Matta Deals With Depleted Roster

By Jeff Rapp, April 30th, 2017

Sometimes in recruiting you get to claim victory, sometimes you have to force a smile and pretend you’re not crushed.

Unfortunately for Thad Matta, the latter applied when four-star prospect Darius Bazley informed the longtime Ohio State coach this week he was decommitting from the program.

The news came on Tuesday – the same day it was discovered redshirt junior guard Kam Williams has applied for early entry into the NBA draft, one of 182 players to do so.

Williams can return to OSU if he doesn’t sign with an agent and maintains his eligibility. However, center Trevor Thompson has made his exit. He also put his name out to the NBA and has retained an agent, meaning his college career is over.

Back to Bazley.

At 6-7 and 185 pounds, Bazley possesses lots of skill and upside, which is why 247 Sports rates him as the top player in Ohio – he preps at Finneytown in the Cincinnati area – as well as the No, 15 wing forward nationally and No. 53 among all 2018 prospects.

Now that he has reopened his recruiting, Bazley is likely to receive strong overtures from Midwest schools Xavier, Cincinnati, Dayton and Purdue. Others are sure to join the mix.

While he hasn’t ruled out still being a Buckeye, it’s pretty evident that won’t happen. Bazley recently explained that he pulled out of his commitment after the Buckeyes finished 17-15 and failed to participate in any postseason tournaments. He said he still likes Ohio State but feels he can’t risk going somewhere that may not provide him with enough opportunity to be seen by NBA scouts.

He added that he believes OSU incoming players Kaleb Wesson and Braxton Beverly may not be able help the Buckeyes turn around the program.

Ohio State now has just two players committed in the 2018 class in four-star shooting guard Dane Goodwin out of nearby Upper Arlington and three-star guard Justin Ahrens of Versailles, Ohio.

Ahrens is an AAU teammate of Bazley who claims he remains committed to OSU. He and Goodwin cannot sign their letters-of-intent until November.