Trae Golden, one of the top 10 players in the class of 2010, is off the board. The five-star guard from McEachern (Ga.) High School made a verbal commitment on Sunday night.
Golden is headed to Ohio State. He committed to the Big Ten powerhouse shortly after making an unofficial visit to the school. Golden said he loved his time in Columbus and saw no reason to wait on his decision.
"I've always had them on top of my list because my father went there. It felt like home when I went up there," Golden said. "It felt like the right thing to do."
The trip to Columbus was actually his first, he said, and it was also a weekend he will never forget.
"I had a deep bond with coach (Thad) Matta and coach (John) Groce already so getting up there and seeing them there and meeting (commitments) DeShaun (Thomas), Jared (Sullinger) and Cameron Wright (a 2010 prospect also on a visit), everything fit into place. It was great," Golden said.
Ohio State has had tremendous success in the Midwest and have landed most of the top local players. Golden, a Georgia native, is one of the few that the Buckeyes have extended its branches for. However, their interaction almost never happened, Golden said.
"Coach Matta loves to tell this story. They were at the Take 5ive Classic in Cincinnati this summer and coach Groce told coach Matta to go over to watch a kid wearing number 32 on court one," Golden says. "But coach Matta went to my court instead by accident and saw me instead. He thought I was committed to Kentucky but he found out it wasn't true and then, of course, found out about my dad going to Ohio State and my interest in going there, too. Then from there, he recruited hard ever since."
That bond Golden has made with Matta was one of the main reasons why the Buckeyes beat out the likes of Kentucky, Georgia and Florida.
"For someone that has such a high standing in the world to be so down to earth is just so amazing to me. We were walking around at the football game and people were screaming his name and I'm pretty sure it got annoying to him but he kept his cool and handled it like a pro," Golden said. "He's a great coach. I can't wait to coach me.
"He believes the way that the play, the way they run pick and rolls and the way they use their guards that I can come in and he said he loves the way that I play. He said he wants to recruit players that are the best in their system and he said be felt like I was the best at that position that they were looking for. Just watching them practice and in their intra-squad scrimmage, I just saw myself in an Ohio State jersey along side all of those guys."
To play at a place where his father graduated from is the icing on the cake, Golden said.
"It's real special. Sometimes when I was younger I never wanted to go there because he went there but as soon as I got there, I knew exactly why he went there. It was the greatest place to me. I loved it," Golden said. "Just seeing the way people interact and work with everybody. Ohio State is like a pro team up there. It's the kind of thing that motivates me to become a better player. I want to work hard now where I can become an impact player as a freshman in college and win a national championship. I want to work hard to win a state championship. It gives me the chills."
Golden joins future teammates Thomas and Sullinger in the 2010 recruiting class for the Buckeyes. Wright, also a 2010 prospect, will announce his decision to attend Ohio State on Tuesday.
Golden, Thomas and Sullinger are all ranked amongst the top 10 players nationally in their class. Five players within the top 10 national rankings by Rivals.com from the class of 2010 are already committed. Illinois has a pledge from Jereme Richmond and North Carolina has a commitment from Kendall Marshall.