OSU Women's Basketball Picks Up Verbal Commit

The remaking of the Ohio State women's basketball team continued with the verbal commitment Wednesday of 2010 prospect Martina Ellerbe. Though standing 6-2, the Teaneck, N.J., native is a threat as a three-point shooter and more comfortable facing the basket, her AAU, Earl Elliotte, coach told BuckeyeSports.com.

Ohio State head coach Jim Foster continues to stockpile guards and perimeter players in his bid to lift the Buckeyes into the national elite of college basketball.

First came the fall 2006 commitments of athletic guards Brittany Johnson and Alison Jackson from Illinois for the class of 2007. He closed out that group with forward Sara Schulze from Ohio and a year later brought in speedy guards Samantha Prahalis from New York and Amber Stokes of Ohio.

Last week, he wrapped up his 2009 class by securing a signed letter-of-intent from mega recruit Tayler Hill, a 5-10 do-it-all type from Minnesota capable of playing either guard spot or small forward. She joined previous signees from Brianna Sanders (another guard) of Cincinnati and Emilee Harmon, a power forward prospect from Pickerington (Ohio) Central.

Along the way, Ohio State also signed center Jantel Lavender in 2006 and has a 2010 verbal commitment from 6-1 post Darryce Moore of Youngstown (Ohio) Boardman.

Add that all up and find that Foster – long known for his ability to develop All-American post players – has signed or gotten verbal commitments from eight perimeter players and just three posts in the current four-class period that still has a couple of open slots left.

Elliotte believes Ellerbe will fit in just fine with the group already in Columbus.

"Coach Foster does a fantastic job with the pieces he gets into their style," Elliotte said. "Lavender and Sammy are like the cornerstones. Now it's a matter of finding some pieces, and with his history, I'm sure he knows what he's doing. They need some pieces probably to get over the top, but they'll probably be a little bit more athletic and able to spread the defense a little bit and Martina probably fits in that mold.

"I'm sure the staff at Ohio State will figure out a way to best utilize her."

Ellerbe chose Ohio State over offers from West Virginia and Miami (Fla.). She made an unofficial visit to Columbus last fall for the Buckeyes annual Thanksgiving weekend tournament, the Buckeye Classic, and found a comfort level with the team and coaching staff.

"Sometimes the stars line up," Elliotte said. "Everything wound up being good so she decided to go for it, which I think is going to be a great thing for Ohio State."

He said she will spend the summer AAU circuit with the New York City Gauchos and her senior season at Rutherford (N.J.) St. Mary working on several aspects of herself and her game.

"She's going to have to get a lot stronger, a lot more physical," Elliotte said. "She has a thin frame so she's going to work to get ready for the bump and grind."

Improving her ball handling will be a focus this year, too.

"She's a lot more comfortable handling the ball, and a 6-2 player who can shoot it like that, once you can handle the ball, then you're really going to present problems to the opposing team."

Another attribute Foster covets, especially in young players who want to play early, is a strong work ethic, and Elliotte said that is something he can expect to find in anyone who plays for his program.

"Usually with the Gauchos kids, we don't have that problem," he said. "We place hundreds and hundreds of kids in schools, and usually that's the one thing I get from college coaches: They don't worry about because our kids don't mind the work."

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