Alright, let's begin. Send in those questions!
Guest (Oct 10, 2006 9:47:50 AM)
Kyle, what's the latest on Recruiting? Thanks in advance and keep up the good work!
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 9:48:00 AM)
bukibill asks the latest on recruiting...
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 9:49:17 AM)
Pretty much status quo. Not a lot of new developments. Ohio State is still standing in good shape with some of the same 2008 prospects (i.e., William Buford and Anthony Crater and IMO, Yancy Gates) while they still have work to do with others (i.e., Delvon Roe). Also of note for those that haven't seen it yet today, Dorenzo Hudson a 6-4 guard from Hargrave Military Academy committed to Virginia Tech.
buckicrazy (Oct 10, 2006 9:49:30 AM)
With Oden out for the first part of the season do you see Ivan stepping things up on defense?
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 9:50:50 AM)
Personally, Harris' long legs and body type makes it hard for him to play good defense with his feet like you're supposed to. In general, I think the entire Ohio State team will need to pick up the slack defensively until Oden returns. Oden will make up for a lot of mistakes defensively on the perimeter when he's back much like Ken Johnson used to do for the Buckeyes.
Skilldo (Oct 10, 2006 9:51:07 AM)
excluding oden, which freshman will have the biggest impact?
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 9:52:06 AM)
I really believe Mike Conley has been overshadowed and he's proving early on in workouts that he can play. Everyone that used to think he was just a product of Oden's success will have egg on their face. You're going to see a poised guard that can handle the ball, penetrate with both hands and even make shots when he's open
buckicrazy (Oct 10, 2006 9:52:19 AM)
Who has been the most impressive in the individual workouts?
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 9:53:07 AM)
Probably Jamar Butler, but Conley as mentioned in the previous answer has also done well reportedly. Butler has become one of the best shooters in the country IMO. He's going to do a lot of damage when playing off the ball as Conley handles an increased workload at the point
Skilldo (Oct 10, 2006 9:53:19 AM)
who leads for delvon roe?
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 9:55:23 AM)
In my opinion, Michigan State has pulled into the lead for Roe over Michigan. There is some dissenting opinion on this, but I still think Ohio State has an advantage over North Carolina. But right now, there is a variety of factors that gives Michigan State an advantage so I'd call them the team to beat. Michigan's loyalty and the job Andy Moore and Tommy Amaker have done recruiting Delvon will keep them in the mix to the end. Ohio State still feels they are in the mix though, reportedly. And I know some other teams feel that way too. But there's a long ways to go and I would not rule anything out just yet.
buckicrazy (Oct 10, 2006 9:55:58 AM)
With all of the young players that are going to get playing time will our offense make up for the lack of defense?
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 9:57:16 AM)
I'm not sure there's going to be a lack of defense necessarily. I don't think it's going to be a top 10 defensive ball club by any means, but with Conley, Butler and Lighty - that's some very good perimeter defenders. You add in Othello Hunter and Greg Oden inside, and suddenly it's a formidable defense. But Ohio State should be able to score this season no doubt.
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 9:57:50 AM)
I want to add that Oden and Hunter are erasers. They'll erase mistakes made occasionally on the baseline and in the lane.
buckicrazy (Oct 10, 2006 9:58:01 AM)
Since Hudson committed will OSU try for someone else or bank the ship for next class?
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 9:59:06 AM)
Remember the phrase not everything is what it seems. That will be a good one to remember with recruiting in the future. Hudson was a wildcard, not necessarily a must-get. The situation has always been probably different than people assumed or speculated on.
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 10:00:12 AM)
More directly though, I don't see Ohio State chasing after any other 2007 prospects. That was one that just sort of fell onto their radar and they pursued a bit. Hudson could still take his scheduled visit in two weeks, although I do believe his commitment to Virginia Tech is very solid.
buckicrazy (Oct 10, 2006 10:00:30 AM)
I liked it when OB had OSU pressuring the ball all over the floor with Penn, Redd, and company. Do you think we might see that again with all of the guards that we have?
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 10:02:16 AM)
I'm not sure you'll see a full court press very often, but I think you saw a lot of tight man-to-man half-court pressure last year with Butler and Foster pressing up on the offensive players well beyond the 3-point line. That should continue this year with Conley stepping in for Foster defensively. I think you'll see Butler take the PG when they're both in the game simply because Matta believes he was one of the best on-the-ball defenders in the nation, but Conley will frustrate many 2-guards this season in that scenario.
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 10:03:08 AM)
We're caught up on questions for the moment...
