This holiday season we here at Land-Grant Holy Land thought it might be nice to find out what Buckeye players and fans want for Christmas (or Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, or whatever winter holiday you choose to celebrate) from their Buckeye sports teams. So start filling out your list and checking it twice, because next week, we're going to go over football! Many of our Buckeye players, coaches, fans and even writers have a few things we want, starting with:
1) Aaron Craft - His shooting touch. This seems obvious, but Aaron Craft has not shot the ball well of late. He's got a well-documented 35% field goal percentage, and an abysmal 32% from beyond the three-point arc. Craft is shooting exactly 80% from the free-throw line so that's a plus, but he's really struggling elsewhere, including a horrific 3-15 performance from the field against Duke. Craft is really going to have to step up his game. Despite working all off-season, his shooting touch has not improved - it's only regressed and is really starting to hurt the team. Craft's shooting touch has got to be at the top of his list.
2) LaQuinton Ross - Trust and more minutes. Ross is finally starting to show off his scoring ability and his average has gone up to 10.6 ppg. He is starting to show flashes of consistency and an ability to be a second option that we were hoping for. Now all Thad Matta has to do is loosen up the reins a bit.
3) DeShaun Thomas - Some scoring help! The aforementioned Ross and Lenzelle Smith are barely averaging double figures so far this season, Craft has 4 apg but can't shoot, and Sam Thompson is more of an athlete than a scorer. Thomas is the first, second and third option and that needs to change if the Buckeyes are going to do well in the Big Ten and beyond. Of course, it certainly helps Thomas' draft stock if his stats are high, but I'm sure he'd appreciate some assistance.
4) The Fans - some wins over some decent teams. Look, getting wins over cupcakes is nice. But the first game that might have been good was wiped out by unsafe playing conditions (who knew that playing on the deck of a ship might cause water on the court? SHOCKING!) and the second game was a close loss to an excellent team in a place where they are nigh unbeatable. The rest of the wins have been against teams that aren't awful, but can't match up to the Buckeyes in terms of talent. It's time for the Big Ten season to start already.
5) Thad Matta - Big man development. If there's one thing we know Coach Matta likes, it's having a dominant big man in the middle. Right now, he definitely doesn't have that. Amir Williams doesn't appear to have the killer instinct of a Jared Sullinger or Greg Oden, and Evan Ravenel is a great leader but is more comparable in his offensive skill set to Dallas Lauderdale than anything else. Right now Matta's ideal lineup for scoring is to go small, and in the Big Ten that's not going to fly, especially not with Indiana's Cody Zeller, Sparty's Louis Nix and emerging big man Jordan Morgan playing for TSUN, looming on the horizon. Williams is just going to have to get better and do it quickly.
And finally, a quick but heartfelt farewell to St. John Arena. As many of you know, this will be torn down soon to be replaced by another building in the planned "athletic district". There have been many wonderful moments - Jerry Lucas and Jim Jackson plied their trade inside the arena, and over the years it developed character. Many of us have good memories there - mine being mostly of Buckeye hockey games and convocation - and hopefully the old arena will be sent out with a bang.
What's on your hoops Christmas list this year?