An Open Letter to Thad Matta: Please, No More "One and Done" Players

Kristofer GreenSenior Writer IMarch 31, 2009

ATLANTA - MARCH 31:  Head coach Thad Matta of the Ohio State Buckeyes looks on from the bench against the Georgetown Hoyas during the National Semifinal game of the NCAA Men's Final Four at the Georgia Dome on March 31, 2007 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Dear Coach Matta,

First, thank you for making Buckeye basketball relevant again.  Five 20-win seasons, a National Championship appearance, an NIT Championship, and four (soon to be five) first-round draft picks is a lot to be thankful for.

Those first-round draft picks are the reason I write you today.  Please, no more one and done players!  It may sound strange, but you read correctly.

B.J. Mullens' time as a Buckeye got me thinking.  Most Buckeye fans (and most of the country) knew from the start that B.J. was going to be a "one and done" guy. 

What we didn't realize was that he would go through the season whining, moping, and only half-playing unless things went his way early.  You know all too well that things didn't go his way often. 

To be honest with you, I secretly hoped he would declare for the draft.  It just seemed to me that he was too willing to let his "potential" do all the work.

B.J. has all the potential in the world, but unless he is willing to work for it, he will never fully reach it.  Maybe he will give that effort in the NBA.  I hope so.

It's just that he used us, Coach—and he didn't use us in a good way like Greg Oden and Mike Conley.  B.J. gave us just enough to get through, and we deserve better.

A "one and done" player should be a good thing for a program, but the only good thing he did for us was declare early enough so that we don't lose a scholarship.  Enough about B.J.

This just isn't about him.  It is really about five freshmen in three years leaving. 

At first, it was exciting.  Greg Oden and Mike Conley coming to Columbus was thrilling.  It gave us tremendous pride as Buckeye fans and they sure delivered on every ounce of hype that surrounded them from day one.

It was no real surprise when they declared at the end of the season.  Many expected them to from the start.

It was a bit of a surprise when Daequan Cook decided to leave.  He didn't have the same kind of buzz as Oden and Conley and didn't have nearly the playing time or impact of the other two.

Oden, Conley, and Cook were a lot to lose.  A lot.  But their hard work and accomplishments as Buckeyes was so appreciated by fans that we were able to wish them well and move on.

Then Kosta Koufos became the craze.  Sure the kid was tall and he did come up big at the end of the season, but he was no Greg Oden.  He surely would have only improved his draft status with another year of college.

His departure seemed imminent when the news that he'd been offered $6 million a year to play for the Greek National team.  In reality, it was the NBA and the Utah Jazz (and their D-League team) who came knocking.

Mullens came next.  The hysteria that surrounded the previous players began to rear its ugly head again.  But, there was something different about Mullins.

The first four made the most of their time as Buckeyes.  They worked hard, they improved, and they cared.  Mullens, whether true or not, never gave the slightest hint that he cared. 

My question: Is it really worth it?

We need more players like Evan Turner, John Diebler, David Lighty, Jamar Butler, Ron Lewis, Ivan Harris, Terrence Dials, J.J. Sullinger, and Michael Redd.

We need fewer players like B.J. Mullens.

Thanks for reading.



Buckeye Nation


P.S.: Can you please move Evan Turner to point guard and play some man defense next season?

P.P.S.: If you ever happen to run into another Greg Oden, scratch everything I just said.