Basketball Recruiting Notebook: Peach State Ballers in the Spotlight

By Mike Young on June 11, 2014 at 3:00 pm

With A.J. Harris, Mickey Mitchell, and Austin Grandstaff committed, plus Trevor Thompson's eventual addition, the 2015 class is almost complete.

The only elements missing – this goes for the current roster, as well – are a shot-blocking presence, a powerful post defender and reliable scorer around the basket. In a month, those might not be concerns.

Earlier this week, four-star center Daniel Giddens tweeted he will commit July 4. Although the original tweet mysteriously disappeared from his timeline, the Independence Day announcement makes sense because it comes not only on our nation's birthday, but Giddens' birthday, as well.

The Marietta, Ga. native has offers from several high-major schools across the country. As of February, Giddens pared his list down to Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas and Ohio State. At this point, it feels like the Buckeyes have separated themselves from the other five schools.

Thad Matta has been heavily involved in Giddens' recruitment for over a year, paving the way for an unofficial visit to Columbus in December. Giddens has not openly disclosed a visit to another school since. It's not unprecedented for someone to commit to a school without visiting it, but it's rare. 

The OSU head coach followed up the campus visit by traveling to Georgia for one of Giddens' high school games. Matta also watched him play for Each 1 Teach 1 – freshman D'Angleo Russell's former AAU team – during the EYBL's opening session in Sacramento, Calif. 

Giddens recently told he stays in constant contact with the Buckeye staff. 

"I still talk to Ohio State every week," Giddens said. "I talk with Coach Matta and Coach (Dave) Dickerson all the time, and I have a good relationship with them."

Eleven Warriors will have more on Giddens as his commitment date approaches. For now, check out highlights from his AAU season. He remains a highly explosive on both ends of the floor and, although raw, has made strides on offense:

Fellow Georgian, Fellow Patriot

While Giddens' recruitment winds down, his high school teammate continues to emerge as one of the best players in the 2015 class. 

Jaylen Brown, a composite five-star and top-ten prospect, has impressed coaches and scouts while competing overseas. At the Adidas Euro Camp in Treviso, Italy, Brown and a collection of prep stars from the United States took on some of Europe's top, young players. As a team – which included OSU target Carlton Bragg – the Americans didn't fare well

Individually, Brown impressed those in attendance:

With a lack of depth up front, Ohio State will be focused on adding more size in the 2015 class. A Giddens commitment would help, but it would still leave them with Giddens, Trevor Thompson and Dave Bell as the only players taller than 6-feet, 8-inches. 

Matta likely wouldn't turn down a commitment from a player as talented as Brown, but their roster would be more complete by adding Bragg, Esa Ahmad or Doral Moore.

Around The B1G

Two Ohioans will leave the Buckeye state but still receive a Big Ten education.

Last week, Michigan State's Tom Izzo went "nuts" over Kyle Ahrens' commitment (the Detroit Free Press' Joe Rexrode has the full story). Ahrens, a Versailles native, is still recovering from a broken leg. As his AAU coach told Eleven Warriors in May, it's not necessarily a physical adjustment for Ahrens.

"It's been a mental thing [returning from a broken leg], it's just human nature – if you get injured – you want to make sure it's ok," said King James coach Danyelle Love. "The one thing you're going to get from Kyle, no matter what, he's going to be the hardest-playing kid on the team." 

AAU teammate Derek Pardon, who also didn't have an Ohio State offer, committed to Northwestern during his visit. The Cleveland native has made great strides under Love.

"When I started out with Derek Pardon, nobody wanted him, he was just a tall, clumsy kid. Of course, he's not that now," Love said. "He's playing high major basketball."

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