Random Buckeye hoop thoughts – Buckeye men’s recruits

Going to try this…even though thinking it might not be interesting to anyone but me…

I’ve run myself over with a number of local dump trucks in punishment for not setting my recording parameters properly to capture the Ohio State at Minnesota played on this past Sunday night.

The Buckeyes started off poorly. Playing on the road anywhere in the Big Ten is never easy. Minnesota’s Williams Arena, when rocking can, especially, be a most difficult location to get things done in. I’m hoping the team can lower its pulse rate early on at Wisconsin Thursday night.

It doesn’t get any easier at the Kohl Center, a place where Wisconsin rarely loses.

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I’m going to start out with this so I don’t get accused of burying it…

Personally, I don’t think this is Thad Matta’s last season at Ohio State…unless this year’s squad falls completely apart, which means finishing the Big Ten schedule with a ratio of one win for every two losses, I don’t think Gene Smith will truly consider firing him…

A. The relative ineffectiveness this season, and subsequent loss for the season, of Ohio State’s pivotal talent, Keita Bates-Diop, has to be factored into the equation. Was he ever healthy this season?

B. Whatever any fan’s opinion of the current state of the program is, Thad has given some of the very best years of his coaching career to Ohio State. By any comparable standards, the positive quality of his career at Ohio State is undeniable.

C. IF he will someday step down, or be asked to, from the Ohio State head coaching position, it will be done with great care.

D. Thad Matta has earned the right to determine the future of his involvement at Ohio State.

That’s all I got to say about that.

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Watched the women’s team play at Michigan State Tuesday evening. I can’t recall many times I’ve watched Ohio State play in Breslin where it’s gone well.

I had no idea Spartan Tori Jankoska was anywhere near the all time Michigan State scoring record. She soon had 19 points on the way to 31 in the 1st half and I knew all about it then. The cherry on the top was after she passed the all time record, I think after Jankoska scored her ninth point, she then went on to record the single game scoring record by adding 11 points in the 2nd half for a total of 42.

I can’t recall a player setting two records of that type in the same game ever before. Can you?

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The MSU game was maddening to watch. I love Kelsey Mitchell’s ability and most of the time she is off the charts with results. Her results on Tuesday reminded me of why I scratch my head about her every so often, though.

It’s hard to define Kelsey’s game. I’m not a coach. Just a long time observer. My observation is Mitchell is a player with exquisite shooting touch. So. How does she have streaks where she looks like the worst shot on the team?

She missed 14 of 18 shots she took Tuesday. At least nine of her attempts were total bricks. Five or six didn’t hit the rim, give or take a few, and came off the backboard at head bashing speed. Or missed everything.

Kelsey’s talent is amazing. When she’s on, and that’s a good bit of the time, Mitchell is as good a scorer as there is in college hoops, whether it’s the guys or the girls.

Just something I think about after she’s had a half or full game like that.

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Overall, the Buckeyes acted like the basketball was way too hot to hold on to get a decent shot up at the rim. Their shot selection was u-g-l-y. Some of that is due to MSU’s defense but Ohio State badly missed many shots.  They appeared to sometimes just be throwing the ball at the basket. They made 23-74 in total and but eight of 36 in the second half alone. 31% overall.

Definitely wishing the Ohio State women a more effective and easier to watch game on Sunday at Purdue. They are 4-1 in conference so I’ll give them one u-g-l-y game and expect better for the foreseeable future.

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Ohio State Buckeye men’s team plays at Wisconsin tonight. The Badgers are 13-3 overall & 2-1 in conference.

Once again the Buckeyes have a shot to change the narrative. If you read this and are thinking there’s no way the Buckeyes can win tonight then I invite you not to watch. I have a prior commitment at 7:00 but I will make sure I get this game taped so I can view it in the morning.

Wisconsin lost 66-55 to Purdue this past Sunday after winning nine games in a row. There may be a bit of angst in Madison that came from the loss to the Boilermakers but it’s nothing like what the Buckeyes feel.

I always hope for the best for Ohio State hoops. This team needs to claw its way out of the hole it has fallen into. One that increasingly is filling with new dirt. After it does that, then we can talk.

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I try to watch as many Big 10 conference games as I can.

Non Buckeye players I’ve seen that I like in the conference so far are Penn State’s post Mike Watkins, Rutgers Mike Williams, Michigan State’s Nick Ward, Michigan’s Moritz Wagner, Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan, Iowa’s Peter Jok, Nebraska’s Tai Webster, Northwestern’s Vic Law, Malcom Hill from Illinois and Minnesota’s Nate Mason.

