I began a journey to do a comparison of the two greatest teams in Ohio State Basketball history. At first glance it seemed a simple task to pick two teams and write a nice article about who was better at a given skill. The more I read about teams in Buckeye lore, the more I realized I couldn’t write such an article. I had my teams picked out and as things would have it, Joe Dexter and I started brain storming. We came up with the idea of presenting tBBC readers with a challenge.
Joe and I are going to break the teams down based on certain criteria: Playmaker, Post Presence, Ball handling, Head Coach and we’ll throw in some other advantages to go with those. We are also planning on having a guest writer or two as we move along through the tourney. We’ll provide you with some stats to chew on between the two teams in each match up.
We had six teams we were going to go with initially and each time we looked at it we knew we had to have eight. Then that turned into nine because we found one more team we felt deserved to be in the tourney. The criteria were simple. Which teams accomplished more for THE Ohio State University were our first choices and then teams that were led by All-time Greats.
With the drafting of Jon Diebler by the Portland Trailblazers in last Thursday’s NBA Draft, the Buckeyes added one more of their products to the professional ranks. Diebler joins former Buckeye Greg Oden on Portland’s roster, although it remains to be seen if the two will ever fulfill the opportunity to play together that was not afforded in college due to Oden’s departure for the NBA after his freshman season. Oden’s injury troubles since joining the NBA are well known for both their regularity and severity, and those following his career are now mostly hoping just to see him get some minutes on the floor, as the prospect of making a big impact on the league seems to be dwindling. It would be a welcome sight to see Oden running the floor again, demonstrating the defense and shot-blocking that were his signature in college and feeding the ball out of the post to Diebler on the perimeter, but before these two young players that contributed so much to Thad’s efforts at building the Ohio State program can hit the hardwood together, Oden must overcome the initial hurdle of getting healthy.
In a way, Oden ushered in a different kind of era for Ohio State basketball. Although he has struggled in the NBA, Oden had a stellar freshman year at Ohio State, earning him the #1 overall pick in the subsequent draft. Beginning with that pick in 2007, Ohio State has had a player taken in the first round of the draft each year until this year, when Diebler was taken in the middle of the second round. Mike Conley and Daequan Cook joined Oden in 2007 at the #4 and #21 spots, respectively, 2008 featured Kosta Koufos going #23, 2009 saw B.J. Mullens selected #24, and last year Evan Turner was taken with the #2 pick. Prior to Oden’s class, Buckeyes appearing in the draft were few and far between, and selections of Ohio State players were always in the second round when they occurred. Even Michael Redd, who went on to have an All-Star caliber season in the NBA, and who remains a member of the Milwaukee Bucks to this day, was not selected until #43 in 2000. Read More
Fans of Ohio State basketball have had a lot to cheer about since the arrival of Thad Matta in 2004. Matta’s passionate coaching coupled with his ability to recruit top players has created a program that puts a superb team on the court year in and year out. If you’re truly going to be a contender each season, you can’t have one without the other. Great talent can power you through games, even if the plays aren’t running smoothly and there are breakdowns in focus. Conversely, a well-disciplined team that executes can overcome a team made up of individual stars. It’s the teams that develop a pipeline of talent and then harness it appropriately that win championships.
Ohio State’s 2006 recruiting class set the bar for bringing in elite players, and under Matta’s coaching the Buckeyes made it all the way to the national championship game with that freshmen-led team. Along the way, fans got to experience an undefeated home record, only the fourth freshman All-American of all time in Greg Oden, and the electrifying play of Mike Conley, Jr. The NCAA Tournament run capped an impressive season with thrilling wins over Xavier and Tennessee. After the season, Oden, Conley, and fellow freshman and Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year Daequan Cook bolted for the financially greener pastures of the NBA.
With basketball season just around the corner, and a new team about to be put on display, some comparisons will inevitably be made to teams of the past, and particularly to teams of recent years. Indeed, the teams we’ve had during Thad’s tenure at Ohio State have involved some serious talent, and it will be interesting to see how this year’s players compare. With the type of talent that Thad has recruited to the Buckeye basketball program, there is always the possibility of one-and-done players. While we may only see these players for a short time in an Ohio State uniform, we enjoy the time we get to see them and appreciate their contributions to the program. In this article we’ll take a look at where some of these players are currently in their professional careers.