A look at OSU's recruiting possibilities (Part 1)

Bucknuts.com's new basketball writer, Antonio Tong, checks in today with the first installment in a look at what players are possibilities to fill in OSU's recruiting class this year.

Admittedly, some of the luster has gone out of the summer recruiting season of 02-03 due to the amount of transfers Coach O'Brien has taken into the program.  Few can argue with the decision to take two proven Division 1 talents like Tony Stockman and J.J. Sullinger, but for those craving "the chase" that goes on until OSU targets give verbal commitments, this year will be somewhat lacking.

To summarize, with 2 available scholarships going to Stockman and Sullinger, all 13 slots will be taken up during the 02-03 campaign.  The two transfers will not be eligible to play until the 03-04 season however, making this year's OSU unit an 11-man operation for all intents and purposes.  Thus, the math will be extremely easy barring transfers or long term injuries.  Brent Darby and Sean Connolly are the two seniors on scholarship and theirs will be the two available to rising seniors this summer.

As those that follow Ohio State hoops know, one of those two scholarships has already been committed to IVAN HARRIS (6-8, SF/PF, Springfield OH, South HS), a fluid combination forward from the Buckeye State.  Harris has been ranked by many as the top senior in Ohio not named LeBron James, and chose the Buckeyes over interest from Michigan St. and Cincinnati.  Early top 100 lists have Harris pegged anywhere from 35 to 49, so it could be argued that Harris is as highly renowned a recruit as Coach O'Brien has ever brought into the program.  But more on Ivan later.

Basically, that leaves only one scholarship open for a rising senior, and debate has already begun as to what position that player will be.  Most think the decision will come between a point guard and a post player, but it is my opinion that OSU will take the first available talent at either of these positions willing to commit.  With such tight restrictions, and given what is in hand and on the way, I feel it will be impossible to turn down a kid skilled enough to make an impact at either position.  And if one is chosen, there is plenty of depth on the roster to make up for the position not chosen, and targets in the 03-04 class to then take up the resulting needs.

The following are the players linked to OSU recruiting for the summer of 2002.  Best bets is that the commitment will come from this pool, but don't count OSU out as a late player with several others!


BYRON DAVIS (6-3, PG, Detroit MI, Rogers Academy)--  High School teammate of Buckeye signee Ricardo Billings and said to be the owner of exceptional athletic gifts (RE: vertical).  Many have classified Davis as a shooting guard, which might make him doubly attractive to an outfit like OSU which makes heavy and varied use of backcourt talent.  There has been no confirmation that Billings' presence on the OSU roster will have any bearing, positively or negatively, on Davis.

It is a foregone conclusion that Davis has the tools to be a high major recruit, seemingly on his athletic gifts alone.  Louisville and Michigan St. are said to be monitoring him, as well as other Big Ten outfits.

BRANDON JENKINS (6-4, PG Detroit MI, Southeastern)--  Another Detroit Public School League (PSL) talent, Jenkins is a target of a wide array of High Major schools this summer.  Long armed and a skilled scorer, Jenkins seems to possess more than just "pure point guard" skills making him all the more valuable to Ohio State.  1st team all Detroit by the Detroit Free Press as a Junior, when he averaged 23.4 PPG.  If OSU could choose one guy to land, this is one kid who would be very high on the list.  Appears on National lists between 50 and 70.

Several schools are involved with Jenkins as mentioned but the main players seem to be Pittsburgh, Michigan, Missouri, Providence, Michigan St., and Ohio St.  Jenkins' teammate WALTER WATERS (6-9, C Detroit MI, Southeastern) recently verballed to Pittsburgh, but it remains to be seen if this has any bearing on Jenkins' decision.

ANDREW LAVENDER (5-7, PG Columbus OH, Brookhaven)--- The floorleader of the reigning Ohio Big School champions has been a known commodity in the Midwest for some time.  Peers have raved at his ability to take on bigger foes and hold his own with plenty to spare.  Analysts seem split on Lavender's potential for the next level as many point out his size will set him up for matchup problems with larger, more physical guards.  Plenty of Division 1 heavyweights have lined up to say that the other parts of Lavender's game far outweigh this risk however, as evidenced by Lavender's national ranking range of 40-85.

Lavender already sports offers from Seton Hall and Ohio State and has also drawn interest from Cincinnati, Indiana, Clemson, and Mississippi among others.  Notice that Seton Hall and Mississippi are both programs that have had success with point guards Lavender's size (Andre Barrett, Jason Harrison).  The possibility that Lavender and his high school teammate BRANDON FOUST (6-7, PF/WF Columbus OH, Brookhaven) are a package deal is also intriguing as, if true, this would rule out Ohio State. 

JAMAR NUTTER (6-2, PG East Orange NJ, Seton Hall Prep)--  A magnificent fundamental player, Nutter has often drawn rave reviews over his ability to do things on a basketball court with minimal fuss.  Many of the Big East and ACC schools have anted up on Nutter, and his recruitment to Ohio State seems to require a lot of ground to be made up by the OSU staff. 

Nutter is a high target of Pittsburgh, Seton Hall, Syracuse, St. John's, and Maryland.  If Ohio State wants to add him to the family, there is plenty of competition on hand.

Buckeye Sports Top Stories