Buckeyes Tracking 7-Footer From Australia

The Ohio State men's basketball program has joined the recruiting battle for Luke Nevill, a 7-foot Australian who is playing for a prep school in Georgia. Click this free link for a look at this intriguing prospect.

EDITOR'S NOTE -- We would like to welcome Kyle Lamb (aka Buckaholic) to the Bucknuts staff. Kyle will be assisting us with coverage of basketball recruiting. In fact, he will have an update on Michigan standout Malik Hairston online tomorrow. Welcome aboard, Kyle!

As the recruiting season heats up heading into the April signing period, so has the interest in Luke Nevill, an Australian seven-footer.

Nevill, a foreign exchange student playing as a senior at Kell High School in Marietta, Georgia, has been a hot commodity lately to many major schools, including Ohio State.

A native of Perth, Australia, Luke found his way into the states via a high school exchange program. Ever since he arrived at Kell, a first-year varsity program, colleges from around the country have begun to make their way to Marietta to see him play.

Nevill has reminded many people of Utah freshmen Andrew Bogut. Not surprisingly, Utah has been the primary suitor for a long while now.

Kell head basketball coach Mike Baumgarten says that while there is a lot of mutual interest between Nevill and Utah, there are many schools still very much getting into the picture.

"Utah has definitely been after him pretty hard," Baumgarten said. "He's getting a lot of interest from Georgia, South Carolina, Georgia Tech, and some of those schools."

Nevill has been having a successful season for Kell, averaging 19.5 points a game, and hauling in nine rebounds a game. Kell has already played 20 games on the season, as they are not eligible for regional play until next season in the state of Georgia.

Baumgarten says it's still been an adjustment period for the talented post-player.

"It's definitely been a little bit of an adjustment for him," Baumgarten said. "I think the athleticism and the quickness has been a little bit of a struggle for him, but I think he's begun to understand the American game a little bit more as he keeps playing."

Baumgarten says that once the season ends, he expects Luke to start visiting some places in full-force. Nevill has already visited Georgia unofficially.

Ohio State entered into the picture just recently, but Baumgarten believes they've made a lot of progress.

"They've been showing interest for about a month and a half," Baumgarten said. "Coach (Monte) Mathis started recruiting him (Luke) just before Christmas I'd say."

Ohio State has already seen Nevill play on two separate occasions, but just how tough is the competition from the Utes right now?

"I think Utah has probably been recruiting him the hardest of anybody," Baumgarten said. "A lot of it has got to be the Bogut kid that's there, and the ties with Coach Majerus, and those types of things. They've done a nice job recruiting him because they've had those types of kids, and they understand the academic part of it."

Baumgarten did say, however, that Ohio State very much has a shot, and he fully expects Luke to visit the Buckeyes after the season ends.

"It hasn't been worked out just yet," he said. "I think that's definitely in the plans. We've only got about two-and-a-half to three weeks of our season left. Since our season gets done kind of early, I think that very realistically is going to happen."

Ohio State has two available scholarships for current high school seniors. The school is holding one slot for Michigan guard/forward Malik Hairston. The Buckeyes, who lose 7-0 center Velimir Radinovic after this season, would like to add a big man with the other available scholarship.

If that is not possible or if Hairston signs elsewhere, OSU may bank one scholarship for next year, when the school figures to already have as many as three scholarships to offer current prep juniors.

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