As we sit and twiddle our thumbs waiting for announcements from E.J. Liddell and Duane Washington Jr., the basketball “Nuts” duo of Connor and Justin are back again this week with our boldest debate topic yet. Last week, we debated who has been the biggest bust in Ohio State history. Connor nominated ole’ stone hands Amir Williams, and Justin nominated the backstabbing (not really), ship jumping, journeyman guard Jordan Sibert, whose career began at Ohio State and finished at Dayton.
With a whopping 62% of the vote, Connor was the winner last week, as the people resonated with his opinion that Amir Williams was a major flop as far as recruiting goes. In a shocking turn of events, 25% of the voters last week chose the “you’re both nuts” option, deciding that we were both wrong. The final 13% sided with Justin, agreeing that Sibert was the bigger bust. Connor now leads the Nuts World Series 2-0 over Justin, but there’s plenty of time for a comeback (until they fire us, I guess?).
After 2 weeks
This week, we’re putting together full teams of Ohio State players, with absolutely no rules, requirements or qualifications. Walk-on’s count, transfers count, guys who never actually got into a game count, it all counts. Whether you base your picks off of college success, NBA success, or anything else is completely up to you. As always, if you agree with one of us, let us know in the comments below, or respond on Twitter! We’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic in particular, and anything Ohio State hoops-related.
Today’s Question: What is your all-time Ohio State men’s basketball starting five?
Guard: Dennis Hopson
Because we’re each talking about five players, I’m going to try and keep each one brief. Dennis Hopson is Ohio State’s all-time scoring leader with 2,096 career points. He won Big Ten Player of the Year once, was an All-American, led the nation in scoring during the 1986-87 season with 29.6 points per game AND pulled down 8.2 rebounds per contest. He also played 35 minutes per game as a senior, which is almost unheard of nowadays. He was also the third pick in the 1987 NBA Draft and won an NBA title with the Chicago Bulls in 1991.
Guard: Jim Jackson
The seventh-leading scorer in Ohio State history, Jim Jackson was also a two-time consensus All-American and two-time B1G Player of the Year. He averaged 19.4 points per game over his three seasons from 1989-1992 before he was selected by the Dallas Mavericks with the fourth pick in the 1992 NBA Draft. As a senior he averaged 22.4 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game.
Author’s note: Like myself, Hopson and Jackson both were born in Toledo. Throw in William Buford and you’ve got four high-quality athletes on your hands.
Forward: Jared Sullinger
This one was especially tough, because as I dug into the numbers it quickly became apparent that Ohio State really hasn’t had all that many great wings. Sullinger was more of a center than a traditional forward, but for our purposes today he can’t be a center (you’ll see why). Sullinger was a consensus All-American each of his two seasons at Ohio State, as well as an All-B1G selection both years. He averaged 17.3 points and 9.7 rebounds per game over the course of two seasons in Columbus, and took the Buckeyes to the Final Four during the 2011-2012 season. He was drafted by the Boston Celtics with the 21st overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, and being from Columbus makes him an all-time fan favorite of many Ohio State fans.
Forward: Gary Bradds
His career stats took a slight hit because he was stuck behind the final player on this list (more on him coming up) during his freshman year, but Gary Bradds’ sophomore and junior seasons were absolutely eye-popping. As a sophomore during the 1962-63 season, he averaged 28 points and 13 rebounds per game. He somehow stepped that up as a junior, averaging 30.6 points and 13.4 rebounds per game. I couldn’t find a national stats database from 60 years ago, but I’ve got to assume that led the country (if someone could confirm, that would be great). He was named the AP Player of the Year that season, as well as consensus All-American and All-B1G selections for the second year in a row.
Center: Jerry Lucas
When your program only has one national championship, the stars from that team live on forever. Jerry Lucas’ name and number hang in the rafters of the Schottenstein Center to this day, just feet from the 1960 national championship banner. As a freshman on that national championship team he averaged 26.3 points and 16.4 rebounds per game, as Ohio State lost just three games all year and won the title game by 20 points. As a sophomore he became the first player ever to record 30 points and 30 rebounds in an NCAA Tournament game, dropping 33 points and yanking down 30 boards against the Kentucky Wildcats. He led the Buckeyes all the way back to the title game that season, only to be upset by those darned Cincinnati Bearcats in the final game.
