Sophomores Key to OSU’s Success

Written December 14th, 2012 by Tim Shoemaker

Sam "Slam I Am" Thompson


They may not be the “Thad Five,” but the sophomore class on Ohio State’s men’s basketball team has shown significant improvement from year one to year two in coach Thad Matta’s system.

Obviously, with the departure of players like Jared Sullinger and William Buford, there are more minutes to be had this year. But the sophomores who didn’t see a ton of action as freshman are now playing big time minutes for the No. 7-ranked Buckeyes.

Going forward, it will take contributions from all five of these sophomores if the Buckeyes want to make another run at a Final Four:

LaQuinton Ross: Arguably the most impressive of the five so far this season, Ross is tied for second in scoring on the team at 10.6 points per game. He’s shown the ability to be “the guy” after Deshaun Thomas when it comes to putting the ball in the basket. Ross is also averaging five rebounds per game. Going forward, you would like to see Ross keep improving at the defensive end, but he’s been extremely impressive through the first eight games for OSU.

Shannon Scott: Shannon Scott’s ability to force the tempo has been what stands out most so far this year. He’s constantly trying to push the ball offensively and he pressures the ball constantly on defense. The thing about Scott, though, is he does it under control for the most part. He’s averaging 6.8 points per game and 4.5 assists per game. But the stat I like most about Scott is that is assist to turnover ratio is 4.5/1.

Sam Thompson: We all knew coming into the season we were going to be blessed to witness some highlight reel dunks from Slam Thompson this year. And through eight games, he has done anything but disappoint in that regard. Averaging 7.4 points and 4.9 rebounds per game, Thompson has done a very solid job filling that starting role on the wing. His athleticism allows him to be a solid defender and makes the Buckeyes’ perimeter defense almost unfair to opponents.

Amir Williams: Williams is far away from reaching his potential. He is still as raw as they come, but you can definitely see the potential. His shot blocking ability rarely goes unnoticed. Williams’ presence will definitely be needed, especially on the defensive end, for OSU to advance as far as it would like.

Trey McDonald: Not much was expected out of McDonald at the beginning of the year. But, in limited minutes, he’s definitely making a case to be in the rotation. Matta called McDonald the most athletic of the three big men that he has and I wouldn’t be surprised if he starts to cut into Williams and Evan Ravanel’s minutes just a bit as the season goes forward.

Ohio State’s main question coming into this season was how it would replace Sullinger and Buford. While you can’t replace them as individual players, these five sophomores have combined for similar numbers to Sullinger and Buford. This must continue for the rest of the season if OSU wants to find itself in Atlanta.

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