Class of 2018 wing Darius Bazley (Finneytown/Cincinnati, Ohio) decommitted from Ohio State in late April, and since doing so he’s attracted significant interest on the recruiting trail. Promptly after reopening his recruitment, Xavier re-extended an offer, followed shortly thereafter by Purdue. Then, on May 1, Maryland came through when recruiter Bino Ranson and head coach Mark Turgeon let the 6-foot-7, 185-pounder know they coveted his services as well.
Those won’t be the last programs to enter the mix for the four-star Scout 100 recruit. Bazley said he’s been hearing from coaches from Indiana, Florida, Arkansas, South Carolina and Michigan.
“Xavier was the first one to offer [after the decommitment], and they’d been talking to me for awhile anyway,” Bazley said. “It’s a good school, and they’ve had success recently. They’ve made a big run of late, and I like their style of play. Also, I was there for a couple games last year and liked the atmosphere.”
Bazley has been to Purdue before as well, although not as recently.
“I was at Purdue my freshman summer, when I went to a camp and then got a chance to tour around some. I liked it there too,” Bazley said. “It’s another good program that did real well last year. The coaches also told me they have a lot of seniors and players that are going to leave, and they need guys to come in and play right away. So it would be a real good opportunity for me there. I was real happy and appreciative of that offer.”
As for Maryland, Bazley has never been in College Park, Md., before, nor had he heard from the staff prior to May 1. But Ranson and Turgeon did see the four-star play for Team C2K on the Under Armour circuit April 21-23 in New York City.
“With Maryland, I got a call from Coach Bino, and then later Coach Turgeon called. We talked a little about the program, and they said they liked my game and thought I’d be a great fit. They played a lot of freshmen last year so I know I’d get a chance to play right away there,” Bazley said. “We talked about me coming out there to visit, which I’d like to do.
“I’ve seen Maryland play on TV a couple times, just playing against other Big Ten teams. It’s another good program that’s done very well recently. They were in the NCAA tournament last year.”
Bazley went on to say he’d like to re-visit both Purdue and Xavier and then take in the Terps. He’ll also attempt to see any other suitors that may come in.
“But I’m not waiting for any offers or anything,” Bazley said. “My recruitment is open to everybody, so my take on a school is going to be pretty much the same for everyone. I have to find the place that fits me best. I want to find a place where I feel most comfortable, where I can compete for minutes right away, and then a staff that’s really going to develop me. And I want to go to a place that will let me play my type of game.”
Bazley had been firmly committed to OSU since last August, but he backed out of his pledge because he was worried about the current state of the Buckeyes’ program. He told the Columbus Dispatch he wasn’t sure Ohio State was going to make the NCAA tournament anytime soon with the incoming recruiting class. Thus, he opted to reevaluate his options.
“So now I’m just taking my time with things,” Bazley said. “I’m pretty much open to anything right now. I have no idea when I want to sign or commit to another school. I’ll take everything in.”
The Ohio native did not participate in the second live session in Indianapolis, Ind., April 28-30. During the first period, he averaged 11 points on 30 percent shooting (33 percent from range), 10 rebounds, an assist and a steal. He also recorded three total blocks.
“Really, I think I can do anything you ask me to on the court. I can do everything pretty well,” Bazley said. “And I feel like I can fit into any type of system. I’m just a basketball player.”