The Buckeyes are dealing with the loss of their three leading scorers from last season while welcoming in four talented freshman and graduate transfer Anthony Lee.
The most ballyhooed of the newcomers is guard D’Angelo Russell and Matta said he has been happy with the five-star recruit so far.
“Right now I’m very pleased with how he's playing in practice, the strides he's making. He's doing a great job of kind of taking the court over every time he steps on the court,” the coach said. “He's going to have some ups and downs, but I like his demeanor. I like the things that he can do on the court, and we've got to keep coaching him and keep him as healthy as we can.”
“We can go with some skilled 4s. I've got four or five guys that can play that position, which is what I like about this team,” Matta said. “The competitive nature in practice has been probably something we haven't had in a while, and Anthony definitely factors into that in terms of what he's bringing to the table. Those guys now know if they don't come to play, they'll get embarrassed in practice.”
Media day also came with conference predictions by a panel of Big Ten Media. Wisconsin was the unanimous choice to win the league as the Badgers return four starters from their 2014 Final Four run. Wisconsin senior center Frank Kaminsky was selected as the Preseason Player of the Year.
Michigan State was picked to finish second in the conference while the Buckeyes were pegged to place third. Joining Kaminsky on the preseason All-Big Ten team was teammate Sam Dekker, Indiana’s Yogi Ferrell, Michigan’s Caris LeVert and Nebraska’s Terran Petteway.