David Harten

I'm too close for missiles. I'm switching to guns.

Ohio State gets first 2015 commitment in A.J. Harris (VIDEO)


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.


Hall of Famer Jerry Lucas auctioning off his college jerseys, gold medal


Jerry Lucas is getting rid of a few things. And they can be yours for the right price.

The former Ohio State All-American is auctioning off select memorabilia, including his 1960 College All-Star Game jersey, one of his game-worn shooting shirts from Ohio State, his 1960 national championship ring and his Ohio State Hall of Fame plaque.

He’s also selling off his 1960 Olympic gold medal and his Olympic jersey. In total, 17 items are going up for sale from his college, Olympic and pro basketball career and they also include NBA All-Star Game and regular game jerseys, championship rings and an Olympic flag.

Lucas, 73, doesn’t seem too upset to be parting with so many pieces of basketball history, according to the Middletown (Ohio) Journal, Lucas’ hometown newspaper.

“Things don’t mean a lot to me,” he said. “They never have. I have real great memories associated with them, but they’re hard to see when they’re in a closet.”

The prices for these classic items are expected to be, shall we say, high? Especially the gold medal.

Russek said every item will have a minimum bid, and if they only brought their reserve, they would sell for $531,500.

The most expensive item probably will be the gold medal, which has a reserve of $250,000, Russek said. He refused to guess what it may sell for, saying “the market will dictate the price.”

He said the medal will be the first one ever sold at auction, and because Lucas is a Hall of Famer, makes it only more valuable.

This seems to be a trend for former Ohio State players of the late 50s. Bobby Knight also auctioned off a lot of items for his grandkids financial benefit last October.

I can see Lucas’ rationale here. He’s reached the point in his life when material things aren’t a big deal, as we’ve heard before from guys like Knight. He has the memories and that’s enough for him. The online auction began today and runs through Sept. 7, at which point there will be a live auction for still unpurchased items after the Basketball Hall of Fame inductions.

With that being said….anyone want to let me borrow a few thousand bucks?

Devin Booker names his Top 5 schools (VIDEO)

1 Comment

Devin Booker is prime prospect. The no. 5 shooting guard in the nation according to Scout.com has offers from plenty of major schools.

On Monday afternoon, he narrowed that list of schools to five.

ESPN.com’s Dave Telep tweeted out that the 6-5 Booker had whittled his list of potential landing spots to five: Florida, Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State and Missouri.

Booker is also a beneficiary of the AAU landscape, with his stock rising thanks to his performance in the past year.

All five schools could fit Booker, who plays for the Alabama Challenge AAU program, well. Kentucky has the NBA credentials, while Florida has developed a number of good players under Billy Donovan over the last decade. Frank Haith seems to be able to recruit players at a high level since taking over at Mizzou (even if half of them seem to be transfers) and Michigan State’s Tom Izzo has a way of developing top talent. Michigan has players like Glenn Robinson III who share the type of game Booker possesses.

It seems as if Booker will take a visit to Michigan in the near future.

The Moss Point, Miss. native has the game to play with any of those teams. It’s unclear if he has a timetable for making a decision on a school.


Sportscenter star Zach McCormick commits to Miami of Ohio (VIDEO)


Heading into his second season at the helm of Miami of Ohio, John Cooper got his another commitment of the 2014 class in guard Zach McCormick.

The 6-1 McCormick, a product of Cincinnati Turpin, was an honorable mention all-state selection as a junior, averaging 26.4 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists last season.

McCormick picked the Redhawks over Tennessee, Rhode Island, Toledo and Ohio. He’s the second pledge to Miami University for 2014. He’s a three star recruit according to Scout.com.

Cooper has been hitting Cincinnati up in recruiting, with both of 2014 commits coming from the Queen City. McCormick joins Roderick Mills of Cincinnati St. Xavier, who recently committed.

McCormick’s play has made national news before, when he landed in Sportscenter’s Top 10 plays last season for a ridiculous dunk he had in a game, earning the no. 5 play of the day. Take a look (speed it up to the 1:27 mark for the dunk itself.)


In Cooper’s first season, the Redhawks finished 9-22 overall, 3-13 in the Mid-American Conference.

Drake gets second commit in two days in Ore Arogundade


New Drake coach Ray Giacoletti has hit a bit of recruiting hot streak over the past 48 hours, nabbing his second commitment in as many days in 2014 shooting guard Ore Arogundade.

Arogundade plays AAU with the Illinois Wolves and at Chicago St. Viator.

The commitment comes right after New Berlin (Wisc.) point guard Reed Timmer gave Giacoletti the first commit of his 2014 class. As a junior at St. Viator, the 6-2, 170-pound Arogundade averaged 19.1 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists.

He also had offers from St. Louis, Loyola, Santa Clara and Murray State, among others.

The former Utah head coach has a tough job in front of him at Drake. Outside of a 2007-08 season in which the Bulldogs earned a no. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament under Keno Davis, the program hasn’t had a consistent run of success since the late 1960s/early 1970s. Since 1980, the program has made five postseason appearances, with the 2008 appearance being the lone one in the NCAAs. Getting two strong commitments in the past two days is a good start.

The Bulldogs finished 15-17 last season overall, 7-11 in the Missouri Valley Conference under coach Mark Phelps in his fifth and final season.

Below are some highlights of Arogundade from AAU action.


Pac-12 launches campaign to get fans to drop DirecTV


The Pac-12 Conference and DirecTV are currently in stiff talks for the satellite provider to carry its Pac-12 Network.

Looks like things have melted down to the point where the conference is throwing barbs. Hard ones.

The Pac-12 is trying to convince fans of teams in the conference to drop DirecTV. That way, fans with the satellite provider actually have a shot at seeing Pac-12 games this season.

They’ve launched a campaign and entitled it, ‘It’s time to switch,” which includes a number of commercials aimed at slinging mud at DirecTV.

“We realize this is affecting many of our fans, and we share their frustration,” said Pac-12 Networks President Lydia Murphy-Stephans. “We built the Pac-12 Networks to give fans unprecedented access to their favorite teams and sports on TV, and with just two weeks before the fall sports schedule begins, DirecTV continues to deny them that access.”

The campaign includes a series of university-specific 30-second TV and digital spots as well as print and outdoor executions to rally Pac-12 fans and be upfront with DirecTV subscribers. Unless they switch, DirecTV subscribers will miss 750 live Pac-12 sporting events, up from 550 a year ago, including 35 football games and nearly half of all league games. The creation of new shows like The Drive, a 14-part docu-series offering an exclusive look inside the 2013 football season, Pac-12 Sports Report, the flagship studio show providing fans a complete weekly dose of all Pac-12 sports, and Pac-12 Football Weekly, guarantee fans the most in-depth highlights, analysis and behind-the-scenes original programming of all Pac-12 teams on television.

You can watch all the ads here. All Pac-12 teams have their own gimmick spot. They even have a link to show Pac-12 fans how to drop DirecTV. The ads are essentially (and playfully) telling customers that they will only see real (insert mascot here)’s on DirecTV, showing pictures of real wildcats, ducks, buffalo, etc.

This is a pretty aggressive approach from a conference. Though with the rise in television revenue being one of the main players in conference realignment, it’s understandable why a conference would be upset that the channel they worked to create isn’t getting any play on satellite. It’s definitely going to be interesting to see if there’s enough interest in the network for fans to follow suit. And if DirecTV would crack if the campaign actually did enough to put a dent in their subscriptions.

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten