Mullens did not start his team's season-opening win Nov. 20 against Delaware State, instead giving way to sophomore Dallas Lauderdale – whom I always felt was destined to be the power forward to compliment Mullens at center. Afterward, Ohio State head coach Thad Matta basically said Lauderdale had outworked Mullens even though the sophomore had missed nearly two weeks of practice time with an injured shoulder.
The thing with Mullens is that he is apparently still too timid and needs to work on just going out and playing basketball. Lauderdale and his teammates have said the freshman asks plenty of questions and is making a great effort to learn everything he can, but at some point players need to let go of that and just get back to playing the game.
Mullens apparently is not there yet. On the court, he looks slow and timid. Then again, this was just the first game of the season.
I think … that David Lighty is going to have a major impact this season. From my vantage point, he looks more under control and more poised to be a major player on both sides of the ball.
Playing a zone defense seems to grate at him just a little bit. From where I was seated courtside at St. John Arena, it appeared his eyes lit up when he got to man up on a defender right in front of press row. His hands are quick and his reflexes are incredible, and when he is on his game he has the ability to shut down almost anyone.
Offensively, he is finding better lanes to the basket and looks under control while doing so. He has also improved his jumper. I look for him to be a consistent double-digit scorer for the first time in his college career.
I think … how far Evan Turner can go will be determined by effort – a quality he appears to possess in spades. The sophomore guard needs to cut down on his turnovers this season to become a key player for the Buckeyes, and although he struggled with that against the Hornets he did make up for it.
Turner finished the game with two turnovers against three assists – not ideal, but he immediately offset his turnovers with steals on the ensuing possession. That shows me that he is taking his turnovers seriously and is trying to overcome them. For me, those four possessions said a lot about what kind of player Turner might become this year.
I think … William Buford has some amazing ability to score at will when I'm not really paying attention. The freshman came off the bench for the second straight game and lit up the scoresheet, tying Lighty for the team-high with 13 points.
What is most amazing to me is his ability to somehow find himself so open when he catches the ball. After the game, Matta said he has been impressed with how Buford plays off the ball and how he is able to find open spaces.
The freshman praised his teammates for getting him the ball, but he was the one knocking down shots and driving the lane when necessary. One play in particular impressed me, when he faked a trey, dribbled inside the line and nailed a 15-footer. That kind of game coming off the bench lends credence to the belief that this could the deepest OSU team in some time.
I think … people should pay attention to what Jon Diebler can do aside from shooting from deep. The sophomore is able to find teammates wide open with passes and has emerged as a solid defender as well. I'm starting to doubt whether or not he will become the sharpshooter he was billed to be when he graduated from high school, but he's going to be a solid role player at worst during his career for the Buckeyes.
Finally, I think … the fact that OSU was outrebounded by the Hornets is not a good sign. This was a clearly inferior team, and they still held a 26-25 advantage against the Buckeyes.
I will say this, though. I see more effort from the guards pinching down and trying to nab rebounds. Diebler, Buford and junior Kyle Madsen each had four boards, while Lauderdale somehow only had one while blocking seven shots. This is a figure that needs to improve for OSU to go far this season.