July 26, 2007

Ohio State has Super Showcase targets

Much of the recruiting focus for the Ohio State Buckeyes is out west in Las Vegas, but even with there being a tremendous number of players on the OSU radar in Sin City, there are still several players with Buckeye interest hanging out with Mickey Mouse down in Orlando. Most notable of those players is Jared Sullinger.

OSU commitment is getting it done

It has been a long road to recovery for Sullinger. He injured himself at the end of April, and had to sit out all of May and June. He returned last week to play limited minutes at the 15 and under nationals in Detroit, and is now back running at full strength for the AAU Super Showcase in Orlando.

Though Sullinger is noticeably heavier than he was in April, he is still dominating like he was before the injury. In three games against 17 and under competition Sullinger averaged 15.3 points per game. For any rising sophomore to average that kind of scoring against the best of the best is very impressive, and that doesn't even take into account the fact that he isn't completely recovered from an injury.

Right now Sullinger is struggling to explode to the rim, and because of that he might not be able to jump over a phone book, but that will come back as soon as his foot is 100 percent healthy and he gets back into typical playing shape.

However even without that explosion he is being productive. That is a very good sign for the future. It shows that Sullinger is going to be able to get it done at the Big Ten level even if he doesn't grow much in the coming years.

Young guns are in the building

Ohio State has limited scholarships to offer in 2009, and might or might not be full when it comes to the class of 2008. Because of that the 2010 class might be the biggest focus for the Buckeyes.

Obviously OSU already has two big time commitments in that class with Sullinger and DeShaun Thomas, and more talented players are on the radar and in Orlando showing off what they can do.

Juwan Staten: It is very likely that OSU is going to take a point guard in 2010. If they do, maybe the best in-state option is Staten. He is jet quick, and can really score the basketball. He needs to get stronger, and do a better job of learning what a good shot is, but there is no doubt he has a lot of potential. At 5-foot-9 (on a good day), Staten doesn't fit the profile of a typical Thad Matta point guard, but the kid definitely has a chance and OSU is taking a very close look.

Kendall Marshall: For whatever reason Boo Williams likes to rest some of his star players in the Super Showcase, and one of the players resting is Marshall. Marshall is one of the top 2010 point guards nationally, and OSU is very much in the picture for him.

Adreian Payne: Ohio State already has a power forward and small forward in the class, and if they want a center Payne might be an option. At 6-foot-8 with long arms, Payne is a specimen down low. At the Showcase he has struggled some against the older kids, but he does flash that potential occasionally.

A pair of combos

In 2008 or 2009 the Buckeyes probably need a power forward who has some perimeter skills, and two players who fit that description are making their presence felt down in Orlando.

Kevin Jones: The 2008 stud from the Westchester Hawks is just having a great event. He is scoring, rebounding, and doing all the little things to help his team win. While not flashy, he is just solid. OSU has made sure to be at his games.

Royce White: White isn't as advanced as Jones, but he is a talent none the less. The 2009 forward from Minnesota was checked out by Ohio State on Wednesday. He has a high basketball IQ, can pass the ball, and knows how to score inside and out. While not a great athlete, he does find a way to score over taller players.

Coaching representation

Ohio State did not have a coach in attendance on Tuesday. Assistant Coach John Groce did arrive on Wednesday to watch the OSU targets and commitment. Groce has spent time watching All-Ohio (Sullinger, Staten, Payne), Westchester Hawks (Jones), Howard Pulley (White), Blessed IJN, and Boo Williams (Marshall).

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