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 10:03:21 AM)
I'd like to remind everyone that media day is on Thursday at 3 PM
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 10:03:49 AM)
You will not hear from the incoming freshmen, though, I'm sorry to report. Thad Matta's policy has always been not to allow freshmen to speak to the media until at least their first game
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 10:04:05 AM)
Practice begins at 7 PM on Friday, and Ohio State will hold their second practice on Saturday morning
buckicrazy (Oct 10, 2006 10:04:30 AM)
Who will get more playing time when Oden returns, Twig or Hunter?
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 10:05:33 AM)
I think Matt Terwilliger will be on the floor a lot this season, but Othello Hunter is going to be counted on for a lot of valuable minutes. Hunter's strength and how quickly he adapts to the Division I game will probably dictate how many minutes he sees - whether it's 15/20 or 25/30
Skilldo (Oct 10, 2006 10:05:43 AM)
how many will thad take in 2008?
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 10:06:04 AM)
In my opinion, the 2008 class will wind up with five players. But it could be four, it could be six
MJ (Oct 10, 2006 10:06:58 AM)
Any Eric Gordon changes or info?
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 10:07:43 AM)
I've said it in the past, I still think Gordon will wind up at IU instead of Illinois. But this recruitment has been long, bizarre and very fluid, so I wouldn't put money on anything. As of this time though, I think Gordon is likely to be a Hoosier.
buckicrazy (Oct 10, 2006 10:07:52 AM)
Will Lewis start?
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 10:09:03 AM)
If the season were to begin today, I would say most definitely. The only reason he wouldn't is if Matta wants to keep that scoring off the bench that he had with Lewis last season early on. But with Cook and Lighty both in the mix, that may not be necessary
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 10:10:03 AM)
One thing I think will be important to note is that you will see a variety of combinations this year
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 10:10:38 AM)
You're going to see two point guards. You're going to see four guards. You'll see double-post. You'll see several different combinations beyond Matta's typical four-out one-in philosophy
MJ (Oct 10, 2006 10:10:50 AM)
Who would you take in Conley, Butler, and Cook vs Baker, Brown, and Jim Jackson matchup?
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 10:11:26 AM)
Right now, it wouldn't be right to pick Conley, Butler and Cook over Baker, Brown and Jackson. Those three were a very, very good backcourt for Ohio State.
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 10:11:50 AM)
But that said, later in the season, ask me that question. All three should be back next year... so if not later this year, by next year I think I may answer that differently.
stlbuck (Oct 10, 2006 10:12:10 AM)
Kyle, can you tell me a little more about Hunter's game? Does he have much to offer on the offensive end?
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 10:13:48 AM)
Yes. This kid has NBA range. He can comfortably shoot from 26-28 feet. Now, he's not consistent in doing so, but he can hit that shot if necessary. From what little I've seen of him and what I've heard, I think he is not yet comfortable putting the ball on the floor against tougher defenders but that could come. He's got a variety of moves in the post, however. One other thing I love about him is that he uses the glass on the block. It's such a lost art in college basketball, but he's not afraid of the bank shot.
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 10:14:09 AM)
Beyond that... wingspan, athleticism and versatility best describe him
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 10:15:27 AM)
If this kid struggles this year, I think it will be simply because of adapting to the D-1 game and picking up on offensive and defensive concepts. But he's very talented and has the chance to develop into a very good player in his two years at Ohio State.
stlbuck (Oct 10, 2006 10:16:12 AM)
Thanks! I love those kids with long arms. He is one that I am excited about because he seems to be the type of 4 that Matta covets.
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 10:17:56 AM)
When he and Oden are in the game at the same time later this year (and I believe you will see that more than a few times), opponents are going to have a very tough time scoring down inside with that athleticism and those long arms. Although Oden is one-of-a-kind defensively, you may see some games where it's Hunter getting most of the blocked shots because he's very quick and he may not strike the fear into opponents like Oden will. He can send a shot into the third row if you're not careful.
MJ (Oct 10, 2006 10:18:24 AM)
Will coach Thad Matta continue the tough non-conference scheduling next year?
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 10:20:02 AM)
Yes. Both Florida and Tennessee have return games for next year if I remember correctly. Not to mention, you'll most definitely see Ohio State in the Big Ten - ACC Challenge once again. I believe Matta feels like a top tier program needs to play some elite teams before the Big Ten season to prepare for varying styles, speeds and personnel they might seen in the NCAA
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 10:21:10 AM)
We've got about 10-15 more minutes... so if there are any other pressing questions, feel free to ask them.
MJ (Oct 10, 2006 10:21:24 AM)
How many Big 10 teams make the Big Dance?
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 10:22:56 AM)
Right now, I see Wisconsin, Ohio State and Illinois as being definites. I see Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa and Purdue as possibles. If I had to guess, I would say the first three, Purdue and one of the Michigan schools or Iowa making it for a total of five
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 10:23:42 AM)
I guess I better add Indiana to the mix as a possible team as well. That was an oversight on my part
jwb4.com (Oct 10, 2006 10:24:03 AM)
Prediction this weekend?
