Ohio State Heavily In Mix For Miami PG

New OSU men's basketball coach Thad Matta has already made a very good impression on several recruits across the country. One of them is Miami Calusa Prep point guard Denis Clemente, who is rated as one of the nation's top players at his position. Remember the name because the Buckeyes have a very good chance with him, as Kyle Lamb reports.

Ohio State has pulled a fast one. Their quick ascent for Miami point guard Denis Clemente can probably be paralleled by only one other thing -- Clemente's speed itself.

Clemente is a lightning quick 6-1 guard from Calusa Prep in Miami whose stock has hit, well, in keeping with the trend of puns, the fast track so to speak.

He has become a highly sought-after guard upon exploding during summer AAU competition, causing many of the top programs to take notice.

Now considered a top 100 player nationally, Clemente is a 4-star player who can dribble end-line to end-line in an almost unbelievable 3.2 seconds.

The Buckeyes have made quick work with Clemente, and his Miami Tropics AAU basketball coach, Art Alvarez, in becoming a favorite of theirs.

"I can tell you that Ohio State is definitely very much in the mix for Denis," Alvarez told Bucknuts Monday evening. "They have become a favorite of Denis' and mine as well."

Ohio State and Arkansas, who has previously been very strong in Clemente's recruitment, appear to be the two favorites for Clemente and his coach. The pair of schools joins Wake Forest, Miami, and Indiana amongst many other schools to be involved in the process.

The Buckeyes will definitely get a good look.

"Ohio State is without a doubt going to get a visit from Denis," Alvarez explained. "(Thad) Matta has done a great job since getting to Ohio State. We're both very fond of Matta."

Averaging 33.5 points a game and 5.4 assists a game as a junior in high school, Clemente was the only junior to land on the 1st team all-state for the small school 1-A division. Not only did Clemente make first team, he won the player of the year award.

Being described as a great scorer with excellent vision, Alvarez says that Clemente is very explosive off of the dribble.

It was his explosiveness that quickly made a fan of Ohio State head coach Thad Matta at the Peach Jamboree this summer in Augusta, Georgia. Clemente averaged 25 points a game at that tournament, which led the entire event.

"He saw Denis play at that tournament and they immediately got involved," Alvarez said. "His exact words were something along the lines of Denis being 'one of the best guards in the entire country'."

Since then, the Ohio State staff has been so impressed with Clemente, they've explained to Alvarez ideally, they would like to have him start as a freshman. They have said he would definitely play immediately next season.

Seeing Clemente play in the two following tournaments, he couldn't stop finding nice things to say about him.

"He told us that he didn't just have one scholarship for him, he would like to have two scholarships for Denis," Alvarez said. "I think that Coach (Matta) is a very strong believer in Denis and we're a strong believer in him."

And for good reasons are the two parties mutually interested in one another. Clemente is nearly a perfect match for Ohio State, given his speed, quickness, and ability to push the floor. That fact is not lost upon Clemente or his coach.

"The style coach Matta brings is very similar to what Denis runs already," Alvarez elaborated. "That style is right up Denis' alley."

It shouldn't take long for Denis to be sold on Ohio State if he hasn't been already. Although Ohio State is the newcomer to the process, and there are several top notch schools that Clemente has interest in, the coach has already won them over.

"Denis feels very comfortable with him (Matta)," Alvarez said. "I feel comfortable with him as well."

Before making any sort of decisions, Clemente will likely take all five official visits, which could begin very soon.

Fortunately for the Buckeyes, it might not be long before receiving that official visit that Alvarez promises is on the way.

At any moment, you never know when Ohio State fans might be blindsided with that sort of news leaving them to say "that was fast."

But then again, fast seems to be a popular description for Clemente these days.

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