skeeelo: do you sit jamar and start cook?
KyleSLamb: Personally, as far as talent and production - I most definitely would
KyleSLamb: that's really a risky deal because of Jamar's psyche. I don't know if you want to chance losing your leader
expresblfc: kyle.. i haven't followed the Big 10 at all this year.. .who can give us a run for the Big 10 title
KyleSLamb: Basically, Wisconsin is the only one that can win the Big Ten besides Ohio State IMHO...
KyleSLamb: I wouldn't sleep on Illinois either, but Wisconsin is a very good basketball team
HotMic: Hey Kyle, out of Roe, Gates, and Babbitt....who do you see finishing out the 08' class?
KyleSLamb: I personally believe it will be Luke Babbitt when it's all said and done. I wouldn't rule out Yancy Gates or Delvon Roe by any stretch of the imagination though. I hear Roe might have a good idea where he wants to go. My opinion is Michigan or North Carolina, but I know there's a lot of sentiment Michigan State is strong. I just don't see it based on some other circumstances and pieces of the puzzle I've fit together
OState: Kyle, When will Greg start utilizing a smaller brace? I really noticed it causing some problems with his grip against Iowa State, where defenders had some success stripping the ball.
KyleSLamb: OState, you are correct. Keep in mind about the grip against Iowa State that his left thumb being bandaged hurt his grip as well. I heard that Greg started shooting with his right hand without a brace this week so I think you will see some very positive things come out of that here soon. For now, they still want to protect the wrist
HotMic: What do you think is the main factor keeping Roe from OSU? Competition? Coaching?
KyleSLamb: RE: Roe... I just don't know. It's really not adding up. I guess there are some kids that just want to be their own man... I think Delvon is one of them. I don't think it's a competition thing with him, as he's pretty good and he knows that. That said, he likes the challenge of being able to take a program and build it up. That's why I think Michigan is in a great situation even still (despite all the MSU and UNC talk you hear)
OState: Is Matt ready to go against Florida? I have a feeling we will need him defensively for fouls at the very least.
KyleSLamb: He'll play. I'm not sure he's healthy but after playing only about 15 minutes over the last two games combined and keeping him fresh in practice, he'll be ready tomorrow. It helps Ohio State that Al Hoford won't play.
OState: Your prediction for tomorrow?
KyleSLamb: I have felt for a week or two (even before the Horford news) that Ohio State would win Saturday. I do not think this is the same Florida team that won the National Championship. Yes, it's the same players but the injuries and everything makes it a different deal...
KyleSLamb: I'm not sure they have the same fire right now. I also think Florida's depth (especially on the perimeter) is a real problem area.
HotMic: What are your early feelings on the 09' class Kyle? Seems like we will have 2 spots open, any players caught your eye?
KyleSLamb: The 2009 class is a hard read because of so many variables. I think Roberto Nelson is a strong possibility should Ohio State go that direction. Personally, I think Ohio State should continue to go hard after some of these national names like DeMarcus Cousins, Xavier Henry, etc. Stephan Van Treese is still developing offensively, but he should end up being a good player.
KyleSLamb: A lot could also depend on who leaves early and how early
HotMic: What are your personal feelings on Pryor from PA Kyle?
KyleSLamb: I've heard Pryor is more or less down to three schools... I think Ohio State has a great shot at him...
KyleSLamb: now playing two sports is tough. I'm not sure how much he'll be able to contribute early to Ohio State if the goes there, but having a player of his caliber to go at it in practice is a luxury for Matta
OState: Did you get a chance to speak with Terrance Dials or Jerry Lucas on Tuesday? It was nice to see them back again.
KyleSLamb: OState, no I did not get to speak with them. I knew they were there. It's something that Thad Matta loves (having old players around the program like that)
rnichols: HI Kyle, I know I'm being a little picky but would you agree that Greg Oden looks a little clumsy at times?
rnichols: When do you see him stepping down a notch with the protective brace? Maybe one a little less restrictive?
KyleSLamb: nichols, any time you have a 7-1 280-pounder doing the things he can do, it definitely looks like it. He's actually pretty coordinated but I think you are right that's how it comes across. he's also playing a bit tentatively at times because of the brace
KyleSLamb: I think you'll see a less restrictive brace very soon. I'm only speculating on this, but I am guessing in the next 2-3 weeks
calibuck: Does Pryor commit early??
KyleSLamb: I think Pryor will commit somewhere this summer
HotMic: Do you see Cook and Oden both leaving after this season?
