his top attribute was creating something – please, anything – for a sputtering offense. He averaged 4.8 free throw attempts per game, slightly higher than Thomas' 4.57. Although he didn't necessarily capitalize on those as much as he would've hoped (73.2 percent from the line), it was still the best only option for Ohio State.

At this point in his career, Loving will probably not be able to get to the line as much as Ross. The physicality is not there and any low-post effort would be purely finesse. That would be fine if Loving could hit more than 36.8 percent of his shots. While he needs to be a bit more efficient, a few of Loving's stats are comparable to what Ross did in his Sophomore year (glossary, via sports-reference.com):

Season PER TS% ORB% DRB% TRB% AST% TOV% USG%
Ross, 2012-13 18.7 .575 6.4 13.9 10.2 6.0 18.6 27.9
Loving, 2013-14 13.7 .512 6.0 13.0 9.6 3.8 11.8 23.7

Center

Leaving: None
Returning: Seniors – Amir Williams (7.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, 59.8 percent field goals), Trey McDonald (2.0 points, 1.7 rebounds, 71 total points, 70 total fouls)
Incoming Freshman: Dave Bell (Composite No. 184 overall)

Among other things, Williams and McDonald's constant foul trouble exposed Ohio State's lack of depth at this position.

The dream scenario is to land five-star recruit Myles Turner, which would solve many of the Buckeyes' problems. OSU needs a low-post scoring threat, shot blocking and a more active big.

If it's not Turner, the hope is to land Temple transfer Anthony Lee, who would be eligible immediately. The 6-foot-9-inch Lee averaged 13.6 points and 8.6 rebounds per game last season and is considering Indiana, Iowa State, Louisville and Notre Dame, in addition to Ohio State.

Neither appear likely, so they'll have to bank on the development of either Williams or McDonald. To say that has been an issue thus far would be an understatement. Barring an extremely productive summer and fall camp, Bell is not likely to contribute in his freshman year. 

70 Comments

Comments

TheShookster's picture

What's your expected ceiling for next year's team? I'm completely okay with growing pains as long as the team actually improves over the course of the season. I can't wait to watch D'Angelo Russell

+4 HS
RedStorm45's picture

If they get a single digit seed in the Big Dance I will be pleasantly surprised.

+2 HS
jamesrbrown322's picture

If they make the tournament, I'd be pretty happy, considering what they need to replace. The good news is, from looking around the B1G, only Wisconsin and possibly *ichigan look to be top 10-15 quality next year.

"I can accept failure, but I cannot accept not trying." - W.W. Hayes

+2 HS
OldColumbusTown's picture

I would be highly surprised if Michigan is top 10-15 next year.  Assuming Stauskas, GRIII, and McGary all go pro, along with losing Jordan Morgan, they are going to really have to rely on LeVert and Irvin to be scorers, along with Walton and Albrecht.  I don't personally see that as a top-level squad.

jamesrbrown322's picture

I guess I was assuming that they all return. You are correct that if everyone leaves, they will be bereft of talent and depth.

"I can accept failure, but I cannot accept not trying." - W.W. Hayes

+1 HS
d5k's picture

You can't assume Irvin won't make a leap like Burke/Levert did freshman-sophomore year.  Also, they have another stud wing coming in to replace big dog III.  I agree that they won't be top 10 if all those guys leave though.  They would really lack size with Jordan Morgan also graduating.

Nutinpa's picture

And if so, you'll have to pick me up off the floor.  Here's hoping you are right....but I think it's a lofty goal.

+1 HS
RedStorm45's picture

Expect a battle between Russell and Kam for the starting 2 spot.  Both are combo guards and the odd man out would essentially be the primary backup for the 1 and 2 guard spots.  I realize KBD or Sam could fill in at the 2, but they are more true 3's than anything.

Tate is recovering from a torn labrum and could be out awhile.  He also likes to bang inside a bit, so I could see Thad giving him some PT at the 4 in a "small" lineup.

Scott will likely have to play 36+ minutes per game without foul trouble.  Still, this team is going to be extremely deficient inside as Amir and Trey have barely progressed at all.  We'll have to see what Loving can bring at the 4, but man that's not a ton of depth.  Sam or Tate may have to fill in at the 4.  And Matta said the plan is to redshirt Bell.  Unless Russell or KBD are some game-changing freshmen (and I'm talking NBA-ready stepping on to campus), it's going to be a long year.

