It apparently didn’t take A.J. Harris long to figure out where he wanted to play.
The 2015 recruit committed to Ohio State on Monday evening (subscription required), accepting an offer from coach Thad Matta over offers from Dayton, Illinois State and Xavier.
The 5-9 Harris is the Buckeyes first commitment for 2015. The Dayton (Ohio) Dunbar product is ranked as the no. 13 point guard in the class by Scout.com and is a three star recruit according to Rivals.com.
At this point, Harris will be welcomed with open arms to Columbus, with the four-man recruiting class for 2014 not including a point guard. Aaron Craft exhausts his eligibility after this coming season and Shannon Scott, who was second on the team with 142 assists last season, will be done following 2014-15. If Harris’ commitment holds firm, he’ll be in position to either split time with Amedeo Della Valle (if he develops) at the one or take it over himself when he arrives on campus.
“I walked in and Coach (Thad) Matta told me he was offering, but he wanted me to take it right away,” Harris told Scout.com’s Brian Snow. “At first I thought about it, but then when I was walking out Coach Matta told me how he was going to use me and who they planned to bring around me, and I told him not to worry about it and that I was going to be a Buckeye.”
And just to drive that point home, Ohio State assistant coach Jeff Boals tweeted this out Monday night. I have NO idea what he could be talking about.
Here are a few highlights of Harris from the summer circuit.
The injury Stephen Zimmerman suffered on Saturday will keep the star UNLV freshman out for at least a week, a source told NBC Sports.
The injury is not thought to be serious, however. Zimmerman may be kept out for longer as a precaution, but that’s a result of the Runnin’ Rebels being in a situation where the rest of their regular season is relatively meaningless.
They’re not getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament regardless of how they finish out league play. With back-up center Ben Carter out with a torn ACL, it’s more important to make sure that Zimmerman, who is averaging 10.6 points and 9.1 boards this season, is totally healthy for the Mountain West tournament.
That tournament, mind you, will be played at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.
So the Runnin’ Rebels, regardless of how poor they’ve played this season, will always have a chance to land an automatic bid.
Anyway, the more interesting aspect of this story is how Zimmerman injured the knee. It was a completely avoidable play that came after the whistle, but I’m not sure it was what you would call a “dirty play”. You tell me:
With a little more than three minutes left on Monday night, No. 24 Texas held a 57-51 lead on No. 3 Oklahoma in Norman as Jordan Woodard struggled again and Buddy Hield failed to find the rhythm that he had throughout the first three months of the season.
At that point in the game, Hield was 4-for-14 from the floor with 15 points and four turnovers. He had just missed a pair of wide-open threes
“I couldn’t make a shot,” Hield said after the game. But that changed down the stretch. First, Hield finally got a three to drop. On the next possession, he got all the way to the rim and scored. On the following two possessions, he was fouled on a drive to the rim and hit four free throws. And after missing a pull-up jumper, Hield did this:
“I told coach I wanted the ball,” Hield said, “I saw Lammert coming to bite, so I pulled up.”
“It’s all money.”
Hield is already the favorite to win National Player of the Year, and this performance is only going to help his cause further. Think about it like this: Buddy was not good on Monday night, at least according to his (admittedly lofty) standards. But he still finished with 27 points and shook off a cold shooting night just in time to take over down the stretch.
Now think about this: Hield’s head coach has enough confidence in him to hand him the keys in the final minutes despite the fact that he’s struggling and on a team that has two other players that Lon Kruger trusts on game-winning possessions. Think about it. When Oklahoma beat West Virginia at the buzzer, it was Jordan Woodard that the play was drawn up for. When they beat LSU, it was Isaiah Cousins that got the rock on the final possession while Hield was used as a decoy. .
Want to talk about coaching luxuries?
Kruger has three guards that can shoot, penetrate and score, and penetrate and kick, and one of them is the National Player of the Year that doesn’t mind being used as a decoy.