With the basketball Buckeyes losing in the first round of the tournament, all eyes shift to the next era in Ohio State basketball. The Buckeyes will need to replace two seniors in Lenzelle Smith and Aaron “I’ve been here for 30 years” Craft, as well as Italian Stallion, Amedeo Della Valle and LaQuinton Ross, who have both decided to take their talents to the professional level, albeit most likely in Europe for both of them. What does this mean for the 2014-15 Ohio State Basketball squad? Let’s take a look at some possibilities for next years team.
Young and Hungry
There will be only 4 returning upperclassmen on the 2014-15 Buckeye squad, with Shannon Scott, Amir Williams and Sam Thompson as the only returning starters, with Trey McDonald coming off the bench. Therefore at least one starting spot will be given to an incoming freshmen. While this class is not going to be the Thad 5 of 2006, they do have some players in D’Angelo Russell, Keita Bates-Diop, and Jae’Sean Tate. Russell is seemingly the star of the class, able to create his own shot off the dribble, as well as hit the long ball — a welcome sight for anyone who watched this years team’s shooting epidemic. The rumor is that Bates-Diop is also going to be thrown in the mix early and often.
Again, with so much roster movement, Thad is going to have to have younger players step into leadership roles. Marc Loving will have to be one of those guys. As the only underclassmen with in-game experience, he may be heavily relied on to take on more of a scoring roll, and fill the void that Laquinton Ross will leave behind. In addition, Kameron Williams will also have to emerge as a sharpshooter in order to get the Buckeyes’ 3-point shooting back on track.
I loved Aaron Craft, and in a way he was the last bridge of an era that featured David Lighty, Jon Diebler, William Buford and Jared Sullinger. While Aaron was one of the most fun players to watch in recent memory, with him gone the Buckeyes can get back to building a team around a new group of players that are sure to dazzle and delight fans. It may not be the prettiest season next year, but it sure will be fun to watch.
Here’s a video of some of Keita Bates-Diop’s highlights