+1 HS
d5k's picture

I have been assuming Russell would win that battle but it could be all 3 of the guards play 20+ minutes anyway like Craft/Scott/Smith this year.  Tate will be a more physical 3 than Thompson for sure and will bang around inside.  If he's healthy come camp I don't see him redshirting.  I see KBD as a stretch 4 backing up Loving although it could be KBD as 4 on offense but 3 on defense with Tate at 4 on defense with the bench lineup?

Smanpoint10's picture

I would expect Diop to play power forward too

+1 HS
RedStorm45's picture

Nah, it will be Tate, even though he's only 6'5''.  Kind of a Dave Lighty utility guy or maybe a George Reese PF? (My recollection on Reese is fading...).  His style says 4 but his height says he should be a 3.  KBD is more of  natural wing, and doesn't play nearly physical enough to last as a 4 in the B1G.  Then again, Ross played the 4 so what do I know.

Smanpoint10's picture

I've seen tate play many times and have played against him many times. He is definitely just like lighty. His outside shot gets better every year. I see diop playing four cause of his height like ross was forced too

RedStorm45's picture

If Loving can develop some power/physicality inside then maybe he's the answer there.

+1 HS
d5k's picture

Loving was the de facto 5 in our small lineup this year because Ross was ole' in the post against bigger guys.

+1 HS
OldColumbusTown's picture

True, but he was a fouling machine when put in that position.

Just another reason I think we'll see more zone next year.  Look at the guys leaving versus the guys returning, and look at the foul distribution.  Craft and Lenzelle were pretty good about not fouling.  Same for Ross, but that was more so because he at times allowed easier buckets in exchange for staying on the court and out of foul trouble (something the team desperately needed from him).  Now look at Loving, Scott, and you would assume as of now more minutes from Amir/Trey since Ross won't be around to mimic the center position in OSU's small lineup.  All of these guys are much more foul prone.

d5k's picture

Thompson and Scott were actually good at not fouling.  Scott would get the occasional unnecessary foul but for the most part like Craft he would get most his fouls off of near-steals.  Thompson has had a low foul total his whole career and I would actually like him to be more aggressive (he tends to give ground and go for the block rather than stay in front of people).  Agree completely about Loving/Amir/Trey's fouls.  One reason why Bell might not redshirt.

Besides zone, we might also be a team that could press at times as that is a strength of Scott and Thompson in particular.

+1 HS
OldColumbusTown's picture

Yes, as compared to many other guards Scott is decent at avoiding fouls.  However, compared to Craft he is worse.  That is the only comparison I am making.  Scott has a penchant for using his arms/hands a little more.  I don't expect him at all to be consistently in foul trouble or anything like that, but as the only true PG on the team, he's probably going to need to be on the floor 35-36 minutes per game.

toad1204's picture

We've been spoiled by quality guys in the paint throughout Matta's tenure.  Hopefully Amir can find the groove that he was starting to hit mid season...  I'm not holding my breath though. 

 

Nothing like dancing on the field in 02... 

+2 HS
Baroclinicity's picture

Sounds to me like a couple of down years await on the road ahead...

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

+1 HS
FROMTHE18's picture

Russell better start. I'm not a big fan of Scott and would rather Russell gain valuable game experience. I think we will be seeing nearly every freshman get significant PT. Our depth from last years team is just too weak.

-4 HS
buckeyestu's picture

Perhaps Thad will go with a 3 guard starting lineup. How would that work? Maybe work Bell in some as a power forward? For sure the team is going to be different next year. I am looking forward to next season already. I will miss Aaron craft for sure. I am also looking forward to next years edition of the Lady Bucks.

+2 HS
buckeyes1934's picture

 

We're about to sign a top 5 recruiting class and people act like the sky is falling. Thad is a top 5 coach, so I don't expect us to be down very long. This was one of the worst teams I've seen in a long time, and yet we were still a 6 seed with a chance at the end to beat a very good Dayton team. All will be good in Buckeye land.

+8 HS
d5k's picture

It was definitely the worst offensive team by far but might have been the best defensive team of the Matta era.  So it appeared so bad because defense is less tangible as a viewer.

