My long, relentless campaign paid off, and Ohio State assistant coach Jeff Boals now has a head coaching job of his own. The longtime Buckeye assistant will take over Stony Brook, which means the Buckeyes will need to find a new assistant coach to replace him.
That could be a good thing or a bad thing. On one hand, Ohio State has gotten worse over the last three seasons, and their most recent prominent recruiting class, in 2015, has essentially all transferred away. Maybe some new blood wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. On the other hand, Boals was arguably Ohio State's top assistant coach, and was tied to the program's defense. That hasn't really been Ohio State's problem recently.
Even with Ohio State's recent slide, this is still a good job. Ohio State is one of the most resourced programs in the country, it has the capacity to attract solid talent, and Thad Matta is one of the most accomplished coaches in the country, and one that has a solid record of getting promotions for his assistants. Ohio State should not have trouble attracting interest for Boals' replacement. But what should they be looking for?
Ohio State could try to get an exact replacement of Boals, and find a coach who has experience working with big men, has ties to Ohio, and is defensive minded. The Buckeyes could also elect to shift assistant Greg Paulus to a more of a defensive-minded role, and try to bring in a coach to help with shooting or the offense, two aspects where Ohio State has struggled a little bit as of late. The Buckeyes could also try to just grab the best name available, and figure out fits and duties later.
We're just spitballing here, but here are some names that could possibly target.
Lamont Paris - Wisconsin
Ohio State's recent recruiting misfires in the Buckeye state have been well documented. During that stretch, few programs have done as well in Ohio with less than Wisconsin, who turned Nigel Hayes into a possible NBA Draft Pick, and recent Columbus recruit Khalil Iverson is looking promising. Paris, a Findlay native who has coached at Wooster and Akron, could help give some of that momentum back to the Buckeyes. With the Badgers making a head coaching change at the top, perhaps now might be a good time to strike.
Travis Steele - Xavier
Ohio State has had great luck tapping the Xavier pipeline before, and Steele's stock is certainly high at the moment. Steele has been at Xavier for seven years, and has made the NCAAs six times, making deep runs on four of those trips. A Danville, Indiana native, Steele spent a year at Ohio State as a graduate manager, and has coached at the AAU level, and also Indiana. He'd be a home run hire, but seeing as he seems destined for a head coaching job himself, Ohio State would likely need to throw a lot of money at him to get him. He was recently promoted to associate head coach, after all
Aaron Fuss - Ohio
Fuss is a two time graduate of Ohio State, serving as a graduate assistant prior to moving on to Ohio as a director of basketball ops, and then assistant coach. Fuss has been instrumental in helping Ohio's big men become more productive, an area of need for Ohio State. He hasn't recruited at a big stage yet, but knows Ohio, and especially Columbus, very well.
Alan Major - Former Charlotte head coach
It's unclear if Major wants to get back into college basketball, or if he's totally healthy, but if he is, reuniting with Thad Matta could be great. Previously the head coach at Charlotte, Major was a Matta assistant at both Xavier and Ohio State, helping work with Greg Oden. Major has experience recruiting all over the country, especially the midwest, and has a great record with frontcourt players.
Aaron Craft - Former Ohio State PG
This isn't totally a joke. It doesn't appear likely that Craft will get much of an NBA shot, despite his productivity in the D-League. A jump to Ohio State's coaching staff could provide a boost to the program's culture, and few would be better suited to instruct on the finer points of defense to college players. Of course, having Greg Paulus and Aaron Craft on the same coaching staff might be too much for anybody to handle. Too much #grit.