Open Period Preview: Ohio State
There is still work to be done for coaches in the 2015 recruiting class, but for this weekend the focus really shifts to 2016, and getting out and seeing the top prospects all over the country. Here is a look at where the Ohio State coaches will be, and who they are likely to see. There is no doubt that the Ohio State staff will have a large presence this weekend in Hampton, Virginia at the Nike EYBL event. Many of the Buckeyes top targets will be present, and with that one would naturally expect one or at times two coaches to be there. Leading the way for the Buckeyes in Hampton will be the recently committed Derek Funderburk. Funderburk is running with King James, and he is far from the only prospect on that team. Along with Funderburk the Buckeyes will be watching in-state offer Seth Towns and also be taking a final look at point guard Xavier Simpson. Simpson does not have an offer, and given his size and the presence of A.J. Harris in the 2015 class one may not come or matter if it does come, but the Buckeyes will do their due diligence watching him along with the two prospects they have already offered on the team. The other in-state Nike program, All-Ohio Red, will also have Ohio State’s attention. On the 17 and under squad center/power forward Nick Ward will be in action. On the 16 and under team it is center Kaleb Wesson. Ward has an offer and is seen as a top priority while Wesson could play his way into one with a good showing in front of the coaches. Along with the in-state kids, Ohio State will be tracking the every move of five-star point guard Cassius Winston out of Michigan. Winston runs with The Family, and has some talented teammates such as Miles Bridges and class of 2017 wing Brian Bowen who are at least on the radar, though neither is seen as a top priority at this point in time. Finally look for Ohio State to keep a close eye on five-star wing Tyus Battle. Battle has long been a priority for the Buckeyes, and with him running with Team Final over the weekend, OSU should have a strong presence at his games. While many of their top priorities are at the Nike event, in Dallas at the adidas Gauntlet several other top prospects will be in attendance. Probably the most notable target is five-star point Kobi Simmons. Ohio State has made Simmons a huge priority, and he will be a big figure running with the Atlanta Celtics that Ohio State is sure to be tracking. Also his teammate Braxton Blackwell will have the attention of the Buckeye coaches. Beyond that, the in-state Ohio Basketball Club should have the attention of Ohio State. On the 17 and under team in-state offer Micah Potter will be a major priority. Then on the 16 and under squad the top 2017 in the state Derek Culver will get a major look. Look for Ohio State to be all over those two prospects as the weekend unfolds. Beyond them a few other prospects will definitely be in the mix. With MBA Select there is forward Mario Kegler, Hoop Dreams has four-star combo guard Quentin Goodin, and then Team Loaded will have the services of four-star guard Curtis Jones as well. Down in New Orleans at the Under Armour Association, Ohio State is also expected to have a bit of a presence. The main focuses for the Ohio State coaches down in New Orleans will be 2017 AAU teammates Kris Wilkes and Paul Scruggs. Wilkes is a five-star small forward while Scruggs is a four-star shooting guard. Both will be with the Indy Hoosiers. Aside from those two it wouldn’t be a surprise for Ohio State to check out fast rising four-star wing Markelle Fultz with the DC Blue Devils, class of 2016 center Joey Brunk from the Indy Hoosiers, and possibly Illinois Wolves 2016 center Barret Benson.
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