Focus On The Future - Point Guards

Our Focus on the Future series continues today with a look at the point guard position. And when you look forward to who might be a recruiting possibility for OSU down the line at point guard, one name jumps out -- Mike Conley. Conley, however, isn't the only possibility. Kyle Lamb takes a look at what players to watch for down t he line.

With the power forwards and center prospects out of the way, it's now time to unveil the point guard prospects Ohio State is chasing for the 2006 class.

NOTE: Thanks to Bucknuts' contributor Jesse Herman for contributing to this report.

It seems, when you talk about point guards at Ohio State, that the 2006 is ripe for the plucking. After all, by the time these guys step foot on campus, Sylvester Mayes will be a senior, Jamar Butler will be a junior and presumably versatile enough to find a lot of time being utilized as a shooting guard.

It's very little secret, to most, who the Buckeyes' top priority in the 2006 class happens to be at this critical position-6-1 Mike Conley of Indianapolis.

Conley, the Insiders Hoops' number one-ranked point guard, is one of the finer athletes in the entire class of 2006. After all, why shouldn't he be?

His father, Mike Sr., is famous for being a world class Olympian in the long jump. His father was a former All-American at the University of Arkansas, where the younger Conley grew up being a ball boy for the Razorbacks.

Although Arkansas will remain in contention for his services, the Lawrence North High School star will choose from a list that includes Wake Forest, Ohio State, Michigan State, Indiana, and Illinois.

All but the Illinois has received visits thus far from Conley, and recently Conley stated that it was very likely the Buckeyes and Demon Deacons were the likely top contenders for signing him.

Whichever team is lucky enough to sign Conley might too receive an added bonus-7-foot sensation Greg Oden, his friend and teammate.

Of course, Oden is very likely to go pro immediately following high school, but if he doesn't, Oden could very well go wherever Conley ends up.

Conley visited Ohio State back in September and plans to visit again unofficially during basketball season.

Perhaps next on the list right behind Conley by way of importance might be 6-5 slashing combo, Paul Harris.

Harris, rated as the third-best point guard and 19th overall in the class of 2006, is projected to play anywhere from the point to the wing.

Being a 6-5 and 220-pounder from Niagara Falls High School in Niagara Falls, NY, Harris might be a terrific point guard as he has the size and ability to get to the hoop on any play. He also is a good defender and a very strong passer.

One of the few weaknesses in Harris' game might be his outside shooting, as he often struggles with consistency.

In actuality, perhaps the biggest drawback to Harris might be what he does off the court, as opposed to on it.

Currently, Harris is facing misdemeanor assault charges and harassment charges stemming from a September incident where, allegedly, he hit his 23-year old girlfriend. Harris has a history of problems as he also was busted for drug possession last year.

At the moment, Syracuse holds a slight advantage for the maligned Harris, ahead of Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Ohio State, Illinois, and North Carolina.

Wake Forest has been going head-to-head with Ohio State recently with several recruits, and Eric Hayes, a 6-3 guard from Potomac, VA is no exception.

A deadly outside shooter, the Potomac High School prospect averaged 13 points a game as a sophomore, and is currently the seventh-best point guard in the country by the Insiders Hoops in 2006.

The Demon Deacons were early leaders for Hayes, who made 92-of-101 free throws last year as a sophomore. Virginia Tech, Miami, N.C. State, Maryland, Ohio State, West Virginia, and Tennessee were just some of many schools getting involved for this pure shooter, but Hayes just recently committed to Maryland.

One prospect Ohio State would like to land, but seemingly is a long shot at the moment, might be 5-11 Tory Jackson, of Saginaw, Mich., Buena Vista High School.

Jackson, as a sophomore, averaged 23.5 points and eight assists a game in being named to the first team all Class C in the state of Michigan by the Associated Press.

Jackson is an electrifying ball handler who can find an open man and also score when needed, as evidenced by his healthy 23 points a game.

Right now, Michigan holds a bit of an advantage should the Wolverines choose to offer Jackson. Michigan State, Florida, California, and Ohio State are just a few of his many suitors.

This summer, Jackson raised his stock immensely when he had several standout performances for the Michigan Hurricanes' AAU team.

A fifth and final name to keep an eye on in the 2006 class might be Minneapolis, MN guard Cameron Rundles.

The talented junior of De La Salle High School is 6-2 and 180 pounds and was recently visited by Ohio State before the contact period came to a close.

Also a terrific wide receiver in football, Rundles lists Ohio State, Minnesota, Michigan State, Marquette, Wisconsin, Dayton, Iowa, Colorado, and Iowa State.

Rundles and his AAU teammate Bryce Webster would be two welcomed additions to Ohio State's recruiting class next season.

With the Class of 2007, it is easy to figure out who might be the top priority.

O.J. Mayo, a 6-4 guard from Cincinnati North College Hill, is nearly unanimously the top player in the country in the class of 2007.

Ohio State, of course, would love to land Mayo, but there's just as good a chance of Mayo going to college as LeBron James being declared eligible to come back to college by the NCAA.

For whatever it's worth, Mayo would have interest in Ohio State, Cincinnati, Louisville, North Carolina, Kentucky, Michigan State, or Duke if college were an option.

Last season as a freshman, Mayo averaged 28 points a game in his first season playing ball in Ohio.

However, unless the NBA passes a rule making an age requirement of 20-years old to be drafted, don't expect Mayo to ever step foot on a college floor-unless it was an NBA exhibition game.

One final name to keep a close eye on will be 5-11 sophomore guard Steven Thomas of Cathedral High School in Indianapolis, IN.

Thomas is a terrific ball-handler who is very instinctive.


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