Giddens Prepares to Announce Friday
Regardless of your opinion of him, Amir Williams' impending graduation leaves a hole on the roster.
Dave Bell and Virginia Tech transfer Trevor Thompson are the only big men left once Williams and incoming senior Anthony Lee depart campus. Bell's ability to step in will be determined after what will likely be a redshirt season. Thompson plans be a major contributor by 2015-16, but that's no guarantee.
So, Matta and his staff look to the 2015 recruiting class for reinforcements. With Mickey Mitchell, A.J. Harris and Austin Grandstaff already committed, the only thing lacking is a low-post player to round out the class.
That may be coming, Friday. Composite four-star center Daniel Giddens is expected to announce his college choice on his – as well as America's – birthday. As of February, the Marietta, Ga. native narrowed his list to Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas and Ohio State. At the NBPA Top 100 camp, he told the assembled media he's also considering Texas A&M and Wake Forest.
"The environment at Wake Forest [is why he's considering the Demon Deacons]. Tim Duncan, Chris Paul, Al-Farouq Aminu, their development of players," Giddens told CBSSports.com. "Danny Manning is excellent, excellent at developing and coaching big men."
At this point, however, it feels like the Buckeyes have separated themselves from the other schools. The Ohio State coaches have been heavily involved in Giddens' recruitment for over a year, which led to an unofficial visit to Columbus in December.
Matta followed up that campus visit by traveling to Georgia for one of Giddens' high school games in February. The OSU head coach also watched him play for Each 1 Teach 1 – freshman D'Angleo Russell's former AAU team – during April's EYBL session in Sacramento, Calif.
"I still talk to Ohio State every week," Giddens told Scout.com, in June. "I talk with Coach Matta and Coach (Dave) Dickerson all the time, and I have a good relationship with them."
The 6-foot-10-inch, 235 pound center hasn't developed a consistent offensive game, yet, but there are flashes of potential – outside of being able to consistently finish around the rim. Giddens' shot-blocking abilities were also on display at the NBPA Top 100 Camp, two weeks ago:
Grandstaff, Ahmad at Durant Skills Camp
Over the course of three days last weekend, several Ohio State targets and a commit participated in one of the summer's top camps.
Buckeye pledge Austin Grandstaff and Shaker Heights forward Esa Ahmad were among the 60 campers at the Kevin Durant Skills Academy for wing players. They, along with 28 other high schoolers and 30 collegiate wings, received special instruction from Durant and reputable coaches, such as John Lucas.
Naturally, a bit of recruiting took place among the campers:
ohio state fans my room mate at kd skills is @IDoIt_Nike23 some serious recruiting going on here O-H-I-O
— Austin Grandstaff (@AustinGstaff1) June 28, 2014
At the camp in Washington D.C., Ahmad talked to UMHoops about Grandstaff's attempts to woo him.
"Austin is a cool guy." Ahamad said, "You know, he’s trying to persuade me to get down to Ohio State again, visit, and try to get me to come there with him."
Grandstaff plans to visit Columbus for the Buckeyes' football home opener. Meanwhile, here are some new highlights of the Texas two-guard (via Courtside Films):
Ahmad and Giddens appear to be the top frontcourt targets in the 2015 class for Ohio State, but one more option is now available.
Noah Dickerson, who recently transferred to Montverde Academy, has decommitted from Georgetown:
I have decided to reopen my recruitment.
— Noah Dickerson (@NDickerson41) July 1, 2014
The composite four-star power forward visited Columbus in September and received a scholarship offer in December. We'll see if the Buckeyes choose to pursue Dickerson again.