Big Ten basketball season has officially kicked off with the 2014 Big Ten Media Day. Ohio State coach Thad Matta took the podium to answer questions from the press Thursday morning.
Matta opened with acknowledging there would be a lot of questions about their team, given that they have lost three starters. "We'll be a different team", but he said that he's pleased in the direction they are going.
The Buckeyes' head man says he hasn't really thought about the Big Ten's national title drought having an impact on the perception of the Big Ten as a basketball conference. Says you can't judge the conference by national titles, but should look at the overall success. He added that he's very pleased with where Big Ten basketball is.
As far as expectations for heralded freshman D'Angelo Russell, Matta says he that is very pleased with how is playing in practice, and says he's doing a great job taking over the court. He mentioned that Russell has played some huge basketball games in high school and with the AAU, and that he likes his demeanor and the things he can do on the court.
With adding Anthony Lee to the fold, Matta says he has four to five guys who can play "big", which he likes about this team, along with Amir Williams, Trey McDonald and Sam Thompson. Matta says that the competitive nature of practice is something they haven't had in a while. The big men know if they don't come to play, they'll get embarrassed at practice. Trevor Thompson, a transfer from Virginia Tech, can't play for the team this season, but has added to that intense practice dynamic.