This afternoon at a 4 PM press conference from Solon High School, Dallas Lauderdale gave Ohio State head basketball coach Thad Matta a
little dose of relief.
The 6-9 Lauderdale averaged 20.9 points, 10 rebounds and 4.5 blocks a game this past season for the Comets, and he selected Ohio State over Syracuse, Louisville and Michigan today at 4:00.
"This has been a long and difficult process. I've gone through hundreds of letters," Lauderdale began, before stating he had an original top five of North Carolina, Syracuse, Michigan, Ohio State, and Louisville, before narrowing his choices down to three.
Lauderdale then made his announcement, much to the delight of the crowd.
"I would like to formally announce that my commitment to play basketball and be a student athlete is at The Ohio State University," he stated.
"I chose Ohio State because Thad Matta has been recruiting me since my freshman year," Lauderdale said.
"You see what they did last year winning the Big Ten championship."
"Coach Matta always talks to players about a vision that he has for the Ohio State University, and I just see myself being successful there," Lauderdale continued.
Lauderdale also said he wished to play with his friends Kosta Koufos and David Lighty, both committed to Ohio State.
"I'm just confident I can achieve my goals as a person at Ohio State," he added.
Sources indicated that Lauderdale had a "real good idea" of his choice
last week when Bucknuts.com first reported on the Club Subscriber Basketball
board and the latest edition of the Schott in the Arm that Lauderdale was
expected to announce between Wednesday and Friday of this week.
Lauderdale is the No. 80-ranked player by ScoutHoops.com in the post-spring national rankings. He would join Jon Diebler and Kosta Koufos as the third commitment for the 2007 recruiting class.
According to Chris Johnson of the HoopscoopOnline.com, Lauderdale's commitment would make Ohio State currently the No. 4 class in the country by Hoopscoop.
Ohio State has been thought to be the leader for Lauderdale since last summer. He's visited campus unofficially on multiple occasions. Just within the last few weeks, Lauderdale reportedly visited Syracuse.
Lauderdale played AAU ball for the Cleveland Titans, coached by Tim Hewitt. He was teammates with Ohio State incoming freshman David Lighty and has remained close the last several years.
Although Lauderdale's stock has dropped somewhat this season, he remains a very strong, athletic and skilled post prospect who must play more consistently and be more aggressive. Scouts droop at his wingspan, which is said to be over 7-0.
For now, he remains more of a defensive rebounder but has enough skill and potential on the offensive end to develop into an elite center at the college level.
It's believed that if Greg Oden decides to return for a second year of college, Lauderdale will serve as his backup until Oden leaves – which would most likely be after Lauderdale's freshman season. If Oden were to leave after one season, Lauderdale could share time immediately with Matt Terwilliger or even Othello Hunter in the post.
In the 23 months that Matta has been on the job at Ohio State, Lauderdale becomes the thirteenth commitment for the Buckeyes spanning four recruiting classes. He is also the seventh top-100 player to commit to the Buckeyes in the last 14 months. More could be on the way as Ohio State is still expected to take a fourth player in the 2007 class – possibly a wing such as Evan Turner from Chicago St. Joseph.
The Buckeyes are also reportedly interested in O.J. Mayo should he not remain a package deal with his high school and AAU teammate Bill Walker.
If you would like to hear the press conference, those living in Northeast Ohio should be able to hear live audio from the announcement on WKNR 850 AM from Cleveland shortly after 4:00.