Last week, the Ohio State men's basketball team learned they would not be participating in the postseason at the end of the year. Although some people might view that development as a setback to the program, recruiting for the future must go on.
One of the key components to the future of the program might be that of 6-5 shooting guard, Daequan Cook of Dayton (Dunbar) OH. Cook is Scout.com's sixth-best overall player in the class of 2006, and is averaging 24.5 points a game through the young season, after just four games.
On Sunday evening, Bucknuts spoke with Al Powell, a Dunbar assistant who handles the recruitment of Cook to find out what affect, if any, the latest news with Ohio State basketball has impacted his decision and where Cook currently stands.
First and foremost, Powell went straight to the source after learning of the news to find out more about these developments that included a postseason ban, and possible future sanctions -- Ohio State head basketball coach, Thad Matta.
"I had a chance to talk to Coach Matta," Powell said. "He thought that was going to be it as far as any postseason play is concerned. Basically he felt there would be no more ramifications on any future classes at Ohio State."
"He's excited for the future of Ohio State basketball, but he's obviously very remorseful for the seniors and for this decision," Powell added.
Ohio State is, and has been a key player in the recruitment for Cook. The Buckeyes have found themselves near or at the top of Cook's list ever since Matta arrived at Ohio State.
This latest situation is something that Cook is keeping an eye on, however.
Should Ohio State escape without further sanctions, especially pertaining to any loss of postseason or severe loss in scholarships, Powell believes that Cook is already sold on Ohio State. It's apparently understood by Cook that this ban could mean he will never have to worry about that if he chooses to attend Ohio State.
"It's obviously important as to what the overall perception of Ohio State is," Powell said. "But I do think he (Cook) he's now under the impression the long range ramifications of these actions shouldn't affect him."
Although much of their attention is on Ohio State to see what the future may have in store for them, the race is far from complete just yet for Cook.
Powell concurred that as has been the case for a little while, Ohio State, North Carolina, and Wake Forest are the frontrunners on Cook's list.
"I would say those three (are out in front) with Michigan still involved as well," he explained. "I would say it's those four with other schools still talking to us like the Oklahoma's and Kentucky's of the world."
Cook will continue to watch Ohio State this winter, as he continues to hope to see some games and practices in Columbus.
However, perhaps the biggest factor as far as Ohio State is concerned, might just be the timing of the situation and how much clarity recruits will have as to any future additions to the penalties.
"The timing really isn't good, but it's probably better now than later," Powell said. "I think it's a bit unfair that the current and future players should have to pay the price for past mistakes of others, but that's the way it is, unfortunately."
"We just want to see what else, if anything, might come and if it does, how it would affect recruiting and the ability to compete. Daequan wants to make his decision by June, if not sooner, and so I think we would like to know by then that this would not affect the ability to compete by the time he got there. So again, I think it's just a matter of timing," Powell added.
Cook is scheduled to visit Winston-Salem next weekend, for the Wake Forest - Texas basketball game. He is tentatively scheduled to visit Ohio State for a couple of Big Ten games in January.
Already, Cook has visited Ohio State on several occasions, and will be watching some practices throughout the course of the season. The trip to Wake Forest next week will be with Indianapolis stars Mike Conley and Greg Oden, as will be his next trip to Ohio State.
We will continue to keep you updated on Cook, as well as Conley and Oden.
For more on these three, Bucknuts premium subscribers can check out the latest "Schott in the Arm" column on the premium basketball board later today or Tuesday.