Two Minute Drill: OSU Basketball Media Day
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — It may be football season at Ohio State, but interest in the basketball has never been higher.
National Freshman of the Year Jared Sullinger is back for another run the Final Four, and a strong freshman class joins him and William Buford in Columbus.
Here is a two-minute (more like five-minute) rundown of everything that happened at Ohio State’s basketball Media Day Thursday.
ON JARED SULLINGER…
- Sullinger said he knew after the Kentucky game that he needed to drop weight in the off-season. Thad Matta challenged him on it and he is down to 265 pounds. Said he may lose a little more.
- Sullinger said he is eating 6 small meals a day now instead of 2-3 big ones.
- Sullinger said he feels like he can play a lot more like he did in high school.
- Evan Ravenel said Sullinger is much harder to guard now because he can step out and shoot the 15-foot jumper, and he won’t hesitate to do it.
- Matta told Sullinger that was the best way to combat teams that want to double him and get physical with him.
- Sullinger told me he caught a pass at the free throw line and came down the lane for a dunk the other day. First time he’s done that in years.
ON WILLIAM BUFORD…
- Buford said he thought about the Kentucky game every day until sometimes near the end of June. It’s still in the back of his mind.
- He admitted his head wasn’t right in that game. Called himself selfish for continuing to shoot when his jumper wasn’t falling. Said he should have focused on rebounding and finding his teammates.
- Buford said he is better offensively right now than ever before. More patient and feels like he is back to playing his natural position. No more point guard.
- Buford said they can’t replace Jon Diebler’s outside shooting with one guy, but a lot of people will chip in.
- Buford said working with Chris Jent has helped his shot tremendously. Said he thinks he can beat Jent in a shooting contest now. Lenzelle Smith disagreed.
ON AARON CRAFT…
- Craft said he has worked on his quickness this off-season. He’s a few pounds lighter.
- Craft said he has also worked on his outside shooting. He wasn’t happy with the fact teams weren’t even guarding him at times last year. Goal is to make sure someone has to guard him at all times.
- Craft said he got texts from friends about playing QB for Ohio State. Said he laughed. Misses the game of football right now, but that goes away as soon as practice starts.
- Craft said he expects to be on the court at times with freshman PG Shannon Scott this year because they are both great on-ball defenders.
- Craft said he faced Michael Conley again this summer and the results were about the same. He said Conley is the fastest player he's ever played against. His ability to change speeds is unlike anyone else.
ON DESHAUN THOMAS…
- Matta said he is more pleased with the progress Thomas made this off-season than anyone else on the team.
- Thomas said he really worked hard this off-season to become more well-rounded offensively. Said he still wants to be the “microwave” but score many different ways.
- Thomas said Matta challenged him on his motor and he wants to be much more active at both ends of the floor, especially on the boards.
- All of his teammates raved about the progress Thomas made this off-season.
- Craft said he never hesitated to pass Thomas the ball last year, but he has a lot more confidence giving it to him now.
- Buford compared it to his own progress between freshman and sophomore year. He said Thomas can take over a game offensively.
ON JORDAN SIBERT…
- Buford raved about the progress Sibert has made this off-season.
- Buford said Sibert will help offset Diebler’s outside shooting, but he’s more than just a shooter. Called him a very good defender who can also get to the basket.
ON EVAN RAVENEL…
- Ravenel believes he can bring a defensive presence to the team this year. Said his biggest strengths are defense and rebounding.
- He isn’t quite as athletic as Dallas Lauderdale, but does have a 7-2 wingspan.
- Ravenel also brings experience and leadership from his two years playing at Boston College.
- Ravenel said he has been impressed with the two freshmen big men—Amir Williams and Trey McDonald.
- He said Williams is a shot-blocker who will bring an immediate defensive presence down low.
- He was also impressed with McDonald’s strength. Believes he will be able to contribute this year because he is so strong. Looks more like a guy who has been in the program 2-3 years than an incoming freshman.
ON J.D. WEATHERSPOON…
- Weatherspoon said he is being asked to play a David Lighty type role on the defense. He will play some 3 and some 4.
- Matta said Weatherspoon might actually be more athletic than Lighty.
- Weatherspoon said he is a good defender because of his length and athleticism. He said his length bothers Buford in practice, and he can actually go and guard Craft and Scott too.
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