Ohio State basketball 2014 exit interviews: Trey McDonald

Jamie Sabau

Next in our postseason review series, the Buckeye backup big man, who could see a changing role next season.

Prior to this season, a video of Trey McDonald highlights would be pretty short. After all, the former three-star recruit from Battle Creek, Michigan simply didn't play a ton of minutes, and his style of play wasn't super conducive to the highlight reels anyway. But with the 2013-2014 Buckeye squad short on size, McDonald was primed to play more than he ever had, and to showcase his worth.

Did that happen? Well...:

2012-2013 Season Stats: 19 GP, 1.3 PPG, 1.2 RPG, 55.6% FGP, 7.6 minutes, 1.1 fouls

2013-2014 Season Stats: 2.0 PPG, 1.7 RPG. 52.7% FGP, 12.1 minutes, 2.0 fouls

Last season's preview:

So this is what I wrote for the worst case scenario for McDonald, before the season started:

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.

That is – not really what happened, but that was closer to the reality than the best case scenario. McDonald was a significantly inferior option on offense to Amir Williams, fouled at a high rate, and doesn't rebound especially well. While he played in every game, and occasionally logged legitimate minutes (25 in a loss to Penn State when Williams was laboring with fouls, 17 in the Big Ten Tournament loss to Michigan), he wasn't an especially productive player when he was on the floor.

Best Game: McDonald played well in the Big Ten Tournament against Purdue, grabbing a season high six boards and scoring four points in 16 minutes of action, while only fouling twice. He scored a season high 9 points in the 65-63 loss to Penn State, on 4-6 shooting.

Worst Game: Like ADV, McDonald typically didn't play enough to put together a horrendous statline, and if his defense was particularly horrible, he'd get pulled before he could spend enough time on the court to cause too much damage.  In a Feb. 22 win over Minnesota, McDonald picked up two fouls and three turnovers in 13 minutes without attempting a shot or grabbing a rebound. Being charitable, that is not good.

The Skinny: I mean, what's there to say? Trey McDonald wasn't very good. His free throw shooting is awful at 33%, and he shot above 50% from the stripe exactly once all season, when he was one-for-one against Michigan State on March 9. He averaged as many fouls as points, and perhaps more worrisome, didn't appreciably improve from last season to this season. He's not much of a defender, wasn't a great rebounder, and with his free throw shooting being so bad, he wouldn't be able to be on the floor at the end of games

Trey is good at running the floor, burning his fouls (and I"m not saying that pejoratively; that's a good skill), and knowing his role on the team. McDonald didn't take a bunch of bad shots, or really, any shots at all.

Prognosis: You don't need to be a brain surgeon to know that Ohio State's front court rotation left something to be desired last year, and if the team is going to make significant improvements, they needed reinforcements. Incoming freshman Dave Bell is not that guy (anything but a redshirt would greatly surprise us), but Thad Matta did go out and bring in Temple transfer Anthony Lee to help add interior scoring and rebounding. Lee might fit best with Amir Williams on the court at the same time, but it's also possible to imagine him seeing some time at the 5, which would cut into McDonald's minutes.

At the very least, barring some significant improvement, it's difficult for me to imagine a scenario where McDonald plays much more than he did last season. For him to play around 10 minutes a night as a floor-running, space-eating, foul machine, that's perfectly fine. Expecting anything more might be a stretch.

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