When Walter Offutt returned from a visit to Columbus last fall, he decided to
make it his future home and commit to Ohio State.
When he returned with his Warren Central teammates this past weekend, it was like coming to his second home.
The 6-3 junior-to-be guard was in town for the Ohio State basketball team camp this past weekend. It was the best chance he's had since committing to Ohio State last fall to talk to all the coaches and verbal commitments at once.
Offutt is the No. 5 shooting guard nationally in 2008 according to ScoutHoops.com. He joins B.J. Mullens, ranked as the No. 4 center, as one of two verbal commitments for that class.
Mullens, Offutt and three other Buckeye commitments in 2007 – Jon Diebler, Dallas Lauderdale and Kosta Koufos, were all on display at the OSU team camp.
He used the time to bond with each and every one of them.
"I talked to BJ, Jon, and I talked to a couple of the coaching staff members," Offutt told Bucknuts.com early on Friday before later getting to speak with the others. "I'm hoping to see Coach Matta here soon – I'm just want to talk to the guys and have a good time."
Later Friday evening, Offutt did get to speak with Matta.
Offutt's Warren Central team went 6-1 over the course of the weekend. They bowed out of the 23-team tournament with a quarterfinal loss to Dayton Dunbar on Saturday.
"I think I played pretty well down there," Offutt said.
The OSU team camp was a chance for Offutt to catch up on all things Ohio State. It was also a
chance to talk more about how his leg, which he tore an ACL last June, was
It's been nearly a year since he tore his ACL. Only now is he getting close to being back at 100 percent.
"It's doing all right," Offutt said of his knee. "I don't think it's quite 100 percent yet but I'm getting there. I'm just keeping it moving, keeping it going and play through it."
Offutt returned back in November for Warren Central. However, up until late in the season, doctors forced him to sit out any game played in a second consecutive night following another game.
The combination of his mental hesitation and physically being less explosive than before the injury had Offutt coming back somewhat slowly.
But now he says he's starting to feel more assertive.
"It's a little bit mental and physical both," Offutt explained. "From the physical point of view, it's hard because you don't have it yet. You try to move, you try to adjust to it, but it just takes a while physically and mentally to get used to it, but right now I'm getting back the mental part and getting the physical part back too."
Offutt finished his sophomore season averaging nearly 10 points and five assists a game. He came on strong near the end of the year by scoring double figures in four of his last six games.
Now that he's over the paranoia of being injured again, which he says was an issue when he first got back on the court, he's able to start working on some of the things he needs to improve on.
"I'm working on speed, development and my shooting," he said of his main focus. "That's the main thing I need to work on is my shooting. If I get that down, I could be a pretty good player."
Outside of not shooting much from beyond the arc, this weekend Offutt was solid if not spectacular.
Although it would be easy for Offutt to want to put on a show, that wasn't the main focus of his weekend. He just wanted to fit in with his future coaches and teammates.
"I'm just trying to gain a feel for it, meet some of the new commitments they got and the new players they got and get a good feel for Ohio State," he explained.
The idea of Indiana recruiting Offutt wasn't addressed with Offutt specifically, but many people have naturally wondered if Kelvin Sampson wouldn't make a run at the Indiana schoolboy since leaving Oklahoma for Indiana.
If there were any doubts as to Offutt's loyalties, perhaps his words about what he thinks of Ohio State should clear the air.
"I love Ohio State. I'll put it right there – I love Ohio State," he said of getting adjusted to his future career in Columbus. "I love Coach Matta. I love Coach Groce. I love the assistants. I just love Ohio State. I'm going to be here and I love it."
We have a video clip of Offutt in action taken from the camp. Offutt wears No. 10.
Click below to view the video: