That verbal came from Canal Winchester World Harvest Prep 6-10 center B.J. Mullens, who was offered and committed to the Buckeyes before he ever played a varsity basketball game last fall.
Now, another member of this talented class has revealed to Bucknuts.com that Ohio State has also offered him.
Cincinnati Hughes' Yancey Gates, a burly 6-8 power forward, told Bucknuts.com last night that Xavier and Ohio State have already offered him and those are, at least for the time being, his top two schools.
"Xavier and Ohio State have sent me letters and both have offered," Gates said during a break in this weekend's All-Ohio Nike Cup AAU tournament at The Hoop in Columbus.
"It is nice to know I have those offers, but I'm going to keep working hard," Gates said.
As a freshman at Hughes, Gates averaged 13.9 points and 9.1 rebounds per game for a 12-9 team. Gates had 14 double-digit scoring games and also had double-doubles in four of his last seven games. He had 19 points and 15 rebounds in a win over Dayton Colonel White and also posted 26 points and 11 boards against Dayton Meadowdale. He had 15 points and seven rebounds in a 79-70 loss to Division II state final four team Dayton Dunbar.
"It was OK, but we could have done better," Gates said of his high school team.
Gates is getting his fill of competition this spring as a member of the Cleveland Basketball Club AAU program. He is on the 15-and-under team, but he and his teammates participated in the All-Ohio event against a number of teams that boasted older players.
The CBC team is a veritable all-star team, featuring five of Ohio High magazine's top seven prospects in the Class of 2008. Gates will be listed as Ohio High's top sophomore-to-be in the May issue. He is joined on this team by Mullens (No. 2) as well as Cincinnati Withrow 6-1 shooting guard Anthony McBride (No. 4), Columbus Northland 6-2 guard Devon Moore (No. 5) and Cleveland Rhodes 6-5 wing forward Rayshawn Goins (No. 7).
That team was a perfect 3-0 in pool play Saturday at the All-Ohio Nike Cup. Their last game ended at midnight, which did not help them Sunday when they lost to their older counterparts from the CBC and were eliminated from the event. Still, observers were impressed with the way the CBC youngsters plowed through the competition on Saturday.
"It's fun playing with them," Gates said. "None of us are selfish, so that makes it fun."
At face value, this is a team that could compete for national honors in its age group.
"We're all good friends," Gates said. "B.J. played with us last year, so I know him pretty well."
Chris Johnson, Ohio editor for HoopScoopOnline.com, evaluated Gates' game: "He is a young man child. He has a tremendous body and skills for a freshman. There is no limit to his potential."
Hoop Scoop ranks Gates 12th nationally in the Class of 2008, while Mullens is 15th.
Unlike Mullens, though, Gates said he is in no hurry to make a college choice.
"No, I won't be committing early like that," he said. "I'm just taking it in and enjoying myself."
Stay tuned to Bucknuts.com for exclusive coverage of key Ohio prospects playing in Columbus this weekend.