Tag: Ohio State

Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Matta talks with guard Craft in the second half against the Wichita State Shockers during their West Regional NCAA men's basketball game in Los Angeles

Don’t mess with Aaron Craft’s memory


Though Aaron Craft is a nutrition major with plans to pursue a medical career once he leaves Columbus, the Ohio State senior guard should have perhaps been a math major. Today, March 14, is Pi Day, a day to celebrate William Jones (who invented the universally used ratio) and math in general, and Craft’s method of celebration is to unveil his outstanding memory and recite a snippet of Pi.

I love Craft’s cockiness as he is being filmed. You can tell Craft likely had to remember this number for some long-ago middle school test, and is so confident with his memory, saying, “That is extremely accurate. I don’t even think you have to check that.” Perhaps this attention to detail helped in Craft’s transformation as one of the nation’s best on-ball defenders, using his mnemonic skills to catalog each opponents’ offensive tendencies and how to most effectively derail their scoring.

Ohio State has multiple options as they address the loss of Deshaun Thomas

Ohio State Buckeyes' Ross watches his game-winning three-point shot along with Arizona Wildcats' Lyons in the closing seconds of their West Regional NCAA men's basketball game in Los Angeles
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With leading scorer Deshaun Thomas now playing professionally the Ohio State Buckeyes find themselves looking for a player capable of taking the reins offensively. But if anything the 2013-14 season is setting up to be one in which multiple players shoulder the load for Thad Matta’s squad.

One of those options is junior forward LaQuinton Ross, whose improved play down the stretch helped propel the Buckeyes to a Big Ten tournament title and an appearance in the Elite Eight. And by the sounds of it Ross, who was one of the nation’s best prospects coming out of high school, is quite anxious to “spread his wings” so to speak.

“I definitely think I’ve been waiting,” Ross said on Thursday during the team’s media day. “The fans have also been waiting, too, to see what I can do. They heard the buzz about me since I came out of high school. At the end of the year I gave them something to look forward to this year.”

Ross averaged 8.3 points and 2.9 rebounds per game as a sophomore but he managed to score at least 17 points in each of Ohio State’s final three NCAA tournament games. Ross tallied 17 points in wins over Iowa State and Arizona, with his three-pointer in the final seconds proving to be the difference against the Wildcats, and then scored 19 points in a loss to Wichita State.

Even with Ross being the “easy” answer to the question of who becomes Ohio State’s primary scorer, as noted above Ohio State isn’t approaching the season with this thought. And with the amount of experience on Coach Matta’s roster, it makes sense that multiple players will be expected to raise their productivity.

“Collectively, guys have got to score more,” Matta said Thursday. “The one thing you saw more last year was guys had games where they showed that they could put the ball in the basket. Sam (Thompson) at Penn State, Lenzelle’s done it, Aaron (Craft) has done it, LaQuinton’s done it, Shannon (Scott) has done it. We have to have a little bit more of a flow to our offense. It’s something that we tried to put a big premium on.”

Thomas finished the season with a possession percentage of 27.2% and a shot percentage of 32.2%, leading the Buckeyes in both categories. With him gone multiple players stand to see their opportunities increase, and that could very well benefit Ohio State in the long run.

Top 25 2014 prospect Goodluck Okonoboh commits to UNLV

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6-foot-9 power forward/center Goodluck Okonoboh has transformed himself into one of the nation’s premier big men over the last year, going from a player who was merely on the radar of some of the nation’s best programs to a highly sought-after front court prospect. On Thursday evening Okonoboh announced where he would be attending college next season, verbally committing to attend UNLV on national television.

Okonoboh, a Woburn, Mass. native who attends Wilbraham & Monson Academy, picked Dave Rice’s program over Indiana and Ohio State. He joins highly-regarded small forward Dwayne Morgan in UNLV’s 2014 recruiting class, and his ability as a defender is something the Runnin’ Rebels will certainly be able to use next season.

UNLV is certain to lose Carlos Lopez-Sosa from their front court at the end of the 2013-14 season since he’s a senior, with UConn transfer Roscoe Smith and Khem Birch having another year of eligibility remaining. Okonoboh would join those two, with current freshmen Jamal Aytes, Demetris Morant (redshirted last season) and Christian Wood also in the competition for minutes.

Okonoboh took his official visit to UNLV this past weekend, and he cited his relationship with coach Rice as one of the deciding factors. Here are a few highlights of Okonoboh in action.