Ohio State Remains Crater's Leader

Ohio State has been hot on the trail of junior guard Anthony Crater of Flint, Mich. But they are not the only ones. What schools are right behind the Buckeyes on Crater's list? And what does he think of instate schools? Kyle Lamb found out those answers and more in this update.

Things are picking up for 6-1 junior guard Anthony Crater.

But it's not yet crunch time for the point guard from Flint, Mich.

Crater returned Sunday evening from an unofficial visit to Illinois – the first of what's likely to be at least three or four visits this fall. The trip was the second time Crater has been on the Illinois campus.

"Last time he just saw a football game while he was there and I'll be honest, he didn't really have that great a time," said Crater's coach Carlos Fordham, also the man handling his recruitment. "This time, he got to spend some time talking to the coaches, playing with their players and Dee Brown was also there so he got to talk to him also."

On Friday, Crater will stop by Ann Arbor and visit Michigan. Fordham said Crater plans to tour the campus and play in a pick-up game with the Wolverine basketball players as well as a few recruits including Lakewood St. Edward star Delvon Roe, who will be visiting Michigan this weekend.

Saturday morning, Crater and Fordham will travel south to Columbus, where Crater will watch the Ohio State – Northern Illinois football game and then spend the rest of the day with the Ohio State basketball coaches, including head man Thad Matta.

A trip to Duke was scheduled for this month but has been pushed back to October because of Blue Devil head coach Mike Krzyzewski's obligations to the Team USA Basketball Club.

"We want to take these visits and establish relationships with these coaches," said Fordham, "then during the season we will already know the coaches and the players and we can watch the style of play and how Anthony would fit in.

"That should allow us to watch some games and Anthony might be ready to commit during the season, right after the season or before next summer," Fordham added.

The trip to Illinois helped propel the Illini back into the picture after a good visit for Crater.

The trip last fall wasn't one that Crater particularly liked. But the latest visit to Champaign gave a new perspective.

"Coach (Bruce) Weber does a great job with his guards," Fordham explained. "Anthony had a great time working out with the team and with Dee Brown. I'm not going to say Ohio State isn't still the leader, because they are, but Anthony really likes Illinois a lot."

According to Fordham, there are five primary teams battling for Crater at the moment.

"I will tell you that right now, it's probably Ohio State No. 1, Illinois No. 2, and Duke is No. 3 even though they haven't offered – Anthony really likes them a lot," Fordham said. "And then there's Arizona and Florida."

Fordham couldn't speak in any more glowing terms about Ohio State.

He said it's simple as to why Ohio State is in front.

"Thad has shown us the most interest and they have been great to us and that's why they are the leader," Fordham explained.

"Anthony needs to be around All-American type players and Ohio State has that," he added. "I told Coach Matta that it's about getting the right guys around him and they've got B.J. Mullens, they're recruiting William Buford, Yancy Gates – a lot of really great players. Anthony needs to be around All-American type players."

Fordham also talked about his upcoming trip to Michigan.

"Yeah they're on the list, but it's not really a team he's interested in," Fordham said. "Anthony is looking to leave the state. We pretty much made our decision – if you've got a 2007 point guard then you said to us you don't want Anthony Crater. It's no disrespect to Michigan State or Michigan, but those guys have 2007 guards and Anthony Crater isn't looking to back anybody up for three years."

Playing time is the one thing, according to Fordham, that still concerns him about Ohio State.

"What Thad's got going has really got me excited but it's also got me worried too because this is what everybody's knock is – how is Anthony going to play if Mike Conley is going to be there for four years," Fordham notes. "It's got me kind of worried about that and I told Thad that he's going to have to be willing to put two point guards on that floor at the same time. Thad tells us that the best players will play and we trust him. He also says if playing his best guys means he has to start two point guards he's not afraid to do that."

Fordham says they're still anxious to take a look at Duke.

Although the Blue Devils haven't yet offered, Crater is interested in Duke and they will take a hard glance at them before it's all said and done.

"Coach (Steve) Wojciechowski called me and said they are very interested and if it were up to him, he would have already offered Anthony," said Fordham. "He says that Coach K has been busy with Team USA and they want to wrap up some guys in 2007. Coach Wojciechowski told us that Coach K has been doing this for 30 years and they want to do it right."

Although Fordham admits Duke will be in the mix if and when they ultimately offer Crater, it's namely a two-horse race for the time being.

"Anthony really likes Ohio State and he likes Illinois," Fordham said. "You can't go wrong with either program. They both have great players, they both have great coaches and they both are top 25 programs. How Anthony fits in with the missing pieces of the puzzle will go a long way."

Fordham said that they feel comfortable with how the relationships stack up at this point, but it's just a matter of watching how the season plays out.

"We know the coaches and we've seen most of these places now," he explains. "After the rest of our visits, we will just sit back and watch the games and picture how Anthony will fit in with the playing style."

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