Thad Four Become Official

Yesterday was the first day that college basketball players nationwide could officially sign their Letters of Intent. While it wasn’t much of a surprise there was just a little hint of drama during this last years recruiting process, the players have been known. The only drama was of one player decommitting then recommitting within a months time if memory serves me right. Mickey Mitchell was the player everyone was worried about especially since he committed to Thad and Ohio State when his brother was still a part of Urban Meyers program. Yesterday Mitchell made it official signing his LOI along with future teammates Daniel Giddens, Austin Grandstaff, and A.J. Harris. These are huge gets for Thad and company plus they will have basically newcomers to the court next season with David Bell (C) who is currently on the team but looks to be redshirted and Trevor Thompson (C) who has to sit out a season for transferring from Va. Tech. The best thing would be if D’Angelo Russell will still be on the squad next season to be a part of this incoming class along with the other youth that the Buckeyes have but that might be a pipe dream.

Players we know for sure that will not be on the team next season due to graduating is Shannon Scott(G), Sam Thompson(F), Amir Williams(C) and graduate transfer Anthony Lee(C). The current and future Buckeye men’s basketball picture looks bright. Lets take a look at your 2015 recruiting class.

Daniel Giddens C 6-10 235lbs
Marietta Georgia
Rivals: 4 star ranked #43 nationally
scouting report:

ESPN Analyst
Updated 11/12/2014
A defensive presence in the lane, he protects the rim with his shot blocking skills and his body. He is hard to score against inside because he is strong, powerful, long and athletic who uses his frame to shield the rim. Giddens is a alert defender especially off the ball in help situations where he can contest and /or block a shot to help a teammate. He runs the floor extremely well and consistently hits the boards on both ends especially offensively. Immediately on his defensive rebound he throws the outlet pass which gets the transition game going. Scores mostly on drop off passes but has shown the ability to post some on the blocks. He can also get to the rim with short one or two dribble drives which is a problem for opposing centers. He moves well without the ball and can catch and finish with touch or above the rim with power and good explosiveness.
A bona fide low post game is lacking. He first learn the art of the post up which includes deep post position with a low and wide base along with making and maintaining contact with his defender. Giddens must continue to work on developing on the offensive end of the floor especially with his back to the basket game and a short jumper. His free throw shooting is poor at the present moment and as he is leaving points at the line. Learning how to use his massive frame against like size defenders will be the first step in his growth.
Bottom Line:
If progress can be made on the offensive end of the floor we are looking at one of the most difficult players in the class of 2015 to stop inside because of his physical frame and good hands. Giddens is an active and mobile center that is strong and physical. He is an excellent defender, rebounder and finisher and as his offense continues to develop so will his offensive production. Reminds us of former Florida center Patric Young or former Ohio State forward center Perry Carter.

Austin Grandstaff G 6-4 180lbs
Rockwell, Texas
Rivals: 4 star #41 nationally
Scouting Report:

ESPN Analyst
Updated 11/12/2014
Grandstaff is an excellent shooter off the catch or dribble. He is terrific at coming off a variety of screening actions as well. When he gets on a roll he can make a bunch. He’s a solid basketball athlete with a good basketball IQ. While shooting is his main attribute he can also put the ball on the floor and make plays off the dribble. Good passer and a good handle round out his game.
Would like to see him become a better defensive player, he has the tools to do it. Also, he can be a bit streaky shooting the ball, needs more consistency. Austin is a volume scorer who sometimes needs a lot of shots to get his points. We’d like to see him be more efficient. Grandstaff will need some help getting open at times and he will not only need to add strength but improve as a ball handler when under intense ball pressure.
Bottom Line:
His ability to put the ball in the basket is what sets him apart from most. He is a true shooting guard that can make shots from all over the court and will be an immediate shot maker on the high major level.

Mickey Mitchell F 6-7 210lbs
Plano, Texas
Rivals: 4 star #92 nationally
Scouting Report:

ESPN Analyst
Updated 11/12/2014
Mitchell is simply a relentless rim attacker. The lefty is tough and competitive on both ends of the floor. He is an excellent passer with great court vision and ball skills as well. He is a decent three point shoot when he feet are set and he is in rhythm. Mitchell is a good perimeter rebounder that is a coast to coast threat if not brought under control immediately. He is an above the rim finisher on the break and on all clear paths to the rim. Mitchell is a match up nightmare from the wing position and has a great motor as well. Mitchell is also a standout quarterback.
Mitchell has room to improve from behind the arc and he will also need to make better decisions with the ball at times and just keep it simple. He will also need to add the jump stop to his game so he doesn’t make himself charge prone.
Bottom Line:
Mitchell is an aggressive wing that has excellent skill and feel for the game. He can score in a variety of ways and is an elite passer with toughness and a great motor. Mitchell is a high major wing that can impact the game with his skill and toughness on both ends of the floor but make no mistake about it his passing and court vision make him special.

