Groce Chat: Aug. 16 Archive welcomed in a special guest on Tuesday night for a Chat session as OSU men's basketball assistant coach John Groce conducted a Chat for Bucknuts subscribers. Click this free link to take a look at excerpts from this special event.

DaveBiddle (Aug 16, 2005 9:17:19 PM)
Hi Coach. Which OSU player has improved the most this offseason in your opinion?

John Groce (Aug 16, 2005 9:19:19 PM)
I think we had a terrific spring and summer. Our guys have worked very hard as a group. I think that Jamar's amount of improvement in the spring really stood out though.

OTC (Aug 16, 2005 9:19:31 PM)
Hey coach, who would have thought OSU fans talking bball in August, it is incredible what you and Matta have done. How do you see Mayes and Lewis fitting in this year.

John Groce (Aug 16, 2005 9:21:48 PM)
Ron and Sylvester will provide our team with the ability to make more plays off the dribble and create more offensively. We also feel that they will help us guard dribble penetration better on the defensive end. They will be great additions as we continue to move forward.

Kyle S. Lamb (Aug 16, 2005 9:22:57 PM)
Coach, Buckaroo wants to know if the staff feels they will have the recruiting class signed in full this fall, or if there's a likelihood not everyone would sign until spring

John Groce (Aug 16, 2005 9:24:30 PM)
We have to deal with each prospect individually, but I do think that each of them would prefer to sign early if at all possible.

DaveBiddle (Aug 16, 2005 9:24:38 PM)
Does the coaching staff have any influence on seating at the Schott? What are your thoughts on possibly getting more students near the floor?

John Groce (Aug 16, 2005 9:27:02 PM)
Coach Matta and our staff has discussed this topic with our ticket office and we are currently pursuing all possible options that would benefit the students most while at the same time making sense for season ticket holders.

Guest (Aug 16, 2005 9:27:35 PM)
Can you eleborate on how the progression of Ivan Harris's game is coming along. What is his role for next year's team?

Kyle S. Lamb (Aug 16, 2005 9:28:51 PM)
Coach, we had a question about how Ivan Harris' game is coming and what his role for next year's team may be

John Groce (Aug 16, 2005 9:30:56 PM)
Ivan has worked very hard this summer to attempt to improve his rebounding and ability to drive the ball. It is no secret that Ivan has been blessed with the ability to make open shots. This is a great starting point as he tries to build up some of the other areas of his game.

SteveHelwagen (Aug 16, 2005 9:31:37 PM)
Coach, I have to go back a year ago. Coach O'Brien's firing came out of left field for a lot of us. What was your thought when that happened and then when Thad said everybody was moving to OSU? Thanks again.

John Groce (Aug 16, 2005 9:35:02 PM)
It was an exciting time for all of us. Our entire staff is from the midwest and we all recognized what a tremendous privilege it would be to coach at The Ohio State University and in the Big 10 Conference.

Buckaroo2 (Aug 16, 2005 9:35:20 PM)
Who will be the primary backup to Jamar at the PG? Where will Mayes play his minutes?

John Groce (Aug 16, 2005 9:37:06 PM)
Sylvester Mayes will play some PG for us. His minutes will come at the shooting guard spot as well as at the point.

OTC (Aug 16, 2005 9:37:28 PM)
Coach, do you enjoy the recruiting process, or is it more of a necessary evil?

KyleLamb (Aug 16, 2005 9:40:08 PM)
(This user is now known as Kyle S. Lamb)

John Groce (Aug 16, 2005 9:40:50 PM)
We thoroughly enjoy recruiting. My wife may have a different opinion some times! It obviously helps when you have a first class university to sell as well as a great person and coach like Thad. Like anything else people who have success recruiting are those that have a passion for it.

Guest (Aug 16, 2005 9:41:25 PM)
Coach, do you think this years team will have the talent to have a xavier '03 year? I think after a year or so under you coaches they will be comfotbable with the system and finish strong.

SteveHelwagen (Aug 16, 2005 9:42:01 PM)
oState 86 asks if this year's team could be a surprise like the Xavier 03-04 team that came on and finished strong. Coach, your thoughts?

John Groce (Aug 16, 2005 9:46:02 PM)
I think we certainly have some talented players that enjoy playing together and playing with great effort so that always gives you a chance to accomplish some special things. Obviously with 10 scholarship players we will have to be blessed with good health. Our focus right now is to help our players become better people, students and players daily. We believe if we do that the results will take care of themselves.

fountainhead! (Aug 16, 2005 9:46:22 PM)
How did you find the relationship between tOSU and Ohio high school coaches when you arrived? How has it changed?

John Groce (Aug 16, 2005 9:50:04 PM)
I really believe that the majority of Ohio high school coaches have an appreciation and respect for Ohio State. Obviously we have made a great effort to reach out to them since our arrival. In some cases we are building realtionships in other cases we are just continuing to cultivate the many that we had previously. We are very fortunate to coach in a state where the high school coaches are among the best nationally. We feel like the quality of high school basketball in Ohio is outstanding.

OTC (Aug 16, 2005 9:50:39 PM)
What is the ideal 4 in OSU's system?

John Groce (Aug 16, 2005 9:54:51 PM)
We have always played a highly skilled player at the 4 - a player who can pass, dribble and shoot can really create mismatches at the offensive end. In an ideal world you want this player to not only be skilled but be able to defend bigger 4's, rebound the ball and play with toughness. I think our 4's are making strides in these areas. An example of a 4 who is a tough match-up is Matt Sylvester. I think he demonstrated many of these qualities last season. Obviously he was terrific in the win against Illinois and was a match-up problem.

fountainhead! (Aug 16, 2005 9:55:12 PM)
What's more important to you- AAU or high school performance? How do you feel about the AAU overall?

