Thad Matta and the Ohio State basketball coaching staff were all over the place this past weekend, checking out all the Ohio State commits and most of the top targets on their recruiting board. One of their stops was in Washington, DC for the Nike Global Challenge. Class of 2014 commits Jae'Sean Tate, D'Angelo Russell and a few class of 2015 targets in Isaiah Briscoe, Ivan Rabb and Elijah Thomas all participated in the event.
Tate, who attends Pickerington Central High School, is a Mr. Everything type of player. The 6-5ish, Tate averaged just over 14 points and four rebounds a contest, helping lead the USA Midwest squad to a 3-1 final record and a third place finish. Once again Tate's future teammate in D'Angelo Russell impressed pretty much everyone in the stands. Russell, a 6-4 left handed guard, was a main reason USA South made it all the way to the championship game to take on Rabb, Thomas and the USA West team.
In a hard-fought battle, USA West came back to upset Russell and USA South by a final score of 98-95. D'Angelo finished the game with 10 points and five rebounds while Rabb and Thomas chipped in 7 and 4 points respectively. Russell, who showed off his all around game over the weekend, was named Co-MVP of the tournament after averaging nearly 20 points and five boards a contest.
D'Angelo Russell can get buckets in a hurry. Streaky shooter but has a knack for finding the bottom of the net somehow. Very confident.— Josh Stirn (@Josh_Stirn) July 18, 2013
Most of the staff including Coach Matta were also spotted at the Under Armour Summer Jam , held in Wisconsin over the weekend. Buckeye commit Keita Bates-Diop and big time targets Myles Turner (2014), LeRon Black (2014) and Stephen Zimmerman (2015) were all there with their AAU clubs to name a few. From the sound of things all three showed flashes of why they are considered as top prospects in their graduation classes. The Future Buck, Bates-Diop might have had one of his better outings of the weekend on Saturday when he went for 15 points and eight rebounds in an Illinois Wolves Elite 8 loss to RAS.
Ohio State commit Keita Bates-Diop has improved perimeter skill set all AAU season. Jumper looks fluid/better off bounce. @uasummerjam— Scott Phillips (@phillipshoops) July 18, 2013
The very busy Matta came back home to the Buckeye state to check out his future power forward Dave Bell and class of 2015 target and Cleveland native Carlton Bragg at the Adidas All-In tournament in Cincinnati. Bell, a 6'10ish long armed athletic big and the 6-8 Bragg, who is starting to gain offers and attention from most of the top programs in the nation, both balled out on what Land-Grant Holy Land was told was inferior competition for their Ohio Basketball Club teams.
Coach Thad Matta of Ohio State is here watching OBC PF David Bell. #Adidasallin— INSIGHT RECRUITING (@Insight_media1) July 21, 2013
Let's switch gears to the gridiron. Friday Night Lights is just a few days away, which means tons of recruits are starting to set their Columbus travel plans up. Titus Booker, a 6-0 175 Illinois class of 2015 speedster is one of those recruits. Booker, who happens to be a part of the Core6 Athletes family, rushed for 757 yards and 12 scores for his Grayslake North squad last season.
Even though he has yet to gain a major offer, Booker is hoping to catch the eye of the staff on Friday and told LGHL the following when it comes to Ohio State:
" Core 6 asked me if I would be interested in going so I said yes. I'm interested in seeing the campus and the coaches. If OSU offered me that would be great, I'd defiantly think about the offer. If I had a chance to play for one of the best coaches in Urban Meyer, that would be huge, no doubt I'd take that into consideration heavily. When I think of OSU, I think of Ohio State being the best team in the nation and their dominance in the Big Ten."
Class of 2015 Michigan defensive end Joshua Alabi named his top five over the weekend with the Buckeyes, Tennessee, Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin all making the list. Alabi, a 6-4 260 pound four-star prospect, is a 2x State champion and the teammate of current OSU commit Damon Webb at Detroit's Cass Tech. Talented enough to play either side of the ball on the next level, Joshua who visited Tennessee over the weekend will make the trip to the Buckeye state for Friday Night Lights this week.
Check out these highlights of Alabi in action: