McCauley Knocks UK Off His List

Four-star forward Ben McCauley of Yough High School in Herminie, Pa. has scholarship offers from all over the country, and he is getting ready to pick which five schools will get official visits. Will Ohio State make that list? Kyle Lamb spoke with McCauley yesterday to find out where the Buckeyes stand.

Whoever said you can't mix business with pleasure must not have been in Ben McCauley's shoes. And make no mistake about it, they are very large shoes.

The 6'9 power forward from Herminie, PA has been plenty busy this summer, traveling to camps, AAU tournaments, and unofficial visits to college campuses on the side.

This multi-talented 3-4 combo from Yough High School is about to set it all aside for the time being as his family is about to head off to the Caribbean for a four-day mini-vacation.

But that doesn't mean his recruitment will come to a rest.

"I'm hoping to sit down and talk to my parents the next few days and begin to get all of my official visits planned out," McCauley told Bucknuts on Monday afternoon. "I want to finish up my summer and get ready for school to start without worrying too much more about where I'm going to visit."

McCauley has had numerous schools trying to get involved, but he's been able to narrow his list to approximately eight teams, more or less depending on which day you ask him.

With McCauley set to trim his list to five -- the teams in which he will take official visits to -- it stands to reason a few teams are about to be left out in the cold.

"I'm currently interested in Pittsburgh, N.C. State, Xavier, Ohio State, UCLA, Michigan, Cincinnati, and U-VA (Virginia)," McCauley said. "Those are the ones I'm looking at."

McCauley indicated the first three would definitely get visits, and Ohio State was also likely to get one, but for the most part, the last two spots were still relatively "wide open."

Even if he didn't visit Ohio State, that's not to say they automatically out of the mix, either.

Back in mid-May, McCauley's AAU team the JOTS were participating in an event held at the OSU practice gymnasium. It was then McCauley and his father, Jack, visited Ohio State unofficially with David Lighty and his father while Jim O'Brien was still the head coach.

"The Schott was a very nice arena," McCauley said. "It was really big too. OSU is a really good campus. It was extremely big, in fact, bigger than most campuses anywhere. But, it was a cool place to be and I can definitely see myself going to school there."

Although the visit took place while O'Brien was still the head coach, the transition hasn't been tough for McCauley.

He said the familiarity with Thad Matta has put Ohio State in an envious position.

"It worked out really well," he said. "I know Coach Matta really well, I know what he wants, and I know he wants me a lot. His going to a school that had already offered me a scholarship made things a lot easier. Ohio State is definitely still very much in the picture."

Matta has personally taken over the recruitment of McCauley since he arrived at Ohio State. Previously, it was his top assistant Sean Miller who had been doing the recruiting.

It's for the same reason McCauley is interested in Ohio State that McCauley remains strongly interested in Xavier.

"Coach Miller is a Pittsburgh native and I'm obviously extremely comfortable with him," McCauley said. "I've got a real good relationship with him, and I hear from him a lot."

It's widely speculated that Xavier, along with Pittsburgh and N.C. State are strong front-runners for McCauley.

That may have been true at one point, but apparently not so much any longer.

"At one time or another, those three teams probably were a little higher (on my list)," McCauley elaborated. "Those three were the first teams to get in on me. A lot has changed, however. Right now, I'm just trying to put everyone on an even keel going into my visits."

"It probably wouldn't be fair to be leaning to Michigan or Ohio State before I go to Virginia," he added. Likewise, I shouldn't be favoring Virginia or Pittsburgh before I go to Xavier. I'm trying to keep everyone on a level playing field until I can see these places some more and evaluate them."

McCauley said that Matta's persistence and his decision to personally recruit him since coming to Ohio State has paid dividends.

"He talked to me right before I went to Orlando (for an AAU tournament)," he said. "It's a really nice touch and goes to show me how much he'd like for me to play for him."

McCauley now professes no leaders, and with a lot of time left in the process, he says anything can happen.

He will not make a decision until November, following all five of his official visits being completed. Once he makes his decision, he will sign his national letter of intent during the November signing period.

It's back to business as usual for the teams recruiting McCauley. In November, he will make one team very happy.

Who says you can't mix business with pleasure?

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