He owns the Ohio State record books in several stat categories, including field goal percentage (62.4%), rebounds (1411), and several others. Not only is he the greatest player in Ohio State history, he’s one of the greatest players in college basketball history, too.
Dick Furry (just because of the name)
You’re Nuts is not going well for me so far and I think I know why. Actually, I honestly don't. I am making some fantastic points. You just have to start listening. Or they might fire me. But likely not. But maybe. Spoiler alert: I just did a favorite players list so mine are all pretty recent. Don’t yell at me. I realize Ohio State basketball dates back before 2003. But also, put this team on a court and they are 2020 Gonzaga. Except, you know, they would show up to the national championship game.
Guard: D’Angelo Russell
There have been some better guards in Buckeye history over Russell, but not many have been more exciting. Whether it was him leading them to victories single handedly, making incredible cross court passes, or simply just playing the game as smooth as Russell does, D’Angelo Russell was one of the more entertaining Buckeyes in a long time.
Russell was able to spread the floor out, score at will at times, pass the lights out of the ball and rebound well for a guard of his size. That team honestly had no business winning an NCAA tournament game but because of Russell, they took down a solid VCU team that season.
And even though the Timberwolves couldn’t win a game if it smacked them in the face, he is still just as fun to watch.
Guard: Jon Diebler
What can I say? I am a sucker for shooters. And nobody shoots the ball as well as Upper Sandusky’s finest Jon Diebler.
Diebler was an absolute madman at times behind the arc and could put the fear of god in other teams. He hit many big shots and some of us believe he could have hit even more (I still wish William Buford would have passed him the ball on the final possession against Kentucky in the Sweet 16 in 2011).
Nevertheless, Diebler still set multiple Big Ten and national records shooting the basketball and made the fans stand up in their seat every single time he caught the ball. He shot over 50 percent from three-point range his senior season at an insane clip.
Forward: Evan Turner
Evan Turner was the definition of willing the team to victory. No matter what it took, you got it from ET. One of the my favorite Ohio State games was January 12, 2010. Ohio State traveled to Mackey Arena to face 14-1Purdue. Robbie Hummel had 30 first half points and Purdue led 41-29. Instead of rolling over, ET finished with 30points of his own and willed the Buckeyes back into the game to pick up the win of the season.
Need I say more?
Okay I will. Turner, Diebler and Buford all worked well together and ET was one of the best Buckeyes to every suit up. Those days were fun to watch.
Forward: Jae’Sean Tate
Tate is a fan favorite for every Buckeye fan and if he isn't, he should be. The pinnacle of a man who just went out there and did whatever he had to do to win. Between Tate’s versatility and Kieta Bates-Diop talent, it is no wonder those two led the team to a Big Ten title.
Tate never had the most stats or accolades, but he made an impact pretty much every single minute he was on the court. And that is something to remember him by. An all-time Buckeye for a multitude of reasons.
He wasn't all too bad in the stat categories either.
Center: Greg Oden
When people ask what athlete could you take injuries' away from to see what their pro career could have been, a lot of people jump straight to Greg Oden. Only a one-and-done for the Buckeyes (not exactly a shock), Oden helped Mike Conley Jr lead the Buckeyes to the title game in 2007 against a LOADED Florida team.
Oden averaged 16 points per game and 10 rebounds per game his freshman season and is one of the most heralded recruits to ever come through the OSU program.
Unfortunately, injuries made it so we will never know what he could have done in the pros, but his one year at Ohio State will always live fondly in my mind.
Amedeo Della Valle
Who has the better all-time starting five?
This poll is closed
Connor: Hopson, Jackson, Sullinger, Bradds, Lucas
Justin: Russell, Diebler, Turner, Tate, Oden
You’re both nuts, seek help.