Urban Meyer isn’t the only elite recruiter working his magic on the banks of the Olentangy River in Columbus.
Ohio State’s Thad Matta recently added another impressive piece to his formidable 2015 recruiting class when Georgia native Daniel Giddens, who is a 4-star center, per 247Sports, gave the Buckeyes basketball team his verbal pledge.
Giddens checks in at 6’10” and 235 pounds and is ranked as the No. 11 center and No. 46 overall player nationally. His commitment was the result of more than a year of persistent recruiting from Matta and his staff.
Yes, Giddens provides an elite big man for Ohio State’s 2015 class, but his commitment is especially important because Matta didn’t exactly land a game-changer down low in the 2014 recruiting group either. Amir Williams and Anthony Lee can handle center duties in the immediate future, but the Buckeyes needed someone like Giddens to feel more secure about their future in the paint.
Giddens’ specialty is the defensive end of the floor.
At 235 pounds, he is as athletic as they come for centers, which helps him cover more ground down low and challenge more shots. In fact, he will swat plenty of shots into the crowd at Value City Arena once he arrives.
Giddens does more than just dart around the floor down low and block shots though. He is incredibly strong, which helps him hold his ground against the majority of other big men across the country, and his leaping ability means he swallows up almost any rebound that falls in his vicinity. Giddens will be a rim protector and overall enforcer from the moment he steps foot on campus.
Offensively, he is still developing a low-post game. He doesn’t quite have a go-to move on the block and isn’t the best back-to-the-basket scorer. Still, his athleticism means he can run the floor like a small forward and finish in transition, which will pair nicely with D’Angelo Russell, assuming the guard is still on Ohio State’s roster when Giddens arrives.
Don't overlook Giddens' impressive strength though when assessing his future as an offensive prospect. He can finish through contact at the rim and has demonstrated the ability to hit from mid-range if defenders play off him.
Buckeye fans may be clamoring for more of an impact guy down low on the offensive end after Williams, but Giddens is still very raw. There is certainly reason to expect productivity and improvement the longer he is in the Ohio State program.
The last time the Scarlet and Gray had a lockdown defender down low who was still raw offensively, they had Dallas Lauderdale swatting shots on a nightly basis. Buckeye fans would probably be on board for more of that.
Most importantly, Giddens’ presence gives what was already a loaded 2015 class an impact big man. He discussed his expectations and what he wants to do with this group, via Ari Wasserman of Cleveland.com:
We want to get Coach Matta his first ring. We believe we have the talent for it, and we're hungry. We want that national championship at Ohio State.
I am confident we'll be able to do big things at Ohio State. That's why it was so easy to see myself playing there. We have big goals, but we're ready to stay hungry and work for them.
Championship aspirations are not that far-fetched because Matta’s collection of 2015 recruits already checks in at No. 2 nationally, according to 247Sports, behind only Syracuse.
Forward Mickey Mitchell and guards A.J. Harris and Austin Grandstaff will run the floor alongside Giddens and likely continue to keep Ohio State among the best programs nationally.
What’s more, things may get even better in the upcoming weeks or months. Yes, the number of scholarships available is always subject to roster turnover, NBA decisions and more, but it would certainly be surprising if Matta didn’t bring in at least one more recruit in the class of 2015.
The future is bright as ever for the Buckeyes.
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