'Loving' The Opportunity At Hand

He might not suit up for Ohio State for another three years, but when he does Marc Loving will be fulfilling a life-long dream. The Buckeye verbal commitment and his head coach spoke with BuckeyeSports.com about his decision, his goals and just how long it took him to accept his offer.

It took Marc Loving nearly 16 years to decide he wanted to play for Ohio State and 24 hours for him to put his word where his heart was.

The sophomore from Toledo St. John's Jesuit became a verbal member of OSU's class of 2013 on Aug. 5 after having landed a scholarship offer one day prior. It came while on a campus visit, and it caught Loving by surprise.

The first indication that something was up was when head coach Thad Matta joined the tour. Loving had been under the impression that he would be shown around by assistant coach Jeff Boals and some of the other assistants on staff.

"I wasn't expecting Coach Matta but he was there too," Loving told BuckeyeSports.com. "It was awesome being with the coaches. They were great people. They're a class act. It was a beautiful campus. It was just unbelievable being at Ohio State with all the coaches at the same time."

After landing the offer he had been waiting for, Loving went home and thought about it before pulling the trigger the next day.

"It feels great to get the decision out of the way and get the recruiting process out of the way," he said. "Now I can just focus on school and becoming a better athlete."

Loving also held verbal scholarship offers from Xavier and Central Michigan.

Although he will not turn 16 until next month, Loving was described by St. John's head coach Ed Heintschel as a player with no downside.

"I always tell the players if there's a downside to them, if they're flawed I'm going to tell the college coach," he said. "It's not going to hurt their recruiting, it's just that the coach needs to know. There's absolutely no downside with this kid. None. He works in the classroom, he's diligent, he's focused, he's a hard worker. "

As a freshman, Loving averaged 12.8 points and 6.8 rebounds. He became only the third freshman to serve as a regular varsity starter in Heintschel's 31-year coaching career, but the coach pointed to a few other stats as proof of Loving's talent.

"I've coached some great players and almost all of them, the key thing is turnover-to-assist ratio," he said. "Most kids, even though they end up being great, great players when they're seniors, have substantially more turnovers than assists. He had four fewer assists than turnovers, which tells you how good his floor game is. If you take away the first four games, he probably has more assists than turnovers. To me, that really dictates a great player. He's got some real skills."

As a freshman, Loving suited up at small and power forward for the Titans. This season, he will see action at every position minus center.

Just do not look for the 6-7, 185-pound Loving to be bringing the ball up the court while a player a full foot shorter tries to guard him.

"I basically go to the post then if they're a foot shorter than me," he said.

Although he said his coach has not instructed him to put on weight, Loving said his goal is to weigh 200 pounds when his sophomore season begins.

Although Loving will not get to play with fellow Toledo native William Buford, the two have briefly met.

"He's a great kid," Loving said of Buford, who graduated from Libbey. "He's a good athlete and he's a good student in the classroom. I only met him once or twice and really just shook his hand and talked to him a little bit."

In addition, Loving plays AAU ball for All-Ohio Red. Four of OSU's freshmen – Jared Sullinger, J.D. Weatherspoon, Aaron Craft and Jordan Sibert – also suited up for the program.

"We got a chance to see them in Columbus most of the time when we had tournaments and talk to them off the court," Loving said. "I think they would automatically have chemistry just playing together and being successful on the AAU circuit. That would bring success to them in college."

With still three years of high school left to be experienced, Loving is caught between preparing for his college career and enjoying the time at hand. Heintschel said he is not worried about Loving growing complacent on the court but that he will be prepared for such a situation.

"My experience so far with Marc is that he's a self-starter and a self-motivating kid," the coach said. "I don't think he'll try to cruise. I just can't imagine him doing that. It's not in his makeup. But if he did, we'd be on him."

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