It's tough, especially with basketball where you get a limited number of people to recruit. Thad put a lot of his eggs in one basket trying to get some of these stud Ohio players in recent years and it's hard to really crucify him when the players opt to go to the Duke, Kentucky and Kansas type programs of the world. Those are blue blood schools that live for basketball, they pretty much recruit themselves. Ohio State losing a recruit to one of those schools is like Kentucky fans losing their minds that the top player in their state opted to go to Ohio State or Alabama to play football. It's also worth pointing out that a lot of the time, Thad has gotten the top recruit in the state. Sometimes those guys wind up being as good as billed, sometimes not so much. David Lighty, Jon Diebler, Kosta Koufos, BJ Mullens, Aaron Craft, Jared Sullinger, Marc Loving, Jaesean Tate, Daquan Cook to name a few stud Ohio high school players he did land. With the exception of Craft, Lighty and Tate, those were the top players in the state of Ohio in different seasons.
And, Ohio aside, lets not pretend that he hasn't brought in top 10 recruiting classes almost every year he's been here and had the ability to recruit (some years he's only had one or two schollies available to offer). He's brought in significant talent, the problem I see is that there's a lack of leadership and backbone with some of the people he's brought in. The Scott, Williams, Thompson, Ross class is a classic example and then Marc Loving is perhaps the best example yet. Then we have another great class come in last year and everyone leaves because they're not playing the minutes they want or are not taking coaching very well.
I have a lot of concerns about the team and the direction and am having a hard time really arguing for Thad anymore...but there's a lot of fallacious arguments being perpetuated, such as his complete inability to land the best players in the state (when he has landed several of the best players in the state...and players leaving Ohio for blue blood programs has been the case since waaayyyy before Thad got here). He misses a couple players in recent memory and suddenly he's completely unable to recruit in-state.
Another one of those arguments being that he can't develop players. That one's hard to argue with some of the recent busts we've seen, but a lot of what I've seen are players rated very highly coming out of HS that wind up having a lot of limitations and very low ceilings for improvement. It's worth keeping in mind that he's done some of the best developmental work on some guys as well. Evan Turner, good lord I don't even need to say more. David Lighty, big time! Jon Diebler showed up with major confidence issues and Thad helped turn his confidence around to become the best shooter in school history. Deshaun Thomas went from being irresponsible, terrible defender, volume shooter off the bench to B1G POY candidate by his junior year, averaging 20 a game and showing significant growth defensively. Even guys like Lenzelle Smith went from basically nothing to key players. Evan Ravenel was never going to be anything important, but became a strong, solid player by his senior year. Dallas Lauderdale went from being a nobody to being one of the, if not the best rim protector in college basketball, as well as contributing on offense by shooting over 70% from the field. Othello Hunter went from being nothing to being a really strong all around player and potential NBA draft pick despite being undersized. Ron Lewis and Ivan Harris showed a lot of growth. He took a good player in Terence Dials under O'Brien and turned him into B1G POY by the time he was done.
There's some issues going on, I won't bury my head in the sand and pretend there aren't. But his critics can't bury their head in the sand and believe that there's an epidemic with his program either. He's definitely getting harder to defend, but I think the guy has built at least some equity, enough for us to show him some faith and give him a chance to see if he can get things turned in the right direction.