+2 HS
fear_the_nut70's picture

Am I the only one who thinks that, while at times the D was maybe the best in the Matta era, it was spotty and inconsistent?  When we combine the team's athleticism with hustle, it was a stiffling D.  But at times, outside of the guards, it appeared interest in playing D waned at times with some guys simply not putting in the effort (see Amir).  More than the lack of offense, I found this the most frustrating thing with this team.

+2 HS
d5k's picture

Amir made up for his lack of effort with a real ability to protect the rim in general.  His issues were giving us absolutely nothing on offense and some of the angles in the pick'n'roll game.  But other than giving up a few more offensive rebounds than usual, the team did a great job of forcing turnovers and making the first shot really difficult.

Nutinpa's picture

I agree that Thad is very good coach.   But "top 5"....where?  In the B1G?  Absolutely.  

Nationally?  No.  Too many others have cut down the nets with a NC.  When he joins that list, then you can say he (hey, you can say anything you want, free forum, and all) is a Top 5 caliber coach.  Not until then, IMHO.

+1 HS
Bamabucknut's picture

Agree.

For me...everything begins with winning the BIG 10. It has been a while since we have done that.

Frankly, I'm stunned at large number of players over the years who have jumped of Thad's teams for a chance at the NBA. As I recall that was called to his attention on a few occasions.

buckeyes1934's picture

It's been a while? They won the conference regular season 2 years ago. How many times has he won the B1G tourney? A lot. If you look on the national stage you have Coach K, Bill Self, Roy Williams, Pitino and Tom Izzo as the main core of really great coaches. Outside of that, Thad certainly belongs to be with the likes of Calipari, Donovan. To the point of the NBA, isn't that a good thing to have kids make the jump? Deshaun had a child to take care of, and so does Ross. All the other players were 1st round draft picks. Would you be able to turn down millions of $$ to play for free for another year? No.

luckynutz's picture

Umm...Roy Williams isntn at that elite level anymore. His carolina teams, outside of the roster he inherited when he took over, have been underwhelming to say the least. Especially come tourney time. Which has always been the knock on him...great in regular season. Craps the bed in march.

But to say billy donovan isn't an elite level coach is madness. He won back to back titles and has made florida relevant as a basketball power. Before his arrival, florida was a joke and an afterthought as a basketball program. The fact he did it with no history of success for the program is more impressive. At a football crazed school. In a football obsessed state and conference. And excluding Boeheim is criminal as well. He has titles, the second most wins in college basketball history and cranks out 25 win seasons and NBA talent at will.

Matta fits nicely in that second teir. Sure, he may not have a title. But he has built this program up nicely from the O'Brien debacle and sanctions. Hes assembled a nice amount of talent, lottery picks and optimistic fervor from a fan base obsessed with football. His teams have generally come together and peaked at the right time every year. Sure, there are down years. But look how many 20+ win seasons he has run off. Thats a pretty solid indicator of consistency, recruiting and coaching. And doing it in what has become the premier conference in college basketball year and year out is pretty impressive as well.

+1 HS
OldColumbusTown's picture

I personally don't believe you can use national titles as a litmus test for how great of a coach someone is.  So Thad Matta doesn't have a title yet.  Does that mean he isn't as good of a coach as Jim Harrick?  Nolan Richardson?  John Calipari?  Gary Williams?  What if Indiana had won a title in 2002 against Maryland - would Mike Davis all of a sudden be considered an elite coach?

College basketball may be the hardest sport to win a NC (if you are not a blue-blood program), because it is so important to have the best talent, and then you have to win 6 straight games against other elite talent.  There is so little margin for error in order to win a NC, so naturally the best talent usually wins out.  Not always, but usually.

