At 6'8, 240, big man Trey McDonald is hard to miss. He's the second-biggest body on the team after Amir Williams and has the potential to earn more playing time this year in giving Amir Williams a spell now that Evan Ravenel has graduated, given that the Buckeyes have a paucity of tall bodies behind Williams.
McDonald was a 3-star recruit out of Battle Creek, Michigan in 2010. Thanks to playing mostly limited minutes over the last two seasons, McDonald hasn't exactly stuffed the box score over his career. This past season, the highest amount of minutes he played was 17, and those came in the February 17th blowout loss to Wisconsin. He scored two points and grabbed six rebounds. Against Iona in the first game of the NCAA tournament, McDonald put up a career high five points in eight total minutes. McDonald was relegated to mop-up duty most of the year, as Williams and Ravenel got the bulk of playing time at the power forward and center positions. Now, with only one person on Ohio State's roster taller than 6-8 besides McDonald, he should get quite a bit more playing time this year. He will have to really step up his game and contribute as a junior, especially as far as rim protection and rebounding are concerned.
Last Season Stats: 19 GP, 1.3 PPG, 1.2 RPG, 55.6% FGP.
A Look Back:
McDonald didn't play much last season, which may have surprised some fans, given the occasional struggles of Amir Williams (which should probably tell you a little about his development). McDonald saw more than five minutes of time in conference play only five times, all in blowouts. He only had 14 field goal attempts over the regular season, never scored more than four points, and only had four blocks and two steals all season. He played well in the team's blowout win over Iona in the first round, where he picked up a season high 5 points in 8 minutes of play. It's hard to draw too many conclusions over such a small sample size, but we know that McDonald didn't try to do anything that he couldn't do. For one of the guys buried deep on the bench, that can be okay.
Outlook for 2013-14:
When the Buckeyes need a stop, or if they're playing a lineup with productive big men (such as Michigan State or Purdue), expect McDonald to get some burn. His offensive game has looked unpolished at best in the playing time he's received so far, but Ohio State isn't putting him on the floor to get buckets, and they don't have the luxury of letting him ride the bench another year to develop. McDonald is coming off the bench if Amir Williams gets into foul trouble or is really ineffective, and McDonald will be called upon to provide toughness, rebounding, and to defend the paint. If he's able to provide anything extra, well, that's a bonus.
Best Case Scenario:
McDonald practices well and shows off a refined post game and increased awareness on the court. He continues to get stronger and uses his big body to box out opponents for rebounds and despite his relatively limited athleticism wins board battles with hustle and desire, filling a badly needed hole for the Buckeyes. He's able to step up and provide 5-12 minutes of defense and relentless effort occasionally, and becoming an effective role player.
Worst Case Scenario:
McDonald doesn't develop a consistent post game or footwork, and looks lost during the physicality and tempo of Big Ten basketball. Despite being thin down low, Matta decides to resort to full on small ball when Williams leaves the court, taking the physical punishment instead of letting McDonald get increased court time.
Eric Schieve contributed to this report.