OSU Leaves Impression On Mickey

To many, Ohio State is a football school. That's exactly what Jordan Mickey's father thought recently. After a visit to Columbus, however, Mickey has a deep interest in the Ohio State basketball program. Get all the latest details in Mickey's recruitment inside.

If James Wright's preconceived notion of Ohio State from a year ago remained true in his mind today, the Buckeyes basketball program likely wouldn't be alive in the recruitment of his son, Jordan Mickey of Arlington (Texas) Grace Preparatory Academy.

But while in Columbus in with his son January for a high school game, Wright saw Ohio State's home contest against Indiana. From that point, Wright has had a different thought process when thinking about the Buckeyes basketball program.

"Prior to the Indiana game, I viewed Ohio State as a football school," Wright told BuckeyeSports.com. "I thought when they were playing Indiana, which was a great game, that their defense was relentless. I became a quick admirer because I love defense. I had no idea that Ohio State was that good."

In the time since, the recruitment of Mickey has increased dramatically and Ohio State has been one of the schools that has been in pursuit. Mickey, a five-star power forward, has already garnered more than 30 scholarship offers, including one from the Buckeyes.

Mickey had his first in-depth visit at Ohio State on Jan. 5 while in the area attending camps. Though Dave Dickerson has recruited 6-7, 190-pound forward, it was Jeff Boals who led the way during Mickey's visit.

"The visit couldn't have been better," Wright said. "We accomplished everything that we set out to accomplish because without that visit and to actually have the opportunity to walk on campus and get to know these guys, we still would have viewed Ohio State as a football school. Our opinion has totally changed. Jordan loves Ohio State."

The No. 6 rated power forward in the 2013 class, Mickey has an interest in pursuing a degree in engineering. While Mickey was on the tour, Boals took him to the engineering department in addition to the usual stops at Value City Arena's basketball facilities.

While Wright was impressed with Boals' tour – he described it as "rolling out the red carpet" – it was the opportunity to visit with head coach Thad Matta that left a lasting impression.

"We had the opportunity to sit down and we probably spent a couple of hours in Coach Matta's office, just talking. That's what it is all about," Wright said. "This is why we're doing what we're doing right now. We are trying to get out to all these schools.

"All of these top schools have great facilities and Ohio State's facilities are just as good as any top school in the country and they're still adding to it. Just getting the opportunity to share that time with the coaches was really special and we appreciate the hospitality."

Despite being one of the most sought-after prospects in his class, Mickey is still in the process of learning as much as he can about each program. Mickey recently visited Louisville, LSU and SMU and is also planning visits to West Virginia, Arkansas and Missouri in June.

Though Wright said Mickey plans on having a top five by the end of July, the power forward's recruitment hasn't progressed enough at this point to narrow his list down.

"Right now we're trying to make our rounds so we can narrow it down to about five or six schools," Wright said. "To give a list out at this point wouldn't be fair to the schools that we haven't visited yet."

Ohio State's chances of pulling prospects that reside far from the Midwest are certainly lower, which was something the Buckeyes' coaching staff has been criticized for in an anti-climactic 2012 recruiting class. Wright, however, said distance won't be a factor in his son's recruitment.

"Distance won't be a factor at all," Wright said. "We're trying to put my son in the best situation. His goal is to play in the NBA and get a college degree and wherever that school is that provides the best fit without the brand label, it doesn't make a difference. Right now the biggest thing I'm concentrating on is the relationship wit the coaching staff.

"Jordan is a good kid. I am picky about who I want to be around my son for the next four years. I know we wont get to see him a whole lot and he is going to be concentrating on his game and his college education. I don't want to put my son's career and livelihood in just anyone's hands. It's going to take a good man, a good coach and someone I can trust to take care of my child."

At least for right now, Ohio State remains a program that will be in the hunt for one of the top prospects in the class. The visit established the relationship with Ohio State's coaching staff that Wright hopes his son will have with the program he eventually selects.

"Jordan built a great rapport with the coaching staff at Ohio State," Wright said. "That will further his interest in pursuing Ohio State."

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