Payton Dastrup: Breakdown

During the Thad Matta era, Ohio State has recruited some of the country's preeminent big men: Greg Oden, Jared Sullinger, Kosta Koufos, B.J. Mullens and others.

Stating the obvious, Payton Dastrup doesn't slot into that line of players. He doesn't rank in's top 100 and never accumulated bushels of major offers like some of his frontcourt peers in the 2014 class.

When Dastrup selected the Buckeyes over BYU (which offered more than a year ago) and others, many wrinkled their foreheads in surprise. Why would OSU take an unranked big man, given the program's sustained success at landing blue-chippers?

To answer that question properly, it's necessary to pursue the situation down several different avenues.

First, Dastrup is a strong 6-10, 230-pound center. He doesn't hold a ranking because he isn't a great athlete or scorer, but his physical dimensions alone suggest he'll be able to fill a role in Columbus. Plenty of unsung big men have signed and proceeded to become defense-oriented starters or at least heavy regulars, and that's how Dastrup might blossom for Matta's program.

He may not possess the long-term upside of the ranked big guys, but he's a safe bet to provide valuable minutes in some form or fashion. It's the classic high floor, low ceiling scenario, and rankings tend to extend more benefit of the doubt to players with lower floors and higher ceilings.

He also does possess some face-up shooting touch. Dastrup likely won't ever become a prime three-point threat for OSU, but at least he can receive a pass from medium-range and bury an open jump shot. In fact, due to his struggles finishing inside versus elite athletes, jump shooting comprised some of his best offensive moments on the travel circuit.

His situation also stands distinct from most other prospects. Dastrup will undertake a two-year mission upon high school graduation, and thus he'll arrive in Columbus more physically and emotionally mature. That doesn't mean he'll become a svelte athlete or more skilled scorer during his time away, but he won't be several months out of the prep ranks, either.

Meanwhile, there's the pragmatic perspective. Though he's a senior, from a scholarship perspective Dastrup actually is a Class of 2016 recruit. He won't conflict with OSU's ongoing pursuit of top-five center Myles Turner, nor any of the program's elite 2015 targets.

The Buckeyes also hold a pledge from unranked center Dave Bell, but again, he and Dastrup will have two years of separation. If that duo can help provide continuity and depth, the coaching staff will enjoy greater freedom to pursue one-and-done centers without assuming nearly as much risk.

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