July 30, 2014

Buckeyes add transfer Anthony Lee for next season

The 2014-15 version of the Ohio State Buckeyes is going to look much different than the squads of the last two seasons. First, the starting backcourt of Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith Jr. has graduated. Then, junior LaQuinton Ross and sophomore Amedeo Della Valle both chose to pursue professional opportunities and leave Ohio State early (Della Valle for pro ball in Europe with Ross looking to be drafted in the NBA). Now, coupled with the incoming top five recruiting class headlined by D’Angelo Russell, Keita Bates-Diop, and Jae’Sean Tate, Thad Matta added transfer big man Anthony Lee today, per ESPN Insider Jeff Goodman.

Lee comes to Columbus via Temple, where the big man played three years as an Owl before completing his undergraduate degree. Last season, he averaged 13.6 points and 8.6 rebounds and just under a block while playing over 31 minutes per night. At 6’9″ and 230 pounds, Lee likely slots into the starting center role, displacing the incumbent Amir Williams, who has been an overwhelming disappointment after being a highly-touted recruit and McDonald’s All-American. Williams, fellow junior Trey McDonald, and Lee will all be gone at next season’s end, leaving a large opening in the OSU frontcourt for Thad Matta to recruit some new bodies. Thad’s already working on that with another traditional transfer prospect in Virginia Tech’s Trevor Thompson.

As someone who can step in immediately by NCAA rules that permit transfer to a graduate school program not offered at the current institution, Lee was highly sought. After saying he wanted to play in the Big Ten, ACC, or Big 12, he received interested from several schools, including Indiana, Iowa State, Lousiville, Notre Dame, and others.

Returning to the rotation next year will be juniors Sam Thompson, Shannon Scott, Williams, and McDonald along with sophomore Marc Loving and redshirt freshman Kam Williams, who sat out last year due to mononucleosis that delayed the start of his year. Russell, Bates-Diop, and Tate rank 13th, 21st, and 27th respectively in the 2014 class. Russell is considered a five-star per ESPN as a 6’4″ shooting guard out of Louisville, KY. Bates-Diop is a 6’7″ small forward prospect from Illinois that will likely play some power forward in Matta’s system despite weighing just 190 pounds currently. Tate is a local recruit out of Pickerington and is a 6’5″ small forward. It’s possible (though unlikely in the beginning) that Ohio State could start four newcomers along with Scott at the point.

The Buckeyes will look to return to their period of sustained success that included a Final Four in 2012 and Sweet Sixteen appearances in four straight seasons prior to their first-round exit1 at the hands of the Cinderella Dayton Flyers.

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Footnotes:

  1. I refuse to call the games following the “First Four” the “second round”. []

Northwestern Shoots The Lights Out, Thomas Carries Buckeyes To Victory

thompsonrimnwIf there’s one thing that Northwestern Coach Bill Carmody’s teams are known for from a Buckeye perspective, it’s forcing the Buckeyes into some uncomfortable contests. Tonight was no different as the Buckeyes were in very real danger of losing three straight games for the first time in almost four years. But Deshaun Thomas played with a determination late, and the Bucks used a 12-0 run to pull away in the final minute from Northwestern 69-59 in a game that was tied at 57 with three to go.

It starts with the Wildcats’ Princeton-like offense, which is deliberate, patient, and effective. For nearly the entire game, Northwestern ran a set that kept no players in the post for any extended period. Instead, it was essentially a four-across at the foul line from which they can use back cuts, reversals and flash-throughs, and high screens out beyond the three point arc to get clear looks from deep. The look is quite different, but the end game is almost identical to Wisconsin’s. Both three point heavy squads, the Badgers utilize sharp-shooting big men, while Northwestern’s prowess generally lies in their backcourt. The Wildcats weren’t just pulling up from three, however, they were shooting from NBA range and beyond with regularity. After a couple of backdoor plays for easy buckets, it was open season for the Wildcats who started launching from three. Northwestern’s trio of starting guards (Dave Sobolewski, Reggie Hearn, and Tre Demps) each added two treys in the first twenty minutes as the ‘Cats shot 50% in the first half and 6-of-14 from three. [Read more...]

Buckeyes Survive Late Press From Iowa

thompsoniowaFresh off their home victory against the previously undefeated in-conference Wisconsin as well as close losses to Indiana and Michigan State earlier in the season, the Iowa Hawkeyes were looking to draw more Big Ten blood in Columbus to show they belong in the discussion of Big Ten contention. They nearly did so behind a flurry of offensive rebounding and a very effective fullcourt press that took a 24-point deficit and trimmed it to just four with 1:29 remaining. But, the Buckeyes used balanced scoring and solid shooting to hold off Iowa in the Schott by a 72-63 count.

At the outset, Iowa set the tone by dominating the offensive glass. In fact, it carried throughout the game as Iowa dominated the boards by a 40-34 margin including a stunning 22 offensive boards and 24 second chance points. There were multiple possessions with second, third, and even fourth chances to score as Amir Williams, Deshaun Thomas, and Evan Ravenel were unable to stay in front of their men on the glass as they fell victim to the tall and athletic Iowa frontcourt. The 6’8″ Aaron White (6 offensive rebounds) and 6’7″ Melsahn Basabe (4 offensive rebounds) led the effort. It’s not the first game where we’ve seen the Buckeyes, who lack size with the exception of the 6’11″ Williams, struggle in this facet, and it remains a concern going forward, for a lack of effort as much as a size disparity. Amir finished with zero rebounds, and he had this to say following the game, ““The fact that I had zero rebounds is unacceptable. I am better than having zero rebounds in a game so that will make us lose games. I have to try to get around seven rebounds a game.”” I couldn’t agree more. [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… MLB Payroll Increases And Success, Browns’ Year In Review, And Shurmur Reflections

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

Leading off at The Hardball Times, Glenn DuPaul talks payroll increases and win totals. It doesn’t necessarily bode well for the 2013 Cleveland Indians, eh? “Last week, I discussed the issue of teams “going for broke” and how significant increases in payroll may affect overall success (win totals). One of the more interesting findings in that piece dealt with teams who had great success the season before they increased payroll. I found that from 2001 to 2012 there were 28 teams who won at least 88 games in the year before they increased payroll by at least 20 percent. Of those 28 teams, only 14 teams were able to get back to that 88-win threshold in the subsequent season. This result sounds surprising when taken at face value. In most cases, the assumption would be that the increase in payroll was an attempt to prevent regression and sustain, or build on, past success.” [The Hardball Times]

Dawgs By Nature has a phenomenal 2012 slideshow review of the Browns and some other happenings of interest to Browns’ fans. Also, check out their highlight of a mock draft that has the Browns taking Florida State DE Bjoern Werner with the sixth pick, “With the previous regime focusing much of their 2012 draft on the offensive side of the ball (quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and right tackle), the majority of fans seemed to be interested in finding a defensive stud. Some of the suggestions included DE Damontre Moore, DE Bjoern Werner, OLB Jarvis Jones, and CB Dee Milliner. Our draft affiliate, Dan Kadar from Mocking the Draft, posted their first mock draft now that the regular season is over. Out of those four defensive players recommended by fans, two of them — Milliner and Moore — were already off the board. Between Werner and Jones, Kadar decided to send Werner to the Browns.” [Dawgs By Nature] [Read more...]