A.J. Harris G 5-9 160lbs
Dayton, Ohio
Rivals: 4 star #103 nationally
Scouting Report:

ESPN Analyst
Updated 11/12/2014
A.J. is an ultra quick point guard that can get in the lane at will. He has a lightning fast first step. Has an excellent floater with great touch and body control. He’s a good advance passer off the dribble and getting the ball up the floor. He moves the ball well in the halfcourt and can create for himself or teammates at end of clock situations. The lefty is a very tough competitor with a great motor.
Harris is a very streaky shooter with range to 20 feet. Must improve the consistency of his jumpshot. He is a capable defender that sometimes gambles too much. We’d like to see him get stronger which should come as he matures.
Bottom Line:
A.J. is a solid addition for Ohio State. He should follow in their tradition of good, solid, team-first point guards.

Welcome to Columbus and Buckeye Nation.

Men’s Basketball team rips Walsh

I know we are still recovering from the big win last night in East Lansing and the Buckeyes are making it real interesting in football but there was an exhibition basketball game in Columbus today.

We have learned some thing about the Scarlet and Gray basketball team going forward, like the possible starting line up, if the freshman phenomenon is for real, and if this team will have an offensive presence.

Thad Matta ran out a starting line up of guards Shannon Scott(SR) and D’Angelo Russell(FR), forwards Marc Loving(SO) and Sam Thompson(SR), and the center Amir Williams(SR). The starting line up can be tinkered with if need be if players start struggling later in the season but the main concern is that there’s going to be times in the beginning of the season where the line-up will feature players that haven’t played together at all, hopefully they will grow together as the season progresses.

Freshman phenomenon D’Angelo Russell is the real deal. It’s sad to say we might only get to watch him play for a season so enjoy his game. He has a pretty left handed jumper and a presence that is beyond his years as a true freshman. He was running the offense a lot tonight replacing Scott as he went to the bench and not only can Russell score but he can pass and rebound. his numbers from today were 17 points, 6 assists, 8 rebounds in 30 minutes. Russell lead the Buckeyes in all those categories. Yes this kid is for real and it is going to be a joy to watch him play this season.

Remember last season when it was painful to watch the Buckeyes try to score on offense? Don’t think there is going to be that issue happening this season. Yes the Scarlet and Gray were chucking up three’s today going 10-28 from behind the arc (35.7%) and they were 46.2% on their field goals (30-65). They missed a lot of lay-ups and Sam Thompson missed a big dunk in the first half. When this team gels together they are going to be something special. Guys are still learning there roles and plays, like Anthony Lee missing some wide open passes to the hoop.

Bottom line Buckeyes scored 77 and held Walsh to 37 and yes it was just an exhibition but you have to start somewhere. Buckeyes first game is this Friday vs UMass-Lowell in Cbus and only watchable on the Big Ten network plus subscription.

I will have a complete preview done this week as the season finally opens up and I have finally stopped crying about not seeing Aaron Craft in the Buckeyes uniform anymore.

Top 3 Moments in OSU History (Guest Post)

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This post is is brought to you by Stephan Sharp and you can find him on Twitter at @StephanSharp

When I was asked to write about my top three events in Ohio State history, my first thought was “How am I going to narrow this down to three?” To make my choices a little easier, I decided to only pick from events that have happened in my lifetime (since 1990). I know I am leaving out a great deal of important events by doing this, but it was the only way I thought would be fair and allow me to write about games I have witnessed and not just read about. Now on to the countdown…

No. 3: Ohio State 28 – Troy 10, Sept. 20, 2008

If you don’t remember much from this game, I can’t blame you. Terrelle Pryor’s first start for the Buckeyes ended with him throwing four touchdown passes on just 16 attempts. At the time, it was the smallest crowd in Ohio Stadium in six years with just 102,989 in attendance.

This game being Pryor’s first start is not why I have this game on my list. This was the first game I had the privilege of attending in person at Ohio Stadium. Walking from the parking lot, past St. John Arena, and seeing the rotunda on game day for the first time is something I will never forget.

I’ve been to other games since this one, including victories over That Team Up North in 2010 and 2012, but a rather lackluster win over a Sun Belt school will always hold a special place in my heart.