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 10:24:53 AM)
The Spartans are hurting badly. So many injuries and so many guys not playing against Ohio State. I think Drew Stanton still has a lot of weapons and Michigan State traditionally has been a thorn in Ohio State's side, so I think it will be a close game. But I think Ohio State pulls away by a couple of touchdowns late in the game.
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 10:25:39 AM)
Of course, I actually predicted that Iowa would beat Ohio State, so perhaps I just don't have much of a clue sometimes ha ha
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 10:26:56 AM)
I can take about 3-4 more questions!
ToMac (Oct 10, 2006 10:28:15 AM)
In a Dispatch interview with Coach Matta, in answer to the question "What are three things that have made an impression on you or your assistants?", during individual workouts, one of the replies was "Another thing would be our lack of understanding defensive concepts". Do you think this is just the normal situation with first year college players or is this group worse than usual?
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 10:30:31 AM)
It's very normal. People don't understand, this was a problem with Ricardo Billings, this was a problem (in part) with Sylvester Mayes and also with Brayden Bell. Thad Matta plays man defense, but it also relies on switching off screens, rubs, and being in the right place and knowing when to switch. Although it's not complicated necessarily, for first-year players it's always something that guys naturally are slower to pick up on. Part of that is because defense by nature is not something guys work on as much.
MJ (Oct 10, 2006 10:30:57 AM)
What should OSU fans expect to see at the start of the season? A very talented team or youngster that make mistakes?
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 10:32:48 AM)
All of the above. You'll see a team that looks great for stretches but probably makes some turnovers and forces the issue at times. You'll see a team that might struggle for rebounds against a North Carolina or Florida (especially if Oden is unable to play for any of those two games) but you'll also see a team that makes up for size with sheer athleticism at some times. You'll see streaky shooting from some of the younger guys. The biggest concern for this team is probably depth. There is nine guys that is capable of contributing, but the freshmen may hit that brick wall by the end of the year so I wonder if they're deep enough to overcome that if it happens.
mckbuckeye (Oct 10, 2006 10:33:12 AM)
Will OSU have enough inside presence until Oden returns to have a chance in the high profile games at the beginning of the season?
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 10:34:09 AM)
That's the $64 million question in my estimation. I have heard of improvements for Matt Terwilliger both offensively, defensively and also in terms of strength and quickness. But how much better is he? How quickly is Othello Hunter adapting? These are important questions that we probably won't know the answer to until they play it out.
mckbuckeye (Oct 10, 2006 10:35:08 AM)
Is Hunter a big musclular guy or a skinny 6-9?
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 10:36:01 AM)
Rather skinny, but he's not a toothpick by any means. He does need to get stronger. He missed out on the summer workouts because of being back at Hillsborough, so he'll need to hit the weight room and catch up over the next season and offseason.
MJ (Oct 10, 2006 10:36:10 AM)
Any updates on Ivan Harris?
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 10:37:09 AM)
Whatcha see is whatcha get IMO with Ivan. He did show some flashes at the end of the year of improving as an all-around player, but he needs to build off that and have a great senior season for Ohio State's sake. I think he'll be a little tougher, a little quicker and a little more well-rounded this year, but I think you know what you're going to get out of him for the most part.
mckbuckeye (Oct 10, 2006 10:37:44 AM)
What is Conely's shooting range and will we see Butler move to the #2 more this yr - I saw Butler single handedly win games in high school primarily with his outside shot!
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 10:38:23 AM)
Conley can shoot it from deep. Not as deep at this juncture as Butler, but he can step beyond the line to hit a shot. And yes, Butler most definitely will be playing off the ball and he can (and will) beat teams this year with that outside shot.
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 10:39:25 AM)
Well everyone, that's all the time I have for today. With the exhibition games beginning here in like 3 weeks, we'll most certainly have another chat before that time to talk more about practice and how things are shaping up. And as always, we'll have plenty of coverage until then.
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 10:39:35 AM)
Thanks for joining me and enjoy your week!
mckbuckeye (Oct 10, 2006 10:39:51 AM)
I was late in - I saw what Matta said recently about Oden - but has anyone talked to him to see if he will be back sooner than Jan?
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 10:39:55 AM)
Last question... ha ha
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 10:40:24 AM)
He will be back probably by mid December. I think January was the worst-case scenario, but it most likely will be December, possibly even late November IMHO.
MJ (Oct 10, 2006 10:40:27 AM)
Good job Kyle!
mckbuckeye (Oct 10, 2006 10:40:29 AM)
Thanks Kyle!! Good Stuff!
KyleLamb (Oct 10, 2006 10:40:42 AM)
Thanks guys. I enjoyed it. See ya next time!