KyleSLamb: I still maintain my belief that Oden will be at Ohio State for two years. Cook I think is 50/50 staying/leaving. I would not at all be surprised to see him leave after this season, but I think people close to him would like to see him stay for two seasons
rnichols: I find it a little annoying that everyone talks about the Sixers being in the Greg Oden Sweepstakes, the more I hear it the more annoyed I am. From everything I've read it truly looks as if he's going to stay, and I think I've heard it from you from the beginning. Do you still feel that he'll forego the money and stay in school after this year?
KyleSLamb: yep rnichols. Oden is the type of kid that might stay just because people think he won't. Now don't get me wrong, he would be staying there because he likes it and because he doesn't feel he's as good as he needs to be, but proving people wrong about him is a side benefit
HotMic: Next year's team would be amazing with both of them back.
KyleSLamb: If everyone returns, next year would be (on paper) Ohio State's best chance to win a National Championship. They would have all the necessary ingredients to win. But we all know it doesn't work like that (lol).
rnichols: I know everyone thinks that it's a matter of time till Jamar "fits" in, the more the season goes on the less I see this happening. He went from being the second or third option to being the fifth or sixth option.
KyleSLamb: Couldn't agree more RE: Butler. I don't know if he'll really get acclimated enough to this role. Not without him playing more aggressively
rnichols: How well does Kosta move, he looks like he HAS to be very slow with as big as he is.
KyleSLamb: Koufos is deceptively quick. He's not going to outrun any guards, but he's quicker than your average 7-1 player
KyleSLamb: The thing I love about Koufos is that he can score in so many ways. He's very good inside because he has a wide variety of post moves. But he can also hit the mid-range and hit from outside. Kosta's big weakness is being able to guard undersized fours when he's playing the four
E17thBuckeye: My apologies if this has been covered, but what are some of the key match-ups for tomorrow (other than Oden and Noah)?
KyleSLamb: Hunter/Terwilliger/Harris on Noah will be the key match-up. I think Ohio State's guards can defend Brewer/Humphrey/Green... but Noah will be the key. How well Chris Richard does on Oden will also be telling
E17thBuckeye: Do you expect Terwillger to get significant minutes tomorrow?
KyleSLamb: I see Terwilliger getting about 10 minutes
rnichols: Has Twig not been playing b/c of the groin or is it just b/c they can't find minutes for all of these guys?
KyleSLamb: It's been a combination of the groin injury and Othello Hunter really coming on like gangbusters in practice. I can't emphasize this enough... the Ohio State coaching staff reportedly has LOVED the progress shown the last two weeks by Hunter. By season's end, they feel he can be a very good player
KyleSLamb: I'm seeing some good things from Hunter. He's rebounding well (especially positioning)...he's scoring off these rebounds and he's also starting to play smarter defensively.
HotMic: Kyle, have you ever got a chance to see babbitt play in person? Also, can you compare him to Chase Budingger (Sp?) the Frosh from Arizona?
KyleSLamb: I have not seen Babbitt in person. I would say though from many reports to me by people that have seen him that Budinger would not be an accurate description. Budinger is taller and so very athletic. He can jump like mad. Babbitt is more of a mechanical player. I mean by that that he's very old-school, disciplined and does a lot of the little things.
rnichols: Who would you pick in a Pitt v. OSU matchup? I was not impressed and think OSU would be able to handle them.
KyleSLamb: I've not been on the Pitt bandwagon all year. I love their physical style of play, but I don't think highly of their ability to score consistently. They're a good team, just not top-5 caliber IMHO
E17thBuckeye: Does Butler feel more comfortable at the 2 guard now?
KyleSLamb: I don't see any more comfort level with Butler. I reall think he needs to be more assertive and penetrate more often. I think the adverse affect of the switch has been that because he's off the ball, he's not taking the ball on the dribble. He's waiting for shots to come to him instead of creating anything
rnichols: How would you compare Daequan to Michael Redd at similar points in their careers? I think Daequan is almost where Redd was before he left. I guess their games kind of contrast each other, Redd could take the ball to the hoop like mad, where as DQ has the outside J working for him.
KyleSLamb: I think Daequan is a much better college player even already than was Redd. Redd was a slasher only but Cook is a better ball-handler, better passer, better shooter and has a better mid-range
HotMic: Harris has been GREAT this year so far. Have you been able to talk with any staff members about him?
KyleSLamb: Harris has been very steady this season. He's obviously not going to ever be the McD's AA type but he has maintained a steady role
Skid21: Anything new on Gates? I know some UC people who are convinced they are ahead of OSU in the race to get him.
KyleSLamb: UC has made up some ground IMHO, but don't buy into the "UC is ahead of OSU" stuff. IMHO, it's still a four-horse race with Xavier, OSU, Michigan and Georgetown. I think Cincinnati is creeping back into the picture but I don't think they're on the upper tier just yet
HotMic: What kind of impact do you see Diebler having next year? The kid can straight up shoot the ball...