No. 2: Ohio State 85 – Tennessee 84, Mar. 22, 2007

Just five days after needing Ron Lewis and his clutch three-pointer to send an eventual second round victory over Xavier to overtime, the Buckeyes again needed late-game heroics to continue their quest for a first national basketball championship since 1960. Ohio State ended up falling in the national title game to Florida, but that does not diminish how great this game was.

I remember watching this game from my couch and being so frustrated with the performance of the first half, which ended with the Volunteers up by 17, that I seriously contemplated going to bed (this was the late game in the San Antonio regional and I had school at 7:45 the next morning) rather than allow myself to suffer through a blowout loss. I decided to give the team 10 minutes to show me something and fight their way back in it. I’m glad I stuck it out. The game was tied again halfway through the second half.

Greg Oden struggled with foul issues the entire game, playing just 18 minutes while scoring only nine points to go with three rebounds and four blocks. But that fourth block was the biggest of his career in scarlet and gray. His last-second, soaring swat of Ramar Smith’s potential game-winning lay-up is the first thing I think of when asked of Greg Oden and the 2006-07 Buckeyes.

No. 1: Ohio State 31 – Miami (FL) 24 2OT, Jan. 3, 2003

This was a no-brainer for me. Number one is the only football or basketball national championship won by Ohio State in my lifetime so far. The game no one gave Ohio State a chance to win. The game Ohio State won.

This was just a great game from start to finish between two great teams battling for the BCS National Championship. Everyone remembers Cie Grant coming on the blitz to force Ken Dorsey into throwing a poor pass on 4th and goal in the second overtime. Everyone remembers the pass interference call on Glenn Sharpe that gave Ohio State another life in the first overtime. Everyone remembers the horrific knee injury Willis McGahee suffered in the fourth quarter. The play I remember most is Maurice Clarett chasing down Sean Taylor and ripping the ball away following a Taylor interception in the third quarter.

A Mike Nugent field goal ended that drive, giving the Buckeyes a 17-7 lead. If Clarett does not pull off that outstanding play, Todd Sievers 40-yard field goal to send the game to overtime wins the game for Miami. Instead, Clarett’s final touch as a Buckeye ended up being in the second overtime as a short touchdown run that would prove to be the national championship-winning score.

What are your thoughts on my top three events in Ohio State history? Would any of these make your list?

Former Buckeye Greg Oden Arrested (Per Report)

It is being reported this morning that Greg Oden was arrested early this morning and charged with battery. Details are sketchy right now but it sounds like it happened in his hometown of Lawrence, Indiana. Here is what is being reported right now…

New details from the Indy Star…

The incident happened around 3:30 a.m. in the 7200 block of Maple Bluff Place, according to a Lawrence Police Department report.

Officers arrived at the home to find the victim crying and lying across a bed holding her face, police said. A woman described as the victim’s best friend first told officers what happened, police said.

“He punched her in the face,” the witness said, according to the report.

The victim initially was “uncooperative,” police said.

The victim’s best friend, police said, told the woman, “There isn’t that much love in the world. You need to tell that he punched you in the face.”

Police “observed blood, swelling to the nose, lacerations to the forehead and nose area of the victim’s face,” according to the report. They also “observed blood on the sofa and floor in the sitting area. (They) observed (blood) on the living room carpet (and) dirt from a flower pot that was knocked over.

The house belongs to Oden’s mother.

Oden was “calm, apologetic and cooperative” when officers spoke with him, police said.

“I was wrong, and I know what has to happen,” Oden told police, according to the report.

OSU Mens Bball Schedules Perennial Power

According to a report from Jeff Goodman of ESPN Ohio State will play Memphis in 2015 at a neutral site in Miami, Florida. Here is part of that report…

The Hall of Fame will debut a new event in Miami in 2015 in which Kentucky will play South Florida and Memphis will face Ohio State, an industry source told ESPN.

The neutral site doubleheader will be played at the American Airlines Arena in Miami on Nov. 27, 2015. The format of the event is that each host school will play three home games in addition to one neutral site contest.

This will add another marquee match-up for Coach Matta and an early season challenge to help prepare them for the B1G season and post season.

Thad Matta & The Buckeyes Land Big Man Thompson

Ohio State has picked up seven-foot Virginia Tech transfer Trevor Thompson, according to ESPN Basketball insider Jeff Goodman.

