Justin Ahrens

Thad Matta hopes a renewed in-state focus in 2018 can bring Ohio State back

Clearly Thad Matta and the Ohio State coaches have decided that they wanted a change in philosophy on the recruiting trail, and it shows in the 2018 recruiting class.

The Ohio State Buckeyes clearly have been hurt by not keeping some of the best talent within the state lines. Schools in the Big Ten have reaped the benefit of Ohio State not offering or not getting Ohio born talent in recent years, and it is clear in the 2018 class Thad Matta and his staff don't want to let that happen. Matta and his staff now have three in-state commitments, and other offers out to the top players in-state in the class.

With the news of Darius Bazley and Justin Ahrens committing on Saturday, joining Dane Goodwin who committed before ever playing a high school basketball game, three of the best in the Buckeye State are in the fold for Matta and company.

Now the question is, will this group, and will an Ohio focus be able to bring Ohio State back to the success that Matta had early in his career as boss of the Buckeyes when he was landing top in-state talent at a high level.


Of the three Bazley is the highest rated. Bazley is an athletic and long 6-foot-7 combo forward that shows big time talent. Really there is nothing on a basketball court that Bazley can't do. He can get into the lane off the dribble, he can make shots from deep, and he can rebound. Inconsistency has been a major issue for Bazley, there is no doubt, but he shows the raw talent that coaches love, and that led to the early offer from the Buckeyes.

Goodwin and Ahrens are roughly the same type of player. While Ahrens is a little bigger and Goodwin a bit better off the bounce, the two of them are most known for their ability to shoot the basketball. Both of them are absolute knock down shooters with a good feel for how to play the game. While each is a solid athlete, nether blow you away with their athleticism either going to the rim or on the defensive end. Still both are more than capable of guarding, and creating their own shot even when defended by athletes.

At this point none of the three are ranked in the Scout.com top 70 for 2018, though those rankings are getting a face lift soon with more information coming during the July evaluation period. Of the three it is Bazley who is closest to cracking the list. He was one of the last few prospects left out of the most recent batch of rankings.

For now all three will be brought up in rankings discussions, though it is unlikely all three earn a four-star rating and being put within the rankings.

None the less all three were definitely going to end up at a high-major school, and Ohio State wanted to make sure that school was in Columbus. Time will tell how well this strategy works out, but it is clear this is what Ohio State wanted, and they are hoping to bring things back with this class and an Ohio centric focus on the recruiting trail.

Scout Hoops Top Stories