Matta, McGuff Lose Post Players

By Jeff Rapp, April 11th, 2017

Thad Matta already is awaiting word on center Trevor Thompson, who flirted with early entry into the NBA draft last year and could do the same sometime in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, another Ohio State basketball big man already has decided that he is leaving the program.

According to multiple sources and news outlets, OSU reserve David Bell has obtained his release from the university and will pursue a transfer. The 6-10 Bell redshirted after signing with Ohio State’s 2014 class. He’s played limited minutes the past two seasons and leaves campus with two years of eligibility remaining.

Bell is the fifth player to transfer from Ohio State in the past two seasons. Last year, four freshmen left the program – Austin Grandstaff, Daniel Giddens, A.J. Harris and Mickey Mitchell – and Matta uncharacteristically was very critical of the group and painted them as delusional athletes who weren’t really committed to the cause.

Bell’s motivations, however, appear to be much different. While Sonny Johnson, Bell’s coach at Garfield Heights (Ohio) High School, admits the youngster would have preferred to the see the court more often, his biggest reason for leaving was to be with his pregnant girlfriend in Florida. He likely will pursue a transfer to a school in or near the Sunshine State.

Bell was raised by his grandmother after having an absent father and enduring the death of his young mother. He arrived to OSU a raw prospect and has played behind Thompson the last two seasons and freshman Micah Potter in the last year.

Bell appeared in 23 games as a redshirt freshman and just 15 this past season. He has shown hints of being a decent pick-and-roll option on offense and shot blocker on defense but averaged only 1.2 points and 1.7 rebounds during his time in scarlet and gray. His season highs in 2016-17 were five points vs. Iowa and seven rebounds against Youngstown State.

If Thompson were to decide to leave as well, OSU would be down to just two true post players in the 6-10 Potter and 6-9 freshman Kaleb Wesson, the reigning “Mr. Basketball” in Ohio. Wesson and 6-0 point guard Braxton Beverly already are signed but Matta likely will pursue more options.

The Buckeyes have three commitments for 2018 in shooting guard Dane Goodwin, wing Justin Ahrens and forward Darius Bazley. Bell’s departure could mean a more aggressive recruiting approach for a big man and fast-improving forward Jerome Hunter of nearby Pickerington North. Hunter has been listing Michigan, Pittsburgh and Xavier pretty consistently.

McGuff Also Loses Post Player

In a rather surprising move, freshmen Tori McCoy and Kiara Lewis have both announced their intentions to leave the Ohio State women’s basketball program and seek a transfer to another school.

“Kiara and Tori are both great student-athletes and I wish them nothing but the best in their future endeavors,” said Ohio State head coach Kevin McGuff.

Lewis started the final 15 games of the season and averaged 6.7 points and 1.8 assists in over 19 minutes per game. McCoy, who was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team, averaged 8.1 points and 5.9 rebounds per game and blocked a team-high 59 shots. Both players saw action in all 35 games for the Buckeyes this season.

McCoy was given more opportunity to shine when Stephanie Mavunga was injured during the second half of the season, but apparently that was not enough reason to keep the talented frosh around. Lewis also had a fairly prominent role for a first-year player.