I'd say Thad is easily a top 10 coach nationally, and close to top 5.  I'd say Self, Pitino, Donovan, Izzo, and Coach K are the top 5, but much of that is based on historical performance.  OSU has outperformed MSU lately.  Same with Duke and Florida.  Maybe not this year, but everyone has down years (if you consider 25 wins down, I'd say Matta is doing fairly well...).  Look at overall talent plus performance of everyone, and OSU is right there at the top over the span of the last 10 years.

luckynutz's picture

Id say you and I are in agreement as far as mattas place in the coaching stratosphere. He consistently wins. He consistently puts players in the league. And does it in a conference that is pretty rock solid top to bottom perennially. Id say this year was about as good a job coaching as he has done so far. Look at it objectively as what this team was. A team full of complementary pieces offensively, one reluctant star in the making and no semblance of an inside presence. There was no offensive consistency, no one guy who I could absolutely take over a game and will this team to a win. Were there bad losses? Certainly. Were there big wins? Yes. The end result may be disappointing, but the fact they ran off 25 wins in an obviously thought conference speaks for itself. To the leadership of certain players and to the staffs ability to wring out every ounce of talent they can out of these guys. Different players stepped up in big situations. Look at the Msu game at the breslin. They were done what, 16 with 4 minutes to play. And they dug deep and clawed back to force overtime. Sure, it was a loss at the end. But that speaks volume to the character of this team and hia ability to cajole everything he could from them.

My question to everyone who isnt impressed by matta is who would you rather have? Every coach who I'd perceive to be doing a better job isnt leaving where they are. And any up and comer isnt at mattas level. And I agree with you about how hard it is to win a national title in basketball. There are so many things that can derail it. Theres a reason they call it madness...because anything can happen. Matta has gotten the job done consistently. Sure, there aren't any NC trophies. But he is more than capable of bringing one to columbus. Just takes the right amount of talent, luck and leadership.

Nutinpa's picture

I agree with the general theme of your post, but I believe placement of Matta among or near the top 5 is a bit lofty. Top 10? Yeah, that is fair.  As for winning 25 games....yes, that is impressive.  But it is also watered down when you consider the OOC schedule gift-wrapped a lot of W's for Matta in this...and in previous years, even with the annual B1G - ACC Challenged accounted for.  Gene Smith has hand delivered OOC wins for both Matta and Meyer..and in the process, done neither of them any favors on the national stage.  Technically, you can argue that OSU has "outperformed" MSU, but I dare say, by a razor thin margin...with public opinion still believing that Izzo is the better coach and Sparty, the more consistent, elite program..

+1 HS
BrooklynBuckeye's picture

If Embiid stays at Kansas, that must help the Buckeye's chances with Turner, right? I thought he was high on Kansas, maybe Texas, not sure who else. 

+1 HS
d5k's picture

SMU and Okie State too.

+1 HS
OSUFlash's picture

This team has NIT all over it and I'm ok with that. The 20 game win streak comes to an end though.

osuflash

-4 HS
jamesrbrown322's picture

They'll play 32-35 games, so winning 20, perhaps 20 not so impressive victories, is not out of the question. Plus, with all of those freshman, hopefully contributing AND improving, one would assume the team improves as the season wears on, and they may sneak in as a bubble team, but hopefully not sweating out Selection Sunday...

"I can accept failure, but I cannot accept not trying." - W.W. Hayes

+1 HS
d5k's picture

People said that this year.  It is more likely than not that the streak continues as Matta can figure out a way to put a good defense out there and the offense probably won't be worse than this year's despite losing Q.

+1 HS
ITWASME's picture

What I want to see is a large use of a small lineup with Scott, Russel, Williams, Thompson, and Loving/Bates-Diop. That's something we could definitely pull off to give us scoring

TLeeUpInThisJ's picture

I think a primary reason why Russell committed to OSU was because he expects to play early with Craft and Smith departing. I really doubt Kameron Williams starts over D'Angelo Russell. I think Williams will be a nice player at OSU, but Russell could be great. D'Angelo will be given every opportunity to start as a true freshman. I hope he's up to it because OSU needs him.

