OSU Hoops - On the Brink

The basketball season is right around the corner, and AT Buckeye discusses a few issues that are surrounding the team.

With the first public glimpse of the 02-03 version of the basketball Buckeyes almost upon us, I thought I would weigh in on some of the loose change issues that seem to be lingering this preseason.

MATT SYLVESTER--- This young guy has been a hot topic of debate. It is obvious by doing a roster count that backcourt depth is an area of concern. Only two players in the now OSU-traditional 3-guard setup have significant experience. Someone else will have to step up for this to be less of an issue. Keeping in mind that last year's starting group (Brown, Savovic, Darby) produced in the neighborhood of 40 points of offense a night, and you see why many of the faithful impatiently wait to see what Sylvester, the most touted wing player yet to be heard from, has to offer.

LINEUP--- Opinions differ amongst the faithful as to what type of lineup will be on the floor. Here's one bet—don't expect much of Zach Williams at the 3 spot. If anything, with solid depth behind him, Williams could be quietly arming himself for an all-league type of season at power forward. One thing is for certain however—guard depth will be the rudder that drives what direction the team takes going forward. The raw amount of backcourt talent that OSU faces in the non-conference schedule (Maurice Williams, Chris Duhon, Brandin Knight, Andre Barrett) should help decide how this topic gets settled.

RANKING--- The consensus is that this squad is somewhere in the middle of the pack. Funny thing--- that is exactly what the prognosticators said the last two years. Take this as a good sign.

RECRUITING--- The class of 2003 will be sewn up next week when Ivan Harris (6-8, PF, Mouth of Wilson VA, Oak Hill Academy) signs on the dotted line. The next step will be to see how the classes of 2004 and 2005 shake out. Keep in mind that, all things staying as they are, OSU will have 4 scholarships to offer each of those two seasons.

Recently (November 2), OSU hosted Futures Day, an event meant to properly introduce the University and its Basketball program to some of the top talent in the rising junior class and below. Around 25 prospects were in attendance and by all accounts, it was a success.

Buckeye fans with good memories will recall that this event has been heavily linked with the players that eventually sign with the Buckeyes. In recent years, Brandon Fuss-Cheatham, Matt Sylvester, Terence Dials, Ricardo Billings, and Ivan Harris all attended this event. Suffice to say, it is the stepping stone to greater things for program and prospects.

Some of the Bucknuts spotters that day confirmed the presence of some familiar names. 6-5 Wing Ben Raymond out of Toledo, OH, 6-3 Combo Guard Travis Walton from Lima, OH, and 6-5 Forward Jamelle Cornley from national power Columbus Brookhaven all participated. Another player seen that will interest Buckeye backers is 6-2 Guard Marquis Johnson from Akron, a player already receiving high national accolades despite his age (class of 2006).

Stay tuned throughout the season for more updates on recruiting efforts. Don't know about the rest of you, but the 12th can't come soon enough for me!

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