Crater, the No. 3-ranked point guard nationally by ScoutHoops.com is taking a weekend unofficial visit to Ohio State. They are on a list of six or seven schools that Crater is considering, according to Carlos Fordham, a family friend helping handle Crater's long and busy recruiting process.
The No. 21 overall prospect in the country has had Ohio State near the top of his list for a while. He's also extremely high on Arizona, Kansas, Duke, Florida and coming around on in-state Michigan. Find out what he thinks about many of these programs as well as another team on the list.
Fordham spoke with Bucknuts.com Monday afternoon and gave the latest on a variety of topics including the role Crater's mother is playing in the process, what Fordham and Crater think of the playing style of teams involved as well as plans for possible future visits.
Bucknuts: Anthony is getting ready for basketball to start here in a couple of weeks, how is he doing in practice?
Carlos Fordham: "He's doing really good right now. He's really anxious to get the season going. He's doing conditioning right now and he's excited to get out and play some basketball. He's working hard and ready for the season to start."
BN: How do you feel about his improvement here in the off-season? It seemed like in the spring and late in the summer he got better as a ball player. What do you think about his improvements and where he's come as a player in the last year or so?
CF: "I'm really pleased with his progress. In the last year I think he's sped up and gotten ahead of the game. He's been working hard, hitting his weights, his jump shot has gotten a lot better – he used to shoot 100 shots a day and now it's gone from 100 to 300 a day. I just really like what I'm seeing. He's starting to be focused and mature as a young man."
BN: Where have you been the last month or so – did you make it out to Kansas for Midnight Madness?
CF: "Actually we didn't go to Kansas because his mom wanted to be part of it and a lot of it has been canceled because she wants to be part of it and go on trips with us and she couldn't make it. We've kind of been working around her schedule. Basically we just went and visited Ann Arbor and checked out Michigan."
BN: Is she going down this weekend with Anthony to Ohio State?
CF: "Yes, she's going down too."
BN: Are you going down Friday night for the basketball game at Ohio State as well or was it just a Saturday trip?
CF: "We're coming down Friday for the basketball game (vs. Eastern Kentucky) and then watch a great football game on Saturday."
BN: So it's the all-out weekend then for Anthony – football and basketball both? You get to see a little of everything.
CF: "Yes, it's an all-out weekend in Columbus. It's exciting."
BN: Where does recruiting stand with Anthony as far as his schools go?
CF: "As far as the schools go – of course he really likes Ohio State, Arizona, Kansas, he still likes Duke, Florida – those are pretty much the five he really likes. He's starting to have a little interest in Michigan too; he's just got to see what they're going to do. We had a really good talk a couple of weeks ago when we went down there. He's just anxious to see if they can start winning there but we just have to wait and see."
BN: Talk about that visit – he obviously got to talk to a couple of recruits and saw a good deal on his visit?
CF: "Mostly, he just came down to talk to the coach. Tommy Amaker is a good guy – I've known him for a lot of years. He really loves Anthony's game, so he was just watching film on him and said he can be the leader of his team kind of like Daniel Horton. He would just put the ball in his hands and let him run the show. That's pretty much what he's trying to tell Anthony. Anthony's thing is that he's got one of his best friends on the team that is a 2007 point guard (K'Len Morris) and he didn't want to step over his playing time. That's kind of one of the things he (Crater) wants to stay away from – going against the 2007 point guards. He doesn't mind the 2006 point guards. Trust me, he wants to go against somebody good every day in practice. That's the only way he's going to get any better. Plus, to be successful in the Big Ten, you're going to have to have multiple guards that are good."
BN: Did you guys get a chance to watch any basketball games this weekend? Start of the season, you check out any action?
CF: "We got a chance to watch Arizona. They lost to Virginia yesterday. We're watching the style of play. They scored a lot of points but you still got to play defense too. That's one thing I like about Ohio State, Kansas and Florida – those guys play some defense. Don't get me wrong, it's fun to be on offense but if you can't stop anybody you won't be on offense. He kind of knows that too. He can be a great defender. I kind of want Anthony to be a do-it-all guard. We already know about his passing, he has special gifts as far as passing on the floor. We know that he has a decent shot. He has a chance to make that shot great. But he can be even more special on defense because of his quickness; his long arms, steals and ability to just make plays. That makes him a complete guard."
BN: It's got to be nice after talking to the coaches for the last several months, and how they tell you what their plans are and how they want their teams to play, to start watching games and finally see everything for yourself?
CF: "Yes that's what's really intriguing about this. The last several months they call and we talk and now we actually get to see what they're doing. Even like Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh is one of the top teams in the country. They're a top-10 team, and he kind of likes Pittsburgh too. Pittsburgh is on the list too, that's kind of the top six or top seven right now. He kind of wants to see what the coaches have been telling him. It's easy to say something but to actually do it, the younger generation you've got to show by example. Like with Thad (Matta), what we like about him is that a lot of teams said he wouldn't play (Mike) Conley and (Jamar) Butler together, but if you look at their assist-to-turnover ratio and the points they're scoring, they're a big part of the Ohio State offense and those guys are playing great without Greg Oden. I'm intrigued to see when he gets there. We've been watching and a lot of guys said Ohio State couldn't score points and we're watching and then they score 107 points. Style of play is big. Then on the other hand you have Kansas who coaches say they won't start a freshman and then you have them starting Sherron Collins, a freshman and they have three guards. Those are the things that you have to see if the coaches are going to backup what they say."
BN: You've got Ohio State this weekend, what's after that? Do you play it by ear or is something lined up?
CF: "Well you know what? After that I think we're just going to kind of play it by ear. We're definitely going to come this weekend, an all-out weekend in Columbus. After that we'll probably go to a few games sometime. Maybe a game in Pittsburgh, we'll try to go to Pittsburgh, we'll watch Michigan play, we're going to watch Kansas break. We have a midterm break in February so we hope to get out to Kansas and watch Kansas play. We'll try to watch Florida play. Hopefully this year is an evaluating year to see who's doing what, what kind of direction that he and his mom want to go in and then by the end of the year she kind of wanted to make a decision - at the latest by the end of the summer."
BN: You mentioned she wants to be apart of the process some more – what are her feelings about it?
CF: "She just wants what's best for Anthony. She wants it to be 100 percent his decision and 100 percent where he will be happy. She has never been on a college campus before. She wants to see where he'll be staying, who he'll be around; she wants to meet the coaches. She wants her son to be happy and have a good career. I told her she needs to be more involved in the process. Don't get me wrong, this will be Anthony's decision and it will be his call, but she wants to be around."