Yes, your eyes do not deceive you, it does indeed say “basketball” up there. While everyone is overloading from the celebration of Coach Meyers first game as the head coach of THE Ohio State university and a W against Miami of Ohio, we thought we’d introduce you to a Tuesday fixture of basketball with tBBC. Myself, Eric, and Gary Russell are going to do our best to keep you updated on the basketball Buckeyes with news as it is ready and a roundtable or maybe even a chat on Tuesday’s with some people in the know.
Who’s the one carryover from last season who needs to have a big off season and why?
Eric – In terms of needing a big off-season, there’s only one obvious answer – Amir Williams. Matta teams tend to under perform when he doesn’t have a top notch guy in the paint to focus the attention on. Amir Williams was supposed to be a huge get for the Buckeyes when we recruited him, but the few times we saw him last season he looked stiff and immobile on offense – though his defense was pretty good. He absolutely needs to have worked on his offense in a big way, both in moving without the ball and in getting a hip into the defender when posting up.
One other key to his offense – he needs to be able to pass back out of the paint. Buckeye fans got very spoiled with Sullinger and his ability to feed guys outside the arc after attracting the entire defense. This offense will work a lot better if Williams can come even half-way towards replicating that trait.
I’m going to give a #2 answer as well, because I can. Lenzelle Smith Jr. needs to have a big off-season. He did a laudable job last season, especially towards the end. He needs to carry that momentum into this season and be a significant scoring option for this team.
WVaBuckeye – With the best PG in the country returning this season in Aaron Craft, the best offseason has to be had by Shannon Scott. The 6’2″ PG out of Alpharetta, GA showed some flashes of getting alot better late in the season. His ability to defend and handle the ball gave the Buckeyes some opportunities to play two guard when it needed to. The loss of several players to graduation and transfer has made it a necessity for him to step up.
Players graduating or leaving early the past two seasons have left the Buckeyes feeling like they’re starting over, but they still got the respect of being a top 5 team. Why will they or won’t they get that respect this season?
WVaBuckeye – Two words why this team will be a top five this upcoming season – Aaron Craft. There isn’t a team in the country that possesses a PG with his defensive abilities or one who can lead a team the way he does. He is the primary reason they will gain the respect they deserve and also the way the team will play. Stout defense and getting up and down the court on offense. They have the talent and the ability to be a team that will surprise some and return to the final four. Thomas will be a viable POTY candidate and returned for one reason – win it all.
Eric – They will get that respect this season, but it will come much later than the opening polls. Pollsters are going to want to see: 1) Amir Williams step up and competently replace Sullinger, 2) DeShaun Thomas pick up the slack in the scoring, 3) A credible #2 scoring option step up, and finally 4) the Buckeyes find a significant outside shooting threat. There are answers to these questions on this team, and I’m certain it’ll get sorted out during the season.
This year’s class has one player in Amedeo Della-Valle and one commit for next year in Marc Loving, is this good enough? And what does Thad Matta need to do this year to quiet the whispers that his time has come and gone with Sullinger?
Eric - In terms of question one, ADV is more than sufficient for this season, and Marc Loving is a great pick up for next year. However, while I think we’re set this year, we need many more players to commit to play for us next year. The Buckeyes are going to have a bunch of losses, especially among significant scorers, and will need to replace that scoring production in the future. At the moment we haven’t done that yet.
“His time has come and gone with Sullinger” – I want to know who’s saying stuff like this so I can pound some reason into their heads. He pulled in a top notch recruiting class in 2006, he pulled in another one with Sullinger and Thomas. Basketball recruiting is a revolving battle, and some seasons the best teams lose in the recruiting battle. Matta will get the job done yet again, you just have to give him time to find the right kinds of guys.
WVaBuckeye - I am going to echo Eric’s sentiments here. It drives me crazy to read on twitter or in stories that circulate around the web that the latest transfers and graduation losses will be the end of the Matta era. I for one belive that the players that transferred did so because they saw the writing on the wall. There were two younger players that would keep them off the floor in the upcoming season. Having the ability to play an Amir Williams behind Sullinger and have Ross earlier than you thought, has to translate into success. Matta knows what he is doing and will have a loaded team this year and the ability to bring in replacements next year.
We’re planning on getting together every week or so to talk buckeye hoops. What’s the one thing you want to see from this years team? What’s your dream situation?
Eric – One thing I want to see from this team is another dangerous inside-outside game like we had during Sullinger’s freshman campaign. The three-point shooting coupled with the tough gritty inside scoring was obviously hard to defend and should have carried us much further than the Sweet 16.
My dream situation is to see this team make the Final Four again. I’d love to see a championship, but I don’t quite see it happening this year. A final four run may be in the cards if the above questions get answered, and the Buckeyes ride some serious momentum late in the season.
WVaBuckeye – I have to see Deshaun Thomas go off like no other Buckeye before him. He has an opportunity to be as unstoppable and efficient as former Buckeye and POTY award winner Evan Turner. “Tank” will be the guy that everyone is gunning for to stop and if he can take care of business and draw the doble team away from the paint that will free up Williams and Ross to do their off-ball thing.
My dream situation for this season is the same as it has been my entire life, win a championship. They haven’t done it in fifty plus years and they exorcised the Cincinnati demons during last years tourney. Next stop the Final Four and a title! Will it happen? I am not sure that we will have the horses this year, but we do have the coach. If there ever was a coach deserving of a title it’s Thad Matta.