After Ohio State lost to Kansas, head coach Thad Matta made a change to his starting lineup.
Out of the starting lineup–at the center position–went fifth-year senior Evan Ravenel and in came sophomore Amir Williams.
In Williams’ first start, an 87-44 victory against Chicago State, he scored just four points and grabbed four rebounds, but only played 15 minutes.
It is very hard to judge the decision off of such a small sample size. One game against a poor opponent makes that difficult. Last night, in Ohio State’s Big Ten opener against Nebraska, Williams started his second game of the season.
The Buckeyes won, 70-44. Williams played just 18 minutes. But, he had eight points, seven rebounds and four blocks. Nebraska isn’t exactly the Big Ten’s strongest basketball team, but a big test for Williams will be Saturday when the Buckeyes take on Illinois in Champaign.
The move seems to be working for Ravenel too. A lot of players who have waited for their time may not respond well to being taken out of the starting lineup a third of the way through the season. But Ravenel seems to be a great team guy.
He grabbed 10 rebounds against Chicago State and last night he had seven points and two rebounds in 11 minutes.
To me, Ravenel has always seemed like an energy guy anyway. He may have been better suited coming off of the bench from the beginning so he can bring that energy and emotion onto the floor and give this team a spark.
With big men in the Big Ten such as Cody Zeller (Indiana), Trevor Mbakwe (Minnesota), Derrick Nix and Adrian Payne (Michigan State), the Buckeyes will need to get a lot of help from the center position.
Whether it be from Williams in the starting lineup or from Ravenel off the bench, the production must be there.