KyleSLamb: I think Diebler can contribute off the bench in a scoring capacity for certain. Diebler needs to continue to work on strength and ball-handling. These two things and consistency are the only things keeping him from being a very, very good player at the next level
HotMic: In saying that then, who do you think will contribute the most from next years class?
KyleSLamb: Koufos no question. He has the chance to start and play 25 minutes a game. He's too good offensively to keep off the floor.
KyleSLamb: I think Turner will also play a lot because he's an all-around great basketball player and he's a very, very good defender
buckatborder: what is the impact of the loss of Horford for Fl?
KyleSLamb: No. 1 it's the one guy that's strong enough inside to go at Oden offensively. No. 2 it takes away a veteran player to guard Oden and No. 3 it leaves one less body to absorb fouls
kach22: What's the latest with Delvin Roe?
KyleSLamb: Roe I hear is down to 3-4 schools realistically. I think Ohio State still has a chance but a slim one. IMHO, regardless of talk elsewhere, I think Michigan holds a slight edge over UNC. I'm not discounting Michigan State's chances but putting some pieces of the puzzle together, I just don't think they lead. I do think Roe might be closer to a decision.
GhettoBuck: What position do you see William Buford playing and what are his strengths and weaknesses?
KyleSLamb: Buford is a 2/3. He can score from anywhere on the floor. He's very good in the open floor and explosive off the dribble. He needs to work on his mid-range game and consistency from outside (although he has good range and nice elevation on his jumper). He also needs to bring it defensively and I think he could get even a bit stronger.
rnichols: Is Buford's game similar to Cook's?
KyleSLamb: Not really. Buford is a much different player. I don't think he's as good as Cook was at that age, although I think he's got just as bright a future
Skid21: Another recruiting question...at this time who do you believe OSU stands the best chance with to fill out the '08 class? And, what if he doesn't land any of his present targets...does he just bank the 'ship?
KyleSLamb: skid, out of 3-4 options for the last scholarship in 2008, I think the chances are good that Ohio State will walk away with one of the three. It may not be Delvon Roe, it may not be Yancy Gates or it may not be Luke Babbitt. Then again, I think it will be one of them. I think it will be Babbitt, but I could still definitely see them having a shot with Gates or Roe. Ohio State isn't the leader for Roe but they've done what they needed to do so far to make an impression on him
rnichols: How do you see Offut's game? Is he a solid committment? It just seems to me that he may see a little too much competition here for playing time?
KyleSLamb: Offutt is as solid as he could be
KyleSLamb: RE: Offutt's game, I like his basketball IQ. Strength was a big issue but apparently he's put on a lot of muscle since the summer. He could also continue to work on his outside shot.
GhettoBuck: Kyle, do you think this is John Groce's last year before he gets a head coaching gig? If so, how does this impact the team and recruiting?
KyleSLamb: Ghetto, I personally believe Groce will wind up being at Ohio State for one more season. He'll have some offers after this year, but I think he's going to be choosy and he'd like to try to win a NC. If they don't do it this year, they'll have a great shot next year if Oden and Cook stick around another year.
KyleSLamb: As far as recruiting...
KyleSLamb: They'll take a hit in their ability to get their foot in the door with some kids. Not a terrible hit, because Ohio State is a great product and Thad Matta is a great recruiter in his own right, but Groce has formed some very good connections with HS and AAU coaches and he is a tireless, thorough recruiter
expresblfc: how are the women this year...i wasn't watching sorry if asked
KyleSLamb: The Ohio State women are doing well. Once again though, while they did have an impressive victory against Oklahoma, they were blown out by LSU last week
KyleSLamb: The quicker, guard-oriented teams continue to give Ohio State problems
bennybuckeye: kyle sorry if addressed earlier but what do you think about Jamar Butler's reduced role in the offense. Last year he was an intergral part of the offense and now he is more of an afterthough. Great asset to have for the next year and half.
KyleSLamb: I think Butler can be a big key in March for Ohio State, but he will never adjust to his new role if he's not more assertive. Waiting for open shots just based on ball movement around the perimeter won't maximize his ability. I'd like to see him force the issue every once in a while by putting the ball on the floor and getting around his man
bennybuckeye: kyle do you think daequan will be a starter before the year is over?
KyleSLamb: Probably not benny but only because of not wanting to remove Butler out of his role. I think Cook deserves it and the coaches have emphasized that to him, but Butler is very valuable.
KyleSLamb: OK everyone. I guess that does it for today. Thanks for joining me. We'll have a chat transcript up later for those that missed some of the chat. Thanks again and have a great day!