The Ohio State Buckeyes have had a far better decade during the 2000-2009 years than they did in the 1990-1999 campaigns. This turnaround is mainly due to the increased recruiting ability of Thad Matta over Randy Ayers. Jim Obrein, whose coaching tenure spanned both decades, brought in both elite talent and NCAA sanctions keeping the Buckeyes out of post-season play in 2005.
Ohio State had NCAA Tournament appearances from 2000-02, 2006-07, and 2009. The Buckeyes’ also made NIT tournament appearances in 2003 and in 2008, when they were crowned NIT Champions. Overall from 2000-2009 the Buckeyes are 169-80 with a .679 winning percentage.
Here’s a look at the starting lineup and the reserves for the Ohio State Buckeyes All Decade Team from 2000-2009.
PG Jamar Butler (2004-08): Butler’s career 1,313 points came from clutch shots when the team needed them most. Butler is Ohio State’s all-time leader in assists with 517 total.
SG Michael Redd (97-00): Redd averaged 19.6 points in 2000 and was the leading scorer on the team. He finished with 1879 career points finishing fifth in Buckeye History.
SF Evan Turner (2007-Present): Turner was averaging 17.3 points a game and 7.1 rebounds before breaking vertebra in his back. He has been Ohio States lead scorer the last two seasons and is the only player in Buckeye history to record two triple doubles.
PF Terrance Dials (2002-2006): Dials averaged 11.6 points for his career at OSU and has 1,566 total points. His 875 career rebounds are fifth on the list all time.
C Greg Oden (2007): Oden’s 501 career points finish third in top performances by freshman. He missed a large part of the start of the season with a wrist injury and could have easily broken this record. He averaged 15.7 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 3.3 blocks in his lone year as a Buckeye.
PG Scoonie Penn (1998-00): Penn teamed with Redd to lead Ohio State to a Final Four appearance that later had to be vacated, but it doesn’t take away from the importance of the players. Penn finished with 1076 career points and a 16.3 points per-game average with 4.3 assists a game in 2000.
SG Michael Conley (2007): Conley was part of the “Thad 5” that led OSU to a NCAA Title game showdown with Florida. His 87 steals as a freshman are tops in the record books for the Buckeyes.
SF Brent Darby (2001-03): Darby averaged 11.2 points a game as a Buckeye and has 1384 career points. He led the team in 2004 in assists with 141 and a 4.4 assists a game average.
SF Brian Brown (1998-02): Brown averaged 10.7 points a game and had 1384 career points during his stint as a Buckeye. He led the team in points, steals, and assists in 2001.
C Ken Johnson (1997-01): Johnson was a defensive presence and twice had 11 blocks in a game, a team record. He also owns the season record and career record for blocks. He led the team in blocks every year he was a Buckeye and averaged 4.4 blocks a game in 2000.
SG Sean Connolly (2000-03): He was a three-point assassin for the Buckeyes and currently sits third all-time in three-point percentage and total made.
SF Daequan Cook (2007): Cook was another member of the “Thad 5” and averaged 10.7 points and 4.5 rebounds in his lone year as a Buckeye. He owns the record for most three-point shots made by a freshman with 54.
The Buckeyes have risen from the fires of probation and mediocrity to become a very competitive team on the college basketball landscape this decade. With Thad Matta at the helm, and recruits like Jared Sullinger already committed for 2010, the upward trend looks to continue into the next decade for the Buckeyes.