JOE CRAWFORD- (6-4, SG, Detroit MI, Renaissance HS) A recruit who's name has been on the tip of Buckeye tongues for some time now, Crawford is widely held to be one of the top 2, if not the top, player in the state of Michigan for the 2004 class. The OSU staff has a high level of familiarity with Crawford's game and likewise, Crawford has seen what OSU has to offer first hand.
Crawford is said to have interest in Michigan St., Michigan, and Ohio State, a situation that may favor the Buckeyes given the situations at the other schools. Michigan St. currently has one scholarship available for the class of 2004, and more importantly, will have several other players on its roster (Kelvin Torbert, Shannon Brown, Alan Anderson, Maurice Ager) with similar abilities to Crawford. Michigan has two scholarships left, but is still awaiting to hear from the NCAA as to its final punishment concerning the Fab 5/Ed Martin affair. Even if it keeps its current allotment of scholarships, Michigan's greatest needs may be a point guard and a post player as opposed to a wing. OSU may have the best situation for Crawford, as the three guard fronts favored by the Buckeyes give ample opportunity for minutes.
Regardless, the recruitment of this elite talent should prove an interesting tale to follow as it unfolds.
JOSH DUNCAN- (6-7, WF, Cincinnati OH, Moeller HS). Duncan is a player whose reputation has suffered by not being as consistently visible on the summer traveling circuit as others with his skills are. Due to his size and skills, he is naturally compared to current Buckeye and former Moeller standout Matt Sylvester. Though it remains to be seen if Duncan is in the same class as Sylvester, clearly he will play D1 basketball if he so wishes it. Several high D1 programs, including many from the Big 10 have evaluated him.
TERRY EVANS- (6-5, WF, St. Louis MO, Cardinal Ritter HS). Evans is the type of superior athlete that the current generation of basketball fan appreciates due to his ability to soar and slam. He attends a high school with a notable pedigree for producing Division I talent. Notable amongst its alumni are Chris Carrawell (Duke) and Loren Woods (Arizona).
"This is an ultra athletic kid," echoes Dave Telep. "He can play way above the rim. The jumper is a little streaky but athletically, he's in another league."
MALIK HAIRSTON- (6-5, WF, Detroit MI, Rennaisance HS). The other half of the dynamic duo from Renaissance High School, Hairston may be consistently ranked below Crawford, but clearly is no slouch in terms of talent.
"This guy was born to score the basketball," beams Telep. "He has style, creativity, and athleticism. He can get to the rim and finish, but its his range that makes him extremely dangerous."
Make no mistake, Hairston is every bit the D1 talent his teammate Crawford is, and is looking at a lot of the same options. As noted in Crawford's synopsis, Michigan and Michigan St. have limitations and roster considerations that could make a talent like Hairston consider other alternatives. Clearly Ohio State, with its affinity for big scoring guards to man the 3 position, would be a great fit for a talent like Hairston
JAMES HARDY- (6-5, WF, Fort Wayne IN, Elmhurst HS). Another fluid talent from the Big Ten region, Hardy is widely recognized as a top 3 player in his class within the state of Indiana. Already, the likes of Indiana, Illinois, Purdue, and Iowa are giving tapes of Hardy's exploits a high priority. Hardy has visited OSU in the past and hails from an area a reasonable distance from Columbus.
"He has a great feel for scoring," says Telep. "He's athletic and has a super body. His pull-up game is coming along and he's all confidence. He's probably not as well known nationally as some, but that'll change as the year goes by."
DANNY MORRISSEY- (6-3, SG, Brandenton FL, IMG Academies). A teammate of Taurean Green's and a former resident of the Cleveland area, Morrissey has gained a reputation as a shooter. He has interest in a lot of Midwest schools along with several located close to his current location.
More of a pure shooting guard than any of the other individuals in this report, it will be interesting to see how Morrissey continues to progress in his development.
XAVIER PRICE- (6-4, SG, O'Fallon IL, HS). Yet another ultra-talented performer from the Big 10 region, Price is another individual who can score a ton of points due to his numerous athletic gifts. Several Conference USA and Big 12 schools have already expressed interest in his services.
"This guy closed out the summer strong. He's going to average 20 or better on his way to a high D1 scholarship," says Telep. "He's a good athlete with plenty of savvy."
ISAIAH SWANN- (6-2, SG, Mouth of Wilson VA, Oak Hill Academy). This superior athlete is a native of the DC area and has been known on the AAU circuit for some time. Eligibility concerns pointed him from his native Rockville to the renowned Oak Hill Academy, where he stars next to, among others, Ohio State signee IVAN HARRIS.
Though his size suggests point guard might be the position for Swann, his offensive gifts have most analysts ranking him as a 2 guard. He is one of only two Shooting Guards given a 5 star ranking by TheInsidershoops.com, and is clearly an elite player in his class regardless of position
Buckeye fans can only hope that IVAN HARRIS might do a little recruiting of his own at Oak Hill.
Again, this is the area of highest interest for Buckeye followers, as at least 2 recruits need to have the tools to perform down low. One legitimate, back to the basket, center and one other power forward would fit the bill nicely.
AARON AGNEW- (6-9, C, Bellaire OH, HS). This 360 pound man-mountain/manchild has been the talk of Ohio recruiting circles for quite some time. Still, Agnew is an enigma of sorts in that he rarely gets a chance to play back to the basket hoops against other big men of his caliber. This is a function of his High School competition and the nature of the summer hoops circuit (which rewards fluid, roadrunner types).
"Agnew is an obvious widebody," says Telep. "He's not that aggressive but with a good point guard he can be excellent. He really needs to concentrate around the rim to make sure he finishes easy opportunities."
Agnew's development may be one of the more interesting stories of the 2004 season. His 2002-2003 regular season showdown with the twin towers of Vandalia Butler (6'11"Seth Gorney and 6'11" Josh Higgins) may give recruiters the kind of hints towards his potential that they have been looking for.
SETH GORNEY- (6-11, C, Vandalia OH, Butler HS). Gorney is a rapidly developing big man that has risen to the level of top center in Ohio in the eyes of some analysts. Long and rangy, he has made longer strides in his games then perhaps any other prospect in the 2004 class in Ohio.
Of interest to Buckeye fans will be the numerous times Gorney has been sighted on campus taking in football games, and meeting with the OSU staff. This prospect remains one to watch—both in terms of his interest in Ohio State and his continuous improvement on the court.
JOSEPH JONES- (6-8, C, Normangee TX, HS). Jones has been out of the view of the recruiting public for a good portion of the previous summer (due to injury), causing his ranking to fall in the eyes of some. (Similar to Terence Dials two years ago) Nevertheless, he has a Big-10 type body and already boasts offers from Kansas State and home-state Texas.
"This is a sturdy framed kid who is good around the basket," adds Telep. "He'll spend his career in the paint."
JUAN DIEGO TELLO PALACIOS- (6-8, PF, Centerreach NY, Our Saviour). This is a player that is showing up high on the national radar, and is without a doubt one of the elite power players in the nation. Palacios is a native of Colombia who arrived stateside only two years ago, yet has taken little time to rise towards the top of many a recruiting chart.
"He has all kinds of tools offensively," recounts Dave Telep. "Though he is only a good, not great athlete, and could run the floor a little better, if you get him the rock in the paint, he is clutch. He can also play facing the basket."
Palacios will be receiving intensive recruiting attention, by major D1 programs from shore to shore. Besides the Buckeyes, his other main suitors are Louisville, Pittsburgh, St. John's, and Texas. Pittsburgh may have taken itself out of the race by inking 4 inside prospects in 2003. The Buckeyes, on the other hand, have a great story to tell as Palacios would solve a major issue with minutes at the interior position vacated by Jenkins and Williams in 2004. One to watch.
PETER PROWITT- (6-9, C, McLean VA, The Potomac School) Prowitt is one of the top student-athletes (with emphasis on the student) in the class of 2004, and is a fast developing prospect. Besides being an automatic qualifier, Prowitt seems to have the kind of "upside" to his game that all major colleges need on their roster.
"He's got a great frame and should be able to carry even more weight and increase his strength in college," says Telep. "We like how he uses his body and carries himself on the floor. A nice scoring package."
GORAN SUTTON- (6-9, C, Lansing MI, Everett HS) From the heart of Spartan country, Sutton is quickly becoming one of the top post players in his class in the state of Michigan. He has been present at several of the Junior functions at OSU and seems to have the size to fill the Buckeyes' need in the low box.
Look for this prospect to get even more looks from High-Majors in the Big 10 region as his career progresses.
MATT TERWILLEGER- (6-9, PF, Troy OH, HS) Terwilleger hails from a high school that has produced numerous high D1 players in recent years, most notably Dayton's Brooks Hall and Memphis' Alex Carmona. Some have estimated that he might eventually reach 7 feet in height, yet keep a lot of the skills that give him a 4 man's game.
Terwilleger attended at least one OSU game last season, and is ranked by most amongst the top 3 players in Ohio for 2004. He has an offer from the UC Bearcats, who may prove to be the sternest obstacle in his recruitment by the Buckeyes.
The reader must be reminded that this list is not all-inclusive, nor is it finite. As the season progresses, and the Buckeye staff gets a chance to evaluate even more prospects, this group will grow in number. The recruiting business being what it is, a verbal commitment could come at any time.
Special thanks goes out to Dave Telep of TheInsiderhoops.com, a true professional in the recruiting business in every sense of the word. His support and his resources are what have made this article a credible source of reading to all the Bucknuts starved for the latest in the future of OSU hoops. Look for more updates throughout the year… and GO BUCKS.