Night Games Boon For More Than Football

Ohio State hosted a highly regarded women's basketball prospect for the first night football game weekend of the season and has more scheduled to visit for the second as head coach Kevin McGuff continues trying to build the Buckeyes into a national power.

By now everyone knows Urban Meyer loves Ohio State football night games, but he is not the only one. Far from it.

Kevin McGuff smiled when asked about their impact on his recruiting schedule as the second-year head coach of the women's basketball Buckeyes works on putting together another highly regarded class.

"Obviously part of doing unofficial and official visits is showcasing how special Ohio State is," McGuff told BuckeyeSports.com. "The environment here during a night football game is as good as anywhere in America, if not better. I've been a lot of places and there's no place I'd rather watch a football game than a Saturday night in Columbus. We're excited to be able to bring very talented young people we think would fit our program to these games and let them experience what it's like to be a student-athlete at Ohio State."

McGuff, who was head coach at Washington and Xavier before moving to Columbus last year, cannot comment on recruits until they sign letters of intent, but BSB confirmed his first visitor enjoyed her time on campus Sept. 6-7 when the football team played host to Virginia Tech.

"They've got a good thing going," said Terry Primm, father of highly regarded guard Crystal Primm of West Palm Beach (Fla.) Oxbridge Academy. "We enjoyed the visit. It was very comprehensive and I think we got a lot out of the two days."

The elder Primm, who coaches the Oxbridge Academy girls' team, told BuckeyeSports.com his daughter is down to a final five of Ohio State, USC, Duke, South Florida and Auburn. She has visited USF and Auburn in addition to OSU and plans to see Duke and USC in the near future.

In choosing a college from that final five, he said quality of education will be important, as will getting a feel for how the coaching staffs develop players on and off the court. He did not give much away as far as any school being ahead of the pack but praised the job McGuff and his staff did while hosting the Primm family.

"I've gotta admit having coached a little bit I think I've gotten over the hype of recruiting and the interaction a long time ago," Primm said. "I do think it can be a little overwhelming for families -- with these prestigious schools calling and expressing interest in your kid, it's only natural to be excited about that.

"We tried to establish a pretty good process early and as we're coming to the end of the process I think it's served us well, but with Ohio State I've gotta say I was very impressed with Coach Kevin and his philosophy and the culture he's looking to build. It was great to see kids that were in the program prior to him getting there and see him transitioning them. No matter how slight it may seem that tells you you've got a good guy running the show and you've got some good things brewing over there."

While Primm continues to gather information about her choices ahead of a decision her father expects to be made prior to the beginning of the early signing period, Ohio State continues to work on building its 2015 class.

McGuff has as many as four scholarships to give for the 2015 class, and one has already been spoken for by Theresa Ekhelar, a 6-6 center from Life Center Academy in Burlington, New Jersey.

She fills a big need for the Buckeyes on a frontcourt that lost four players to graduation last year and added talent but not a lot of size in the 2014 recruiting class.

Ekhelar will make her official visit for the weekend of Sept. 27, the night Ohio State will play host to another night game, this time against Cincinnati, and she is not expected to be alone.

Also expected to be in town when the Bearcats visit are highly rated wing players Arike Ogimbawale of Milwaukee Divine Senior and Kaylan Pugh of Collierville (Tenn.) St. Mary's.

Ogimbawale, who is rated the No. 4 player in the country by the All-Star Girls Report, has listed a top five of Ohio State, Louisville, Notre Dame, UCLA and Wisconsin. She and Pugh (No. 50) both visited Columbus during the summer for the Buckeyes' elite prospects camp.

McGuff's first class, headlined by Cincinnati Princeton McDonald's All-American point guard Kelsey Mitchell, was rated No. 2 in the country by Blue Star Report.


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