Bulked Up Terwilliger Ready For Eurotrip

As a freshman in 2004-05, Matt Terwilliger only appeared in 15 games for Ohio State and didn't put up the numbers he was looking for. But an offseason in the weight room has produced a more physically-imposing Terwilliger. He will represent OSU on the Big Ten Foreign Tour to Spain and is looking forward to the trip for a variety of reasons.

Vamos!

Sophomore forward/center Matt Terwilliger is Ohio State's representative on the Big Ten men's basketball foreign tour to Spain.

The 12-player team will play five games from Aug. 9-19 and Terwilliger is eager for the trip.

"I found out when I came back to start summer school," he said. "(Ohio State head coach Thad Matta) just said something to me in the spring about possibly going over there and I was just excited to get more experience so I can help the team win this year."

This will be Terwilliger's first trip to Spain, but it won't be his first taste of Europe.

"I went when I was a sophomore in high school," he said. "I went over to Italy and Switzerland (as part of an Ohio all-star basketball team) to play for about a week. Jamar (Butler) didn't go, but it was like Travis Walton from Michigan State and some other guys from around Ohio."

Illinois' Bruce Weber is the head coach of the Big Ten Foreign Tour squad. Terwilliger just hopes there are no hard feelings from Ohio State's 65-64 upset over then-No.1 Illinois last season.

"I hope he lets me play. I hope he doesn't blame it on me," Terwilliger said, eliciting laughter from reporters.

But all joking aside, the 6-8 Terwilliger knows minutes will be hard to come by. There are several post players on the roster, including Indiana's 6-8 Marco Killingsworth, a transfer from Auburn who averaged 13.7 points and 6.9 rebounds as a junior in 2003-04.

"Yeah, there's a bunch of 4's and 5's on the team," Terwilliger said. "We've got three days of training camp. So, I'm just going to play hard and play my game."

Terwilliger will leave Columbus this weekend. But he has to go a bit west before he heads overseas.

"Our first practice is Saturday night (in Champaign, Ill.)," he said. "We leave (for Spain) Tuesday."

Terwilliger was asked what he is expecting to accomplish on the trip.

"I just want to go over there and play hard and win," he said. "I just want to win. Just get a little bit of a taste of what it's like over there. Because, the kids were young when I went over there last time. I just want to play with the best players in Spain."

Matt Marinchick was OSU's representative last year on the tour.

"He said it was a blast," Terwilliger said. "I just talked to him – he was just in the locker room – he said, ‘It's going to be the time of your life. There's so much different stuff. The culture and everything is so much different and you're just going to love it.'"

At Troy High School, Terwilliger was a top 75 player nationally and the No. 2-ranked player in Ohio as a senior in 2003-04 (behind Butler). He averaged 18 points, 10 rebounds and six assists per game as a senior, leading Troy to a 22-2 record. As a junior, he averaged 17 points and nine rebounds.

However, it was not a smooth transition to the college game. Terwilliger showed promise in the preseason – he has good leaping ability and overall athleticism – but he wasn't quite strong enough to play the post in the Big Ten.

He ended up appearing in 15 games, averaging 1.5 points and 0.8 rebounds.

Terwilliger's playing weight was 225 last season, but he is packing on the pounds and muscle this offseason. He's spending a lot of time in the weight room, and the cafeteria.

"Yeah, I'm in between 240 and 245," he said. "I'd like to be between 245 and 250, just because I'll probably lose a few pounds during conditioning.

"I've been eating everything. Everything I can. I'm trying to eat healthy though."

Come fall, the added weight will help when he's crashing and banging against OSU's All-Big Ten center Terence Dials in practice.

"I'll probably gain weight just doing that, honestly. Gain muscle," Terwilliger said. "It's a little easier to hold off 260 when you're not 40 pounds lighter."

Terwilliger was asked what he knows about Spanish food.

"Not too much," he said. "I'm looking forward to finding out though. I remember when I went to Italy, it was amazing. So I hope it's the same there."

Although he wasn't seeing many minutes towards the end of last season, Terwilliger started to feel more comfortable in practice. He felt as though he somewhat turned the corner and he knew the reason why.

"Just playing hard," he said. "Whether things are going good or going bad, you just gotta play hard all the time. You're not going to get everything right all the time. But effort will make up for mental mistakes."

And Terwilliger knows there could be plenty of minutes available for him this year. The Buckeyes only have 10 scholarship players and he is the top post player off the pine.

"That's really what's pushing me," he said. "Because behind TD, there's just me. So, I've got to be ready and I'm planning on being ready."

Terwilliger says Ohio State's coaches are pleased he is making the trip to Europe to refine his game.

"They just want me to get more experience so I'm more ready to play this year and help out," he said.

Terwillger has been working on the usual post moves this summer. But he's also mixed in some new tricks.

"I've been working on a lot of stuff in the post, but face up, midrange kind of stuff," he said. "I've still got to get my weight up. I'm still not as big as a center, so I'm going to try and use my agility and get around them."

Terwilliger is more suited for center than power forward in OSU's four out/one in system. But he can play both spots.

"Yeah, we're pretty stacked at the 4 this year, but they've been working me at the four (occasionally)," he said.

Terwilliger was asked about Ohio State's 2006 recruiting class – ranked as the nation's No. 1 class and already drawing comparisons to the best classes of all time.

It includes C Greg Oden, G/F Daequan Cook, PG Mike Conley Jr. and G/F David Lighty.

"I'm excited to play with them," Terwilliger said. "I really haven't seen too much of any of them. They were here on their visit, but I'm just excited to see if they're really as good as they're projected to be.

"I played against (Cook) once, actually. But he had the flu or something and only played a few minutes."

Terwilliger knows that Oden is likely the center of the future and doesn't mind sliding over to power forward, or backing Oden up.

"That's a transitional thing – I can play both the 4 and the 5," he said. "Sylvester will be gone, so there really won't be anybody at the 4 there. So, I'm just going to try and help out wherever I can."

But Terwilliger is excited to have one more year together with Sylvester.

"We play pretty well together, because he likes to penetrate and I know I can screen, spot and shoot, so that works out pretty well because he draws defenders real well," he said.

Terwilliger also gave a brief scouting report on incoming freshman Brayden Bell, a 6-9 power forward.

"He can shoot. Don't leave him open," he said. "He's a big guy who can shoot it."

Will Bell help the Buckeyes right away?

"I think he can," Terwilliger said. "If he gets in shape, he's going to be a pretty good player."

Here is the entire Big Ten Foreign Tour roster:

Illinois: Calvin Brock G FR 6-4 185 Chicago, Ill./Simeon

Illinois: Brian Randle G SO 6-7 210 Peoria, Ill./Notre Dame

Indiana: Marco Killingsworth F SR 6-8 240 Montgomery, Ala./Central Park Christian

Iowa: Mike Henderson G JR 6-2 190 Waterloo, Iowa/East

Michigan: Ron Coleman F SO 6-6 210 Romulus, Mich./Romulus

Michigan State: Goran Suton C FR 6-10 250 Lansing, Mich./Everett

Minnesota: Spencer Tollackson C SO 6-9 275 Chaska, Minn./Chaska

Northwestern: Evan Seacat G SR 6-2 180 Paoli, Ind./Paoli

Ohio State: Matt Terwilliger F SO 6-8 240 Troy, Ohio/Troy

Penn State: Brandon Hassell F SO 6-9 210 Farmersville, Ohio/Valley View

Purdue: Matt Kiefer F SR 6-10 225 Evansville, Ind./Mater Dei

Wisconsin: Jason Chappell F JR 6-10 240 New Berlin, Wis./West


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