Cleaning The Glass: A&T Edition

It was the first game of the 2010-11 season and Ohio State put on a show Friday night in Value City Arena. In the aftermath of a 102-61 victory against North Carolina A&T, BuckeyeSports.com men's basketball beat writer Adam Jardy offers his thoughts on the win and the team going forward.

I think … that Aaron Craft will absolutely be the primary Ohio State point guard sooner than later. I think I already knew this heading into the season opener against North Carolina A&T, but what I saw in that contest has firmly convinced me.

William Buford can do a lot of things with the ball in his hands and will be one of the better players in the Big Ten this season, without a doubt. But to me, he does not look like a point guard. When Evan Turner took the position over last season, you could quickly see that he had the necessary looseness to man the position. He was shifty. He was quick. He was nimble.

Buford is a lot of things, but he is not nimble. He's much more of a shooter, a player who will knock down his shots but can not completely take a team on his back. He also disappears for large stretches of the game, something I can not say so far about Craft.

It might be a bit much to expect Craft to be all of those things just yet, but I think he has the ability to get there – and fast. He brings a spark to the court that is not always reflected in the stat sheet, but he creates offense both for himself and for others.

He played some big minutes in the first half despite having picked up two quick fouls. Keeping him out of foul trouble will arguably be as important for him as for anyone else on this roster.

Craft will be the main point guard before too long, and the team will be better for it.

I think … that if there is one freshman who took a sizable step forward in the time since the exhibition victory Sunday against Walsh, it is easily Deshaun Thomas.

To be blunt, he looked slow and slightly awkward in the two times I had seen him in an OSU uniform leading up to the A&T game. Although he was a prolific scorer in high school, I could not help but see more Ivan Harris than Daequan Cook when I watched him on the court.

Then he went off against the Aggies. Points aside, he had a nice deflection with the back of his hand as his opponent tried to streak to the basket. He even showed nice court awareness as he fed teammate Dallas Lauderdale.

Harris was "The Microwave." Staying in the appliance section, I submit "The Compactor" for Thomas rather than "The Garbageman."

I think … that senior David Lighty looked a little disinterested at times. He had one turnover on a bad pass from the corner to the top of the circle and simply watched as the Aggies went up the court and scored. At other times, he simply looked like his mind was elsewhere.

When the season began, Lighty told me he was still working to regain his explosiveness after fracturing his foot during the summer. Maybe he is still rounding his way into form. Either way, I expected more than a team-high four turnovers out of the fifth-year senior in his final home opener.

I think … that someone needs to tell Jared Sullinger that he does not need to bring the ball down to the floor every time he gets an offensive rebound. The big fella had six offensive boards and 19 points, but that final total could have been much higher had he simply gone back up with the ball rather than bringing it down first.

I think … that I'm going to turn this into a story, but the best postgame information came from North Carolina A&T head coach Jerry Eaves. In looking at how to attack the Buckeyes, Eaves said bigger teams will be able to take away OSU's post presence if they so desire, forcing the Buckeyes to win games from the perimeter.

OSU head coach Thad Matta said his team's shooting performance (5 for 22 from deep – 22.7 percent) was abnormal and that they will shoot better. I'm inclined to agree with both coaches, but the key will be finding a team big and athletic enough to truly hang with the Buckeyes.

We will see a few in Big Ten play. Let's see if Lauderdale and Sullinger put up double-doubles in those contests.


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