The Buckeyes picked up a big commitment today in 6'10, 230 pound center Daniel Giddens out of Marietta, GA. Giddens is somewhere between a four and five star depending on who you ask. 247Sports has him listed 20th overall as a five-star, however their composite rating has him 46th in the country as a four-star. He's also young for his class, not turning 17 until later this month.
So what does Giddens bring to the Buckeyes?
First and foremost, Giddens is known for his defense. He does everything that you could possibly ask a center to do on that end, but he's especially good at protecting the rim both while defending the ball in the post and in help situations. With his penchant for weak side blocks -- his near 7'3 wingspan makes him a terror on the high school level and should translate collegiately -- and ability to body people in the post, there are few better defenders in the paint in the 2015 class.
The post is not his only strongpoint defensively though. Giddens moves well in space and can be counted on to make life difficult for guards trying to get into the lane or find passing lanes when running the pick-and-roll. He's not necessarily Patric Young on the perimeter or anything, but he's definitely an above-average lateral athlete and coach Thad Matta should have no problem employing the hard hedges that he loves on the perimeter. Finally, he's an excellent defensive rebounder who uses his body to shield off offensive rebounders and secure rebounds high above his head.
Offense is much more of a work in progress for Giddens. He's improving his skill level every day (after all, he is about a year younger than most people in his class), but it's still below average. His best offensive weapons right now are his outlet passing to start fast breaks, his ability to find soft spots in the lane for easy dump off buckets, and his offensive rebounding.
All of these things show you that Giddens has the basketball sense and intelligence to be an excellent role player and basketball minimalist that never needs the ball, but might never develop beyond that level collegiately. He doesn't have a post game yet, and unfortunately can't shoot from beyond eight feet - including at the foul line where he really struggles. If he can develop either of these things, he's got a real shot to be a scoring factor on offense with his athleticism and intelligence.
For people who have no experience watching him, envision Giddens as a smarter Amir Williams with better hands. The defensive impact on the collegiate level could potentially be immediate with his length and intelligence, but the offense will continue to be a work in progress as he develops his skill level.
I don't think there's any circumstance where he's not at least a three-year player for the Buckeyes unless his defensive play is so strong that he dominates from day one, which is highly unlikely. However, I do think there is a good chance he gets on the court from day one. The Buckeyes lose Williams, Anthony Lee, and Trey McDonald this season, which means that the frontcourt will be in a state of renewal in 2015. Virginia Tech transfer Trevor Thompson will be there, along with combo forwards Mickey Mitchell, Marc Loving, and Keita Bates-Diop (and Dave Bell, but who knows if Ohio State ever gets anything out of him). Giddens and Thompson are the only two true big men on that roster, which means the Buckeyes could rely heavily on the highly touted Giddens from the get-go.
This is an excellent get for the Buckeyes. Giddens is already a good defensive player, and by all accounts is a hard-working, intelligent player that really wants to improve. I think we're going to look back on Giddens and see that his rating as the #11 center in his class slightly underrated his skills. He's a perfect match for what Thad Matta wants defensively out of his bigs, and he could really blossom at Ohio State.