Matta Talks Recruiting, More

So much attention in Ohio and across the country has been on OSU head coach Thad Matta's stellar basketball recruiting class, but Matta, whose recruiting ability is being praised by basketball analysts everywhere, isn't allowed to talk about the players who have committed yet. Matta did however talk yesterday about a few details regarding this recruiting class, and he also touched briefly on looming NCAA sanctions and gave some thoughts on a couple current players.

Ohio State men's basketball coach Thad Matta blew into Indianapolis for the Nike All-American Camp on Thursday, riding a crest of enthusiasm for his program that heretofore has been unseen.

Matta was greeted by coaching colleagues, including Xavier's Sean Miller, as well as a media contingent that wanted to pry what it could from the tight-lipped Matta on his sudden good fortune on the recruiting trail.

But Matta stayed well within NCAA rules by not discussing his blockbuster four-man recruiting class of Greg Oden, Mike Conley Jr., Daequan Cook and David Lighty.

"We are recruiting them," Matta joked, citing the oft-quoted and only allowed words college coaches can say about prospects prior to their signing day.

Matta discussed his overriding recruiting strategy.

"I think that you have to go out and piece together your team," he said. "You look at all facets of what you have already and what you're able to do and what you're losing. You're constantly trying to project and weave what it is exactly that you need.

"I think that we come out here and look at who's out there. We're looking at everybody."

Matta laughed when one reporter suggested that he and his staff were looking for a unique power forward who could shoot the three-pointer and also average seven rebounds a game.

"An Amare Stoudamire," Matta said. "Somebody told me that last night, that's who we're recruiting."

Matta did confirm that OSU is still looking for a power forward and could actually take two more prospects this year.

However, he admitted he has no indication if scholarship sanctions will be part of any NCAA action against the program.

"We don't know," Matta said. "There could be that possibility. That hasn't been said to me, `You're going to lose this.' "

Matta was asked if he thinks it will be hard to follow a strong recruiting class with another top-notch group in 2007, when OSU could have anywhere from three to five scholarships available.

"No, I don't think so," he said. "If you look at the elite programs, that is what they do. There's no question about that. Good players want to play with good players. That's become the trend. You see that in the NBA now. Guys want to win."

The coach said he has seen good things from program newcomers Sylvester Mayes and Brayden Bell, who have each been around since June 20.

"I think they've been good," he said. "Both of those guys are just getting acclimated to Columbus and going to college at Ohio State. As far as playing, I haven't seen anything to that regard."

Matta is also pleased with the progress of sophomore post player Matt Terwilliger.

"I saw him the other day," he said. "He had a great spring. We're going to need him to be ready to go next year."

Ditto for Bowling Green transfer Ronald Lewis, who will be a junior guard on this year's team.

"I thought he had a good off year," Matta said. "He competed. He has changed his body even more. He has shot the ball well. I know he brought a lot of great competition in practice every day."

But Matta's focus has been on recruiting.

"After this, I'll go to Atlanta (for the adidas Camp), Teaneck, N.J. (for the ABCD Camp), down to the Nike Peach Jam, down to Miami and might go back to Atlanta," he said. "The second (evaluation period in July), we haven't planned that out. We take it one 10-day interval at a time. I know I'm here for one day and I'm gone."

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