If Thad Matta strikes out on every available prospect for the rest of the 2015 recruiting cycle, he will still have one of the nation’s best classes.
Ohio State currently boasts the No. 3 class in America, per 247Sports, thanks to the commitments of shooting guard Austin Grandstaff, center Daniel Giddens, small forward Mickey Mitchell and point guard A.J. Harris. All four players are 4-star prospects, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings.
What’s more, Matta has added depth to every single position on the floor except power forward thus far in his 2015 group.
That doesn’t mean Ohio State is done yet. If the Buckeyes can land any of the three following targets, they have a legitimate chance at securing the No. 1-ranked class in the country come signing day.
Carlton Bragg, who is a local kid from Cleveland, would immediately fill that power forward need for this class. He would also add some more Buckeye State flavor to a group that features three out-of-state prospects.
Bragg is a 5-star game-changer who checks in at 6’8” and 205 pounds. There are some serious heavyweights that have pursued Bragg this offseason, including Kentucky, Kansas, UCLA and Arizona. Jeff Borzello of CBS Sports highlighted why some of the best programs in the country are after the power forward:
Carlton Bragg isn't finding much room to operate against Indiana Elite. And he looks exhausted. Still has 16 and 12. Had 31 and 13 this a.m.— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) July 26, 2014
Bragg is a double-double machine who brings elite-level athleticism to the table down low. His offensive arsenal includes a strong post-up game thanks to his overall strength, but he can stretch the floor with perimeter jumpers if needed.
Outside of the rebounding and formidable scoring, Bragg swats plenty of shots on the defensive end because of his quickness and nose for the ball.
Bragg is the entire package at power forward and the top-rated prospect in the state of Ohio for 2015. He is one of those special kids Matta needs to secure if the Buckeyes are going to be seen as the team to beat for elite Ohio prospects going forward.
Doral Moore is a Georgia native and 4-star prospect who measures 7’0" and 220 pounds. Kentucky and Louisville are both going hard after him in addition to the Buckeyes, which means Matta certainly has his work cut out for him.
Which player would you rather have at Ohio State?
The Buckeyes already have Giddens as a center in the 2015 class, so landing Moore may not be quite as important as Bragg. Still, we are talking about a lengthy and athletic center who would immediately improve Ohio State’s frontcourt on both ends of the floor.
On the offensive side, Moore can stretch the defense with a mid-range jumper and mix in an array of low-post moves. He has impressive touch around the rim and even mixes in a soft hook shot when the opportunity presents itself.
Moore will also swat plenty of shots and grab any rebound within his vicinity. The combination of Moore and Giddens would be particularly worrisome for the rest of the Big Ten.
Matta is clearly looking to add more size in this class that currently features three perimeter players. Ivan Rabb is another power forward/center type who checks in at 6’10” and 210 pounds. Arizona, Duke and Kansas are among the other squads pursuing the 5-star prospect.
That means the Oakland native could be heading far away from home, which may not be a problem if his recent comments are any indication, via Laura Keeley of The Charlotte Observer:
“I’m not really a guy that gets homesick. I used to be, actually. I take that back. Freshman year in high school I used to get homesick, but now I’m used to being away from home.”
Rabb’s ability to finish with either hand immediately stands out on the offensive side, but his footwork should not be overlooked. He has the potential to develop into an elite post scorer because of his quickness and collection of moves down low.
His offensive skill level may already be at a college level, but his rebounding and defense should also appeal to the Buckeyes. As to be expected for a top big-man prospect, Rabb is an impressive shot-blocker and controls the boards on both sides of the floor.
Landing any of these three players would give the Scarlet and Gray a complete 2015 class. Perhaps it will be the one to finally lead Matta to that elusive national championship.
All rankings courtesy of 247Sports.
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