A Look At Matta's First Recruiting Class

We look at the three newcomers OSU men's basketball coach Thad Matta will welcome next year, including Redlands Community College guard Sylvester Mayes. Click here for a look at these players as well as OSU's possible strategy for next year.

OSU men's basketball coach Thad Matta's first recruiting class is somewhat of a mixed bag.

Matta and his staff signed a pair of players in the early signing period. Those two players were Redlands Community College guard Sylvester Mayes and Salt Lake City (Utah) Brighton center Brayden Bell. That pair will join Bowling Green transfer Ronald Lewis, a 6-4 guard, as newcomers on next year's roster.

"This class gives us more size up front and more quickness in the backcourt," Matta said.

Here is a look at each of these players who will be with the Buckeyes next year:

* Ronald Lewis -- Lewis is a graduate of Columbus Brookhaven. He played his first two seasons at Bowling Green. He averaged 14.6 points and scored 877 points in his two years at BGSU. As a sophomore, he averaged 17.0 points and earned second-team All-MAC honors. He started 55 of 60 games at BGSU and hit 81 percent of his free throws. He will have two years of eligibility left at OSU beginning next year.

"Ron is a great addition for us, especially for the fact that we have him in practice with us this year," Matta said.

* Sylvester Mayes -- The 6-2, 195 pound Mayes will also have two years to play at Ohio State. He averaged 14.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game as a freshman last year. He was the first player off the bench for coach Steve Eck's team that went 35-2 and finished as the national junior college runner-up.

Mayes was ranked as the nation's 19th-best prospect by Hoop Scoop coming out of Fort Wayne (Ind.) Wayne. Mayes played as an underclassman at South Bend (Ind.) Clay. At Wayne as a senior, he averaged 26.9 points per game.

"We have followed Sylvester Mayes' career for the last three or four years," Matta said. "I have always felt he was a tremendous player and he had the ability to play the point or play the two. He can score and he has got great quickness and strength.

"He is at Redlands Community College with Coach Eck and all they do is win. We hope that is something Sylvester will be able to bring in here. Last year, he was the team's second leading scorer and he didn't even start. This year, he is being counted on for leadership."

This season, Mayes is averaging right around 20 points per game as Redlands has opened the season 9-2. He hit five three-pointers in the first half of one early season game.

* Brayden Bell -- The 6-10, 240-pound Bell averaged 17 points, six rebounds, three blocks and two assists as a junior at Brighton. He was an all-region and second-team All-Utah pick a year ago. Brighton was 19-5, losing in the state semifinals.

"Brayden is a big 6-10, 240-pound kid, but he is also a skill guy," Matta said. "He shoots it, he passes it. They like to post him up and get it to him on the block. He is a pretty good athlete. And, again, he comes from a winning program."

This season, Bell has helped Brighton take a 2-1 start. He has scored 23, 24 and 26 points in his team's three games for an average of 24.3 points per game.

Looking Forward

The addition of these three players will give Ohio State 12 players on scholarship next year. Matta and his staff could still take one more player in the late period. Or, they could bank the scholarship and be able to take as many as six players next year from the group that are now high school juniors.

Of course, the junior crop of players in the state of Ohio is among the best in recent memory. It is led by the likes of Dayton Dunbar forward Daequan Cook, Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph forward David Lighty, Canton McKinley forward Raymar Morgan, Liberty Twp. Lakota East guard James Dews and West Chester Lakota West forward Josh Chichester.

Cook reportedly has OSU, North Carolina and Wake Forest high on his list. Lighty, who attended the OSU-Michigan football game, is looking at OSU, Syracuse, Michigan, North Carolina, Florida and Arizona. Ohio State and Michigan State are Morgan's reported top two.

And, down the line, OSU already has a current high school freshman pledged for the Class of 2008 in Canal Winchester (Ohio) World Harvest Prep 6-10 center B.J. Mullens.

Mullens is averaging 12.7 points through four games, all wins, for World Harvest.

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