The "Buckeye Bricklayers" - Smith, Craft, and Scott
This year's Buckeyes are the worst shooting team in the B1G, and quite possibly, the worst shooting team in the history of Ohio State basketball.
Never have I seen an offense where consistent shooting can only come from one spot on the OSU roster. Never has there been a Buckeye backcourt so anemic in point production.
Aaron Craft, Shannon Scott and Lenzell Smith are horrible. Lenzell might hit a shot, but Aaron and Shannon don't have a prayer.
I'm sure these are wonderful young men, but they need to be shooting a minimum of a thousand jumpers per day.
Each jump shot from this backcourt is an adventure. Form is terrible. Rotation is horrendous. The shot is a miss as soon as it leaves their fingers. It doesn't have a slight chance of going through the hoop.
Fortunately, this is a club with great intensity on defense. They have to play defense. They have no choice because they CANNOT SHOOT! Intense defense is a MUST.
Coach Matta didn't believe in playing a bench until this season and it has cost him dearly. He had two players that could shoot in Jordan Sibert and Walter Offutt, but they have taken their talents elsewhere because of lack of playing time.
Imagine if those gentlemen were still donning scarlet and gray. The Buckeyes would have better than a fighting chance.
Don't get me wrong. Aaron Craft and Shannon Scott are "ballers" and hopefully they will develop jump shots in time. After all, even Jason Kidd developed a "jumper" 10 years into his NBA career. Do you think it will take Craft and Scott that long to develop a shot? I certainly hope not.
I love what Shannon and Aaron provide on the floor on the defensive end. They have great ball-handling skills and the offense is much more fluid with Scott at the point. However, once again, I must say somebody other than DeShaun Thomas has to be able to provide offense.
Sophomore LaQuinton Ross might be that person. I know his defense is not where it should be. He moves laterally on defense like an old man with hurt feet, but he looks different on offense. He's pretty fluid with the ball in his hands. He can shoot. He can score. The Buckeyes have to score points to do any damage in the Big Ten. Its time to call LaQuinton's number.
Maybe Coach Matta should start LaQuinton and bring Lenzell off the bench. After all, Lenzell is not providing much on the offensive end. Possibly, he can be a spark off the bench.
Sam Thompson plays good defense, and if anyone will develop a shot, I think it will be him. His form isn't bad, but his shot simply isn't falling. Still, his sheer athleticism makes him too valuable to sit (he is the only "freak athlete" on the team). He's a good defender. He has to play.
DeShaun Thomas has never seen a shot he didn't like. That's a good thing too. He has to shoot because no one else on the team can. He has scoring skills, but he doesn't possess "freak athleticism" either. He'll probably struggle against teams like Minnesota and Illinois, but he does have the will and determination to fight through it. DeShaun is going to score if he has to put the ball in his shorts and jump through the bucket. I like that about him.
Believe me. This team is overachieving because of great effort. They don't possess raw talent, but they compete. They fight and they scrap. There is one glaring weakness though. They simply cannot shoot. Guards have to be able to shoot.
The post is, well...I won't even go there. Amir Williams has to get better.
Evan Ravenel is Evan Ravenel. He's undersized and under skilled. He simply gives what he can give.
Buckeye fans cannot cry over spilled milk, but one cannot help but wonder what would have happened if the OSU had actively pursued Trey Burke and Tre Jackson.
How did they leave Columbus? They seem to be doing pretty well in B1G competition and they can hit a pull up jump shot.
And what if Sibert had been patient and stayed? I think he would be seeing a lot of playing time this season.
If Offutt had stayed, his eligibility would have ended last season, but he sure could have helped the Buckeyes during last year's tournament run.
I wonder if that even crosses Coach Matta's mind? Probably not. He's a good coach and who am I to second guess him?
But it sure makes one scratch his head.