The Buckeyes have been in the running for Thompson for several weeks now and Ohio State was speculated to be one of his top choices in his college search. Thompson averaged 5 PPG and 4.7 RPG over 30 games for the Hokies this past season. Due to transfer rules, Thompson will sit out the upcoming season and will have three years of eligibility left starting in the 2015-2016 season. This is a great pickup for Thad Matta’s squad after clearly lacking size in the front court this past season. Here’s a taste of what Thompson can bring to the team:

Thompson himself also took to Twitter to announce the news:

Thompson is ready. Are you ready for him Buckeye Nation?

Ohio State Men’s Basketball Back in the AP Poll

basketball_iconOhio State, sporting an uncharacteristic like record of 19-5 has made its way back in to the AP Poll, clocking in at #22 (they also moved up from #25 to #20 in the Coaches’ Poll).

After three straight wins (over Wisconsin, Iowa, and Purdue), Ohio State seems to be on a little mini-run heading into the game against Michigan, a showdown of two previous conference front-runners. Ohio State has showed steady improvement while Michigan is struggling to find an answer to when teams stifle Nik Stauskas’ prolific offense.

The B1G still boasts five teams in the Coaches’ Poll. You can see the rest of the rankings over at ESPN.

Ohio State Beats Purdue 67-49

The Buckeyes looked sloppy at times, but some slick shooting from Lenzelle Smith Jr. and a harassing defense allowed Ohio State to pull ahead and win Saturday night. Smith was hot behind the arc, hitting four of seven three-point attempts and finished with 16 points along with five assists. LaQuinton Ross led in scoring with 17 points and also led in rebounding with six rebounds.

Ohio State struggled at times finding a good shot, something that has plagued them all season. But when the Buckeyes made good shot selections it paid off. What’s frustrating about watching this team is there’s a good bit of talent, but carelessness and poor decision-making seems to throw them off pretty easily. The saving grace for the team though is it’s defense, which stepped up even more in the second half. Purdue had a hard time getting any offensive rhythm and their starters struggled mightily in this game.

Outside of A.J. Hammons’ 11 points, the other four Boilermakers’ starters combined for only 13 points. As I noted in my preview, Hammons had to have a big game and his fellow starters needed to provide consistent shooting to supplement him. And obviously they didn’t do it. Besides the Buckeyes’ inconsistency on offense, two bench players for Purdue stepped up and kept them in the game. Rapheal Davis and Kendall Stephens contributed 11 points and 12 points respectively off the pine. If it wasn’t for their contributions, Purdue would’ve been blown out.

While the Buckeyes looked like they were going to lose it at times, especially with about around nine minutes to go, they made their shots when had to the most. Shannon Scott had a nice game off the bench providing key shots when necessary and finished with nine points. If Scott can start providing some consistent relief off the bench, that could help Ohio State tremendously come March. Aaron Craft did what he does best and that is being the leader of the team. Craft finished with seven points, four assists and three steals. It gets said a lot, but his presence on defense is what makes the Buckeyes defense good instead of just decent.

With the win, Ohio State has now won three straight games. It’s amazing how the tone of the fans has changed over the past week. Winning tends to do that, huh? I think this team is going to be just fine and will be as ready as they can be come crunch time in March. Up next for Ohio State is arch rival Michigan, who just lost to Iowa on Saturday. A win over the team up north would be great for the Buckeyes’ resume and would continue the momentum the Buckeyes have rebuilt with their three consecutive wins.

Three Yards and a Cloud of Links

Good morning Buckeye Nation. Today I am speaking to you from the frozen tundra of Antarctica. Whats sad is if you actually looked up the weather conditions for Antarctica its actually warmer in many places than Ohio. OK so lets grab our cups of coffee or hot cocoa and get started.

Broken Tater? Word out of Pickerington Central is that Jae’Sean Tate has been shut down for the rest of the year due to a shoulder injury. Tate who is a senior forward for the Tigers signed in November to be a Buckeye next season. Reports are saying he needs surgery for a torn labrum which has been hurting him since May.

We here at MotSaG are hoping Tate makes a full and speedy recovery and is at full strength for the Buckeyes next season. Get well soon young man.

Buckeye Tabloid Gossip: Apparently the Internets were sent a buzzing recently. I’ll be honest here I am not sure of the who when and where, but someone or something was putting out there that coach Meyer and former coach Vrabel had some kind of falling out. Now since I don’t know the story I am going to put my shiny little two cents in here. Mike Vrabel left for the Houston Texans to coach the linebackers leaving behind his alma mater. I truly believe this was his choice and his alone. The man bleeds Scarlet and Gray and I feel did one heck of a job for the Buckeyes and it was great having him on the sidelines helping these kids become men. Vrabel had an opportunity to coach in the NFL which maybe in his mind (and buy his actions) was much bigger than the collegiate level. He might have aspirations of being a head football coach in the NFL. The reason I bring all this up is that coach Meyers wife had to go to twitter Thursday to set the record straight.

