A.J. Harris adds to Ohio State exodus

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Ohio State’s vaunted 2015 recruiting class made it through one season in Columbus before leaving campus, but it wasn’t in the Kentucky one-and-one sort of way.

A.J. Harris, a freshman guard, was granted his release to transfer, the university announced Tuesday, making him the fourth player in Thad Matta’s top-five 2015 class to depart the program.

Shooting guard Austin Grandstaff left during the season while center Daniel Giddens and wing Mickey Mitchell announced their intentions to transfer this week. That leaves just JaQuan Lyle as the only player left standing, though he was also the only one of the class to receive major playing time last season.

Grandstaff, Giddens, Mitchell and Harris were all bit players for the Buckeyes, who saw a seven-year NCAA tournament streak come to an end this season with a second-round NIT exit. While none of the trio provided much in the way of instant production this season for Matta, they were important building blocks for the future that decided one year in Columbus was enough. Seeing three-quarters of a highly regarded class transfer away after one year has to be extremely frustrating.

Matta’s 2016 class isn’t nearly as strong, but Derek Funderburk is a top-100 player as a 6-foot-9 center, who should help bridge the gap in 2016-17 with the core of the Buckeyes’ roster returning.