Buckeye06's picture

I expect to make the tourney next year.  We have such a talented freshman class, that when you add in the guys we still have, and the RSs, we should be fine.  Adding another big would obviously be great, but it seems we may go through a skinny year

+1 HS
Buckeye06's picture

I expect to make the tourney next year.  We have such a talented freshman class, that when you add in the guys we still have, and the RSs, we should be fine.  Adding another big would obviously be great, but it seems we may go through a skinny year

whobdis's picture

Well..our play underneath can't get any worse and the perimeter D will suffer without Craft..but we will have much better shooters on the floor imo. And that can compensate for some of the deficiencies. I can see us playing more zone next year and hitting a lot more 3's. Should be fun to watch

 

NWbuckfan's picture

I just hope that Shannon Scot find a jumper over the summer, and Thompson become a better Basketball player not just a Ath playing Basketball 

+3 HS
thatlillefty's picture

With this roster, we'll definitely see how great a coach Matta truly is next year. I hope the kids all buy in to his strategy, as that was obviously not the case last year. If nothing else, I want to see these young kids work their asses off on defense. If these incoming freshman are as good as advertised, then the offense will come along eventually.

jamesrbrown322's picture

How about adding some of the football redshirts from football this year to the basketball roster for one season...

Hey, they have a pulse, and that would be an improvement over Amir.

I kid, I kid.

"I can accept failure, but I cannot accept not trying." - W.W. Hayes

Ashtabula's picture

I would expect next year's team to be fairly similar record-wise with this year's team.  Good at times, bad at times, but usually competitive, even against the best in the country.  And, if we could add a big who can take some minutes away from our current ones, then I think they might be able to make a run come tourney time.

+1 HS
RBuck's picture

I think we all expected more out of this year's team than what we got because of the veteran players. They weren't much fun to watch at times.

Next year is a crap shoot. Regardless of their record, they're going to be a lot of fun to watch (for me at least).

"It's just another case of there you are". ~ Doc (1918-2012)

+1 HS
sb97's picture

Its kind of tough to gauge where we will be next season since Freshman will play such a pivotal role.  You could have the Oden/Conley situation where they come in ready to play or the Diebler situation where he really struggled as a freshman.  The most likely case would be like Evan Turner who developed a lot over the course of his Freshman season.  What I really like is that we have three Freshman that are supposed to bring scoring and the ability to stretch the floor.  I imagine at least one will be able to contribute.  In any case, I do think Scott will improve a considerable amount now that he wont be sharing the PG spot anymore.

If we see some consistent outside shooting it can open up lanes for guys like Scott and Thompson which would lead to better balance on offense.  We certainly have a chance to do well in the conference and make the NCAA tournament.

d5k's picture

Russell reminds me of Turner, Tate reminds me of Lighty and Bates-Diop is like Q (hopefully doesn't have the academic issue/setback!).

We haven't had a raw athletic big man like Bell really.  If he doesn't redshirt he may foul out dramatically but give more energy.

Johnny-Shane_Utah-Falco's picture

Russell is the truth. Daaaaaamn!

-1 HS
OldColumbusTown's picture

Based on who is coming back/coming in as of right now, I'd guess it is very likely we will see zone at times next year.  I know Thad doesn't like doing that unless he has to, and next year he may have to.  If Ross is gone, and another big (Lee or Turner) is not added, Loving/Tate/Thompson/KBD are the options at the PF spot.  That is going to be a really difficult way to defend down low.  Not to mention, either Kam Williams or D'Angelo Russell is going to be on the floor at basically all times, and neither is known (yet) for their presence on that side of the ball.

Matta will not have the luxury of accounting for poor offense with stifling defense.  Scorers HAVE to be on the court next year, and the only way to do so is to put a guy or two out there who just won't be able to defend to Matta's liking.  The last time that happened with a team, we saw zone the entire year.  I don't think it'll go that far, but I'd be surprised to not see large chunks of zone sprinkled into the defensive gameplan.

d5k's picture

We also saw more zone when the best defender was Greg Oden.  Zone might be a better defense for Amir to be the rim protector and not get pulled away from the basket vs pick n rolls (where he gets into foul trouble too).  The problem with going zone was Craft was such a monster in the man-to-man.

+1 HS
OldColumbusTown's picture

Completely agree.  And, with the potential of some really long, athletic lineups that Matta could put on the floor, you'd have to think they could play a pretty effective zone defense - getting deflections and a lot of hands on passes.

d5k's picture

Matta mentioned in the call-in show that he will look at different strategies offensively.  In the past we had a lot of stationary spacing relying on crisp passing and individuals winning 1 on 1 via elite shot making or post play.  We will only effectively utilize Thompson and Scott if guys are cutting to the rim a lot more.  Scott has elite vision as a PG and Thompson obviously maximizes his talents flying to the rim.  This would be more of an NBA style offense where I would say we had a Euro-ish style in the past.  We also need Scott to attack the rim off the dribble and Amir to be able to catch the bail-out passes obviously.  Other than that the new guys just need to play freely which used to always be Matta's goal on offense.

