A former Mr. Ohio Basketball, Marc Loving is entering his sophomore year with the Buckeyes. While he struggled at times on the court, Loving was able to prove that he belonged in the rotation and stands to see his minutes per game increase significantly. Standing at 6'7' and 215 pounds, Loving should be able to further develop this year into a defensive and offensive contributor. However, with Ohio State's deluge in talent at the wing this year, Loving will have to separate himself early on with his experience and knowledge of the offense.
A Look Back:
Loving had a back and forth year in terms of production, not uncommon for a true freshman. He shot a dismal 36.8% from the field and 25.9% from behind the arc. However, he scored in double digits four times throughout the year and shot a respectable 76.5% from the charity stripe. The rest of his stat line from last year? 10.9 mpg, 4.4 ppg, 1.7 rpg, and 0.2 apg. While that box score doesn't stand out, as a freshman, Loving was able to show that he belonged on the court with his teammates, flashed some serious potential as a plus defender and half court scorer, and displayed the skill set that earned him Mr. Ohio Basketball honors.
Outlook for 2014-2015:
Entering the season, Marc Loving is likely to start off by coming off the bench in place of Sam Thompson. His minutes per game are likely to go from the 10 he was averaging last year to somewhere between 18 and 20. His uptick in floor time and role in the offense should look a lot like Sam Thompson between his freshman and sophomore seasons. Because of his height and wingspan, Loving will be used at both the 3 and the 4 this season, depending on the lineup. Smaller, quicker lineups could excel with Loving at the 4 throughout the year.
While Loving stands to see the court with more regularity this year, he will have to compete with a number of talented incoming freshmen. Keita Bates-Diop and Jae'Sean Tate will start off as threats to Loving's playing time and he will have to separate himself early through his performance on the court. Loving's defensive effort, potential as a shooter, and experience with the team should work to solidify him as a consistent producer off the bench.
Best Case Scenario:
Loving takes advantage of his early playing time and expands upon his freshman campaign. His length on defense and knowledge of the offense allow him to be one of the first players off the bench and nearly double his minutes per game from last year. Loving separates himself from younger, highly talented members of the freshman class with his versatility, improved shooting, and offensive efficiency. Loving becomes a regular contributor at both forward spots and provides some critical bench scoring that was lacking last season.
Worst Case Scenario:
Loving struggles early on in the season and allows members of the freshman class to usurp his playing time as the season progresses. His inconsistencies continue to plague him on the offensive end and he shoots at a low clip from the field, burying him deeper in the rotation.