Thad Matta and staff were on their grind this weekend, attending numerous AAU tournaments being held in the midwest and down south. The Nike Peach Jam in North Augusta, South Carolina was one of those aforementioned tournaments. Current class of 2014 Ohio State commits Jae'Sean Tate, D'Angelo Russell and Buckeye offer holders Jahlil Okafor (2014), Elijah Thomas (2015), Luke Kennard (2015) and VJ King (2016) were just some in attendance.
Tate's 17U All Ohio-Red squad finished 2-3 over the weekend. Even with a nagging shoulder injury, the 6-5ish Pickerington Central forward was the teams leading scorer, averaging 12.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists a contest. His best game of the weekend was Saturday morning when Tate went for a team high 21 points in a 61-56 victory over Boston Amateur Basketball Club.
D'Angelo Russell and his Each One Teach One club impressed everyone in attendance at the Riverview Park Activities Center all weekend long. The 6-4 five-star lefty was a key reason his team finished with an undefeated record of 8-0 and a Peach Jam Championship. Russell finished with 22 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals in a hard fought 108-102 title game victory over the CP3 All-Stars Sunday afternoon. His best game of the tournament definitely came in the semifinals, where the guard accounted for a triple double, going for 16 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds, leading E1T1 to a 102-80 blow out win over Team Penny.
Grayson Allen, D'Angelo Russell and Joel Berry led E1T1 Elite to an undefeated record and the Peach Jam title. http://t.co/e0Prl7Pest— Adam Rowe (@BlueDevilLair) July 14, 2013
Coach Matta also made a trip to Myrtle Beach to check out class of 2014 big man Elbert Robinson in action at the Big Shots tournament. Robinson,a Texas native, is a mountain of a man, standing nearly 7-0 and 320 pounds already holds offers from the Bucks, Kansas, Louisville, Georgetown and others. Needing to add a big to the class, Elbert could be exactly what OSU is looking for:
Ohio State Thad Matta, Nebraska Tim Miles & Kenya Hunter, Georgia Tech's Chad Dollar watching Elbert Robinson #BigShots Myrtle Beach— Kevin Schneider (@BigShotsReport) July 13, 2013
Ohio State commit Keita Bates-Diop didn't have to travel far to participate in the Chicago Summer Challenge over the weekend. The lanky 6-8 Bates-Diop led his Illinois Wolves squad to a share of the 17u Championship, scoring 12 points in the semifinal game.
ZagsBlog.com contributor Jeremy Woo checked out Keita in action over the weekend and told Land-Grant Holy Land the following on his performance at the Chicago Summer Challenge and what he feels the Buckeyes are getting in the five-star forward.
" Ohio State assistant Jeff Boals sat front and center for Keita Bates-Diop on Saturday at the Chicago Summer Challenge at Riverside-Brookfield High School, and had plenty of reason to smile. The 6-8 Bates-Diop did his usual thing, scoring from the perimeter as well as penetrating with ease. Although his Illinois Wolves squad faced largely inferior competition, it's easy to see the tools that make Bates-Diop a future pro. With his 7-foot wingspan and unusual skill for his size, he won't have to change much stylistically about his game to transition to the college level. From his sound jumper to his monster dunks, Bates-Diop's versatility and talent should make him a critical piece for the Buckeyes relatively quickly. After a couple years of seasoning, you're looking at a first-round caliber talent, especially given Thad Matta's propensity for developing polished players. Bates-Diop and the rest of Ohio State's highly-touted recruiting class should keep the Buckeyes near the top for the Big Ten for a while."
Coach Boals also made the trip to Indianapolis, Indiana for the Adidas Invitational. Current class of 2014 commit Dave Bell, Targets Carlton Bragg and Stephen Zimmerman are just a few of the prospects Boals has his eyes on. Bell, a 6-9ish forward out of Garfield Heights shocked most of Buckeye Nation when he was offered and committed back in February over DePaul and most of the MAC. At that time some recruiting analysts were questioning the Ohio State coaching staff decision to take the commitment of Bell and that still looks to be the case:
David Bell is HM good? Good look for Bell, bad look for Ohio St. I can see that a quality MM school would pounce. Hope he proves me wrong.— N.D. Kendrick (@NDkendrick) July 11, 2013
" Dave Bell isn't nearly as bad as some people say he is. I talked to Coach Boals this weekend and he said that he's only played for three years, he's still very raw. That was evident this week, but Bell was efficient on defense, as he used his size and long wingspan to block and alter a moderate percentage of shots. Bell is obviously being recruited on potential, and if he can continue to refine his post moves, he'll become a better look in Ohio State's 2014 class."
Let's switch gears to football: Class of 2015 Texas wide out Demarkus Lodge told SB Nation's Wescott Eberts that Ohio State, Texas and Texas A&M are sticking out due to the fact he could see himself fitting in their offenses. Lodge is currently putting together a solid offer list with the Buckeyes, Longhorns, Aggies, Baylor, Texas Tech and quite a few others trying to add the four-star prospects talents.
Wescott was kind enough to hook Land-Grant Holy Land up with a scouting report on Demarkus Lodge:
"The 6-1, 185 pound Lodge is an interesting prospect because he has a number of high level offer, including Ohio State and Texas, among others, despite only catching six passes for 59 yards at the varsity level last season. He'll take on a bigger role this season with the contributors in front of him now graduated and off to play college football, so he'll have a chance to substantiate the significant belief he has generated among some highly successful football minds. Not the biggest or the fastest pass catcher around, Lodge has a diverse skill set that includes crisp route running that allows him to get separation out of breaks, wide shoulders and long arms that allow him to screen defensive backs and the hands to catch the ball inside or outside of his frame. Combined with a solid understanding of how to use his hands and feet to beat press coverage, Lodge does a lot of things well for a guy who has yet to see much varsity action."
Class of 2014 four-star offensive tackle Alex Bookser visited the Ohio State campus Saturday. The 6-6 295 pound Pennsylvania native has stated in the past that the Buckeyes, Pittsburgh and Penn State all sit towards the top of his list.
Warren Harding (OH) class of 2015 offensive lineman James Daniels tells me he will attend Friday Night Lights at Ohio State on the 26th. Daniels also stated "I have been in touch with Coach Warinner. Coach said they've been looking at me to come in early and play." James the son of one time Buckeye offensive lineman LeShun Daniels currently holds offers from B1G foes Michigan State, Penn State, Indiana, and Iowa, where his older brother LeShun Jr. will soon play running back.