Two Minute Drill: B1G Hoops Media Day

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Last updated: 10/25/2012 4:12 PM

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Men's Basketball
Two-Minute Drill: Notes from B1G Media Day in Chicago
By Brandon Castel

While much of the focus in Columbus is on Happy Valley, where the undefeated Buckeyes will face a 5-2 Penn State team on Saturday, the Ohio State basketball team is in Chicago for the annual Big Ten Media Day.

OSU head coach Thad Matta took juniors Aaron Craft and Deshaun Thomas with him to Chicago, where he had plenty to say about the team he has coming back from Ohio State’s Final Four run a year ago.

Light Going on for Deshaun

* Matta said Deshaun Thomas is thinner than he was last year and "the light is on" for him in terms of becoming a fully effective player.

* Matta also said Deshaun has a much better understanding of the game, realizes he can affect the game on defense and rebounding.

* Matta said he's been pleased with what he's seen from Deshaun defensively in practice so far. Much improved from last year.

* Matta said it's been amazing to see Deshaun's attitude and new-found leadership with this team.

More Player Notes

* Matta said big man Trey McDonald has come "leaps and bounds" in understanding his own skill set.

* Matta said LaQuinton Ross is getting the "meat and the potatoes" of putting the system together. Didn't have that luxury last year.

* Matta said sophomore forward Sam Thompson has surprised the staff with his overall play thus far in practice.

* Matta said Aaron Craft was the most college-ready freshman he's every coached, both physically and mentally.

* Matta also said freshman Amedeo Della Valle understands the game as well as anybody he's ever seen, and can knock down shots as well.

2012 Buckeyes as a Whole

* Matta called Jared Sullinger one of the greatest players he's ever coached. Said you don't simply replaced Jared or Will Buford.

* Matta expects this team to have more depth than last year. Also more speed and athleticism. Wants to play "as fast as we possibly can."

* Matta has always liked teams where he doesn’t always know where the scoring is going to come from every night. Sees this as that type of team.

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