Ohio State coach Thad Matta and his assistants, John Groce, Alan Major and Dan Peters, will be among the college coaches logging frequent flyer miles this week. It was just one year ago this week when Matta took the OSU job and immediately got on the road to begin the recruiting process.
Once again, the Reebok ABCD Camp in Teaneck, N.J., will be filled with star power with the nation's top-rated senior in OSU verbal Greg Oden of Indianapolis Lawrence North and the top-ranked junior in O.J. Mayo of Cincinnati's North College Hill.
Of course, the Nike All-American Camp in Indianapolis and the adidas Superstar Camp in Suwanee, Ga., will also have a number of key stars.
The ScoutHoops.com team will be at each location, providing complete coverage. Bucknuts.com basketball correspondent Kyle Lamb will attend the ABCD Camp, while I will be at the Nike Camp. The camps open Tuesday and, in some cases, run through playoffs and all-star action on Saturday.
Here is a breakdown of where the top prospects OSU is tracking will be as well as where several other Ohio standouts will be (all players listed seniors-to-be unless noted, all class designations for 2005-06 school year, all rankings courtesy ScoutHoops.com):
Reebok ABCD Camp: Teaneck, N.J.
* Greg Oden, 7-0, center, Indianapolis Lawrence North – Nation's No. 1 senior-to-be; verbaled to Ohio State over Wake Forest, Indiana and Michigan State on Wednesday.
* Daequan Cook, 6-5, guard, Dayton Dunbar -- Still ranked No. 8 nationally; committed to Ohio State in late March.
* Lance Thomas, 6-8 ½, power forward, Newark (N.J.) St. Benedict Prep -- Ranked No. 19 nationally; lists 14 offers, including Connecticut, Georgia Tech, Miami, Wake Forest, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Seton Hall, Villanova, Arizona, Stanford, Louisville and Florida; also likes Duke and North Carolina; may now be looking at OSU as well.
* David Lighty, 6-5, wing forward, Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph -- Still ranked No. 21 nationally; committed to Ohio State in early May; still recovering from knee injury/surgery that ended his junior year prematurely; not expected to compete at ABCD.
* Mike Conley, 6-1, point guard, Indianapolis Lawrence North -- Moves up two notches from 26th to 24th in new ScoutHoops.com rankings released Monday; joined teammate Oden in committing to OSU on Wednesday.
* O.J. Mayo, junior, 6-4, point guard, Cincinnati North College Hill -- Mayo's big summer includes top scoring honors at USA Basketball Festival; new NBA labor deal derails his plan to go directly to pros and puts a number of schools – Cincinnati, Louisville, West Virginia, possibly OSU and others – in play.
* Bill Walker, junior, 6-5, wing forward, Cincinnati North College Hill -- Drops from third to fifth on national juniors list; believed to be headed to same school as his longtime running buddy, Mayo; one of the most athletic players in the country.
* Eric Gordon, junior, 6-3, shooting guard, Indianapolis North Central -- Had listed OSU because of AAU teammates Cook, Oden and Conley; may now be looking mostly at Illinois, Indiana, Miami (Fla.), Notre Dame and Arizona; ranked as nation's No. 9 junior.
* Keenan Ellis, junior, 6-10, power forward/center, Cincinnati North College Hill -- Also expected to go where Mayo and Walker land; ranked as nation's No. 11 junior.
* Dallas Lauderdale, junior, 6-9, power forward, Solon, Ohio -- Ranked as nation's No. 38 junior; plays above rim; Syracuse and OSU have reportedly offered.
Nike All-American Camp: Indianapolis
* Vernon Macklin, 6-9, power forward, Hargrave (Va.) Academy -- Ranked 13th nationally; may have some interest in OSU; Virginia and Virginia Tech have offered.
* Raymar Morgan, 6-7, forward, Canton McKinley -- Vaults up 16 spots from 49th to 33rd in new rankings after several fine spring/summer showings, including MVP effort at And One national high school team tournament; reports conflict on whether OSU has offered – Nike could be determining factor; OSU and Michigan State have been his top choices; if Young doesn't come, Morgan's inside/outside ability appear to make him a good prospect for Matta's system.
* Luke Harangody, 6-8, power forward, Merrillville (Ind.) Andrean -- Ranked No. 52 nationally by ScoutHoops.com; played with Oden and Conley in a three-game Indiana all-star series in June and could be intrigued by chance to play with them at college level; but Notre Dame is considered the school to beat.
* Jamil Tucker, 6-8, power forward, Gary (Ind.) West Side -- Ranked 72nd nationally; believed to now favor OSU over Arizona, Indiana, Miami (Fla.), Purdue and others, but may be playing for an offer at Nike.
* Josh Chichester, 6-8, power forward, West Chester (Ohio) Lakota West -- Chichester just committed to OSU for football on Friday; plans to also play basketball for Matta effectively as a walk-on after the bowl game each school year.
* James Dews, 6-4, shooting guard, Liberty Twp. (Ohio) Lakota East -- Dews has already verbaled to Miami (Fla.).
* Marcus Johnson, 6-3, shooting guard, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary – Lists Syracuse, Michigan, Xavier and others.
* Kosta Koufos, junior, 6-10, power forward, Canton GlenOak -- Performed well at Nike Hoops Jamboree underclassman event in St. Louis to get Nike invite; showing there boosted his ranking to No. 16 junior nationally; lists Maryland as his favorite with OSU, Duke, Illinois, Michigan, Xavier, Notre Dame, Stanford and many others on his list.
* Chris Wright, junior, 6-7, wing forward, Trotwood (Ohio) Madison -- Emerging junior now ranked 20th nationally; plays above the rim and loves to run; was the best leaper/dunker at the Nike Hoops Jamboree.
* Jon Diebler, junior, 6-5, shooting guard, Upper Sandusky, Ohio -- Helped lead Upper Sandusky to Division II state title; great scorer; ranked 39th nationally in junior class; already committed to Valparaiso, where brother Jake will be a freshman this year.
adidas Superstar Camp: Suwanee, Ga.
* Thaddeus Young, 6-8 ½, forward, Memphis Mitchell Road – Ranked No. 3 nationally; would be considered OSU's top target on the board for what could be a dynamite 2006 class with five top-25 players; hobbled lately with an ankle injury suffered at the USA Basketball Festival; lists as many as 11 schools, including OSU, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Illinois, North Carolina and Oklahoma.
* Yancey Gates, sophomore, 6-8, power forward, Cincinnati Hughes -- Ranked as Ohio's top prospect in Class of 2008; already has a college body with 225 pounds; nearly averaged a double-double as a freshman; OSU has reportedly already offered; plays on same AAU team as OSU verbal B.J. Mullens, also a sophomore-to-be.
* B.J. Mullens, sophomore, 6-10, center, Canal Winchester (Ohio) World Harvest Prep -- Rated as Ohio's No. 3 sophomore by Ohio High; discovered at this camp a year ago, offered by OSU and accepted last October; averaged 13 points a game as a freshman.
Stay tuned to Bucknuts.com for updates on many of these top prospects over the next several weeks as they participate at these camps and return for the closing weeks of the summer AAU season.