O'Brien Looks In On 7-Foot Prospect

OSU head coach Jim O'Brien went down to Georgia Tuesday night to personally scout Australian 7-foot center Luke Nevill, who plays for a high school squad in Marietta, Ga. How did Nevill look and will the Buckeyes extend him an offer? Click here for more.

Many eyes have turned towards Marietta, Ga., in recent weeks to track the progress of seven-foot Australian center, Luke Nevill. Amongst the many eyes watching Kell High School, were those of Ohio State head basketball coach Jim O'Brien.

O'Brien was in attendance Tuesday night as the Kell Longhorns hit the road to face North Cobb High School. The focus, of course, was on Nevill himself.

O'Brien watched as Nevill scored 14 points, and grabbed 11 rebounds. Nevill is averaging 19 points a game, and 12 rebounds per game for the season. Although Nevill scored below his average, Longhorn head coach Mike Baumgarten believes O'Brien saw a pretty good performance.

"I think Luke did all right, he did some pretty good things," he said. "Luke is in a situation where he's got a lot of young guys around him. He draws a lot of attention inside. He's to the point where he's getting double and triple teamed all over the floor. He played well, he didn't score a lot of points, but he did some nice things."

Although an official offer from Ohio State has not yet been extended, might one be coming soon?

"I'm not really sure, I haven't talked to anyone yet (Wednesday)," Baumgarten said. "I think they are interested."

An official visit to Ohio State continues to remain a very real possibility for Nevill. If one should happen, it will be after Kell finishes their season in a week from now.

This was the first time O'Brien has been down to Georgia to watch Nevill. Ohio State has been down on several occasions, but all of those were done by assistant coach Monte Mathis.

"I spent a little time before the game, and a little after the game with him (O'Brien)," Baumgarten said. "I got to chat with him a little bit. It was nice to meet him."

Baumgarten says that Nevill continues to be a work in progress in regards to his transition for the American game, but a combination of crafty low-post moves and an adequate amount of strength should bode well for Luke's future.

"He's got a little bit of both," Baumgarten said. "He does a nice job of reading the defense. He has soft hands, and has some pretty nice moves, but he can take it strong to the basket as well. I think it just comes down to getting used to the athleticism here."

Baumgarten has maintained throughout the process that Utah is probably the team to beat for Nevill's services, but recent events may change that.

Published reports from ESPN has suggested that Utes head basketball coach Rick Majerus, will step down by season's end due to increasing illness. Majerus was reportedly hospitalized for heart problems.

"I had not heard that, I've not talked to any of those guys in about a week," Baumgarten said. "I know Coach Majerus has had some problems like that in the past, but that's too bad. I don't think Luke knew that, that's really disappointing. I'll have to talk to Luke about that."

Besides Utah and Ohio State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, South Carolina, and Vanderbilt continue to be the most consistent suitors for Nevill.

Ohio State continues to evaluate Nevill, as well as several other senior and JUCO prospects for one of their remaining two scholarships. The first continues to be held for Detroit star Malik Hairston. The second will likely go to a post prospect, and Nevill continues to be a strong possibility.

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