The 2005 recruiting campaign as far as Ohio State goes, has not been exactly expedited by the uncertainty of Detroit standout Malik Hairston. But sufficed to say, it does in fact exist.
In the second part of a two-part series, Bucknuts examines the current out-of-state recruiting priorities in the upcoming recruiting class. As always, this list should not be taken as a comprehensive list of Ohio State targets. Some names will most certainly arise throughout the process, as others contained within, will fade into obscurity.
Much of this upcoming recruiting class will in fact depend on the decision of Hairston. As things currently stand, expect Ohio State to grab a point guard and a post player as their top two positions-of-need in this class. A likely third scholarship will be given, but it's still unclear whether that will go to a shooting guard, another post, or a wing player. It's a safe bet that a wing player will only be offered should Hairston pull the trigger elsewhere.
Ohio State appears to be gaining a lot of national recruiting momentum. A potential signing of Hairston would most certainly give them even further notoriety on the basketball map.
As of now, Ohio State remains a serious player above all else for 5'11 PG Dominic James of Richmond, Indiana. James just recently toured with a group of Ohio stars, including Daequan Cook, on a European trip that was recommended by the Ohio State coaching staff. James reportedly played extremely well, and although he's already deemed a top 50 caliber player, might be poised to rise even further on the summer charts.
James (left) is arguably Ohio State's top point guard priority at this moment in time. He's a very creative ball-handler who can drive and dish nearly at will. He also possesses a solid outside shot to make him a dual threat. He is expected to be rated amongst the top point guards nationally as the rankings begin to take shape over the course of the next month or two.
Hoopscoop Ohio editor Chris Johnson is very impressed with James.
"He's very quick and he has a 40 inch-plus vertical leap to go along with it," Johnson said. "He is a point guard who is dangerous because he can also stroke it from downtown."
Pargo is a 6'1 guard from Robeson High School in Chicago. His older brother Jannero is currently a member of the Chicago Bulls after being a standout for the Arkansas Razorbacks. Pargo is a very instinctive passer.
"He comes from a basketball family," Johnson said. "He is a scorer who is capable of playing both guard positions."
Santiago is one of the better guards in the Chicago metro area. He is a 5'10 point guard who has excellent shooting range.
"Santiago is probably the best point guard in the Chicago area," Johnson said. "He's a great ball handler who easily gets to the rim."
Sean Mccurdy, a 5'11 guard from Jersey City St. Anthony's is a guy drawing a lot of early interest from several east coast schools. Mccurdy draws comparisons to a few former St. Anthony's stars.
"This is a kid I've not seen much of yet," Johnson said. "He's a physical Jersey point guard very similar to the Hurley Brothers."
Another name to keep an eye on is Justin Holland a 6'0 combo guard who was teammates with Randolph Morris last season for Landmark Christian in Atlanta. Holland is a defensive stopper who needs to refine his offensive game but will be one of the better guards in Georgia this upcoming season.
The top shooting guard priority for this year's class will be Chris Douglas-Roberts (left), a 6'5 combo from Cass Tech in Detroit. Roberts' career might most closely resemble Hairston by way of stature as well as improvement.
Douglas-Roberts reportedly desires to play point guard in college, and might receive that opportunity wherever he goes, although many still project him to be best suited for the two guard position. Early on, Kansas, Florida, Michigan, Michigan State, and UCLA seem to have the early edge for him, but Ohio State continues to recruit him.
"He is a Malik Hairston clone with better ball-handling skills," Johnson said. "He has the potential to play as a natural point guard. He is likely to blow up on the national scene much like Malik did this past year."
Another guard in the Detroit pipeline that Ohio State has a firm foot in the door with is 6'3 Jabari Currie from Pershing High School in the motor city.
Currie's biggest problem at the moment seems to be consistency. He's been known to bust out with a huge performance and then consequently disappear for large portions of games at a time.
"Currie is a smooth shooting athletic two guard," Johnson said. "He will battle Perryman as one of the top players at their position in Michigan."
"Perryman came on like gangbusters to help lead Rogers to a final four appearance in Michigan's Class D," Johnson said. "He needs to add some strength, but he has the potential to be as good as his former teammate, Billings."
Eric Devendorf has become another possible candidate for the Buckeyes after the 6'3 junior reneged on a verbal commitment he made to the Michigan State Spartans prior to his junior year. Devendorf is certainly one of the top players in Michigan if not one of the better in the nation. This athletic scorer averaged 31 points a game this past season.
