"Facing an important week that included a rematch with a top-10 conference competitor, the Ohio State Buckeyes reeled off three wins, two on the road, to secure hold of the Big Ten Conference lead with only four games remaining in the regular season."
Ohio State women's basketball is on a roll and the nation is taking notice. The Buckeyes were named the NCAA's team of the week for their impressive wins over a fifth-ranked Maryland team and following it up with wins on the road over Iowa and Penn State. The stretch increased Ohio State's win streak to nine games. With only four games remaining in the regular season, the Buckeyes have a firm grip on the top spot in the Big Ten conference and a top spot in the Big Ten tournament.
Leading the way has been taken on by the fantastic duo of Ameryst Alston (also named Big Ten player of the week) and Kelsey Mitchell. As has been the case all season, the two lit up the Maryland defense with 33 and 22 points, respectively. Against Iowa, Alston had 18 points and six assists while Mitchell added 20 points of her own. Alston hit eight three-pointers at Penn State en route to 26 points and Mitchell had 17 points. The two also are a fearsome duo nationally, where Mitchell and Alston currently combine to average 43.4 points per game. The Buckeyes will host Nebraska on Thursday.
"We want to play (freshmen) immediately. If they're good after three years, want to go to NFL, that's their choice. The days of fifth-year guys at Ohio State, if they're around for five years, something happened or they're not good enough. Or they were beat out."
Since Urban Meyer was named head coach at Ohio State it was made clear to everyone that Meyer was going to be playing a lot of freshmen. It hasn't been the case, even if Meyer would like to, though, as only four starters last season were true freshmen. Meyer has preached not wanting to redshirt players but this time around, he seems more determined to have plenty of freshmen playing. He's even gone as far to say that he wants to see 18 true freshman from the 2016 recruiting class on the field this fall. Whether or not that ends up being the case, it does show his intentions.
The class of '16 is clearly talented and coach Meyer seems confident in the ability of the players in the class to compete for starting spots from day one. And this time around, Meyer says he will be forcing the issue with his position coaches. Meyer mentions that in the past sometimes position coaches haven't given the younger players reps because they didn't know what they were doing, but the head coach said he won't be allowing that this season. It looks like the work in the offseason will be pretty heavy for the younger players coming into their first season, but it could be worth the payoff if Meyer is successful in getting these players ready.
"Thomas not only shows (to me) excellent athletic ability, but can refine his game to be a high-level receiver. That he shows consistent improvement throughout his career is proof that a development curve can be wide-ranging, and Thomas may be able to hit the upper end of that."
Arif Hasan of the Daily Norseman wrote up a great scouting report on Ohio State wide receiver Michael Thomas, who declared for the NFL draft following the Fiesta Bowl. Thomas has been viewed as one of the top wide receivers available in the upcoming draft, and for good reason - Thomas is a talented player. Thomas had 113 catches and 1,602 yards with 18 touchdowns for his career as a Buckeye. Though he had slightly better stats in 2014 than 2015, he still caught the same amount of touchdowns, and was one of Ohio State's top targets.
One of Thomas' strongest skills is his route-running, which he provided plenty of examples during his time at Ohio State. His stutter step on Virginia Tech's Kendall Fuller (considered one of the best cornerbacks in the nation) was absolutely filthy. He was a consistent playmaker for the Buckeyes and it made sense for him to move on to the next level, where it's certainly possible for him to have success. I suggest reading the whole scouting report, it's an excellent read.
"These guys that hang up their (college) uniforms actually can do much more than just those four years on the football field. Every athlete should make the effort to give back to the community not because it's a good PR move but because no one made it to the level they are at by themselves."
Former Buckeyes Roy Hall and Antonio Smith are doing what they can to give back to the communities. In 2008, Hall and Smith started the Drive Foundation which they used their personal experiences growing up in struggling times for personal outreach to serve at-risk communities. Seven years later, the foundation is still going strong. And on one of their main projects, the foundation served about 500,000 pounds of free food to more than 4,200 Ohio families since 2008, a remarkable figure. Growing up and dealing with their own troubles, and then moving on to Ohio State under Jim Tressel, the two grew and learned a lot about using their platform to give back.
It's something that Hall seems extremely passionate about as you can see from this quote from the article:
"I believe my entire life, the Driven Foundation was embedded into who I was and my character. Just having challenges growing up and watching what my mother was willing to sacrifice is where it started."