We are under a month away until the 2013 season for the Ohio State basketball team, as they begin their journey on the hardwood in an exhibition game on November 3rd against Walsh. The regular season will open up against Morgan State on November 9th. Thursday was Ohio State basketball's media day and we got an inside look to how the players have progressed through the offseason training and what to keep an eye on as we enter into the season. Ohio State Athletics provided the quotes from the media day itself.
With four year returning starter Aaron Craft manning the ship once again, expectations should remain fairly high after the Buckeyes had an earlier than expected exit from the tournament last season in the Elite Eight when they fell to Wichita State. Returning as a focused, hungry leader, Aaron Craft spent the offseason trying to take the next step in his offensive game:
Guard Aaron Craft said he worked hard in the offseason to overhaul his shooting motion. #GoBucks— Ohio State Buckeyes (@OhioStAthletics) October 10, 2013
More Craft: Our biggest focus is to knock down open shots when we get them, and improve our shooting percentage. #GoBucks— Ohio State Buckeyes (@OhioStAthletics) October 10, 2013
Deshaun Thomas' leadership and offensive production will be sorely missed, but there's no looking back. LaQuinton Ross came on strong in the second half of last season and should provide a spark on the offensive end, but he'll need to get better defensively to gain regular playing time. Lenzelle Smith Jr. and Sam Thompson are also a couple of returners who played big roles last season and will have to be counted on for even bigger roles in 2013. At the end of the day, the biggest weakness on this team would have to be considered the lack of an elite big man, something all of Buckeye Nation hopes Amir Williams can turn out to be.
Lenzelle Smith Jr: As a senior consistency is going to be the biggest thing for me this year. pic.twitter.com/K2bQffO28n— Ohio State Buckeyes (@OhioStAthletics) October 10, 2013
Thad Matta is entering his 10th season as the head man for the Buckeyes and though he's been close, he's still looking to add the big one, a national championship. There's reason to be optimistic with the amount of athleticism that surrounds the program, but he knows it's not going to be easy. With the right amount of preparation and constant progression of players, any goal is achievable, and he wasn't afraid to show it:
Matta: We have a chance to be really a good team. I love the cohesiveness. It is early, but I am very excited about the season. #GoBucks— Ohio State Buckeyes (@OhioStAthletics) October 10, 2013
During Matta's tenure, there's an argument that Ohio State basketball has been the class of the Big Ten. With this being a veteran-led team this year, anything short of a Big Ten Championship, regular season or tournament, would have to be considered a disappointment. The Buckeyes first test could come at Marquette, in the first road game of the year on November 16th. Again, there are a few players that will have to turn the corner and continue to improve in the physicality, but if they do, this team will once again be dangerous and position themselves for a title run come March.