Finding the right fit for your college basketball program isn't just about what happens on the court but off it as well. On Monday, Ohio State added a key piece. How will that commitment impact the Buckeyes?
In case you were sleeping late Monday night and missed the news, Ohio State landed its first verbal commitment in the 2018 class when four-star shooting guard Torrence Watson announced his pledge to the Buckeyes.
It was a huge get for Chris Holtmann and Co. because it was the first one in what will be a key class in determining the future of the Ohio State program. With that, let's examine what Watson — a top-100 prospect nationally — brings to the Buckeyes' 2018 class.
On the Court
Ohio State desperately needs backcourt help in the 2018 class and Watson is certainly a quality addition at a position of need. Listed at 6-foot-5, Watson has prototypical size to play the shooting guard at the Big Ten level.
But Watson also has a versatile game that could potentially allow him to play in a three-guard system while still having the ability to defend bigger wings. Watson plays for Team Remy-Jets United on the adidas AAU circuit and has developed a reputation of defending the best wing player on the opposing team.
Additionally, Watson has shown flashes of being able to score in addition to his defensive ability. Watson led his AAU team on the Gauntlet series this spring at 13.1 points per game. He also averaged 4.6 rebounds per game.
A native of St. Louis, Watson averaged 27.1 points per game during his junior season at the Whitfield School, so he certainly has potential to fill it up. He's also shown flashes of big-time athleticism from the guard spot.
In the Class
As mentioned above, Ohio State's 2018 recruiting class will almost assuredly feature multiple guards as the Buckeyes will be extremely thin following the graduation of Kam Williams after the upcoming season.
Should Ohio State wind up with a four-man haul in 2018, expect at least two of those players to be in the backcourt. Watson is an ideal fit at shooting guard with his size and athleticism.
The Buckeyes still have five available scholarships for the 2018 class after Watson's commitment. It's very unlikely all get used, however, but expect the haul to include anywhere between three and five players. Four seems like it could be an optimal number: two guards, a wing and a big man. Ohio State would still like to add a point guard, but it has one one backcourt spot locked up with Watson now in the fold.
The timing of Watson's commitment likely has implications on how the Ohio State coaching staff will spend its upcoming time on the recruiting trail. We'll now be able to get to see how guard-heavy the Buckeyes intend to actually go as the July recruiting period is set to kick off Wednesday.
What does that mean, exactly? Well, Holtmann and his staff — Mike Schrage, Ryan Pedon and Terry Johnson — will be on the road all across the country watching prospects live for three separate periods this month. They'll surely check out some point guards, but remember, Ohio State offered quite a few other backcourt options shortly after hiring Holtmann. If the staff doesn't intend to add another guard at Watson's position, they'll likely spend their time evaluating other options (wing, big man, point guard).
Either way, Watson's commitment is a great first step for Ohio State in 2018. Now, it's all about how Holtmann and Co. can fill in the rest of this class around this top-100 talent.