Koufos Discusses His Verbal To Ohio State

Bucknuts.com basketball correspondent Kyle Lamb shares comments from Ohio State's newest basketball commitment, Canton GlenOak's 7-2 junior forward Kosta Koufos. Koufos joins Upper Sandusky's Jon Diebler as early commitments for OSU's 2007 class.

When over 100,000 people left stunned and disappointed after the Texas Longhorns had defeated Ohio State in an early season football clash of top-five teams, at least one person was leaving Ohio Stadium feeling rather upbeat.

Nearly nine months have passed since that night, but Kosta Koufos doesn't forget the feeling.

"I kind of knew when I was there for that game that I wanted to go to Ohio State," Koufos said Tuesday night. "I really had a good feeling after that."

The 7-2 forward from Canton GlenOak High School committed to the Buckeyes on an unofficial visit this past weekend. He chose Ohio State over Louisville, Maryland and Michigan.

After multiple visits to Columbus, Louisville and College Park among all the phone calls, letters and interviews, Koufos decided to call it quits and stick to his gut instinct.

"It was really hard to do," he said, "because in Coach (Gary) Williams, Coach (Rick) Pitino and Coach (Tommy) Amaker, I had three coaches who were there with me every step of the way and were really up front and really good to me.

"They are great coaches and they have been involved the entire process."

The visit that gave Koufos this feeling last September also produced a commitment from Jon Diebler. Many of the Ohio State recruits and commitments from the 2006, ‘07 and ‘08 classes were in Columbus that Saturday.

The bitter taste of football defeat worked in an ironic way for the junior that night.

"It's a great atmosphere at Ohio State with great facilities," Koufos said. "Ohio State is a great football school but we're also going to make it a great basketball school. We have the support and excitement to make it great in both."

Since September, Koufos has had plenty of ups and downs.

His season was cut short in late January this past year after just 11 games because he broke his foot. Prior to the injury, Koufos averaged 24.1 points, 11.1 rebounds and 4.2 blocks a game.

And while he had not come down from the high of his September visit, other fears began affecting Koufos' mindset about his pending college decision.

Although most people believed Ohio State would escape the NCAA hearing without any further penalties for violations during coach Jim O'Brien's tenure, Koufos couldn't escape the possibility of the Buckeyes being put on probation and also receiving more postseason bans in the future.

That slim possibility had been put to bed after the NCAA announced the final sanctions against Ohio State in early March and the Buckeyes faced no new penalties.

It cleared the final obstacle for Koufos.

"It was a key factor," Koufos said of the final NCAA ruling. "Knowing we could play in the NCAA Tournament made my decision easy."

Just a month and a half later, Koufos received better news.

He was finally cleared to return to the basketball court and play on his previously injured foot.

Over the last several weeks, Koufos has been trying to return to form. In the meantime, he knew where he wanted to go and decided to get it done before the summer began.

"I've always felt comfortable with Ohio State along with Louisville and Maryland," he said. "But it came down to knowing where I wanted to go and I'm excited to play for Coach Matta."

Despite having a good idea where he was going to go, Koufos said he's glad it's finally over.

"It's a big relief," he said. "There's a lot less media attention and a lot less stress."

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