#2 Big Ten
26-6, 12-4, 1st
Rarely does a
team lose four starters and garner top ten preseason
expectations, but thanks to the recruiting class, it has
Ohio State. Coach Thad Matta led a good team to the
top of the Big Ten last year and will look to do it again with a
much different squad.
Terence Dials, Matt Sylvester, Je’Kel Foster and J.J. Sullinger
are all departing starters. Dials led the squad with 15.2
points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per contest. Sylvester
didn’t put up great numbers, but could hit the big shots.
Foster averaged 12.2 points per contest and was the teams main
long range shooting threat. Sullinger added 10.1 points and 7.0
rebounds. Roleplayers Sylvester Mayes and Brayden Bell won’t be
returning to Columbus.
Five has nice balance…five players, five positions. We’ll start
on top with the most highly touted recruit in a long, long time.
There isn’t much left that hasn’t been said about Greg Oden.
Whenever he chooses to go to the NBA, he’ll be the top pick.
Unfortunately for the Buckeyes, Oden will be sidelined for a
while after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ligament in his
wrist. Oden is expected to be back in January, but that could
be pushed up to December. Meanwhile, he is favoring his right
wrist and working on his game left-handed, adding another scary
dimension to Oden’s game. At power forward, junior college
transfer Othello Hunter will step in and probably start
immediately. Hunter averaged 16.8 points and 11.4 boards as a
sophomore at Hillsborough Community College in Florida. Small
forward David Lightly is a great athlete and finisher. He has
spent some time bulking up and that increase in strength will
help him get to the basket in the Big Ten as well as he did in
high school. Shooting guard Daequan Cook is a tremendous
scorer. He can hit the long ball, but excels in the mid-range
game. The Dayton, Ohio native needs to step up on the defensive
end, but should be among the team’s leaders in the scoring
department as a freshman. Greg Oden’s high school teammate Mike
Conley rounds out the Thad Five. The 6-1 point guard is a great
team player and will look to find his teammates first. Spending
some time with Oden on your team will develop that habit and it
will continue as long as Conley sticks around OSU. Conley can
be an effective scorer when he needs to be and averaged 16.5
points per game as a senior.
Who to Watch:
neat as it would be, that quintet won’t be starting for the
Buckeyes. Jamar Butler started 30 games at the point last year
and the junior will look to improve on his 10.1 points and 4.6
assists of a year ago. Ron Lewis will join Butler on the
perimeter. Lewis, who transferred from Bowling Green after his
sophomore campaign, spent most of last season providing a spark
off the bench. At least early in the year, the 6-4 wing should
be taking on a starting role.
Ivan Harris had
so much potential coming into Ohio State. The McDonald’s
All-American started all 32 games as a sophomore, but last year
saw his playing time greatly diminish and his production fell
even more. As a senior, the 6-7 forward will have the
opportunity to regain his form and live up to his potential.
Matt Terwilliger, a 6-8 junior, will have an opportunity to see
some quality minutes while Oden is sidelined. Obviously a lot
depends on the freshmen. If they can live up to at least a
fraction of the hype, the Buckeyes will be a very good team.
However, the most important player on the team is Butler. He
will have to effectively run the point and keep the freshmen
comfortable and involved.
Junior, Guard, 10.1 points per game
Senior, Guard, 11.2 points per game
Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Senior, Forward, 3.6 points per game
Junior, Forward, DNP last season
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