LaQuinton Ross' exit opens up a void at a position that doesn't have a successor. Marc Loving has the length and shooting touch, but not the physicality of a Ross or Deshaun Thomas. Based on Lee's first three years at Temple, he doesn't have the range to help spread the floor.
No incoming freshman fits there, so it's up to Matta to add someone for 2015-16. Mickey Mitchell may be the answer, but the Buckeyes will want to add another dynamic player, who can play on the wing and has the length to play in the post. Carlton Bragg is the ideal fit, but he's not the only Northeast Ohio recruit OSU is after.
Last week, Matta traveled to Shaker Heights for an in-person visit with Esa Ahmad. The 6-foot-7-inch, 220 pound forward is an all-around threat and was the Associated Press' Division-I Co-Player of the Year in Ohio.
After a strong high school season and early dominance in AAU ball, Ahmad is showing why he has offers from Indiana, Iowa State, Maryland and West Virginia. The Ohio State staff is quite familiar with Ahmad, but, despite the amount of time they've spent scouting him, the head coach has yet to see him in person. That will change soon, according to Ahmad's father.
"Thad said he never offers without seeing the player play in person," Ibby Ahmad told Eleven Warriors. "He's coming to see Esa in Sacramento on [April] 25."
By that point, Esa will play with his All-Ohio Red AAU squad in their third EYBL session. Perhaps an Ohio State offer will follow.
To gather your own opinion on if Matta should offer Ahmad, check this out (via Scarberry Media):
OSU Expected to See More of Battle
With a short amount of time left in the recruiting period (from April 18-23) and only three days in the evaluation period, the Buckeye staff is attempting to visit or watch as many prospects as possible.
In addition to Ahmad, Ohio State will reportedly check in on five-star, 2016 G Tyus Battle. According to SNY.tv, OSU coaches will likely be in New Jersey to visit Battle during the final days of the recruiting period.
As I've written in the notebook before, Battle's high school coach compares him to another New Jersey product – Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving. At least one of them is still busy in late April.
Howard Picks The Orange
The Buckeyes recently struck out in their recruitment of an elite combo guard, however.
Franklin Howard, a four-star guard in the 2015 class, chose Syracuse over Ohio State, Georgetown, Maryland N.C. State and Virginia.
Among the reasons he committed to Jim Boeheim? He actually likes playing in a 2-3 zone. Plus, Boeheim has a history of sending players with a similar skill set to the NBA – Dion Waiters, Michael Carter-Williams and, eventually, Tyler Ennis.
Howard's AAU coach also described him as a point guard, meaning he would not be the best fit in a Buckeye class that will include A.J. Harris.
MYles Turner Closing In On Decision
Recent speculation surrounding the top remaining player in the 2014 class had him cutting down his list.
In a report attributed to ESPN's Chad Ford, Myles Turner is supposedly down to three schools – Kansas, SMU and Texas. Turner responded via Twitter:
There is no truth to me cutting my list to 3 schools, thank you
— Myles Turner (@Original_Turner) April 16, 2014
Fortunately, he'll soon put an end to all the rumors. According to ESPN's Paul Biancardi, Turner will announce his commitment on April 30.
Turner said he's still considering Ohio State, in addition to Duke, Kansas, Oklahoma State, SMU Texas and Texas A&M. While practicing for the Jordan Brand Classic in New York, he spoke to SNY.tv about the recent report.
"I definitely have favorites," Turner said, "but I never put it out there who my favorites are."
While he's not revealing anything, most believe Kansas and Texas are the front runners. Turner has continued to speak highly of Matta and the Buckeyes, however.
"They need a big, as well. They don’t have a true center at this point," Turner told SNY.tv. "Coach Matta, I really like him and his whole coaching staff. I've talked to them, they’re one of the schools that I’ve talked to the most."