OSU Verbals On Display At Team Camp

The future of Ohio State basketball seems very bright, particularly after seeing all five of the school's verbal commitments for 2007 and 2008 in action at the OSU team camp Friday. Seniors-to-be Kosta Koufos, Dallas Lauderdale and Jon Diebler and juniors-to-be B.J. Mullens and Walter Offutt were all in action. Click here for more.

The 2006 Ohio State basketball team camp kicked off on Friday with 23 teams from Ohio and Indiana headlining a pretty impressive field.

From 3:30 p.m. until nearly 10:30, teams played games at the Schottenstein Center, St. John Arena and at the new recreational facility. Included were all three 2007 Ohio State basketball verbal commitments and both 2008 verbal commitments.

"It's great to be here," said Upper Sandusky's Jon Diebler. "We're all excited to see each other play and play against one another."

Diebler, who won a Division II state championship his sophomore year, is hoping to lead the Rams back to another title this season as a senior. The Rams won 11 of their final 12 games last season before falling to conference rival Willard in the district championship.

This summer, an experienced team returns led by the 6-7 Ohio State commitment, who could make a run at Jay Burson's state scoring record by averaging over 30 points a game for the second consecutive season.

Upper Sandusky got off to a great start this summer by going 3-0 on the first day, defeating Akron St. Vincent St. Mary on a three-pointer with just 2 seconds left and then wins over Batesville (Ind.) and defending D-II state champion Dayton Dunbar.

Diebler scored a team-high 25 points in one game and also had big performances in the other two finding open teammates, grabbing loose rebounds and getting steals to lead a fast break.

The day in Columbus started with a bang, especially for the Solon Comets and Dallas Lauderdale.

With a tie game and just a second left against the Brookhaven Bearcats, Lauderdale had struggled the entire second half against double and triple teams. But his two-point half didn't deter him from a final alley-oop lob that won the game for Solon, who had squandered an 8-point lead earlier.

"First of all, they were an excellent team and played an excellent game," Lauderdale said of the Bearcats. "He just threw the ball up high to me where no one else could get it, I turned and squared, but he threw the ball up high and I just laid it in. I thought I got fouled too, but they (the refs) didn't call it."

Solon also faced another central Ohio opponent.

The Canal Winchester Indians, a Division II school with their new 7-footer B.J. Mullens, faced the Comets. The game was a good one for Mullens, an OSU commitment for the 2008 class.

Although Canal Winchester fell to Solon 67-51, it was a game that Mullens controlled early. Canal Winchester jumped out to a big early lead behind 14 quick points by Mullens, en route to 24 for the game.

Lauderdale eventually got the victory and had several big slams in the second half. But Mullens played aggressively and didn't back down from the 6-9 future teammate, scoring on a few jump hooks, baseline jumpers and also some impressive post moves leading to dunks.

Mullens, whose teammates at Canal Winchester are made up of mostly sophomores and juniors, also was tested early in the day by Canton GlenOak and Kosta Koufos. The 7-2 Koufos led GlenOak to a 70-54 victory.

The junior Mullens held his own on the offensive end against his other future teammate, but Koufos was too much to handle defensively. Koufos scored inside, outside and on the baseline all night against Canal Winchester and also against Solon and Brookhaven.

Against Solon, Koufos tried no fewer than three different spin moves and pivot moves against Lauderdale. He also drained a few outside shots. Against Brookhaven, Koufos scored 29 points and grabbed eight rebounds.

The fifth young verbal commitment at Ohio State on Friday was Warren Central's Walter Offutt. The 6-2 junior had a great all-around day coming back from his torn ACL last June.

In the first game against Batesville, Offutt was 5-of-8 unofficially from the field for 10 points. He also grabbed five rebounds, had three steals, dished out a pair of assists and had a pair of blocks.

Offutt turned in similar performances against St. Vincent St. Mary and Columbus DeSales later in the day.

Warren Harding and Massillon Perry were among the other notable teams on Friday in attendance. However, Perry's 6-11 junior center Kenny Frease is in St. Louis this weekend for the Nike Jamboree. Reportedly, Frease was one of the top players at the Jamboree on Friday.

Action began at 7 a.m. on Saturday and runs through 11:30 a.m. for pool play. A single elimination tournament begins at 12:30 p.m. and ends with the championship at approximately 6:30 p.m. at Value City Arena.

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