It seemed like Thad Matta and the Ohio State basketball coaching staff could do no wrong when it came to the recruiting trail for the class of 2015, but they received their first bit of bad news recently.
Mickey Mitchell, a versatile forward who can play multiple positions, attack the rim off the bounce and shoot from the outside, decommitted from OSU. His brother Mike was once a part of Ohio State’s football team but transferred to be closer to his family.
Interestingly, this isn’t the first time Matta has been on the wrong end of some football movement, as Brian Snow of Scout.com pointed out:
Amazingly football transfers (Mike Mitchell & Kenny Hayes) have now cost Thad Matta commitments from Mickey Mitchell and Nigel Hayes— Brian Snow (@BSnowScout) August 22, 2014
Rather than wallowing in what could have been, it’s worth looking at the current state of the Ohio State 2015 recruiting class.
It is still ranked as the No. 4 group in 247Sports’ composite rankings even without Mitchell, which is a testament to the class Matta was and still is putting together. Point guard A.J. Harris, shooting guard Austin Grandstaff and center Daniel Giddens are all 4-star prospects according to the composite rankings at 247Sports and give the Buckeyes depth at multiple positions.
Harris is a speedster in the open floor who can dart past defenders and finish at the rim with a soft floater. He is also an effective passer and will help Ohio State consistently get out in transition.
Grandstaff is a lethal outside shooter who can create his own looks off the dribble, use pick-and-rolls or launch attempts off passes. He is also an underrated passer who can play some point guard if needed.
Giddens is a physical post presence who swats shots with ease and controls the boards on both ends of the floor. His strength and athleticism make him an incredibly difficult matchup, and he will give the Buckeyes the rim protector they need going forward.
Even if Ohio State doesn’t receive another commitment for the 2015 class, it should be fine. After all, there is plenty of young talent on campus already, and Matta’s group is still ranked in the top five. However, there are three scholarships left to distribute among the next two classes, so look for the Buckeyes to hit the recruiting trail hard in the coming months.
Unfortunately for the scarlet and gray, superstar Cleveland prospect and recruiting target Carlton Bragg recently trimmed his recruiting list to five schools on Monday—Kentucky, Kansas, Illinois, Arizona and UCLA.
Ohio State is noticeably absent from that group.
The Buckeyes could use an elite power forward considering the three commitments already in tow are a point guard, shooting guard and center. That won’t be Bragg though.
Still, big man Doral Moore, power forward Ivan Rabb and power forward Esa Ahmad are all listed among the Buckeyes targets for 2015 on 247Sports and could fill that gap immediately.
Where does Ohio State's 2015 class finish?
Rabb is an athletic specimen who uses his versatility and speed to block shots, contribute on the boards and spin past defenders on the block. Moore can stretch his offensive attack with a mid-range jumper, but he has a lethal hook down low and controls the boards because of his athleticism and size.
Ahmad is an Ohio product who is versatile enough to score down low or get out in transition with the guards. He would be an ideal fit alongside Grandstaff and Harris because the two guards will likely look to push the tempo once they arrive on campus. Ahmad will fill the lanes accordingly.
Grandstaff has not given up hope that Mitchell will once again decide to rejoin the Buckeyes, saying as much recently, via Eleven Warriors:
"Mickey's one of my best friends and I still think we have a shot at getting him, for sure. I'm still going to recruit him and hope to bring him to Ohio State, but it's his choice and I respect him doing what he needs to do for himself."
It may be a long shot, but Mitchell would certainly give the Buckeyes recruiting group a boost yet again. However, even if he decides to look elsewhere, Matta and Ohio State will still be in a prime position to finish among the best recruiting classes in the country for 2015.
That’s not a bad position to be in two months before the 2014 season starts.
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