A look at OSU recruiting possibilities (Part 2)

Today is part two of A.T.'s look at the players who could fill OSU's last recruiting spot. Today brings a look at the post players.

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!

LINAS KLEIZA  (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.

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