About the only thing that elevated more than Richard Semrau's game this summer was his popularity. Perhaps his biggest fans this summer have been the college coaches hoping to get involved.
Add Ohio State coach Thad Matta to the growing list of fan club members for this 6-10 power forward from Rocky River Lutheran West.
Semrau began making a name for himself this spring as an athletic big man who can shoot from the outside as well as run the floor extremely well. In a matter of weeks, he started receiving attention from powerhouses such as UCLA, North Carolina, and Duke.
Tuesday evening, Bucknuts spoke with this northeast Ohio rising junior, and although his list remains pretty similar to that which he gave us back in May, we did find out that Ohio State has entered the picture.
"I'm still looking at Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan, Illinois, and Wake Forest," Semrau said. "My list really hasn't changed too much."
Semrau has become one of many gems in an increasingly strong class of 2006 in the state of Ohio. Ohio State certainly would like a piece of that pie, but up until recently it wasn't very likely.
Thad Matta's move from Xavier to Ohio State has made an all too familiar scenario for underclassmen in the Buckeye state-Ohio State soaring up the list.
Whereas before Semrau said he had little interest in Ohio State, that has changed dramatically.
"I'd say my interest has grown (in Ohio State) considerably," he added. "Coach Matta wrote me a lot when he was at Xavier, and now that he's at Ohio State, he's paying a lot of attention to me and has an offer on the table already."
Ohio State is far from the only team to offer either. Semrau currently claims offers from Northwestern, Butler, Indiana, Purdue, Kentucky, Illinois, and Louisville in addition to the Buckeyes' offer. He also said that Wake Forest hasn't yet offered, but probably would if he were willing to commit.
The biggest obstacle for Semrau this past month has been fighting a dislocated left elbow.
During a tournament in West Virginia on July 17th, Semrau fell to the floor and tried bracing his fall with his hand. The weight shifted to his elbow where he heard a popping sound.
The bad news was that Semrau's elbow was dislocated, but the good news is that it has quickly healed, and he's able to play once again so long as he doesn't bump it.
For Semrau, school begins again on August 24th, but most of the remaining time is going to be spent on the road.
As of Wednesday, Semrau leaves with his family to take his sister back to Villanova ,where his sister attends college.
Then on August 19th and 20th, Semrau leaves with his parents towards Kentucky, where they will visit the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky
Semrau indicated that Kentucky is still his early favorite, but he's leaving his options wide open.
Ohio State will be one of the benefactors of that.
"I'm definitely coming down (to Ohio State) sometime this fall to watch a football game," Semrau said. "I don't have an exact date just yet, but I know I want to visit."
The school that gets Semrau will have a few things in particular.
"I want to go somewhere that has a good player-coach relationship and a nice family type atmosphere," he said. "Campus size is pretty important, too. I want to go somewhere that doesn't feel too big, but I also don't want to go to a particularly small campus."
One of the advantages for some of Semrau's favorites such as Kentucky and Louisville happens to be the up-tempo style of play. Matta's philosophy of pushing the floor is right up Semrau's alley.
"That definitely helps a lot," Semrau said of Matta's coaching style. "I know coach Matta loves to run, and I do too. I would love to play fast."
Whatever Semrau ultimately decides won't be for a while. Semrau would like to make his final decision before his senior season begins next November.
In the meantime, the interest will continue to elevate. Don't be surprised to
see his game get a bit stronger as well.