Lauderdale Pulls Trigger

Dallas Lauderdale wanted to remain close to home. That was a priority for the 6-foot-9 1/2, 250-pound junior big man out of Salon High (Ohio). The long and athletic Lauderdale has made certain that one program won't lose much luster when it comes to recruiting.

Dallas Lauderdale wanted to stay close to home.

The 6-foot-9 ½, 250-pound junior big man out of Salon High (Ohio) has made certain that Thad Matta's stellar recruiting class from a year ago wasn't a fluke when he joined fellow 2007 big man Kosta Koufos in committing to Ohio State.

``He said he was a mama's boy and didn't want to go far from his mother," Cleveland Titans coach Tim Hewitt said. "Syracuse was five hours away and Ohio State is only two."

``He also chose Ohio State because of the job Thad Matta has done in turning the program around," Hewitt added. "He's done an incredible job despite having one hand tied behind his back. He won the Big Ten while on probation and was also able to recruit four of the top 25 players in the country while on probation. It's unheard of."

Lauderdale averaged 20.9 points, 10 boards and 4.5 blocks as a junior and will give the Buckeyes a different look up front.

``Coach Matta always talks to players about a vision that he has for the Ohio State University, and I just see myself being successful there," Lauderdale said at a Thursday afternoon news conference.

``He's got incredible length and athleticism," Hewitt said. "He's 6-foot-10 with a 7-6 wingspan. He's the most athletic of any of their guys up front – including Greg Oden or Koufos. He runs the floor and is a natural shot-blocker."

``I think he can be a Patrick Ewing type of player at the college level," Hewitt continued.

Now that Lauderdale has made his college decision, he'll turn his focus to the rest of the summer. He will attend the NBA Players Camp later this month and then head to ABCD before hitting the remainder of July with the Cleveland Titans.

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