Men's Basketball Recruiting
Matta, Buckeyes Land Big Man for 2014
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State may be coming off back-to-back losses against two of the top five teams in the county, but that doesn’t mean the program is lacking any positive momentum.
The Buckeyes slide from 10th to No. 13 in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll, but OSU head coach Thad Matta and his staff landed another commitment Tuesday in the form of Garfield Heights center David Bell.
According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Bell verbally committed to play basketball for Ohio State on Monday night, a day after he made an unofficial visit to the campus. He is only rated as a 3-star prospect, but at 6-10 he gives the Buckeyes a big man in the class of 2014 to go with a pair of small forwards who are already committed to Ohio State.
“Bell is the second Ohioan in a three-man OSU 2014 class that also includes Jae'Sean Tate of Pickerington and Keita Bates-Diop of Illinois,” said Ozone contributor Jeff Rapp of SportsRappUp.com.
“Bell is still pretty raw but at 6-10 and fairly athletic there is plenty of upside. Plus, he is averaging 17.3 points, 8.1 rebounds and 4.6 blocks per game.”
He was in Columbus over the weekend and watched Ohio State lose 81-68 to No. 1-ranked Indiana on Sunday. He was hoping to pick up an offer before he left Columbus, but the Cleveland-area native had to wait until he was back home on Monday.
Bell is a little bit of a project, having only played organized basketball for a handful of years, and Rapp was a little surprised to hear he had been offered a spot in the 2014 class, which is expected to have as many as five players.
“It’s not like Ohio State to go after three-star in-state recruits before they are offered by other big schools,” Rapp said, “but David Bell may be worth it.”
His only other offers were from Cleveland State, DePaul, Dayton, and St. Joseph's (Pa.), but Bell was starting to pick up major interest after missing a big chunk of his AAU season with a foot injury.
Michigan State and Cincinnati were two of the other teams gaining interest in the big man, especially after his recent showing at Flying to the Hoop in Columbus last month. His commitment fills a big void for the Buckeyes in the middle. They will lose senior Evan Ravenel after this season and have two more years of Amir Williams and Trey McDonald.
Matta will add two players for next year from the 2013 class in scoring guard Kameron Williams out of Baltimore and Toledo product Marc Loving. At 6-8, 210 pounds, Loving could be a small forward or power forward at Ohio State, but almost certainly won’t be a center.
The Buckeyes will have to wait two years to get Bell on campus, along with Tate, Bates-Diop and anyone else who joins them in the class of 2014. According to what we’re hearing, the OSU coaches are still working extremely hard to add a few more high-profile players to the class.
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