SteveHelwagen (Aug 16, 2005 9:58:21 PM)
A note ... many of the questions we are getting now were asked and answered earlier. Those answers will be in the Chat transcript. We will look for "original" questions.

John Groce (Aug 16, 2005 10:00:57 PM)
Both high school basketball and AAU basketball bring positives to the table. Obviously the high school setting involves an academic component that AAU most of the time does not. The academic component is always an instrumental part of our evaluation. However, the chance to see players play against the highest level of competition in summer AAU is a great evaluation tool as well. It often times depends on who the prospect typically plays against during his high school season that will determine your ability to strictly evaluate a prospect on his high school season alone.

fountainhead! (Aug 16, 2005 10:02:02 PM)
What is the philosophy of this coaching staff in scheduling- both out of conference and the pre-season tournaments? Will that change over the years? What about scheduling Cincinnati, Xavier, etc?

John Groce (Aug 16, 2005 10:07:24 PM)
Our philosophy in scheduling has always been to make sure that we give our team the best chance to participate in post season play. We always try to make sure we have a challenging non-conference schedule that helps prepare our team for the rigors of the Big 10. We spend a great deal of time dissecting scheduling; it is an important part of any program. We want to have the right blend based on the talent level as well as the experience level of our team. Travel demands, final exams and many other variables come into play as well.

buckmark (Aug 16, 2005 10:07:47 PM)
What has to come first when you are evaluating playing time for the younger players as they move up from high school ball to the college game, being able to defend or great offensive skills?

John Groce (Aug 16, 2005 10:10:02 PM)
Defense is the cornerstone of our program. We believe that defending and rebounding will give you the best opportunity to compete night in and night out. Jamar Butler is a prime example of a guy who created havoc defensively as a freshman and was rewarded for it.

s (Aug 16, 2005 10:10:50 PM)
Hey Coach, our 4 out 1 in---how could recruits not wanna play in that? It spreads the floor out so they can show their talents. Now Wisconsin is the only time that it seems like the floor is cramped and not spread out. How does Wisky shut us down?

John Groce (Aug 16, 2005 10:14:44 PM)
Our players do love the spacing and the freedom to make aggressive plays. Wisconsin is difficult to play against because they make you earn everything by forcing you to make plays over the top of their defense. We have made some adjustments to our 4 out that will attempt to counter their sagging man.

MJ (Aug 16, 2005 10:14:58 PM)
Midnight Madness coming back to OSU?

John Groce (Aug 16, 2005 10:15:30 PM)
I am not sure what marketing has planned.

buckmark (Aug 16, 2005 10:15:35 PM)
What has been the biggest difference you have seen in the Big 10 compared to the other leagues you have been associated with?

John Groce (Aug 16, 2005 10:17:59 PM)
The coaching from top to bottom is among the best in the country. You constantly have to make adjustments at both ends especially the second time you are playing an opponent. Obviously the ability level of the players from top to bottom is very good as well.

Kyle S. Lamb (Aug 16, 2005 10:18:35 PM)
We want to thank everyone for joining us, and we especially want to thank Coach Groce for joining this chat tonight. We will take just a few more questions, and i'm sorry for the many questions we couldn't get to tonight... so after a few more, we're going to wrap it up and let Coach go for the evening...

fountainhead! (Aug 16, 2005 10:18:41 PM)
How comfortable are you extending offers to underclassmen? Are there special circumstances that you look for before you are comfortable with extending offers to HS freshman and sophomores?

John Groce (Aug 16, 2005 10:23:10 PM)
We do a tremendous amount of homework before offering a prospect. The speed of the recruiting process continues to move faster each year. Now it is even more important than ever to do a great job recruiting underclassmen. In some select cases we will offer a prospect as a freshman if we believe he has the chance to be a difference maker or a special player.

OTC (Aug 16, 2005 10:24:37 PM)
Has the staff had to deal with a lot of negative recruiting because of what has happened under the last regime?

John Groce (Aug 16, 2005 10:27:47 PM)
One of Thad's many strengths is his ability to focus on the positives of any situation and pay very little if any attention to anything beyond our control. I think Thad has done a great job selling his vision for the future of Ohio State Basketball rather than focusing on the past.

MJ (Aug 16, 2005 10:28:03 PM)
Thanks coach for taking out time for the fans! Great job Kyle and Bucknuts!!!

Kyle S. Lamb (Aug 16, 2005 10:28:19 PM)
Okay everyone, due to how long we've gone, we would like to let Coach Groce enjoy his evening

Kyle S. Lamb (Aug 16, 2005 10:28:35 PM)
I want to thank everyone that turned out, and sorry we couldn't get to many more of your questions, but we'll try to do this again in the future

OTC (Aug 16, 2005 10:28:40 PM)
thanks coach, can't wait til the season starts

Kyle S. Lamb (Aug 16, 2005 10:28:54 PM)
Thank you Coach for joining us tonight

DaveBiddle (Aug 16, 2005 10:29:08 PM)
Thanks Coach. Keep up the great work.

John Groce (Aug 16, 2005 10:30:33 PM)
We appreciate all of your support. Please continue to be patient with us as we try to build our program the right way. We need all of you to carry the torch for us and keep the buzz and excitement for Ohio State Basketball going. Take care.

Kyle S. Lamb (Aug 16, 2005 10:30:53 PM)

SteveHelwagen (Aug 16, 2005 10:31:14 PM)
Thanks again coach and good luck this year!

OTC (Aug 16, 2005 10:32:19 PM)
great chat bnuts staff

EDITOR'S NOTE -- We want to extend our sincere thanks to Coach Groce for stopping by on Tuesday night. Also, thanks to Kyle Lamb for scheduling and monitoring this special event.

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