The wing position is one that Ohio State will not spend a lot of time evaluating this spring and summer. The possible addition of Malik Hairston would make this position irrelevant for the upcoming season, but even without Hairston, they may sooner find comfort in taking in-state prospects Derrick Brown, Chris Knight, or B.J. Raymond.
One prospect Ohio State most definitely will have interest in, is super-Charlotte star K.C. Rivers (left) who spent this past season playing for perennial powerhouse Oak Hill Academy in Virginia.
Rivers is a 6'4 combo who is thought to be a shooting guard first. He is a top 25 to top 50 talent that Ohio State would have interest in for either position. He is a very good shooter and a very intelligent basketball player.
"He's an explosive two guard with a big time stroke," Johnson said of Rivers. "He will definitely be Oak Hill's top returning player next season, and might just be the best player on the team regardless of the impending transfers."
The Buckeyes are chasing several power forward possibilities this season. Not many of them, however, appear to be legitimate possibilities at this moment in time. One of them that is, is 6-foot-8 Tyrell Biggs (left) of Bosco Prep in Ramsey, New Jersey.
Biggs is another top 50 talent who, in particular, lives up to his name of being "big". The 250-pounder visited Ohio State last season for Futures day, and enjoyed his visit very much. Biggs has said in the past he might want to play on the east coast, but Ohio State remains a possibility and he would be a great addition.
"He's a very powerful player," Johnson said. "He also has very good hands that allow him to dominate the post."
Chad Millard is a 6'8 power forward from New Hampshire the Buckeyes are taking a good look at. Millard is not only an athletic and strong player, but he's a terrific shooter and a very good passer. Originally from the Midwest, Kansas and Louisville appear to be the early favorites for Millard.
Detroit Redford product Brandon Wolfe, is a tenacious 6'7 forward who never lets up. Wolfe is a guy still making a name he is a tremendous rebounder and is very good defensively.
Kendrick Price a 6'7 and 190-pounder from Cambridge, Mass. is extremely rangy but also somewhat slender. He is a very good shooter and a terrific student in the classroom. Price is one of the top players in the New England region.
Two more players to watch are Uche Echefu and Ben Mccauley. Echefu stands 6'8 from Montrose Christian Academy, the alma mater of current Missouri frosh Linas Kleiza. Mccauley is a perimeter oriented PF from Herminie, Pennsylvania who is 6'7 and had a very solid junior season.
Echefu is a Nigerian native that big time schools from around the country have fallen in love with. Echefu has an extremely high ceiling as he's just beginning to learn the game better.
"He is a Top 50 player, who is a strong athlete with nice medium-range offensive game," Johnson said. "He might be tough to get away from ACC."
The Buckeyes will continue to monitor 6'7 Jairocey Simpson of Detroit Ford and Macy Coury of Detroit Country day. The InsidersHoops number four ranked power forward Keith Brumbaugh of Deland, Florida is also an option, albeit an unlikely one at this juncture.
Whenever the center position is mentioned for Ohio State recruiting targets this season, the first name out of anyone's mouth should definitely be Theo Davis (left). Davis, a 6'11 Native Canadian playing basketball at Cardozo High in Bayside, New York, is showing a lot of early interest in Ohio State.
Davis, the nation's second ranked center by the InsidersHoops.com, has been on Ohio State's campus on three separate occasions now. Although the competition to land Davis' services will be extremely stiff from many of the nation's top programs, Ohio State will continue to be a fixture in his recruitment.
"He is very similar to Jamaal Magloire, the fellow Canadian who went to New York," Johnson said. "He is a tremendous shot-blocker and and rebounder."
Another talented center prospect the Buckeyes are in on early in the process is Detroit standout Anthony Sparks. Sparks is a 6'9 300-pounder very similar to Robert "Tractor" Traylor.
It's very easy for Sparks, the Murray-Wright star, to be compared to Traylor given the similarities.
"The comparisons are easy to make given they attended the same high school and have the same body types," Johnson said. "Sparks, however, has yet to show the poise and agility of Traylor."
Bamba Fall, another Nigerian standing 6'11 is considered a project, but one with very strong potential. Fall is a slender shot-blocker still learning basketball. The Oak Hill Academy product is not a player who would make an immediate impact anywhere, but could be a big time player by the time he's finished.
"Although he's very thin, he did start to come on late this past season," Johnson said. "He will have to continue to add some strength and muscle if he's going to contribute on the upper D-I level."