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tBBC Good things on horizon for Ohio State men’s hoops team


Good things on horizon for Ohio State men’s hoops team
via our good friends at Buckeye Battle Cry
Visit their fantastic blog and read the full article (and so much more) here


In 1992 the Chicago Cubs were stuck in a quagmire despite what was supposed to be a homerun free agent class of slugger George Bell, ace Danny Jackson and closer Dave Smith.
Clubhouse attendant Yosh Kiwano saw the team brass moping around and told them sometimes you can add by subtracting. The Cubs traded Bell to the contending White Sox for a kid named Sosa and the rest is Slammin’ Sammy history.
I tell you this anecdote because it is remarkably similar to what is going on with the Ohio State men’s basketball team. Coach Thad Matta recently spoke at a golf outing and told the crowd that “we got rid of problems but we kept solutions.”
In other words, the Buckeyes got better by subtracting players. In total, since the end of the season, a total of four players have left the program.
Foul-prone center Daniel Giddens went to Alabama. Point guard A.J. Harris, who had one highlight-reel play and not much else, went to New Mexico State, and street baller Mickey Mitchell went to Cal-Santa Barbara. Austin Grandstaff was the first to leave, going to Oklahoma and then landing at DePaul without ever playing a game for the Sooners.
These players, had they returned, would not have been among the top six in returning scorers.


See ya.


Safe travels.

That’s how Matta feels too. In fact, based on his comments after the Florida game, where he admitted to saying “some of you are going to transfer. You don’t know it yet, but whatever you do — don’t come see me. Just shoot me a text, because I’m tired of looking at you,” a friendly “goodbye” was probably more than Matta wanted to offer.

The most telling comment Matta made throughout this whole thing was when he said “I’m tired of the B.S. I’m going back to coaching basketball. I’m going back to running this program the way we did when we got here.”
One only needs to look at the last three years to understand what he meant. OSU finished fifth in the B1G in 2013-14, sixth in 14-15 and seventh this past season in missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time since winning the NIT after the 2007-08 season. The only highlight was keeping Matta’s 20-win string in tact.

This past year, with a lot of inexperience and youth, OSU had bad losses to Texas-Arlington, Louisiana Tech and Memphis and head-scratching wins over No. 4 Kentucky and No. 8 Iowa.

It was a bad combination of inexperience, and players who cared only about themselves and stats. Guys were erratic and took plays off. And quite frankly, I think Matta let the assistants do too much. He needs to jump back in and reclaim his team, which is what I think he will do.

These last three seasons the team has had no identity, no real go-to guy despite having a roster of players like LaQuinton Ross and Sam Thompson.

That was unheard of in his first few years. Players played hard, played gritty and played for each other. I expect to see a lot more of that as we move forward. And a return to hard-nosed defense, which was a staple of early Matta teams.

And let’s face it, OSU was not a good shooting team and was unable to close out close games, especially in 13-14, when it lost six games by six or less points during conference and NCAA tournament action.
With Chris Jent back as an assistant, I suspect OSU’s shooting will dramatically improve.
And with Matta committed to doing what they did when he first arrived, any decline in the program (and I don’t call missing the NCAA tournament once a decline) will be short-lived.

As I mentioned, the Buckeyes have their top six guys back plus some decent recruits. Marc Loving is the only senior on the roster and I really believe Keita Bates-Diop will start living up to his high school stud status while Jaquan Lyle will be a candidate for B1G player of the year.

Some are questioning Matta recruiting these players to begin with. But just like a head coach, players are on their best behavior during recruiting and sometimes a coach doesn’t see true colors until they hit the court. Recruiting is not a perfect science. There are more misses than hits. Look at all the No. 1 and 2 classes Kentucky has had and what’s that gotten the Wildcats? One title.

Duke always seems to have a top 5 or 10 class and has one title in the last six years and no other Final Four appearances during that time.

Remember way back during the Randy Ayers days when he recruited Indiana and Illinois studs Charles “Killer” Macon and Gerald Eaker to go with Mr. Ohio Greg Simpson. That didn’t work out too well either.

It happens.

Matta is ready to fix things and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

The post Good things on horizon for Ohio State men’s hoops team appeared first on The Buckeye Battle Cry: Ohio State News and Commentary.

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