First Thoughts From a 64-35 Win Over UT-Pan American
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, Ohio—It was rarely pretty, but it was also never in doubt. The Buckeyes were playing without All-American Jared Sullinger, which would explain some of the lack of scoring. But it was likely the noon tipoff which caught some of the Ohio State players still napping.
If you've ever worked in an office, this game was like one of those Fridays around the holidays when the boss is out of town. Nothing really gets done, nor is it expected to. People aren't in much of a hurry to do anything, and customer service (i.e. not scoring 70 points to earn fans in the stands free french fries) is lacking.
It's also something that everybody is expecting, so nobody is caught off guard. Everybody knows that when Monday rolls back around, it will be time to get back to work with emphasis, which shouldn't be a problem with this team.
First Thought—Not that I was excited to see what this team looked like without Jared Sullinger, but I was excited to see what Evan Ravenel could do when the offense actually ran through him a good bit.
Photo by Jim Davidson
He ended up leading the team in scoring with eleven points despite playing just 20 minutes. I'm always impressed with how calm he is on the floor. No spot looks too big for him, and I almost expect him to take a three-pointer when he gets the ball out on the wing at times.
He also hit the offensive glass hard, snagging five boards, though he did have problems getting the put backs to fall. All in all, his performance was absolutely not a surprise. He has already shown early in the season that much should be expected of him, because he is definitely capable of meeting those expectations.
If Ravenel was a 30-minute per night player, I would think eleven points and seven rebounds might even be a bit below average for him. Especially if he played on a team that didn't have a slew of other offensive options like this one does.
Guarded Thought—While point guard Shannon Scott and shooting guard Jordan Sibert were on the court together, I found myself thinking about what that backcourt would be like down the road.
From what they have shown this season, it could be one of the better shooting tandems that Ohio State has seen in some time, and certainly the backcourt with the quickest shot.
Then I was reminded that Aaron Craft is still just a sophomore and I found myself distracted by the sound of my own giggling.
Photo by Jim Davidson
Timely Thought—Before forward J.D. Weatherspoon started flying around Value City Arena dunking basketballs like he was playing human Whack-A-Mole, I had jotted down that I thought he had played well enough to start deserving more minutes.
He did nothing after I took those notes to make me think I was wrong.
He was strong on the offensive glass, he was playing defense, and he wasn't forcing anything (until late). He was being the effort guy that this team has room for.
No, he won't be asked to score more than putbacks and alley oops will allow, but then why is that a bad thing? Let him do what he's best at, and let the other four scorers around him do what they are best at.
Frankly, Weatherspoon isn't as skilled as some of the other players on the bench, but he gives more than just his skills. His effort is never lacking, and on a day like today, where some players may have missed their wakeup call, Weatherspoon was up and at 'em like the morning person from hell.
Discouraging Thought—Consider this an open letter to college basketball referees around the country: If Deshaun Thomas passes up a perimeter shot and instead chooses to drive, please don't call a charge on him because you will just discourage him from ever doing it again.
A Mere Thought—Without Sullinger on the floor, I wanted to see what Amir Williams could do with extended minutes. I came in expecting him to get four or five blocks, but he only got one—though he affected more than that clearly.
What I really wanted to see from him, however, was his offense. I wanted the ball to go to him down in the post and see some offensive moves from him, but that just never really happened.
Most of the problem was the fact that Williams just couldn't catch the ball when it came his way. There were three passes that he couldn't do anything with—though one was an impossible alley oop from Aaron Craft.
He's just not used to getting the ball and being expected to do something with it. It was interesting that the one time he did get the ball and scored on a three-point play, Thad Matta was immediately out on the court to greet him and encourage him.
We can talk about how Matta needs to play this guy or that guy, or how Matta needs to have confidence in a player before he sees significant time, but I also think those players need to have confidence in themselves first, and that's where Williams is right now.
Today could have gone better for Williams, but he closed strong, which should help on down the road.
Photo by Jim Davidson
Confident Thought—I continue to be impressed with Shannon Scott's confidence in his mid-range jumper. The mid-range game is something that not nearly enough players possess in today's game. Either they are three-point shooters, or they are drivers. Rarely are they all three.
Scott appears to be one of those players who understands the value of all kinds of range. William Buford is a good example of how far the 18-foot jumper can take you. He'll leave Ohio State as a first-round draft pick and one of the school's all-time leading scorers. Scott would be wise to pick up some of Buford's tricks.
That all being said, I would still like to start seeing more driving from Scott.
Finishing Thought—Aaron Craft has been a much better finisher this season. When he gets into the paint, his shot generally falls.
This is great for him, but bad for Sullinger, who snagged most of Craft's misses last year and put them back up and in.
Final Thought—William Buford can be forgiven for shooting just 1-7 from the field. After all, he only played 26 minutes. He just didn't play enough in the game to have one of those eight-point bursts over a span of 90 seconds that he has been known for.
Related Story - Dr. Thad says Sullinger should be back for Kansas.
Season Stats Year to Date
Donate by Check :
1380 King Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43212
Help us bring you more Buckeye coverage. Donate to the-Ozone.
Click here to email this the-Ozone feature to a friend...or even a foe.
(c) 2010 The O-Zone, O-Zone Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, rebroadcast,rewritten, or redistributed.