2012 Recruiting Update: Is Tony Parker a Slam Dunk?

Written December 24th, 2011 by Joe Dexter

It’s still unbelievable the pull that Ohio State head man Thad Matta has been able to put together in his time as the head coach of this great university.From Greg Oden to Jared Sullinger to Mike Conley Jr. and Evan Turner — there has been a lot of talent that we have been fortunate enough to watch blossom. Just on this roster, back to back phenomenal classes have proven that this program isn’t going anywhere over the long-haul. This young team will only be forced to say goodbye to William Buford via eligibility. In 2012, only walk-on Alex Rogers and transfer Evan Ravenel will be in their final year of athletic eligibility.

But what about 2012 freshman class? Dave Dickerson, Chris Jent, Jeff Boals and Thad Matta have yet to receive a commit, despite working hard on the recruiting trail.

That doesn’t mean that whoever decides to come to Ohio State isn’t going to be some of the most talented players in the country going into their first year of collegiate basketball.  This Christmas Eve, my present to you is an update on the 2012 class and how things are coming together for next year.

Tony Parker, Miller Grove HS (Lithonia, GA) PF - After a dominant 29 point and 10 rebound performance against perennial power Oak Hill on ESPN earlier this week, it became clear that the former AAU teammate of Shannon Scott really has the ability to take over ballgames, and do so quickly.  According to Rivals.com’s Jerry Meyer, Buckeyes fans have a good shot at landing the big man in the 2012 class. Meyer stated in mid December that Ohio State has been thought to be the favorite  of not only Parker, but his father, who has played a pivotal role in the recruiting process. Parker’s father Virgil cited coach Matta’s experience with Jared Sullinger in his first reason as a true reason why Tony should consider the Buckeyes

“I hear so much about how hard Coach Matta works when I hear people talk about Ohio State,” Virgil said. “That’s huge because Tony is a hard worker. He gets up at 6 a.m. every morning and goes to workouts.

“Tony has been committed to getting in the weight room and working out and getting up shots, and that’s what’s impressive about Ohio State. You can see how hard the kids work at Ohio State.”

It’s that work ethic that has Parker fitting the program so well. Not only does he continuously get better on both sides of the court, but he is the type of player that will look to develop over a couple of seasons at the collegiate level. Working with Sullinger would give him a distinct advantage in improving his weaknesses. Despite dominating games at times, the three time state champion struggles with ball control and dishing out from the low and high post. Off ball reversals, there isn’t anyone better than Jared Sullinger to distribute the basketball and Parker would only be the benefactor to working day to day with the sophomore sensation next season. Tony Parker could definitely learn the intricacies of the collegiate game from Thad Matta and the staff rather quickly. Dave Dickerson, Chris Jent and Jeff Boals have had a strong impression.

But so have other programs along the way.

Just at the beginning of this month, both Thad Matta and Coach K were in Atlanta recruiting the socks off this kid. Coach Krzyzewski has been along for the ride just as long as Ohio State, and sells a very intriguing product to a player like Parker. He has coached some of the best power forwards in the history of the sport, develops players into NBA caliber talents, and has the ability to give the big man playing time early. Many believe the race has come down to these two schools, but an emerging and surging Kansas could very well sneak some consideration. UCLA and Memphis were also at once considered early favorites and are still in the mix.

When it comes to new teammates, just this week Parker stated that it’s Ohio State’s roster that best fits his skills.

“No doubt, Ohio State has the best roster. That’s just clear, plain and simple and everyone knows it. With Jared (Sullinger) leaving, Aaron (Craft) staying and DeShaun Thomas, he’s gone. The guys that are coming in are pretty good. LaQuinton Ross, (Sam) Thompson; he had a good game against South Carolina the other day.”

Parker isn’t considered a lock just yet, but if his actions and words speak for how he regards Ohio State, we might see another big man in the post next season.