+2 HS
RuGettinIt's picture

It is all going to boil down to getting these guys playing time.  Matta has not done the best job of developing a bench over the years, which has cost us in more ways than one.  Get these guys on the floor during the cupcake part of the schedule and let them get some experience for later in the season.

FLAMikey's picture

Loving needs to play in a summer prison league to get ready for next season.

skid21's picture

Neither appear likely, so they'll have to bank on the development of either Williams or McDonald.

Wow, that is truly, truly depressing.

Although Tate is coming off an injury, and gets less love from the scouts, I love the way he plays. I think he will surprise some people.

+3 HS
DenBuck's picture

I laughed at that line too. Why in the crap would Bell redshirt when he's the only big after Beavis & Butthead leave the program?

Buckeye For Life

+1 HS
RedStorm45's picture

He's only in his third or fourth year of organized basketball and is what is known as a "project."  He won't play much at all next year anyway, barring an injury to Amir or Trey.  So need to waste a couple of garbage minutes on a year of his eligibility.

skid21's picture

I agree although I think that is still depressing. Bell, at this point, is another McDonald at best. We simply have no talent at the 5. Let me preface this by saying I am a Matta fan BUT he has whiffed at getting talent at this position lately. Anyone who has followed hoops recruiting knows he has tried with many of the top recruits but has come up empty. He has to do better if we are to have a hope at at B1G title let alone a NC.

Knarcisi's picture

I sure hope Russell and Bates-Diop can score. And can play D so Thad plays them. 

buckeyefan51's picture

OK Skid I put this young mans name out there once and I will put it out there one more time Michal                   Cekovsky a 7 footer who can play with his back to basket shoot mid range to beyond the arc. If you want to watch a highlight film go to youtube and type in his name.

Toilrt Paper's picture

Matta needs to recruit more Terrence Dials and John Diebler types. More grown men post players and more 40% 3-point shooters out of high school.

ghalephoto's picture

Russell isn't coming to Ohio State to back anyone up.  This kid is good.  Unless he falls flat and has a horrible year Ohio State will be in a lot of close games.  Winning these close games however is going to be this teams identity.  The Seniors and the progress of Amir and Trey will dictate the attitude and if nobody comes up as a scorer/leader...its going to be one long season. 

OldColumbusTown's picture

He definitely IS good, but he's going to really have to up the effort and intensity on the defensive end to become the trusted player in Matta's eyes that we all want to see.  I realize it is just high school ball and his team is dominant, but from the 3-4 games of Russell's I've seen televised, he doesn't bend his knees much on defense.  He'll have to really take pride in his performance on defense.

Eastside Buckeye's picture

Starting 5 I've been hoping for for months is..

PG- Scott

SG- Russell

SF- Thompson

PF- KBD.... Unless Q comes back?

C- don't know/care, I guess Amir?

"Life is a course and imma shoot for par." - Dewayne Carter

Bucks_Rule's picture

I know they said the plan is to redshirt Bell but after enduring the Amir/Trey bullcrap all season, I hope Thad gives Bell a shot to play. We were so thin last year there, and we have no reason to believe those two will improve as seniors, Matta should add Bell to the mix to put some pressure on Amir and Trey. Unless, of course, we land Myles Turner...

PatrickJ15's picture

I'm hoping that Ross might stay because it would stupid for him to go pro and not play where he could stay and play for Ohio State. If he stays I believe that we would have a decent team at least with Shannon Scott and Sam Thompson returning.

"If winning isn't everything, why do they keep score?"
Vince Lombardi

Mirror Lake Jump's picture

Personally, I''m excited for next year. With a starting five of:

PG- Shannon Scott

SG- D'angelo Russell

SF- Slam Thompson

PF- Marc Loving

C- Amir Williams

And a bench of:

First Guard- Kam Williams

First Forward- Keita Bates-Diop

First Big Man- Trey McDonald

Rotation Minutes- Jae'Sean Tate

 

RedStorm45's picture

That gets you excited?

 

Uhhh....