Earlier this afternoon, Rivals.com released its newest 2014 basketball rankings. Topping the list once again is Chicago big man Jahlil Okafor, an Ohio State target. Right behind Okafor is SMU commit Emmanuel Mudiay, followed by Stanley Johnson, Cliff Alexander and Tyus Jones. For Ohio State, three Buckeye targets crack the top 75. Lets take a look at each of them below.
D'Angelo Russell: No. 21
Committing to Thad Matta and Ohio State in June, Russell, a shooting guard from Montverde Academy, is the highest-ranked Buckeye commit. Finishing strong on the summer circuit with a Peach Jam championship, a second-place finish at the AAU Super Showcase, and a stellar showing Adidas Nations, Russell is a cant-miss prospect. With a deadly offensive skill set, Russell can from anywhere on the court, and did exactly that in Orlando at the Super Showcase. One of Russell's top performances came in the Final Four in Orlando, when Russell's 19 points and 11 rebounds lifted Each 1 Teach 1 over Ja'Quan Newton and Team Final out of Philadelphia. Russell's double-double came in front of Matta, who was visibly impressed with his 5-star prospect.
Keita Bates-Diop: No. 24
Bates-Diop, a 6'7 190-pound small forward from Illinois, checks in three spots behind Russell. Playing for the Illinois Wolves in the AAU season, Bates-Diop gave a glimpse of what he will be able to bring to Columbus with impressive performances everywhere he went. At the NBPA Top 100 Camp, Bates-Diop was a force in transition, getting out on the break for big time finishes. Heading into his senior season, Keita looks to be a complete offensive player once he hits the hardwood at Ohio State.
Jae'Sean Tate: No. 75
Dropping 15 spots from Rivals' previous rankings, Tate comes in at No. 75, a ranking unusually low for the Pickerington Central combo-guard, considering ESPN has him ranked at No. 29. While a shoulder injury kept Tate out of action for most of the month of June, including the majority of the NBPA Top 100 Camp, the senior responded with a strong set of performances at Peach Jam and the AAU Super Showcase. Leading All-Ohio Red despite the absence of Purdue target Vince Edwards, Tate & Co. rolled all the way to the Sweet 16 in the Super Showcase, falling to Tyus Jones and the eventual champion Howard Pulley. While Jae'Sean is notorious for his bulldog-type play style, he has improved leaps and bounds with his jump-shooting, and is becoming a more complete player. Already playing with lots of motivation, look for Tate to use the No. 75 ranking as an additional chip on his shoulder.
Where the other Ohio State targets check in:
* denotes visit scheduled or already taken
1. Jahlil Okafor (C, Chicago Whitney Young)
Considering: Arizona*, Baylor*, Duke*, Illinois, Kansas*, Kentucky*, Michigan State, Ohio State
6. Myles Turner (C, Euless Trinity, TX)
Considering: Arizona, Duke, Kansas*, Kentucky, Louisville, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Texas
32. Goodluck Okonoboh (C, Wilbraham & Monson Academy, MA)
Considering: Duke, Florida, Indiana, Ohio State, UNLV
51. Elbert Robinson (C, Garland Lakeview Centennial, TX)
Considering: Baylor, Florida, George Mason, Georgetown, Georgia Tech*, Kansas, Kansas State, Nebraska*, Ohio State, SMU, TCU, Texas, Texas State
100. Payton Dastrup (PF, Mesa Mountain View, AZ)
Considering: Arizona, BYU, Florida, Kansas*, Ohio State, UCLA, Virginia