Amile Jefferson, Friends Central (Philadelphia), PF: The push for Amile has grown over the last few months as many of the players across the country at his position have committed to their future schools. After losing Dajuan Coleman to Syracuse, the Buckeyes turned their attention to Philly power forward Amile Jefferson. What makes him fit so great into the system is his versatility and athleticism (like everyone on scholarship). Despite being a bit under sized, Jefferson has the talent to play the 4 with his back to the basket. What he could add to the Buckeyes is a ability to drive from the wing to the bucket. The one thing he needs to work on though is finding a consistent jump shot from 12′ out. The Gatorade Player of the Year in Pennsylvania has been recruited heavily by his hometown Villanova and Temple for quite some time, but as of late it looks like he’ll be attending school out of state.

At least it seems…

Rated as the sixth best player in the country yet to declare, Jefferson has taken official visits to NCSU, Ohio State, Maryland, UCONN, Kentucky, Temple, and Villanova. He recently told Rivals.com that he also doesn’t have a favorite. That could make for a very long road in the next upcoming months. North Carolina State seems to have some steam, considering they have brought in one of the best classes in 2012 and are still looking for their big man. Coach Calipari has done a good job sneaking under the radar as well on Jefferson. What will also hold up things is fellow forward Anthony Bennett, who is also far from decided and considering many of the same schools as Jefferson.

Fact of the matter is there hasn’t been a lot of buzz about Jefferson since the early signing period. After a visit to Villanova stirred things up, Jefferson has kept his options open — with visits to Stanford, Uconn, and Kentucky. Ohio State was his first visit, and their hasn’t been much mention of the University or Thad Matta since.

But, his is a tweener forward that fits the system, and wouldn’t be going anywhere for 2-3 years. A name to keep an eye on as we head to the middle of the season.

Anthony Bennett, Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nevada), PF:

He might be the toughest player of this class to figure out, but there is no doubt that Anthony Bennett is a true talent. The seventh best player in this class according to ESPNU, nearly 10 programs have reached out for the big man with range. Bennett will most likely wait until late in the season to do any official visits, but has taken in-home visits from the likes of Kentucky, Ohio State, Florida, UCONN and Pitt among others. He has been really quiet about what his next step is. Many believe it’s to Kentucky, where he had an unofficial visit when his team played in Lexington earlier this year. The Canada native is a really strong presence on the high and low post. Once he nails down the footwork, he will be one of the top players in college basketball.

It will be interesting to see where he fits down the road in Ohio State’s plans and how Ohio State fits into his future. Ohio State isn’t considered to be favorites, but you never know with this coaching staff.

7 Comments

  1. GraveyNo Gravatar
    December 24th, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    Thanks for the update. I haven’t heard much on this front, so it’s a welcome bit of news.

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  2. KenNo Gravatar
    December 24th, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Very encouraging news, thanks for update.

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  3. brown buckeyeNo Gravatar
    December 24th, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    Thanks for the recruiting news!!! Is there anyone in Ohio that stands out and will be offered a scholarship?

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  4. Joe DexterNo Gravatar
    December 24th, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    Marc Loving of the 2013 class is the only committed Buckeye at this point. He is a Toledo St. Johns Product. A swing man with shooting ability.

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  5. Brown BuckeyeNo Gravatar
    December 26th, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    He looks like he has good fundamentals. Maybe he’ll fill the role similar to Buford? Thanks for the update.

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  6. Joe DexterNo Gravatar
    December 27th, 2011 at 3:49 am

    That’s what Matta and Boals believed when they signed him. He could also fit in at that Swing role with mostly every player on the roster. At 6’7″ he’d give great size to the Buckeyes at the Two.

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  7. NWOHIONo Gravatar
    January 18th, 2012 at 5:08 am

    I am from NW Ohio and honestly I wouuld rather see OSU sign Nigel Hayes of Whitmer rather then Loving of SJJ. Unless Loving gets in the weight room (which it appears he is yet to do) I think he will struggle in the B1G. While Hayes is about 6’6 too and is more physical (plays wr for their football team). The only thing I think Loving is bette at is shooting the 3.

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