Good luck in the NFL coach Vrabel and you will always be a Buckeye in my and many many of Buckeye Nations hearts. Chase your dream and may you encounter success where ever you turn.

Step Back from the Ledge: I know Buckeye fans we have had some trying times this season watching the mens basketball team. We have been spoiled and expect nothing but the best because lets face it this is The Ohio State University and nothing but the best will do for ANYONE wearing Scarlet and Gray. How spoiled have we become in mens basketball? Well Doug Lesmerises of (Clevleand Plain Dealer) has a nice story on how the Buckeyes program has been the third most successful team in the nation during the regular season. During the last four years the Buckeyes have averaged a 2 seed for the NCAA tournament. That’s pretty impressive when Kansas has averaged a 1 seed and Duke 1.5 seed during the same span.

Speaking of the men’s basketball team don’t forget to watch them go for three in a row versus Purdue tonight and read Josh Schott’s preview on the game.

Breaking cHoke Steps Down: Word out of Ann Arbor is that Brady cHoke is stepping down. The Big House Report is reporting yesterday that cHoke is stepping down as the defensive lines coach. Apparently he wants to be the “head coach” now or something along those lines. Seems that his failures to date have his seat a little hot (must be the reason he doesn’t need a long sleeve shirt on a cold day) so he wants to concentrate on being a the head guy. This is Brady cHokes comments on the move.

Until next time Buckeye Nation stay warm and stay safe.

Purdue Basketball Preview

Where: Value City Arena at the Schottenstein Center, Columbus, OH

When: Saturday, February 8 at 6 pm ET on the Big Ten Network

Previous Meeting: Ohio State and Purdue last met on the hardwood this season on December 31 in West Lafayette. The Buckeyes won 78-69, in a closely contested B1G opener. Both LaQuinton Ross and Shannon Scott both had tremendous games to lead Ohio State to victory. Ross scored 25 points and pulled in 12 rebounds, while Scott scored 18 points. A 10-2 run late in the game by these two is what sealed the game for the Buckeyes. Aaron Craft had a typical “Craft game”, scoring seven points and pulling in eights rebounds. Craft also had a tremendous 10 assists along with four steals.

Purdue’s A.J. Hammons had a pretty good game, recording a double-double with 18 points and 16 rebounds, along with four assists and five blocks. Boilermaker sophomore Ronnie Johnson scored 16 points and Terone Johnson had 13 points. While Hammons still had a good game, the Buckeyes mostly kept him check as he shot 6 of 16 from the field. The Boilermakers as a team only shot just above 41% from the field and 21% from behind the arc. The Buckeyes veteran experience certainly played a factor in keeping a young Purdue team in check.

What To Watch Out For: Purdue is coming off a triple overtime 77-74 victory over Minnesota after previously losing four straight games. A.J. Hammons, the most dangerous player on the Boilermakers, led with 20 points and pulled in 14 rebounds (team leader). Hammons is only sophomore, which explains why his scoring has been erratic all season and only averages 10.9 points per game. When he’s on his game Purdue has a much better chance of winning. Hammons had a good, but not great game when facing the Buckeyes last time. I look for Purdue to give him a lot of looks and let him try to lead the Boilermakers in this game. Much like Hammons, the entire Boilermakers’ team is inconsistent. If Hammons can score consistently and if the rest of the team can shoot decent, then Purdue has a pretty good shot at winning this game. But that’s a big if.

Ohio State has won two straight road games after losing five of their previous six games. While the victories weren’t pretty, it has rebuilt some much-needed momentum for the team. Aaron Craft, the Buckeye Superman, was instrumental in both wins as he scored all seven of his points in the final four minutes in the win over Wisconsin and led in scoring with 17 points against Iowa. LaQuinton Ross, the team’s leading scorer, scored 13 points in each of the wins. For a team that has struggled with scoring all season, Ross and Craft have been huge for the Bucks. The defense has been solid for most of the season (9th in the nation in points allowed), including the previous matchup against the Boilermakers. The Buckeyes need to repeat their previous defensive performance against Purdue this season if they want to win this game. Purdue is a dangerous shooting team if left unchecked. Ohio State also needs to continue to improve on offense if they hope to be a dangerous team come March.

Prediction: The Buckeyes will continue to build on their momentum and have a repeat defensive performance against Purdue from their first matchup. Craft will do Craft things and Ross will lead the way in scoring. A boost from the home crowd will help too. Ohio State 74 Purdue 62