If we’re going to avoid a repeat of a middling 2013-14 basketball season next year, Thad Matta could use some experienced help.
That experience is out there, looking for a new home. Temple power forward Anthony Lee is looking for a new place to play basketball in 2014-15. Ohio State will likely lose LaQuinton Ross to the pros in an announcement scheduled for tomorrow.
Lee would be a welcome addition for a team that lacks experienced forwards.
Assuming Ross leaves, only sophomore-to-be Marc Loving and incoming freshmen would be available to play the four spot next year. Lee would fit the bill nicely and he won’t have to sit out a year because he will already have graduated.
Lee played 31 minutes per game for Temple out of the American Athletic Conference in 2013-14, averaging 13.6 points and 8.6 rebounds — all while rocking his stylish headband. Those numbers would have made Lee the Buckeyes’ second-leading scorer and the Big Ten’s second-best rebounder this season. Over his first three seasons, Lee is hitting more than 50% of his shots.
It’s hard to tell how the difference in competition would have affected those numbers, but the AAC’s Louisville, Cincinnati and UConn are no slouches. He averaged 12.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game in five games against those teams this year.
He also posted a double-double with 23 points and 14 rebounds in an overtime loss against Texas and he notched 11 double-doubles in 28 games. This kind of performance would be invaluable for Ohio State.
Listed at 6-foot-9 and 230 pounds, Lee would give Matta a versatile piece that could augment Amir Williams and Trey McDonald or play the five spot in a smaller lineup, as Ross and Deshaun Thomas have done the past two seasons.
However, Lee would rather play the four than the five. Matta would no doubt prefer to deploy him there if Williams can develop his game even more entering his senior year. Lee prefers to face the basket, but his game isn’t that comparable to Ross’s. He doesn’t have the long ball in his arsenal. Thus far, Lee has attempted only five three-pointers in his career, making one of them.
The biggest obstacles for Ohio State landing Lee are the other four programs he’s considering — Indiana, Iowa State, Louisville and Notre Dame. Perhaps Iowa State has the inside track, as Lee’s parents live in Davenport, Iowa. He’s also apparently getting a lot of love out of the Hoosier state.
For his part, Matta has had mixed results in luring transfers to Columbus in recent years. He landed Evan Ravenel from Boston College after the 2010 season. But he was unable to persuade Rodney Hood to join the Buckeyes prior to the 2012-13 season — the Mississippi State star opted to take his game to Duke instead.
Ohio State will be a team in transition entering the 2014-15 season. Having an experienced power forward who is a proven scorer and rebounder would help ease that transition.