KONIMBA DIARRA (6-9, PF/C Centerreach
NY, Our Savior)-- Diarra plays
for the powerful Our Savior program, a school that specializes in taking foreign
students into the US and giving them a solid education (in exchange for their
serious hoops talents!). The
Our Savior roster is already populated with a Division 1 signee, one commitment
and several other highly touted prospects.
Diarra may be the highest ranked of the whole bunch however, as he is
seen on several top 100 lists.
High profile programs like Connecticut, Kentucky, Louisville, and Syracuse
are already in the mix. This is the type of player it seems, you cannot say no
to—an interesting situation to monitor for fans of recruiting.
HASSAN FOFANA (6-11, C Worcester MA,
Holy Name)—Fofana is a player who lost an eligibility battle last year,
(he is a native of Guinea, Africa) a fact that did nothing to chase off the
legion of recruiters hot on his tail. Massachusetts is always a stop on the OSU recruiting trail so
it is no surprise to see his name linked to the Buckeyes.
Depth of interest, however, is yet to be gauged.
Fofana has been ranked as high as the 40's on some top 100 lists, and
is listed as a top 5 recruit in New England—combined with the interested
schools, it is obvious he will end up at a high major program if he wishes it.
Boston College, Connecticut, Kentucky, Louisville Rhode Island, and Maryland
are all involved.
IVAN HARRIS (6-8, PF/WF Springfield OH, South)-- Already a part of the Buckeye family, Harris will bring a diverse and unique game unseen in these parts for some time, if ever. He is a classic "tweener" and those that have seen him play know exactly what this means. Although Harris has a lot of "big man" skills such as rebounding and shot blocking (at the high school level anyhow), he has the ability to step out and consistently hit the 3 pointer. The big southpaw's stroke is not a mad hoist, like those associated with a lot of long range power forwards, but is a thing of beauty. It is obvious Harris has been molding his perimeter skills from a young age.
At this time, Harris is too slightly built (estimated at around 190) to take
the pounding that comes with playing the 4 in college, but that is nothing the
training table can't solve. For good or bad, South's system has forced him to do a lot
of things associated with Big Men—and this can only help him when/if he is
asked to do similar things at Ohio State. It
is his versatility that should make OSU fans drool at the possibilities here.
Recall how the perimeter exploits of Jared Jeffries, Rick Rickert, and
Brian Cook made their respective teams more dangerous with the added bonus of
offensive punch from spots on the floor usually reserved for guards.
Harris' pure wing skills are not on display much at the High School level,
other than his shot, but recall that his gaudy ranking in top 100 lists was
earned more on summer camp play and AAU performance.
Notice also that Harris chose to attend South, a team with much deeper
talent (it made the Big School Elite 8 in 2001-02, losing a tightly contested
game to the State Runner Up), as opposed to getting his 25 and 10 for free at
Springfield North. (where he played as a Sophomore)
Welcome to the Buckeye Family Mr. Harris.
We are happy to have you!
(6-8, PF Rockville MD, Montrose Christian)--- Early in the Winter it
was reported that Kleiza was being recruited by the Buckeyes, in addition to
Wake Forest, Maryland and a host of other ACC schools.
The reasons why seem to be self-evident—this Lithuanian native seems to
possess a take-no-prisoners approach to low post play and an ability to use his
size to his advantage that college scouts look for.
Playing for legendary high school coach Stu Vetter should only help
Kleiza's development into a high major recruit.
It should be noted that Kleiza routinely posted double doubles against elite
high school competition (his team is littered with Division 1 prospects.
In fact, the entire starting 5 is being recruited on a D1 level) and led
his team in scoring often as well. At
Montrose Christian that is no small feat. Wake
Forest, with two Lithuanians on their 01-02 roster might be looked at as having
the edge here.
DREW NAYMICK (6-10, C North Muskegon
MI, HS)-- This is a pure center
who's stock has really risen in the past year beginning with the summer of
2001. Scouts rave at his toughness
and attitude to play inside, and disinterest with doing "guard" work like
many other center prospects dream of doing. His name shows up consistently on top 100 lists, and
particularly in the Midwest he is a top target of the elite programs.
Early in his recruitment the two schools that have always stood out were the
in-state duo of Michigan St. and Michigan.
Ohio State and Notre Dame have managed to wedge themselves in, but the
top two look tough to beat.
IJE NWANKWO (6-7,PF Detroit MI,
Country Day)-- Said to be a
bruising rebounder and inside presence, Nwankwo keeps up the lineage of
basketball stars coming out of Country Day.
(Chris Webber, Shane Battier) He
is not as highly ranked as Naymick or Harris but does get some mention on at
least one top 100 list. A curiosity
that has been reported is that he has a brother already enrolled at OSU, a fact
that many assumed would weigh in on his choice of schools.
Nwankwo is said to check in at around 260 lbs--- making him sound like the
kind of widebodied power
forward Coach O'Brien has liked to employ in the past (sounds a lot like Donya Abrams and Mickey Curley at Boston College). Wisconsin, Michigan St., Marquette, and Ohio St. are all showing interest.
MONTY ST. CLAIR (6-8, PF Cincinnati OH, Roger Bacon)-- St. Clair is probably the top pure post prospect in Ohio in 2002-03, but is not as highly regarded as others on the list.