Two-Minute Drill: Matta, Players Preview Walsh Exhibition
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Basketball season is back.
No, really, it is. The Buckeyes will take the court for the first time since their Final Four loss to Kansas on Tuesday night when they host Walsh University in an exhibition game (7 p.m. ET, BTN.com) at Value City Arena.
Ohio State no longer has All-American Jared Sullinger to rely on, but junior Deshaun Thomas was named a preseason All-American by the Associated Press on Monday.
Along with junior Lenzelle Smith and sophomore Sam Thompson, OSU Head Coach Thad Matta met with the media to preview the exhibition game and the upcoming season.
Playing Walsh Tomorrow Night
* Matta says he likes the progress his team has made, but not sure they're quite ready to play a game.
* Matta said his team had three of the most competitive practices since he's been here over the last week.
* Lenzelle said the Buckeyes won't look like a Final Four tomorrow night, but they need to get better every single day.
* Thompson said they still have a sour taste in their mouths over how last season ended.
* Lenzelle said Sam Thompson has the highest vertical jump he's ever seen, but Lenzelle says he has him in creativity on dunks.
* Lenzelle said at the end of last year he started looking for his shot and tried to be the complete player that he can be.
* Lenzelle said not to be surprised when you see Aaron Craft come off a ball screen at the top of the arc to hit a three.
* Lenzelle said guys will travel in practice now when Deshaun Thomas passes them the ball because they aren't used to it.
Playing More Guys
* Matta said he could use as many as 6 or 7 different lineups, though we may not see all of them in the exhibition tomorrow night.
* Matta said Amir Williams and Deshaun Thomas have been really good together. Lenzelle and Aaron Craft also building on their chemistry from last year.
* Lenzelle Smith called freshman Amedeo Della Valle a sharp-shooter. "I wouldn't say Jon Diebler, but if I can to compare him to someone...that’s who I would guard him like.”
Wanting to Run
* Lenzelle Smith said you have to be a smart team to play up and down the way they want to do this season.
* Lenzelle is excited to see how many steals they can create from flying around the court this year and playing fast.
* Lenzelle said when he first got here the offseason workout program was like body building with David Lighty. Said this offseason has been more like track practice to get ready for the pace they want to play this year.
* Lenzelle said Evan Ravenel has had his best 2-3 practices at Ohio State the last week.
* Sam Thompson said Amir Williams has been blocking everything in the paint in practice. Can tell guys are hesitant to drive on him.
* Lenzelle and Sam both said they feel like they can be more aggressive defensively when Amir Williams is on the court.
* Matta said they still want to throw the ball inside to Deshaun, Q and Thompson along with their bigs.
What’s in a Ranking?
* Matta doesn't know how to view being ranked 4th in the country and 3rd in the Big Ten, except the conference must be really good.
* Lenzelle said the fact they are No. 4 in the polls but picked 3rd in the Big Ten is a slap in the face.
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