Ohio State Basketball: The Most Versatile Buckeyes on the 2012-13 Roster
Perhaps you watched the Miami Heat steamroll the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA Finals this June. If you did, you may have noticed they played much of the time without the use of the typical one through five basketball positions.
That’s not to say that the game of basketball will be forever changed just because Miami was successful one time with this formula. After all, having some guy named LeBron James certainly helped too.
But, it is undoubtedly an advantage for a team to have the type of versatile players on its roster that allows its coach the option of playing in this manner.
For a young team like Ohio State, these versatile players will be critical if it hopes to repeat its successful 2011-12 campaign. Here are the four most versatile players that coach Thad Matta will have at his disposal this season.
If there is a surprise player on this list, it’s the Buckeyes’ backup point guard.
Ohio State fans didn’t really see much of Scott last year, despite the fact that he came to school as a highly-touted McDonald’s All-American. Considering that Scott is a primary reason why Matta didn’t recruit Trey Burke, it would be nice to see more production from the sophomore.
Scott’s versatility could work to his advantage if he wants to see more playing time. Barring some type of injury, Aaron Craft is and will be the floor general for this team. However, Scott has the ability to give Craft a rest at times or play beside him at the shooting guard spot if Matta gives him a chance.
This backcourt combination saw the floor near the end of last season, including critical minutes against Cincinnati in the Sweet Sixteen. In fact, when Scott and Craft are on the court together, the Buckeyes can pick up the tempo and even mix in a full-court press.
Shannon Scott is one of the most versatile Buckeyes on the roster, and hopefully he will earn an opportunity to showcase his talents more this year.
The most versatile thing about Sam Thompson’s game may be the vast array of aerial displays he can bust out at any given moment.
Nobody on Ohio State’s roster can put on a dunking demonstration like Thompson. Still, Matta is going to need the 6’7” forward to do more than just entertain the crowd above the rim this year.
With the graduation of William Buford and transfers of Jordan Sibert and J.D. Weatherspoon, Thompson will likely be asked to play anything from the shooting guard to power forward off the bench.
He’s not going to be expected to hit many perimeter jump shots (although, it would be nice if somebody does), but Thompson will be needed for his defense, rebounding ability, and athleticism.
Thompson's playing time will come this season if he uses this athleticism to provide much needed versatility, even if he doesn’t put the ball through the basket much.
Every discussion that includes LaQuinton Ross at this point revolves around potential. That includes a discussion about his versatility.
It’s clear to anyone who watches Ross play that he has the chance to become an incredibly versatile weapon. He stands at 6’8” (only one inch shorter than Jared Sullinger), is one of the most athletic and quick players on the roster, and is deadly behind the three-point arc.
Throw in the fact that he is a slasher with the ball in his hands, and it appears that Ross is the entire package when it comes to versatility.
But he hasn’t proven it yet—at least not to Buckeye Nation. Academic problems and inconsistent play derailed his season a year ago, but he should play a critical role for Ohio State in 2012-13.
He could end up playing shooting guard, small forward, and/or power forward, so the Buckeyes are going to need him.
Deshaun Thomas seems to find himself on a number of offseason lists of any given Ohio State players.
Candidates to be the Buckeyes leader? He’s there. Most indispensable Ohio State players? Also there. Best NBA prospects on the roster? He’s probably on the top of the list.
Thomas also ranks near the top of this list of versatile weapons that Matta has at his disposal entering the 2012-13 season. He can shoot the three on the outside, handle the ball effectively, create his own shot off the dribble, and crash the offensive glass.
Where Ohio State will really need Thomas to flash his versatility is down low this year, especially since Sullinger is now getting paid for his basketball services. Yes, Amir Williams and Evan Ravenel will provide some height and rebounding in the lane, but the Buckeyes will need more than that in the bruising Big Ten.
Thomas, who showed some post-scoring abilities last year, will need to continue to improve his game on the blocks this season. If he can do that, Matta can mix and match lineups this year and even utilize a "big" lineup at times with Williams, Ravenel, and Thomas all in at once.
With only 10 scholarship players on the roster for Thad Matta this season, Ohio State is in dire need of versatile options. These four players should give the program exactly what it is looking for.