I don’t have a clear view of any Maryland, Wisconsin, or Indiana players I appreciate. Haven’t had the pleasure of watching much of those squads yet.

I think Watkins is going to be the envy of league post players for the next couple seasons. He’s good around the rim and mobile and lean, yet full of explosion and bounce.

Mike Williams seems to be a steady all round player with stats that reflect it. On a team that’s 0-4 in conference, with athletic talent like a Corey Sanders around, it’s hard to get noticed. But I appreciate the steady play of Williams.

Nick Ward is another player, and I say proudly, a Central Ohio person, who is a quality first year post player. Of the vaunted Michigan State recruiting class, he is the best of that crew. Hands down. Good show, Nick.

At 6’11, Moritz Wagner intrigues me. He can get some things done for you on offense, inside-out, outside-in. As a sophomore, he’s taken positive steps forward and exhibits a good attitude.

Neither Caleb Swanigan or Peter Jok need me to say too much about them.

Swanigan has gotten so much better this season. If you followed him through high school it was understood he had immense ability. I think what I’ve been most impressed with is the effort he’s put in to conditioning his body. It makes a big difference to be able to go, go, go when you start off with the large body he did.

Jok is a wonderful offensive talent to watch. He’s smooth as can be. A good leader.

Nebraska’s Tai Webster sometimes makes me think of former Ohio State all-time great, Jimmy Jackson. I’ve watched him motor down the court a number of times this season with the ball in hand and it’s been difficult for opponents to knock him off course. He’s powerful and fast and knows how to use those attributes. Another player who has made a leap.

Vic Law is long and athletic and is a hard matchup. He can go over or around you and is good on offense and defense. I’ve been waiting to see him play well on a consistent basis and this season he’s getting it done. (Honorable mention to Ohioan’s Dererk Pardon amd Gavin Skelly)

Malcom Hill. Another in a line of Illinois scorers who erupt with points. Fun to watch.

Nate Mason is a great point guard for Minnesota. Think I like the fact his speed is different from everyone else’s. Not his foot speed, although, he’s plenty fast. It’s his ability to change gears to get where he wants to go that impresses.

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Buckeye recruits are having good seasons, thus far, it seems.

Darius Bazley had to sit out 11 games I think when he transferred from Finneytown to Cincinnati Princeton. He should start playing within the next week. Looking forward to getting a few views of his ability in the high school setting.

Versailles Justin Ahrens apparently started the season off a bit slowly but has turned it on in a big way recently. He recently scored his 1,000th high school point and games I’ve read about lately he’s scored in mid 20s all the way up to 36. As just a junior Ahrens seems to be getting his feet set pretty well.

Upper Arlington’s Dane Goodwin has led his team to an 8-1 record and is near the tippy top of Columbus area scoring leaders. He was second on the list last time I looked at 27 points plus per game. Each season he’s played Dane has gotten better. This season he has the pressure of being the well known veteran on the Golden Bear team, who also committed to Ohio State a long time ago.

Hargrave Military Academy’s Braxton Beverly is in the midst of an excellent team season. He starts at point guard for Hargrave, often competing against top level competition. He is the snake in the weeds {A good snake : ) } that will strike you, if you aren’t paying attention, in terms of being a known quantity. Braxton is credited for his exemplary attitude off and on court. On court he is also credited for having a tenacity, and touch and feel for the game that will be a benefit for him at Ohio State when he is deployed by Thad Matta.

Kaleb Wesson’s Westerville South team has experienced two losses in a row, one to the Columbus area’s number one team, Pickerington Central, and the latter to an excellent and road seasoned Reynoldsburg squad. Versus Reynoldsburg hit an off balance three as time expired to win by a single point in regulation. Kaleb is scoring, rebounding, blocking shots, playing defense, and passing for assists not many big players can attempt. Wesson appears to continue to get in better and better shape.

Last thing on Ohio State recruits and Buckeye recruiting. Why is it that the Ohio State staff offers some deserving local/Ohio young players early on? Others, just as deserving, in Central Ohio/Ohio, aren’t offered in the same manner?

As an example, the one player in the Central Ohio area I think should have an offer by now is Pickerington Central point guard, 2019 class, Jeremiah Francis.

I know recruiting is far more complex than I can imagine. But I think the Buckeyes need to offer Francis soon.


 Change Duck to Badgers! Go Buckeyes.

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