In four years at Pickerington Central High School, located about a half hour east of Ohio State's campus, Jae'Sean Tate made his mark with an endless motor and by bringing elite-level energy to the floor each and every night. In the short amount of time that Tate has been on the Ohio State men's basketball team, not much has changed when it comes to the 6'4 forward's approach to the game.
As Tate dominated high school competition by bullying his way to the basket time and time again, the freshman has added elements to his offensive skill set that will benefit the Buckeyes' bench in 2014-15. A skilled rebounder that loves to bang in the post, Tate can expect to see time at both forward positions, as the freshman's energy and commitment to the glass will earn him minutes on the floor. What else can we expect from Tate?
Last season stats (HS senior): 22.3 points, 11.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists per game
A Look Back:
Tate was dominant as a senior at Pickerington Central, but a torn labrum would prematurely end his high school career midway through the season. As the injury was suffered during the AAU season in the summer of 2013, Tate played through immense pain before finally packing it in and opting for surgery. As Tate rehabbed for the rest of season and into the spring, the freshman would finally be cleared in the summer, and played with the Buckeyes in the Bahamas back in August. In two games during that trip, Tate would score a total of 20 points, shooting 8-of-17 from the field.
Outlook for 2014-15:
As coach Thad Matta has stressed multiple times over the last several months, due to Tate's motor and energy, it will be hard to keep him off the floor. Talking with coaches Jeff Boals and Greg Paulus two weeks ago, the coaching staff loves the mentality Tate brings to both sides of the ball, with Paulus specifically praising the freshman's toughness.
While it's not likely that Tate will step into a starting role at all this season, look for the freshman forward to be a key piece off a deep bench, as Matta may use a deeper rotation than in years past. Tate is capable of playing up to three positions, and will likely be used at the power forward position when Ohio State wants to go small and run. Forming great continuity with fellow freshmen D'Angelo Russell and Keita Bates-Diop, Tate is off to a strong start on campus, and has played with increasing confidence as the weeks have gone on. A hard-working and humble kid, we feel Tate is on the right track to a productive career at Ohio State.
Best Case Scenario:
Tate operates as a high-energy sparkplug off the bench that will supply the Buckeyes with toughness and the type of motor only found in a Lamborghini factory. As the freshman's jump-shooting has improved since the end of his high school career, Tate could be used as a valuable weapon at the four-spot when Ohio State goes small, as the 6-foot-4 freshman has the quickness and athleticism to get by bigger and slower defenders. Always a strong finisher at the rim, Tate has the potential to bring a lot of positives to this team. The best case scenario for Tate this year would be for the freshman to come in and be productive in his role, and provide the type of energy and highlight plays that made him the top player in Ohio's 2014 class.
Worst Case Scenario:
Tate struggles to get playing time and doesn't capitalize on his opportunities when he gets them. On a team complete with plenty of wings, Tate could get lost in the fold if he doesn't perform at the level that the coaching staff is anticipating from him.