Fuss-Cheatham: Knee Not A Problem

OSU point guard Brandon Fuss-Cheatham, whose first two seasons were marked by injuries and inconsistency, told reporters recently he is completely healthy and ready to trigger what could be an explosive OSU offense.

By now, OSU point guard Brandon Fuss-Cheatham figured he would be entrenched as a college basketball player.

But injuries and inconsistent shooting have Fuss-Cheatham, a junior this season, working hard in preseason camp to earn his first real shot at playing time.

The 6-1 Fuss-Cheatham came to OSU as a decorated prep player from Beaver Falls (Pa.) Blackhawk High School. He played in 29 games as a freshman, working behind Brian Brown and Brent Darby in the backcourt. He averaged just 1.2 points a game and shot a dismal 21.7 percent from the floor.

With Brown out of the picture, Fuss-Cheatham figured to become the full-time point guard last season. But he suffered a knee injury in a preseason exhibition against the Harlem Globetrotters and was never the same. He did get to play in 22 games, starting eight, but his impact was negligible -- he averaged 1.6 points and shot 22.6 percent from the floor.

Fuss-Cheatham spent the summer rehabbing the knee and working on his game, mostly back home in Pennsylvania. He reported for duty last weekend as practice began and declared himself ready to take his rightful spot as the point guard.

"Right now, the knee doesn't hurt at all," he said. "Sometimes it's sore after I play, but that's normal."

Fuss-Cheatham could be the trigger man on a potent OSU offense this season. He knows he will be able to help open things up if he, too, can finally find a way to put the ball in the basket.

"I just have to shoot it," Fuss-Cheatham said. "Last year, the first couple of games, I shot it pretty good. Then I had the injury. I wasn't shooting it. I was aiming it. I wasn't focused on making it. Now I think my jump shot is pretty good.

"I think it was mental. I just got away from being confident. I had an injury and I lost my confidence. I need to catch and shoot it."

OSU head coach Jim O'Brien has already made waves by saying, through associate head coach Rick Boyages, that he thinks the Buckeyes can lead the Big Ten in scoring. Fuss-Cheatham agrees that OSU's athletic mix -- adding newcomers J.J. Sullinger, Tony Stockman and Ricardo Billings as well as healed big man Terence Dials -- could make the Buckeyes an entertaining team to watch.

"This year, we have that loaded gun," Fuss-Cheatham said. "We have a lot of guys who like to run. That's what I like to do, to run with it and get into the open court. I think we will have the scoring and the rebounding. We are pretty deep. We should be able to do everything this year. It should be a fun year for us and for the fans watching.

"I played the running game all through high school. I'm used to running up and down the court and playing that transition game. I think we can be a running team. I think Coach O'Brien wants that."

Boyages told reporters last week he believes Fuss-Cheatham, after all the stops and starts in his college career, is ready to go.

"Brandon has been healthy and upbeat," Boyages said. "I think he's playing pretty well."

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