AAU Coach Talks Chandler and Currie

Last week, we gave you the latest on two Michigan hoops stars that had Ohio State high on their list. They play for the same AAU team, and Kyle Lamb had a chance to speak with their AAU coach, Chris Grier, about where the two players stand college-wise.

With Ohio State on the trails of Michigan products Wilson Chandler and Jabari Currie, Buckeye basketball fans are clamoring to hear more about these two prospects.

Bucknuts recently spoke with Michigan Hurricanes' AAU coach Chris Grier, and we asked Grier to fill us in on the finer details of these two recruits.

Grier, who coached both Currie and Chandler this summer, is very optimistic Ohio State could land both players.

Ohio State was already hot for Currie, the 6-3 combo guard from Detroit Pershing High School before Jim O'Brien was fired. After a long hiatus, Thad Matta just recently began recruiting Currie on behalf of Ohio State once again, and offering a scholarship in the process.

"I'm really not surprised at all," Grier said of the offer. "After Jabari played so well at the ABCD camp, and Coach Matta had a chance to get through the evaluation period, I kind of expected Ohio State to come after Jabari."

As far as Chandler is concerned, the situation is a little different.

Since late spring, Chandler has thought to be a heavy lean to the Michigan State Spartans. Many in the state of Michigan have been left with confused looks on their faces the past few weeks when Chandler claims they are no longer the favorite.

"All I can really tell you is that last week, Wilson met with his high school coach," Grier said. "I don't know exactly what was said in that meeting, but everything seems to have changed since then."

Chandler is being recruited by Ohio State as a wing. Although some view the 6-7 Benton Harbor talent as a power forward, Grier believes wing is his most natural position.

From Grier's vantage point, Matta's staff, who recruited Chandler while still at Xavier, has been more aggressive than the old staff in recruiting Chandler.

"Coach O'Brien and his staff didn't seem to really ever recruit Chandler very hard," he said. "Coach Matta has been extremely aggressive going after Wilson since he was still at Xavier."

Apparently Chandler always liked Matta, but Xavier might not have been a place he wanted to attend.

"Ohio State got in on Wilson immediately following the end of the evaluation period," Grier said. "He liked that staff at Xavier, but I think their moving to Ohio State really elevated his interest."

Although the two have not spoken about going to the same school, Grier believes it can only help Ohio State that they are going after both. He also believes the two would compliment each other well.

He believes Currie would especially thrive in an up-tempo environment.

"Jabari views the entire floor extremely well," Grier said. "He is a great point guard because he sees things quicker and reacts much quicker than most players do."

Grier finds similar qualities in Chandler by way of pushing the floor.

"He's definitely good at pushing it," Grier said of Chandler. "He's dangerous in an open floor because he is very athletic, and he finishes really well."

One of the drawbacks early on with Chandler was the absence of a consistent outside shot. Likewise, he was missing the ability to dribble-drive.

This summer, Grier believes that criticism was silenced.

"I think he really showcased himself this summer," Grier said. "I think he proved in camp that he could not only put the ball on the floor, but shoot the ball as well. In fact, I think he actually shot the ball from long range at a pretty high percentage."

"Because he started so late, you might not see this everywhere," Grier added. "But I do think that Wilson is a top 50 player, and many rankings will reflect that by the time the season is over with."

Shooting was also a concern with Currie.

Grier acknowledges that weakness, but believes it's something that isn't problematic as is, and can also improve rather easily.

"Jabari just needs to practice more on his shot," Grier said. "He simply hasn't been a guy that takes 1,000 jump shots every day. He works on the rest of his game. He's very streaky. When he's off he really struggles sometimes, but on the other hand, when he catches fire, he also can light it up for a while."

Ohio State is still in catch-up mode with Currie.

After O'Brien was fired, DePaul began recruiting Currie extremely hard, and since then they have emerged as Currie's favorite. He does still have a soft spot for the Buckeyes, however.

"He really liked Ohio State a lot, so much so he almost committed there," Grier said. "You just don't lose that feeling about a school completely. Right now, DePaul has been very loyal, so they mean something to Jabari as well."

Grier opined where Currie might currently stand.

"Right now I think DePaul still probably leads," Grier said. "But remember, Jabari still has only visited Ohio State, and hasn't really taken any official visits. If he decides to visit both places officially, and he drags this out further, I think Ohio State becomes a lot tougher to beat."

The story is similar with Chandler, who has yet to take any official visits. Chandler will be visiting Ohio State and Michigan State next week, and Indiana and Purdue shortly thereafter.

Chandler wasn't even sure if he would take any officials.

"He might not even need to take them," Grier said of the official visits. "I think it's quite possible he could stop at a few of these places, and decide he knows where he wants to go."

Grier suggested that Ohio State fans should remain optimistic of their chances with these two.

In the meantime, Matta will continue to recruit them with a lot of effort.

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